While rearranging my room, I came to the realization that I have too many books and notebooks and pens.... Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to get rid of any of them. It was just an observation. I honestly don't know if I can ever have TOO many books. And notebooks. And pens. Two of my older nieces were helping me, and as one would grab a stack of books, she'd look at the spines. She told me she liked to see what kinds of books I had and if she had read any of them. The same niece said, after I opened a package today, "Another book?" I looked at her, surprised. Yes. Of course another book. Why not? I'm the kind of person that keeps the books I like. If I don't like the book, I donate it somewhere. Schools. Public libraries. The people who pick up donations from the sidewalk. So, since I like most of what I read--and have yet to get to every book I've bought--I have to say, I have a lot of books. But not TOO many. Not yet, anyway. I guess when I run out of room on my bookshelves and I have thirty piles of ten-plus books on the ground, maybe then. Maybe. My writing retreat to Julian went very well. I stayed at a B&B called Butterfield. I had told some students the name and one asked, "Is it made out of butter?!" I said, "The field is." They all gave me wide eyes. "And the house is made out of bread." Eyes got bigger.--Some of my friends giggled when I told them the name, and they said, "That already sounds like the perfect place to go." And it really was. The loudest thing I heard while I was at Butterfield were the blue jays landing right outside my window. I always take Bullseye with me because it's a Flat Stanley thing I started with my friends a long time ago during one of our many geology trips, but my little niece told me I also had to take Pascal because he's fun. So here they are, enjoying the window seat.
Butterfield is owned by Dawn and Ed, which I thought was funny since one of the characters in the story I'm working on is named Dawn. I finally told her that toward the end of my stay. (And I actually do know another Ed.) They were both great and they completely made me feel welcome. It was my first time at a B&B, so I had no idea what to expect. And the first morning, after me and the other couple staying there ate breakfast, I asked Dawn if she wanted help clearing the table. Because, you know, that's what you do when you stay at someone's house. It felt weird not to ask. Dawn gave me a funny look and declined. Some of my friends teased me about that one. The couple was only there for that morning, and they were hilarious listening to. The man somehow found a way to direct every piece of conversation back to golf--a game I must admit I'm not at all interested in. And everything the lady said made me laugh, whether she meant to or not. They were both retired and both enjoying it. When I first met them, the lady introduced herself to me, saying her first AND last name. And so I felt like I had to introduce myself with both my first and last name, even though I usually just say my first. No idea why I did that. The small town of Julian is just that. Small. I walked the main street, up and down, in less than an hour. And that's because I went into some of the shops. The restaurants--at least the two I tried--were delicious. One was a place Dawn and Ed raved about to all the other B&B guests throughout my stay. It's called Jeremy's On the Hill. Now, being me, I like to research a place I'm not familiar with before I go there. So I had come across the restaurant in my search and knew what they were referring to. Since "on the hill" is in the title, I was picturing a small hill with a dirt road that led up to the restaurant. And as I passed the restaurant on the way to Butterfield, I immediately noticed it was not on a hill. At all. It was more off the road. I passed a church on a hill, and a big barn on an even bigger hill. I asked Dawn and Ed why it was named Jeremy's On the Hill--telling them my off the road thought--and Ed explained that Julian itself is on a hill, and Jeremy owns the restaurant. Got it. Unfortunately, the nice Idaho couple that was staying there for a couple of days, even after eating there themselves, always referred to it as "Off the Road." Oops. Every time they said it, I was so glad the owner wasn't there. But the food was good and the restaurant carries the yummy orange cream soda my mom and I love. I got a lot of writing done--which was really more editing and rewriting than anything. I was able to clear my head, organize my thoughts, and get back on track. And I was actually sad to leave. Dawn and I had many great chats about books and traveling and everything else. I was also equally as glad I did not see any mountain lions and didn't get stung in the ear. That's always a plus. The day I got back, actually the second I pulled into the driveway, my family and I left to go see Jurassic World. I personally thought the movie was great and would recommend it. My little niece loves dinosaurs and she's seen all the other Jurassic Park movies. In fact, they saw Jurassic World on their vacation a couple weeks ago and since she wanted to see it again, they went with us. I'll not say what her favorite part was--because it would give away the ending--but I will say it was one of the most intense parts of the movie and it involved what she calls "the fish dinosaur" and "the bad dinosaur." That's my niece. Then, the next day, I watched the U.S.A. women's soccer team win the World Cup (nearly passing out during the game, too). One of my nieces almost lost her voice, she was screaming so much. What can I say? It was a good week. My coworker/friend and my other friend provided me with great feedback of my story. My friend kept asking me questions about what's going to happen later since I'm writing a series, and it was hard to keep my mouth shut, but I didn't say a word. I can't begin to express how grateful I am of those two amazing ladies. I still have a long way to go with this first story, so I guess I better get to it--even though it's late. What can I say? I've always been a night writer. And it's summer. But before I go, here is a picture I took sitting outside at the B&B. Isn't it just perfect?