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vacations from hell
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I’ve just arrived back from my summer vacation. I went away for five days to the Caribbean. I went because Oscar made me. That’s not a complaint, merely an explanation. Also, you should know that this is a very long post. Maybe you should get a drink before you continue.

See, I’m not very good at vacation. Please don’t mistake this for my being a really hard worker or anything. I’m FANTASTIC at slacking off. I am the QUEEN of the snow day. I’m breathtakingly good at coming up with things to do at the eleventh hour. And I travel all the time.

But vacationing seems to be an actual skill that some people have and I don’t. They like to go off and . . . errr . . . I’m not really sure. But I think you’re not supposed to bring your computer. Which I don’t get AT ALL.

But recent deadlines had taken their toll on me. Every task I did, however simple, seemed to defeat me. I had a draft that wouldn’t finish itself, 800 unanswered e-mails, and a bunch of papers scattered around that looked very important that I refused to read. This is not like me.

Oscar had been watching this gradual deterioration for weeks.

“You need a vacation,” he said. “You are broken.”

“Vacation?” I replied. “What for! I feel great!”

He pointed out that at the moment I was clutching a wastepaper basket on my lap, and had a post-it on my forehead that simply said, “make better. write faster. also, hamster.”

“Okay,” I said, conceding this. “But where will we go? To what end?”

“The beach,” he replied quickly. “An island. You can parasail.”

“Parasail?” I said. “PARASAIL? Parasailing is the grand, holy, mother of all doom cocktails in the Big Book of MJ. Let me see if I have this right . . . you get in a flimsy contraption and then a boat takes off without you, dragging you in its death wake, and the wind, which hates you, lifts you up a thousand feet above the teaming ocean, and then eventually the boat stops and you fall OUT OF THE SKY into the awaiting tentacles of jellyfish. Did I miss anything? Do the people on the boat shoot at you while you’re up there? Do you get chased by low-flying planes?”

He immediately realized his insanity and backtracked. I mean, we all speak without thinking sometimes.

“You can sit on the beach and read,” he said. “You like that.”

I considered. This is true. I DO like to sit on the beach and read. This sounded like paradise to me.

He went on and on about stuff he’d read about the human brain and the advantages of time off and how on vacation you don’t have to think and everyone does everything for you . . . and by the end, he had me convinced. A quick call was made, and the trip was arranged for right after I turned in Scarlett Fever.

“You won’t regret this,” he said. “You’ll write much better once you’ve relaxed.”


The first thing we didn’t realize is that our flight was international, so instead of leaving for the airport at a very reasonable 8 AM, we had to leave at 5:45. In a thunderstorm. We got to JFK 45 minutes later to find what looked like a reenactment of the fall of Saigon . . . screaming people, bags piled, confusion, and someone actually yelling, “MEDIC! We need a MEDIC over here!”

Now, I fly all the time. Oscar too. And we know when we have walked into a Bad Airport Day. The intake belt was clearly broken, so there was a wall of HUNDREDS of bags, tumbling and spilling all over, people climbing over them.

It took us about an hour to check in, because the self-service check-in computer crashed four times, and the regular check-in line caused blindness if you looked at it directly. I had tried to check-in at home, but the site was down . . . so it was kind of a Failure In All Directions moment. Once this was done, we stood around in confusion, squeezed into the crowd. For some reason, an airline employee started screaming my name. I made my way over as best as could, and she clawed the bag from my hand, slapped a tag on it, and shoved it into a pile with three dozen other bags. I was dismissed.

No one called for Oscar. He made his Englishy way up to the desk, where a different and much more confused-looking staff member took his bag and shoved it off in a different pile and sent us away through the scrum.

“What could go wrong?” I asked.

Our flight was delayed for several hours, because “the belt is down and they have to put all your bags on the plane by hand and we don’t want you going without your bags, even though they asked us to take off without them.” So we sat and we sat. Five hours after that, when we landed in Aruba, the pilot came on and said, “Um . . . ladies and gentlemen, the TSA has just informed us that not all of your bags actually made it on to the plane. We’re very sorry about this. It’s out of our hands.”

I turned to Oscar with a smile and said, “What do you want to bet that only one of the bags made it?”

He laughed. We both laughed. We thought that was funny. All the way to the baggage claim, we talked about the merry story we would tell about one bag being lost. My bag tumbled out almost instantly. We laughed again.

A half hour later, when the last bag was coughed up and Oscar was bagless, we laughed less. We were herded over to the lost luggage desk with about thirty other people. I have never lost a bag before, which is kind of a miracle and I shouldn’t even commit those words to print, but it’s true. So I gazed on in wonder at the proceedings. A man who looked and sounded like Tony Soprano tried to start a fight with two other men in line because one guy complained that he didn’t have a toothbrush now, and Fake Tony Soprano wanted him to shut up. I was standing about eight inches away from Fake Tony Soprano as this was happening, as he listed off the order in which he was going to “take care of these a@$holes outside.” Security was called. We left with a slip of paper saying that American Airlines would try very, very hard to find Oscar’s bag, honestly.

We got to the hotel hours after we were expected. By this point, we’d been traveling for about twelve hours and were starving and our priority had simply become: GET SOME FOOD. We had chosen a big, far-off resort that had promised to feed and water us and care for us like we were its very own children. We checked in and asked if we could please just be directed toward some food, immediately, because we were Very, Very Hungry and we had come through a storm and we were late and our bag was lost and ha ha, isn’t it all funny? And they agreed it was very funny. We could eat at once, as soon as we changed clothes, they said.

And we said, “Well, um. Oscar cannot change. His pants are all in a suitcase which is in New York, so . . .”

The woman behind the counter got a strange, faraway look, like we had just stumbled upon a great mystery of the universe that had been bothering her for some time, and that no human could really understand, and told us that she saw our problem but without pants it was No Food For Oscar unless we wanted to eat snacks at the beach party in three hours.

In three hours, I said, we would be dead. And she agreed that this was a bad thing. Perhaps Oscar could run into the gift shop and get some pants?

Oscar ran to the shop, which was closing for the day. He literally had to climb under the grate. He bought a pair of what I can only describe as “resort pants,” these loose, linen things with a drawstring, and a bathing suit, and a t-shirt that said ARUBA on it, because these were the only things available.

We were clawing at the restaurant door when it opened, and generally behaved like two people who have just been let out of the Home for the Hungry and Strange. We ate everything they put in front of us, and wandered outside afterwards in a haze and ended up in front of a Really Big Chess Set On The Beach. So we played that. In doing so, we attracted the attention of some awesome nerds, who had been clearly scoping out the Really Big Chess Set (and its companion, the Really Big Connect Four, which was not as cool) for any action.

I don’t remember the rest of the day.


I whipped out my computer, saying, “Ah ha! You said I was a fool to bring my computer on vacation but now we can use it to track your bag! This will make everything quick and easy!”

I snatched the baggage tracking claim sheet from Oscar’s hand and went to the website and entered the code. The website greeted us warmly and thanked GINGERSNORT, OSCAR for flying American Airlines and his bag could “NOT BE LOCATED AT THIS TIME.”

We sat back and considered this message.

“What do they mean?” Oscar asked. “Is this like Where’s Waldo? Like my bag could be anywhere in the world?”

“Maybe it has gone on a quest,” I said. “Maybe it wants to find itself. Let us try not to worry about it. You have a swimsuit now, and the water outside is very, very beautiful.”

Now, I know what you are thinking! You are thinking that I was going nowhere near that water because I have a healthy and sensible fear of jellyfish. But THIS water was absolutely clear as crystal, and you could see out for a long way, and if any jellyfish tried to get to me I could see it coming for a mile off. (Also, I questioned the staff at length about jellyfish.) So I happily swam away and my brain started to feel much better. When I got back to the little grass hut thing where Oscar was reading, I found him looking very sad.

“I lost a sock,” he said.

It is very hard to get Oscar down, but this sock loss had clearly shaken him.

“Who cares!” I said, laughing. “You do not need socks here.”

“You don’t understand,” he said. “I LOST A SOCK. That was one of the last things I owned here and THEY DON’T SELL SOCKS. I am going to lose everything piece by piece until I have nothing.”

“Come,” I said, taking him by the hand. “We will look again. Surely the bag will have been found by now.”

The American Airlines website was very happy to have us back, and it still regretted that the bag of GINGERSNORT, OSCAR could not be located.

Oscar began to range around the room a bit.


“Come, come,” I said. “We will call people! I will use my powers as an American and complain!”

So I started to make a series of phone calls. No one was at the baggage desk in Aruba. I got trapped in a voice mail system for thirty minutes with the airline, finally lying my way to an operator in California who said that it was indeed a crying shame but the bag could not be located at this time and . . .


“I hate vacation,” Oscar said, sitting on the balcony in his well-worn ARUBA t-shirt. “I want to play tennis, but, oh right, my rackets are floating in the ocean somewhere and I only have one sock.”

“Come,” I said. “This will make you feel better. I have booked us on a snorkeling trip.”

“You’re going to snorkel?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said decisively. “I can snorkel very well, I will have you know. I did it once with some children in a shallow pool. You made me go on this stupid vacation and now I am going to show you that they are FUN!”


“Cool,” Oscar said, looking off the side of the cheerful little reggae-playing sailboat that had dropped anchor in the middle of nowhere. I thought we were going ten feet from the shore to look at sand and rocks, but no. Oh, no.

I knocked a child out of the way to get a better grip on the wall.

“I don’t like shipwrecks,” I said.

“Yes you do,” Oscar said. “You wrote a whole book about them. You have a huge stack of books about them and you make me watch documentaries about them.”

“I like them IN THEORY,” I said. “I am scared of them in person.”

“Why? What do you think they’re going to do?”

“I don’t think they’re going to DO anything,” I replied. “They are just CREEPY. They suggest Ragnarok.”

The sailboat shook and churned.

“Also,” I said, looking over at the small, colorful fish the crew was feeding so that we could swim amongst them, “I am scared of small fish.”

But . . . I did it. I was last off the boat, and the heavy churn kept slamming me into the side of the boat, and I almost had a heart attack when I looked down, but I did do it. Then I had to sit on the deck and try not to throw up for a while. Oscar tells me I became “very pale and disoriented.”

The next stop was more like what I expected, and I got right off the boat and snorkeled for the entire time and got back on feeling like a Navy Seal because I Almost Touched a Fish. And when we got back, Oscar’s bag had mysteriously arrived.

“That was good,” I said, approvingly. “I think we should go on another adventure tomorrow.”

“You don’t approve of adventure,” Oscar said. “I thought you would sit on the beach and read.”

I held up of a brochure that said, “EXTREME ATV ADVENTURE,” pointed to the ATV, and said, “Want.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

I nodded. I was so sure.


The first thing they said to us when we arrived was, “Go in the storage unit and get a helmet.”

Any day that starts with climbing into one of those railroad-car like, rusted out bins is probably not a day you want to remember . . . I have watched enough murder mysteries to know that places like this are the hangouts of serial killers . . . but my rousing success in ten feet of water had convinced me that I could do and face anything.

As it happens, Oscar had left his driver’s license behind in England, so I was put in charge of a growling, hot, two-person ATV. We were surrounded by what looked like the cast of Dog the Bounty Hunter Meets Seinfeld . . . a weird group of lunatics and recent escapees who looked a little too eager for my tastes. We got a ten minute lesson, which I failed by flicking the throttle too much and running into a bush.

“We gonna go up that mountain over there,” our guide said. “It’s a bit rocky and we go down the way we go up, and it’s a bit steep, but you just lean forward and go slow and everybody gonna be fine. Let’s go! Two by two!”

And with that, I had to drive out onto the open road, side by side with the pack, Oscar gamely clinging to the back.

Turns out, this method helps you learn quite quickly, because your desire NOT TO DIE overrides all other concerns, and soon I was leaning over the handlebars, trying not to hit the goats. I managed not to be freaked out too much when we rode over the dusty beach area and was blinded and one of the other drivers cut in front of me and kicked up rocks in his wake. I tend to go from Fearful Person to Maniac pretty quickly.

When we stopped for water, Oscar said, “My god, look at the state of you.” He was joined in this sentiment by every single other person in the group, and the tour guide. I had managed to get dirtier than EVERYONE COMBINED. I was ENCRUSTED. I was A DIFFERENT COLOR.


And then we started up the mountain.

I now understand the true meaning of “off-road” and “bumpy.” It’s both off the road and bumpy. And these, as it turns out, are BAD THINGS. At least if you are me, and the path is full of gulches that almost turn you over, and you keep going over rocks that almost send you and your English companion flying off the side of a mountain.

This was the nice bit.

Halfway up, I lost steering. I remember thinking that this was all going to end very, very badly, and the ATV was going VROOM, and how embarrassing the stories of my death on vacation would be, except I wouldn’t be reading them because I was dead . . . and the ATV just kind of went into this rocky incline, gurgled, growled, spun its tires, and stopped moving.

I turned and said to Oscar, “You drive.”

I clung on for dear life as we climbed to the top of the mountain, where everyone else took pictures as a huge raincloud descended on us.

“I hate vacation,” I said.

I was too shaken and defeated to drive down, and felt like a bit of a failure. I felt less so when one of the mad people from the group got too ambitious and actually rode his ATV right off the trail, rolling sideways down the slope. The only thing that prevented him from killing himself was the cactuses he landed in. Eight people had to pull the thing off him. I would have demanded to be airlifted out, but he was all, “I’m fine,” and we rode back down the mountain.

Oscar turned to me at the end, looking at my completely dirt-encrusted face, and asked, “What do you think of adventure now?”

“It is bad,” I said. “Let us never speak of this again.”

Me, at the end of the trail. I look happier than I actually am. the stuff that looks like tan is dirt. It took three washcloths and twenty minutes in the shower to scrub it all off.


When we got into our cab at JFK, I immediately reached to turn off the little TV screen in the backseat. Oscar seemed to be doing the same thing. To my surprise, though, he was reaching not to turn it off, but to turn it up.

“What are you doing?” I asked. “Everyone HATES the little television?”

“I don’t ride in New York cabs as often as you do,” he explained. “The little television is kind of exciting to me.”

I acknowledged that that was perhaps an acceptable excuse, but felt the need to drone a bit.

“I hate television,” I pontificated on. “I’m sick of sitting in front of screens all the time. Isn’t that why we went away? Because too much input broke us? Why can’t we, as a society, just . . . oooooOOoOoOOooh! A 44 pound cat!”

And I immediately became engrossed in the saga of Princess Chunk, the massive tabby found in Voorhees, New Jersey, and blissfully watched her story as we sped home through the streets of New York. Someone else was driving, and we had some stuff, and there were no boats or mountains in sight.

I have seen adventure, and it is BAD.

I missed you all. My next entry will not be nearly as long, and will have to be something totally non-beach related. I will comb your comments for suggestions.

In my absence, my Official Magician made a trick named after me. All Serious Authors have Official Magicians, of course. I have taken much too long to get one. Here he is . . . . Magic Rob doing The MJ Jump.

Today’s random commenter winner is LEAHR. This Suite Scarlett summer giveway will be ending soon—and the next giveaway will be my blowout Cheertacular at the end of the year, so get those comments in! Also, if you haven’t entered the sweepstakes, do so now! Entries close on AUGUST 11th!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i must say, that magic trick was AWESOME! i love magic tricks. send my compliments to Magic Rob.

i am so proud of you for going diving! i however, do not think i would be able too.

i think you should post about reading other YA author's books (like *ahem* the twilight series, perhaps?) it would be cool if i could find out what other author's in the YA author mansion books you read.


ps- is Oscar your husband/ boyfirend/ really good friend you live with? and his last name isn't really Gingersnort, is it?

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Daniel R. said...

Oh my god! Is that a Gotham Girls t-shirt!? (well not a t-shirt but a top like thingy) I wished we had awesome stuff like that in Norway.. Sight.. Ps. I would very much like a copy of Suite Scarlett.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Julia said...

I've gone parasailing. It's acctually pretty fun, though my mom was freaked out slightly.

1:29 AM  
Anonymous BindyMac said...

I would have not survived the ATV adventure.

I still want to do it though.

Oh, I giggled at the name Gingersnort. Sorry if that is his real last name.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe in vacation. I believe in travel, which is the opposite of vacation and involves foreign countries and panick (hmmm...misspelled that there, but you know, i like it better that way. it's more afraid. scared. panicked.) and no relaxation and running from horses knee-deep in water over barbed wire while carrying a pizza and is easily more tiring than everyday life. Vacations are so...vacant.

Also, all the best magicians carry pocketknives.

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

look at what i saw on yahoo.com!!


sorry the address is sooo long. i see what you mean about stacks of baggage.


1:39 AM  
Anonymous amoonzi said...

Parasailing.. sounds fun, yet i dont think i would have survived :P

1:39 AM  
Anonymous nosidam said...

I actually listened to your advice about your post being long, but I got some ice cream instead of a drink.

I went parasailing once and the scary bit was actually the boat ride. We had to ride out to the real boat on a "shuttle." This "shuttle" was basically a big raft attached to a jetski and they just headed straight out into the ocean. My mother was rather frightened.

Anyway. I hope you've recovered from your vacation. I feel like vacations always need recovering from. Seems to kind of mess with the point. Oh well.

I feel like you're good at having non adventure-y type adventures. Like making normal things sound exotic. Which makes me think, for some reason, of how I used to be in love with Lowe's. Ikea is pretty cool too. I'm going to stop rambling now. Have a nice day and some virtual juice.

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You couldn't pay me to go parasailing. Heights are not my friend. Especially if there's a possibility of getting eaten by sharks or attacked by jellyfish if you hit the the water at the end.

Gingersnort is a pretty awesome last name.

2:19 AM  
Blogger AT said...

You went to ARUBA?! The fact that you would step foot on soil that has obviously proven to be deadly, what with NATALEE HOLLOWAY and all, speaks to your innermost person's needing adventure.

That was convoluted.

To/too error!!
Maureen Johnson, a twenty-first century novelist, describes the odd survival of so-called "rednecks" in an increasingly civilized world: "a weird group of lunatics and recent escapees who looked a little to[sic] eager for my tastes."


2:27 AM  
Anonymous Noor said...

I dunno if this bodes well for my upcoming vacation among the lakes of Seattle. Probably including water sports. But no ATVs so that's a plus.

Do you have a garden? I know it must be difficult in NYC, but do you have any gardening capabilities?
What do you do when you realize you don't care about any of the characters/outcomes of the book you are reading? Do you just put it down? How many books have you NOT completed reading in your lifetime?
How should I get back at the new carton of orange juice that barfed on me when I popped off that protective cap?

3:01 AM  
Anonymous Reese said...

I absolutely loved this blog. I don't really mind reading long blogs if they're very good. Luckily, this one was. :]

What's this about a giveaway? Where have I been?! I must confess that I'm not a consistent blog reader, but for you, Maureen, I shall make the effort.

3:03 AM  
Blogger LibraryHermit said...

Who's Oscar?

Sounds like your vacation was riveting.

3:44 AM  
Blogger Shannen said...

I can't believe I actually read the whole thing, but it was just so enthralling. I must admit your adventure has ensured that I'll be much happier about losing my luggage in the future. Well done MJ, you've given hope to disgruntled travelers everywhere!

4:11 AM  
Blogger Shannen said...

Also, that magic trick rocked my world.

4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wasn't thirsty until you said get a drink

4:18 AM  
Blogger Kaitlyn said...

Going on away can be good and bad. We had half of our group sent to Bosten instead of JFK. We were not happy because some bags ended up to Hong Kong. France to New York? How hard is that?

4:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm bad at vacations, they make me feel unproductive. I'm glad you could enjoy the ocean jelly fish free. :) Is it weird that I'm scared of the ocean but i love going in the water?... plus I live in the Caribbean, I may be an anomaly.

I would love a copy of Sweet Scarlet, please.


5:15 AM  
Anonymous Jessica-ca-ca said...

Is it a requirement, when you become a real live magician, that you have to be fantastically amazing at shuffling cards?

Honestly, it'd have taken me twenty minutes to get the cards properly scrambled. I suppose I shall never be a true illusionist.

5:20 AM  
Anonymous Meaghan said...

I was in Aruba a couple of weeks ago, my trip didn't sound as bad as yours but we did play with the giant checkers you talked about! Then some creepy island guy came and talked to us, except it was a form of mumbled gibberish.

I can't wait for your next post!

6:36 AM  
Blogger betty said...

I have never rode an ATV, but I feel your pain. I am learning to drive, I haven't yet crashed into anything, I feel like I am going to and would love to give the wheel to my licences driver in the car.

The magic trick is awesome, thanks for sharing it.

oooooooooo, I got Girl at Sea in the mail today and I can't wait to read it.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Zara said...

That magic trick was amazing. :D I'm so sorry about the lost baggage/ATV thing. I would not have survived the ATV adventure. Snorkeling sounds fun, though. And I heard about that cat...that's enormous.

It would be cool if you blogged about other YA books and such. Or whatever strikes your fancy.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

I think your survival of this vacation/adventure is cause for a celebration. A big one, with streamers and balloons and food.

Your Official Magician leaves me in a state of awe.

Did Oscar ever find his sock? I hate losing socks. They make me happy.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Faith said...

I read part of your post out loud to my husband because he asked "what are you laughing at" as I almost spilled my iced tea on my laptop. that's how hard I was laughing. He laughed also.
sounds like you had a lovely mix of adventure and relaxation. Hope you got to enjoy a few drinks with little umbrellas in them.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is a cool magic trick im sooo happy cause im staying at a hotel so i have wifi and can whatch a ton of random vidios :^)

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Kimberly L said...

Woah. You vacation is MUCH more interesting then MY VACATIONS. Mine involve much more math and chinese. I like the beach!

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Chelsea R. said...

So, on the subject on fear and the dangers of adventure....what do you think of the highly dangerous thing that is live theater?

Seriously. You'd think a night on stage is such a benign thing...BUT NO. At sports camps, people rarely get seriously injured. At band camp on the other hand, people were breaking limbs and overextending wrists, I managed to fall 3 time and hurt the EXACT same part of my leg (and a music stand during one incident). Not to mention the chroninc foot pain that goes along with musical theater (Tap dancing for the first time + 3 inch heeled dance shoes = YEOWCH).

I was wondering what the wonderfully observant and supposed thespian Maureen had to say on this.

~Chelsea R

9:31 AM  
Blogger Chanel said...

Sounds like you had fun, lol! I wish I had a vacation like that, instead all I get is reading on a beach! Urg.
Well, at least you an actual adventurer now and you can brag about it to all of those other, boring authors! Heehee! Have fun bragging, MJ!

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think i actually snorkeled at that ship wreck!! i was too scared to stay in cos my mom and a bunch of other people saw hammerheads....yikesss

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Katie said...

I have been left one part befuddled and two part amazed at the magic trick.
I loved the snazzy Nerd Fighter t-shirt. I need to invest in one of those.
Bravo for your attempt at adventure!

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Emanuel said...



I can speak English too, if you'd rather.

11:59 AM  
Blogger RoboFillet said...

The psycho-doctors say that any holiday (even the ones where you sit on the beach and read) are stressful. It's like, positive stress or something, but it still has the same physiological effects on your body as negative stress - like a loss of appetite and interruption to sleep.

You may have been frazzled without the adventure. At least you have excellent stories!

12:58 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Haha I totally agree with you. I'm a bloody chicken when it comes to anything even slightly resembling adventure. But that's why we have Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, right?

5:24 PM  
Blogger beth said...

Heh. I live in the country with cows and sheep and such, and we have an ATV that I like to steal from my father and drive much too fast over the off-road-bumpy-gloriousness. That sounded like fun!

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the stuff you did actually sounds fun. I love driving ATVs. However, I have run into trees before. And I do not drive them very smoothly, but I love it.
Parasailing is one of those things that would scare me to DEATH. I have a pathological fear of heights. Maybe I'd feel safer in a glider than looking off the side of a bridge, but I highly doubt that would happen.
I loved the magic trick. I love magic in general.
I also need to invest in a Nerdfighter shirt.
Or maybe I can make one... where did I put the fabric paint?

Also, I think you should maybe have a blog post about socks. What makes the perfect pair of socks? Should they be all one colour, or have funky koalas and kiwis and llamas and smileys on them? Should they be ankle socks or toe socks or knee-high socks or in the-middle socks?

But, you know, you don't really need suggestions for what to blog about. You'd find something awesome.

(would like a copy of Suite Scarlett)

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love four-wheeling. We have a few out at our lake house. It's like a sea-doo for the winter... I'm sorry to hear you hated it. The whole bag thing sucks too. At least Oscar has a cool Aruba shirt.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Repeat after me, "Nature is not my friend." And whenever you are tempted to go out into it, make sure to lay down with a cold compress until the urge passes.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Raelyn said...

GAH. magic tricks drive me insane. Nice work Magic Rob! how lucky you are to have an official magician :D

10:06 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

"Here's what to do when the airline loses your luggage or delays your flight overnight:

Throw a hissy fit. Get angry. Demand money for clothes and other necessities!

'Snot your fault, after all." -My good friend's husband's father, who is French

11:40 PM  
Anonymous AnnaP said...

I'm sorry I don't have anything to say other than Maureen you are so awesome. Your blog is funny and I love your books-I just finished Devilish and I read Suite Scarlett a while back. I also don't think I could drive an ATV-I'd just freak out. Yes, I'm a wimp that way. :-(

1:42 AM  
Anonymous tess said...

So I have a question, mj.

I broke my ankle (climbing a tree - my mom freaked out and told me to GET DOWN NOW so I jumped, and, well, yeah). Anyway, stuck inside, I read through your blog archives. A while ago you mentioned a book you were writing one-third of called LET IT SNOW and never talked about it again. I would like to know more, if there is in fact any more. 'Cause it sounds good. (Interconnected short stories! I hear that and think MAGNOLIA, which I love.)

3:16 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

Maureen! I don't know whether you've seen this or not, but I just found a picture of a Beware of the Jellyfish sign.
It's apparently located in Australia somewhere. I think you should carry this sign around and educate the masses with it.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Julia Rios said...

I am on vacation in Newfoundland right at this very moment, and adventure here seems to involve climbing. Much climbing. There are cliffs and hills and stairs, and all of these things are slippery. I went parasailing years ago, and I remember it being safer than all this wholesome hiking. Certainly it involved less exertion.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Marcie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:47 AM  
Blogger marcie said...

has Alan Rickman been freed yet? I think it's important. After all he is a fantastic actor and how can you have Harry potter movies but no Alan Rickman..in my world that is not possible. I am sorry for the vacation..they are all adventures even when all u really want is to sleep or read.

P.S. those mini horror shows on NBC are terribly scary for people like me who had been traumatized by E.T. and some Disney movies..I thought I should warn you. :)

11:54 AM  
Blogger ChickLit Teens said...

Sounds like you had a newtons law vacation, everything that could go wrong went wrong. But at least you'll always have a great vacation story ^^

8:34 PM  
Blogger Melody said...

Any trip that begins with somebody calling for a Medic is going to be a trip to remember. That was so funny and an enjoyable read. Who is Oscar? Is that is real last name? Did he find his sock? I'm glad you and Oscar are back safe and sound with your baggage in tack. The magic trick was fun,too.

I would also like to know about what YA and Adult books you like. Any writing tips are always helpful.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Haddy-la said...

yay in tthe magic trick he was wearing a nerd fighter shirt. I love it when you post.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Elise said...

I'm on vacation righ tnow. I just spent the whole day at a lake, with a skii boat, and two wave runners. I'm now exhuasted, have a headache, and wish I could bathe in aloe vera. But I can't, I can't even sleep in my own bed. AND I don't get to read Breaking Dawn until tuesday! But I am reading "The Girl at Sea" for the first time. So thats good. hehe kinda funny she starts out on a forced vacation too.......... Anyway I'm glad you kinda had a good time. And I hope Oscar found his sock. :D

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to be on a vacation too, although I have not done anything adventurous while here except walk to the beach...oooh....adventure. Ha. Ha. Not. Anywhooo...I just read 13 Little Blue Envelopes and I really liked it. I want to read the rest of your books (that was the first one I've read), and if you are giving away books i would LOVE a copy of anything you've got!

6:37 AM  
Blogger barbara said...

OMG, how did you survive? That is scary!!!! The youtube video is not working!!!!!! I can't see the magic! oh nooooooo. :( Hope your vacation was relaxing.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Hannah said...

That's a surprisingly even (okay, not completely, but considering) dirt tan you got.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never managed to figure out how to vacation, either. Whenever I have a few days off, I usually end up going to NYC to stay with friends (and see Broadway shows, walk museums, and stay busy until I can go home), go to Boston to stay with friends (see above), or go to California to visit friends (and replace "Broadway shows" with "the Pacific Ocean"). I don't think I'm completely comfortable with nothing to do...

Anyway, I'm glad you had many interesting adventures and seemed to enjoy your vacation. I can't wait for Scarlett Fever!

-Amy the Librarian

5:22 PM  
Blogger ROSIE!!!!!!!!! said...

you are so brave! How about you talk about Breaking Dawns' awesome vampire partay?!?! i went 2 one last night with my bestest buddies and we all dressed up as characters. I was Alice, my friend was Rosalie,(her costume took FOREVER esspecially the makeup), and my other friend was Bella. To bad we were the only ones who dressed up. Even though we looked like dorks we had a great time. And i nearly hyperventilated when i got my book. Never in my life have i screamed so loud.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous *Allie* said...

lol, funny funny post. you are amazingly brave, i am so very proud of you!!! well, i'm glad you had fun and did some new things. I'm especailly glad oscar got his suitcase!!! i would be just as sad if i lost a sock.
again. i would love a suite scarlett!

12:02 AM  
Anonymous kelseyrh91 said...

that was a very long and interesting post! i've never had a vacation quite like that, but at least you had a break from writing for a while.

2:04 AM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

Your vacation sounds like it was... well, interesting. You look truly traumatized in that second picture (and also very pretty). Or possibly like you've just seen the light. Or both.

I received my copy of Suite Scarlett on Thursday (although I was on vacation as well, so I didn't actually get it until about an hour ago). It's lovely. Thank you very much. :)

The MJ jump is awesome, by the way.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Shloopy said...

Socks have a higher evaporation rate, causing them to disappear in warm weather and in the dryer.


6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tehehe! reading your blog is just as much fun as reading your books. and sometimes real life throws you characters with great names like Oscar Gingersnort. I don't think I've ever seen a name so uniquely awesome before!
Also, you're hilarious! And way more fun than snorkeling...

<3 Laura from MN

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Nuwon Wearspants said...

Reading your blog is always entertaining.

I just got back from vacation too.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Shausto-la said...

That magic trick was amazingly fawesome.
Hm, I think I would scream if I was covered in dirt like that.

I am curious though, What do you think of Breaking Dawn? Even Justine has a post about the fans' responses to the final book.

11:35 PM  
Blogger noodlenoggen said...

Ahaha this has nothing to do with your post, but Abba's number one in the UK again, thanks to Mamma Mia!. Observe: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7539805.stm

3:28 AM  
Blogger Callidora said...

In breaking news "they" have discovered that Princess Chunk is actually Prince Chunk.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Nichole said...

I'm jealous that you got to go on vacation! Near death experiences usually make for good blogs and/or stories to tell at parties.

12:34 AM  
Blogger shhtone said...

That sounds like an absolutely amazing vacation. :]
Ok, well at least it's better than sitting at home all summer. Waiting for more blog posts on this 'ere site.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I for one have been parasailing. It was deeply disturbing, not only because I went along with a maniac who kept trying to flip over in her harness, but because the drivers of the boat deemed it perfect to run us (in our tiny para-thingie) straight into a bank of fog. Then as the maniac and I were beginning to believe that there was no hope and that we had in fact been ingested by a fog monster, the parachute operators reeled us in (yes, thats what they called it), and proceeded to dunk us into the very cold and jellyfish infested ocean. Several times. So I dont blame you for not going at all

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Ada said...

It's nice to know that you are haveing fun during the summer and it all sounds so cool! i love to hike that make me feel wounderful and its a wounderful excersie. Well.. I was thinking wouldn't it be cool to win a copy of Sweet Scarlet? That would be cool.Anyway i just wanted to say how your vac. sounded so awesome and that i am totally jealouse. all i've done this summer is babysit!!!!!!

4:58 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

I had a question for you and I really want to hear your opinion. You just wrote that blog on writing and majoring in creative writing and all, but I figured I'd go ahead and ask anyway. I'm majoring in Biology right now but I always loved writing, and couldnt ever see myself writing. But all this summer I've been thinking about working as an editor instead, maybe. Is there anything you could tell me about that? Mostly I'm just thinking aloud here, but if you can help I'd be forever grateful :)

ps. I dont have a copy of Suite Scarlett yet ;)

9:00 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Aruba totally gets you dirty. I did the same kind of tour thing there, and I had to THROW AWAY the shorts I was wearing because 3 washings did not get them clean.

I had dirt in places that had never been dirty before.

But, you look all cute in your dirt picture. I looked like an extra from "Mad Max."

7:59 PM  
Anonymous allyonvaca said...

I'm currently on my summer vacation...
Free coffee, that's really what it's all about.

8:54 PM  
Blogger betty said...

Hey, I know this is my second comment but I was wondering what you would do in my situation. What would you do if you bought a copy of "The Bermudez Triangle" off of amazon two weeks ago and the person sent you an advance readers copy? I feel like I was cheated because it was suppose to be a hard back cover, but then I feel kinda special because it is an ARC, even if it is 4 years after the fact.

2:58 AM  
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