Books and Cats

I’ve been wanting to visit Portland, Oregon, for years. I knew that I would love it, but it would be an expensive trip and I would have to take at least a week off from work. And I tend to take all of my big vacations in England, my second home.

Well, the stars aligned earlier this year and my vice president agreed to pay for me to attend a conference in Portland in April. Not only would I be attending my first American Copy Editors Society conference, but I would also have the opportunity to explore a city that I knew I would be smitten with.

The conference was great. I was surrounded by hundreds of people who cared about grammar and spelling and proper usage of words. There were entire sessions on dictionaries, a spelling bee, and a formal dinner at which the keynote speaker used images of Grumpy Cat during her speech.










But, this post is about birthday list items. I did a number of things I’ve never done before, but the two most important ones were:

  1. Walked the aisles of the world’s largest bookstore = Powell’s Books

Powell's Books







I only managed to carve out one hour to spend at Powell’s, but it was a glorious hour. There are so many sections that whole wings of the store are color coded. Luckily I found an information desk early on and an employee told me where to find the travel and music sections. I was half giddy and half teary eyed throughout the experience. I left with a happy heart and gratitude toward Portlanders for supporting this store.

2. Visited a cat café

I’ve been obsessed with cat cafés for a few years now. I don’t remember how I first heard about them, but I’ve known about the cat cafés in San Francisco, London, and Montreal for a while. I met a number of people from Montreal at a conference in January, and our introductions went something like this:

Me: Hi, I’m Nancy. I work at xx.

Montrealer: Hi, I’m xx. I work at xx.

Me: That’s great! Have you been to either of the cat cafés??

Only one Montrealer was aware that the cat cafés existed, and she hadn’t visited it.

So my friend Kara whom I met in Boston lives in Portland now, and she graciously played host during my sightseeing days. She offhandedly mentioned that there was a cat café in Portland and a record scratch went off in my head. “Can we go???” I pleaded.

She said, “Sure!” And so we found ourselves at Purringtons on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Major life goal realized











We bought tea and then paid a fee to hang with the kitties for an hour. There were six kitties and some were napping or unenthused by our presence. But we were able to get some good pets in. This cat was a lover.










It was a fun experience, and I look forward to visiting other cat cafés in the future…

This post is long enough, but I just have to mention the other wonderful things that Portland offers:

Beer, donuts, coffee, culture, nice people, and a startlingly amount of natural beauty.

If it were about 2,500 miles closer, I would move there in a heartbeat.

Hoyt Arboretum
Redwoods in Hoyt Arboretum

Another Senseless Tragedy


I woke up on Christmas eve morning to the news of more senseless deaths at the hands of a crazy person with an assault weapon. About 10 miles from my hometown, an ex-convict set his house and car on fire to lure firefighters to the scene, in order to kill them. He killed a 43 yo and a 19 yo. He also killed his sister, who he lived with, and then killed himself.

This man beat his grandmother to death with a hammer 30 years ago. And he was released from jail, so he could kill again. Just weeks ago, kindergarteners were killed. Now, volunteer firefighters??

If you’re interested in signing a petition for gun control, there is one here.

On a much lighter note, I’d like to share my brother’s Christmas tree topper.

















It’s a little dinosaur and I love it.

And on an editing note, I am highly disturbed that the new datebook I bought today was not proofed! I was entering some events in January and February and found that a chunk of pages is duplicated! I hope this is not a strange omen about the coming year.

Hope you all enjoy the last few days of 2012.

National Punctuation Day


It’s National Punctuation Day! What is your favorite mark? Mine is the dash. It is much maligned, and I always root for the underdog. The dash…it’s not a hyphen. Two hyphens doth not a dash make.


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I’m coming off a 48-hour involuntary Internet fast. My Internet broke on Friday, and a tech couldn’t come until today. I was freaked out at first. Like I was missing something. A big something. But I got used to its absence. I accomplished quite a bit around the apartment in those two days. I think there may be voluntary Internet fasts in my future. Try it…I dare you.

It’s 7:00 pm and it’s pitch black out. It’s 7:00 pm and I feel like I should be in bed.

!$(#$## There’s some punctuation for you.