Dena Taylor | Blog
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Working from Anywhere: Amsterdam — 9/24-9/25

MONDAY :: The start of the “work week.” I use that term loosely as I don’t really have any paid work to do this week. I do, however, have a manuscript I’m working on and that’s more important than anything.  So, onward ho! Except, no. I was irritated when I woke up Monday morning to what sounded like a buzz saw. Not a few chords of it but one endless grating buzzzzzz. And loud at that -- from across the courtyard, which, here, is only a few feet awy -- where some construction dudes were constructioning. “Sawing? This early?” I exclaimed, bleary eyed. (You're always bleary-eyed in the morning, right?) Then I looked at the clock. “Sawing at noon? Shit.” I did set my alarm. It’s just that I set it for Thursday. Once I get out of this vortex of jet lag, I’ll get into a routine that will allow for: 2 hours of manuscript work...

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Working from Anywhere: Amsterdam – First Sunday & What I've learned so far

Yeah, so, woke up at noon again. But it's not my fault. It's the birthday girl's in the apartment below who didn't turn her music off until some time after 5am. You know she's hurtin' today. Mwah-ha ha! I thought about putting on my boots and tap dancing my way around the apartment to let her know I can party too, on instant European coffee with a worn packet of stevia that I brought from home. Hell yeah! Fierce contender here. Word. Alas, I had plans to meet a woman from the dinner party in Leidseplein. She was going to give me some tips on navigating the city. [caption id="attachment_1570" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="An alternative route to Leidseplein. Fancy pants neighborhoods."][/caption] We met in front of the Starbucks (surprise!) (right next to one of several H&Ms [cheap love]) and then walked along the Prinsengracht (gracht = canal) toward the Jordaan neighborhood for brunch at Winkel43....

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Working from Anywhere: Amsterdam — First Saturday

Woke up at 3am. Which would have made it 8pm Austin time. Which was weird but then again my schedule is all effed up. I had left the window open behind the long chocolate brown curtains and lay there listening as a steady downpour tapped the windowsill and the leaves of the trees in the courtyard and the cobblestones below. I loved that I could leave the window open without worrying that a cockroach might come in and put a few of his feet up on one of my eyelids or that a mosquito might whine over my ear before landing on my temple. Just the rain and cool night air. Read a few pages of People of the Book before coaxing myself back to sleep. Some time later I woke up again and looked at the clock. It said 3am. It always says 3am. Because it has no battery to...

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Working from Anywhere: Amsterdam — Arrival

The impetus. The more I travel the more I love it. Not that nesting somewhere in the U.S. like Austin or the Pacific Northwest isn't attractive, it's just not where I'm at right now. There are too many places I want to experience and I want to do it while I'm healthy and able. I've had amazing experiences traveling around the U.S. and abroad but they've been within the confines of traditional U.S. vacation parameters. It's only been in the last few years that I've increased the number of trips per year or have gone on a trip longer than 14 days like when I went to Tanzania in 2008. I owe this flexibility to my job as a freelance copywriter and the clients and collaborators who kindly give me work. But taking time away to travel is not without risk, i.e. when you turn down work because you'll be out of...

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3 days in NYC: rented room, green line, small adventures

I went to NYC in June to meet up with relatives who would be there for a few days after disembarking from an Atlantic cruise. They booked a room in Times Square. I opted for a room in a stranger's apartment in Brooklyn. I had been in NYC just one other time in my life — a quick weekend in the late 90's to visit a friend I used to work with. She knew her way around the neighborhoods, the bars, the subway. I didn't have to prepare for anything, I just followed her around. This time would be different. The subway. For no legitimate reason (gawd, now I have to think twice about using that word), I was nervous about riding on the subway. All those trains going in all those directions with all those different street names. How would I know which one to take? Would I be able to...

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Pee Pal — the awkward, indirect way to get paid

This one's for my friend Denise, a.k.a. D3 who coined the title and felt my pain. “Be right back,” I said to whomever was listening. I was at The Client’s office for back-to-back meetings and my bladder was doing a Violet Beauregarde on me. Moreover, I needed a break. These weren’t the kind of meetings I could tune out in; the kind where you text a friend with the reasons why you gave last night’s bartender your cell number (“But he was cute at the time and he likes Eckhart Tolle!”) and how you now regret it (“He already text asking for a ride to Pei Wei because his scooter broke down. WTF?!”). No, these meetings were about content. My content. Pages and pages of it needing to be reviewed and analyzed and edited line by excruciating line. I was making haste down the beige hall of the beige office park building toward...

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Tamoxifinale

Sunday morning I sprung forward, first at 7:30 am (too painful, fell back), then for real at 10:07 am, and for the first time in five years — five years! — I didn’t take Tamoxifen, an estrogen antagonist (I love that) used to treat breast cancer. [caption id="attachment_1386" align="aligncenter" width="291" caption="Buh-bye"][/caption] I took my last 20 mg pill Saturday, commemorating the occasion by washing it down with water from a wine glass, but not before dropping it on the kitchen floor where it rolled under the stove, precariously close to two boric-acid laced roach tablets. Determined to see my prescription through to the end, I called the five-second rule, moved the (cheap, featherweight) stove, dusted the pill off and swallowed it, bringing my “adjuvant therapy” to a close. I recently expressed concern that once I stopped taking the drug tasked with keeping the evil-dividing cells at bay, I would feel like a sitting...

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Cupid’s dirty arrows send dozens to hospital

After being skewered in the press for such high-profile let-downs as Heidi and Seal, and J.Lo and Marc, not to mention his being named in an impending lawsuit by members of online dating site eHarmony, a.k.a., eHoHumony for a slew of unkept promises, Cupid now faces criminal charges for infecting dozens at an Austin taco trailer. Cupid, holed up in a tree over a south Austin food trailer park Valentine’s Day morning, pierced hundreds with bows intent on inspiring love among Austin’s breakfast-taco-eating crowd. But instead of love, his actions have inspired redness, pus and pain. “I was just sitting here on this stump eating an egg, chorizo and cheese on flour, when I felt the sting,” said 23-year-old Colt Pickett. “Next thing I know, my left butt cheek is swelled up like a watermelon!” Thirty-three year-old Cyndi Saddles, who was chowing down on a black bean, avocado and pico on wheat was...

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