Friday, October 15, 2010

CRUDO y CREDO y Muchas Gracias!

I had an absolutely wonderful time with a lot of y’all at Comics-Con (nearly went _deaf_, but had a good time) in New York last week! (And if I could figure out what blogger has done with the image-adding facility, I’d put up a few pictures taken by kindly folk there, but as it is, I can’t find anywhere to add a picture to postings anymore.)

Then had a _delightful_ few days with my delightful husband [g]—amazing what sleeping for ten hours a night instead of five will do for you (well, that, plus great food, walking miles and miles, excellent wine, and the sort of thing that happens after a certain amount of excellent wine…[cough]…).

As part of this, a kindly friend with connections got us a reservation at ESCA, one of New York’s premier sea-food restaurants, and we had a memorable evening, starting with an exquisite flight of “crudo”—this being (I’m told) Italian for “raw seafood” (aka sashimi, in this case). We thought this hilarious (well, we’d already had _some_ wine), since in Spanish, “Yo tengo crudo,” means “I have a hangover.”

Now, I hope y’all know the basic rule of drinking—one glass of water to each one of wine, _two_ of water if you’re drinking Scotch or hard likker. In case you’re wondering why that works…the pituitary glan produces a hormone called ADH (Anti-Diuretic Hormone). Diuresis means peeing, basically (well, the filtering of blood by your kidneys and excretion of excess water, along with various waste products, but you get the idea), so the ADH keeps you from just draining water out through your kidneys nonstop, and thus maintains a proper fluid balance in your body.

OK. Alcohol _inhibits_ the production of ADH. (This is where it gets mildly confusing, because we’re inhibiting something that’s already inhibiting something else…so the first thing _isn't_ inhibited anymore) That means your hypothalamus doesn’t produce as much ADH as usual—and you pee more. (Surely you’ve noticed this side-effect of drinking a lot.)

Right. Your body is trying to get rid of the alcohol, which is a toxin (and hard likker is more toxic than wine—just ask someone who’s been drinking gin or vodka all night) and that’s why this happens. BUT, if you don’t replace the extra water that’s being used to wash out the alcohol, you _do_ get dehydrated, your fluid balance is no longer balanced, your blood vessels constrict, and a lot of other physiological things happen as a result that make you feel, well….crudo.

So mind what I say, and always order water along with your drink.

Anyway—next morning we went (_sans_ hangover) to church at St. Patrick’s on Fifth Avenue, and happened to hit High Mass, said by the Archbishop, attended by three visiting bishops, and generally sporting a good deal of the ceremonial appurtenances that the Catholic Church is Really Good at. The feature I most liked, though, was that the Credo (this is the Nicene Creed, which contains a recitation of the various things Catholics believe—btw, papal infallibility is not one of ‘em) was sung in Latin.

I haven’t sung the Credo in Latin in…oh, thirty years at least. Was very pleased to find it came right back to me, though—and very moving to hear it again.

Had a quick breakfast after Mass, and then watched a couple of hours (Lord only knows how long it actually went on) of the Hispanic Day Parade up Fifth Avenue, which was only a block from our hotel. I tell you what; I never realized there were that many Bolivians in the _world_, let alone in New York City. A few small groups from Galicia (with bagpipes. Galicia is, as y’all doubtless knew, one of the seven Celtic nations. Also—we think—where Los Gabaldones originally came from. As I tell people, I’m not Scottish—but I am an Iberian Celt! [g] (I have the stubby feet to prove it, too…)), Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, etc.—but rank upon rank, row upon row of Bolivians, in between _everything_, all the ladies wearing bowler hats and very short skirts (displaying either satin panties or buttocks, depending on size of latter relative to former, with each gyration; they wiggled their heinies all the way up Fifth Avenue, which must have taken amazing endurance), the gentlemen either wearing something resembling a super-hero costume with a lot of embroidery and boots studded with bells, or attired in a costume like a cross between the Main Street Electrical Parade and a particularly depraved bumblebee—possibly they were meant to be demons, judging from the expressions on the masks—and whirling noise-makers. All I can say is, they must have a lot of fun in Bolivia on public holidays.

Ended up with a much less adventurous but still delicious dinner (a really good lobster risotto is the only thing I remember with any clarity), and then packed for Boston, where we spent the next couple of days wallowing in clam chowder (and good wine), tootling around on trolleys, and enjoying the actual sensation of chilliness (it’s 91 in Phoenix today).

Returned after all this lovely R&R to the news that THE EXILE is once more #1 !! on the New York Times bestseller list—for the third week in a row! To which I can only say, MUCHAS GRACIAS to all of you for the kind reception of this book, and I hope you’re enjoying it !

So I’m off again tomorrow, to the West Virginia Book Festival:

I’ll be talking/reading/whatever at 2:00 PM, signing books afterward. I’m sorry—I’d intended to bring OUTLANDER: The Musical CDs with me, as well as taking some to Canada next week, but it’s a good news/bad news kind of thing: I don’t have any to bring, because we’ve sold all I had (and thank you all kindly for _that_, too!!). We do have a new batch coming in early next week, but not, alas, in time for me to ship them to Canada.

The good news is that you _can_ get CDs easily; they’re available here , through, or if you want one signed by Mike Gibb (the lyricist who wrote the songs) [g], you can order one directly from him in Scotland via Paypal. See the OUTLANDER: The Musical website for details.

And I think I’ve already put up the schedule for Canada. So see y’all there! Muchos besos! (or, as Hobbs—of Calvin and Hobbs—would put it, “Muchas Smoochas!”)


  1. Never thought i would read the words crudo and credo in the same paragraph, let alone in the same sentence.....!
    Diane dear, you are priceless !!!

    Muchos Gracias da Grecia !

  2. What a marvelous sounding trip.

  3. Ah yes, "Credo in unum Deum. . .," say what you will, ain't nobody does pageantry like the Catholic Church. Did you venture on the Duck Boats?


  4. Well Exile deserves to be top of the NYT list! It's lovely to read and I think it stands on its own two feet apart from the series. As a painter myself I'm in awe of the quantity and quality of the pictures. I love the water in the pix when Clair falls in the water. Although just when I was getting the hang of reading the graphic format--it ended! More! More! Please! Thought Geillis and Mrs. Fitzgibbons looked exactly as I thought. Claire I always thought had bigger, curlier, lighter hair. Remember Keri Russell in Felicity? THAT hair. Please take care of yourself and your health on tour! We need you well rested and ready to write. And thanks for the advice on those glasses of water...

  5. Recharging your batteries and having fun with LSD (long suffering Doug!!)sounds like just the thing to get your through the rest of your tour...a wonderful restorative and, I hope, condusive to solitary nights spent with the tribe Fraser and their further adventures...

    Loved 'The Exile' it is a beautiful book.

  6. Sounds like a great time relaxing and well deserved too Diana after all your hard work and no doubt more hard work yet to come :)

    As a Scot myself I should point out that I've never met one yet who has water or soft drink between alcoholic one. (Many people do say they want to do that but as the alochol flows they forgot how they made a promise with themselves to take it easy and next day many a time I've heard "ats me aff the drink" to the weekend after they are back on it. Theres a phrase many of my super drinking buddies use which is "Eating's Cheating" so some people dont even bother with food these days! Scary thought!

    I have to say I am glad I am one of these persons who knows when to stop (only after a very bad experience for my 21st birthday involving very cheap champagne) so its very rarely I get past that REALLY entoxicated stage or suffer very bad hangovers

  7. While at my DS's Cross Counrty meet yesterday we were saying the Lord's prayer before the races and I said to a friend of mine, who is a "heretic" according to her 5th grade teacher who was a nun because she told the nun that she didn't believe the Eucharist was the actual body of Christ, that you never forget the prayers you learned while in Catholic school, they come right back to you. When I hear my mom say the prayers in Latin, I am always amazed how I start to say them too.

    So glad you had some relaxing time in NY with Doug. And I am loving Exile! Thanks!!

  8. Glad you had a good couple of days R & R - I'm about to do that too by going on the Jacobite train from Fort William to Mallaig.

    OK, so I am Anglican but we still have prayers in Latin too you know and I remember the Credo (depends if you are what is called High Anglican, aka Anglo Catholic, or not - I'm not but I do remember). Tried the Church of Scotland and not to my taste at all, all that pre-destination stuff (and double pre-destination too).

    Still just loving the Exile, although I've begun to notice the odd continuity error here and there, e.g. the picture of Jamie on the side of the loch saying "Well I'm here" - there is no sign of his whiplash marks but there are later on. Oh well, call it poetic or artistic licence - the book is GREAT and I hope you and Hoang go on to do more of them.

    Have a great trip to Canada and enjoy any trips through the forests, which seem to me to be very redolent of Scotland - I felt quite homesick for Scotland when I was in the Kootenays a few years back, even though they are pine forests and not the native silver birches and as such like. Hope you get a chance to have some relaxation whilst you are there.

  9. So mind what I say, and always order water along with your drink.

    This made me smile. Yes ma'am.

  10. You're so right about the water & drink ratio! Also our local friends in Cancun call the hangover la cruda which they say means "big head"...very appropriate.

  11. Diana,

    You described such vivid and hilarious images from your trip to New York. I giggled when you mentioned the parade participants most of all. Heinies and bumblebees!

    Hydrating is important if you drink. Alcohol does make you pee more, as you said, as well as throwing electrolytes out of balance, and that can be dangerous.

  12. Well, if you believe in "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church," that's where the papal infallibility comes in. If you believe that the apostolic succession of the papacy is what gives it validity, you need to believe that the pope has the authority to teach without error on matters of faith and morals, and can truly represent Christ on earth. Otherwise, there isn't much point to having a pope, or any way to be certain of the truth of the Church's teachings.

    In any case, the Nicene Creed only hits the high points, and shouldn't be taken as the ONLY basis for the Catholic faith. Or else, the Protestants who use it as well will be pretty annoyed to find that they've become Catholics against their will! :-)

  13. Iberian Celts are genetically predisposed to short feet? I think sashimi is raw "untreated" fish whereas crudo and ceviche are "treated" (soaked or dressed in acidic stuff like vinegar or lemon juice that denature surface proteins). Might as well enjoy good seafood while it lasts. We may have to develop a taste for jellyfish the way current marine systems are declining. The depraved bumblebee description reminded me of John Belushi's killer bee character from SNL. Thanks for the "crudo credo"-Thou shalt not drink wine without water or the wages of alcohol sans agua is dehydration.

  14. Hola, mi amiga!!!!!!
    Great news all 'round re Exile, Outlander cd, tours, etc........I'm Beth/BrighidLady from NC, & while u were up north, I was on vacation in sunny _humid- Chichen-Itza! Mayaland hotel, primo room with view of Mayan observatory ruin.....4-star chef, pool, pyramids......loveley! Atlanta airport????? Como se dice "SUCKS OUT LOUD" ??!! Home to cool nights, falling leaves and best of all.....EXILE EXERPTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! QUE BUENA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope spells of rough weather in SW didn't affect u & urs, Diana.

  15. Well-deserved rest! I confess to a small pang when you report that you were in Boston, as this long-time lurker has been waiting for years for your publishers to send you here for a stop on one of your tours. Glad you enjoyed your time here, and congrats on the success of The Exile.

  16. I wonder if there's an olive oil to water ratio one should follow... I love the food at ESCA, and they DO have some very nice olive oils, but due to their generosity with said oil, I end up feeling ill at the end of the evening; progressively so with each visit! I haven't gotten the nerve to return yet this year, but eventually I'm sure my lust for handmade pasta with crab and sea urchin will win out. Glad you enjoyed yourself!

  17. Dear Anonymous--

    I think with oil, it's the bread ratio that's important. (After all, everyone knows oil and water don't mix! [d&r])


  18. I wanna know what the wine was??? :>)

  19. Dear Anonymous--

    Oh, at ESCA? Goodness, do I remember? Hmm...I _think_ it was called Satrico Casale; it was a blend of Sauvignon Blance, Chardonnay and Trebbiano grapes.


  20. Thanks so much for coming to WV! I loved the talk you gave. I couldn't stop laughing. It was such an honor to meet you. I blogged about it all here:

  21. Dear Diana,

    I'm so pleased to hear you had a lovely time in Boston, my hometown. I know you don't make your own touring schedule, but assuming you have some input... I hope you'll channel that nice visit into a desire to come here for a book signing, or really any type of public visit, some day. There is a huge contingent of your fans around here, and we'd really love to meet you!

    :-) Nicole Z

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