Daylight savings ended today, although I can’t for the life of me figure out why they would have it begin a week earlier in Europe than in the States. Anyone?

Oh well, I’m suddenly an hour closer to home, which I don’t mind. I am also looking forward to waking up earlier, now that the sun will be coming up at a reasonable time instead of lazing around til 7:45 to do its thing. I mean really. The nerve.

I also seem to have picked up Gabe’s cold, which I guess was inevitable. Just before bed last night, I realized that my throat was feeling kind of scratchy, and by the time I went to sleep, I was sure of it. When I woke up at 2:30 AM, it was a full-blown porcupine in my throat, and this morning I awoke feeling bleary-eyed and stuffy, not just because of the time change. But at least it’s this weekend and not the next, which hopefully will give me time to get over my cold before we go to Venice. Hopefully.

Perhaps because of our colds, both ongoing and incipient, we had a homebody day yesterday. I think we are still recovering from having been transient for six weeks, because neither one of us seemed at all inclined to venture out of the house other than for a long, leisurely stint at the gym. I can justify having stayed home in the afternoon, however, because I actually attended a conference — in my pajamas, no less, from the comfort of my own desk! As the title says: I really do heart technology.

Back in July, I signed up for a virtual mystery writer’s conference, organized by a bookstore run by some good friends of the family. At the time, it all seemed terribly abstract, to be thinking ahead to the end of October and wondering where the heck I would be when I “attended” this conference — or if I would even be able to do it. But I found the entire concept intriguing, so I signed up anyway.

Barring some small technical glitches at the start of each session, the virtual conference turned out to be a great success. There were both video panels, filmed and broadcast from the bookstore, and audio ones, via BlogTalkRadio, which brought together authors literally from all around the world. There was also a chat room (or “coffee shop”) for people to continue their conversations behind the scenes, and even a virtual goodie bag with story downloads and other fun freebies.

Unfortunately due to the time difference I missed a few of the later panels, but I still got to “attend” the main attraction: my mom interviewing another big-name author and their mutual editor. It was wonderful to be sitting at my desk, looking out my window at the sun setting over the red roofs opposite, knowing that I was in Lisbon and yet hearing my mom’s voice as she talked shop with her colleagues. Very, very cool.

In general, advances in technology are already making my time abroad so much easier than when I lived in London five years ago. For one, they let me attend professional events virtually, which is fabulous — especially when compared to the conference I missed last weekend, which would have cost me at least $1000 and many hours of flying to attend.

The real difference, of course, comes with staying in touch with family and friends. It’s so much easier now to keep up with all of your lives, and with this blog, to let you know what’s happening in our own without subjecting you to mass emails. For example, our dear friends at home just had a baby on the day we arrived in Lisbon. Instead of bugging the new parents for photos and updates — or more likely missing out on the first months of their baby’s life — I can easily keep up with their progress on Facebook. It’s wonderful!

So yeah, this whole technology thing — it might yet catch on. I have high hopes. In the meantime, I will make full use of another recent technological advance to help me beat this cold: I will go curl up on the couch with my Kindle and read to my heart’s content.