September 1st, 2010


Notes on a trip

So we're back.

I left on Thursday the 19th and didn't return to real life until today. I can't really say that much of interest happened in the intervening period. We drove off for New Mexico as soon as I got off that day, spent 9 amazingly relaxing days in Taos, drove back on Sunday, and have spent the last two days more or less reacclimating to Houston. I came back to work this morning.

It's been ages since I've taken an honest to goodness vacation. I highly recommend it.

Taos, of course, is a wonderful place for such things.

Of course there were various happenings, even though we did nothing.

  • I nearly killed someone through no fault of my own in Ft. Worth when we were driving through last Thursday night. About a dozen rice rocket type motorcycles, going about 120 miles an hour, merged onto the freeway that we were on. They weaved in and out the traffic that was going at 70 miles per hour at those ridiculous speeds. Four or five of them passed me, and I was just trying to stay steady in my lane as they darted in and out. Then, I heard a thump, felt the impact, and realized that one of them hit me on the driver side mirror as he flew pass. I have no idea how he managed to stay upright, but I do know that if he hadn't I probably would have run him over and killed him. I don't know how I managed to stay steady after he hit me, but I managed to let the rest of those idiots pass, stay in my lane, and get off at a safe exit a few miles down the road. Even better, the mirror was just popped off, and it was fairly easy to get back on. Even the motor still worked properly. It took a little while to calm down after the incident, and we figured that if it was a body part (hand, arm, etc) that had hit us, it was likely broken. I don't feel bad if the guy needed medical attention. He deserved it.

  • Celosa is surprisingly the better traveler than Crianza. She simply crawls on the passenger's lap and falls asleep, waking up when the car slows down or stops. Crianza, on the other hand, wants to sit right next to the driver with the driver's arm around her. This isn't exactly safe, so there are a lot of arguments about where she should be rather than where she wants to be. Both of them absolutely HATED the hotel we stayed at on Thursday night in Wichita Falls. I don't think any of the four of us got more than a few hours sleep that night. We were trying to stay at a Motel 6, since they have an open dog policy, but they were sold out, and the hotel we ended up at threw us in a horribly stained room and charged us an extra $20 for the privilege.

  • The farmers market in Taos is really lovely. That first Saturday, we bought amazing Brandywine tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, basil, beets and stew meat. Graham made a phenominal boeuf bourguignon that night, and the only ingredient that wasn't local was the wine. I boiled the beets and munched on them off and on for a few days. I lived off the tomatoes and basil for a good hunk of the week, and the mushroom cream sauce that I'd made from the porcinis later in the week was just amazing on both beef and pork.

  • We spent a lot of time fantasizing about moving to Taos. It's that sort of place. Of course, we have no idea how we'd make a living. There are only 6000 full time residents in the county, and we counted something like 6 law offices in our wanderings. I think the legal market is probably tapped out. Still, it was lovely to imagine full time living there.

  • The pooches loved Taos. They were a little confused about the altitude early on, but adapted easily. Crianza claimed her own room, and adorably stretched out on her very own queen sized bed at various points in the day. Celosa and the tennis ball could play for hours in the big back yard. The weather was such that we kept the back door open all day, so they could wander in and out. There were apples on the ground by the tree to retrieve if the tennis ball went missing. The lack of humidity did wonders for Crianza's skin and fur. Everyone who met them loved them. They went to the first ever Pride Taos festival, and were quite a hit. I think they were genuinely sad to leave.

  • I've been going to Taos for 18 years now. This was first trip to Taos without Relampago. My parents bought the house the week that I bought him, and his first ever week with me was in Taos. Even the year I went there for Spring Break from college, he joined up with us at the end of the week. I missed him terribly, especially on the second anniversary of his death on the 20th, but I know he was with me. I dreamt and thought of him often, and I think he would have been happy with the trip we had.

  • Graham and I spent a lot of time talking. And generally being with each other. I sometimes find it amazing that we can spend so much time together and not be bored or run out of things to say or otherwise get sick of one another. This week is our third anniversary together (we count it as the Thursday of Burning Man, tomorrow, but I think it was August 30 or so), and it seems not so long ago and ages and ages ago that we hooked up on that art car in the middle of that sand strom. It makes me happy that I found someone that I'm so unbelievably comfortable with.

  • We wandered a bit through the town and stores and some of the natural beauty sights, but we didn't rush to make sure that we saw every single thing that is important to see. We knew that we'd be back again, probably much sooner than later, and there's always time to go to Santa Fe, or take the High Road, or go to Bandelier National Park or do a lot of the other things that Northern New Mexico has to offer. That was quite liberating.

  • I didn't read as much as I thought I would. I read Snow Crash pretty quickly in the first day or so there, and then I picked up The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, and got through about 125 pages. And it got to be too emotionally wrenching for me, so I put it down and for whatever reason I didn't want to pick up any of the other books I brought with me. Do not mistake my reluctance to read Edgar Sawtelle for dislike. I think it was amazing, but it was also upsetting, and I just didn't really feel like being upset while I was up there. I will finish it sooner or later, and I'll probably recommend it to anyone and everyone.

  • I didn't write as much as I thought I would either. I had access to my computer, but I mainly just checked e-mail once a day or so and updated facebook. I didn't really check up on too many other websites, and I felt that to be quite liberating. I do think, though, that I missed out on an opportunity to get some real writing done. I'll figure out where to pick up that time sometime later.

  • My sister Olivia was here when we got back, and we had a lovely birthday party for her on Monday. It was nice to have a day or so off in Houston before coming straight back to work. I loved not having too much stress immediately upon my return. I love my sister, and I was sorry that she had to go back to California yesterday, but it was great to have her for a few days.

It really was a great vacation. We had no real obligations or duties or plans. Since we drove, we had no constraints on how much stuff to take with us, so we could be pretty liberal with our haul. The 15 hour drive home was a little much, but we survived it pretty well with ipods and good company.