Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Desert


Morning in the Mojave
The desert was beautiful, as it always is in the morning. The air cool and dry. Endless horizons, hypnotic. Unlike the past few days in New England. Hot, sticky. On Monday it was forecast to be 92° and 92% humidity. People who were complaining two weeks ago that summer would never come are complaining now that it's here. Everyone with a convertible has it down. Unlike the desert which was lovely in the 70s.

There were few cars on the road and the speed limit was 75mph. What's not to love?

Every rest stop we frequented we seemed to come to just as the cleaning crews left. We caught up with these folks, "Opportunity Crew" emblazoned across their red shirts, happily unstopping sinks clogged with paper towels (why do people do this?) and making the place spic 'n span.

There were dogs and weary drivers at these stops. Older folks, mainly. (I don't say "old" folks any more. I'm one of them.) A young couple parked next to us near the "pet rest" area stood out. Not just because they were young but because they were giving their turtles (not desert tortoises) a rest, searching for warm fresh water for their enclosures. They were from New Jersey, presumably all four of them.

Grand Canyon Exits

Boo ponders his options
Boo had taken to meowing loudly from his crate as soon as we got into the car. He knew we'd let him out once we were on the freeway. Not sure of the reason behind my logic but it felt prudent to me not to have him footloose while on city streets. That and his meowing made us nuts so we had to relent.

Sometimes he hung out on top of his crate. Sometimes he found a nook to curl up in to sleep. Cats sure sleep a lot. We were pleased, believe it or not, that he wasn't shy about using the litter box. Who knows what happens when one's cat becomes severely constipated. Can't be good.

As Boo surveyed the landscape I was crushed each time we passed an exit for the Grand Canyon, one of my favorite places in the world. We had to push on but decided to drive into Flagstaff, find someplace to buy some grub to supplement our own disparate grub and have a picnic. The best I can say about Flagstaff's "Farmer's Market" is that the bathrooms were clean and they had goat cheese. Not much "farm" at the FFM. That and it's not a Sizzler or a Chile's, our other options.

We did eventually find a park to sit down in. Took Boo with us and fed him bacon in his crate. We all seemed to need that respite.

New Mexico

Go out and find this wine. Buy it.
Seriously. Do it now.
The chicken concurs.
As we crossed into New Mexico we were welcomed by such beautiful geological formations. Each state has its own character. We learned that is certainly true. As we plunged through the gorge, a train raced along next to us. A bullet shooting trough the wilderness.

Gallup was less enchanting. A beggar approached our car as we left the Motel 6 reception area. We entertained ourselves with a game of Scrabble and two bottles of amazing pinot noir from our last trip up to Portland.  I heartily recommend the Illahe Reserve 2010.

About the chicken

Her name is not Waldo but you might just see her now and then in my photos. She is the only living remnant from my glorious California garden. When my sister Becky came to take what plants she could back to her home in Phoenix she encouraged, insisted...that I take the chicken along for the ride. She has no name except "the chicken." Look for her now and then as she had the best seat in the house, on the dashboard.

Next...a small hangover.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Big Changes

New Beginnings

Why have I changed the tag line to this blog from “Exploring Creativity” to “Living Creatively”? Because I’ve made a major shift into unknown territory. I’ve shrugged off the confines of a 9 to 5 job, sold my home in California and moved across the continent to Massachusetts. Muddle along with me as I find my way in this brave new life. Creativity? I’ll need it!

What I left behind
Packing up and leaving my home of 17 years, a 1908 craftsman that I’d lovingly restored wasn’t easy. On that hot afternoon I opened my arms wide as I stood in my backyard and told my trees and flowers and herbs goodbye. I sobbed in Mike’s arms as I stood in the dining room devoid of anything tangible of mine.  

As Mike wrote  recently, “The room screamed empty, nothing here, not yours, go.”  And go we did.

On the Road



We (Boo, my somewhat reluctant feline companion, Mike, my brave human companion, and I) drove across the valley headed to Barstow. Being rush hour we crept along, slowly leaving life as I knew it behind me.  

There was little time to feel nostalgic when at mile 8.2 something smelling suspiciously like tuna began to waft forward from the back seat.  Boo had been meowing incessantly but had recently gone silent in his crate.  After disposing of his issue, we plugged along through the Cajon Pass as the sun set behind us, still grimy from a day of high emotion and frenetic house packing and cleaning.

The Motel 6 in Barstow was a welcome sight. Even more so the Motel 6 shower. We lugged in our gear and had brought what was left of my wine cellar with us, thank God. Not being a wine enthusiast, Boo was less pleased with our landing but eventually settled in. Mike and I, on the other hand, rewarded ourselves with a bottle of pinot  and leftovers from the previous night before losing ourselves to sleep on the hard bed.


Barstow morning
In the morning we woke to a fabulous view of parking lots and tractor trailers from our room. But as soon as the bags started to be gathered, Boo went MIA. In my last days in Pasadena I had been cooking from my pantry and freezer, trying my best to use up what I had and not buy more food, only to have to dispose of it. One thing I had thought to cook up was a mess of bacon. Thinking it might be good finger food that wouldn't take up too much room in the cooler, I stuck it in there.  

Boo, who has been known to snag a strip or three from the kitchen counter, is a sucker for the stuff and it took little time to lure him out from under the bed and into his crate and then the car.  It became a precious commodity as the trip continued.

Next... Jersey turtles in Arizona.