Friday, July 20, 2007

1/2 way there..

Well, it's sort of a halfway point. We've about a month left in our journey, not quite a midpoint on the calander, but it's a milestone, of sorts, today.

It's half past midnight here, and Tris and I are waiting for the call from Nancy to tell us that her (delayed) flight has arrived, and we should come get her at the airport.

For the past two weeks, we've been on our own, and utterly irresponsible. It's been delightful, this time to sit and do nothing if we feel like it, to just relax. Tris and I are recharged, rejuvenated, and raring to get on the road.

Plus, we don't want to out stay our welcome. Nancy and Aaron have been the kindest of kind, giving us this time to get ourselves together. We've had a wonderful home to stay in, a surrogate dog to play with, and some great heart to heart conversations. Time for us to take all this newfound energy, and do something productive with it.

We'll be here in Las Vegas for a few more days - really, we haven't spent any time with Nancy, except for 24 extremely jet lagged hours- and it will be interesting to hear her take on New Hampshire. I wonder what's changed back home that I had taken for granted, that will surprise her. And what's stayed the same.

Mid week we'll get in the car, me and Tris and our cameras, and head... well. Not sure yet about that. Maybe to California first, for Carlsbad caverns and Legoland. Or perhaps we'll save that for the end of the trip, and strike east, and north from here to Colorado. Time enough to make plans in the morning.

Meanwhile, I've an internet to surf, cable to watch, and a dog snoring at my feet. Doesn't get much better than that.

Well darn.

There seems to be a problem with Tristen's post. It won't publish properly, and unless the fairies of computer land are feeling forgiving... hello? ... nope.... it seems to be lost forever.
That's a shame, as he worked hard on it. I'll ask him to do another tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tristen's First Post

Hello, how is everyone today? It stinks out here it's hot and sticky and I can't play out side. Well now that I'm done venting, I should properly introduce myself: I 'm Tristen Toffic. If you're wondering what it's like out here: BORING!!! is the best way to describe it. I'm going to see Blueman tonight, though. Have you ever seen them? I haven't but I hear they're good. A couple of days ago we went to Lake Mead. Lake Mead is achuly (actually) more of a swamp than a lake. It's really murky. Also Lake Mead has Hoover Dam. Hoover Dam is one of the largest manmade structures in the u.s.a. I'm not sure but I think it's the biggest dam in the u.s.a.
The house I'm staying in is part of the Warmington Estate (that's a stupid name). Our friend lives here and we're pet siting for them. The pets we are sitting are Fuzzbutt the cat, yes his name is Fuzzbut, and Archer the dog. Lets start with Archer the dog Archer is a very loving pitbull. Archer knows a bunch of tricks like shakehands, sit, catch, stay and a bunch more. Then there's Fuzzbut he's a cat. He likes honey roasted peanuts and thats about it. good bye.

Monday, July 16, 2007

We're All Strangers Here.

It seems I should have called this blog Impossible Things, Served... whenever the hell I feel like it.

Which hasn't been much, lately.

It's not that I haven't wanted to write about our adventures, to chronicle the minutae encountered as we range, far and wide over the landscape...

It's that we haven't left the house. The picture above, incidentaly, is not the house we're staying in. It's taken from the front porch, and that's our (Aaron's) car in the front. It looks just like this house, though. Just. Exactly. Like it.

The morning after Nancy left for the Cape I brought some travel books out on to the front porch to read, and left them on the cafe table. And.. there they sit. Not because I'm still reading them, or I've forgotten them... but because if I bring them inside I'll never figure out which house is ours. I pulled in to the neighbors drive two nights ago, and was nearly out of the car before I noted the absense of the books. Wrong house. I always thought that only happened in the movies, but it doesn't. It happens in real life places like Vegas, too... oh.

Nevermind. :)
Despite it's sameness with every other house in the complex... and this complex looks a lot like the one down the street.. and ... you get the idea... this is a very nice house. Aaron and Nancy have done a wonderful job with the painting and the decorating, including the gorgeous hand done mosaic in the kitchen:

The beds are comfy (Note to self: buy a new mattress. I haven't had a back ache in days.) it's air conditioned, there's an ice maker, a dishwasher, laundry.. it's like the Ritz. Just staying here, with modern amenities and the most fabulous collection of pots and pans has been a treat! I love my cut up Victorian with the sink in the entryway back home, mind you, but I can fully appreciate the wonders of a house where I don't have to shut off the lights to vacuum, for fear of blowing a fuse.

Each morning I get up, and check in with Tristen who is generally already ensconsed on the couch, watching the Discovery channel. (There's cable here, too, another thing we don't have at home.) I feed the dog, and while he's eating I take my coffee in to the bathroom.

What? Yes. In to the downstairs bathroom. I don't mean to, but every morning I find myself in there, looking at the walls while I wait for Archer to chow down his kibble.

This bathroom is where Nancy and Aaron have chosen to display the dozens of photos they have taken on their journeys. It is beautiful and wonderful in there, like walking in to the pages of a National Geographic magazine. The walls are red, and the photos are all hung in black frames, artistic clusters of prints from waist height to above eye level. Iceland, Hawaii, (I think?!), Nevada.. France.. I can't identify all the locations, but I know that the adorable little grey frog peering knowingly in to the camera lives in the Emerald Pools at Zion. I know this because I have a picture of Aaron taking the picture of the frog. When I find it (it is somewhere on my hard drive) I'll post it.

About now, as I'm finding some new detail in a photo of an Icelandic harbor, or wondering where the rooster with his colorful plumage lives, Archer pokes his head in to the bathroom and lets me know it's time to go out.

Archer's a great dog. I admit, I was a little nervous, agreeing to watch him. He's a pitbull, and he's all muscle, and his head is bigger than .. well, bigger than anything on me. He out weighs Tristen. The last time I was here, he broke an ottoman, just by bouncing on it...

After 7 days with this dog, I'd pack him in my luggage and take him home if I thought for a second I could get away with it. He's a love. A big, brawny, hunk of love.. which is what I tell him when I pin his ears back like they're blowing in the wind and put my sunglasses on him so he looks like a 40's movie star in a convertible. He's sweet, and goofy, and tolerant of 10 year olds who straddle him and pretend he's a bronco. He can hear a packet of cheese being opened from two floors and a room away. When he's bored he shuts himself in the bathroom and waits to see how long it will take for someone to notice he's missing and let him out. I love this dog.

Walking him each evening is an event.

Archer knows this neighborhood better than I do, and seems determined not to explore any farther than his known territory. I have no fear of losing my way when I walk him, he's like well loved stable horse - give him his head and he'll take you home. Some times he's like my old horse, and will take you home whether you want to go there or not.

We must be a sight, Archer and I, standing on opposite ends of a retractable leash, quietly arguing about taking a left or a right at the end of the street. He always wins, though. He's bigger.

We HAVE done things besides walk the dog and watch TV, I swear. And I will write about them. It's simply that right now, this week, we are discovering what it means to be on vacation. Really truley on vacation. We are not at home, and so there's no projects beyond basic housekeeping that are calling to be done. No work sitting on my desk that I can have finished in just a second... only to surface hours later and find the day is gone. It's too hot outside to really do anything during the day.. and besides, the new episode of Dirty Jobs is on in an hour, and I saw in the preview that Mike Rowe takes his shirt off...
In a few days, Nancy will be home. There will be things to do, places to go, and someone over the age of 10 to talk to. For now, we're sticking closer to home. I've been cooking constantly since we got here, trying new recipes for wheat free goodies for Tris.
I've been writing, too, though not this blog: I'm writing a book with a friend this summer via email (more on that later) and I'm in the process of figuring out how to write a graphic-novel-travel guide with another friend. That ought to be interesting. Plus some works of my own: it seems that the self imposed solitude is good for creativity: everything I see here becomes a story in my mind.
On top of that, this blog - just the two entries so far - have brought people I haven't talked to in ages out of the woodwork. Emails from people I thought long lost have arrived, describing wonders I've yet to see in Hong Kong, New York City, the Catskills and Florida. Responding has become a delightful part time job.
Someone asked me today if I was homesick yet. I was sitting in a lounge chair beside the pool, watching Tris dive in to the deep end. (He's comfortable with that now, a week of having a pool and he's a fish!) The sun was warm, I had Aaron's copy of Fragile Things open in my lap. The only thing on my mind was how to cook the steak marinating in the fridge.
"No." I said. "I'm not homesick yet. I'd like it if my friends were here, though."