Betty White, aliens, & OMG! Puppies: Tripping through Big Foot Land & beyond

Blue Wonder Woman mug with purple flowers

This sums a lot of it up

Over a ten-day span last month, Arthur and I ate supernaturally fresh produce among the Sequoioideae in California; viewed a surprisingly large number of Krylon-wrought, alien-themed murals on corrugated metal in the deserts of Nevada; and moshed in the pool with the hundreds of other metalheads attending the Psycho Las Vegas festival at the Hard Rock Hotel in so-called Sin City. (Okay, I did not mosh in the pool, and I am not even a proper metalhead—but I did survive among their throngs for several days!)

I’ve had the great good fortune of taking many epic trips in my life: I’ve driven Australia’s Gold Coast, seen the sunrise over Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán, made it through Iceland’s Fimmvörðuháls hike in one long day, gotten lost on a mountain bike in the Judean Desert, soaked in mountain onsen ryokans in Japan, even hobbled around the Great Pyramid of Giza in an air cast. I’ve been so happy and grateful for them all, but I’ve noticed that what makes a trip especially enjoyable and memorable can’t always be predicted. The most potent travel magic, I’ve found, isn’t necessarily made by combining a greater number of days with a longer flight and a more impressive to-do list. Not to say I don’t retain vivid memories of drunken late-night singing with locals in a rural Russian dacha, or speeding in a Jeep through the jungles of Cambodia with a bunch of brawny Aussies—I absolutely do! Just that, sometimes, a relatively unassuming trip will pack a bigger than expected punch of awesomeness.

Such was the case with this recent voyage west. I guess it was a few things: the combination of great food and great company throughout; the right balance of activities and downtime; and a rotating kaleidoscope of natural and social environs that kept my brain keyed up without making me dizzy. Well, some things did bring on at least momentary vertigo:

Toxic waste alien sign Nevada

Toxic waste, Nevada

Bellagio fountains show

Bellagio fountain show, Las Vegas

Goat Rock California

Goat Rock, California

Oh, and I think I touted these guys, too:

Per usual, I came home with too much show-and-tell to fit in one blog post—good thing this WordPress subscription automatically renews!

Until the next brain dump, thanks for the unassuming but epic embarrassment of riches, western U.S. I’ll be back for more.

I got some kind of award!

It’s called the Liebster Award, and the entirely-too-kind Pooja Gudka at lifesfinewhine nominated me. Thanks a ton, Pooja!

Liebster Award 2016

The certified seal of approval

For the uninitiated (which included me until this happened), here’s a little primer courtesy of Jen There Done That:

What is the Liebster Award?

“Liebster” is a German word meaning beloved or dearest. In the blogging world, the Liebster Award is online recognition given by bloggers to other new bloggers for enjoying or valuing their work. It is meant to highlight and credit favorite new up and coming blogs within our writing community.

Once nominated, a blogger is asked to answer 11 questions provided by the nominating blogger. They are then expected to nominate 11 other favorite new bloggers and come up with a list of 11 new questions for those nominees. This keeps the love going!

If I’m about one thing, it’s keeping the love going, so let’s do this!

Here are Pooja’s 11 questions for me, with my answers:

1. What is your greatest achievement in life?
Buying a studio apartment in New York City as a single 20-something lady. I hope this accomplishment will be usurped by the eventual production of my Magnum Opus.

2. What is your favourite movie?
The Big Lebowski.

3. Who is your biggest role model?
So many! Lately I’ve been super into Elizabeth Streb (whom I had the great good fortune to interview in 2008).

4. Where do you want to travel to most?
For perspective-upending culture shock, I’m intrigued with visiting more of Africa and the Middle East. For soul-breathing hikes and eye-expanding vistas, I’m drawn to the Bavarian Alps and Scandinavian coastlines. Oh, and a friend recently introduced me to these crazy mountains in China that positively beg a visit!

5. Who is your favourite musician and why?
Another stumper! I’ve been super into Beck lately, particularly the track “Beercan.” Also Bowie’s “Fame.” Because they’re so deeply good.

6. If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
Hmm… Could we try… No more greed? Just for a day or two to start. Take ‘er for a test drive.

7. What is your favourite T.V show?
Since I haven’t watched much TV since the ’90s, I have to say The Simpsons. Though that answer might not be different even if I’d kept watching.

8. Who inspired you to start writing?
I don’t think it was a person as much as the desire to commune with my experience of the world in a (sort of) tangible way.

9. What is your favourite time of day to write?
Those reflective bookend times: morning and night. And any time the itch strikes in between.

10. What is your biggest goal in life?
To feel like I’ve met my potential creatively and altruistically.

11. What is your favourite quote?
I hate to pick just one! But here’s a beaut, I believe from A. S. Byatt: “The writer wrote alone, and the reader read alone, and they were alone together.”

Here is a non-inclusive montage of some of the people and things referenced above:

Now, here are my 11 nominees!

Samantha MacLeod
Sarah Van Buren / Mototripping
Mirka Knaster / exploring the heART of it…
LJ Gormley / My Latin Notebook
Jem Arrowsmith Designs
Nicholas Peart / The Slider
Neil Scheinin / Yeah, Another Blogger
Wandering Wives
Masala Vegan
M.Funk : Photography
Amy Deneson

And my 11 questions for them:

  1. What’s the coolest award you’ve ever gotten? (You can say the Liebster Award if you want.)
  2. When did you last ride a public bus?
  3. Have you ever slipped when getting out of the shower and felt older than you actually are?
  4. Which of your childhood friends are you saddest to have lost touch with, and what you do think they’re doing now?
  5. Honestly: Do you really consider it the three-second rule? Have you ever extended it to more seconds? If so, how many?
  6. Why do you think all those houseplants have died under your care?
  7. Please describe the time you sung most humiliatingly in public.
  8. Best popcorn topping. Go.
  9. Would you rather dream of a spider infestation or a snake infestation? Why?
  10. What is your least favorite color? Explain.
  11. Should 7-Eleven have discontinued their Sour Patch Watermelon Slurpee flavor? Why or why not?

Lastly, I am obliged (and happy) to provide the rules of the award in this very post:

What are the rules for the Liebster Award?

Once you accept a nomination, you are expected to complete the following steps:
– Thank and link to the blogger who nominated you
– Create a post on your blog, displaying the Liebster Award logo
– Answer the 11 questions assigned by the blogger who nominated you
– Provide rules/instructions for accepting the award
– Nominate 11 new favorite bloggers for the Liebster Award
– Come up with a list of 11 new questions for your nominees
– Notify the nominees
– Post your Liebster Award blog post link in the comments of your nominator’s Liebster Award Post

That should cover it. Thanks again, y’all! I am proud to be among ye.

Colorado photo tour -slash time warp

America the Beautiful Park in Colorado Springs

Arthur and I just spent four days and change in the big square state of Colorado (from which I originally hail), and boy was it a hatful—for reasons beside our inaugural start-to-finish screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show! (Tim Curry: respect.)

Yes, multiple factors led to the head-spinning:

  • Going back to where you’re from, when you don’t go regularly, is all but guaranteed to be a trip. “Is that what XYZ really looks like? Where did XYZ go? I can’t believe I used to do XYZ here!!”
  • Colorado is different from New York in many ways: more sky, more dry, more guns; you hear fewer different languages spoken on the street—and fewer people are walking down the street to begin with, and the streets are steeply crowned to deal with the occasional flash flooding. That’s just a few, of many more, off the dome.
  • Taking a break from your usual routine and surroundings is a shake-up—even if you’re just spending the night on a friend’s couch. There’s nothing quite like shoehorning yourself into a different place temporarily to shift your perspective and put it in… perspective.

I could easily go on, and I don’t want to image myself out of blog-writing business!, but pictures are probably the most apt expression tool in this case. Ladies and germs, prepare to feast your eyes on… Colorado, Spring 2016!

Readers! Care to show and/or tell me about a trip ‘home’ you’ve taken?