31 August 2010

Open Market, Haunted House

The time covered in Jesse's parents' visit was (for me) a series of weekends. It was futile for me to try and see them (or Jesse) during the week because I got out of work so late. Janna had a birthday during that third week. Jesse took them to Tony's to celebrate. I missed the whole party (and the truffle pizza). Janna's friend Peg arrived that night from South Dakota. Let's see. That was Wednesday. Peg, Janna & I went to lunch together Thursday at the Empress of China Restaurant. It's minutes from our place, but I had never known it was there. I admit Chinatown all blends together in my mind. Peg had been to the Empress before and recommended it. The food was delicious. Let's blur past Friday to Saturday, when I met the group at the Noe Valley farmers' market.

The atmosphere put a smile on my face. It was a community. There were families there with their kids and dogs, buying their sustainable wares from their regional farmers. It was all very neighborly and very pleasant. I could have seen Jesse & I there in another five or ten years. But, well, you know. It's cool. I'm sure there are spinsters who shop there too.

Saturday morning in in Noe Valley.

Honey products.


I just like living in a city that celebrates good food. This was the breakfast spread at La Boulange.

We browsed. Jesse got a honeycomb for his dad. He & I had coffee at La Boulange. On the way back we spotted Janna & Peg having their (apparently obligatory) Bloody Marys and chatting with some locals. Quintessential vacationers, those two. We then wrapped up the morning and started the afternoon with a trip to San Jose.

If you get the opportunity to tour the Winchester Mystery House, take it. Otherwise, you may never have pure lunacy stare you in the face. And that would be a shame. It was the home of the Winchester heiress. She was haunted by all those killed by Winchester weapons and tried to keep the ghosts off her back by building rooms for them. Ghosts don't necessarily need doors, so some stairways lead into walls or ceilings. I have no doubt Mrs. Winchester was being haunted, I even think the ghosts are still there. Here's why.

There are no pictures allowed during the tour. This was made clear before we started. As we toured, two people with fancy cameras decided the rules did not apply to them. They were both reminded by the tour guide that pictures were not allowed. One guy kept taking pictures anyway, sneaking his wife and kids into shots while holding the camera at waist level. Peg & I shook our heads at him. I even said he'd get his. I was right. He lost control of his fancy camera. It wouldn't turn off. And then it started shuffling through every picture on his camera card. He said it shuffled faster than he'd ever seen. It would not stop. Eventually he had to pull the card out of the camera. I'm not sure if he lost his pictures or not. Logical explanation: ghosts.
I think Mrs. Winchester's lunacy came not from believing in the ghosts, but in trying to avoid them. I think if she had met them face to face and donated to charity or established a fund for their families, I'm sure all would have been forgiven. She probably could have lived in her modest home in peace. Then again, if she had done that, how would we have spent our Saturday? I suppose everything happens for a reason.

We made a pit stop for shakes. You know, just to hold us over until we got to a bar in San Francisco. We ate dinner at the Bocce Cafe, an Italian restaurant designed like a grotto. There was a live band and the food was excellent. In fact, I think the eating is probably the best part of having visitors. We rarely go out to eat. There really needs to be an occasion. Otherwise it's truffle pizzas (or in this case spinach ravioli) every day until I go broke or have a heart attack. And that would be a downer.

South to The Sun

July was so busy, I have to document it week by week.

I started week two with getting my new cell phone, the Droid Incredible. I have a history of getting really excited every two years for my new gadget. Remember the arrival of the Pinkberry? How about the Original V? I studied both of those phones religiously before I got them. The Incredible was slightly different. I ogled for months, and still didn't buy when the time came. I got into the cell phone game when I was promised a new phone every two years. Specifically, a free new phone every two years. That technically has not changed. There are phones I could get for free every two years, but they don't suit my needs. I barely use my phone for talking. I honestly use fewer than 300 minutes a month talking to non-Verizon customers. When I agreed to the new every two, it never crossed my mind that I would not want the free phone. Yet that's exactly what's happened every two years for the last eight; I have not wanted what was free. The Incredible would have had me spending $200. That's more than I've spent on cell phones (exclusing accessories) in my whole life. So I decided to wait. But the want never eased.

Verizon responded (at least in my mind), offering me a $100 rebate and a $25 gift card because of the delay in getting the phone. I could not deny the phone was worth the remaining $75 price tag. I ordered it in June. It arrived in July. My life was changed. I took my last lower quality pictures with the Pinkberry and never looked back. The phone has exceeded my highest expectations and I can't imagine how I'll want anything different in two years. But I've said that before too. I'd better start saving. I'm sure whatever I want won't be free.

The phone hit the road with us next weekend. We went on a drive with Jesse's parents. I had probably the worst headache of my life. I think it was a migraine. It was worse than a high blood pressure headache. I was sensitive to light and motion. I felt nauseous, but throwing up seemed like it would hurt. Coffee didn't help. Water didn't help. Painkillers didn't help. I was miserable that second weekend in July. I don't know why. But I did document it and the next time I need to see my doctor (which kind of should be soon since that deadbeat gallbladder is still not pulling his weight), I'll bring it to his attention.

We drove down to the beach, just because we could. It was not warm outside, and it was even colder in the water. Jesse gave serious thought to taking the plunge. But common sense won that argument. I think it's always nice just to be next to the ocean, hearing its turbulence and feeling its might.


Jesse, Gary & Janna.

We kept heading south until we got to Phil's Fish Market and Eatery. It doesn't look like a place one would randomly stop for incredible grub, but that's exactly what it is. I don't know how Jesse found it. I mean he reads the food blogs and watches the food shows. But I don't pretend to know how he keeps all that information straight and can remember where to go in Monterey County.

The fish market was packed. The fish was fresh and the service was fast. It should be noted that we were hungry and I think they should have warned us about the size of the portions. We ordered a feast, and put a pretty good dent in it.


The spread.

Handling the Cioppino.

The finale.

Happy customers.

And after all that, we did not nap. Please be impressed, because I know I wanted to have a snooze. We went a little further south, into Monterey and walked Cannery Row. We took pictures by the bay. At the time I was thinking "Christmas cards, check," but, well, you know. The weather is always nicer the further south / north / east you are from San Francisco. So we had a really nice afternoon. Although I kept that headache throughout the day, the night, and the next morning.

Monterey Bay

That Sunday I think I spent the morning cleaning and doing homework. I believe we had enchiladas for dinner and brownies for dessert. Some of us (Jesse) had more than others. Better his waistline than mine I suppose.

30 August 2010

The Good Times: 4th of July

Let's turn back the clock friends, and re-visit July. I had a great time last month. And even though I've since started considering every moment as part of the not-so-grand finale of my relationship, I feel I have to document the "happy." The time will come when I'll revisit the posts of this summer. I'll want to see I was not just a blubbering mess, that I did have fun in the summer of 2010, and that knowing the outcome did not taint the memories. I really did have a good summer. As June was for friends, July was for family.

Jesse's Parents came to visit for the first half of July. The stayed at a vacation rental in Noe Valley, which is a neighborhood in my same city. Until their visit, I had never been there. I had never thought to go there. I mean it takes a muni train to get there, and I can walk to almost everything I've needed so far. Bottom line: I didn't think I was missing anything in Noe Valley. I was wrong.

It's probably the first real family neighborhood I've encountered in years. There is a farmers' market on Saturday. The streets are lined with coffee shops and outdoor seating. There are specialty shops, a gym and two grocery stores. Noe Valley is its own community within San Francisco, more so than Chinatown, where there is always bustling as opposed to just living. In a word, pleasant.

Gary & Janna drove here from North Dakota, taking the scenic route. Just so you can see how far behind my posts are, they arrived the Friday I got my hair done. It was the start of the 4th of July weekend. I don't remember much of what we did that Saturday or Sunday morning, so it must have been relaxing. We grilled Sunday afternoon, setting up a tiny portable grill and loading it with charcoal.

What could possibly go awry?

The process was not as smooth as anticipated - the charcoal to paper ratio needed tweaking. But we did eat and it was delicious. Jesse made steaks, turkey burgers and asparagus. Janna baked potatoes and made real ranch dressing (buttermilk and all). It was a great feast and obviously put me in a food coma, because I don't remember what we did after dinner. I think we heard fireworks, but never went to see them. Or we watched a movie. I'm sure whatever we did was exactly what we needed.

Happiness is eating. In moderation, of course.

Jesse's plate.

Janna treated us to a baseball game the next day. We ventured into Oakland to watch the A's get beat up by the Yankees. I don't follow baseball, but I've gathered the Yankees are known for buying the best talent. Based on what I saw, the franchise is getting its money's worth. They made a few impossible catches. I almost couldn't be mad at their perceived arrogance. The team brings the goods. We stayed through the top of the 9th inning, after we were sure the A's could not make a comeback, but before frostbite set. It was cold, East Bay or not. Jesse's dad said - for how it felt - we could have stayed home and sat in the fridge to watch the game. The A's gave out commemorative baseballs as we left. I don't remember why. But I like getting prizes.

27 August 2010

Taking Aim

I've spent too much time over the last week standing in a corner, facing the room and asking "what now?"

I like corners. They're the best place to stand if you want to be sure of what's behind you - without having to look. Typically, when I have a large mess to clean, I start in a corner and work my way out. I can then monitor my progress with a glance. So last week, once I finished my finals, accepted the BU and told the world, I headed to a corner for direction.

I tried my usual technique of goal setting and schedule making. But it didn't work. I just did not know where to begin in the mess that had suddenly become my life. Was it most important to respond to everyone who sent consoling messages? Was it best to start separating our things? Should I post stories and pictures of my last days as half of a unit? Should I go to the gym and beat the grief out of my body? Should I just relax before the fall trimester? Should I be worried about Jesse? Should I be bitter?

I ended up doing a very little bit of all of the above. I quickly realized replying to people was depressing, so I paused on that. I separated pens(?), DVDs, CDs and medical files. I started looking at apartments, even though it's going to be months before we can afford to move. I started writing about July, but found the stories coming out of order. I exercised at home and at the gym, but my performance was weak. I tried to sit and do nothing, but that just got me to thinking, which I'm tired of doing. I tried encouraging Jesse to talk to people (I know he's just alone with his thoughts) but he resisted. And it's no longer my place to push him to do what's best. I got bitter too, seriously thinking of all the ways I could live my life and never again feel this way.

Basically, I've accomplished nothing.

If this inactivity were to continue, I think I might implode. Fortunately, it will not. I'm going to apply what I call the "Thailand Strategy," where I busy myself to the point of exhaustion. There will be cleaning. There will be writing. There will be reading, exercising and money saving. There will be baking - because it's back to being cold here. And there will be civility. My future is not at all what I thought it was going to be, personally or professionally. I now have no idea what's coming. But I'm hereby officially focused on making it at least remotely interesting.

18 August 2010

Image Preservation

This is a picture of yours truly, taken a little bit ago. Ignore the unflattering aspects - I was going for immediacy. Notice I am not weeping. Notice I am not morose. Notice the sun did shine on me today. Notice my grande passion tea from Starbucks. It's decaffeinated, so I'm not being propped up by the crutch of added stimulus. I am okay, just like you all told me I would be.

Indeed I had been crying. I had been a weepy mess, leaving snot on sleeves and pillowcases and anything else unfortunate enough to be caught under my nostrils. I posted my heartache, thinking it would help me get over my writer's block. I posted thinking (like a company offering poor customer service) Jesse would see his error in print and offer me a relationship-rebate. I posted not anticipating the result. I've started accepting the BU. These things happen. They (apparently) happen to a lot of the people I know & love. So why not to me?

So this is how I want you to think of me. I am Danie, solo in the sun sipping Starbucks. There was worst things.

17 August 2010

He Broke My Heart in San Francisco

I want to tell you about July. I want to tell you about Jesse's parents' visit and the things we did. I want to tell you about our trip east, where both of my parents got remarried. I want to tell you about the brother I met for the first time and the nephew who (at 18 months) has decided he does not like me. I want to tell you about the cruise and the eating and the failed attempts at being healthy. I want to tell you about the new detox I tried afterward, about the never ending cold in San Francisco and about how the computer almost died until Jesse explained to me how I could nurse it back to health. I want to tell you about graduate school and explain why I've kept it from my blog. I want to tell you everything that has happened before I tell you what I am about to tell you. But I can't. I'm paralyzed. I'm consumed with one thought that is all encompassing.

Jesse broke up with me.

And there you have it. Maybe my largest fear (aside from drowning) realized. So now you ask "what happened" and I tell you I don't fully know. I last saw him really happy in May, before he went to Vegas for Memorial Day. He got too drunk. He lost too much money. He returned a different person, determined not to drink or to gamble and set on finding a new hobby. But there hadn't been time. June & July were booked. Our last event before vacation was my dad's wedding and reception. Sometime between the nuptials and the reception, Jesse got too drunk. He vanished, roaming the streets of Manhattan for hours. He returned. We went on the cruise. We talked. He suggested we talk after the cruise. I knew what that meant. And I tried to push it out of his mind.

We came home. He suggested we break up. I said no. He pleaded his case, saying I don't deserve to be embarrassed like that. He reasons he's irresponsible, can't take care of me and needs to learn to be his own man. He said he hasn't been as good to me as he could have been and I deserve better.

I told him I don't want him to take care of me. I want him to be my partner, my equal other half. I asked him why he couldn't just be what he thinks I deserve. He said he tried. I don't remember finding him lacking, so I think he succeeded. Obviously he disagrees.

Negotiations (as I call them) went on for weeks. I rationalized everything I could. I named every awful thing I ever remembering doing to him out of spite. I told him I'm not perfect and he should remember that. I offered to pack up and leave this city we both love, thinking the financial stresses of last year were lingering. I offered to quit my job and live on student loans so he could be chief breadwinner. I made every promise I could make to keep him.

I thought it might have worked. We had good days together. We had normal squabbling and comfortable laughs. I caught glimpses of sadness in him and I tried to get rid of them. He moved into the living room and declared our unit, broken. And know what? There's no rejecting that.

It feels worse than I could have imagined.

It's as if there's not enough air in the whole world. I feel like I'm suffocating in an open room. I feel that I've failed. I feel helpless. I feel alone. And I know I'm not. Kate and Melissa are going to swoop in as soon as they can. I have lots of offers to talk at any time. But as verbose as I am on your screen, I can't form a sentence without wailing.

This could be the best decision Jesse has ever made.

And that hurts too. He said we've grown up together and we're different adults. He's right. He probably does really need this. And maybe this is best for both of us. Maybe we weren't meant to grow old together. Maybe this is temporary. Maybe he'll disappear and I'll never see him again. Maybe he'll find his passion and be happier than I've ever known. I don't know. I can't know. But what's done can't be undone. We're going through with the big B(reak) U(p).

Right now he'll stay in the living room. We're both going to find new places. We'll need security deposits and a lot of other stuff to live separately. We have to sort our stuff. We'll probably be just roommates for a couple of months. Neither of us is angry. Right now we're a mopey, pathetic lot. But the sun keeps rising (or so they say, we can't see it in San Francisco) so life is going on around us. I should say 'around me,' as I am no longer part of a team. But you get the idea.

John Mellencamp at the Fargodome. April 2005.

When Tab & Mike first visited us in 2005.

Watching the World Cup at AT&T Park. June 2010.

At the Boardroom. June 2010.

12 August 2010

Dear Finish Line: Forget the Phone Number

It's been a long time since I've had customer service poor enough to warrant me to explain all of the details. But it's happened twice this summer and I can be silent no longer.

Finish Line Keeps Canceling My Order
I placed one order for two pair of sneakers this month. The temporary charge appeared in my bank account and I waited for a shipping confirmation. I got an e-mail three days later telling me my order had been canceled because Finish Line could not verify my bank information. That's peculiar (at minimum) but I took it in stride. Sometimes I mix up my billing zip code (home) for the shipping zip code (usually work). A check of my order status online still said "processing," so I called customer service and asked if I could place the same order with corrected bank information.

The woman on the phone was really helpful. She re-placed my order and recommended I call them back in the morning to verify an out of state shipping address. I should note the sneakers are a gift for my mother. I called the next day and guess what? My second order had already been canceled.

A second (very pleasant) woman told me the bank could not verify the phone number I provided with my order. Here's where I got annoyed. I gave the proper card number. I gave the expiration date and the verification code from the back. I gave my full name and my address. And my order was canceled because the phone number didn't match. I assumed the phone number was provided in the event of a problem with the order. So I gave my work number. If there's a problem with my bank account, I need to know immediately. So my bank has my cell phone number. If Finish Line had an issue with just the phone number, why not use the phone number provided to call me ask me about it? Why cancel my order without (twice!) even trying to fix the problem. Why are you even using my phone number for verification?

And why didn't the first nice and helpful person tell me specifically why my order was canceled? I assume she had the same information as the second nice and helpful person. She did tell me to call back though, which led to the exposure of this annoying policy. So I'm not angry with the actual customer service I received, just with the policy that will have my late present delivered even later.

My other customer service issue was with Norwegian Cruise Lines. But that's a whole 'nother post.

Best Laid Plans, Destroyed

The drive back from Vegas was - in a word - punishment. If I had done my usual meticulous planning, I would have remembered the Sunday afternoon rush from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. I used to laugh at 'those people" as I came back from weekend trips to LA. Yet there i was, caught in their midst as I tried to race home. I should have slept all day and made the drive overnight. Once I spent an hour traveling just 30 miles, I should have turned around and tried another route. I should have bitten the bullet and paid the $300 for the flight. Or I should have given serious thought to other ways I could have been irresponsible that did not require spending 20 hours in car. I had a lot of time to think during that drive. Again, I dare say lessons were learned.

27 June 2010
Our next weekend was big, and a big flop in some respects. We had a coffee possibility with Christy, who used to work with Jesse at Expedia. We had a brunch date with Jennifer & Adrian, who used to work with me in Vegas. We had a bar & dart date with Wen, who used to work with me in San Francisco before deciding to go to grad school. And we knew David was in town with his family. I used to work with him in Vegas and while there were no specific plans to see him, we wanted to make the effort to try. It was also pride weekend here in San Francisco. I wanted to see some of the parade. Jesse & I also wanted to shop. I'm not going to tell you how we intended to get all that done, because most of it never happened. The reality is San Francisco is a logistical nightmare, and there are only so many hours in a day.

The Gap. SF Pride Weekend 2010

We never saw Christy. Brunch reservations were canceled. We never saw David. I witnessed pre-parade excitement and later saw a few (exposed butt cheeks) floats. Shopping was lame, as stores didn't open before 11 and we were ready at 10. But we did make it to the bar to see Wen. And sometime after that, things started falling in to place. My worlds collided for a few hours and it was really fun.

The last time I saw Jennifer before she moved to Texas. June 2007.

Jennifer, David, Danie June 2007.

I've seen Jennifer once (I think) since she went to Texas three years ago. I just now realized I saw her again three years to the week after my sobbing goodbye. I was a mess. And we were at a wedding reception. So it made no sense for me to be crying as I was. I digress. Jennifer & Adrian live in Texas but on a Sunday in June they walked into a bar in San Francisco. I was there. Fun ensued. Jennifer met Wen, morning producer to (newly former) morning producer. Originally, I worried it would be awkward for my Vegas TV friend to meet mt SF TV friend, but it wasn't. I had a really good time. And then it was time to bid Wen farewell.

Kelli, Wen, Danie @ the Final Final June 2010

Jesse & I then took Jenn & Adrian on a bit of a walking tour. We parked at the Marina, walked through Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach and ended up at our favorite neighborhood bar, The Boardroom. We later drove up to Coit Tower (because we really were close) and met Adrian's cousins for dinner at Tony's. Read carefully: Tony's is the best pizza place in North Beach. It could be the best in San Francisco, or in all of California. I don't know if I want to tell you to go or not. If you go, the other pizza you used to think was delicious will be disappointing. So maybe ignorance is bliss on this one. Although the pizza was also bliss. So it's up to you.

View from Coit Tower

Jenn & Danie

Jesse & Adrian

07 August 2010

For the Love of Friends

19 June 2010

It felt as though I took one good deep breath before my alarm started squealing. I was jolted into that where-am-I-why-do-I-need-to-be-alert state. A deep breath (and the dry Vegas air) cleared my head. I showered and Kate & I went shopping. At this moment, that seems odd. It reads as if I drove nine hours to run errands. But that's not the case. I mean we did plan to go shopping (we had coupons from Coach) but it didn't feel like an errand. It felt like a bargain hunting adventure. If that doesn't clear it up for you, nothing will. Our mission was successful, as we both found purses we loved.

The only other people who knew I was coming were Melissa & Dayna. As emcees of the auction, they were able to bring us as guests. Originally Kate & I were going to surprise them by just having me appear at the auction. But that seemed like a waste of bonding time. And I did not have time to waste. We had lunch at the Yard House at Red Rock where three of us had the turkey burger. It was good enough to warrant a picture. I do not recall what was in or on it, but it was fantastic. Melissa said "I want to shout from the rooftops for everyone to get the turkey burger. She didn't. But I would not have blamed her if she had.

Lunch was perfect, until we remembered everything else that needed to be done. I missed eating out with friends for no reason. We used to go to happy hour just because we could. Sitting around and saying whatever about whoever is soothing. And I haven't had that since the Vegas crew spread into Texas and Arizona and now California.

But time! We were (on that Saturday) running out of time. We had firefighters to ogle and nothing to wear. So we shopped. And as a group, we coordinated. Melissa & Dayna had already picked dresses. Kate & I were opting for not dresses but plans change.

Kate, Melissa, Danie & Dayna 2010

Dayna, Melissa, Danie & Kate 2009

Look at us. Obviously we got more glam the second time around. It was almost like a different event. I mean we sat in the same area. Dayna & Melissa studied their notes the same way. The air of desperation from the women was as think as ever. But we four are different. Kate & I weren't giddy. I mean we were impressed by the male form, but were weren't beside ourselves as we were the first time. We were equally concerned with taking advantage of free drinks and with watching our friends sell the show. This year we watched and that was nice. And then Kate & I left.

We asked a woman to take our picture. I don't know who else she thought was in the picture.

We went to the Vegas Magazine party. We actually arrived at the same time as the Kardashians. They're very short. It was a highlight when I lived in Vegas and I was excited to be able to go again, especially since the party was at Encore's Surrender, which had not opened when I left. Everything was as awesome as I have come to expect from Wynn, even the tiny veggie sandwich. The party was great. The venue was perfect. We even ran into some friends and got to catch up in a social, rather than obligatory way. Ideal. That party ended, meaning it was time for the firefighter after party.

We danced. We sang. We ate greasy food late at night. The whirlwind slowed. My feet ached. My friends made fun of my girly complaints and took at least one picture of my misery. The drive and the fatigue were totally worth it. But next time, I'll fly.

06 August 2010

Summer Adventures | Vegas

It's August. And while summer weather has yet to come to San Francisco, I've had what I'm calling a thorough summer experience. I'm going to tell you all about it. And then I'm going to change things up a little here at Pique A Boo. You can expect minutia. You can expect rants. You can expect your thoughts to be provoked and your brow to wrinkle. I (believe it or not) have a lot to say. And I fear Jesse has started tuning me out. I don't want him to be the quiet partner, listening to my ramblings while praying for me to shut up. I mean what about all the things he has to say? How can I hear them if I'm always opining? I can't. So the mission this month is to share my tales, convey my thoughts and listen.

18 June 2010
An idea born of rage and nurtured by Kate had me driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas. I was going for two days - arriving Saturday morning and leaving Sunday afternoon. My goal was simple: be irresponsible. That's nearly impossible for me, but I felt I had to try. I wanted a girls' weekend, where we looked good, gossiped and ate poorly. Conveniently that was the weekend of the Burn Foundation Fire & Rain Firefighter Auction. You may recall I went last year and lost my mind amid the exposed, taut flesh and flame retardant, reflective pants. Kate was going to go alone this year. Neither of us could wrap our brains around that, and an admittedly dumb idea was born.

I left just before midnight on Friday. I drove alone, guided by a vague memory and the GPS navigator. She & I had a falling out a few hours into the trip, when she guided me off the highway and onto a road lined with fields of darkness. I lost 10 solid minutes following her recommendation, then turning around. She was then silenced.

I sang for four hours.

I felt giggly doing something mildly irresponsible. I was excited that very few people knew I was coming. It can be overwhelming when a lot of people request an audience. It creates pressure. These people want to see me. I need to be entertaining. I need to spend time with all of them. I did not need or want that. And I did not have it. I had my iPod and my favorite show tunes as loud as I wanted. I sang, which was apparently exhausting. I got drowsy. I planned to stop at several rest areas to sleep. But felt energized every time one was actually close. Besides, scary things happen at rest stops.

Obligatory wind turbine shot. I heart them.

Wait for it...

Here she comes.

I expected to catch a second wind with the sunrise. That was not to be. I watched the colors change over the mountains. The sun slowly made its grand entrance. I was first awestruck, then miserable. Days in the desert start hot and get hotter. I had forgotten that. My brain had tucked that info into a dark (cool) corner and I was caught unawares as it started that Saturday morning. Things turned "icky." And I was still sleepy.

I entertained myself with blueberry bubble gum. Actually I entertained myself trying to take pictures of myself blowing bubbles, while not crashing. I dare say a skill was learned. I also thought of ways to "exercise." I held up an arm or leg for a few miles. The time was determined by the mileage count on the GPS, proving she can pull her weight.

The scenery got more familiar and there was a hint of homecoming. I pulled to Kate's and promptly passed out. I didn't even make it to the head of the bed. I curled up on the corner closest to the door and shut down.