Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: arizona

Filling the Days

I’m in a holding pattern and have been for the last week or so.  Another week or so to go before I take the plunge!

My holding pattern consists of hanging out at my parents’ house in Arizona and finding interesting things to occupy my time.  I’m not really bored.  I’m definitely taking life slow, and so far it’s been nice and relaxing.  Like a vacation after the whirlwind of the last eight months.  My travel is over.  I’m eating homecooked meals again.  And I’m enjoying the beautiful late spring weather in rural Arizona.  Life is good. view in AZ

So some of the interesting things I’ve been doing to occupy my time are…

Reading more!  I re-discovered the joys of borrowing e-books from the library.  It was something I got into a few years ago, but then I didn’t have time to read for awhile.  But I’m back!  (For those of you who don’t know, you can use Overdrive Media Console, an app to download ebooks that you borrow.  Check it out!)  And what an amazing thing– to borrow a book on my iPad for two to three weeks, read it, and then return it.  All without the exchange of paper or money and without actually having to go to a library!  I am as much a book purist as the next person (I mean, I had more boxes of books than I did clothes when I packed up all my stuff!), but having access to e-books is such a convenience.

I’ve been reading a hodge podge of books (back to my love of lists!):

  • Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, which I found is totally different from the movie.  And maybe it’s just me, but I had some difficulty understanding all the action-lingo.  But it was a fun, fast read.
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, this was in real-book form.  I’ve read it once or twice already, but I just love Jane Austen.  This is one of her shorter books, and on this 2nd (or 3rd?) read, I was able to pick up more of her witticisms that I hadn’t last time.  I realize I’m a fast reader, like I’m a fast eater, and by slowing down deliberately, I pick up more.  This one is quite witty.
  • All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith. I somehow came across this one when I was doing a search of e-books on my Overdrive site.  It’s OK so far, a bit wordy and she’s not the best writer, but I’m entertained.  And it’s another way to read Jane Austen without actually reading her books because I can’t get enough!

I’ve also been watching re-runs of The West Wing, starting with the first season.  Aaron Sorkin’s “walk and talk” and fast-talk techniques can get a bit tiresome and annoying if you watch too many episodes in a row, so I’ve been limiting myself to one, maybe two, episodes every day or so.  And I’m just reminded what a great ensemble cast this was.  Each character adds something important and interesting, whether lovable or not.  I was always a huge fan of C.J. Cregg, Allison, Janney.  She was smart, sexy, and tough and could hold her own in a crew of mostly arrogant, know-it-all men.  And I’m always a sucker for team-oriented movies, where the crew/ fellowship/ group/ team matters more than any one main character.  This was such a great series; it was sad to see its demise and end.

I’ve just been sitting in the back yard, listening to the birds, watching the sunsets and moonrises, admiring the unique southwestern landscape, feeling the winds and sun of Arizona.  The spring in Arizona is a well-kept secret, it seems.  I never knew that there were flowers in bloom and that the temperature was so bearable (unless you’re in Phoenix where it’s about 10 degrees hotter than where my parents live).  Blue skies, cool in the shade… It’s nice.

I was continuing with my C25K training until a few days ago when I sprained my ankle pretty badly.  I was so sad because it was my last day of the training before I could actually do a free 5K run.  So I’m resting it, massaging it, walking on it, and hoping to get back to running again.  ankle

I’ve been spending time with family.  Hanging out with my niece and nephew a bit, seeing them growing like weeds.  It’s ridiculous that every time I see them they’re another inch taller, a bit skinnier, more verbal.  Helping my mom teach my dad to cook.  That’s been interesting.  It’s all in preparation for if/when my mom passes first; they both wanted to make sure he knows how to feed himself.  So my mom’s been teaching him Korean dishes, which are pretty complicated.  But I helped out a bit here and there, too.

I’ll be in Berkeley a little more than a week from today.  Anxious, nervous, and excited for what is in store!  And in the meantime, I’ll keep filling the days.

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Final Day of the Road Trip

We decided to make this the final day of the road trip. One of the ideas had been to drive down from Santa Fe through Albuquerque down to White Sands National Monument, but that would have put an extra several hundred miles and an extra day into our travels. And I was really starting to feel the bone-weariness of being in a car, driving for hundreds of miles each day. So we decided to head to Globe, where my parents live. Just a day's drive.

Itinerary: Santa Fe, NM to Globe, AZ by way of Albuquerque, NM
Miles driven: ~400 miles, which at this point feels like a breeze. “What, just 400 miles? That's just 7-8 hours away by car!
Food eaten: some treats from the farmers' market, breakfast in Albuquerque, and finished with a meal of greens, rice, and kimchee at home. The best way to end a long trip.

Before heading out on our journey, my friend and her husband took us to the Santa Fe Farmers' Market which was beautiful! We ended up spending about an hour there with my mom buying things left and right to take home and cook. I love farmers' markets.

Roasting Hatch peppers-- a common sight in the Southwest

The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this farmers' market were breathtaking. I really wanted to buy up everything I saw, too. But I restrained myself. Fresh produce and me are good friends.

Beautiful purple flowers of the artichoke plant

Who knew there were different colored cauliflower?!

Love all the colors of the rainbow you can see in a farmers' market in peak season

So after tearing ourselves away from the farmer's market with considerably less money in my mom's wallet, we drove to Albuquerque, about an hour away, to meet up for breakfast with another old friend from Boston. It was great to see him and also good to hear that he might be moving back to Boston!

Other than those exciting moments, we took the rest of the drive back to Globe, meandering through the mountainous roads and ending up here:

Strangely, it was cool, almost cold, in New Mexico and in Globe, too. Rainy, cloudy, cold. Not like the Southwest I often hear about. And the summer is just finishing up. But no complaints here.

So final tallies:

  • Total miles driven: ~3000 miles plus some extra for driving around when I got lost
  • Total driving companions: two– my friend S from Boston and my mom
  • Total great meals: too many to count. Highlights would have to be Zingerman's Reuben in Ann Arbor, egg sandwich at M. Henry in Chicago, ribs at Pappy's Smokehouse in St. Louis, and that bag of Hot Fries that I consumed somewhere between Chicago and Centennial, CO.
  • Final reflections: I did it! No small feat. And thanks so much to all those along the way who helped make it so enjoyable with the mini-reunions and tips on delicious eats. Thanks, especially, to my amazing car that held up through it all. Honda Accord 2000. Do they still make them as good as they used to?

So now time to rest up, pack, buy the last things I need for my “REAL” trip and figure out really how this blogging thing works for real on my iPad.

Side note: Part of why I started blogging before my trip was because I wanted to get used to this medium of journalling. It's public and requires some consistency if I want to maintain readership. More on that issue for another post. But if you've been reading along, you may notice that my formatting has been kind of wonky. I finally read up on blogging with my iPad and found Blogsy, what a great app to help me blog more easily! Blogsy + Picasa + wireless connection + a wireless keyboard + photo-taking on my iPhone + Instagram (for photo editing) make the winning combination! So enjoy, hopefully with more consistent formatting as I get used to using my iPad and not my laptop for the rest of my journey!

 

V is for “Vast”

The world is both small and big at the same time.

Small in that we can travel to any part of it on a plane in, at most, two days.

Small in that we can talk to anyone anywhere anytime.

Small in that we can run into people we know in any part of the world coincidentally.

Big in that there’s so much to see that it’s really hard to see it all in one lifetime.

Big in that driving across the U.S. still takes a lot of time, in actual hours.

Big in that the sun takes awhile to cross the skies of all parts of the world.

I’m going to be seeing just a bit of that vastness in my travels.

Here’s my planned itinerary:

By car:

  • Boston to Niagara Falls, Canada to Chicago, Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri to Aurora, Colorado to Santa Fe, New Mexico to Globe, Arizona.

By plane:

  • Phoenix, Arizona to Los Angeles, California to Auckland, New Zealand to Bali, Indonesia…

And that’s as far as I’ve got planned right now.  I’m hoping to throw in a few more countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Korea at the end.  I’m leaving soon.  September 3rd to be exact.  Excited and nervous.  Trying to finish my packing.  Last night could only sleep 4 hours.  The days are passing [too] quickly.

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