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October 2, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Birthday On the Road

It was probably the weirdest birthday I've ever had. We mostly celebrated with John's parents last week and I opened the gift package from my parents and sister two nights ago; so there really wasn't all that much left for today.

Kathy gave me the coolest thing, it was two old Esterbrook pens, one was restored, a red one and the other, a blue one, was taken apart and cleaned, all ready for a new sac but not completely back together yet. So it's something for me to do. Both pens are in very good condition with nearly no scratches and little wear, so they'll be a joy to put together sometime.

Today we mostly spent just driving. Got up pretty late, as we'd stayed up until midnight the night before planning. We did drop Fezzik off at AllPets and had to pack and everything before that. We didn't really get on the road until about 11 or so and then we just started driving south. Walt had given us the understanding that the drive was just five or six hours, but from the milage we were figuring it might well be seven or eight.

I was still exhausted from the week before, in a number of ways. Part of it was sleep loss as much because of strange motions in the night as from just doing too much in the evenings after long days at work. I was also a bit socialized out. Too many people in too little time after a long, long period of being on our own. Exhausting in odd ways simply to interact with people, no matter how good and fun and interesting they are. That seems to have gotten a bit worse since moving here. I think it might just be because our social life is now nearly all just co-workers. Though there was some of that before.

So I tried to sleep and managed some. Most of the day was a blur of sunshine, views, and sleep. We stopped in Colorado Springs for lunch at an Arby's and that was about it. Some lovely landscapes, and I used my digital camera for a while, until I changed out batteries and it suddenly just stopped working. Everything went dead. I thought it was just the recharged batteries, which were really old rechargables. I thought they didn't take a charge, so just tucked the camera away for later, when I would have a chance to change things out. There's also a watch battery in there for the long-term memory of the camera and it might have gone out as well.

Lots of lovely plays of light on the land, which had mountains, hills, cut rock, streams, plains, meadows, the occassional tree, and some really neat things like cattle and horses and antelope. Most of those mammals, I realized are just blob on the horizon, but we recognize them anyway by their shape, how they move or even don't move. Painting them might be easier by thinking of them as blobs.

Most of what we went by I thought of in terms of how I'd water color it. That was very fun to think through.

Nine hours later we reached Albuquerque. Got there, went to a Wal Mart, of all things, to find batteries. The batteries, however, didn't help the camera, so tomorrow we'll have to get to a battery place I saw. Maybe they'll have the other one. We then went through and right into Rancho Corrales, we found a restaurant that Walt and Cathie had recommended a number of times before, and we went there for dinner. John called Walt and Cathie to tell them that they could just go to slee, we'd be in when we were done eating. I got a rib eye, medium rare, with a mild chile and lots of good potatoes and beans with it. Really, really good. John sang me a little Happy Birthday and he got lots of good, hot green chile on his meal and was very happy sweating it off.

By the time we got to Walt and Cathie's it was about 10 and everyone was asleep, given the 5 a.m. wake-up time, it was no surprise. We just fell into our bed and tried to go to sleep.

Sadly, the second guest room was open to their cat and I had pboblems enough with breathing that it really was hard to sleep. I eventually got there, but spent most of the night tossing a bit and turning a bit both from the need to breath and from the unfamiliar place with all the unfamiliar sounds and the dogs outside that were barking that weren't Fezzik. Harder to just roll over and sleep when it's a stranger dog. Eventually I found a position where I could breath and I slept.

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