Saturday, May 01, 2010

Another Recap

It's a perfect Saturday morning. The sun isn't quite up over the hill and the greens of trees and grass are beginning to glow. I'm up early. I couldn't get back to sleep for thinking about work stuff, so I figured I'd try blogging as a way of clearing my mind. I continue to miss blogging more often. Nancy has stepped up her pace, which has been very inspiring. I'll try to follow her example.

Work was (hm, I just typo'd "war" instead of "was"--"work war" sounds about right) particularly hard this week. We've had some personnel changes and that has been difficult and sad for me to deal with. I'm hoping it will get better soon, but we have four conferences in the next seven weeks, including one next week in San Francisco, so there's going to be a lot of shoulders to the wheel for a while. So anyway, this post is not supposed to be about work, isn't it?

Our trip to Tahoe last weekend was just wonderful. I took both Thursday and Friday off, and actually managed to not check email once! It was a lovely change of scenery of the mind as well as geography. It was M's idea to go to Tahoe in the first place. I was set for some coastal-ish area, and I'm really glad we did the mountains. Thinner air! Snow! We stayed on the south shore, in a motel close to the state line, the lake shore, and Heavenly ski resort. Part of the vacation was not having an agenda--we had a couple of activity and restaurant recommendations, but I made a particular effort not to plan anything. And not to feel like we had to stick to some sort of schedule, which meant that we didn't rush to leave the motel room in the morning which felt a bit like we were squandering our limited time there--but that's part of vacation, isn't it?

We got there Friday late afternoon. The weather was much warmer than I had anticipated, which was nice. Our motel room was not fancy, but had two rooms, one with a gas fireplace and kitchenette, and both with enormous TVs. After a stroll to Heavenly Village (a mall, really) to check out the gondola (closed for the evening) and stock up on snacks for the kitchenette, we hied ourselves to the lake and sit by the shore (which was all fenced off--luckily the gate was open) and watch the sunset. Then we drove around looking for a place to eat. It seemed like fate when we encountered one of the restaurants that had been recommended and was in the same place as the paddle boat tour we were thinking of trying. We were too late to buy tour tickets and had to endure the first of several timeshare pitches, but we did get some good info before dinner, which was tasty if a little overpriced and in a noisy space. We had an angry-silence couple at the next table, which made us grateful for our own happiness. I also was complimented by the waitress on how much of the pasta dish I consumed--apparently not many women eat as much as I do. Good to know.

I started Saturday with a soak in the tub, something I don't do at home. We ventured out late in the morning, picking up sandwiches to take with us on the Heavenly gondola trip. There's an observation deck below the main summit and we spent a leisurely bit of time there, having lunch, huddled against the chill and admiring the amazing view. Up at the summit, the slopes were quite active. We wandered around watching the lift scoop up skiers and snow boarders, and the kids tubing and ski-biking down one of the gentle slopes. We thought about trying the ski bikes, but it was so expensive and was for two hours--I didn't think I could last that long, and there was only one little course to traverse. So we headed back down on the gondola, our romantic ride spoiled by a skier who jumped in our car at the last minute. Ah well.

Down from the mountain, we walked a couple of blocks to the casino that was sited just a few feet east of the state line. M played a bit of slots then stationed himself at the $5 craps table. The smoke bothered me, so I wandered through a few of the shops then found a less smoky bar and dropped my usual $20 playing video poker and nursing a Bud. I finally couldn't take the smoke but I didn't want to interrupt the fortune mojo since M was still at the craps table, so I snuck out and went back to the motel for a lie-down and shower before the paddle boat dinner cruise. Happily, he did indeed win $150! That was nice.

We cut it a little close, but made it to the dock at Zephyr Cove to board the MS Dixie just before it headed out across Lake Tahoe. The top deck was pretty full at first, but out on the water the wind blew pretty chill, and most people took shelter below decks. We toughed it out til we were called for dinner service, and were seated at a window table which was nice. We reached Emerald Bay just as the sun was leaving its last light, giving us a fine view of Vikingsholm. It was dark on the way back across the lake and the room where the cover band played was overly crowded, so we were quite ready to debark at the end of the cruise.

I had a sort of dreamy-nightmare night. I woke up around 3am to a low roaring sound and couldn't get back to sleep. I took a book to the other room, and found we had left the fire on full blast. It felt like 100 degrees and the roar was the fan that was probably trying to keep the fireplace from exploding. I turned off the fire and started reading but the fan kept on and on…just as I was convinced that I had somehow arrived in hell, the fan shut off and as the room cooled I was able to get back to sleep in a sweet silence. For better or for worse, sleeping a lot is one of my favorite parts of vacation.

We took our time checking out and stopped for disappointing waffles on the way out of town. It was such a quick trip--I'm glad we're going back in June. I liked the vibe there in Tahoe, though it was tourist-y. I can't imagine how it must be at high season with skiers swarming everywhere. It was fun seeing people clad in their festive ski attire, hauling skis and boards and poles on the streets and in the shops, passes dangling from necks and pockets. Like our trip to Hoover Dam over Christmas I noticed a lot of Indian/South Asian tourists. Why don't they seem to come to Santa Rosa? (I know there's Spanglish and Franglais--is there a word for Indian-English? Hinglish or Benglish maybe? I should know that.)

M's knee bothered him a bit during the trip and it still pains him, but he's definitely on the mend. We got the bill for our portion of his ambulance ride--that was an unpleasant surprise. And some people think there's nothing wrong with our health care system!

On Thursday, I went with my writers group to hear poets laureate Billy Collins and Kay Ryan read. They were so funny and thoughtful, bantering with each other throughout the evening. It was refreshing to attend an event that was intellectual and literary yet also lighthearted. I have a newfound appreciation of Kay Ryan's poetry. During the Q&A at the end of the evening, one audience member asked if they ever have blank times or writers blocks. Billy's (we're on a first name basis) response was that being blank or empty was actually the best time to write--you don't have any preconceived notions about the poem or where it's going. That was very inspiring for me. Another person asked about the state of poetry today--should we be worried that it's not very popular? Kay (my buddy) replied, and Billy agreed: Who cares? TV is popular and that's nothing to recommend it. Let it be appreciated by those who enjoy it. It's better as a small community anyway.

M and I are going to rendezvous with Mom in Boonville today to pick up the dog, so time to get ready for that. It's been a nice break from his intense gaze and pervasive shedding, but I've missed the little mutt terribly and look forward to curling up with him tonight.


At 1:21 PM, May 01, 2010, Blogger Kamala! said...

Great post, Suz-I really enjoyed it. I am in NYC for the weekend and scored a half price ticket to South Pacific at Lincoln Center-row D Orchestra. I am psyched!

At 7:16 AM, May 02, 2010, Blogger bren said...

"I'm gonna wash that man right outta my hair..." I enjoyed close seats to our Mozart concert in SF. I like watching the musicians faces and thinking of Susi playing her kettle drums.
And now I miss the little mutt.

At 9:39 AM, May 02, 2010, Blogger bren said...

And I agree with Kamala, great blog

At 5:24 PM, May 07, 2010, Blogger Nancy said...

What a great vacation! Congrats to M on his winnings.

I was feeling like I'd almost stopped blogging, and finally decided I needed to either get back to it or quit altogether. We'll see how long it last.

At 5:25 PM, May 07, 2010, Blogger Nancy said...

Oh, and yes, it's Hinglish.


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