Tag Archives: las vegas

2016: the year in review

My 2016 “best nine” according to IG.

2016 was a whirlwind year. I loved. I worried. My heart shattered. I got sick. I figured some things out. I remembered “authentic self” stuff that has helped me re-engage with my values and interests. And so I got better at being me. I worried some more. I got better. I loved.

Now, as with most December 31sts, I feel quieter, more restful, more peaceful than celebratory, or loud, or exciting. These are long, cold days. As a species I think we’re supposed to be lying low, eating root vegetables, and conserving energy to get through winter. Still, in a little while, I’ll probably pull on my giant fuzzy snow boots and be with the smiling, happy people.

In 2015 I traveled. I felt blocked creatively, and so to occupy myself, I tried to say yes to all of the people I loved, and even liked, and ended up making a few long road trips and even made a solo detour on a trip to visit my best friend and ended up seeing more of the Oregon coast than I’d ever seen before and felt small next to the tsunami warnings and did wheel pose in the warm sand with my mom, whom I love so much.

I felt like my urgent travel mode was coming to an end in 2016, but I still ended up traveling a lot. I flew to Louisiana. In February, I road tripped back to Utah through Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado (in the snow!). Then I flew to Houston for a conference that ended up being a good bonding experience with my colleagues, even though I was also really emotionally raw during that trip. I made a quick trip home for my nephew’s birthday (a date I rarely get to make because of my work schedule). Later in the month, I attended another conference in Atlanta. The conference was great, but the trip felt a little solitary. When school finished up, I took off to the high mountains of Idaho, and then made my annual trip to Oregon, came back to Idaho, and then I did another quick trip to Utah.

Before school started, I road tripped to Phoenix by way of the Grand Canyon (a first for me!), Flagstaff and Sedona. In Phoenix I ate some of the best pizza of my life, drove on to the Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson, where I had last been 15 years earlier on my way to a school trip to Mexico. That trip, and the saguaros, left an indelible mark on my psyche, and my return to them did not disappoint. After having my face melted off by a lovely little jazz quartet, I went on to Las Vegas, where I ate at the Peppermill because it’s iconic, and I had recently seen Jerry Seinfeld interview George Wallace there for his show.

After school started, I did a quick long weekend in Seattle to visit the loveliest of people, where I felt the humid, highly oxygenated air wash over me, and after that I went back to Las Vegas for a nice little conference that also felt quite solitary, and after that I went to San Diego for another conference, but this time I also got to walk along the warm California beach and see some of the city and just detoured (quite) a bit in general.

So, there was a lot of travel, and I was grateful for the good company I was able to keep, and I felt highly motivated at times, editing, grading, book reviewing, and proposing all manor of scholarly work. I also rested. I ate tomatoes and zucchini that I grew myself. I knitted, and I read, and I put seeds out for the birds. There’s more of course, but for now, this is probably all I need to say about 2016.

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back home

I’m going to be making more trips home to Oregon this summer than I originally anticipated. I’ve been travelings so much, especially to exhausting places like Las Vegas, that I’ve spent the last day just unwinding at home. It’s been great. But, my summer travels are not over yet. Soon enough, I’ll repack my bags and head to Oregon. Which is beautiful, and hard, and emotional, and puts me in a tailspin, but in a good way, and in a bad way. That’s just life, I suppose.

my beautiful home in Oregon

my beautiful homeland

¡viva las vegas! or something…

As you can probably tell from the last post, I left for Vegas feeling pretty wiped out. I’m somewhat of a delicate flower and require lots of rest and down time. Feeling wiped out is not a great way to start a conference vacation in Las Vegas.

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However, I rallied and ended up having a really good time. Conferences for my work are often in the south or the east coast, and I didn’t realize how tired, achy, and jet lagged I usually feel at these things until I had one so close to home. I had a ton of energy. I think I set a personal record for attending sessions, and in general, really got a lot out of the experience. I also made time to enjoy the warm weather and the crazy touristy (and expensive!) stuff there is to do on the Las Vegas strip.

I was able to take Z along with me and that also helped make it fun. Not only did we attend sessions and have really great conversations afterwards about them, I also had a compadre–someone with whom I am completely comfortable to unwind with at the end of the day. I also spent a fair amount of time “live blogging” about the conference at this website. It was fun and helped me feel more a part of the whole experience.

So, while it was a great experience (and one of the best conferences I’ve attended), I was more than ready to leave. In Las Vegas, there is nowhere to escape the deafening music and seizure-inducing lights. I read a ton of reviews and paid a lot for the food, and even then it was usually mediocre, which I attribute to the fact that they’re feeding so many thousands of people each day. With those numbers, I get it: it’s hard to produce quality. Don’t worry, I still managed to eat. A lot.

Now I am back home in my stretchies, soaking in the peace and quiet. I can actually hear the birds chirping outside. The whole experience made me glad that I live here and not Vegas. I don’t know how they do it.