Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lesser of Two Evils

O.M.G. I never thought I'd live to see the day when Katie Couric was the one I despised less of any two people on a screen together -- most of you know how I feel about the Perky Newshole -- but she's done it. At least she can form complete sentences. You go, Couric. But while you go, go easy on the mascara, there's a good girl. Now as for you, Sarah... I'm sorry, but scaling back the makeup isn't going to do you any good. Better start studying.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Update III

So, I was worried and guilty, so I took a walk around the neighborhood and when I didn't see the kitten, I came home, and who should I find sitting on my chair when I came back in? I had a feeling he was still here somewhere, but where the heck was he hiding? Anybody want a kitten?

Saturday Saga

The cats are agitated. A tiny interloper spent last night in my bathroom, and now while we're waiting for Animal Control to call back, he's trying to make friends with the resident cats of Apartment Two, into which he waltzed last night when I opened the door upon hearing him howl. He's a scrappy gray and white kitten who can't be much older than a couple of months, and yet B.C. and Kitty are terrified of him. Kitty moans and hisses and runs away when he makes overtures. B.C. whimpers and cringes whenever he comes near, and this is hilarious because B.C. is at least six times his size.

B.C. is short for Big Cat, and that's what he is, the biggest house cat I've ever seen. He's not round, but his body and legs seem extraordinarily stretched, and his tail is as long as my arm, and I have long arms.
Brent calls him The Suitcase. He also has the biggest eyeballs I've ever seen in a cat, wide as the convex backs of teaspoons, and what's more, they're usually widened in horror, because this cat is afraid of everything. To the nieces and nephew he's a myth on par with Bigfoot, and when the neighbor boys came over to tend the cats while I was in Alaska, they had to go looking for him under the bed to make sure he hadn't somehow escaped.

Anyway, the kitten can't stay. In my house, cats come in pairs (that way they tear each other up and not the furniture), and two is already pushing the limits of Brent's tolerance. But he'll make somebody else a great pet. He's utterly trusting, fearless, and loving, and I keep wondering why my cats are both so afraid of everything and why they're only affectionate once a day. I keep trying to remember them as kittens, although they were both about six months old when they came to live with me, and who knows what they'd been through before I found them.

Update: It's now 2:30 p.m. and Buster (mock me all you want, but this guy is utterly irresistible) is still here, blissed out on my lap. Dispatch did call me back, but since the Animal Control officer on duty was busy, she had City police officer Faddis meet me at the pound, and if I had known what horrors awaited me there, I'd have made him come get the cat.

When he pulled up Buster was balanced on my shoulders, headbutting me and licking my ears. Faddis raised his eyebrows. "He sure likes you." "Yeah," I said, "but I've got two cats. I can't keep him." He unlocked the door and I followed him through a nice reception room, a small, bright, tidy employee lounge, and into a sweltering concrete cell. As Faddis gathered two small bowls and filled one with food, it only took me a moment to realize that a dining table-sized metal enclosure with a glass door was the gas chamber, and then I knew what the huge furnace that took up the center of the room was for and why it was so hot. "Could they call me if nobody wants him?" "If you leave your name and number, sure."

"Do they have to put a lot of animals down?" I asked. I shouldn't have, but he may have volunteered the information anyway. He looked grim. "You'd be surprised." He motioned to a small box on the floor full of what I had taken for wood chips or other debris, and then I saw the tiny charred bones and gray powdery flakes. "The EPA makes them incinerate daily now." That didn't mean that they euthanize daily, but I had already started to blubber.

I followed him into the wide garage lined with cages, big cages along one wall where two or three dogs waited quietly -- one looked like an alarming but charming mix of maybe Basset and Dachshund, and had a very gray muzzle, and the thought hit me, nobody's ever going to take him home -- and another wall stacked with smaller cages full of a half dozen or so gray and white kittens. OMG. Faddis opened one of the empty cages on the end and motioned for me to put Buster in, and I did. He looked baffled and horrified, and I was streaming tears. I was realizing that if anybody did come for a kitten, they wouldn't recognize the potential this kitten possessed if he was huddled at the back of a cage, ruined and terrified and mistrustful. Faddis shut the wire door but left his hand on the latch. "Sure you can't keep him?" I held out my hands.

I can't keep him, but I couldn't leave him there. I had never been to an animal shelter before -- Kitty I did get at a shelter drive, but it was held at a pet store, and B.C. just came to the door one day, probably by way of the Philipino neighbors whom I suspect raised cats to eat -- and it was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever seen. I will never forget the look of hopeless terror on the faces of those animals, and you can't tell me they don't know what's going on.

I will find a home for this cat if it kills me; I owe him that for opening the door and allowing him to trust me. He reeked of cigarette smoke (he was also a bit grimy and yellow, so he got a bath first thing, which he actually didn't seem to mind so much), so I know he belonged to somebody, but whether or not they turned him out or he ran away I don't know. So I'm making signs and calling everyone I know and maybe I'll knock on some neighborhood doors later. He eats like a horse but he's potty trained and has delightful manners, no claws out during play and so far hasn't destroyed a thing, even though I left him in the bathroom overnight where he could have shredded the rug and raided the trash. When I opened the door this morning he was laying on the rug, waiting patiently. He's a plain old gray tabby American shorthair mongrel with a great pointy face, pink nose, and yellow-green eyes, and he grins. Who wouldn't love a cat like this?

Update II: And just like that, he's gone. I took a box of things out to the dumpster and without thinking left the door open like I usually do, because if the door's open you can bet B.C. is under the bed and Kitty's out the door happily mowing the grass, but going no father than the nose of the Cadillac. And when I got inside I realized the kitten was nowhere to be found, and now we know how he came to be at my door at 9:00 last night. I suppose he's an incurable wanderer, and all I can do is hope he'll find his way home, wherever that may be. There's a chance he could turn up again -- possibly he's lurking somewhere in the apartment, but I did a pretty good sweep and didn't see him -- but I assume he's gone. And I'm sort of relieved, but I'll miss him and worry a little. And now I have all those kittens at the shelter to agonize over, even though he was the only one I felt I had any personal obligation to.

Something else rather nice has come of all this trauma, though: Kitty and B.C. were both so jealous that now they're clingy and affectionate, and maybe they're remembering what life was like without me and they'll be a little more grateful that I took them in instead of so all-fired entitled and demanding and selfish. Or maybe they'll just lay around like they always do, until I'm reading in bed and one of them decides they need some attention and comes creeping up to be scratched and petted, and I'll love them for it. We have an understanding.

Friday, September 26, 2008

August Defies Gravity

The Cruise wasn't the only thing that happened in August.

The Murray City fire department are my heroes. It was almost 100 degrees out and those kids were so glad to see that truck. I can't imagine Evanston's fire department doing this; they'd probably say it was too much of a liability. These men were caring, careful and fun. Look at that little girl. She will trust and honor men in uniform for the rest of her life.

Isn't he handsome? Jersey and pigs at Wheeler Farm.

New hat (yay June!) + Scrabble = birthday picnic.

Period costumes, sheriff's posse, and Shoshoni dancer at Ft. Bridger Rendezvous.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Half Baked

I occasionally buy yoga pants and chunky sweaters from Victoria's Secret (I know, right?) so I get a catalog in the mail at least every other day, and tonight I was browsing through one and noticed that in one image a superthin model in swingy salmon-colored knitwear appears to be eating a croissant. She has the bulk of the bread in one hand and another piece in the fingers of her other hand, which is holding it to her mouth, and she's got the flaky shred clamped between her grinning/grimacing teeth in such a way that it appears she's resisting, like maybe she hates croissants but someone off camera is pointing a gun at her, telling her she'd better eat that thing or else. And even though it's very uncomfortable, it makes me wish that every model in the catalog had her own personal croissant and gunman, because the glossies keep telling me that the fashion industry is turning to models of a more realistic size, but I'm just not seeing it.

I've been otherwise constructive (sort of) and a too uninspired (and lazy) to blog lately, but I'm not going away. Don't abandon me, because summer already has (it was 70 today, but I'm not fooled; the trees are yellow), and I couldn't bear it if you did, too. Stand by for an exciting photo montage of Summer 2008.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


A major flock of turkey vultures summers here. They can have up to a 6-foot wingspan and they freak Cordale out. When they're circling (see above), they scare me, too.

Chandelier at Pioneer Theater. My Fair Lady was delightful.

Juice Newton

Otha Young

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Some Assembly Required

I wasn't even going to go, but Friday night we wound up in the very front row at the annual D.A.R.E. concert in the high school auditorium. There were four seats going begging at the end of the center row, and Kelly had dug out two of his vinyl Juice Newton albums and brought them along for her to sign, which she happily did at the intermission.

The D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) concerts are always fun. Evanston truly appreciates any live performance because they're so rare here, and I feel like the performers are always pleasantly surprised to find such enthusiastic attendance and participation in a small town. (They always complain about the altitude, however; Evanston sits at just under 7,000 feet.) I particularly enjoyed Paul Revere and the Raiders a few years ago, but Juice Newton and Gary Puckett were probably the best we've had so far.

Juice, I have to say, is aging quite well. She was wearing a lace shirt and black bra under a sparkly jacket with five-inch velvet cuffs and pulling it all off nicely, and her vocal control and power seem completely undiminished compared to recordings I heard on K-95 radio in Kemmerer the 80's. I remember particularly liking "Queen of Hearts" but was at the age where it didn't matter to me who sang it. It's nice, now, to have a face to go with that voice. Friday's was an acoustic show and she was very exposed but handled it nicely.

She was chatty and silly and very down to earth, but her guitarist and bass player were almost more interesting to me. Otha Young (who wrote The Carpenters' "Sweet, Sweet Smile") picked out masterful solos on guitar and mandolin and was a rather conservative performer, focusing on his instrument instead of the crowd, standing mostly still, dressed casually in a striped oxford loose over carpenter jeans. The very nimble basist, Jay Cawley, wore an oxford with a dark blazer and had a very high, smooth voice that meshed beautifully with Juice's rather harsher, lower tone. He also possessed a darling, angelic Irish smile which he flashed liberally into the crowd, and he swung the bass and stepped around in a square when he wasn't playing. I had a fine time trying to decide who he resembled more, because at times he looked just like Bill Murray, in another light he might look like an appealingly aging Colin Firth, and there were moments when he bore more than a subtle resemblance to my dad, who looked very much like an oversized Archie Bunker/Carroll O'Connor in his later years. Same frizzy, grizzled gray-blonde hair following the same arched forehead, same round, red nose tip, same even, white teeth.

Gary Puckett looked more like an aging Vegas lounge lizard than anything, from the gold neck chain peeking from his printed silk collar to the white crocodile boots, as he reprised favorite hits of his own (which were numerous) and covered everything from Paul Simon and The Beatles to the Beach Boys and Roy Orbison (whose "Pretty Woman" was the only song Cordale recognized the entire evening). He also told off-color jokes and made us do the Hokey Pokey, and there were moments when his violently exaggerated vibrato made me cringe and shrink into my seat. But he clearly adores performing, and it is clearly reciprocated; there were heartfelt declarations of love from female members of the audience, shouted anonymously in the dark, which made the corners of his mouth twitch. The first time he responded, "Thanks, Mom. I love you, too."

The three untucked members of The Union Gap, a drummer, keyboardist and bassist, were clearly not the original members (they were way too young), but they were also obviously glad to be there, and none more than the hammy keyboardist. He was so animated and cheesy that it was hard not to become fixated on him as he vamped behind his double decker Yamaha/Roland setup, stomping and grinning, bobbing and beaming into the spotlight as if to say, "Isn't this FUN? Doesn't this ROCK? I'm playing in The Union Gap!" And actually, he was very, very good at what he was doing.

But the venerable Puckett and his wispy near-mullet retrieved my attention with stories of the old days in L.A., like the afternoon at ABC when he was recording in Studio D while in A, B, and C stood Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, and Paul Revere and the Raiders, respectively. He admitted being a little starstruck and when he introduced his mother to Janis in her tie dyed tunic, leather and beads, she reportedly handed Mrs. Puckett a bag of grass.

Puckett shook hands with every attendant U.S. military veteran who could amble to the front of the auditorium and praised our region's rural values ("People wave and say hello!"), and I decided he might be fun to have a drink with if he would tell more stories about the recording industry in the 60's. He expressed a lot of humility, thanking fans for making his songs hits, and also his gratitude and joy at having been in the music industry long enough to have seen so many stars pass through and having witnessed history being made, at having been a part of history.

I'm sure that by the time I was in bed (deliciously enhanced by my birthday present from Mom, a four-inch Memory Foam mattress topper, which, when combined with my down comforter and flannel sheets, induces a coma nightly), they were on the road again in plush tour buses that still can't replicate the comforts of home, wherever that may be. And it's interesting to me that as unique an evening as that was in Evanston, it's likely that in a few days nobody on that bus will remember the name of this town or any face from the crowd.

And there may be a day in the distant future when all I remember about this weekend is picking the last good raspberries and peas in June's garden on a golden September day and toasting marshmallows over crackling pine logs after the light was gone, and I'll have forgotten the names Juice Newton and Gary Puckett. And I may be humming "Angel of the Morning" or "Young Girl" and not even remember why.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I’m frayed from the week and still bruised from last Saturday at Lagoon with M, a sisterly day out that often felt very reminiscent of childhood adventures, especially making fun of the things people have dropped from the sky ride that carries you over the park. We once got stuck in a paddle boat on the pond at Lagoon and had to be rescued by an older couple, and another time I prayed for deliverance in her ear during the entire minute and a half on the Jet Star II.

But theme parks are rife with iron and steel, sharp corners, blunt edges, concrete cast in rough and ragged textures to scrape and scratch. I knocked my knee riding the bumper cars (Lagoon’s version of this carnival classic is called “The Boomerang”), nailed my hip on the corral that directs the line to the Log Flume, turned my ankle into hamburger dragging it along the aggregate wall of the Lazy River (our personal favorite, M’s and mine), and twice screamed my throat raw dropping 70 feet at a 90 degree angle into a cold pool. No, you don’t go into the pool, exactly. You streak across its surface like a landed seaplane for ten or fifteen feet since the bottom of the chute rounds out horizontally and violently ejects you and all your accumulated momentum, which results in a major wedgie. People emerge from the pool after that drop gasping, groping, and adjusting their suits and themselves, checking to make sure no appendages are missing or exposed.

I’m on a reading vacation with some fascinating non-fiction while recovering from the intense fiction experience that is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which Linda thoughtfully lent and which is, as advertised, a great story for dog lovers, but which is also a modern retelling of Hamlet, and if you read it too intently (or compulsively, as I did, in two otherwise unproductive afternoons) you might wind up a little fried.

So I’m floating on with
Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats and Cadillac Desert (yes, still, so appalling I can only handle small doses) and Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It. Also M finally finished and loaned the John Grogan dog memoir Marley & Me after tantalizing me with details for weeks and when I’m ready for more fiction, Brent birthdayed me with Anne Patchett’s Bel Canto and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, which is guaranteed to be fascinating based on the cover alone. He’s also the source of Bottlemania, but I think he’s starting to rethink buying me these environmental and political exposés like Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, which left me in a hopeless, inhumane funk for weeks after Christmas even though I requested it.

It’s been a long almost-month since we got back from Alaska, and I’ve been holed up trying to accomplish things. I owe phone calls to the following people and probably more: Larry, Bekah, Susan, Tonetta, Hope, and Jo, but I either think of it in the middle of a project at work or in the middle of the night. Even on slow days at the plant, all I want to do when I get home is vegetate and surf compulsively. It’s like a giant online craft fair, and I love it. Expect all your Christmas presents to be handmade, slightly quirky, and in most cases, wool or cork.

I'm staring down the barrel of winter; we even got a preview of coming attractions over Labor Day weekend. Saturday we were sweating at the sweltering Fort Bridger Rendezvous, and by Monday I was up at the plant shearing a sloppy, slushy
snow off Puck's windshield so I could go home for lunch. It's not natural for people to live in this climate. Clumps of yellow are appearing in the cottonwoods and the rims of aspen leaves are growing pale and thin, and it's been so cold at night I had to fire up the boiler in the cellar, which hissed and spat like a witch. But I will choke down my horror at the cold and inconvenience and enjoy sweaters and boots and hot beverages and Halloween and pray for deliverance and sandy, palm-strewn shores.

M had the brilliant idea to book us seats at opening night of one of our favorite musicals at Salt Lake's Pioneer Theater, and if I can ever think to ring Jo at a decent hour I might see about a mini road trip to South Dakota to see what kind of life she and Don left Evanston and their perfect little house for. I love the Black Hills and if Brent can go, he'll have met everybody important to me except the girls in San Diego and Larry at the opposite end of the states, in Massachusetts. And speaking of which, I'm craving the Berkshires in the Fall for some reason (because, um, gorgeous?), so she shouldn't be surprised to find me on her doorstep in the near future, either. (Warn Kate.)

Robbie is relieved to have passed his Level I Certification Exam Wednesday and Bud claims he'll turn in his time on the 17th of this month, even though Jeff and I have tried to reason with him. Anyway, I'll believe it when I see it. His original retirement date was in June. Henry bought a Harley and Mom claims it's fun after the fear subsides, and the Moondance Diner, late of New York City but now rebuilt in LaBarge, is calling for applications for cooks and servers, two months after they originally intended to open. Better late than never. The Jolly Jacs Black Cat fireworks store went up in flames a few weeks ago about 3:00 a.m. and I slept through it, even though it's just a few blocks away. Oop said it was quite a show for a while there.

And that's all the news that is news in my corner of Wyoming, really. Hopefully there will be more time to blog now that summer's packed up and gone. And speaking of gone, would anybody like to buy a white '91 Cadillac Sedan DeVille with a new starter? She should be ready in a few

Monday, September 01, 2008


I picked Brent up at the airport in Salt Lake City after work (and kayaking) Thursday the 7th of August, and we intended to take turns driving through the night and maybe take a short nap at his friends' home in Snoqualmie, where we planned to leave Puck while we cruised. The problem was that neither of us slept much during the drive (B for 20 minutes, me for maybe 5), too wrapped up in sharing the car, the contents of our iPods, and the road. And when we got to Snoqualmie, Brent's friends (who are now mine!) were so delightful and the town so charming that neither of us wanted to sleep then, either. We made it to Friday night and both crashed, but we felt great Saturday morning, having been dined, lodged, and chauffeured into Seattle like royalty. (It was inexpressibly lovely to wake up in the night to rain on the pine forest behind the house.)

At the dock we had hardly gotten over the imposing, impossible presence of the Norwegian Star when I recognized the back of Mom's head in the crowd, and just like that we got checked in and deposited our baggage. We felt it was too soon to board, so we ran up to Pike Place Market (literally- we climbed the stairs) and got beverages at the original Starbucks, which was Saturday packed. We finished our coffee on the dock and boarded, and just like that the adventure began.

Quarters: As Brent blogged, our stateroom was nicely appointed for two. There was plenty of storage (drawers, shelves, hangers) and just enough room to maneuver around together to keep us from getting short tempered when we were in there. The linens were delightfully smooth and fluffy, and the bed was nice despite being two cots pushed together. We were so tired by the end of the day that we probably could have slept just fine on straw mats on the floor, and the only time I have been in a darker space was at the very bottom of Utah's Minnetonka cave (when, at the end of your long hike down, they shut out the lights to disorient you). Two cheerful fellows saw to it that we had all the ice our hearts desired, clean towels when we wanted them, and daily newsletters.

Food: I gained 5 lbs., so clearly the food was edible. We found that the best way for us to manage meals was to wait, on the four out of six days we had "shore leave," until most people were off the ship and then go to breakfast at the Market Cafe, which was a buffet that changed modes throughout the day. There was enough bacon to satisfy Brent and enough syrup to make me happy, but the coffee was heinous. (Luckily, the only thing Alaskans [and we found this to be true in Seattle and Prince Rupert, too] love more than dogs and books is coffee. Brent sniffed out independent coffee houses wherever we went like Dad used to sniff out car museums.)

Lunch, if necessary, or an afternoon snack that usually took on a life of its own was also convenient and enjoyable at the Market Cafe if it wasn't too crowded, which made me homicidal and also made finding seating difficult.

Dinner was usually with family and was usually at one of the restaurants that charged a cover charge, which might seem ridiculous on a cruise that's supposed to be all-inclusive, but was totally worth it, and here's why: the $20-per-person cover charge at Cagney's Steakhouse on deck 13 procured us a meal that would have cost $50 or more per person at our local Evanston steakhouse, Bon Rico. The Italian and sushi places were good, too. We bought a few overpriced drinks in the Red Lion Pub, one of which I've tried to recreate at home with a fair amount of success: the Dirty Banana. It's probably a good thing I discovered those the last night or I would have gained more than 5 lbs.

Entertainment: I could have stared for hours at the scenery, even when there was no land in sight. Neither of us ever opened the books we brought, and I only vegetated and sipped alcoholic coffee concoctions while Brent surfed the 'Net, even though I had sketchbook and pens with me. Mom and I snuck in a quick game of Scrabble with Nancy and May, which I lost by a wide margin. I'm out of practice. People-watching strangers would have been more fun if we weren't so stuck with the same people, but we had fun trying to spot the locals were during our time on shore. (We did actually see some bearded, booted, crazy-eyed prospectors making their stereotypical ways through town.) And since so many of the people on the ship belonged to our group, it was just a matter of walking in any direction for a while and you'd bump into family or friends, but they were never the people you set out to find. And that made it fun and interesting, unless you really did have an objective.

Wandering around the ship hunting private pockets of space was a rewarding activity since we found such locations to exist in far greater numbers than we expected. There was a room off the Spinnaker Lounge called the Port Room (we called it the Port Hole) that had comfy club chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows. It was often deserted, looking from the hall like little more than a broom closet, and made for a great escape that felt rather exclusive. (Yay for the Omaha crew for discovering it!) And the topmost open deck looking out over the prow of the ship was almost never occupied, although I can't imagine why, because it was one of our favorite places. We did discover that it was not the place to be during periods of fog, however. The first time the foghorn went off, we all shrieked and jumped and cursed, and even though after that we knew it was coming every two minutes, it still made us twitch. And, being just a few yards away, it was loud.

B napped while I shopped one afternoon and blogged while I spent an hour and a half at the spa the day we visited the Dawes Glacier (I got out of the jacuzzi and down to deck 7 just in time to see it come into view), and at night we watched The Prestige, Penelope, and The Bucket List on our tiny cabin TV. Also entertaining was the station that broadcast the view from a webcam overlooking the lowest open deck and the "report from the bridge," a station that relayed the ship's speed, position, and distance from our destination, the weather and pool temperature, and other pertinent information 24-7. One channel played pre-recorded informational videos about the ship's energy and waste processes, which was fascinating, although I still would have liked a tour. We just never got around to it.

Kelly and Cordale had good luck salmon fishing in Ketchikan but no luck halibut fishing in Prince Rupert; they intend to go back and try again. Kelly wants to live there.

And there was plenty of sightseeing, although the areas around the docks in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway have been neatly engineered to part tourists from their money. I've never seen so many jewelry stores (except maybe in the Black Hills), and there are plenty of T-shirt and souvenir warehouses, too; you can buy all manner of authentic reproduction totem poles, from hand-carved beauties to knobby resin figurines for your Christmas tree. Prince Rupert is still a little more authentic, but the fact that our ship was the only one in port that afternoon didn't make the crowds seem thinner. There we enjoyed some very tasty suds and pub grub at Breaker's and caught up on the Olympics on the CBC.

We never did kayak on this trip, which I had been looking forward to; for one thing, it rained the entire time we were north of Vancouver. For another, at some point we remembered that I live in Wyoming, and it might actually be more enjoyable to rent a second kayak for Brent and go up to Fremont Lake or Middle Piney Lake, which both offer stunning scenery, and we wouldn't have to share the experience with another hundred people that want to do the same thing at the same time. The chilly weather made the pool less than appealing, but we did get a hot tub to ourselves the last night on the ship.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg; it's not possible to describe the experience concisely. It was just too overwhelming. It was, perhaps, two days too long, although I think we were just beginning to get the hang of it. Perhaps if we'd known at the beginning what we knew by the end, I wouldn't have been so worn out by the end of the week. Or maybe that's what vacations were made for; if you want a restful vacation, stay home and sleep. I'd do it again tomorrow.