Tag Archives: arizona

Dear Brown Boots

Dear Brown Boots,

I miss you.

I can’t remember where or exactly when I bought you, although I know it was in a secondhand shop in the southwest – either of America or of England. I sort of think it was around five or six years ago, and I know for a fact that you were once with me in Arizona because my sister was there too and thought you were pretty groovy. (I think you and I were both a bit pleased about that.)

Dear Brown Boots, you zipped up the side and looked good with jeans.

Dear Brown Boots, you helped me feel brave.

Dear Brown Boots, can you remember, did I buy you when I left England for half a year, to spend time in the desert, to take a hiatus in the city of my birth? I know that you were there around that time. I believe we used to sometimes go to gigs downtown together. Did you come out that night the Kissers, from Madison, played at Plush and I danced and danced? Do you remember Rasputina at Club Congress?

Dear Brown Boots, you know, I could have used your chunky heels the other night at the Anson Rooms. I still enjoyed the band but everyone in the crowd seemed very tall.

I think I have given up looking for you. I know that you travelled with me to Bristol and we settled in first one place, then another, and a third. That last time we moved, I know you found a spot to safely perch. I remember you were here. And I know we continued, as we always had, to go out from time to time together. But now I cannot find you.

Dear Brown Boots, I hope wherever you are you are happy. I hope you are not being held prisoner, covered in dust.

I hope wherever you are, you still sometimes dance. I do.

 

Dear Brown Boots,

 

I miss you.

 

I can’t remember where or exactly when I bought you, although I know it was in a secondhand shop in the southwest – either of America or of England. I sort of think it was around five or six years ago, and I know for a fact you once were with me in Arizona because my sister was there too and thought you were pretty groovy. (I think you and I were both a bit pleased about that.)

 

Dear Brown Boots, you zipped up the side and looked good with jeans.

 

Dear Brown Boots, you made me feel gooood.

 

Dear Brown Boots, so did I buy you when I left England for half a year, to spend time in the desert, to take a hiatus in the city of my birth? I know that you were there. I believe we used to sometimes go to gigs downtown together. Were you there that night the Kissers, from Madison, played at Plush and I danced and danced? Do you remember Rasputina at Club Congress?

 

Dear Brown Boots, you know, I could have used your height the other evening at the Anson Rooms. Everyone seemed very tall.

 

But I have given up looking for you. I know that you travelled with me to Bristol and we settled in first one place, then another, and a third. That last time we moved, I know you safely found a spot to perch. I remember you here. And I know we continued to go out from time to time together. But now I cannot find you.

 

Dear Brown Boots, I hope wherever you are you are happy. I hope you are not being held prisoner. I hope you are not covered in dust.

 

I hope wherever you are, you still sometimes dance.

Advertisements

Blog-a-week

So I thought it might be an interesting challenge to try to publish at least one blog post a week. I got the idea when I received an email from WordPress inviting bloggers to take up a ‘new year’ challenge of blogging every day. Me, I know my limits. Once a week is good.

I was thinking, for me, 2009 was a bit like a river, which emptied into the sea of 2010. I’m pretty sure I know what I mean by that, but I’m not sure what that makes 2011. Doesn’t matter.

What I want from 2011 is adventure, confidence and connection. Again, I think I know what I mean by that. While I ponder the year ahead, have a look at some pretty pictures from a hike I did today with my sister. We hiked the Bear Canyon trail in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were in t-shirts, soaking up the desert sunshine. Really, really lovely to find myself exactly where I was (am!).

Next I’m off on a mini tour of the Midwest, where I will reacquaint myself with the concept of cold. Especially on the Chicago leg of my tour.  Gives me something to blog about, no? (Later in the month I may well blog about Unemployment Strikes Again, Top Ideas for Getting Out of the House, and 101 Ways to Doctor your CV. But for now, adventure, where I find it.)

If anyone’s reading, what are you hoping for in the year ahead? Please comment if the whim strikes…

New year, new stuff

So here we are in 2010. On New Year’s Eve Mom and I ventured downtown to ‘First Night Tucson’, taking in music performances at various venues, some improv comedy, even an Ansel Adams exhibition at the museum of art. (Very cultured of us!) That New Year’s blue moon was beautiful. Here it is as it hung over downtown Tucson that night.

One of my early achievements of the year is this genuine crocheted ipod cover, which I fashioned with my very own clumsy hands. The photo makes it look like a giant (it’s not, I didn’t go that wrong.). It’s based on the one here, but with a big old button instead of a bow. Quirky, no?

I am both excited and jittery about my upcoming travels. I have fears, but they are just fears and, really, what a nice alternative to work and winter I face. Besides, I have done far scarier things. Four springs ago I moved to a city where I knew no one. My first days in Bristol were probably some of the hardest of my life. I have nothing to fear from travelling solo. Not jet lag, not loneliness, not the things that will go ‘wrong’. It isn’t that those things won’t be part of my experience – they will. It’s just that it’s worth it for all the other things I’ll experience.

I’ve been reading Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach. She writes about the time she took a year off from her job in America and headed to Europe. She includes the ups and downs of her travels and speaks of the adventure inherent in taking off for parts unknown. I like this quote from the introduction: ‘you are a woman in search of an adventure, said the voice inside. Take the risk. Say “Yes” to life instead of “No.”

So, tomorrow: I fly to southern California, where I will stay with my dad and stepmom. The following evening they will deliver me to LAX where I will board that 14 and a half hour flight to Sydney. Me, a backpack (which I carry with authority, I tell you, you should have seen me parading around the back garden the other day…), and a daypack stuffed with novels, food, a passport and other essentials.

I’ll take my trepidation with me too. But hopefully, like Alice Steinbach, I’ll be ‘guided less by expectations than by curiosity’.

I’m a swinger

So lately I’ve been taking little walks around the neighbourhood here in Tucson, and one of my routine destinations on these little meanderings is the local park. At the park they have a set of swings. And I love swinging so I often throw myself into it with gusto. Nobody in the vicinity need know that the sunglassed person sailing through the air is actually 33 years old. Shh. But who cares anyway? You have to have a pastime.

So today in the park I saw some other people out doing what they enjoy. There were two older gentlemen practicing the art of metal detecting. Oh yes, very cool. One of them had suspenders (uh, braces) holding up his pants (trousers). I sat on the swings, unobtrusively observing them as they exchanged tips on the best methodologies. You know, like at what angle you should hold your metal detecting thing for best results. Then Suspenders/Braces started talking to his device, sort of good naturedly scolding it for giving him false alarms. I smiled to myself, but in truth I often find myself not only talking to inanimate objects but having heated (one-sided) debates with them, so I shouldn’t poke fun at the guy.

There was also a man and a woman in the park with their dogs. The guy called out to one of the dogs, presumably for doing or going something or somewhere it shouldn’t. Made me think that perhaps there is a universal ‘Hey!’ used across the world for addressing one’s dog while out on a walk. I suppose the accents change but the sentiment is much the same, isn’t it. Sort of a shorthand for ‘Hey [name of dog], steer clear of those metal detectors and that woman sitting around waiting for them to move out of the way so she can take a photo of an empty swing set to adorn an entry in her oh-so-quirky travel blog…’

swing set

And just to prove that there are more exciting landscapes in these parts, and should swinging fail to excite you, behold some scenery from Tuesday’s visit to Mt Lemmon. (Those from Arizona need not be impressed. Those from elsewhere, now please politely ooh and aah. Well done, thank you!)

Airhead

I have successfully arrived in the desert – not that I had to do much, aside from move myself from one mode of transport to another. On the other hand, my mom and brother had to brave dust storms to get to the airport to collect me!

The weather in the UK proved no obstacle, thankfully. I had heard one of the National Express coach guys saying all flights were cancelled out of Heathrow, which seemed like complete rubbish (and it was), but then the UK does have a habit of panicking when the weather gets more ‘extreme’ than rain so you never know.

Terminal 5 seems to have become more mainstream than last time I was there. The coach even takes you right to the doors. The convenience, I tell you! It wasn’t long ago they made you get out at T4 and take a city bus service to T5 (for free, granted, but still). After check-in, the next highlight was being specially selected as one of the passengers requiring frisking for sharp objects. They were watching us as we descended an escalator. I think it was the leg stretches I was doing in preparation for the long flight. (‘Stop that one – she’s obviously rearranging her collection of knives inside her trousers.’)

On board, I passed the time watching films and a spot of telly. After I lost interest in the BBC World News (shame) I put on Flight of the Conchords in honour of New Zealand. (It was the one with Jemaine’s Australian girlfriend, if you were wondering.)

So now I’m in Tucson, Arizona. I’ve eaten, I’ve slept, I’ve marvelled and blinked in the sunshine, which I really do think people who live here take for granted. I’ve seen a couple of hummingbirds today, which are always a pleasure. I also booked up some bits of my NZ itinerary for January, including a ticket on the Overlander service between Auckland and Wellington. It is meant to be one of the world’s great rail journeys.

But for now, time to enjoy Christmas with my family. And to try not to lecture anyone on the blessing of winter sunshine! (Nor to debate the meaning of the word ‘cold’…)

Ready to go

The time has absolutely flown since I made the decision to leave my job and go travelling. There has been so much to do to plan such a big trip at such short notice but somehow, and with the patience and wisdom of friends helping me along, I’ve now made it through the vast majority of my To Do List items. I have flights, insurance, a range of currencies (including the surprisingly water resistant Australian dollar), accommodation sorted for Sydney, and as I type this my bags are more or less packed.

It’s been stressful at times and I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time making phone calls about travel stuff. Then there was the threat of the British Airways strikes and things got all the hairier. Now, sitting on my bed in Bristol, surrounded by sheets of paper representing numerous travel tickets and accommodation bookings, and having said ‘farewell, see you in March’ to my friends in Bristol, I think I’m just about ready…

It was my last day at work on Friday. Leaving my job of three years was quite a leap but I feel happy. Change is good. I worked with some people who I really will miss, but we shall meet again!

I wrote the following during my last hours in the office. I think it captures the mood I was in.

It’s my last day at work today. I feel excited, and a bit mischievous. Like I’m plotting to play hooky. And I like it.

Walked to work as usual today. About 45 minutes through the frosty air, making my way round the ice-edged mud puddles. I tend to propel myself to work partly by virtue of the tunes on my ipod,  and today some good ones shuffled their way to my ears. But I could also hear the external sounds around me as I made my way, not feeling like I needed to hurry today, being mindful of my surroundings, taking time to notice.

When I got near the centre, buses were making their hissing, diesely noises in the street. Noises evocative of journeys. When I set off on this adventure from Bristol, those same sounds will inhabit the coach station where I’ll perch, ready to go.

Ah, bless, quite the little writer. But yes, here I am, ready for that journey tomorrow. First stop by air: Arizona.

Where I expect it will be a tad less snowy than it was here in Bristol today!