Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lake Tahoe; 2008.

August so far for me has been a month teetering between working hard and trying to figure out what the next year holds for me. Basically, it's been busy. September, however, is looking to be a month full of good times, including a mega-awesome trip to the East Coast including visits to both New York and Boston, with a family wedding squeezed in between. And trust me, weddings in my family are ALWAYS a legendary time.

But even though I know this is coming up real soon, the only terms I'm currently able to think about it in involve money. As in, are we going to be able to afford it, and how can I work as much as humanly possible before then?! Kathy has chided me a few times this month for biting off more than I can chew, and while I know she's right, I'm still having a little trouble backing down from hyper-work mode to more fun-loving-Jill mode. This regular Jill mode would already be making detailed plans of what we're going to do and see on this vacation, but instead I'm just thinking about making sure we bring enough snacks so we don't have to spend money in the airport, and are we going to be able to find people to help take care of our animals while we're away, and will I be able to pay my bills later in the month if I don't work for a week and a half, etc. What? Boooring.

I've had a little more downtime in the last couple days than I have in awhile and am trying to Get Back to Myself a little, and one of the things I know I've been neglecting, and which always helps me, is Hanging Out With My Pictures. (I described this Hanging Out With My Pictures that I do briefly here, last year.) And I remembered that, oh, hey, a long time ago I wanted to mention that the last productive thing I did with my website was upload a gallery of pictures from our trip to Lake Tahoe in 2008.

Lake Tahoe is significant because I feel it was the last time we really took a vacation. Now, many people who know us here think that we "take trips all the time." This is because yes, we do go back East to see our family and friends when we have the opportunity. (We also did used to take a lot more day trips than we do now.) But almost every trip we've taken since we've been here has been for a holiday or for a family wedding. Again, I should stress HOW FUN family weddings are, and holidays, too. DUH, holidays and weddings are awesome. I am sort of missing family and the East Coast a bunch right now, so this upcoming trip is going to be awesome.

But I think these vacations are different from true "vacation." When I think about vacation, I think about just Kathy and myself, going somewhere we've never been JUST BECAUSE WE WANT TO. Just for the heck of it! Just for the beauty of seeing new things! Doing whatever we want, with absolutely no responsibility attached! No schedules, no requirements. The whole notion of this type of vacation is an upper-class concoction, but it's a desire I harbor, anyway.

So fall of 2008. I had somehow strangely won a two night stay at a ridiculous casino in Reno. Reno = one of the few places in the world I had almost no desire to visit. And there was the whole matter of getting there. But, Reno is really close to Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe! It sounds so luxurious, and we would probably never go if we didn't go then. And we still had room on our credit cards then. (What a dream!) So, what the hell, life is short, right? So we drove there. Many, many miles and hours in our 1991 dusty red Toyota which also drove us across the country, which our family is convinced should die any minute.

We drove past Mt. Shasta, so amazing! Kathy's bladder almost exploded through hours and hours of nothingness in northern California! We ate Sonic--AND In 'n Out! Listened to lots of music! Road trips, you are my bestest friend! Even though my face almost collapsed into the steering wheel multiple times on the drive home!

We arrived at Tahoe in the weird sliver of Fall off-season, between Summer and Winter when the boating bums had left and the skii bums had yet to arrive. A lot of stuff was closed, but there was this almost strange calm to the whole place. Quiet, still, clear water. Big mountains, big trees, big rocks. The twisty-turvy road from the lake back to the desert floor of Reno that we traveled multiple times was scary but beautiful.

We stopped at weird places like that random rock formation, like Virginia City. We briefly walked around Reno; were depressed; went back to our room. We imitated ridiculous statues in the casino.

We took a boat ride. We ate lunch in Tahoe City and pretended we could live in ski towns such as Tahoe City. I love these towns. We felt weird about the desert. We drank beer, of course. We saw a real live Olympic flame for the first time! THE OLYMPICS ARE AMAZING!

We drove a lot, and then we drove even more, on our way back home. Kathy fell asleep a lot, I smiled every time I looked over and saw her mouth wide open. The I-5 corridor seems never ending. And then we got back, to our animals and our little apartment.

I like a lot of the pictures in the gallery, even if beautiful-big-lake-pictures may seem a bit repetitive sometimes. It was maybe an irresponsible trip, but I'm glad we went. It was only a few days but felt long, like all fun trips do. I like to picture that someday when we have real jobs, whenever that may be, we will take real vacations like this all the time. This is probably not a realistic vision, but, I'll keep having it.

But back to reality, for real: What should we do in New York? That doesn't involve Times Square? The High Line's the only thing on my list. We will probably already be super busy hanging out with all of our awesome friends that now all live there, but, tell me, tell me! Once I start over-planning and over-extenuating ourselves for the trip, then I'll actually be excited. And then I'll know I'm really back to myself again.

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