Whew! What a month it has been in the best and most exhausting way possible. I have been away for nearly 3 of the last 4 weeks, on 6 planes (plus a long list of trains, buses, bikes, and automobiles).
The fun bit: Vacation!
I started the month off with a whirlwind sampling of the south-western states – Nevada, California, and Arizona. The [real] reason for my trip was to celebrate a dear pal’s impending wedding. So, in response to the ring and wedding date, the most logical reaction was: VEGAS, BABY!
And, it turned out to be the cliqued perfection that the movies had led me to believe it would be. We pool partied with gorgeous people by day, went dancing by night (even getting bottle service at one of the best clubs in town), and fit in a reasonable amount of day drinking, sight-seeing, and gambling in between. While Vegas has never been a place on my “must see” list, it is a city like no other and I was glad to have gone with such a great group of gals.
As the others went home, my bestie and I rented a car and took to the open desert road in search of hot sun, big rocks, and new experiences. We found all of those in abundance! Each day was bright, sunny and beautiful. Our last day took it to the extreme at 109*F (42*C). We spent some time in Death Valley, which was probably the most interesting, extreme, and varied place I have ever seen.
To the depths, heat, (and smell) of Badwater, the salty lowest point in North America, to scenic walks through martian-esque red rock canyons, to the tiny trickling stream that sustains the unique species of pup fish only found in Death Valley, it was quite the place to behold.
From there we hiked, biked, photographed, yoga-ed, and absorbed the Grand Canyon. As it’s name might suggest, it is indeed grand – the scale of it hard to fathom.
We rounded out our trip with two days in the Energy Vortex capital of the world, Sedona, AZ. It is equal parts beautiful and CRAZY. The entire town is nestled on red rocks. It has a bustling downtown, where you are just as likely to spot someone decked out like a time-traveling wild-west cowboy (complete with two pearl handled pistols in his well-worn belt) as you are a bare-footed person swaying and om-ing at an energy vortexes, a tourist hoping to capture the grandeur of the area on their excessively large DSLRs, or an extreme mountain biker, tearing up the dusty trails. At various times, we joined 3 of the 4 to experience the town from all different angles (unfortunately we did not find the necessary chaps and hats to fulfill fourth).
I could continue to wax poetic, but I don’t have the words to summarize the grandeur that we saw on our trip. It had highs (WILD HORSES! DESERT SUN! CANYON CRACK! LIZARDS DOING PUSHUPS! TUMBLE WEEDS!) and lows (my worst fears realized with possible exposure to bedbugs at a hotel… [shutter], doing nothing for my visceral fear of bedbugs and my paranoid behaviours when traveling). In short, it was an unforgettable vacation.
The work trip
I got back to Ottawa with enough time to obsessively clean, sanitize, freeze, and dry clean everything I carried, to attend a meeting with my thesis supervisory team, to touch base at work, and to pack again for a week in Toronto to present some of my team’s research at a conference.
The reality check
After such a whirl-wind month, I am just finding my feet again. Nessie, the thesis monster, has been rearing her head, haunting every waking moment, and tracking prints of guilt through dreams. Thus, I am declaring June…
and boy, to we have quite the month planned! We are going to be hot-and-heavy for the next 4 weeks, with dates planned in coffee shops, evenings gently cleaning data, and long nights wrapped in her (not so soothing) embrace. So, in case I don’t see you [for the next month], good afternoon, good evening, and good night!