And....returning from 10 days away, in a country that reminded me of a rasta-flavored Carolina shore, or a reggae version of New Orleans. I also highly recommend (for those of us who are all-too-connected) taking a trip wherein which nothing is plugged-in: a phone, the internet, or anything higher-tech than a good book and a cold beer.
Today's the feast day for the Virgin of Guadalupe, who I've always felt a special connection to. When I first moved to the west coast, I stayed a while in Tucson for a meditation retreat. After wandering around the San Xavier Mission in a sort of daze, I went to talk to the people in the gift shop, because I wanted to bring a little bit of it home. I'm not Catholic, I haven't even been to church since I was a kid, but this! The Virgin was a saint I could understand - flaking paint and gold and christmas lights and tin foil. A woman, from the Americas, and with cheap incense and lots of pure devotion. This sort of religion seemed more real.
The lady at the shop looked at me, asked me my birthday, and said to me in Spanish - "your birthday is the same as the Lady's! Lucky girl." I think she probably said something a little more elaborate, but even with my kitchen Spanglish, I knew what she meant. I've always kept a little picture of the Virgencita that I got from there. It's sparklier than the one on the right. I love a saint who's down with glitter.
My brother died on my birthday when I was a kid, and for years after that, I approached my birthday with an equal measure of excitement and dread. Now, since I have appropriated the Lady as my own sort of patron, I can take a sort of different approach. I like to instead give her a little thanks for all the people I've known, and try to celebrate the living and the dead with equal gusto.
If you want to know more about Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, you should really check out this amazing blog we featured today for some amazing photos of the basilica in Mexico City.
I can't wait to go see it for myself someday, and to thank the Lady myself.
I'm still processing the road trip. Really, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I challenged my fear of heights twice and lost only once. There was much barbeque consumed, history seen, a guy in a moose hat, amazing views from the tops of mountains and the bottoms of canyons, everyone's favorite Utah game: "Crazy, or Mormon?", seat dancing to the 80's station on XM, outrunning of weather systems so intense that we followed a storm chaser through one, ghost towns, long hikes, buffalo traffic jams and many discussions on the genius of Quincy Jones.
Boston feels more like home than I ever expected it to. Our neighborhood is some odd cross between the old U Street corridor (jazz joints, a fish market that actually serves crappy sandwiches, an A.M.E. church on one corner and a Baptist one on the other) and the Upper East Side. If I say something sarcastic, someone comes back with an equally sarcastic reply. There are two Dunkin' Donuts within walking distance.
After seeing so many new sights, it's a wonderful thing to finally be home.
(cross-posted mostly from my top seekrit Comet blog.)
I know many folks love SXSW, or Coachella, or whatever your flavor of overly long, loud, overpriced music gathering might be. Someplace where you not only put up with being surrounded by throngs of people trying to see the same act, but you get absorbed in it. Alternately annoyed with the logistics, and also kind of never want to go home.
For me, that's Winter Music Conference: kicking off my shoes in the sand to shake a tailfeather to the best new tunes, walking on the beach watching the sunrise (rise!) on the ocean, asshole bouncers, deco buildings, the best people-watching on earth, sandcastle sculptures, café cubano, street musicians.
I'm eating via the fabulous guide to the good eats in Miami from my dear Culocho.
It's exhausting, there's a million other places to go for the money, I may never go again, it's the bling bling Burning Man, right, right, I know. Hey, it might be underwater before I get the chance to go next!
Look for some sure-to-be embarrassing photos on Flickr, and I'll see yall Tuesday!