Sunday, September 13, 2009

September doesn't officially start until after Labor Day anyway, right?

Just maybe not a full week after Labor Day. Whoopsie. Anyway, hello there. Fancy meeting you here. Wait. Is anyone here? It's entirely possible that after such a long hiatus I am now typing into the text-based equivalent of an empty and echo-y cave. The bad news is, perhaps no one is left to hear me. On the plus side, the acoustics are great!

So then. August happened, and with it came... Man. What the hell did I do for all of August? I know that time speeds up as we get older, but still I would like a recount on this summer's length. Wasn't it June just two days ago? And now it's all leaves changing and spiced pumpkin lattes and skirt and boot season on its way. Madness.

Obviously I could rattle off for you everything I have done in the past month, in inevitably lazy bullet-point format. Frankly, however, August is a blur. I did some stuff. I hung out with some people. I probably had some wine. Most important, I took a vacation! A real one, where I left my house (and hell, the state) for a full week and everything! And it was excellent. I don't know why I don't do that more often. I'm allotted a reasonably adequate number of vacation days, and yet, it had been over three years since I took a solid week of those days at once. That's just wrong, people. WRONG. Must remedy that in all years to come.

You may recall that my plan was an old school family vacation, minus the family. Or rather, with urban family, which if you ask me is a much better way to travel. My pal Carrie and I road tripped it to South Dakota, where they have mountains and rock formations and rattlesnakes, making it feel like an entirely different world that's only one state away.

South Dakota was gorgeous, actually, and if you haven't been there yet, I highly recommend you go. Coming from the east, we made the requisite stops along I-90 at the Corn Palace (the world's largest bird feeder) and Wall Drug on the way out, but I suppose you could skip those trivialities (if you must) and proceed directly to the Badlands. You know, the Badlands! Home to an unspecified number of rattlesnakes that I was convinced would be our undoing. I mean, I suppose I didn't really think a rattlesnake would bite me and I would DIE, but I do admit I was convinced there would at least be a harrowing but ultimately harmless run-in of some sort, not unlike the late night tarantula scare in the motel room when the Brady Bunch went to Hawaii.

Seriously, people, after talking to a NOT HELPFUL friend of Carrie's who had me convinced we would camp in the Badlands only if we had a death wish (his exact words: "They don't call it the GOODlands, you know!"), I was so convinced there would be rattlesnakes at our campsite that I did what any normal person (read: Internet addict who believes Google is the new Magic 8 Ball) would do. I Googled "Badlands camping death." And you know what? No matching suggestions appeared in that little drop-down list as I typed! No valid results returned! Clearly that meant all would be fine, and luckily, Google was right! As far as I'm concerned, the Badlands are full of grasshoppers, prairie dogs, and more than the occasional buffalo, but rattlesnakes? The Badlands are fresh out! Whew.

I was going to do a little photo essay of various highlights of my trip, but you know what? That shit takes time, yo, and if I sidetrack myself with a project like that, I may not hit that "Publish Post" button this week either. So how about you just pop on over to this Flickr set if you feel so inclined, and just imagine my witty commentary interspersed between ten or fifteen hand-picked shots? I mean really; do I have to do everything? Oh. Right. This is my blog. So yes, I suppose I do.

Moving on. Vacation was definitely the highlight of my August, but there were other victories as well. Like my winning a new pair of jeans in Abbersnail's Gap-tastic Pants Party! Whee! If I didn't know any better, I'd think my friends got together and somehow rigged that contest to declare me a winner, just so they could finally see me in something other than the four identical pairs of Mossimo jeans from Target I've been wearing for three years now. I do need a jeans upgrade, I'm well aware, so I entered Abbersnail's contest with the plea, "Help me, Abby-wan. You're my only hope!" And help me she did. Hurrah.

So I have new pants. Or, I will have, once I get myself to a Gap to pick them out. On an entirely different note, what I do NOT have is home-grown tomatoes. Friends, if this one first attempt can be considered a fair measure for future success, I'm going to have to say that gardening is not for me. I am pretty sure tomato season is officially over, and from my stubborn and temperamental stoop-side tomato plants, I got a mere handful of not particularly delicious cherry tomatoes and exactly ZERO beefsteaks. I should have had at least a few, but the damn squirrels got to every one of them just before they were ripe enough to pick. Bastards. When they're not dying in my yard, they're stealing the literal fruits of my labors. (That is, if watering a plant every day can be considered "labor.") So I guess I'll have to continue buying tomatoes like a common 21st-century capitalist. I should have learned years ago that a successful pioneer woman I am not. I've never been a quick study, obviously.

I'm sure other things happened in August, too, but as I said, it's a blur. So that brings us to September, in which, thus far, I have survived a visit from my family, had an uneventful trip to the dentist, went to the quirkiest show I've seen in a long time, and made my first quiche. (Note: I still don't love eggs, but it was delicious.) Oh, and today I took an invigorating late summer bike ride that was altogether lovely and perfect aside from the droves of gnats on a mile or so patch of the river-side trail. I have already showered off the ones that awesomely plastered themselves inside my sports bra, but if I find any in my teeth when I floss tonight, I may be too horrified to bike near a river ever again.

And on that note, I shall leave you, because there's no better way to say "Thanks for reading after I abandoned you for a month" than to end with an image like that. You're welcome.

And what have all of you been up to not-so-recently?


steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...

Woohoo! So glad you're back!

I'm surprised you didn't get any rattlesnake-type warnings about Buffalo. When I rode out to Yellowstone, the park people were busy drilling a fear of killer buffalo into the visitor's heads.

Unknown said...

Great you're back. Missed your blogs. I for one am still here so you are not writing into a void.

Noelle said...

I know some people who went to the badlands just because Springsteen sang about it. As far as I know, they're all still alive.

Like you! Glad to hear from you!

Shelly said...

So glad you enjoyed South Dakota. We went there a couple of years ago and loved it. Did you go to Bear Country USA? You stay in your car and drive through, because the bears roam free. It's awesome. I have some killer photos from there.

-R- said...

You thought there might be rattlesnakes, but you still camped! You are much braver than I am! Of course, I wouldn't camp even if there was no wildlife at all, so that comparison doesn't really mean much.

I'm glad you had a good August!

lizgwiz said...

I hate gnats. They're impossible to swat away. I don't believe I've ever had them INSIDE my clothes, though. Those were some persistent little pests.

courtney said...

Yaaayyyy! Stefanie is back!

Sounds like an awesome road trip, and so sorry I couldn't join you in SD. On the other hand, I am irrationally terrified of all snakes, especially rattlesnakes, which means if I had been there, the rattlesnakes would have showed up just to freak me out. So you're welcome.

Jess said...

The months ARE totally flying by these days. Which is great, mostly.

We have got to get ourselves to South Dakota! Now that we live within driving distance, I foresee a road trip one day.

Sauntering Soul said...

Glad you're back!

Oh and thanks.....I had kind of forgotten about the huge anaconda I might run into when I go to the Amazon next week until you brought up rattlesnakes. I might not get off the plane now.

flurrious said...

Now that I've seen the photos, I could spend a month at The Corn Palace and Wall Drug. Free ice water!

I got a ton of tomatoes this year, but mine weren't all that tasty either (except for the mutant tiny cherry tomatoes that were the size of M&Ms). Garden tomatoes are supposed to be so much better than the ones from the store, but these were just so-so. I probably did something wrong, but I'm not motivated enough to find out what.

Allie said...

I think someone, somewhere is sitting on the fast forward button. I don't know where August went either!

nancypearlwannabe said...

Yay, you're back! I've missed your internet voice. I am also very impressed that you picked South Dakota as your travel destination, and CAMPING, to boot! Two things I would never, ever think of. You are a far better woman than I- I am way too girly to sleep on the ground with a potential snake factor.

Whiskeymarie said...

I loved our road trip through SD! It was gorgeous, easy, laid-back, and there was plenty to do/see. I feel like everyone should do it at least once.

Sorry about you tomato plants- mine looked great & ready to shower me with 'maters, then they kind of died. I think I got 4-5 off of two plants- total.

Welcome back!

Maddie said...

Your urban family road trip looked like a fantastic time. Urban families are so much more pleasant than actual family.

I can't believe those naughty squirrels stole all of your tomatoes! That really stinks, I wish that we lived closer, I would share some of our tomato garden bounty. I'm even considering saving and freezing my own seeds from the heirloom tomato varieties I liked best. Hopefully we'll be in a house next year so it will be in our own backyard instead of my mother-in-law's. Luckily my mother-in-law is unbelievably lovely, but it's still a drive to garden or collect tomato goodness. It would be awesome to step outside and quickly grab salad ingredients!

Aaron said...

Empty and echo-y cave. Bah! Try taking an eight month hiatus next time and see how many comments you come back to. Actually, it will probably still be a lot because your blog is awesome and what I meant to say was: YAY! Welcome back to the internets.