Saturday, April 4, 2009

wrap it up

(do I have to mention that the post date is wrong, again?)
Have I mentioned that I am sleeping about 10 hours a night lately? There has to be some explanation for my disappearance from the blog, the pile of dishes in the kitchen, two overflowing baskets of folded laundry that has yet to make it to bedrooms let alone into drawers, and the general lack of tidiness here at Chez Barnas. Sigh. So here it is, a cursory finale to the roadtrip entries, a quick zip through the last two weeks which will not begin to do it justice, but must be getting on.

We left California with hearts filled with love and a brain full of ideas, and headed straight into the desert to visit my dearest darlings Niko and Kerry and their son Roman. It was a much-needed but too short connection. The children played, we hung out and talked and steeped in the hot-tub under the stars late into the evening. No photos (Niko, send some my way!) mainly because I was lazy and Niko was snapping away.

Around 1pm, way later than our E.T.D., we headed out to drive straight through to Albuquerque. Just so you can appreciate the total lunacy of this proposition, it is approximately 700 miles from Palm Springs to Burque, with the estimated travel time of 10 hours and 17 minutes. Uuhhhh, yeah, maybe but not so much when traveling with the Herd of Turtles Barnas family. At almost 10pm, just before Starbucks closes, in lovely snow-covered Flagstaff Arizona, I called my girlfriend in Albuquerque and said sooooooo, maybe we'll be in by 3am-ish, if I can stay awake and my children stay asleep and she said bring it! So on we did travel. If one does have to drive in the darkness, winding through mountains, one should choose to do it on a clear, cloudless night, with the brightest full moon of the year, through the most spectacular snowy landscape around Flagstaff. My goodness but it was incredibly beautiful. Partially because I was shocked at my good fortune to have clear skies, the "brightest full moon of the year", and a snow covered landscape to drive through and partially because I needed to stay awake, I called everybody that I could think of to share the moment with. That is, everybody that would still be awake and whose number I had already programed in my new phone. That is, to say, my husband.

Now, if there were not a party planned for me at 2pm the following day, it would not have mattered so much that I drive like a bat out of you-know-where straight through, but alas, we do live on the edge.

Maura, Jessica and Chrystyne. Jessica hosted our lovely afternoon soiree, with friends and families we have not seen in over two years, lovely lovely lovely. Lovely food (Augustus helped himself, repeatedly, to a plate of cookies as his main course), wonderful friends in an amazing home. Jessica's homes are always amazing, that is her M.O. Gorgeous man, gorgeous surroundings, and much love to give. We stayed at Chez Chrystyne, in her new digs that she literally moved into the day we arrived, we don't leave any space for error.

Augustus had more fun than you can imagine playing and wrestling and rough-housing with Merrik and Kenny. At one point, they were marching through the backyard and I asked "Where's Magdalena?" "inside, watching football with Ronnie." Yeah, I know, that's my daughter. Crazy, the football fan. All she has to know is who your team is and she is on board. She identifies the teams by color, the red team, the blue team, the guys with the long black stretchy pants...So there she sat, a friend for life with Ronnie, Kenny's mama, watching the game.

Augustus stole the heart's of all the girls, and Beth just could not get enough. She's always been a kid magnet, and mine are no different. The next day Beth lent us the coolest new-style sleds and off we went to a little park on Sandia Mountain for Magdalena and Augustus's first snow sledding oh-so-fabulous experience. We did not go on the big "sledding" hill, no way. Magdalena found her perfect sledding spots on stream beds that were covered in snow, and may I say but it was on! She never stopped, for a second. A natural born sledder, cautious in just the right way, but out there like she was born to it. Augustus, well, he took a bit of convincing, and just kept saying, as I pulled him, "Don't run mama! No!"

Our dear dear friends Lou and Suzanne met us up on the mountain for the sledding adventure, to be followed by super yummy pizza and quesadillas at the bottom of the mountain, a perfect apres-sled snack.

We took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up in Santa Fe on our way south to Cruces to spend the afternoon tea with our girl Krista.
We left the great northern New Mexico for southern parts, the last visit before we began our homeward journey. We stayed with our friends Nora, Jon and their children Zephyr and Jubilee. You can read about our stay here:
Let me say that staying at Nora and Jon's house is a gift in itself, for the this-is-who-we-are-and-we-live-it comfort vibe, for the matching pajama show at bedtime each night, for the home-made bread served with home-made jam and coffee mornings, and for Kamy living around the corner and coming over for coffee my first, second and last mornings.

But wait, there's more. There's Nora herself, and then there's Jon, and add to that Zephyr who is a buddy of Magdalena's from way back, and Jubilee who joined the family since our departure. When I first met Nora and Jon, I was totally intimidated by them. They seemed so...perfect. Fit, beautiful, respectful of the earth and so much of what that entails, kind, educated, well-spoken, gentle, peaceful, passionate and well-informed. And they did yoga. And they sat up straight! So I thought they might be unapproachable, but they're not. That's the kicker, not only are they all that and a bag of locally grown baked by the sun packaged in a reusable bag of chips, but they are nice, friendly and immanently approachable.

I used to cruise into town (I lived an hour and twenty minutes, door-to-door from Kamy and Nora back in NM) and stay with my midwife and darling friend Kamy and, inevitably, Nora would show up with Zephyr for evening hang-outs and chats, and it finally dawned on me...she's coming to hang out not just with Kamy, but me. Imagine, me. Yes I admit it, I was flattered. Slowly our friendship grew and I realized we had, over sporadic time and space, become dear dear friends. I realized another amazing woman/mama had become part of my life, one of those friends who warrant a roadtrip, one of the folks who make up our extended life family that spreads from hear to California, and on over to Australia.

There is so much more to say about our stay, but really I've already blown my zoom through the last part of the trip, I've been on this post for days now, so I'll let that be enough. Besides, I gave you a link to Nora's description of our stay, so take advantage of it, you can get a taste of Nora magic.
After conveniently locking my keys in the car as I was packing up to drive to Austin, TX, we rambled on out of our old home state and into the wild flat west that is West Texas, and finally, around nine pm, into the beautiful rolling green hills of Austin. We stayed there with Cristina, artist extraordinaire whom I met while living in Granada (you can check out her stuff here:, and her beloved husband Sean. No photos again, sometimes I do just get lazy. Cristina - an art teacher - had the jumbo set of colored pencils and Magdalena drew what is now known as "my favorite drawing that she has ever done that she gave to Cristina", this crazy fish underwater that proves she is a protegee. Sigh. The proof is on the fridge.

After a night of art and revelry, we drove on through to a hotel in Baton Rouge, LA and ya know sometimes, it is just the funnest thing in the world to do, stay in a hotel with two children who have been cooped up in a car all day. Aren't hotel beds designed for jumping? I mean, c'mon, really. As we were wandering the halls looking for the closest ice machine which was not very close at all, as I watched them run and skip down the hall giggling maniacally I thought, this is a moment we will always have. This trip, this place, this hall. My two precious children, all clean and sweet and in their favorite p.j.'s, running ahead of me, ready for the revered hotel room.

Finally, yes I said Finally, the last stop of the trip, Uncle Neil and Aunt Tammy, there in Florida, in the panhandle, waiting for us with (I expected no less) super yummy snacks and love for us all. There was much to see, the preparation of the room for the baby to come, the one nestled in Tammy's baby bump, the handiwork from Neil, the crafty work of Tammy. We hung out, we played, the children rolled all over Uncle Neil, and we relaxed.
And that my sweet friends, was that. We went out to a local diner, the Iron Skillet, for seriously amazing burgers and fries before we hit the road on what was the last push on the last day of our 40 day and 7000 mile extravaganza. We stopped in Tallahassee at our regular Starbucks and did a dance of glee because that was to be our last stop, 2 1/2 hours out of Jacksonville. We arrived home in the nick of time, kissed our sweet kitty Belly, admired the pink tulips Jeanna had awaiting us, and thanked God and the universe for our safe return.


  1. My, my what a trip! I think you have more energy than anyone I know. Sounds like a blast!

  2. I've so loved reading about your trip. Thank you for sharing it in your special way! :o) Such memories!!!

  3. Love the orange background and new banner!