After Sioux City, we had another layoff week – we had originally been scheduled to play Iowa City, but during the terrible tornadoes this past summer, the theater there was flooded and is now closed . On the one hand, it’s a little tough to go with another unpaid week right before Christmas, but on the other hand, I was excited to take advantage of the time off and go and visit some friends.
I left early on Monday morning and drove ten hours to Denver. The drive was thankfully uneventful – being in this part of the country I was very afraid that I might be inundated with snow. Luckily the snow waited until I arrived in Denver to start falling.
I spent the evening (and overnight) in Denver at my dear friend, Tiffany’s house. Tiffany and I went to college together at UCSD – we lived together in the same dorm as freshmen, and then after college spent a year living together in Oakland, California. She is such a great girl, and I so admire what an awesome mom she is to her three-year-old daughter, Ava, who I think may be the cutest, smartest three-year-old on the planet.
Tiffany is pregnant with her second baby, a boy, and has recently been on bed rest. Although her doctor has given her the clear to resume normal activity, she’s smartly taking it easy, so we stayed in and made dinner with another old college friend, Robin, who moved to Denver around the same time as Tiffany. Robin is also doing great – her husband is a minister of a parish in Denver, and they, too are hoping to start a family soon. It was a great night hanging out with two awesome friends – I can’t believe we have known each other now for sixteen years! And of course, I had a blast playing with Ava. Tallulah didn’t have as much fun – she didn’t really take to Rocky, the Freemans’ cat, and vice versa. They spent most of the evening hissing at each other.
I was lucky enough to arrive at Tiffany’s just as the snow was starting to fall. When I woke up in the morning, there was about eight inches on my car! It took twenty minutes to clear off! Tallulah and I set off for Albuquerque, New Mexico at around 10am. The roads hadn’t been plowed so well yet so it was pretty slow-going – and as we hit a couple of mountain passes, the driving was a bit treacherous in the icy conditions.
Once I made it through the mountain pass between Colorado and New Mexico, the drive improved drastically. There was no longer snow actually falling, and even though the roads were still a bit icy, they had been plowed, making driving much easier. The upper part of New Mexico was gorgeous – the snow in the desert made the land look like the moon!
I arrived at Tanya’s house in the Sandia mountains around 6pm and was greeted by her and her mom and step-dad. We had dinner and hung out and chatted, and then I fell asleep early!
The week with Tanya was awesome. I love New Mexico. It is so beautiful – I swear, unless there is a storm brewing, the sky there is a brilliant blue year-round. As Tanya lives in the mountains above Albuquerque, she gets quite a bit of snow at her place. The color of the sky, and the bright sunshine, juxtaposed with the snow was just gorgeous.
We spent the week Christmas shopping, going to the movies (see “Milk”!!), hanging out, cooking!, and we spent one luxurious day at Ten Thousand Waves spa in Santa Fe. I had a facial and massage, and we shared an outdoor hot tub (which was perfect in the snow!). It was the best. I also made Tanya have breakfast with me at Frontier Restaurant, which is near the theater at the University of New Mexico, which is where we played with “Spamalot” in June. The breakfast burritos with green chile at Frontier are amazing, and I could not come to Albuquerque without having one!
Tallulah had a nice week, too, being doted on by a house full of people, taking many naps by the wood-burning stove, and taking her first walk on snow.
On Sunday, alas, I had to say goodbye. Of course, I once again awoke to snow – a new storm system this time. It was very windy and snowy, and it took a long time to get through the tiny roads on Tanya’s mountain, but once we hit the freeway, it was smooth-sailing. Tallulah and I began the long drive to Fayetteville, Arkansas. We drove through Texas and stopped overnight in Oklahoma City, arriving in Fayetteville on Monday afternoon.
It has been quite cold and icy here in Arkansas, but no snow. I’m actually missing the snow. I like it this time of year. It was one of my favorite things about moving to the east coast, to finally have snow in the winter! Hopefully next week when we head back to Iowa for Christmas, we’ll see some more. It has been an uneventful week so far in Fayetteville, the hometown of Esther, our Lady of the Lake. It seems like a cute enough town, and I drove through a gorgeous national park to get here, but really this week has been all about Christmas preparations and Secret Santa! More on that to come!