It started with getting lost about twenty miles from home and ended with finding a dead banana at the bottom of my Austin Mystery Writers tote bag.
In between lay
- being rear-ended at a red light;
- missing a turn but arriving at our destination anyway;
- finding the motel room severely deficient in electrical outlets;
- wallowing on the floor, trying to plug an extension cord into an outlet installed behind of the leg of a bed attached to the floor “for your safety”;
- abandoning my camera in the Museum of the Big Bend;
- being informed that the hood of the car I’d just driven for seven hours through the Texas Hill Country and the Trans-Pecos, and into the Chihuahuan Desert, wasn’t properly latched;
- finding the hood up again two days later;
- recovering my camera;
- losing my cash;
- knocking the back off my mobile phone;
- scattering my purse, my camera, a take-out box of Creamy Bolognese over penne pasta, and myself all over the sidewalk in front of La Trattoria;
- wallowing on the floor wielding a broom and a flashlight, scraping my cash from under the far side of the bed;
- abandoning my purse in the cafeteria;
- recovering my purse;
- leaving Alpine, missing another turn, and winding up in Marathon;
- watching Gale lean out the window to ask a man where we could get petroleo;
- being told petroleo was in Alpine (26 miles) or in Fort Stockton (58 miles), but not in Marathon;
- on advice of residents (“There’s nothing out there”), giving up impromptu plans to swing through Del Rio;
- retracing our steps to Alpine for petroleo;
- on second attempt, not missing the turn;
- arriving at home without further incident worth mentioning.
I will mention that
- Karleen Koen’s class was up to her usual standard: As I’ve written before, she’s honest about what she can
and cannot do for her students, but she shows them ways to increase their own creativity;
- the reading at the Alpine Public Library allowed student writers to share pieces written in the various classes, including a Sudan native’s account of learning to speak English, which was a scream;
- evenings out with friends at El Paisano (Marfa), the Reata (Alpine), La Trattoria (Alpine), the Stone Village Market, and the Hotel Limpia’s Blue Mountain Bistro (Fort Davis) were fun;
- having the Cowboy Plate at the Bread and Breakfast is a fine way to start the day;
- the highway up to the McDonald Observatory is neither as winding nor as precipitous as I’d remembered;
- thanks to recent rains, the Davis Mountains were green and, as always, very grand;
- cool mornings and evenings felt wonderful (and hot days felt like something else but weren’t as bad as Austin’s);
- we’re sorry our limited time didn’t allow us to visit Big Bend National Park;
- a mobile phone will work perfectly if the back is held on with a rubber band, and, when presented with said phone, a husband will laugh and reattached the back without a rubber band;
- I was not responsible for the rear-ending;
- Simple Green will probably remove dead banana muck from inside the Austin Mystery Writers tote bag; it will also probably remove the remnants of Creamy Bolognese from the outside of a camera case.
- A package of Oreos lifts the spirits immeasurably.
Gale has just published a post on the Austin Mystery Writers blog about the Writers Retreat. She focused on what we learned in class.
But I prefer to focus on extracurricular activities. There’s an education to be had in them, too. Especially the part about the Oreos.