2012 was a year of living.
I went on several adventures with my husband mrizh in this, our first year of marriage. Mostly in his tiny green sports car, which was sometimes an adventure in and of itself. (How did we do it? True love and custom luggage.)
In May, we drove from California through Arizona up into Utah and back through Nevada. I saw places I'd never seen, including a couple that were deeply awe-inspiring.
There are supposedly energy vortexes in this area, so we saw are a lot of New Age-style shops and people who were there to meditate or seek healing. I'm notoriously insensitive to "vibes," and this was no exception.
Although I did experience something unusual as we arrived. We turned a corner and saw these steep, towering, colorful cliffs, and I felt... a deep sense of age. A weight, as though I had stepped back in time, stumbled into a place caught millenia before my own birth. I almost expected to see dinosaurs grazing by the river.
I loved the time we spent here.
Our hosts at the little B&B we stayed at had pet turtles, who took turns climbing on each other to sun. :)
Canyon De Chelly
We actually went through the Painted Desert on our way to Canyon De Chelly, but I don't think we got many pictures, despite the gorgeous views. The weather was windy and overcast, and we were constantly being stalked by ravens. It's the first time I'd seen those; they were huge birds, and disturbingly intelligent.
Canyon De Chelly itself was beautiful; this picture doesn't do justice to either that beauty or the sheer depth of the canyons. There were wild horses roaming about in them.
Full of wondrous rock formations, shaped like hands, like people, like ships and dragons... mrizh said that he no longer wondered at the Navajo sense of the spiritual; if you grew up here, how could the entire world not be full of spirits and stories and wonder?
Being a park and in the reservation, there was no alcohol sold or served. The group of bikers on our floor of the hotel, however, had brought copious amounts of their own, and gladly shared with us as we all watched the sunset from our balconies.
The town of Moab threw me a little, because it's basically there to cater to vacationers and particularly to thrill-seeking athletes, judging from the number of shops for rafting, biking, hang gliding, etc. But there was some good food, and delicious coffee, and even a winery by the lodge where we were staying.
We went rafting on this stretch of the Colorado River. I hadn't done that in years; I'd forgotten how much I love it! Now I'm looking for rivers in California to raft down this summer.
And then the river does stuff like this. These rocks are extremely old, even though I did not get that sense of the weight of age here as I had in Sedona.
Here's the excuse for our entire trip: attending Miatas in Moab '12! There are plenty of clubs across the U.S. for drivers of Mazda Miatas (or MX5s), and sometimes they do a huge get-together somewhere fun, like this. That's not even close to all the cars which were at this event. :)
Joshua Tree & Palm Springs
This weekend trip was spurred by a Groupon for a night in a new-ish Palm Springs hotel, and driven by the fact that we had received some excellent camping equipment as wedding gifts and had not yet had the chance to break them in.
I did not do much camping as a child, unlike mrizh; so he was relieved to discover that I like it, bumpy ground and all. The heat, at the beginning of August in Joshua Tree National Park, was nearly unbearable.
Why, yes, we did pack our camping gear into this tiny car. :)
I have fallen in love with Joshua trees. They are so alien and beautiful and old; I imagine them talking to each other silently in the desert moonlight.
No idea what this plant is, but it seemed somewhat predatory and tentacled.
This is the view from our Palm Springs hotel room. Most of the people at the pool down there seem to be Southern Californians, improbably tan and heavily tattooed. No idea what that was all about, but it made for excellent people-watching.
Here I am, hanging out at the pool in my favorite swimsuit ever.
The next day, we rode up the mountain north of Palm Springs--so high that we were caught in a heavy, chilly thunderstorm on top, while down below it was well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Incredibly fun, even if we were tired afterwards. I'd like to go back and camp or hike on the mountain there.
Later that month, we went into the Mojave Desert to watch shooting stars.
This was our first anniversary trip: up to Santa Barbara for a couple of days (staying at the Biltmore, which turned out to be where my parents spent their wedding night), camping in Big Sur for a few more, a trip into Monterey and drive through Pebble Beach, and breakfast in Carmel before the long drive home.
All of this is beautiful Big Sur coastline. I'd never been here before, either, and it startled me with its stark, sheer magnificence.
Other highlights of the trip included a stop at a wonderful restaurant in the middle of nowhere, buying a necklace at the gift shop, seeing a bobcat at our campground (and a skunk, less awesomely), and building fires to cook dinner over. It was a very relaxing trip, and I would happily return to every place we stopped... except maybe Pebble Beach. I did not feel like I fit in; but it's very pretty, and we had fun getting drinks at an expensive restaurant and convincing the other people sitting near us that we were as rich as they. :)
mrizh flies an airplane
This is the little plane he had a lesson in. I was so excited, because I'd never been up in a small plane before. It's a lot of fun--just like on a bike, you can feel all the steering and the pressures outside the vehicle. It engages your senses.
mrizh flying the plane!
I did accomplish some goals I set for myself last year, but I'm not going to talk about them for more than a paragraph or so. I'm more interested in what's coming; in the goals I want to set for myself this year.
I assigned myself projects last year, and accomplished a few:
I have about 2/3 of a first draft of the novel, and a fairly solid world-build for the story. A particular fic I needed to finish is almost done; just one more section and beta to go! I reread A Hero's Journey, but did not manage to get into From Girl to Goddess.
Other projects stalled due to being busy, and to the sudden death of the closest I've had to a TV writing mentor: Jack Gilbert.
I managed to work on some other general goals as well:
I wrote a little more poetry and blog posts. I started running and writing with a local friend once a week, and joined a gym, which is motivating me to get into better shape.
I wanted to listen to other people less, and speak up myself more; to practice doing and daring--practice not being paralyzed by fear of hurting or offending other people or God. I certainly practiced that... whether I succeeded, I'm not at all sure.
I wanted to find a place to be involved in Christian community once more. While I do love our church, it's not geared towards small community (perhaps because the church itself is small). mrizh and I joined a group of friends in a Young Marrieds group, but this is more for friendship's sake and because we're so new to being married than it is for spiritual growth.
Projects and Goals for 2013
--finish draft of novel; revise into 2nd draft.
--outline and draft one new screenplay idea
--take either a dance class (perhaps belly dance) or a painting class.
--schedule writing at least three times a week, counting Run & Write.
--Learn to be as irresponsible as my art requires me to be.
--Attend at least one Hollywood-related event.
--Drink more water and cut down on coffee.
--Eat out less frequently.
--Exercise more, especially core-building (dumb back can't deal with sitting all the time).
--Grow in grace, for myself and others; especially, in the knowledge of how to reveal my true self.
--Learn how to be a better wife; learn what that might mean in our marriage.
--Learn what it means to love and work and create and do everything as an opportunity, not an obligation.
And above the rest, remember daily that I have only to be myself...myself growing and becoming and creating and loving, certainly, but I have only to be myself in those things, not match the limits or lines or measures set down by anyone else.
I'm not getting it all sorted, she worried. I'm not getting it right.
You are brilliant, the Voice reassured her.
It is imperfect.
So are all things trapped in time. You are brilliant, nonetheless. How fortunate for Us that We thirst for glorious souls rather than faultless ones, or We should be parched indeed, and most lonely in Our perfect righteousness. Carry on imperfectly, shining Ista.
― Lois McMaster Bujold, Paladin of Souls