Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

I have been out of the loop for several weeks. The earliest intention was to pick up Elizabeth in Minneapolis, drive out to Portland, and then visit people in Seattle and Eugene before returning home alone. Things changed and then changed again; by the time I actually left Minneapolis with E, the plan was that there would be a week in Portland (without visits to Eugene and Seattle), and she would be coming back with me to stay in Kansas for a bit before her next travel. And by the time we got to Portland that had changed as well: we both caught covid, and I at least didn’t test negative again for what felt like ages. Fior me, the visit to Portland turned into being housebound in Portland, and I got better just in time to drive us back, two days later than scheduled.

There were some datapoints that came out of this, and some delights. Datapoints first:

  • Travel is crazy expensive right now, even driving. Hotels, food, and gas all cost much more than expected, in some cases twice as much as they would have six months ago.
  • I adore my Mazda CX-30 — with one reservation. It’s a nearly perfect driving experience, but the windows are stingy and obstructed by the useful but much too big side and rearview mirrors. If I were doing a lot of road trips where I planned on seeing beautiful things, I would need to replace this car with something with bigger windows. Luckily, I am not planning on any more sight-seeing trips for a while — the drives to Rice Lake and West Virginia later this year may be pretty but that’s not their intent.
  • When I plan on knitting on a trip, I need to bring a crochet hook to catch the inevitable dropped stitches.
  • It’s pointless to think I will ever write in someone else’s house. I can remember writing most of Fudoki at my parents’ house, but that really was the exception to the rule. So, no traveling and/or staying at peoples’ houses when I have deadlines, no matter how fun it sounds. This is a lesson I seem to have to learn every single year, and I don’t know how this will settle in with my expressed desire to visit my mom monthly this fall.
  • Bring a swimsuit. No matter where I am going, for how long, or why, if I don’t bring one, there will inevitably be a wonderful possibility that demands the existence of a swimsuit.

The delights:

  • What a crazily beautiful drive. I have driven cross-country scores of times, and I adore it every time. The skies, the plains, the badlands, the mountains, the pavement under my wheels and the hot spicy winds. I could go on for pages and show you a thousand pictures and I couldn’t touch the way it feels for me.
  • Time with Elizabeth. It’s fun to watch her take pictures, among other things. 🙂
  • Friends: being able to see Jay and Marti (at a distance) and Lynn and DT. I had planned on seeing so many more people than that, alas. There were too many people I wasn’t able to see, though. I will have to find my way back there for those visits, when I am not a plague beast.
  • On this note, Marti and Jay’s house is pretty and the garden is becoming a thing of great beauty!
  • Yeah, the Mazda really is a delight to drive: power and charm, pretty as a cupcake and quick in the mountains.

Now I am back in Lawrence and about to start organizing my life to get a summer’s worth of work done in the three weeks I have available. Piece of cake, right? At least I like work!

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