I'm back from vacation, and I did actually manage a restful, relaxing time so that I came home refreshed and almost eager to dive back into work. Now that I'm home, I can reveal that I went to Hot Springs, Arkansas.
But first, I spent some time getting into vacation mode at home and getting ready. I got out the sewing machine I got for Christmas and did some sewing because I thought engaging in other forms of creativity would be a good mental change of pace. I used to sew when I was a kid and even had my own machine, but I haven't done anything but hand work in years. I decided to start with something simple and made a nightgown. I've been looking for a long, long-sleeved gown that wasn't flannel. During the transitional times of year, I want something covering but not heavy. But I can't seem to find anything like that. I even had trouble finding a pattern that was what I wanted. Where I finally found it was in the costume section, so now I suppose I have an Official Gothic Novel Heroine nightgown -- a white, floaty thing. If I ever need to flee a spooky castle in the middle of the night, I will have the right thing to wear. It turned out to be very comfortable for sleeping and lounging around, just the right weight for the weather.
Sunday I did something wild and crazy and went to Starbucks (or as the people at church call it, St. Arbuck's) between services with some of the other people in the ensemble I sang with. Usually I hide in the choir room, drink tea and read the newspaper, but I was social for a change.
After a couple of days of shopping (new tires, new jeans) and preparation, I hit the road on Wednesday. It turned out to be a longer drive than I anticipated, the kind where it takes all day to get there and you're tired when you arrive, so I don't know if this will go on my list of relaxing getaways, but there was nice scenery, especially once I got off the freeway and headed into the mountains. I was hoping for more fall color, but even as I got into the foothills of the mountains, it was mostly green with some bits of red and yellow. I had a hotel on a nearby lake, with a lakeview room with balcony, and one of the first things I did when I arrived was get some takeout catfish and eat dinner while looking at the lake. I was facing east, so I got up the next morning hoping to see the sun rise over the lake. Instead, everything was wrapped up in fog. I sat on the balcony with some hot tea and watched the fog lift as the sun rose higher.
After the fog was gone, I went into Hot Springs itself, did a stroll down Bathhouse Row to the visitor center to get a hiking trail map, and then I drove part of the way up Hot Springs Mountain to a trailhead and spent a few hours hiking around the mountain. There were some great trails that were rather strenuous, but at the top the views were lovely. It's only a "mountain" for this part of the world and people from Colorado would point and laugh, but it's more elevation than I'm used to hiking. I don't have a camera that really enables selfies, but here's my attempt at getting a picture of me near the top of the mountain with the view behind me.
Then I went back to my hotel and collapsed. Friday, there were several things I'd thought about doing, but I was tired and a bit sore, and I didn't really want to drive anywhere. So, I took advantage of that balcony and just sat and looked at the lake and read. This was the view from my balcony, so you can see why I enjoyed just sitting there all day.
And then on Saturday I made the drive home, just in time to change gears entirely and go to a Halloween party. If only I'd had that little blue box for travel. It would cut out all that tedious driving.
Now to get back to work. I've got a lot of business stuff to deal with, and then I need to start work on a new book.