Don’t forget Winona–Minnesota

“Route 66 in Arizona: Don’t Forget Winona!”

My geography is perhaps not the best…But I do know the difference between Arizona and Minnesota, having lived in both places. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about Route 66, and so until I dug up the first half of that line, I assumed it was talking about the island city. Apparently, Winona AZ is just a gas station and trading post–you can read more about it in the Arizona Daily Sun. Our Winona is a bit bigger than that–and greener, too, I would guess.

I have been back in the US for about three days, and I was never so happy to see my own bed. Traveling is dear to me–but a month of traveling (to four countries) was perhaps a bit much at one crack. It certainly seems to have played havoc with my immune system: fatigue, multiplied by canned air on an eight-hour flight–next to a man with croup–equals viral catastrophe. I have emerged victorious, but the battle was not without its critical moments, some of which involved eating strange frozen foods because they could be prepared within the ten-foot radius I traveled over 72 hours. And speaking of frozen food… Exactly how does one measure the portion size for pizza rolls? Pizza in a mini-egg-roll is not really food, I’ve decided. When you eat a pizza, you have a slice. What do you do with a bowl full of faux-sausage-sauce nuggets? (Besides, perhaps, pitching them out a window). Well I’ll tell you what I did. I am pretty sure I just ate all of them. Kind of sickening, in retrospect, but even a foodie gets foggy under the influence of plague. I was not, however, alone in my trials. Our two cats, Bartholomew and Oliver, have become very attached since my return. I mean this literally. Bart is managing to make it very difficult to type just this moment, as he is lying across the desktop and attempting to use one of my hands as a pillow. There is just not enough love in the world–they’ll tell you so. They tell me–and Mark–all the time.

 But now that I have returned and am no longer near death, I am suffering from the second of the summer plagues: what to do with my time. Heaven knows I am not used to whole mornings without six different engagements. My only refuge is to begin working on next semester’s courses, and revising my novel. I suppose compiling research notes and writing a paper will help fill up the time for the future. Thank  goodness for Andrea and our screen-play; I might accidentally end up with an afternoon free and–who knows? I fear inciting some sort of existential crisis–after all, Amazon Women do not have free time. It is against the natural order of things, and I wouldn’t want to tip the delicate balance.

In the meantime, I do at least intend to make my time as full of enjoyable things as possible. We might not be on Route 66, but Winona, MN has a lake, a river, bike trails, an old-fashioned drive-in, numerous ice-cream parlors of various stripes and free kayak rental for residents (not to mention the ongoing Shakespeare Festival). It might not be Paris, but its home!

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