Homecoming, Homegoing

We've been home nearly two weeks. I ought to make some joke about the lack of sunshine and summer, but honestly, Seattle hasn't been doing too bad. Besides a few days of torrential rain and overall gloominess (on my day at the Capitol, for instance, I looked like I just stepped out of the shower. Way to wow lawmakers.), Seattle has either been blue-skied, or my personal favorite: bright white. Cloudy, yes, but without rain and almost blinding in brightness. Don't get how beautiful that is? You must not be from Seattle.

The first week back we spent with Trish and Jeff, a week deserving of a post in and of itself. It's like a resort at their house, complete with heated mattress pad, hot-tub, and lake view. I may or may not have been completely useless to all the chores we had to do, but by Thursday our tenants were all moved out and we were cleared to move in.

Tenants? Say, what? Move in where? I keep asking myself this question- usually while talking with my real estate agent, because how did I get a real estate agent?

Some girls marry into debt and emotional baggage. I married into a house that has wildly appreciated since Porter bought it some 3 years ago. And a husband who knows what's up, generally, and specifically with all the preparations necessary for handling the listing of the house for sale.

Week two home was house prep time. Cleaning, landscaping, cleaning, and decorating. We moved just our bed and some accent pieces (easy chair, coffee table, area rugs), as well as an office desk for Porter because apparently space is good, not empty space, but not full space. Also, I've become a Maxxinista and klepto (stealing mostly from my mom. Only from my mom.) trying my best to play interior designer with artfully placed pillar candles that won't be lit; draped, layered towels of different sizes in the bathrooms (not for use either); and even a place setting at the kitchen nook that we don't use for meals. Form before function, I guess.

The timing of my design blitz falls quite conveniently after my HGTV design show binge, the few days after our big W hike in Patagonia when we happened to be staying in the only hotel on our trip with a TV AND Satellite coverage, AND HBO, HGTV, Cinemax, AND 3 days to kill, tired and in the mood for sitting in our king-size bed ALL DAY.

I'm well-prepared.

Check it out.

Or buy it!



Central Chile, aka the Pacific Northwest in disguise

Turns out Central Chile is my home's Southern Hemisphere version of itself. Puerto Montt was all about smoked salmon; Pucon nights feel like August at 9 pm - still light out and just crisp enough out that a long sleeved shirt feels perfect with shorts and flip flops; Villarica had blackberries growing like weeds. Blueberries (3 bucks for a monster box. I'm still high on my overdose yesterday), peaches and nectarines, it's a fresh fruit extravaganza and I can't get enough of it.

We've breezed through most of Chile, which I feel great about, even though it has been plenty pleasant. Beyond pleasant.

I originally had high and magical visions of a horseback ride through Patagonia (mostly planted by this girl I met at a work conference i happened to go to a month before we left who, in an odd turn of events, was taking a short sabbatical to travel South America. She was crossing the Andes for 10 days on horseback, which is too long for me, but I loved the idea of camping out under the stars with our faithful horses tethered nearby. Rustic and amazing, right?) and had communicated with the company most highly praised on TripAdvisor (mostly by one snob if a horse rider who was traveling with her non horseman boyfriend and went on and on and on about how great the company was and how healthy the horses. Sounds great, right??) Well, we didn't confirm it in time and lost our spot and then got stuck in the doldrums of not wanting to plan anything ever again (definitely hitting a wall in that department) so we bagged the overnight trip and opted for a quick jaunt in the countryside. Shorter, less romantic, but in all honesty, probably a better match for my behind.

I apparently got the naughty horse, and had to be led out for the first 10 minutes which wouldn't have been embarrassing probably if the leader of the group wasn't a 12 year old boy who kept mumbling directions like I spoke 12 year old mumbled Spanish and not polished, enunciated classroom Spanish. We were led to a very cool waterfall with a 'complicatado' trail, meaning straight up and down on tree roots. Porter took a quick dip (seriously, those shorts! Isn't he the cutest?)


High Velocity Wind Jog Commentary

You probably already know that Kami is not too keen on running. What you may or not know is that she is married to someone who LOVES to run. Me. I even love running enough to do it in 50 mph winds. That's what I did the other day, and here are a few of my recollections.

It was sunny, which was part of what tricked me into thinking that this would be a good day to do my long run, which was supposed to be an hour and 45 minutes long. So I set out.

Very quickly, my senses reported to me that this was going to be tough! The wind was super strong along the waterfront, strong enough to whip the water spray all the way to me.

Since Puerto Natales is a pretty small town, there was really only one option, which was to run along a highway filled with buses and big trucks. Oh boy.

At one point, I kid you not, two big chunks of somebody's galvanized roof came off and flew, bounding across the road and into the fields on the other side, about 100m in front of me! I could've been taken out by galvanized aluminum.

Three times, I had to just stop and stand my ground against the wind. Frequently, the wind would push my feet around while they were in the air, making me stumble and get off track. I was seriously concerned that the wind was going to shove me a few feet over into the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle!

With about 20 minutes left, I took a breather for about 30 seconds behind a construction sign jus to recollect myself mentally. The combination of wind and sun beating on my face was intense.

When I returned, it was definitely one of the toughest runs I've done!


Glacier Madness

I quite hate the word crampons, for obvious reasons, but I wore them the other day. I generally hate tours, mostly because I have my dad's pride that pretty much any place or experience is better without guides tiptoeing you through it, and because I have probably unnecessary anxiety about making sure it's worth the usually high cost. We opted out if a pricey tour in Brazil's Chapada Diamantina, opted in at Iguazu, and here in Patagonia sat somewhere on the 'do it' side of the fence on the Perito Moreno glacier's Big Ice tour.

Pay a couple hundred bucks for a tiptoe on a glacier, can I really be worth it?


Even with crampons. I can't count how many times I noted the grandeur of the white and blue and crevasses and ICE LAGOONS with something elegant like Holy Crap.

Climbing up down and sideways with metal picked shoes was harder than I thought, but I got the hang of it (not the sideways so much, actually, but up and down were ok). I can't believe how different the ice looked from different angles. I can't believe I got to tiptoe all over those angles.

Intense in tents

This is going to be one of those posts better suited to pictures than stories.

A few nuggets:

Route. 5 days, 4 nights hike in Chile's Torres del Paine park, hiking a very popular 'W Circuit' (a garbage name if you ask me- the route on a map looks like the W a three year old with no fine motor skills would draw)(also I kind of hate named routes anyway because they make amateurs like me sound like we're trying to be hard core posers. "Oh yeah, we're doin the W, thinkin about adding in the tail, on our own, huzzah")

Lodges. The route is unique because there are 5 built in lodges dotting the route offering hot showers, meals, and bunks, as well as camp sites. Essentially, you could do the W with a day pack, or just a water bottle and a couple layers if you hate backpacks. We brought our own tent and stove, rented sleeping bags, and paid for breakfast in hopes of a buffet (not a buffet but the food was decent enough and it's nice not having to cook in the morning).

Old friend. We had a friend shipped in from the US just for Patagonia. Jill, my old roommate and outdoor gear junkie (mostly coats) joined us for 10 days, this hike included. Jill is fun and easy and was a perfect hiking/travel companion.

New friend. We found a fourth en route. We ran into Nick, a clever Brit about four times in town before he joined us for our route. Here was lots of US-UK comparison and general banter about his family's castle (rented out for movies) and their place in the South of France (yes, please), and travel.

Wind. Holy swear words, the wind. One day it was blowing water from the lake into a mist 100 feet high, so we had to crouch for safety. That night I was suuuure the tent was going to blow into oblivion. You could hear a wind burst starting up the mountain, gathering steam, getting louder and screamier as it approached. Totally nuts.

My poor poor feet. And knees. And ankles. Up and down, step by step, by the time we finished my feet were on fire.

The views: