(This one’s much shorter than the others. Two reasons: not much happened, and I didn’t write anything down. Carry the portable notebook. Carry the portable notebook.)

Got up, went swi–

Packed, loaded, paid, and went back to the Jackalope. (Which, now that I check, I realize I hadn’t mentioned before. Here’s the link.) Which is a tourist trap of the best sort, a half-dozen adobish buildings surrounded more pots than you would dare shake a stick at, if they were alien pot-shaped invaders. Rugs, live glass blowers (better than dead ones), weird imports…it was the entirety of Manitou Springs rolled up into one store.

We wandered around for a while: a lot of women were sitting around and sketching things in a very practical way. I mean, paper taped down to a sketch board and everything. For some reason, they all had hats on. I didn’t know why that struck me, but it did. We finally stopped to talk to one of them: they were all actually part of an arts-tourism group that had been staying out at Ghost Ranch (Georgia O’Keefe’s home) and had come into town. Why, I’m not sure. I mean, if you’re out at Ghost Ranch, why the hell would you want to come back to civilization? This seems like a no-brainer. Unless they didn’t have big bathtubs or they’d run out of chocolate, of course. Of coffee. Wouldn’t want someone going through caffeine withdrawal creeping around outside with paintbrushes; it’d end up like an Agatha Christie novel.

Found a cool cast-iron dragon candlestick for Lee, gave up on the whole pottery thing, and started for home.

It was an on-again off-again rain drive, all the way back to the Springs. In between one exit and the next, it became abruptly clear that someone had busted the showerhead off the sky and it was time for a floooooood. I barely got Ray to the doctor’s office (passing a drowned cop car and a minivan), where we picked up her shot record, headed back to the house, and tried to unpack. Lee got home, and we headed to Ray’s new kindergarten for a parents’ meeting-thingy and met Mrs. Fluffy*, etc. Lee said he was going to make me a bookshelf, which was good, and that he still loved me, which was even better.

Not bad for a birthday. I am now Jesus-old.

*Still not her real name.