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anatomy of a vacation

2013 January 4
by Rachel Turiel

I feel like I’m exiting the off-ramp of this huge, endless weekend, in which getting-in-the-holiday-spirit included pumpkin pie for breakfast (sometimes sans plate!) and Irish Cream in my coffee (which tastes faintly of mud without it). For awhile there, everything was so eggnoggy and Pandora Christmas Radio and unstructured days with sun-up to sun-down playdates, except the days we never left the house, cocooned in our mess of books and art supplies and well, eggnog.

But suddenly, the eggnog we were drinking like daily vitamins seems as wildly indulgent and impractical as a bunch of rich, old, white guys getting paid to create legislation about women’s bodies. And likely, we won’t make another batch until next December (not the least of reasons being we, um, soup-potted our chickens and their eggs are the only ones I feel ok about eating raw).


Pumpkin eggnog: the swooniest! If you’re still riding the eggnog wave, this is the recipe we use here.

Basically, I can see the future and it looks like there are actual reasons to leave the house (that don’t involve toting sleds under our arms). I feel like I just found the bookmark I quickly jammed in the Book of My Own Life a few weeks ago. Now I’m flipping back to the page I had marked, last year, reminded of work and school and all those real-life responsibilities awaiting our return.

And really, I love my work with a Capital L, it’s just that I’ve sort of forgotten how to use a computer when it doesn’t involve clicking the Pandora “thumbs up” on Jackson Browne’s beautiful boy-voice.

What a wonderful break it has been.

Dan’s been coaching the kids on wrestling moves (incidentally, Dan was a star, all-state wrestler, or some such glory, in some stage of growing up).

anatomy anatomy2


Making waffles, because every day is the weekend:


Col and Rose’s friend Mathew slept over one night and the next morning they devised a game in which each kid takes turns running the perimeter of our 800 sf house, tags the next kid on the couch, and waits eagerly for their next turn. Brilliance. anatomy4 anatomy5

I know many of you all are veering down the same off-ramp right about now. How lucky we were to have had that nice long pause. Big hugs and deep inhales as we all return to the page we left off from.



ps: my parents have been here, which has been absolutely wonderful as usual. I haven’t taken any pictures because, well, with all the hugging going on, it’d just be backs and heads.

pps: seems like wordpress has got most of you subscribers over to this new site. You may have, however, missed this post and this one inbetween.

ppps: new writing class starting in 3 weeks, details here.

pppps: (is that many ps’s even legal?) I’m writing a story about the Dove Creek dryland bean farmers and interviewing these fabulously salt-of-the-earth farmers. If you have any connection to/contacts with the Dove Creek bean farmers, would you let me know?


13 Responses leave one →
  1. January 4, 2013

    You so wonderfully put into words exactly what’s been going on here. I think I’m ready for that off ramp, but with the mini-me sleeping gloriously late in the mornings, getting her up and at ’em at 6:30 Monday morning leaves me feeling like I just might need some more egg nog first.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    January 4, 2013

    My “vacation” had too many plans in it, not enough sitting around. I feel like I’m just starting a mini vacay getting back to work and kids to school. PS small ceremony with GPa Herb, GMa Joyce, Bert and Seamus on top of mt Tam. You were in my thoughts.


  3. Melissa permalink
    January 4, 2013

    Rachel, would you ever consider an online writing class? skype?
    or a daylong workshop sometime when you visit the Bay area?
    Somehow, I think there would be much interest!

    What a beautifully written post about the transition many of us experience this week. It’s a doozy, for sure.

    Plus, eggnog weaning is no fun (:

    Ps. did you ever read Swamplandia!?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      January 6, 2013

      Thanks for your interest, Melissa. I will consider all of the above.


      ps: just put swamplandia on request at the library!

  4. January 5, 2013

    yes, we have slid down the offramp and i’m still all, “where my christmas at?”. love the wrestling pics of the kids, how lucky and fun for all of them…dan included.

    and um…rachel? my grandfather was a dove creek bean farmer. i’m still picking up my jaw off the floor after reading that. he passed away, but my grandmother, as well as my mom and her siblings (who lived in a little shack in dove creek) are all still kickin’. email me!

  5. Rachel McCall permalink
    January 5, 2013

    Hey Rachel! This is Rachel… Nathan’s mom from Children’s House a couple years ago… now Rachel in Texas. My grandfather (who now resides in Durango) actually grew up in Dove Creek… his dad lived there for decades and two of his brothers still live there. I’ll be in town next Wed (to visit the old man =) and would love to see you/coordinate an interview/whatever would be helpful. Let me know… Happy New Year!

  6. Michele permalink
    January 5, 2013

    Love it all. Thoroughly enjoy reading! Taking down tree tomorrow. Had three trips to KC in three weeks. Had such a great time but looking forward to getting down to business of getting organized :)

  7. Emmanuelle permalink
    January 6, 2013

    Dear Rachel, it is good to have you back – and to share in retrospect your wandering happiness. (Glad you had such a great roadtrip, the four of you :o)

    Your creative, Turiel-esque metaphors are the salt of my computer screen ! This one about the sudden overindulgeness of eggnog is particularly enjoyable (and to the point).

    In such winter weather I make hot cocoa with chai spices several times a day, and grate nutmeg in my homemade “compote de pommes et poires” as a daily dessert, but I also crave kale salad and all kinds of greens, maybe because it is white all around outside…

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      January 7, 2013

      Hot cocoa with chai spices sounds amazing! Recipe, s’il vous plait?

      • Emmanuelle permalink
        January 7, 2013

        Well, this is a “guilt-free” recipe in several aspects (and all ingredients are organic), but many variations are possible – I heat unsweetened soymilk with a generous blend of 3 spices in various proportions: ginger, cinammon and cardamom; then add at least 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa (wisk briskly) and a few drops of Stevia to taste – when it starts bubbling again, I add 1 or 2 tablespoons of slippery elm bark powder, as a thickener (optional); wisk again, then let stand off heat until thickened, but still warm. If you use honey (off heat) instead of stevia and slippery elm, it will add some texture as well as flavor :o)

  8. January 7, 2013

    Oh my. Every sibling pair needs a live in wrestling coach. Perfect. I’m still beaming from the pause. Yes, it was wonderful.


  9. January 7, 2013

    Our holiday break sounds about the same, minus the grandparents. Lots of Pandora and homebound activities, which, for a homebody like me, was heaven. And then there was all that eating too. You know, I haven’t had a single drop of eggnog this last holiday – what in the world happened? Oh right, mulled wine. It’s a new obsession.

    Anyway, so glad to be reading your words again. So…how about that online writing class eh? Pretty, pretty, pretty please????

  10. January 7, 2013

    One of my favorite lines in a long time:

    “as wildly indulgent and impractical as a bunch of rich, old, white guys getting paid to create legislation about women’s bodies…”

    back to reality we go!!

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