Hi everyone! I'm writing from our home base in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, where we're staying with friends here for our 10-day visit in Spain. And yes, I double-checked the name/spelling of the town, because, as Twitterites know, I've been suffering from an affliction over here that is rendering me unable to correctly name Spanish cities. Thus, yesterday's day trip to Segovia somehow became a trip to the mythical land of "Sevonia," which I've since decided is going to be the name of Xanthor's land. This is what you would call a repurposing of one's own lameness.
Speaking of lame, my back continues to be a source of utter misery, I'm sorry to say, pretty much putting a damper--or at least strain--on this entire vacation, both for me and for everyone else. I've been dealing with some form of sciatica for about a year now, but, two days before I left the U.S. I must have done something else to myself, because now, instead of just my lower-right back being occasionally sore, now it's my entire lower back, and it's pretty much constant. Sleeping has been tough, walking is a chore, and steps--forget it. So I've had to skip out on some of the events--like climbing to the top of the castle tower in Segovia--like a gimpy old man, and I've had to have my wife help me hobble along at times. We had a great, full, adventurous day in Segovia, but by the end of it I was utterly exhausted and hurting, and, as a result, couldn't move at all today. Not exactly the memories of Spain I was hoping to have--but whaddya gonna do?
Still, it's vacation, and being out of the U.S., with no work to deal with, with all new sights, and old friends, to see--I can hardly complain. And there's something in particular about being out of the country, in a place that doesn't speak your language, that helps provide a satisfying bit of distance and perspective from one's own life, which I was most decidedly due for after a rather busy 2009. And even with the backache I can appreciate the Old World architectural splendor, the feel of a country that's been around for forever, the absolutely heavenly food (the jamon!) and wine and coffee.
Today's trip to see Picasso's Guernica in Madrid had to be postponed cuz of ye olde back, but we'll probably get to it after New Years, along with a trip to the Museo del Prado. I'm laying low--and flat on my back--for most of today in hopes that I can actually enjoy New Year's Eve tomorrow. My downtime today has been an alternating routine of napping, reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition (shaping up to be my fave Gibson book since Neuromancer),and playing Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes on my DSi, which is a surprisingly addictive, great little strategy game. I played it so much the other day I wore out the battery twice in a row--first time I've ever done that, I think. Great oddball combination of match-three game and turn-based combat. I can't even imagine how they thought this up, let alone made it so addictive and fun. So thank goodness for friends' recommendations, because I had no plans to ever buy a Might and Magic game again.
This would be the part of the post where I might normally post some photos, but, to do that, I'd have to email them to myself from my iPhone, and then upload them to PhotoBucket, and then link here, which is too much work--SORRY. And anyhoo, the best ones are up on Twitter already. So go there!
Okay, that's enough sitting up for one day. Back to the prone position for me, because tomorrow it's New Year's Eve, and I have a big date with the White Man's Overbite pretty dang soon!