So what have I been up to for the last couple weeks?
I got my six pager done for the You Ain’t No Dancer anthology. I think it’s supposed to be out for SPX in September.
Eleanor got an incredible infection in the tip of her nose, which caused it to swell up to a massive, clown-like size and color. I took her to the hospital where she was treated to posterior-type injections of antibiotics. Here’s a photo:
We then took a week-long trip to Tucson, Arizona and I met Eleanor’s parents. I’d never been that far west before, so the terrain was incredibly surreal to me. For the first part of the trip, we headed up to the Davises’ cabin in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere. I gawked at the immense piles of seemingly off-balance rocks that were just about everywhere. We hiked around in the woods and gulches, and poked our heads into a long-abandoned mine. I got stuck by a cactus once (one of the most alien things about Arizona is how incredibly prickly everything is… there’s almost no plant there without a liberal coating of thorns or spines.)
Eleanor and I, poking around
in Cave Creek near Portal.
Click for the big picture.
At night we built a bonfire and roasted marshmallows, and Eleanor’s dad broke out his telescope and showed us Saturn and Jupiter. On a small mountain in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, there were more stars than you’d think possible in the sky.
The next day we piled into Mr. Davis’s Isuzu Trooper. We took a dirt road through some prairie, and followed it up a rocky, wooded hillside. Partway up we stopped, and trekked up a little stream beside the road. The stream gradually cut its way into a thirty foot deep canyon, culminating in a beautiful little waterfall.
From top to bottom,
that’s me, Eleanor, Eleanor’s mom,
and Eleanor’s sister Leta.
Back in the Trooper, we continued up, as the road became progressively less road-like. At times we went at about a 45˚ angle, hanging over a steep drop-off. Mr. Davis seemed mightily pleased by our apprehension. At the top of the mountain we stopped, and poked about around in the foundations of what was apparently a large house that had been built in the thirties, and then demolished not long after. The builders had been pretty ambitious, as there was a run-down apple orchard at one end of the field, and an empty swimming pool. All on top of a mountain, miles from even the tiniest town.
That’s the apple orchard
in the midground.
There was a ravine nearby into which somebody had pushed an old car. There were a lot of 30’s era appliances tossed down there as well.
Eleanor and I looking at the car.
Afterwards we headed back down off the mountain, where Elo’s dad showed us an unusual sight. Stopping in the middle of the prairie, we walked up a dirt path. Near the top of a little rise, there was a gravestone.
July 26 1903
Apparently there had been a spat over a woman, and Frank’s rival had lain in wait for him on this trail. When Frank came up the hill, the rival shot him from his horse. Later he was buried where he had fallen.
The view from the top of the rise,
with the Davises’ dog Crispin.
The next week or so was busy. Eleanor and I biked all over Tucson, visiting her childhood haunts. We visited the school she went to, where her parents both teach. We drove out to San Xavier Mission, an immense adobe church built in the 1700s. We hiked a couple miles down a wash. We went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. We spent one afternoon with Eleanor’s parents by clambering down a concrete embankment and looking around the effluent stream, where all the waste water of Tucson is treated.
Here’s me by the effluent stream,
for anyone who wanted to see
my newly acquired beard.
When we weren’t outdoors, we were at Eleanor’s house, going through their family’s huge collection of comics. And Eleanor’s parents took us out to a lot of nice restaurants. After (mostly) getting over my initial nervousness around Eleanor’s parents, I had an amazing time.
Since we’ve gotten back, I’ve working pretty hard on getting some comics done, some of which I should be posting soon.