I think that every time I went to write a blog post in September, I got distracted by the desire to post representative photos and the immense time suck of looking through my representative photos, of which there have been many. I mostly spent the month of September (2022), playing with dogs in beautiful places and cooking dazzling food.

That might have meant plenty of blog posts — I like writing about both dogs and food, since cute dog stories and recipes are dear to my heart — but I didn’t, because I was doing other things. Art things, photography things, dog things, food things… not writing things. So it goes. But so many beautiful photos! We played at dog parks, beaches, our local community center, a nearby field… my arm was often sore from throwing balls, but the dogs are good and happy and well-exercised dogs, which was the goal.

In the first week of October, the other things also included an incredibly nice trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. This trip was one Suzanne has been wanting to take for a long time and we’d planned it well before she broke her ankle. I mention that because honestly, traveling with a broken ankle that you are not allowed to put weight on, is… well, it has its challenges. She’d been hoping all along that her healing would be so miraculous that she’d be off crutches before the trip rolled around and I kept my mouth closed about thinking that unrealistic, because sure, it could happen.

It didn’t. She was on crutches. She was also very herself about it, which meant no whining, even when she was getting blisters on her hands from bearing her own weight on them with every step, as well as optimistically attempting to do ALL the things, sensible or not. Her cheerful “I can make it!” was often met by my own, “OR — we could catch a cab,” and, “OR — we could stop here,” and sometimes met by my own pessimistic, “How?” So instead of doing ALL the things, per our usual approach, we did a solid number of the things.

We went on a gastronomic walking tour of the local Oaxacan markets that included three different markets and SOOO much food; went to a Zapotec village, where we learned to make chocolate, visited a shoe factory and an artisan mezcal distillery; did a day tour that included visits to an immense tree, a place making handmade rugs with natural dyes and threads, some ruins, and another market; took a two-hour tour of the botanic gardens; and spent plenty of time wandering around Oaxaca. Honestly, any of these things deserves a full blog post of its own, because they were all great, especially the Zapotec village, but I’m being realistic — if I don’t sum it up, I’ll never get this blog post written.

We also ate some fantastic food. Oaxaca is clearly foodie paradise right now. One of our meals — the one I posted on Instagram, so you can see it in the sidebar — ranks in my top ten list of meals anywhere, ever. I’m not sure how high it is on the list, because I’m not sure what exactly beats it. Not much, because it was fantastic. Another meal was an omakase (chosen by the chef) menu at a reservation-only, six seat, Oaxacan-style sushi restaurant. That’s the kind of thing that would ordinarily feel way out of my price range, but not so much in Oaxaca. (With beverages and tip, it cost 2600 pesos, or about $130 for two people.) It was also extremely good, although I think some of the courses came closer to “interesting” than “delicious.” Not on the bad side of interesting, though, just not something I’d go out of my way to eat a second time.

The weather was perfect; the company, which included Suzanne’s stepson and grandson, was great; and every day Suzanne’s friend Jen sent us pictures of the dogs having fun at Woof Camp, aka having adventures with her two dogs. It was really just an ideal vacation. Well, apart from the crutches, and our return home, during which our plane, instead of landing, rather abruptly returned to the sky and then returned to San Francisco, the pilot having decided upon arriving in Arcata that the fog was too thick for landing. We wound up spending the remainder of the night in a hotel and then renting a car the next day and driving back to Arcata. I spent a lot of the drive reminding myself to appreciate the fact that 101 North is an incredibly pretty highway and that people actually travel hundreds if not thousands of miles to enjoy our redwoods. Vacation extension, not vacation annoyance, right?

And now… a dangerous temptation looms, ie looking for the ideal photo to accompany this blog post. Or, you know, the ideal ten photos. Or twenty.

A Oaxacan street with flags overhead

My favorite street in Oaxaca.

a list of ice cream flavors

A list of ice cream flavors. Someday, I’d like to go back and try them all, but I think over the course of the week, I tasted ten different flavors, so I’m off to a good start.