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Monday, January 16, 2017

2 Years Today

They say time heals all wounds and makes grief easier. I would mostly agree. When my pop passed away, I was stuck in a loop of wanting time to stop and praying for a fast-forward. There is something about missing someone, and mourning their absence, where you'd rather be in anguish because you feel closer to them somehow. As long as you're terribly hurting they're still there. Looking back now I realize that must be a coping mechanism. A spiritual way our minds coordinate with our hearts the immense task to keep going and be strong again. I still feel heavily emotional when talking about my dad. I don't like to talk about cancer or hospitals. I don't like recalling the last year with him. Although it's hard to look at pictures, he's still my phone background.

Instead of focusing on the pain and sorrow associated with his absence, I try to share how funny he was, his mannerisms or his ridiculously-silly sayings (that never made sense but still seemed to make perfect sense). I find peace in knowing he'd be proud that I went back to school. I know he would be curious about Arizona and my life here. Most of all, he would have really liked Jesse. My pop was the bravest, kindest, funniest person I have ever known. And I miss him and love him, 2 years more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Weekend Away: Northern Arizona

One of the best things about my move to Arizona is all the wonderful weekend trips we've gone on. We are so lucky to live in a state with so many amazing nearby destinations worth camping, hiking, and biking in. We are a few hours away from so many awesome places in every direction. This past Thanksgiving holiday weekend we packed up the Subaru and headed north to Sedona. The beautiful red rocks are a gorgeous sight and the city doesn't seem to have a bad view. Upon arriving, we stopped to stretch our legs and hiked a bit. 

Once the sun started to set we found a nice campsite where we set up shop and prepared dinner but most-importantly, s'mores. I was waiting for coyote or raccoons that never came, but I did spy a javelina (looks like a pig, not a pig at all). I spooked it almost immediately, out of sheer excitement. Hence, no photo proof. The sunset that evening was phenomenal and no photo that I took captured even a 10th of how incredible it was in reality.

The next morning we woke to temperatures in the 30s and dressed accordingly: layers on layers, repeat. Raffie was not amused.

The national forest that we camped in was expansive, layered with hills, huge glorious skies, and quite peaceful. It was nice to have a chunk of land to ourselves. There was not another campsite near us so we felt secluded, which is hard to feel when camping in a popular spot. 

We took a drive to Crescent Moon, Sedona and also to Red Rock Crossing. Due to the inclement weather everything was grey and foggy, but it didn't ruin anything for us. It was kind of eerie at times, but we stayed in awe. It was beautiful and magnificent. 

We stayed the night in downtown Sedona and woke to the most amazing snow-capped mountains. The contrast of red rock and fresh white snow was gorgeous. 

Once we took in the Sedona winter morning, we headed to Flagstaff, where it was a wonderland of snow. One of my favorite drives is through Oak Creek Canyon and this time certainly didn't disappoint. There was snow covering everything. We actually ended up with headaches from the glare, but somehow managed to soak it all up. We couldn't get over how magical and dreamy it was. 

I made Raffie a dog-snowman. She was unimpressed, as usual.

Our drive around the outskirts of Flagstaff found us in a snow storm at times, but it was awesome. Thank goodness for a smart driver and a 4-wheel-drive Subaru. It could have been precarious at times.

Our drive back into Tucson seemed long, as we were restless, cold, and pretty tired. But right out of Phoenix, as the sun was setting, we saw a hot air balloon. I thought that was cute and hadn't seen one in real life before. It was a sweet way to end a lovely, albeit cold, weekend away. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Into the Woods

Weekends for some means lounging around, watching television. Not for us! We love to pack up the Forester and head into the mountains. We are so fortunate to have a beautiful range right at our backdoor and take full advantage of being so close. This past weekend we went to Mt. Lemmon, here in beautiful southern Arizona. We took Raffie, the dog, and Scrabble, the board-game. It was so nice to be in the crisp fall air. I cherish our days outside. 

We found a great, flat spot to play Scrabble in the woods of a ridge looking out to this beautiful sight.

Jesse found 'seats' for us to perch on and then it got intense, as Scrabble always does with us. I might be competitive; the verdict is still out. Just kidding, it's not and I am.

We played almost a full game until it was decided that we were too cold and also tired of Raffie trying to run away.

There had been a planned 'control burn' a few days prior and there were many smoldering spots still warm in the woods. It was eerie, but beautiful. 

On the ride home someone showed just how exhausted she was by choosing the prime spot to snooze. 

I hope others take advantage of getting outside- like we do. It's such a refreshing way to boost the spirit and quiet the mind. Happy hiking!

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Desert Paints Itself

It doesn't take much to find unique in Tucson. I feel like every where I look there in something visually-appealing. It's easy to spot if you're looking. The cactus are amazing and everywhere. The houses are strange and often vibrant. People are not afraid of color here, that's for sure. Grass yards aren't popular, for obvious reason, so variations of cacti, succulents, and aloes fill yards, creating another kind of landscape. The boy and I like to ride around on our bikes, viewing yards and plant selections. I especially like those with an overgrown, unmaintained look. It's lush, wild, and secretive. 

 "Cactus Makes Perfect"

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dia de Los Muertos

This beautifully-spirited day has always been a favorite. I find it to be an interesting tradition rooted in the honor and reverence of living, learning from those who have passed on. Though presented as colorful spectacle I hope those viewing, as well as participating in costume, remember the intention is to respect and remember.

I found this touching video a few years ago and just have to share it again. So sweet.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Texture in Tucson.

If there was a word to describe how I see Tucson it would be 'textural'. Whether it's in the splendid skies, or hidden in the landscape, adorned in the architecture of the buildings, or the houses-decades old; it's everywhere. There's color and contrast all over this place and I'm constantly in awe and looking for more.

The skies paint themselves in an extraordinary way, especially when it rains.

For just a short time the Prickly Pear fruits turn a vibrant pink before darkening red for fall.

These trees are among some of my favorites. 

Tentacles in the clouds.

These spotted cactus are wonderful and I always say they'd make great wallpaper.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

St. Vincent

Tonight, I 'Netflix and chilled' with St. Vincent. Bill Murray plays a curmudgeon with a heart of gold. Can it get much better than that? No. The film had poignant moments-heartbreaking and genuine. The cast was wonderful and the writing was pretty damn good. At one point, after losing his wife, Murray's character is told "I'm sorry for your loss" to which he replies, "Never understood why people say about what was she like? Do you miss her? What are you going to do now?" That resonated with me so much because it's so true. People tend to be so closed off and awkward when asking of loved one who have passed away. I wish people had the courage to ask difficult questions and receive heavy answers. Pleasantry is usually the easily approach, it seems. This film was underrated and should be seen. It tells a lovely message that kindness is so much more than on the surface and books should't be judged by covers alone. They might be tattered for a good reason. Oh the depth- I had to share.

Go watch it now.