Sunday, November 22, 2015

In the Closet

It's been a strange "winter getaway" this year.  I've kind of been numb over all the events that happened in the weeks before we left.  Thank goodness for the wedding, it was the only event that gave us any warning ahead of time and the only one that goes without saying, was happy.  I was best person and witnessed a good friend marry the woman of her dreams.  It was the perfect remedy for the two funerals that bracketed the "wedding of the year," as was the vacation that followed.  It's the vacation that I've already blogged about in earlier posts.  But here's the inside scoop on our Arizona vacation.

Arizona was a trip we made the last few years to escape at least some of the early months of wind,
cold and snow, that chilly fall "slide into" winter.  It's a time when it seems that even the furnace can't keep the damp away.   Although we would have loved to explore further afield, our trusty Irish Terrier was beginning to show signs of age and really wouldn't have done well in a kennel.  So instead he rode in luxury with the backseat raised and thick padding on the floor where he could snooze between rest stops.  With his travel bag beside him and content from the inevitable treat he received from the customs officer as we crossed the border, he was settled in for the trip.  It worked out well, we got our vacation and he got to come along.  In fact, we'd expected that he would travel with us again this year but we found out a few weeks before departure that that wasn't to be.  So we're missing our little Irish this year.

Meantime, we're halfway through our time in Arizona and the house we're staying in is feeling a bit like home - a home away from home.  But it only has two bedrooms and no den so when a friend came to visit, the spare bedroom I was using for office space was no more and I moved - literally, into the closet.  Fortunately it's a walk in closet off the master bedroom.  Unfortunately, its proximity is right next door to the bathroom and adjacent to the shower.  Not exactly plush surroundings as my laptop must be slid just so under the lower bar normally meant to hang clothes and I have to push the chair back carefully to miss my half open suitcase.  Yes, I've been here a month and still I haven't completely unpacked.  But in another month we'll be heading home, so now I call my state of unpacking, a time saving measure.  

Now the spare bedroom is again free but I'm beginning to like my time in the closet.  Maybe I'll stay for another week or two, or three.

Where do you do your best work?


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Through the Looking Glass

I've never had to seek out dental care out of country before but this time a broken tooth left me no choice.  I discovered that in Arizona dental prices vary wildly, in fact one quote was twice the price of where I finally got the work done.  So, after saving all that money I decided to cash in on their teeth whitening deal.  Yes, there are the week's deals painted on the window - something you'd never see at home because there are no deals.  Now, my smile is whiter, I've seen three episodes of Storage Wars, whether I wanted to or not, and I've survived another trip to the dentist.  

Later in the week, while at a shop trying to mail the last contest prize to the winner in England I ran into a few small problems.  I should have known right off that there would be trouble from the fact that the clerk greeted me with a pained expression and clearly had better things on her mind than anything I might propose.  So it began, first it was the gel pen that smeared on the envelope's plastic surface.  I asked for a label to cover the smeared address and the clerk stuck her finger on the address and smeared some more, I assume to ensure my claim that it needed a new label at all was valid.  Sigh.  It took a few more minutes, despite looking at the label a few times and my asking for overseas prices to get this to London, for her to realize that the package was going to England.  That caused a lengthy discussion with her co-worker, a massive amount of typing and various pained expressions before she determined that sending a small envelope holding one paperback book to England would cost a little less than one hundred dollars.  At that point there was the distinct feeling that Alice and the looking glass might be standing beside me.  So, twenty minutes later with mailing my package a failed mission, and biting my tongue down to a fine art - I left with plans to visit the United States post office on Monday.  From what I found online, their rates are more in the realm of reason.

So enough of dentists and over-priced postal options, it was off to golf at a local course in Gilbert .  It's an easy course but an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.  The only ones rushed are the ducks and other birds, and even they don't put too much effort into getting off the green and back to the water as we approach.  

After golf we stopped for something to eat at Uncle Bear's.  Uncle Bear was, so the story goes, a dog.  And the walls in this casual chain restaurant are papered with dog pictures.  Which is fine, I love dogs.  However, having just lost my beautiful Rourke what I wasn't prepared for was not the wall of pictures of dogs but what was in the middle, a picture of a pet cemetery.  Then I noticed that some of the dog pictures had RIP's and dates.  I was looking at a dog graveyard!  Needless to say, I ate with eyes fixed on anything but that wall.  What are the odds - and, really... who came up with that idea for a restaurant?

But what's really defined this week are the scorpions.  Two of them so far - one at the beginning of the week that wasn't much bigger than a centipede, a Canadian centipede anyway - and the second just yesterday.  Both met a squashy end but I'm beginning to shake shoes out and put them on every time I head outside.  No more, barefoot into the garage and, call me paranoid, but they're nasty and I'm not taking the trash to the bin at night either.  

Travel is always an adventure, nothing is what you expect and that's the fun of it all.  Better yet, it looks like it's going to be a nice day here in the San Tan Valley. 

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.



Sunday, November 1, 2015

I Almost Went On a Hike

The other day we headed out of the city and toward Arizona's Superstition Mountains and possibly a trail or two.  No, we weren't going hiking although I've made noises about doing that one day but dressed in a sundress and sandals isn't exactly in the smart hikers guide.  I suspect that guide might also state that you people who live in cities far away from desert terrain should stay well on the path.  But fortunately, there's a lot of well-marked path, enough to walk a quite a way up the trail - some of it is even concrete and blends into the reddish hue of the desert like it was as natural as the rock and sand around it.  I can't help but think as I'm surrounded by the harsh beauty of the Superstition mountains, how easy it is for hikers to lose their way and even their lives in this range.

It's a wildly beautiful place.  It's here where the legend of the lost Dutchman gold mine comes from and where people still come to search for the wealth it promises.  It's awesome hiking terrain but no place for the amateur or the unprepared.  So I'm sticking to the path but next time, I think I might come a little more prepared and try hiking some of those easier trails.

There's a little place here called the Superstition Mountain Museum and I've probably blogged about it on previous posts last year or maybe the year before.  But it's well worth at least one stop, to get a feel for the area and it's history and explore the gift shop with a plethora of local authors writing on the stories that emerge from the stark beauty of the mountains that surround them.  When nature tires you, although I'm not sure how it could, there's all sorts of jewellery and local handicrafts.

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