Finally, I return. How were the holidays for you?

Because too much information is already floating around the Internet, I kept a low profile on our being away for two weeks. We went to Phoenix and spent a wonderful Christmas with his family, then we spent a week touring the desert south of Tucson. At one point, we were six miles from Mexico. It was easy to tell – the border patrol force outnumbered the people we saw five-to-one. They were pleasant, but everywhere.

In fact, I was shocked at just how nice everyone in Phoenix really is. I heard “arguments” between clerks and customers that ended with apologies for the stress – from both participants. Everyone engaged, smiled, and treated us with respect and plenty of interaction. I’ve heard of this magical land before, where people perform their jobs or meet you on the street with a greeting and a big smile. It’s true – it exists.

We spent a few nights in Aravaipa Canyon, which provided a gorgeous albeit wet hike through the canyon. The trails aren’t really trails, so we had to hike in and around the stream. After my feet numbed to my hips (the water was cold), we just took to walking in the water the entire time. It was a good hike – we guessed close to 8 miles – and it took us about 6 hours.

The real treat there, beyond the hike, was where we stayed. Across the Creek at Aravaipa Farms turned out to be more memorable than the rest of the trip. The proprietor, Carol Steele, a well-known chef in Phoenix, gathers people to her table like moths to a flame. Because the place is so remote, we had three meals at the B&B. Breakfast is yours to pull out of your mini fridge in your room, which is a “casita” built in an old barn building. Lunch is a picnic basket brought to your door, but dinner is the real treat. Carol cooks up a fabulous meal and all the guests gather round to enjoy the food and the wine. Her penchant for talking politics makes for some spirited discussions, but on our last night there, we were treated with a rendition of O Holy Night by singer Alice Tatum, a Phoenix legend and a long-time friend of Carol’s. Also on hand was Ted, who was a quiet, convivial man. Turns out Ted is Ted Nuttall, a renowned watercolor artist who invited us to see his works in progress at his casita.

From there we headed down to Bisbee, where our first encounter with the locals was to pick up a hitchhiker. Turns out he’s the self-proclaimed “town hermit” and in an odd twist, needed to get to the library to check his email. Ironic that a hermit would be so communicative, but Bisbee turned out to be that quirky from every direction. We spent New Year’s Eve in Bisbee, which was supposed to be a huge deal according to the other B&B guests who had come there for years. However, someone forgot to tell the town – or maybe they did and the entire town decided to be contradictory. Little was going on, so to avoid the cold and eventual disappointment, we headed home after a late dinner at a great vegan restaurant and were in bed when the fireworks went off.

After Bisbee came a little B&B west of Tucson that was the most interesting. The entire house had been built of strawbales and covered in stucco. The owner, an organized, thoughtful woman who worked at the desert museum, had designed it and assisted in the building of it. It’s won awards for the most eco-friendly B&B in Arizona.

Along the way, we saw great sights, visited parks that had some snow in them, watched birds (I reached my bird saturation point somewhere before the last B&B), and experienced some beautiful walks and attractions. We returned to his mom’s house spent and ready to come home. Then I saw the weather report. Bye-bye mid-70s. Hello mid-20s.

Now back to work. I checked email just a few times and I saw a client has rejected my invoice, so I’m jumping in with both feet today to get that sorted. Nothing like an empty bank account to get the blood pumping again.

How were your holidays?

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  • Paula January 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Welcome back, Lori!

    My holidays were good – first time in years I didn't wind up with a cold or flu for New Year's Eve. My cousins hosted Christmas in Madison, and at one point almost everyone (other than me and one cousin) were on there iPads, iPhones and video games. I think the only reason the remaining cousin wasn't glued to one of her devices was so I wouldn't feel left out, LOL. It made me realize why no one ever seems to want to hang out at my house – I don't have video games, a big-screen TV or wireless service, so they couldn't play with half their toys. Here we might have to play {shudder} old-fashioned board games. (Personally, I'd quite enjoy that.)

    One little extra I always give my brother is a big loaf of homemade cinnamon bread (unguarded, he could eat the entire loaf at once). My s-i-l said the next day when my brother and their 7-year old daughter were having some cinnamon bread, my niece took a bite and said, "Auntie Paula's the best!" Hearing that may well be my favorite gift of the season! (Although Tunisian crochet hooks and crackle nail polish are pretty cool, too!)

  • Nikki January 7, 2012 at 4:09 am

    I was worried we'd have a quarantined home for the holidays but thankfully the germs left all the kids as fast as they came and I managed to get away germ free as well! So thankfully, I can sum up my holidays in two words; pleasantly uneventful. Well, except for the fact that my brother and his wife finally came home for good (he had been stationed in WA state in the Army and his duty had finally ended… what a blessing to see him and hug him!) There were lots of laughs, we still missed my other brother who lives in Texas but we all communicated via texting and phone LOL.

    I worked on some personal projects and made the decision to become an LLC this year and expand my business. I wrote for myself (some story ideas that needed spilling out), I did some knitting and watched the kids disappear to their prospective corners with new gadgets, books, and games. The day after Christmas is always my favorite because it's usually the quietest. And I took a much needed break from blogging other than what was needed for work.
    It was one of the more relaxing and stress free holidays I've had in years… though I was still glad to see the kids return to school this week.

    Your holiday sounded absolutely heavenly and relaxing! I'm a little jealous we didn't get away but I'm hoping to do that in a month for my anniversary so I'll just be patient!