Southeastern Arizona has a burgeoning wine culture that is driving tourists to visit. We were among them last month when we visited the region for five days. With wineries and hikes in mind, we rented a home on AirBNB and headed the 2 hours and 45 minutes south from Phoenix. The house was beyond what we needed, and a deal at $100 a night:
What we should have done was stop in Tucson for a late lunch, or big dinner. While the vistas in this region do not disappoint, the lack of dining does. This is my only complaint. There is a decent steakhouse in Sonoita, and a pizzeria in Patagonia. Both are worth a visit. Otherwise, next time we’ll stock up on groceries and plan more meals at home.
I sat on this porch in the mornings, reading and sipping coffee, wrapped in a blanket. The home we stayed in was surrounded by others that had farm animals. So, there were chickens in one direction and a braying donkey down the road. It was so quiet, one morning I heard a large raven flying overhead and looked up to realize I was actually hearing the wind go through the bird’s wings. That kind of quiet.
We did make it to a couple of the wineries. My favorite was the Dos Cabeza’s rose, although I really enjoyed the Flying Leap rose too. Jason’s favorite was the Flying Leap sangiovese.
Other worthwhile adventures when visiting this region:
Kartchner Caverns — no photography is allowed, but the cave tour is a must. It is such a strange, magical place.
Bisbee: this artsy mining town is full of color and character. Jason had never been, so it was fun to play tour guide and wander together. Bisbee is great for thrift stores, art galleries, the mine tour and wandering. It is home to the 1000 steps climb each October and you’ll find lots of narrow stairways in town.
If you make it to Bisbee, visit Jimmy’s. It is a hot dog shop (if that wasn’t obvious) and is excellent. A family-owned restaurant with a ton of character and great food.
We also visited Tombstone, Sierra Vista, and Nogales. My favorite adventure was to the Empire Ranch.
It is a great place for a long walk and wander. This former ranch has been preserved and the surrounding areas are being used by biologists for animal and plant conservation. Loved it!
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Oh, hello dear blog. I’ve neglected you long enough. There have been a bevy of excuses: the wedding, the exorbitant amount of time I am now spending commuting, family life, publishing.
Basket Baby is being published, and I’ll have a signing at Changing Hands in Tempe. (7 pm, December 9th. Come one, come all. Bring your holiday shopping list — this bookstore doesn’t disappoint.)
There are other reasons too, namely that the older I get, the less I need to share. Also, there are roughly a dozen other ways I now keep up with friends and family that weren’t around — or I wasn’t using — at the inception of blogging. Most of the friends I’ve made through blogging have called it off, instead posting to Instagram or Facebook.
There is still a place in my life for keeping up this journal, albeit less about the daily happenings in our household and more about what’s going on professionally.
This week, I’m re-reading Basket Baby and coming up with a passionate passage for the book signing. I’m also writing the first draft of the next novel, Counting Coup. I’m on chapter 24 and I haven’t written a word in more than a month. This is an oddly terrifying place to be as a novelist. I put the project down when wedding and honeymoon plans and activities took over, whispering to Creativity I’d be back.
Now, Creativity (and Inspiration) both feel ignored — and rightly so. We’re courting. I’m hoping to have the project back on track this week, depending on how stubborn they are. My goal is to have the first draft done by the time of the book signing. I’ve got a solid idea for the next novel (Draper Drive is the working title) and I am eager to get started.
One of my greatest motivators at the moment is sitting in traffic behind vehicles with “Make America Great Again!” bumper stickers. An hour to work, and hour home, I sit in a cloud of pollution, flipping through radio programs and dreaming of a home office where instead, I write. Dogs rest at my feet. I switch up a cup of coffee for an afternoon glass of rose and listen to classical music while the words pour out onto the page. My nails are manicured. The garden is weeded. Dinner is cooking downstairs. The housekeeper is managing laundry and taking out the recycling.
Yes. The pollution might be getting to me.
I have a feeling the next four years are going to see a brilliant surge of art in America. For no other reason, this may make America a bit better.
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- Good to Great
Oh, dear blog. You have not been forgotten, although you have certainly been neglected lately. I’d apologize, but I have good reason. I was planning a wedding and a honeymoon and over-thinking everything.
We had a handful of our favorite people in one place and I have never had a better day. There were so many loved ones and we had a chance to chat and dance and toast and inhale green chile and homemade tortillas and gingersnaps with all of them. It was an overplanned, anxiously executed dream come true.
There were lots of great handmade details that were important to our big day. I made 100 jars of marmalade as the favors, painted the cake toppers and stitched the ring pillow. The invitations were handmade and printed on vintage handkerchiefs. My mom sewed a bow tie for Nelson and made our chuppah — which was a wedding ring pattern I love. A girlfriend’s mom made my bouquet and the boutonnieres. We had friends recite poetry and help read a blessing. My grandmother’s begonia was tucked in my bouquet, and I wore her sparkly necklace that I’ve adored since I was a girl. Another girlfriend’s mom made our guest book. Others brought cookies for the dessert table. I baked a small cake.
I’ll post more photos as I can about our special day, but here are few for now:
More to come. In the meantime, I’ll be writing thank you cards, which I hope to finish before Christmas. And moming, which makes my heart so happy and full, my cheeks hurt.
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- Celebrate!, Family