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Four day weekend

Steve and I went to Arizona. seki_raku checked in on Ivan and Lalat, and they didn't set the house on fire while we were gone.

We drove out to Phoenix first, and spent Thanksgiving Day itself with our friend Steve. (Collectively, we are Steves, Inc., a subsidiary of Evil Corporation.) Steve taught Steve how to roast a turkey and I made a potato casserole from a recipe found on the Southern Kitchen Witch blog. It was sliced potatoes, a layer of onions, roast garlic and bacon cooked in butter, more 'taters, then smoked mozzarella on top. It was divine. We watched "Iron Sky" while the turkey was cooking (Moon Nazis!) and the Redskins/Cowboys game while we ate. The Redskins almost pulled defeat from the jaws of victory, but managed one last touchdown to win the game 38-31.

We'd stuffed ourselves on Gingerbread Oreos, which are dangerous-good.

Except for a trip to favourite used-media store Bookmans and a necessary voyage into Bass Pro Shop to buy ammunition, we avoided the stores as planned. We were with Steve's nephew Don, who is my age since Steve's parents were in their 40s and 50s when Steve was born. We went to go see some Native American ruins and ended the evening by visiting Steve's niece Dorsey and her family. They're funny, kind, salt of the earth types.

Thing is, I'm not a fan of Phoenix. It has the worst urban sprawl I've ever seen and just about everything is McMansions and big-box stores. On Saturday morning, Steve and I drove to the Tuscon area to see his buddy Karl. Karl and his wife live on four acres of land with two wolf-hybrid dogs. Karl also runs an action gun range. So we headed out into the desert with a bunch of targets, my AR-15 and a whole bunch of machine guns, which are legal in Arizona. Karl gave me a bunch of pointers on my marksmanship, plus he noticed that I have a weird habit of anticipating recoil that just doesn't happen with an AR-15 so I don't know why I do it.

After a couple of hours of that, we picked up Karl's wife and went into Tucson. We had a terrific Mexican lunch, then went to the Folk Instrument store where I wanted to buy just about everything. Hammer dulcimer? Yes, please. Mountain dulcimer? Yup! There were bodhrans, djembes, a LUTE for heaven's sake, and a room full of harps. I bonded with a restored Clarke with beautiful, beautiful Celtic knotwork painted on it, but its sweet sound could not make up for its $2,000 price tag.

After that was Bookmans again, and there are three in Tuscon.

We went home for steak grilled on mesquite and hanging out with Karl's and Dawn's friends from the remote area where they live.

Tuscon also has Tombstone two hours away, several ghost towns, a rich religious tradition that is a syncretism of Spanish Catholicism and the native O'odham beliefs and a feeling of still being the frontier. Since it's not Arpaiostan, I saw a lot more Mexicans and native people than I ever had in Phoenix. Steve and I are intrigued, and intend to return.

Home again, home again, and back to work tomorrow.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2012 01:50 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a good trip. I especially liked the sound of that potato casserole. And I like Phoenix for the handful of friends I have living in the area (oh and the fabulous Mexican food!)
Nov. 27th, 2012 12:17 am (UTC)
Sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving vacation
Nov. 27th, 2012 06:24 am (UTC)
I went to middle and high school in Tucson, and it's a charming place - a pleasant mix of holdover hippies and college students, and a culture that prides itself in being Not Phoenix. The traffic is mind-bogglingly bad (it's too big a city for as few freeways as it has), but I always thought of it as a great place to be an adult in.

Bookman's is one of the very few things I miss about Arizona.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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