May 8 - May 10, 2014
The entire timeline of our trip was anchored on being in Prescott, AZ on May 9, 2014 - the day of my Nana's 75th birthday. My Nana is the sweetest, petite-est, most adorable woman you could ever hope to know. She is so full of love and exudes pure joy, even just hearing her happy voice over the phone is enough to make you smile with your whole being. She is my Mom's Mom, which is why my Mom is such a sweetheart, and I can only hope for that sweetness and joy and love to trickle down to me and shine through me as brightly when I reach my 75th birthday.
Family is everything.
Over the past few years, my Nana has become ill and is homebound for the most part. She was diagnosed with double emphysema a couple years ago and is forced to rely on an oxygen tank that is heavy and hard to move around. Luckily, she is married to a man just as sweet as she, my Papa. He's not my real grandpa but he is pretty darn close. She found herself a true gem and they have happily grown old together. He is there for her in every way, everyday, assisting her, making her giggle and smile, still flirting with her, and just being there as a calm presence day in and day out. We appreciate you Papa!!!
This year's birthday was a very important one, as she reached 75 years of life. That's 3/4 of a century!!! How amazing is that?! And she's still smiling and laughing and loving life as much as she can. I was planning on flying out to see her for her big day, but with our trip, it made more sense to swing by on our way out west. That way she could meet the love of my life, too! Brad & I arrived late on May 8 to find my Nana, Papa, Uncle Bill (my Mom's brother) & his girlfriend Rose chatting around the kitchen table. It meant so much to me that they all finally got to meet Brad, whom they'd only heard stories of. After my Nana & Papa went to bed that evening, I busted out all my birthday decorations I had picked up on the way and totally decked out her house for her to wake up to.
We woke the next morning and Nana was pleasantly surprised and couldn't get over her newly decorated pad. She especially like the Birthday Princess Sash. We enjoyed a cup of coffee and went through her box of 75 gifts my family & I put together for her birthday, which included pictures and trinkets and little love letters from each of us. We had a great time catching up and I'm so glad she and Brad got a chance to get to know each other. Not too glad that Brad got to see all my awkward childhood photos, but hey, he still loves me so I guess it's cool. Nana seemed happier than ever that day and I felt so happy, too, to be able to share such a special day with her.
When my Nana laid down for her afternoon snooze, Brad & I set out to explore Prescott! Prescott is a beautiful haven tucked in the mountains, away from the desert heat and nice and cool at an elevation around 4,000 ft. I never thought I'd like AZ before visiting it, but it's true that you can't judge a book by it's cover. Last Thanksgiving when I visited my Nana in AZ for the first time, I traveled to a town North of Prescott called Williams, and took the Grand Canyon Express to see the big hole in the Earth everyone talks about! Once again, I wasn't super stoked, but WOW. What an experience just being there, on the edge of such a great expanse. It is WAY COOLER than I ever expected it would be, and I was actually a little disappointed I couldn't explore more. I 100% want to go back one day and hike down to the base, or back up, or both! The colors of the boulders are beautiful and earthy and out of this world, and my experience there was so magical for so many reasons. (I'll have to blog about that one at some point in the future.)
I took Brad to the Dalles, a cool neighborhood in the valley my Nana's house looks out over, where the houses are literally built in to the big boulders. Brad loved the hood and wanted to climb the boulders but knowing there were snakes and critters hidden everywhere, I told him he was on his own. From there we explored the hills of Prescott that are home to some awesomely unique houses, a very cozy, homey place to live.
We headed to Downtown Prescott and bopped around Whiskey Row, the main strip. Downtown is like straight out of a cowboy movie. My favorite part, though, was the Ian Russel Gallery of Fine Art. Coolest gallery I've ever been to! Very Salvadore Dali, cowboy-esque, with scrap metal sculptures, one-of-a-kind art, and beautifully crafted jewelry--an enchanted escape from all the other bars and shops along Whiskey Row. Brad even bought me a beautiful, Opal ring he saw me drooling over that is currently my most prized possession. :)
The Ian Russel Art Gallery in Downtown Prescott:
Stopped in a little Tibetan shop and picked up the book, Living the Bhagavad Gita by Ram Dass, and flipped straight to this page.
It really spoke to me in that moment, exciting me for the long open, roads of freedom that were ahead of me, so I had to buy it. I began reading it as soon as we made our way through, yet, one more desert from AZ to CA, and I learned that he wrote the book while studying the Bhagavad Gita in a silver bullet in the middle of the same desert. How interesting, that I was right where he began his own journey!! Such wonderful words of an interestingly quirky man and his lovely take on the timeless treasure that is the Bhagavad Gita. I highly recommend it if this is your type of read! I will forever love and cherish my Ram Dass and all he has taught me and brought me through in this life.
We headed back to my Nana's house and hung on her back patio and talked story until we went to get take-out for everyone from Olive Garden, Nana's choice. We enjoyed a nice dinner and talked and laughed late in to the night, before saying our goodbyes in anticipation of our early departure the following day. The visit may have been short, but it sure was sweet--filled with moments that I will look back on and appreciate more than I do even now.
From there we would set out on the last leg of our journey West, headed to celebrate LIFE with some great friends and family in the classy city of San Diego, CA.
Stay tuned friends.
Birdy says Hi.
xoxo, Tent Girl