10 November 2010

All Souls Procession...Tucson Arizona 2010

Well hello there!

I'm sure with the silence for the past couple of days, and you knowing that I went to Tucson's Day of the Dead Procession, you were probably wondering if I maybe had gotten swept into the river of souls that were parading and remembering and calling attention to on Sunday?

I almost did.
The procession was a very powerful experience coming on the heels of what was a very relaxing weekend with Andrew and Angie, who accompanied me down south for the trip.  We happen to travel quite well together (although I didn't have any doubts) and I have no idea whether it's because I was traveling in Arizona, or the fact that I've been to Tucson more than several times in my life, but we were seriously chill.  It was a whole lot of meandering around, finding fantastic little coffee shops and other little boutiques...chit chatting and discovering the most wonderful food

(it's Tucson, they're serious about their Mexican food down there.  Very serious.  Also?  Megan gave us a little list of good things to check out.  She did not lead us astray.)

We stayed at the Quality Inn Flamingo Hotel which is a cute little historic hotel they've re-done very close to Fourth Ave. and UofA.  I have always wanted to stay at some sort of Flamingo Hotel after I totally blew it and didn't stay at Andy Womaks Flamingo Motor Inn when I lived in Flagstaff (it was a wonderful old Route 66 Motel, although I'm not sure if it had ever been updated, so it may have been dicey...but one should try as hard as they can to live out their dreams...yes?)

There were no flamingos at the hotel anywhere, which I'm sure they could have done with at the pool area, but I'll just bring mine from home next time.


We kind of got a bit mixed up with the schedule of what was happening the weekend of the Day of the Dead, and we probably should have stayed until Monday and then come home, but we all got a little flexible and made our weekend work for us.  Which means we got to see the Angel Procession which is in honor of all the children that have passed.

This was a smaller procession of children at a nearby park.  Also at the park there were several families with altars set up for their loved ones while they sat and looked on.  There were also performances by several schools and very talented children (a lot on stilts.  Tucson has a very large "circus" and performance culture that starts with all sorts of camps and classes for youth) there was also several places you could write the names of your own little family members and a slide show of pictures being projected onto the side of the building...which was so touching, it was hard not to cry.

I don't know any of the people in the pictures, but it was wonderful to see them all...and so very many pictures of people's animals as well.  I will think to pack waterproof mascara next time.

The night of the big procession, which is held on a Sunday (NowWeKnow) the members of Flam Chen, the amazing fire performers (who also perform a huge finale) were running around in the crowds handing out and collecting pieces of paper from people who wrote blessings, messages, or things they want to let go of, so that they may be burned at the big ending ceremony.

I have seen Flam Chen perform several times in Prescott thanks to Tsunami on the Square...but it's still very hard to miss one of their performances if you're right there...but we did have to get home and it is about a four hour drive from that very place.

We were there about an hour early to check everything out, and when the procession finally started, people crowded close to the route, and I had the feeling of standing on the river bank of a very somber and sacred flow of...well, death, love and memories.
There were a lot of people holding pictures and lit candles, floats...for the wolves that are being killed in Arizona, Water, Our AZ education system, The BP oil spill and the sea life that was lost there, Names of the children that have committed suicide from the bulling in school, various propositions that passed in AZ during the most recent election...it was absolutely amazing.

And totally profound.

I can't say that I was overstimulated or even overwhelmed.  I was just there, standing and watching it all go by trying to acknowledge all the memories and thoughts people had brought with them.

05 November 2010

Día de los Muertos...

Well once again, I'm off!
Like a shot out of a gun...here she goes.


(at some point I may actually catch up with myself)
(but really, when you have a surprise New York trip thrown smack dab in the middle of your life, and you've already planned other things it makes for some fun and busy traveling)
(which I adore)

This time I'm off on a road trip with wonderful friends to enjoy Tucson's Day of the Dead celebration, which was pushed to this weekend because of Halloween falling on the Sunday before All Saints  and All Souls Day.

I am very excited as I have always wanted to go to their celebration and I have no idea why I have never made it down there, but there you go.

And here I go!!

Although, I don't know if I'll see anybody as cute as my Prescott sweeties were for our Day of the Dead parade...The Sun and a Moon baby and a witch.

Which really is the perfect threesome if you think about it.

Have a fantastic weekend!

04 November 2010

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (only I wouldn't know that for sure, cause' I didn't get to Brooklyn. But I did see the bridge.)

A Tree Lined Street!

Dave spent a fair amount of time laughing at me because I kept exclaiming that very sentence while we walked all over The Village.  It seems kind of silly because I do happen to live in the mountains, which are surrounded by protected national forest, and I happen to care take some trees on my property (I don't figure I own them, not really) but there's something more quaint about seeing these sweet tree-lined streets with all the brownstones and beauty.


Do you hear that City Of Prescott?!
Can I have a new tree to replace the one you ripped out in front of the shop 5 years ago?!

Actually, I walked around a lot in The Village kind of amazed at the amount of decorations and flowers and pumpkins that were all around.  Not only in front of the many shops, but in front of the brownstones as well.  There they were in all their glory, with no one touching them.


You may not know about the battle of the planters/flowerpots I have had in front of Snap! Snap!, but finally gave up after having them stolen from in front of the shop, having the flowers ripped out and trailed down the street, people urinating and leaving their beer bottles and cigarette butts in them, having one of them picked up and thrown through a car window (apparently the continuation of a bar fight) and the last straw? Coming to work and finding them kicked apart while a homeless man who used to stop by and say hi and tell me how much he appreciated seeing my flowers, stood there with my shredded flowers in little containers he found at the thrift because he felt so bad (after cleaning up the entire mess with a borrowed broom from next door, all before I got to work because he knew how much I loved the flowers and he didn't want me to see this latest horror...such a sweet man.  Seriously.)  I walked by all this beauty and flowers in The Village, in the middle of Manhattan and I marveled at the beauty all around me that people chose to leave there totally intact so everyone could enjoy it.  I have no idea why people aren't vandallizing these things in a big city and why they are in our small town...but it did make me stop and wonder.

I'd love to hear your theories on the matter though...

Here is one of the mighty old fountains in The Village.  Obviously it's no longer working, but Dave said they take great pride in cleaning and restoring it.
I am totally in love with the face above the tile and can only imagine how beautiful it is when it's working.

We did take a little jaunt through Washington Square Park, which is under renovation, so Dave said they've been digging up skulls and other human remains for quite a while now.
Apparently Washington Square Park was a burial ground for mass graves at one point.

It was still very crowded though and can you believe it?  Not one person solicited me for drugs!  Last time I was there it was drug free-for-all where you could have gotten anything you wanted.*  I mean, it was a Drug Market to Washington Square as it is the famous Farmers Market to Union Square.

*I did not take anyone up on their offer of drugs, I just found it mildly amazing coming from a small town and only being 21 and whatnot.

Dave said it was probably because it was 10 am and it was a bit early for the drug dealers to be out and about on a Saturday.

And here's Dina talking on her phone in front of Tinsel Trading Co.

Let me tell you a little story.  My mother had just gotten a book on Tinsel Trading Co. or more specifically, what was in their basement.  Apparently once there was a man who was into some sort of banking in NYC who was the son of a tailor and who loved trims and notions and beautiful things.  I believe he inherited his father's shop and during his lifetime his family never stopped buying notions and trims...even if you had just a bit of something leftover from someone, he would buy it.

Well, they have a shop full of the most delightful trims and notions, and I mean it is overwhelmingly eye-popping in there...and his grand daughter is now in charge of all things Tinsel Trading, and since they recently moved their store, she let a photographer go through their basement snapping shots...which no one had ever done before.

I had a wonderful time poking all around, and honestly could have probably spent hours in there, but as it was I gathered up a bag full of the sweetest little baubles and beauties for my mother.  She was amazed when I texted her where I was and said, "I don't believe it! Is it the REAL one?!"

Yes indeedy it was...right smack dab in the middle of the garment district!

I am so happy that she shared this book with me before I left for NY!

Come to think of it, I think we were looking at this book a month before I even knew I was going.  We're so intuitive in my family...

And here's Dina doing a little high kick at Rockefeller Center's ice rink.
We've already discussed how I chickened out because I was afraid I would fall and break something...and you would not believe the flack that I'm getting from people about this.  To which I have one thing to say...

I invite you to go out to New York and ice skate on the ice rink at Rockefeller Center and tell me how much you enjoyed it.

So there.

Rockefeller Center.

And a final stop in our trip to New York...and a place I've been longing to see since my first trip 19 years ago...the famous Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park donated by George Delacorte (the famous publisher and philanthropist) upon the death of his wife Margarita on what he declared to be the best plot in Central Park.  The giant bronze statue is surrounded by little sayings which you can read for yourself if you follow this link.

As you can see, I shimmied my tush up onto a mushroom and am hanging onto the door mouse and I have to say, I just love this picture about the mostest out of all the pictures of New York.

So, that's about it...our Fabulous New York trip in it's entirety.  I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I did...

03 November 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday...

Here I am.

Standing on the last privately owned piece of land in Manhattan, the Hess Triangle.  Or maybe I'm trespassing?  That would probably be more accurate.

Apparently you can not own land in Manhattan, only buildings...the land belongs to the state?  I'm not sure, I think that was what Dave was talking about...but you know how I am about historical sites covered in mosaic tiles...I tend to get all snappy with the camera, which may or may not lead to me tuning people out.


AKA: after googling and reading the history of this triangle I think we can say the City is a big ole' bully and an over user of Eminent Domain.  

But it is an enchanting little piece of history nonetheless (although probably not for the Hess family when their building got demolished) and I'm so happy I was there.

02 November 2010

The Big Apple...

Look at that.  Isn't that quaint?

It was the front of a little brownstone on our block, all decorated for Halloween.  We were staying at Restaurant Row (I know, perfect for people such as myself) (perfect in the way that I almost eat nonstop while on vacation) at The French Quarters.  It was a lovely homey hotel that was mighty easy to come home to at the end of a long day.

They also had a Keruig in the room, so that was extra special.  They use L'Occitaine as their toiletries, which is one of my favorite companies ever for body products...and they serve breakfast daily...including New York bagels and hard boiled eggs.

It was very hard to come home and not have someone make me breakfast and coffee.

And this is Dave.

He's a little blurry cause' we're getting onto a subway to go to The Village, and I'm totally excited so I'm probably shaking.
Dave is a very good friend of mine from days gone by, and whom I just thought to try to reconnect with on facebook on total accident a mere three weeks before my New York trip, and even before I knew myself that I was going.  We reconnected, and oddly enough the next day he was on a plane to visit his parents here in AZ and we saw each other for the first time in ten years...and then *poof* here I was in New York seeing him again!

Isn't life amazing?

He's been hanging out in New York working off Broadway this whole time.  I am wonderfully proud of him and miss him terribly all at the same time.  Dave is one of those people who has a piece of my heart with him...and that's good, because I know he'll take care of it no matter how far apart we are.

And this is a picture of the Slaughtered Lamb Pub.  Dave said it is a pub with the theme of
(wait for it)

Scottish Werewolves!

(there's a werewolf on the sign, but the sun was apparently in the way...silly sun.)

Pretty narrow target market, but there you go.  We didn't go in as we were on our way to The Red Lion to listen to music, but I here tell there's a dungeon in the basement.  With skeletons.

And I thought Whiskey Row was wild...

This is a picture of Kari walking in the subway...we were just about to start our walking tour of New York, only we didn't know it.
We jumped on a whole slew of subways during the day, but we ended up walking down Madison Ave to the Met, and then part of Central Park, and then they were working on Bleeker St. (and some other stops) in The Village and we had to get off of the subway stop at the end of the line at the Brooklyn Bridge...and walk to Bleeker.

That was the part of the tour that took us through China Town, Little Italy, The Bowery (where CBGB is which happens to be the birth place of punk rock music...or rather was, apparently they lost their lease and the landlord asked them to go.  The owner smartly replaced the walls and took the originals with him as they were signed by a whole slew of famous musicians.  HA!)...we stopped to eat at a pub and then rode back to our hotel where we both collapsed.


We also saw Ground Zero.
I wasn't as emotional as I thought I would be.  I'm not sure why this is but not only can you not see the actual site due to all the construction going on for the memorial, but maybe enough time has passed since the attacks and it's not so fresh for me anymore?  I'm not sure.  It was amazing to be down there standing near the site though, and just remembering.

And then across the street was St. Paul's Chapel, which is a pretty amazing little old old old church.  The church housed the people who were part of the rescue effort for 9/11 gave them cots, and a place to decompress.
It is a pretty amazing little place and the graveyard is full of old little headstones...I mean, old like 1700's old.

I also spied this very wonderful old American Seal painting on the wall in between all the 9/11 memorabilia and do you know what it was hanging over?

George Washington's pew.

As in, father of this country George Washington?

Yeah.  That guy.

Apparently he was inaugurated at this church during his first term of President of the United States, and continued to worship here until they moved the capital to Philadelphia.

Who knew?

Seriously.  I stood there a bit giddy with the history of the whole place.

Totally amazing.

And there's 86th Street in all of its subway mosaic glory...
I'm not particularly connected to 86th St. but, I absolutely love all things mass transit and I simply adore the subways in New York...a love affair that started during my first trip 19 years ago, and I was happy to find out, continues to this day.

Plus?  All the tile work is beautiful.

And there's pretty little Central Park.
OK, little isn't the word for it, but we strolled through bits and pieces the whole week enjoying the changing of the leaves and the little bit of solitude in a busy city...squirrel watching.

They also have a zoo in Central Park, in case you're wondering.

A Central Park bridge.

And proof of fall laying among the cobblestones surrounding Central Park.

And one of the many statues that line parts of Central Park.

I believe this one is the angel leading the soldier down Fifth Ave.

OR...perhaps he's my knight (or soldier...whatever, I'm getting older we don't need to get all picky at this point in the game) in shining armor and he just asked directions to Cartier so he can buy me that Eternity Bracelet and win my heart.

Oh yes, I'm totally sure of it...

(I probably should have tipped her)

(then again, he appears to be headless, so maybe she's just more like a guide dog.  Damn.)

01 November 2010

New York New York...

Time Square...at night.  The first night of our arrival.

Needless to say, Time Square is a bit more overstimulating than I remember it being.


A lot more stimulating.

The Plaza Hotel.
Incidentally, we were in New York the same time as Charlie Sheen.  We didn't stay at The Plaza Hotel, so we missed the whole crazy naked Charlie party.

Which may have been more overstimulating than Time Square.

Also?  There's an Eloise flag among the other flags.  I totally didn't realize it until I was walking by sometime later and I was just too hurried to snap another shot.

New York's like that.

It gets into your blood quick.

Tiffany's...and their clock.


Located on Fifth Ave. right next to Trump Tower.

New York Pizza.
I seem to eat very very well on my vacations.

And while this looks fantastic, it's right down the block from New York's top rated pizza...which I tried as well.

Of course.

Rockefeller Center.
Yes, the ice skating was all set up.  Although, the first day of our trip was the coldest...the rest of the days were in the 70's...which means yes, it was warmer than my little Arizona town.  Which also means that yes, I had too many warm clothes with me.


I did not in fact, ice skate.  This was purely Dina's dream...I did actually take a photo of her, but I chickened out.  While I'm young at heart, I all of a sudden worry about ridiculous things like:  If I fall?  What is the likelihood I will break my arm?  Or worse yet, my hip?

My pink cupcake from the Magnolia Bakery...from our Sex and the City tour.
Yes, a glorious three hour tour all over the city which plied me with so many fun facts it left me questioning if I'd ever even watched the series.

On a special note, we did drive by the Puck Building, which made a little special mention as our guide pointed out that the building was also part of another famous series and did anyone know what it was?  Which means that I yelled, "Will and Grace!!"

Because truth be known?

I would have been just as happy to be on a Will and Grace tour as a Sex and the City tour.

We three gals...
That would be me (left to right) Dina and Kari.

Balancing our cupcakes on top of our coffee...which was a special feat because I'd just been inside the Lulu Guiness store in The Village and was a bit over the moon about the entire experience.

Oh Lulu.

You were such a magnificent surprise!

This is a shot from inside Buddakan...the restaurant where Carrie and Big had their wedding rehearsal dinner in the first movie.  It was a pretty fantastic fusion restaurant that we really wanted to get back to...But I'm unsure of how spendy the menu was.

Our tour guide said we'd get a free drink if we went back.

I wonder why we never made it back there?

Good grief.

And some random tall buildings.

Because everything is so gloriously big in New York.

This would be Dina and I...all bundled up.
This also begs the question as I was going through photos...why does it look like I'm leaning in towards everyone?


At least she's not leaning away from me.


That is my FAO Shwarz bag which later went missing.  Oh, I know what you're thinking...some nasty person nabbed my bag.  They didn't.  All the New Yorkers we met were simply delightful...apparently, I'd left the bag to close to the trash can in our hotel and the maid threw it out.

With a special Barbie bag I'd bought Rozz and my Tiffany's boxes.


Oh, I did buy a heart lock charm at Tiffany's by the way.  In case you were wondering.  Also?  In case you're wondering, my eye makeup is darker in New York.

I have no idea why this is...but both Dina and I noticed it.

I, for some reason, have not been able to replicate this in Arizona.

Maybe it's a city thing.

This is a shot of a famous church that I don't know the name of, but probably a hundred people will leave it in my comments.

That's fine.

This is Cartiers.

On Fifth Ave.

Cartiers currently houses the eternity bracelet I want.  But, I firmly believe this is not a gift for me to get myself.  I am very good to me, but this gift?  I'm holding out for someone else to give it to me.

Hear that universe!?

This is the very bracelet your lover locks onto your arm and they keep the key.


I don't wear yellow gold...only white (or platinum I suppose...but there's no need to get greedy)

And I'll end this installment One on New York with this fabulous black and white photo.

Because New York looks so lovely in shades of gray.


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