I’m departing for home in a couple of hours. As I await my flight, I’m thinking about the past few days.

I’ve settled on “reunion” as a theme for my trip to Arizona. In just five days I spent time with seven members of The Harvey family; eight when you count me. These are descendants and spouses of my mother’s family.

I spent time with my brother and his wife and a sweet cousin during the first few days of this trip.

Yesterday my sister and I had lunch with a dear cousin. We immediately picked up our conversation from four months ago. That’s how close this family is.

Last night my sister and I had a wood-stove fired pizza dinner with her son and his wife.

This was laugh and love-filled time! Five days of precious family time.

Women’s basketball March Madness was raging! My sister and I somehow found time to sit and cheer for my favorite teams.

On this Sabbath day I feel blessed beyond measure.

Traveling mercies.

of beauty

The past couple of days can be summed up in one word – beauty.

Of honoring…

Memorial for the 19 firefighters killed in the Granite Mountain fire, 10 years ago

of reuniting with family…

of water…

Goldwater Lake
Goldwater Lake
Watson Lake
Watson Lake

of scenic roads,,,,

of day’s end and rest.

angst and audacity

Days before I left home I had concerns about the plan to drive north to mile-high Prescott. Heavy rain, high winds, ice and snow were all in the forecast. I still had concerns when I landed in Phoenix.

Much time last night, and again this morning, was devoted to researching weather and road conditions. Lots of conversation and angst about what we should do. In the end we decided to take an audacious risk and go. As my sister said, “let’s try it…we can always turn around.”

So we packed our things and left home with trust and hope. We experienced no rain, no high winds, ice or snow. All that angst! A bold move – well, a bold move with an option to retreat – brought us to a place of joy.

The drive north was lovely.

We met a cousin who lives in Prescott for lunch at The Colt. It was great fun!

Delicious meal served up with delight.
Hassayampa Inn

A day that began with concern, ended with laughter.

mile high

I grew up in Denver. Colorado. It’s known as the mile high city, as its elevation is 5,280 feet. A mile high.

Today I’m headed to Arizona to visit my sister and brother, and other family members. Some of us will journey north to Prescott. It’s also a mile high.

I understand Prescott is a beautiful place, nestled in the mountains. I have been looking forward to the trek north. Surprisingly, it is expected to snow – when it’s not raining – while we are there. I’m really anticipating lots of snow- mountains beauty.

We are staying in the Hassayampa Inn. It is a restored 1927 hotel and is included on the National Register of Historic buildings. The lobby has a hand-painted ceiling, a large fireplace, plus a coffeehouse for me! Inclement weather will find me lounging in the lobby.

My sister lives in Phoenix, my brother and sister-in-law live an hour south in Tucson. They will all meet me at the airport when I arrive. Thus begins sibling time!

I understand the dinner tonight is coming from Tucson. My brother makes Supreme Chicken Enchiladas, a recipe from one of several cookbooks the Colorado Junior League published in the 80’s.

I’m anticipating deliciousness.

Guacamole is on the menu as well. Some many years ago, while on a trip to Maui, I discovered Maui Chile Salt. It’s since become the go-to ingredient for my friends and family. It makes an extreme guacamole. It’s possible it will make a gastronomic appearance tonight.

In a few hours I’ll return to the desert which I love. Tomorrow I’ll be a mile high! Come along!

Traveling mercies.

game day

Yesterday was the big day. Rice Owls vs Charlotte 49rs.

It was a most marvelous day.

I Ubered to Rice to meet my granddaughter for coffee. Here she comes.

After our provisions, we were ready for the day. The walk across the campus was such a treat. It’s a beautiful space.

A special treat was experiencing James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace.

Built in 2012, “Turrell’s composition of light complements the natural light present at twilight and transforms the Skyspace into a locale for experiencing beauty and reflecting on the surrounding campus and the natural world”.

Nearby is the Moody Center for the Arts. The exhibit on view was Narrative Threads. It is a fiber arts display, showcasing personal, social, and political issues through embroidering, felting, knitting, sewing and weaving.

We both enjoyed the exhibit immensely. Then it was time to head over to Tudor Field House for the game!

It’s a small stadium which means we sat near the action. The players ran like the wind! Play was so fast I had whiplash.

It was so much fun! And… drum roll… they WON!

We wrapped up the day by dining with two friends of my granddaughter. Nothing but Tex-Mex for us. I suggested Superica, a restaurant I knew to offer a delicious and unique take on Tex-Mex. It more than lived ip to our expectations.

Oh what a grand day this was!

love and basketball

In 2000, the film Love and Basketball came out.

Monica and Quincy are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. With basketball as the backdrop, Love & Basketball is a love story that celebrates a woman prioritizing her own needs ahead of her boyfriend’s, unwilling to sacrifice her basketball ambitions for love. Love. Of. Basketball.

I played intramural basketball in college. The woman’s game at the time was played half-court. Guards brought the ball up to mid-court and then passed to the forwards. I was a guard.

Following college, I had little interest in the game. It was a men’s game and frankly I found basketball itself to be boring.

Until 1996. That’s the year the WNBA was founded. The Women’s National Basketball Association. I admit the news of the WNBA sparked little interest in me at first. It was basketball after all.

Eight teams made up the league in its inaugural year of play. Houston, where I lived at the time, had a team. The Comets. League play began in 1997. The Comets won the championship the first year of play. And the second, third, and fourth years as well,

At that time I was the Interim Director of a medical research foundation located in the Texas Medical Center. During a meeting someone offered two free tickets to a Comets game. I surprised myself when I declared I’d like to have the tickets! So my best friend and I went to the game, This was during the second season of league play, and we found ourselves swept up by the speed of play and the crowd’s enthusiasm.

The rest is history.

My friend and I loved the games. We loved the team. The idea of a women’s sports league we could – and wanted – to watch, was unexpected. We bought season tickets and watched women play a thrilling game from then on. We learned what a double-double was right after a player had completed one. We were all in.

On occasion I would fly to Dallas to gather up my first granddaughter, just to fly back to Houston for a game. No one had to wonder what team was our team.

When she was in high school I’d fly her to Knoxville, Tennessee to watch the Lady Vols play. I had moved to the Georgia mountains by then and my drive to Knoxville was just a couple of hours and beautiful roads.

With coach Pat Summitt after her 1,000th win.

A few years later she went off to college, where there was a convergence I would never have imagined. The new women’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina was recruiting interest in the student population for the upcoming season. My granddaughter told the coach about how much her Nana loved women’s basketball. For the next five years I would drive the three hours to USC to watch the women play with my granddaughter.

As I write this, that coach, Dawn Staley, has won two NCAA championships and this season the Gamecocks are number one in the nation. And… she played for the Comets back in the day.

My other granddaughter is also all in for the women’s game. She grew up with a league expansion team in Seattle, the Seattle Storm. I’ve enjoyed many games with her, and her family. The team has had great success and it’s so much fun to watch!

She’s on the far left, along with her brother.

Her recent high school graduation festivities included a Storm game, of course.

All this background for a game I love and have loved with my best friend, with my family, and most especially my granddaughters.

Today I’m on my way to Houston to attend a game at Rice University this weekend. The Rice Owls women’s basketball team plays the Charlotte 49ers. Since this is my granddaughter’s freshman year, we are just getting started. I look forward to four years of Rice Owls women’s basketball.

Traveling mercies.

P.S. I’ve been hanging out in the Delta Club at Hartsfield-Jackson airport waiting for my flight. I looked up a few minutes ago. What I saw amazed me. A woman’s basketball team on the screen behind the bar.

Mt. St. Mary vs Rider

No words necessary. However, I have a huge smile on my face.

sabbath in taos

This was our last full day in Taos. It’s always hard to leave this place. Knowing there are return trips – maybe even sooner than January 2024, makes it a bit easier.

Today began as all days here do. A fire, coffee, light breakfast. It is Sunday. No “formal” church was planned. We trusted we would find worship in some fashion.

Once again, the first stop was Coffee Apothecary.

While we enjoyed our artful cuppas, we made our next plan. We decided to drive south to the village, Ranchos de Taos. San Francisco de Asís Church, built in the 18th century, has long been sought out by artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe.

Ranchos Church, 1930 by Georgia O’Keeffe

We entered and prayed Noonday Prayers from the book, Prayers for all Seasons. It was a lovely place to sit and pray.

The bonus was stopping next door for lunch at The Plaza Grill, long a favorite.

I had read about the art exhibit, ‘Botanicals’ at Wright Contemporary. It was our next stop and while it was a small exhibit, it was interesting and enjoyable.

Sandra Fillippucci, Flowers for Ukraine
Madison Cawein, April Frost Sunrise

Our last activity was to walk down the road from the casa to visit the llamas. We visit every year, and have named them. Hilary, Stacey, Kamala and Dawn. Dawn arrived sometime in the last year.

We will depart early tomorrow morning to drive to Albuquerque for our flights home. A last fire..,

…until we return. Traveling mercies.

saturday in taos

On Saturday we awoke to a winter wonderland.

Lolling through the morning, the first goal was to get to Coffee Apothecary by noon.

The next goal was to get to A Salty Sweet Bakery to pick up the cinnamon rolls we had ordered.

Next up was a “pretty drive”. We learned of a back road that parallels U.S. 64, the primary road to and through Taos. It did not disappoint.

The bonus this day was to spend time with a dear, dear friend. We met at The Guadalajara Grill. Three hours later, after countless stories told, we reluctantly departed. Until the next time…

A glorious day filled with sights, tastes, and treasured friends.

the sound of ice under snow

Tonight our dinner plans were canceled because of a winter storm north of town, where our friends live. A disappointment made okay because we’ll meet for dinner tomorrow night instead.

On the way home late afternoon

We then decided to venture out for dinner with the snow coming down fast and furious. After all, we did not have a winter storm alert. I confess it gave us pause when the crunch of ice under the snow covered road, could be heard as we braked for a stop sign.

Yet, onward we went. It wasn’t that far away.

We arrived safely. All lit up, Orlando’s was most welcoming.

No takers for the fire pit, tho.

We were greeted, seated, and served immediately.

We polished off the delicious blue corn cheese enchiladas in record time. We both admitted to eating with some haste because of the the sight of snow falling outside the window.

The car required quick snow brushing. And we were off!

Safely home, we did what anyone would do after a dash-and-dine, build a warming fire. It was 20 degrees outside.

Today was lovely. Fire to begin the day, later coffee to kick-up the day. We were gifted time to visit with the owners of the Taos Coffee Apothecary whom we met five years ago when they first opened. We were among their first customers.

Then massages in the afternoon. Ahhhhh. Pure luxury.

Now settled in for the night’s rest, it is still snowing. Expected low temp of 10 degrees overnight.

“In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen
Snow on snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter
Long, long ago.” Christina Rossetti

The words hold true today.

crunchy quiet & quiet awe

While falling snow is quiet, walking in snow has a unique crunching sound. I quite like it. Walking to the car this morning, each step had a lovely crunch. We were on our way to a favorite place – The Coffee Apothecary.

Driving the back way, there was no sense of the awe I was about to have. Rounding a curve, there it was. The mountains had been transformed and I fell silent. Well, not quite. I’m never actually silent. But my soul was very much quieted.

It was overwhelming to see what yesterday’s low-hanging clouds had created on the mountains.

I raised my cappuccino in thanksgiving for this gift.

Later we took a short drive north to experience the enormous stillness.

Climbing in bed just now, I have such gratitude for the gift of an extraordinary palette of white this day. Gratitude, too, for the morning crunch.

“A single pane of glass divides
Myself from falling snow outside.
The first of many falling snows
That these white winter skies will know.

And taking then my quiet leave
The snow alights on cap and sleeve,
While walking slowly up the hill
I realize then the world is still

All still except for falling flakes
Filling fast the tracks I make.
All still except for swelling smiles
Growing with the snow in piles.

All still within a quiet mind
All still as footprints left behind.” William McGehee