I’m still thinking that I have the best job on the planet already, but I’m also super lucky that my work allows me to do one of my other very favorite things – travel.  So…  a little at a time I’m going to invite you to join me on trips I’ve taken.

They’ll be out of order (the trips, that is) as I come across the photos and organize them into little picture stories.   I’ve already completed a 5-part post about a trip I took in December 2005 to Prague.  You can catch it here – Part1 and then in some of the following posts.  What I mean by “out of order” is that between that trip and this trip, there were actually TWO other trips to Prague that I might get around to blogging about in the future.  Or not.  Depends on whether I find “visual aids” (photos).

This particular trip was organized around the Tuscon Bead Shows in February 2007.  A friend and I were scheduled to share a booth at the To Bead True Blue Show at the Manning House.  I don’t have the exact dates everything happened, but the photos are all roughly in order.

We stayed north of Tuscon a little bit.  The hotel was less expensive and we had a car available.  The car parked neck to us in the lot had a bunch of Ohio State University Buckeye stuff all over it and an Arizona plate.  It makes me suspect a few things about the weather in Arizona versus Ohio.

We found some great flyers in the hotel. Here’s one of my green goddess beads thinking maybe she’s found herself a new home.  She sort of looks like an alien, which is fine because that cave looks pretty alien too. Later on in this post I actually think we go to that cave – at least I have a cave picture in my files that I’ll be showing to you.  As a side note, I don’t really make goddess beads anymore.  I got sidetracked soon after this by boro and making large scale flower beads (you can see what I currently have here) and never really went back to doing the goddesses.  I think that I figured there were plenty of people out there at the time doing the goddess beads and mine weren’t really all that unique.

The view from my hotel room…  Exciting, huh?  The photo at the top of the page is also from my hotel room.  We’ll get to some more dramatic shots later.

The next morning, the show wasn’t open yet, but that afternoon the Manning house would be available to set up the booth.  I prefer shows that I can set up the day before – it makes me more relaxed when the show itself opens.  So we just had to go hiking instead.  I’m not quite sure where we ended up – possibly west of the city a bit?

I brought both jewelry and beads to the show based on what the promoter told me that she was interested in.  I didn’t think jewelry would sell, but the first piece to go to its forever home was a finished bracelet my boothmate made. By the end of the show, we had sold more beads than finished pieces, but a pair of my earrings had sold and an awful lot of my cascade crystal and lampwork pendants (I probably don’t have any in stock just now because I’ve sort of moved on from them, but you can make own.  Check out the tutorial for sale here)… I guess the pendants could be considered components, though, because nobody seems much interested in a chain.  I have to say that in the long run the 2BTB show was really disappointing in terms of sales, although I got approached to do tutorials and galleries for a number of magazines.

My boothmate and I decided to continue our trip in AZ up to the Bead Museum near Phoenix, to see some petroglyphs, and then onto Sedona, Jerome and the Grand Canyon. I was thinking about cancelling because I was so disappointed in the sales, but its just money.  Years later, I’m glad I went.  I’m even glad I did the bead show BECAUSE I ended up going to Arizona.  Turns out I love the high desert.  Which is actually how this whole blog started, with a move to the high desert (Taos, New Mexico, not Arizona, but you can read about that here and here).

The desert museum just outside of Tuscon is really beautiful.  Its a zoo and a museum and a botanical garden all rolled into one great big wonderfulness.  http://www.desertmuseum.org/ We had lunch there at one of the cafes, and the pesto was a mix of yumminess that I ended up getting the recipe for.  I’ve transcribed it below.
Pistachio Pesto
1 bunch cilantro with stems removed
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp roasted pistachios
2 cloves garlic
salt & pepper to taste
Blend well – enjoy!

Here’s me pretending to be a cactus.  OMG.  Look how young I look.

Below, a picture of the surrounding desert.

There’s that cave exhibit I thought was cool… Actually, its sort of suggestive.  Moving on…  Nothing to see here.

This dead tree just north of Tuscon reminds me why I love Georgia O’Keefe paintings so much – this looks right out of one of her works.

Yup, I gotta talk about beads here.  I did a couple of peyote band designs based of Georgia O’Keefe.  Not her landscape pictures, but her flowers.  You can see the poppy design here
https://www.etsy.com/listing/47310429/georgia-okeeffe-poppy-pattern-beaded and the iris here https://www.etsy.com/listing/47011155/georgia-okeeffe-purple-iris-beaded.  Yup, the iris is designated “for mature audiences” on Etsy.  You’ll have to head over to the listing to see why.

Here’s one of the petroglyphs we found.  I’m not sure where this was taken.  We were heading up from Tuscon towards Phoenix and then onto Sedona.

A sunset…

Followed by a quick sketch of a sunrise that I had penciled earlier in the Eastern Mountains of Tucson. This drawing was supposed to be gifted to someone, but I never quite got around to it.  I’m not sure where it finally ended up since its just a sketch and I know I don’t currently have it.

We bypassed Phoenix, and headed up route 17 from Pheonix towards Sedona.  One the way, we stopped at Montezuma Castle National Monument, which is actually not Montezuma’s castle at all.  Its a set of some of the best preserved cliff dwellings – they are over 800 years old.  First though, this is a photo from the Northern Tip of the Sonora Desert…

And now, the ancient cliff dweller ruins.

From there, we turned west and headed towards Sedona.  Just look at the color of these rocks. This photo was taken from the car on the way into Sedona.

Here’s an ancient ruin we got to see.  Its a much newer ruin than those cliff dweller ones, though. Both exterior and a (rebuilt?) interior on the way north towards the Grand Canyon.

And here’s the Grand Canyon.

I have yet to go back and hike it. Or canoe it.  I was telling someone about this when I got home – “I loved it, but the scenery was so overwhelming I was absolutely unable to draw.” This is a pretty serious comment for me – generally I can look at specifics and sit down and work without getting taken over by the whole.

Have I mentioned that I’m terrified of heights? I still watched the sun rise from the very edge of the canyon one morning; wanted to stand at the very edge, raise my arms to the sky. I’m jealous of the hawks soaring over it.

I visited with a friend from grad school in Flagstaff on the way back to Phoenix.  I think we must have talked about the trip to Prague (you know, the one I blogged about in December).  Which you can read about here and in some posts that follow it.

I fell in love… with the whole state.  I ended up scheduling quite a few trips there over the next year.  But meanwhile, February in Ohio. Here’s what I came home to.

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