The trip south to visit family was somewhat predictable. We played games, chatted, ate, and drank to our hearts' content, and occasionally my stomach's discontent. The trip was not nearly long enough, though.
I had a great time just being there. We somewhat limited our touristy inclinations, but here is what transpired, in the usual disjointed, less-than-profound fashion:
Two days of Irishy goodness. We didn't go out on St. Paddy's day, instead opting to drink MGD Light dyed green, Guinness, and Jameson in the house. I then made a shepherd's pie using leftover pulled pork from a previous meal. That may sound strange, but it was great. However, my lack of a sense of smell (which, a friend once informed me, is one of the common traits of serial killers) led me to nearly over-garlic the potatoes, though I am now vampire-proof for the near future.
The next night, we went to the Skeptical Chymist. Some advice: if you get to an Irish restaurant, order the boxty. It's like an Irish quesadilla, with fillings snuggled (yes, snuggled) between a folded potato pancake.
Lack of new age energy. Sedona, AZ, is supposedly an energy vortex, and is, as one writer states, "The world's most popular invisible tourist attraction." The forces here are so strong that they have even "twisted the laws of grammar in the entire region. What would in other parts of the English-speaking world be called 'vortices' gets twisted into 'vortexes' in the local parlance." I did not feel the power, but the iron in the dirt give the place a magical reddish hue, and by "magical," I mean "mildly intriguing." Because I think like a normal person, not a new-age weirdo.
Castles in the desert are indeed mysterious. We visited the Mystery Castle, on the south side of Phoenix. A man once promised to build his daughter a castle. After contracting tuberculosis, he abandoned his family to go die alone in the desert. He defeated the disease in the dry desert air, but then succumbed to cancer. In his mildly healthy interim, though, he did build a castle. The place was quite interesting. Throughout the tour, Rowan pointed at stuff while saying, "That's a great idea! I like that!" In conjunction with other conversations, I have now promised to build her a house with a tower, fireplace, waterfall, moat, secret passages, furniture that disappears into the walls, and numerous little niches for hiding knick-knacks. In exchange for this, I get to have one room that has bare walls and a place to sit, and nothing else in the room.
Tombstone, AZ. In preparation for this trip, we subjected Rowan to the movie (the good one, not the crappy Kevin Costner version, though I may be the only Kevin Costner fan in existence). I'm sure she loved me and my brother quoting all the good lines along with the movie. The town itself was disappointing. I think I expected a cultural artifact, but the place was more of a tourist trap. For example, in the former saloon where Morgan Earp was shot and then collapsed on the pool table, the current owners have a pool table in that spot, but it being used to display T-shirts.
Arena Football. We watched an Arizona Rattlers game. Their owner guaranteed the playoffs and will refund all season tickets if the team doesn't make it. This is an almost $3 million proposition. Too bad his team sucks. Poor guy. But the cheerleaders were hot.
Eventually, we had to head home. Hugs were given, tears were shed, events were later recounted in the passive voice.
Upon our return to Fairbanks, we attended more arena football, this time the Fairbanks Grizzlies of the Intense Football League. They won their first game ever. The atmosphere was definitely intense, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. While their cheerleaders are not bad looking (with a few exceptions), they are the worst dancers ever. And I am not exaggerating. This article from the local paper is the standard features section fluff piece, but check out the comments at the bottom for the real story.
And now, life has returned to normal. Which suits me fine, I suppose. A guy can only handle so much excitement.