25 March 2015

Finishing Winter Out West, Part TWO

This was the first time I had the chance to visit my son and his wife as a married couple. They have this fantastic house on the northwest side of the gigantic city of Phoenix. Their development sits, literally, just on the edge of the desert, although the desert around them is being developed and soon their area will be swallowed up by what is the greater Phoenix area.

That first evening when I got in, we headed to Scottsdale and the famous Barrio Queen Restaurant (or rather, as you can see from the sign, Tequileria). YES. My friend Sue went there recently while on vacation and she gave me strict orders to visit the Barrio Queen, to have a specific meal (pictured below) and to bring her back a t-shirt. Go there, and you will see why. The food - oh God, to DIE FOR.

The next morning we went on a nearby hike. It was a relatively easy hike, but I had shin splints from walking the hills near my dad's house in San Diego, so I was a bit slow. PLUS, it was like 85 degrees. Yes, 85 in Phoenix is sort of like 72 in Maine - it's very pleasant - but San Diego had been a bit chilly, and heck, I was still slightly frozen from this crazy winter we had in Maine. So to me, it was HOT. But I could have stayed out there all day. :)

Horseback riding was the next activity. We planned our ride for early in the morning, to avoid the heat, and it was lovely.

BUT. Or should I say, BUTT. Yes, it was a two-hour ride, which, for me, was about an hour and a half too long. I hadn't been on a horse in years and when I got off, I really was walking like John Wayne.

This was, by far, my favorite thing to do. Sit by a pool and eat blueberries. I mean, really - what else is there in life that compares?

And check this out, the pool even had a covered playground. I'm telling you, IT GETS HOT THERE.

We spent much of the week eating at favorite restaurants (several more than once) and just hanging out together. And on the last day, we went back to Scottsdale and back to the Barrio Queen. IT'S THAT GOOD.

Honestly, I was sad to come home. I always am. And I'm never really sure if it's the weather I'm sad to leave, or my kids. Definitely the latter, but the former is a huge factor.

But the really great thing is, the snow in Maine is melting. We're WAY down to only about a foot of snow on our yard now...

Copyright © 2015 - Paulla Estes

16 March 2015

Finishing Winter Out West, Part ONE

I have the good fortune of having family members out west, so if I can swing a flight to San Diego or Phoenix (or Portland OR, though it's not as warm there) then I have a place to stay and family to see.

So in early March, I flew west to spend the last of our official winter thawing out.

San Diego is lovely at this time of the year. Let's face it, San Diego is lovely at pretty much ANY time of year.

I went to visit my dad and step-mom, and not only was it great to spend time with them, the Southern California weather was, for the most part, very cooperative.

We spent the first day downtown, eating great Mexican food (because that's the only kind of Mexican food they have out there) and walking around downtown along the shore.

My dad's house in the hills is delightful because of the huge lemon tree out front and that amazing view out back.

The next day, Dad and I went to Mission Beach to walk the boardwalk and see the sights. And people-watch. If you've never people-watched on the California beaches, you haven't lived.

The next day I visited my friend, Connie, who lives in Pacific Beach with her cool husband and very well-trained dog, and new puppy that is trying to run the show. Connie lives a block from the beach. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. So although it was a cool, cloudy day (reality check, once in a while the sun doesn't shine down on Southern California) we walked to the beach, the PB pier, and had fish tacos (of course).

On the last day, which is always bittersweet, the sun came out again and we basked in the sunshine on their hilltop back yard.

Then we went out to lunch and drove downtown along the bay once more. And near the airport, I remembered the one thing I do NOT like about SoCal. That traffic.

Next stop - Phoenix...

Copyright © 2015 - Paulla Estes