Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Holiday: Lessons Appear When We Least Expect Them....

Scottsdale, AZ
Tuesday, December 23rd-11pm
A girl who has no clue where she is, but is eager to find out.
All checked into The Saguaro/Scottsdale (link)
I could very easily sit in this comfy, cloud of a king sized bed all day tomorrow and write. I kind of want my days here to flow; no regimentation, please. I've desperately needed a break from deadlines and time constraints that make up my daily life. I just want to be as free and loose as possible on this trip.

A couple of the accessories around the room- a Kodak Brownie camera and some 1950s travel mags are speaking to this vintage lover!
Arizona desert shades dominate the rooms and grounds plus the hotel features local artists' work throughout.

photos by Penelope

First night kicked off with the police knocking on my hotel room door over a call they received for a domestic disturbance. Say what?? Turn the volume down on the television? Were The Real Housewives of Atlanta SO loud the neighbors couldn't sleep? An odd start to a stay that only managed to get stranger. Cops pounding on your door is a bit unsettling when traveling alone. No call from the front desk or hotel security just BAM-police are here!

Fuck....time for bed!

Wednesday, December 24th-8am: Christmas Eve:
Meditated to open my heart chakra upon waking so that when I do venture out beyond this fuchsia hotel room door, I will be able to embrace anything that comes my way. Wrote for an hour or so and enjoyed the Keurig coffee maker as well; that's one strong ass cup of joe!! :-)

Planning to write a little review of the Saguaro upon further investigation of the sights, sounds and yummy smells pouring out of Iron Chef Jose Garces' restaurant located in the hotel.

Cannot wait to get on the bike I just reserved to do some exploring. I feel so out of sorts not knowing where I'm headed, yet I suppose that's part of this adventure. The control freak in me occasionally wants to fight it out with the "allowing" Penelope so I'm just going to try to flow and hope they learn to play nice for the rest of the week.

Wednesday, December 24th 11:30 am: 
Due to the unseasonably chilly temp (52 degrees when I left the hotel) I decided against the bike ride, donned various layers of clothing and took off on foot to explore Old Town Scottsdale.
The silver and turquoise shops were mind blowing as expected. Beautiful pieces. Met some lovely shop owners. Love the small biz owner so much.
Hit the Arizona Canal and did a little people watching while enjoying my Pumpkin Spice Latte AND that's pretty much when my trip as I had planned it came to a screeching halt.

So what exactly did I accomplish on Christmas Eve roaming about Old Town Scottsdale?? Well, how about making a decision to contact my brother and NP mother while I was sitting at The Fashion Square Mall and then proceeding to check out of The Saguaro agreeing to stay at my brother's place in suburban Phoenix thirty minutes away?
No writing. No further exploring. No more Penelope time. A completely unexpected turn of events.
Why did I contact my family you may be asking? Well, at this point who the fuck knows??

Upon arrival back The Saguaro, I quickly ducked into Distrito- (About Distrito Restaurant link) and drank the most amazing Blood Orange Margarita ever. what I'd imagine consuming a sunset would taste like if possible :-) Was sitting on the patio taking in some more sights when there appeared my mother; they were here to pick me up to go to dinner. Downed the rest of my salty/sweet marg and off I went into the parental mini-van!

Suburban Phoenix
Thursday & Friday, December 25th & 26th:
Enjoying getting to witness my three year old niece open presents from Santa and various other family members. This was the last place I thought I'd be on Christmas Day so I have not a single gift to throw into the mix. I make a mental note to myself to ship some items upon arrival back home asap.
Lots of being driven around being shown the local sights. A stop at a casino where I promptly lost $150 playing Video Poker. Fuck me.
Home cooked Christmas dinner courtesy of my sister-in-law and just some hanging out, relaxing with the kids, some long walks and a late night dip in the 87 degree pool where they live. No, not me getting in a pool when it's 40 degrees (I must have brought the cold weather with me from Chicago!) but rather my mother went for a swim!  Shopping, pancake consuming breakfast at IHOP-vacation-y kinda shit.
Foliage and cacti were so gorgeous! I snapped some pics on a few walks.

Somewhere in the sky
Friday, December 26th 10pm:
Woman next to me in the center seat is so in love with her boyfriend, that she has decided to use this three and a half hour flight to lay across her boyfriend and make out with him constantly. This in turn means her ass is pressed up against me so that my head is smashed against the window for the duration of the flight. This along with the gnarly slurping, make out sounds coming from these two cause me to forget any sort of spiritual practice I may have had for the past three years. My throat clearing and dirty looks directed at her ass, clearly on half of my seat, went ignored.The most annoying return flight ever!! Was overjoyed when we hit the runway back in Chicago and my mini nervous breakdown ceased.

Saturday, December 27th, 10 am:
Writing this blog entry has been the most difficult ever. While there's been no change of heart on my part about keeping it real with this blog endeavor, I am experiencing a high level of guilt for visiting with people who have hurt me so deeply over many, many years. I do not know how to express that to those of you reading this right now. From a rational stand point, NC (no contact for the past ten months) was working for my mental well being. It was probably best for all involved although they would state otherwise. So then why in the name of all that's holy (lol) would I reach out to family members I have sworn I would have no further communication with EVER again?? I was quite steadfast in my decision by the way.

I may say many things with the utmost conviction, and actually believe them, but does anyone else who really knows me? Do the family and friends I currently surround myself with know otherwise and only placate me when I declare yet again my intentions to put distance between myself and those that have hurt me? Are they only patronizing me when they agree with my decisions? Have I become so otherwise hardened and bitter that those around me no longer feel capable of sharing their opinions with me? Are all of my "conversations" with people one-sided with the other person fearful to express how they feel?

I'm smack dab in the middle of attempting to work this all out in order to better serve my personal relationships with others that I do truly care about. To make myself a stronger, nicer version on a daily basis. Some days I hit my target, some require additional work when I am able to clearly see how my actions or reactions may effect those dear to me. This trip was one of those eye openers. It was as though all of my flaws were clearly visible to me and not because they were being pointed out or alluded to as can be the case when you feel you are around situations that in the past were toxic.

So in the hopes that this piece doesn't come off as completely vapid I am reaching out to ask if anyone else followed through on a decision similar to this during the holidays, past or present, and is there a way to maintain peace with distance? Those of us that have experienced that amount of pain and rejection may not be well equipped to make such sound choices when emotions are involved whether it be when interacting with a parent, an ex-partner or even a toxic friend.

It's a learning curve, that I'll admit to freely. Naturally, I can't expect myself to have it all figured out since each day brings new challenges. I prefer to see these "challenges" as opportunities for growth, to make myself a greater version of Penelope. These lessons that come our way aren't ever going to cease and they shouldn't or we will become stagnant. When on occasion you don't have any answers I guess you just gotta go with it and trust in a higher power. Something led me out to the desert and I went with it. I had to allow myself to be-just be in the situation and not judge it. Difficult process for damn sure and definitely made easier by it being a short trip.

This vacation forced me to handle some harsh truths about myself that I much preferred to ignore for forty some years. Hey, what the hell; we all have qualities we aren't particularly fond of after all! My uncanny ability to turn my back on relationships, friendships, jobs, anything that gets too "tough" may not have always been the right move suffice it to say. Please understand I am NOT referring to mentally or physically abusive relationships, I mean generally speaking I tend to just walk out of a situation rather than put forth the effort and do the work. So, keeping it real for me this past week meant taking a long hard look at myself rather than finding fault in how others handle their issues.

The family dynamic is a complex one no doubt, but during this particular trip, the family members I have experienced the most frequent amount of hurt from also stood as my greatest teachers. I sit here safely in my own home in a state of gratitude upon this realization and even more determined to constantly be creating a gentler version of me.

Visitor's Guide Courtesy of The Saguaro....PERFECT!!
photo by Penelope

I do not know what the future will bring, but I now know to never say never!
Peace and much love being sent your way :)