Good Days, Bad Days

You’ve all heard the phrase “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” or maybe you even saw the movie. The past couple of weeks have had a little bit of each.

The Good

We spent a week in Sedona with my brother-in-law Neil and his wife Elaine. Sedona is such a beautiful place – every place you look is a “Kodak moment”. Ok I’m dating myself here. Some of you are probably too young to know what a “Kodak moment” is. Think of it as the perfect place for a selfie minus your smiling faces in the picture.

March Sedona

March 5 Neil, Julie and Dan hiking along Oak Creek

And since were on the subject of photography (can a selfie be categorized as photography?), Neil is an amazing photographer who has just launched a site to show off his talents (Neil King Photography). Dan brought his new Sony camera which he purchased with Neil’s recommendation and the week was filled with teaching moments and practice shots. And I observed that a key reason Neil is so good is that his camera is like an extension of his body – it is always with him ready to be put into action in an instant.

Our adventure in Sedona started the moment we picked up the rental car in Phoenix and started hunting for the makings of Cioppino.

Dan and Elaine preparing the Cioppino

Dan and Elaine preparing the Cioppino

Neil had read Dan’s earlier post about making Cioppini in Toronto and wanted the same. So our drive to Sedona was interrupted as we drove around trying to find fish heads and carcasses for the base stock. Success was found in a tiny Asian market – more on that later.

Our days in Sedona were relaxing with some easy hikes – Neil was keeping it easy so I wouldn’t stress my slowly recovering shoulder (dog Lucy + squirrel = ER). That was a significant accommodation on Neil’s part since he is a world-class Triathlete.

With spring around the corner in Sedona, we went to areas that were focused on water – streams

Sedona landmark

March 5 Photo by Neil King – the most photographed spot in Sedona!

that cut through the canyons and looked more like Minnesota than the desert. Fields of green grasses and cattails with Blue Herons standing watch. Treks across streams requiring good balance and luck and a few that required cold feet with a wade across the middle. Mountain water as icy as a mid-summer dip in Lake Superior.

The Ugly

There’s not much that can be said that is ugly anywhere in the springtime. It is my favorite time of year as it brings such promise of upcoming beauty and adventure. But this is about “ugly.” Remember the Cioppino mentioned above and the search for the fish heads? Well as Dan started the process of making the fish stock, he thawed out the frozen fish heads. Clearly he needs to find a good translator app as what he thought was fish heads turned out to be fish roe. Ick. And as all good guests wishing to leave a little something for our hosts, Dan left the fish roe with Neil and Elaine. Double ick. He did manage to find a couple fish heads and some more components for the stock in Sedona, and we all raved about how good the Cioppino was. So that was good.

There’s also something about left over fish carcass, empty seafood shells, etc. that don’t mix well with the desert heat. And that garbage pick-up day was five days out. Ugly.

The Bad

I met a friend for coffee in downtown Minneapolis last week. A friend I hadn’t seen in two years. And like most who carry a bag or a purse, I had hung mine over the back of the chair and we proceeded to catch up with everything over a couple of lattes. Well while we were completely absorbed in conversation someone sat down behind me and managed to unzip my purse and remove my wallet. Now we sat down around 2:20pm – by 3:00pm my cards were being used in a suburb five miles away to the tune of over $2500 dollars all while we were still sipping and yakking. My next stop was across the street where I realized my wallet was gone. I retraced my steps only to realize that it hadn’t fallen out, I hadn’t left it behind – it had been swiped. As I pulled out my phone to call the police, I noticed a voicemail demanding my attention. The Royal Bank of Canada was calling to tell me that they were concerned about fraudulent activity on my card.

The next two hours were spent contacting credit card companies and waiting for the police. As I had no cash, no bus pass, and no credit cards – the very nice policeman offered to give me a ride home. No – I didn’t ask him to put the sirens on.

So that is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – with the bad being exclusively a human thing – so sad.

March Sedona

March 1 Remains of an old guest house in Sedona

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