We will take a brief pause in the current craziness to back up and recap my sister and brother in laws visit.
It was so great to have them out here first of all. This trip had to be rescheduled a couple of times so it has literally been years in the making. This was Toni's second time in Phoenix, the first time I flew her out for her bday and we went to see Maya Angelou speak (which was amazing- we have both read all her books) and we also met a favorite author of ours- Harlan Coben (he thinks we rock, it says so in the books he signed for us!) The best thing about them being here is they are such low key guests. They were just glad to be here and didn't need a big fancy agenda packed with tourist friendly activities to keep them entertained.They were just here to see me, go to their Rapport class (more on that later) and chill the hell out. Easy peasy.
They flew in Thursday morning. When flying out of Iowa your choices are crack of dawn or way the hell late and at least crack o dawn gives us some time to play. I picked them up and dropped off their bags at my place which they both liked. My condo is pretty roomy and is bigger than it looks on the outside. Plus they both said it "looked like me" which is good I guess since it IS me. It's my sanctuary and my cave to hide away from the world in. I set them up in my room and I slept in my office/guestroom where I have a single bed. It was weird sleeping in a different room in my own house. I do have a blow up mattress but this was much easier. Plus I must admit that I am sooo used to having my own space it makes me a little crazy to have people in my world with their stuff spread everywhere. Not that I don't love having people over but I find myself cleaning up the evidence of them being there before they even walk out the door. A little OCD perhaps?? Well, just a little....
So they get unloaded and because I didn't have a ton of time to plan I ended up deciding we could go see the Chihuly Glass exhibit at the Botanical Garden. I had already been so I knew it was cool plus the Garden is a great place to take tourist cuz it kinda proves that we really are in the desert here in Phoenix. I put on my new running shoes and clipped on my pedometer cuz I knew we would be doing lots of walking. It was a bit on the warmish side but not to to bad- mid 90's. We walked and walked and saw tons of lizards and ground squirrels and other desert wildlife. There were tons of cactus (duh) and I got to tell Dave my story of little baby Tracey who when she was 5 or 6 fell into a huge cactus that my mother had in the bathroom. Why were there cactus in the bathroom you ask? She has a cactus garden and being that is was Iowa she would bring them inside in the winter and leave them in the bathroom. Baby Tracey had decided she was gonna take a bath ALLLLL by herself and in the process of running to dive into the tub she tripped and fell and got a cactus needle glove outta the deal. We went to the emergency room where it took 3 hours to pick all the stickers out of my hand. Ok...anyone else think its ironic that I now live in the desert? Me too....
Anywho, we walked all the trails and I think my tourists liked it and then we wandered over to Papago Park (which is right next to the garden) and hiked around there a bit. This was kinda important to me because when Troy and his family came out I took them to the same spot and there is this massive red rock that you can climb up the back of and come out in this big hole in the middle of the rock. There are railroad tie steps off the back to climb up. When they were here there was no way that I could have climbed up that rock so I sat at the bottom while they climbed. I remember feeling so left out and sad I couldn't make it. So it was pretty cool when I could get to the top and sit there with my family.
All in all after hiking around both places we put in 14 miles walking. At this point it was way past lunch o clock so we headed to one of Phoenix's favorite sons restaurant- Alice Cooperstown. Yes it is a real restaurant and yes Alice does go there often. He lives in Scottsdale and the restaurant is a sports themed bar and grill with tons of memorabilia on the walls a la Hard Rock (which is just across the street). The food rocks too! I had taken my niece Sierra there when she was here to visit and she bragged about it so much I had to take her parents. I couple of years ago I had also got both Troy and Toni autographed copies of Alice's book. Just another connection. It was good food and we tried like hell to talk them outta some of their glasses but that was a no go.
Then we had a quest to go on. I have a pool in my condo and we were talking about sitting in the pool that night but Dave did not bring the proper attire. So we went to 3 stores to get him shorts. First we went to a really cool store called Last Chance where you can get designer stuff for pennies. I loaded up on some workout shirts for 3 bucks apiece. Then we went to Old Navy where I found some cool sports bags (ummm, notice how I am NOT saying "where Dave got his shorts" interesting...) and then we went to trusty ol Target where the shorts were finally procured....and I got new shorts and a cute new top. How I became the shopping diva there I am not sure. Ok, cut to later that night where I had to pry my guests away from the TV to actually go to the pool and Dave stuck all of one toe in the water. Guess you need special shorts for that. Who knew?
Next on the list was cooking class. Now my sister is an EXCELLENT cook and I....am not. We went to the store for supplies (I hadn't been to the market in weeks) and we got stocked up. She cooked and I kinda followed along although I was really just amazed to see real cooking happening in my kitchen- way cool! She made a chicken and veggies thing which was de-lish and she got stuff to make us healthy egg mcmuffins in the am. It was the first time in a year I had anything other then a shake for breakfast. Footnote....last thing on my list for today is to do the dishes from her cooking. I KNEW there was a catch to all that domestic stuff!!
So then we hung out at the pool and crashed cuz it was an early day for them. The next day we didn't have as much time because they had to be at their designated meeting spot at 6pm. There was a snafu with getting them hotel rooms BUT it worked out in the end and we got them a room right next door to the event. We went to the Mesa swap meet which is always cool but as it is getting warmer most of the vendors have already left for the summer so it was about half of what it normally is. We wandered then headed to my sister and I's fave bookstore and had lunch then book shopped. I do not think Dave was as stimulated by this day but he was a good sport.
Then we left for Rapport....and omg did we get turned around. The directions I had were coming from the other direction and it was just all kinds of messed up. I stopped and asked for directions twice (cuz I am a girl and can) and got totally fucked up directions then was about to give up when I realized we were a block away. The best part though was when my out of towner sister decided to take over navigating and try to direct me- which I humored her in doing and we ended up in BFE desert land. Then she started texting her daughter that I got us lost and to send help. While in her own way I am sure she was trying to be helpful her endless stream of comments suddenly went all "Charlie Brown's teachers" voice on me and I just yell at her "good god stop it!" It was just an endless stream of blah blah blah....is that what guys hear all the time??
Well we did get there in time and we got them checked into their room. Now you might be wondering what the hell is the Rapport thing all about? Rapport is Rapport Leadership International and I have mentioned them several times in this blog as being very critical to my life and who I am today. I can promise you that I would not have ever been able to go on this journey (specific to the weight loss) if I hadn't gone through the Rapport experience. I am a Master Graduate which means I have taken over 100 hours of their leadership training. I have been working my ass off to get as many of my family members through the training as well. I have sent my nieces Holli and Sierra to the teen classes and sent my brother Cory to the Leadership Breakthrough 1 class (and he is signed up to do LB2 this fall) this class that Toni and Dave did is called Power Communication.
It's hard to explain much about Rapport because its all about your own personal experience. I can tell you its about learning communication styles and you do public speaking and you go through some exercise that show you where your blocks are and how to push through them to come out the other side. All that sounds great right but a bit dry. The experience of going through this process is everything and for me, it has been the single greatest experience of my life. One I feel so passionately about I an doing everything I can to get all my family through it so we all have the same set of tools in our toolbox.
What their experience was is for them to share but what I can tell you is that I am so very proud of them both. They trusted me to go into something kinda weird, totally blind. They went of pure faith and trust in me and I know they learned so much about themselves and each other and how to push themselves further than they knew they could. Toni is my beautiful sister and has always been amazing and now she has a light in her that has been turned on and she is so anxious to share it with the whole world. And Dave, who was the X factor...he went to support Toni but I didn't know if he would open up at all or get anything out of it. Well he came through it with a commitment to reconnect and better his relationship with his daughter and to do what he can to be an even better father and husband. That is all on them and what they decided to do and I am so grateful they went and thankful they want to share what they learned with others.
A BIG thank you to Aaron and Jen....there are no words heartfelt enough. Thank you.