img_0884I just spent 5 days out west (Tucson, specifically) visiting extended family, and it really emphasized for me the need to get the hell out of where I’m currently living. The main purpose of the trip was to visit my grandmother, whose health is declining somewhat precipitously. Given how energetic and “with it” she used to be, it’s devastating to see her so frail and dependent on others, all the while losing her mental capacities at a pretty alarming rate. On Sunday afternoon, we went to a Christmas show to see my cousin dance and listen to a variety of holiday music. A mariachi band played Las Posadas, a song that children in Mexico often sing about Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter before Jesus’ birth. While the music was beautiful, remembering how much healthier my grandmother was the first time I heard the song made me tear up a little bit. Every time I happen to hear that song, no matter where I am, I think of Tucson and my grandma. (As I type, I’m downloading it so I can hear it whenever I want.) I really wish that I lived closer so that I could spend time with her and help out my aunt and uncle, who will be caring for her once she leaves the hospital. I plan on going back in April, after finishing up a conference in San Diego, to stay at least a couple of days. If time (and money) permits, I’ll try to go again this summer, although it may be tough to manage.

Some highlights of the trip were seeing the San Xavier del Bac mission, hiking in Sabino Canyon, visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and driving up Mt. Lemmon at around midnight to see a crazy blanket of stars on Windy Vista Point. I also ate a ton of Mexican food, which caused a bit of weight gain. I’d say that it was worth it, given how amazing most of it was.

Tomorrow we leave early for Missouri, and I’m already exhausted just thinking about it. Maybe I can get some work done during the trip, to make up for my slacking in Tucson.