1) The Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion. Love them (from a safe distance). I grew up in Tucson and lived there until I was 11. I have the greatest memories of my childhood. My grandpa owned 21 acres of untouched desert property in the middle of Tucson, right along the Rillito River. For those of you who have never had the privilege of seeing the rushing rivers of Tucson…
We lived on this property with our whole family. It was a much less sketchy version of a family compound. Or maybe that’s exactly what it was but I swear it was normal. We lived there with the whole Hardy clan. Here were the houses 1)My grandpa 2)Us 3) Aunt Pam, Uncle Jeff, Clay and Amy (which was featured in Home and Garden or something like that back then) 4) Aunt Susie, Uncle Mark, Logan, JJ and Jessie 5)Uncle Wendel and MaryAnne 6)And GG (just recently deducted that it stood for Great Grandma. This was it. One big happy family.
My sister Hollan, bro John, JJ, Logan, Jessie and I spent our days building fort after fort, riding the go-cart and most importantly, hunting scorpions…barefoot. It’s really misleading calling it “hunting” but it sounds cooler. Really all we did was kick over any log, piece of scrap metal or board and you would find one. When you rearranged furniture in your house they would be dead on the floor. They were in the skylights and even once, sitting in my mom’s face towel hanging on the wall. BUT…one time we found the biggest, fattest, juiciest Hairy Scorpion I had ever seen. So we did what any normal family would do. We put it in a mason jar and took it to show and tell. I don’t think our teacher appreciated it as much as we did.
My point to these ramblings was to tell you that I have a goal to find ONE scorpion and photograph it on this trip. I feel like it isn’t as easy as it used to be. My sister and I have tried to show our husbands on various trips but have never proven successful. I have high hopes for this next week.
2) Le piece de resistance: Eegees. Eegees is one of the greatest establishments in Tucson’s history. It’s a sub shop that also sells frozen, heaven-in-a-Styrofoam-cup, real fruit slushies. They always have Lemon, Pina Colada and Strawberry. Back in the late 1980′s when the Teenage Ninja Turtles ruled the streets they temporarily brought “Cowabunga Cooler” to the normal menu. It was divine. But sadly, as the turtles faded from popularity, so did the lime. Never from my heart though. Eegees also sports a flavor of the month that changes…get this…monthly. My all-time favorite flavor of the month is called Banana Blush. I have never in my life loved anyone or anything as I love this flavor. They use real banana and real strawberries and I love them for it. Throughout most of the 90′s Banana Blush was the only flavor that graced the flavor of the month charts 2X a year. In January and again in July. I am 97% positive that they made it in July because it is my birthday. STOP THE FREAKING PRESSES! I just looked on Wikipedia and Eegees is under new ownership and will NO LONGER BE SERVING BANANA BLUSH. This item of great disturbance WILL be discussed on all of my Eegees visits in the upcoming week.
I am going to go into storyteller mode now. Some to all of this may not be true but I am telling it from memory. Questionable areas will be listed in quotes. Back in 1971 2 dudes were in the process of starting Eegees. They were building their first store which was to be a sub shop. My dad and uncle were “friends” with one or both of these fellers and while “helping them get the store ready” my dad and uncle “suggested that they serve slushies.” And my favorite place was born. About 8 years ago, from Idaho, I contacted the owner and told him my story and who my dad was. He immediately put Eegees t-shirts in the mail for my entire family for Christmas. That has to mean some to all of this story is true right?
Did I mention Eegees is ONLY in Tucson? Throughout the 1990′s after we had moved to Boise, my aunt and uncle would carry the Eegees Party Pack on the plane with them for us to enjoy hundreds of miles away from the mothership. For this reason alone I have an uncontrollable hate for Bin Laden and the “no liquids on the plane” rule. We will be dining here 5-8 times next week.
3)The Tucson Gem Show My dad has always been really good at doing something special with each of us. For me, it was rocks. My dad and I would tumble rocks together. His dad did it and so my dad did it with me. We would go out to the lapidary to pick out our rough stones, come back home and start the polishing process. I think my parents still have the rocks my dad and I did together. While living in Tucson and during our “rock phase” my dad took me down to the Tucson Gem Show to look at all of the huge geodes.
Fast forward to my senior year in high school. My aunt Janet had started her jewelry making business and I was down visiting she and my uncle Bill for my graduation gift. While there she taught me to make my first wire wrapped, link necklace. I was so proud of it but it was pretty jenky. I used 5mm turquoise, onyx and pearl beads. And so began my love for making jewelry. Throughout college I dabbled a bit. I was able to go to the gem show once during college and this time it was to shop for jewelry supplies. I was blown away. Room after room of STUFF!!!! I momentarily got so into it in college that in our strict, no candle policy in the sorority…I busted out the blow torch in the dining room in front of the house mom. She said nothing. Life’s a breeze. haha.
Then I took a break for no other reason than ADD set in. I must have it. I must. When I was home for Christmas in 2007 (did I mention my parents moved back?) I started making jewelry again with my aunt. A month later started a company Izzy P Designs (named after my grandma Issie who made jewelry) with a friend of mine. It is going well and I totally LOVE it! I don’t see stopping this anytime soon. I hope to keep growing and building the business. And now…this week…I shop. I shop like crazy to stock up on all of the neatest supplies found around the world. They expect over 27,000 people to attend the 2 week show. And I am one of them. Finally!