Monday, August 23, 2010

Where to Stay in Phoenix

A post on the ArtUnraveled Yahoo Group caught my attention: Sue was looking for a place to stay while she was in Phoenix, and hoped someone would be willing to take her in for the week. The Australian currency was trading low against the US dollar, and a hotel stay would be very expensive. She said she had references from people she'd stayed with in past years.

The art community is very friendly and helpful. I knew Sue would find someone to stay with. I just wanted to help her out with those references, having stayed with her in my coauthor Christine's home two years ago. So I posted: she was a low-maintenance guest, and there was a possibility that I could get a place for us to stay at least part of the time. I then emailed Sue to catch up with her news. I hadn't seen her in person for two years.

Then came the fateful email, the magnificent missive. Deborah, a total stranger invited us to stay with her for the whole week. Both of us.  Although I loved the idea of hanging out with the other teachers and students in the hotel, the state of my finances is pretty dismal, and the hotel is expensive. I checked with Sue. She was game. So we accepted.

I did a tremendous amount of work to get ready for my classes. Other art-makers will tell you that they travel with a heavy suitcase full of tools and materials and a small bag for clothes and essentials. It's even worse when you're teaching and supplying tools to work with. But Deborah offered to accept packages for me, so I mailed a lot of stuff. Probably 50 pounds or so. "If it fits it ships," the ads say. It fit, but it was heavy.

Deborah and I emailed back and forth making arrangements for pickup at the airport and scheduling transportation to and from classes. I talked to her on the phone and was immediately reassured by her gentle voice. Still, this was a trip to the unknown, and I was a little nervous. What if she didn't like us? Or me? I'm such a spreader-outer-of-stuff, also known as slob; what if I made her crazy?

Sue and Deborah met me at the airport. I was disheveled and disorganized. Deborah was elegant and gracious. She was slender and well-dressed, wearing the most gorgeous sparkly Swarovsky crystal jewelry I'd ever seen. Of course she made it. She looked to be about 35 or 40. I was getting ready to feel like a bum when she greeted me, but she instantly put me at ease. I did say gracious, didn't I?

When she opened the door to her home, I almost dropped my bags. Inlaid marble floors, a kitchen and dining area as big as my house, ankle-deep white carpets, gigantic fireplace, decorating to die for....

She showed me to my room: a huge one with a king-sized bed, a walk-in closet, and my own bathroom. A five-star hotel couldn't have been more beautiful or spacious.

Honestly, if it wouldn't have been utterly tacky I'd have posted pictures. Not because I'm not tacky, but because she isn't.

OK, I HAD to show you the pool. And the fountains, and the jacuzzi, and about an acre of landscaped yard.... I even saw a road runner there!

I must have done something wonderful to deserve this! Strike that. I didn't deserve it, it was all a gift.

This is just the beginning. There's lots more to tell about my awesome trip, incredibly generous new friends, and the art retreat I want to attend every year forever.

Stay tuned!


Amber Dawn Inventive Soul said...


Lisa Crone said...

Wow, what an unbelievable story, how wonderful human beings are! :) Thanks so much for sharing such a great adventure.

Peggy said...

Pretty amazing, isn't it? Some people are genuine heroes.

Cindy said...

What a gracious hostess....a real dream. Your trip to AU sounded SO incredible...would love to go too one day. :-) But Phoenix is a long way away....