Turn and face the strain.

Whenever I visit Tucson I feel more and more like I don’t fit in. I’ve changed since leaving there. Granted, it is due in large part to becoming a parent, but there are other differences as well.

I have a theory that my years in Seattle made me soft(er), and that my time here in the greater L.A. area has made me cynical (yes, more so). I’ve also gained something of an awareness that I didn’t possess before. I like it.

Basically, I don’t feel like it is home anymore. I used to go back to Arizona and feel like I was returning. Now I feel like I’m visiting, which I am, so that is convenient.

Still, we went. We saw. There wasn’t much in the way of ass kicking.

Actually, we had a real nice time. Just a bit more hectic than we needed it to be, and with less sleep than we were hoping for. What can you do?

Some of it was a bit awkward, like my grandmother trying her hardest to take the boys to a rodeo. We don’t do rodeos. I don’t have a problem with riding horses per se, but what they do while on the horse, specifically to the calves, is not my idea of wholesome fun.

It’s hard to explain to someone that was raised, and in turn helped raise me, on that sort of lifestyle, that I no longer agree with it. I don’t even want to get into my refusal to go to church. The only thing that could have thrown my family for a bigger loop would be if I went vegetarian.

Speaking of which, we ate lunch at a place called The Stockyard, which is Arizona’s largest livestock auction and greasy spoon. I’ve always been a meat guy, but this place just about turned me green. There’s something disturbing about eating all things beef in the same place that some unlucky cow was sold for market. Then there was the decor, which looked like it was designed by the love child of Gene Autry and Ted Nugent- all cowboy stuff and game trophies.

Atticus seemed slightly put-off by the fact that the mounted deer heads didn’t break into song like their luckier counterparts at Disneyland. In fact, he found it downright disturbing. I agreed.

Thanks to that lunch my red meat intake will now be limited to being polite at the home of someone else.

On the way home we did something I’ve always wanted to do. We stopped at the big dinosaur place on I-10. You know, the one from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Don’t worry, no children were harmed in the making of these photos.

The dinosaurs were cool enough, but the thing I didn’t expect was that they are operated by a group of people with a point. Or in this case an opinion. The whole place is filled with bibles and anti-evolution propaganda. It was wacky and tacky at the same time, but at least we got to climb inside the head of a T-Rex. That was pretty sweet.

Overall, the trip was a success. The boys were great, the weather was beautiful and we saw plenty of people that we have missed. Plus, I threw up in a public restroom (not beer related), which is always an adventure (I was able to quickly step to a different urinal and blame it one someone else).

We’ll go back- assuming they’ll have us.

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