Tuesday, September 2, 2008

but it's a dry heat

Q: Where In The World?

A: Phoenix, Arizona!

My luggage and I have arrived safe and sound, no delays, no glitches.......but it was a long trip from Florida. I originally had booked a nice non-stop flight from Fort Lauderdale to Phoenix, but the airline changed my itinerary to include a stop (with a very short {panic} 50-minute layover in Charlotte, North Carolina......so glad I was able to catch my connecting flight). The nice thing about this long-haul flight, though, was that I flew First Class......for the first time ever! I managed to use frequent flier miles to pull it off and, wow, it was nice to have some extra leg room and a big comfy seat.

I'm SO EXCITED to be here! I'm attending the annual Creative Escape event; it's a retreat of 600 attendees enjoying the combination of scrapbooking workshops and relaxation (does it really get any better than that???). There's already lots of excitement in the air! If you're a scrapbooker, you'll recognize the event's founder --- Heidi Swapp, scrapbook designer extraordinaire. I first found out that I was able to attend way back in November 2007, so the anticipation has been building for many months. And, yes, I said "able" to attend because attendance is on a lottery basis only, your name has to be drawn randomly from a pool of nearly 2,000 eager scrapbookers! I was stunned when I found out that I had been chosen, the odds were against me. My name was in the final batch drawn. Total luck!

There are scrapbookers here from all over the world, it's so exciting!!! Japan, New Zealand, Australia, China, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Norway, and from all over the US, from Hawaii to Maine and everywhere in-between. There are several of us here from Florida, too. I love making new friends around the globe.

We're at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler, about 10 miles south of Phoenix. This is a gorgeous resort, what a perfect venue for the event.

The resort is on an Indian reservation within the Gila River Indian Community, so unique. The authentic and beautiful southwestern decor is in keeping with the traditions of the Pima Indians that reside here. I love the Native American flute music that plays throughout the property, so soothing. I fell in love with that genre of music way back in 1997 when Sal and I visited the Grand Canyon, and bought a CD called Canyon Spirit to take home with me. I still play it often.

I've arrived a couple days early (look right --- my CE countdown clock is still ticking!). I wanted to enjoy the amenities here, and to have a chance to unwind so that I can relax {wink}. When I arrived this afternoon, I went straight to the resort's Aji Spa (aptly, "Aji" is the Pima Indian word for "sanctuary")......I had an appointment for their Mo'otk massage, which is specifically for jet lag and travel fatigue, complete with citrus aromatherapy. Ahhhh......it was heavenly! I feel rejuvenated. I've always wanted to do that --- get some pampering after a long day of travel --- and I finally had the opportunity.

Today one of the CE'ers made a run to Sprinkles, a famous and insanely popular cupcake bakery, and there happens to be one here in Phoenix. She was so kind to pick one up for me and.....it was YUMMY! The flavors change daily, and today's was lemon coconut, a great combination. (Thanks again, Teri!)

On Wednesday morning those of us who've arrived early (and there are many of us!) are going on a "bus tour" put together by the event staff. So I'll be back online tomorrow with all the details of the exciting stops that we make......

It sure is hot here, around 100 degrees. True, it's not humid like Florida, but HOT is still HOT. It's not easy to forget that we're in the desert.

Stay tuned for all the exciting details (and photos) of the event throughout the weekend! I'm all set up here in my hotel room with a great Internet connection and my laptop, and will be blogging daily. Thanks for sharing in the fun with me!

XOXOXO to Sal, Buddy & Aruba.....I miss you SO much already!!! Sal told me that B&A are sad, that they're looking for me. That broke my heart! (I tried to console them by speaker phone)

And, of course, I'm still watching Tropical Storms Hanna, Ike, and Josephine from afar on The Weather Channel.....oh please, I hope they just fizzle out. In the interim, let my ESCAPE begin!

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