Day One hundred fifty-six:

Tempe, Arizona.  Kate and her buddy Teague….

Today we arrived here for a weekend visit with family and friends.

We’ll be attending a memorial service for my friend and former co-worker Randy Reid, who passed away two weeks ago after a brave battle with cancer.

It also gave us a rare opportunity to get back to the desert to see our friends and family.

We’re staying here at the home of my first cousin Jack and his wife Ginger.  His children who were small when I first moved to AZ in 1990 now have their own  kids (I photographed both of their weddings) and they’re very close in age to Kate and Sparky.

So on Sunday after the memorial the “cousinsths” as Kate would call them, will get to play around the house and swim and keep cool.

Since leaving AZ nearly 8 years ago, I have become very spoiled by the more temperate climate of Ladera Ranch.

When we left the house today, it was socked in with a marine layer (typical for June — the dreaded “June gloom”) and about 75º.

Contrast to Phoenix which hit a high of about 106º (which was quite balmy  — it was supposed to be over 110º!).

While the occasion that brings us here today is heart-wrenching — one good thing from it, though, is that we’ll be able to see our friends (like Teague & Darius and their Mom Cori (we’ll miss seeing hubbie Frank today but will see them in October when they come to CA), Julie and James and their kids, Tom, Kelly and of course, my family.

This image was made as we waited to be seated for dinner at Oregano’s in downtown Tempe — our favorite pizza place on the planet!
It’s been far too long since we’ve since them making today’s gathering that much more wonderful.

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