Friday, April 30, 2010

Lipstick Call(s)

Ditched an afternoon at the office for a Lipstick Call at Zinc, then another one at Regions, then another one on my patio, complete with wine, cheese and palm trees blowing in the wind. TGIF!

Titan Lunch Bunch

Other than John forcing me to shove a huge burrito in my mouth, Leslie, Tim and I all had a great time. Next up, Happy Hour at Gilligan's - check Facebook for time and date.

No Phone Zone

Hang up and drive. April 30 - the first official No Phone Zone day. If you're driving, No phones. No texting. No kidding.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

MIM's the word

I found something really cool about Arizona today. No, it's not the fact that we can all carry concealed weapons around without any training, or that we're surrounded by "birthers" or even that at any moment the family could get pulled over if we look like we don't belong. No, none of that really cool Arizona stuff. It's the brand new Musical Instrument Museum. First, it's an incredible building - glass, stone,

water and an amazing sculpture out front "The Phoenix" that mixes all sorts of instruments and art, a beautiful combination.
The place is filled with musical instruments from around the world, displayed by country, so it's a really great geography lesson, too. All visitors get a headset that plays musical performances from that particular exhibit as you stroll in front of it. Shawn and I moved through, be-bopping our heads with a little hip shaking thrown in until we got to the hands-on part.

We really let loose there. Banging the gong, playing the harp and the beautiful rain sticks, forming our very own band. We rocked. So does Arizona. Well, most of the time.


Shana's pitching in. She participated in a class (called S.O.A.R.), tuition-free for one credit which involved going to a local middle school and mentoring a seventh grader for the semester. She really enjoyed herself. She even learned a lot. And the reward? $350 toward next semester's tuition. Good job, honey. I didn't tell her that would take care of about 10 minutes. Poking around Nana and Papa's while cat sitting, I found this cutie-pie pic in the hall and the ink on the wall measuring stick in the soon to be sold and gone forever house, Shana soaring up over the years. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Movie Madness - City Island

Nice movie madness turnout today for a hilarious escape from Monday. Oh, the secrets, the drama, the pauses, the clam diggers and the mussel suckers, lots of heart  - funny, funny, funny!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Modern Home Tour

The Lisa, Ronnie, Carla and Laura fun club toured Phoenix today to see some incredible homes on the aia-phoenixmetro modern home tour. Steel, glass, stacked slate, water features, views and amazing design made for some breathtaking moments. There were some over the top Alice in Wonderland angles that made us dizzy and some spa-like rooms that made us want to curl up and stay for the night. We took a little break at new fave Cafe Bink in Cave Creek on the cool patio for a delish lunch. There are some great architectural minds out there in our city, made more fun with a bunch of clever, spontaneous friends along for the ride.

Round Trip to Tucson

Suffering from withdrawal symptoms, Shawn and I headed south for a little Shana fix. She's good. A bit of Spring fever in the home stretch setting in, so we laid on the cheerleading pretty thick - don't give up now, keep up the good work, study, study, study, how is every single class going, you can rest all summer, three more weeks, think GPA. 
Some amazing Indian food for lunch at Saffron (thanks Jordan!), an exciting customer at work, John O'Hurley, in town for Chicago came in to Shana's toy store three days in a row
 and now mom and dad head back to Phoenix in a suddenly totally packed car full of Sophomore year stuff.

Musical Instrument Museum

Phoenix has the world's first global musical instrument museum. Opening today. How groovy is that? 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Maria Maria Lisa Lisa Sheila

Met the girls halfway at very cool Maria Maria for a little Friday night catch up. No more average or normal for us. The new word for the day is typical. Nobody gets in trouble that way...

Goddard for Governor

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Driving through a ritzy PV neighborhood today on the way to a cat sitting assignment, I was struck by all of the vacant houses. My charge Snowball is living alone for a whole month in a 5,000 square foot place. It seemed at least every other house on the street was dark, quiet, empty, too, sale signs out front, Mansions R Us, make a bid. I thought about all of the people in Haiti living a dozen under one sheet and four sticks, the people in Chile, the people throughout the world including Phoenix who have nothing, while some have so much. Too much. It's too much.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Club - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

At Leslie's newly staged, gorgeous digs now on the market. I'll cry when it sells.  In keeping with the theme of the book, local Chinese food and apple pie and we didn't discuss the book, but went right to life, death and everything in between. Animal, Vegetable and we're the Miracles.

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors, but this book is totally different from her other books. It's all about eating in a healthy way, eating local, growing your own, getting organic and so much information about our history and society and how we live and eat. It's a great read. animalvegetablemiracle

Semi-Retirement Half Day Wednesday

After a little trip and a reminder not to keep doing the same thing every single day until we grow old and rot, Shawn and I are going back to semi-retirement half day Wednesdays. We do work on Saturday mornings to make up for our absence, so it's more like flex-time, but semi-retirement sounds more like a ditch day to me. Recently, somehow the fun went out of Wednesday afternoons. Lack of effort. Chores. Dentist appointments. But I'm recommitted.

 I've been trying to get up north to try the world famous Binkley's binkleysrestaurant, but can never seem to make an actual date, but today we tried "Binkley's little sister" in Cave Creek for lunch cafebink, a very hip bar/restaurant with a cool clientele and great employees. We sidled up to the bar and started with some "pulled" Mozzarella with three types of accouterments, tomatoes, red onion "marmalade" and pesto - oh, so good.

Then I had some mushroom soup (OMG is all I can say) with several different kinds of mushrooms and leeks, while Shawn had an arugula with the best chicken he's ever had salad.

Later, we happily said good-bye to the upper 80's and 90's of a few days ago and walked in the mid-60s sprinkling rain for a little art gallery hopping in Carefree. Sounds better than getting your teeth cleaned. Right?

Goodreads - Raven Stole the Moon

I signed up at Goodreads at a friend's urging a while ago goodreads. It seemed like a good idea. Share new ideas. See what everybody else is reading. I never really made my list and kept up with it (oh, the guilt). No time. Plus, I didn't really think anybody cares what I'm reading anyway. So since I seem to forget everything I did the day before, I'll just keep putting my goodreads here in my own little space so I can find them again someday. Latest find - Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein.
"When a grieving mother returns to the remote Alaskan town where her young son drowned, she discovers that the truth about her son's death is shrouded in legend--and buried in a terrifying wrinkle between life and death...."
I read the Art of Racing in the Rain by the same author last year and loved it.
Written from a dog's perspective about car racing and so much more (but I can't remember) it was fascinating and so well written that I actually did remember the guy's name. Here's a blurb - A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it....

So when Raven appeared on my doorstep by fellow book lover, Jo (thanks, Jo!), I couldn't wait to get started. It's totally different from Racing. Set in Alaska. Some Native lore. Great characters. Loved it.

Currently by the bed, Prayers for Sale
Another bestseller Laurel handed to me on the plane on the way to Amsterdam. Who needs when you've got goodfriends like that? Maybe we've got our own bestseller in the making.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Breath...not brain

It's about the breath, not the brain. A little yoga lesson - we add layer upon layer of thoughts to our brain, sometimes clouding what our perception of what reality truly is. But it's about the breath, not the brain, sort of like blowing away all of those layers of right, wrong, true, false, red, blue, me, you and getting to what's real. At least for one hour. Tonight. Really.

OK, enough with my bleary Tuesday night version, here's the official Wednesday morning email from yogi Mary quote:

Zen and the Art of Insight
When we realize that the way we are experiencing things
is mixed up with our own interpretations, 
we learn to refrain from taking our own representations for realities,
and thus reduce our susceptibility to compulsion, confusion, and obsession.
Within the calmness and stability this insight produces,
we can distinguish between subjective projections
and objective truths.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Movie Madness - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Incredible, on the edge of your seat, twisty-turny, murder (or was it?) mystery. I never made it through this first book of the trilogy, but the movie was great, although pretty hard to watch at times, I literally almost threw up twice. Amazing story, great acting, and an it was all worth it ending.


Friday, April 16, 2010

I miss stucco

Sitting in a cafe on an Amsterdam canal a few days ago, mesmerized by the hundreds of years old buildings, the gabled rooftops of the canal houses, the cobblestoned streets, one of my fellow Phoenicians joked, "I miss stucco." We all had a good laugh and I chuckled again as we landed back in Phoenix on Wednesday, studying the sea of red-roofed Taco Bell stuccoed houses in my hometown.
Just one lucky day from getting stranded in Europe after most of the airports were shut down due to the erupting volcano in Iceland, I looked around at the comforting stucco in my neighborhood, the palm trees, the grass. Yeah, we have heat (I was in town when it got to 122 and they closed Sky Harbor for the afternoon), but we don't have volcanos, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados or hurricanes. And, thanks to flood control and the beautiful greenbelt down the street, knock on wood, no floods, either.

It's good to be home.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

UA Swimsuit Day

Today is wear your swimsuit to school day at U of A. Shana's off to Spanish class, then to tan. I wonder if she gets any credit for that?

Tiptoe Through The Tulips

Five amazing days tiptoe-ing through the tulips in Amsterdam, Brussels and Bruges with crazy travelers Maddie, Louise and Laurel. I'll get some pictures up for now. More later...time for bed.

A little visual from a Bruges exhibit - Maddie, Laurel, Louise and me dancing around the globe - it's all about the dash ---

Amsterdam - Day One

In her hometown visiting her mom, brother and friends, Dutch girl extraordinnaire, Maddie, came crashing out of our hotel to greet Louise and me for the first of several do everything tour days in Amsterdam.

Fun Dutch seatmates  on the flight to Holland, Anton and Ali. We reviewed what it's like to grow up there, health care, education, the history and the great party tonight at Paradiso - stop on by, they'll be there 'til 8am.

We spent ten minutes in our hotel room and raced outside for a walk to the train station to see the tulips. Come to think of it, I don't think we ever spent more than ten minutes awake in our hotel rooms, it was go, go, go, shower, bed, go, go, go!
First stop, the "I Amsterdam" photo stop, followed by omelettes at an outdoor cafe on a sunny, cool, gorgeous day in Holland. Bikes are everywhere,
pedestrians need to be careful because they will definitely run you over! Here's a three story parking garage outside the train station with wall-to-wall bikes jammed together.

The Flower Gardens

March through May is prime tulip and other flower watching in Holland. We took the bus past Maddie's Mom's town of Harlaam into the flower gardens It was breathtaking to see the acres and acres of flowers, all kinds, all colors, unbelievable aromas. Perfect afternoon!

Lovely ladies in the garden (there's another shot somewhere that Louise enhanced with her own bulbs, but I can't seem to find it...)

Even hybrid tulips!

Day one...into the night

Some tooling around down by the canals. For hundreds of years, whenever the people of Amsterdam needed some more land, they just dug more up, adding more and more canals between the neighborhoods. We toured the Red Light district where prostitution is legal. If there is a red light on and a lady standing scantily clad in her little room, then go on in! I peeked around the corner to try to see some preppy guy go in, but just got a view of some negotiating, maybe making a date for later, who knows? For only five Euros you can get one particular sex act (or down the street, a really pretty bouquet of tulips for the same amount - you decide). 
Stopped along the canal at Cafe Bar Emmelot in the Red Light district on our first night for some Amstel beer near the Amstel river. We sat outside on the canal, then moved inside to the smoky bar when the wind picked up. There were videos of American disco music from the 70's playing and we cracked up for awhile before a little more sightseeing (the main drag was really bustling on a Friday night) before heading back to the hotel for our first chance at being horizontal in two days.