Saturday, July 31, 2010


Tucson: last day of the month before school starts. Jam packed with Dads galore and lots of trucks - U-Hauls, Budgets, Penskes, Bob's moving and lucky us, cool Superman Noah in his new Black Pearl sweet ride truck. Only took two trips from last year's house in Tucson to this year's apartment in Tucson - crossing our fingers that it didn't rain on the mattresses.

It didn't. Thank God.

We packed up. We cleaned, sort of. Apparently, the girls did not clean for an entire year, then the place sat empty for over a month - dust bunnies the size of pillows. Shana said something about the vacuum cleaner breaking after one use back in September, but there were Swifters all over, unused. I did my best then gave up - figuring that whatever the deposit was, it wasn't worth it. We found some friends and took a break for lunch (above Stacy, Jenna and twin, Shana's BFF, Girl Jordan).

We found a Dong Bong in the closet ( these days!)

 - proud owner was T--- from upstairs - sign on the door read -  T---'s Porn Cave - this from a girl that was so depressed she didn't come out of her room almost the entire first semester, so I guess Little Miss Dong Bong Porn Cave girl

 is a step in the right direction. Right?

We swept up, took out the trash, left the Dong Bong for T--- and headed back to the highway in the rain with all the other trucks.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Birthday Squeeze

Squeezed in a It's Liz's birthday pedicure with Liz and Lisa and Lisa. It's back to school soon for them, fixing up the classrooms, checking out the new kids, saying good-bye to the good old summer, so it's amazing we had a moment to get together. But even an hour is better than nothing. See you when schools out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Spy

Workshop needs a lot of help, but that's not why I do it. There are tons of kids (150 17 -21 year old this session), the week-long programs are crammed full from early morning 'til late at night with activities and skits and talking, talking, talking. They're busy. Plus it's a non-profit that really tries to give back to the community, making scholarships available so nobody misses out. So we all try to pitch in. Tonight Shawn and I picked up the pizzas (graciously donated from Streets of New York

- yum, go buy their stuff - except my car will probably smell like pepperoni for a long time) and helped with the whole dinner production. It's fun to be with this crowd. Everybody is so polite. It's all pleases and thank yous and we couldn't have done it without yous and you're really donating all of that stuff? really? you are an angel! They know how to lay on the charm thick. Tonight we volunteers were even applauded a couple of times. It was deafening. Beautiful. I love to help. It's a worthy cause. But the real reason I show up is to spy. Spy on Shana. It's so great to watch her in her element, taking charge, leading the way with her "family." It's her last year. This is her last official week. The kids head off to Hawley Lake in August for a retreat and then she's done. No more Workshop. So the countdown is on and I'm trying to soak it all in, a la senior year in high school. A bunch of kids showed up late tonight and spread out all over the house. I got in some more quality spying time listening to all of those girls' voices as they whispered for long after they should have gone to sleep, considering their quickly approaching 6:30am wakeup call - time to get to Einstein's for a bagel and back for day two.

Down Under

It's always been hard for me to actually pay for oranges. I live in Arizona. I grew up just picking them for free. We had so many oranges at times we would give bags and bags of them away. So when I walk into a store these days and see oranges for $2 a pound or more, making them like .75 a orange, I just have to walk away. But today there was a sale. Only .88 a pound. Wow, so cheap. Then I looked lower and saw that they were Australian oranges. Half a world away. How can they grow an orange, pick an orange, crate an orange, drive an orange to the airport, fly an orange thousands of miles to Phoenix, drive an orange to some warehouse, put an orange in yet another truck, drive an orange to Fry's, pay some guy to put the orange on the display and pay somebody else to ring it up for .88 a pound? Something's not right. I'll wait for my tree.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


OK, so what if a guy shows up for a date with a man purse? A murse?  Is that a dealbreaker? How about a necklace, silver, not gold (gold's worse, isn't it?), but with big enough links you could see them. Dealbreaker? How about if he talked throughout an entire Pilobolus performance?
I haven't been on a first date since the 80's, happily lucky enough to have Shawn around. No, no eharmony, no speed dating, no blind date set-ups, but I am the Saturday morning quarterback for the Friday night dates of my BFF (I work other days and times, as well - via phone, email and text). So last night the BFF date du jour showed up with the above accouterments as well as being a Chatty Cathy in the theatre. BFF was not impressed and needed some back-up. Well, I asked, what was in the man bag? Did he have a lot of stuff? As far as she could tell there was an iphone and keys and a black Amex card that he pulled out later. I asked if he had on capri pants, too. No, older, baggy Calvin Kleins, the kind with the loop stitched on the back pockets. I thought the biggest problem was the man bag on a first date. BFF was really perturbed by the talking. Shana weighed in and voted for the chain. I slowed down Shawn as he raced by the door and asked for his opinion. So, what do you think, honey? Guy with a murse and a necklace and a big talker. Dealbreaker? He said that we were all wrong and that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. I felt bad. He's right. Good guys are really hard to find and maybe BFF should look deeper, not be so superficial (none of us is perfect, right?). We should just let the guys do what they want, be who they are and leave them alone.

But as Shawn said bye, I looked down. He had on boxer shorts. Old flannel-y Joe Boxer shorts. I think they were even originally mine, some stocking stuffer PJ gift from long ago. Are you going out? Yes. Where to? Ace Hardware. In those? Yeah, why? You can't leave the house in those. Why not? Well, for one, they're underwear. He looked at me, knowing that there was really only one way out of the conversation, went back to the bedroom and returned wearing some cute cargo shorts.

BFF, still on the line, said maybe her next date should just stop by here first.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mother May I?

Years ago, my mother-in-law told me, "There's nothing worse than a crooked painting on a wall." Right away I thought of so many worse things, but kept my mouth shut.

(there are definitely more important problems with this Googled room than the crooked pictures, but that's for another blog)

One worse thing is bitching about the weather in Phoenix in the summer (which I did the other day). I should have learned (and I'm a native). I made a commitment a couple of years ago specifically not to complain. To be above it all. Because, there really is nothing worse, is there? We hear it all the time. Wow, it's hot. So hot. Like an oven hot. I try to smile and nod at these people, then realize I recently became one of them again. The other day I was chatting with some high school buddies about the heat. They couldn't remember it ever being as hot as it was the other day. The temp. The humidity. It's like those kids from Buffalo that think that the winters weren't so bad. But I remember running around all summer long back then. Out there in it. Pool hopping from one resort to another (back before they gated everything up, requiring a room key to even get a towel - where's the fun in that?), riding bikes until the sun went down, drinking Tab, heading off to 7/11 with our pockets full of change, walking barefoot through the gravel. I remember.

But, back to the glass is half full person that I like to be, Mother Nature is my friend again. We're below 100. It's breezy. Rainy. Shawn and I were even out in it last night, loving it, choosing to be there and this am, I even opened the windows for a bit.

Thanks, Mom.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Put DOWN The Brownie

How many Weight Watchers points does one mini brownie have? Well, more like five of them. Ok, six, maybe six. I loaded up the house the other day for Shana's friends - brownies, chips and dip, sugary sodas, (even some healthy veggies and watermelon balls) but I just couldn't walk away. I told her to give away the brownies. Get them out of the house. She said, "God. Mom, just put down the brownies." That's like telling an alcoholic to just walk past the bar. Today is the 75th anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous and I listened to an NPR show in the car. Is it a disease? Is it a behavior? Somehow related to your religion? Heritage? Why can't people just stop drinking? I've known some that have done it cold turkey and never looked back. Why are they different? Who are those people? Maybe I'd have an easier time with that. I can drive right by bars all day long and I'm fine. But lately, after my brownie sugar fix, I've been dreaming about macaroni and cheese, a 6 inch tuna sandwich from Subway (though I have made it through a foot-long in the past - which step is that? the powerless one?), a big doughy bagel with tons of whipped cream cheese. I spotted a box of Paradise Bakery muffins somebody brought to the office today and almost got the shakes, wished I had some kind of sponsor to call, but then looked down at the old pair of Banana Republic white denim capris I had on that, until today, haven't zipped up for a few years and kept going. Cold turkey.

Rock on, Shana!

Congratulations, Smarty Pants!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cool Beans

What do they say about old writers? I don't know, but some of the old gang from MWW are trying to keep our brains from melting so we got together at Urban Beans for their celebration of Ernest Hemingway's birthday (very cool place on 7th St). There wasn't much of a party, but we pulled out the laptops and ipads and notebooks (like #38) and legal pads and scraps of printer paper and forced ourselves (no talking!) to write some things. Here are some ideas, something to think about in the future when I stop procrastinating.

There's a massive box of XL Depends for Men in my trunk

Put down the brownie

Never turn down a girl's trip vs. - when did Saturday night all waxed and dressed up date night turn into Sunday matinee in flip flops with a dollar refill cup and a purse full of smuggled pretzels?

Facebook inbox overload

She said, "I can't believe we're still friends."

Papa Don't Preach

Did the TWIRP dance turn him gay?

Shana stole my Luna bar

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Arabian Nights

Shana's cruising through her final year with Workshop.
Every summer before the last week of programs, the ninety or so Peer Leaders get together for a formal night. It's a big deal. They alternate party planning between the boys and girls. This year the boys are in charge.
 The theme is Arabian Nights and Shana and some friends headed to the mall yesterday to buy up all of the gold chains they could find. The dinners are always held at a super secret location, preceded by a scavenger-like hunt for an hour or so before gathering up enough clues to find it. They go all out, too. They rent tables, they cater the food (unless some adventerous mom volunteers) they send out fancy invites (or, more recently, tech-friendly elaborate Evites), they even plan gifts for the guests, with everybody getting something special, meaningful, something with feeling in it and gratitude since, you know, it is Workshop. It's a good lesson. A good boy-girl lesson. A lesson in respect and honor. These kids have grown up together and have seen and heard every dream and fear and goal for years. They know almost everything there is to know about each other. There's not much of a "dating" atmosphere, either. Early on it's frowned upon, even prohibited some years, but later, the kids are so much like siblings, it's rarely an issue, so it's just a bunch of old friends, friends that will remember these Arabian Nights, this magic carpet ride, for years to come.


I'm not supposed to bitch about the weather. It's Arizona. It's summer. July. Monsoon season. But, wow. It seems like I usually get more breaks around this time of year, hit the road, head north or west, but for some reason I'm staying put. Maybe it's global warming. Maybe we shouldn't keep digging up all of those farms and pouring more tar to soak up all that heat. I read that the last big farm in Queen Creek just sold. Coming soon, more vacant houses, higher heat. I can't even swim anymore. I jumped in yesterday for a little relief and it was hot. Bath water hot. But I'm not bitching. Just a little vent. Just breathe. Thanks.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Movie Madness - Inception

Dream on. I've taken my share of Dream classes back in college - dream analyses, symbolism, etc. - but we never covered Inception, never talked about a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream (was there one more? I'm confused) but I just went with the flow and loved Inception. Even saw the thing twice. Sunday with Shawn (the poor guy couldn't get out of work on Monday) and then with the girls on Monday. Great special effects, great cast, cool locations - real and imagined.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

aka Lisa Segal

Tonight I was Lisa Segal again. The old Hopi/Ingleside/Arcadia gang keeps getting bigger and bigger and we gathered up at good old Tee Pee for some more tales of yesteryear as well as some current gossip, preceded by a girls only pre-bash bash at Pita Jungle. I kept hearing "Lisa Segal" floating through the teqilla-filled air as the old stories circled from group to group. The you dated him? was it the TWIRP dance that turned him gay? is three marriages is enough now? are you okay to drive? were you really the model for that adult toy? you had a "supplier" in high school? which teacher did you have for English? the alcoholic that spent his lunchtimes here at Tee Pee at the bar? or the one that almost lost his job after that night at the now long-gone Monastery? It was a crazy mix, a mix that didn't occur back in the day, but now, somehow, as grown-ups it works. We blend. Just like a Tee Pee margarita. On the rocks. With salt.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book Club - The Girls From Ames

The Girls from Postino. Well, at least the Jaye, Jill, Ronnie, Leslie, Isabelle and Lisa girls met at the cool, totally hopping, CenPho Postino locale for a middle of summer party complete with wine, bruchetta and lots of tales from our years together, not quite forty yet, but getting there - the slumber parties, the vodka-swilling, wax your nipples psychic, the B and B second grade teachers at Kachina, the Y2K bash, the old photo albums, the divorces, the new just down the street Renegade Canteen and then the upcoming trips - the wedding, the 2nd annual Pinetop Extravaganza and lots of fun in between.

The Girls from Ames was about a group of women going back some 40 years and all of the details of their connection. Nice, quick summer read, but, personally, my book club is so much more interesting!

Just finished The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - great, great.

Just started Traveling with Pomegranates - a mother-daughter story that sounds like Shana and me in a few years - we better start planning that trip to Greece!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yoga lesson of the day

After weeks away from yoga, I made it back to Mary. A new lesson. The meaning of it not about living in a constant state of peace, it's also about the battles. Like the battle to leave my nice air-conditioned house and drive through the mirage-like steam of Phoenix in rush hour 1110 degree (Freudian slip typo and I'm leaving it) weather. The battle of the creaky knees due to a month without down dog or child's pose. Maybe those weren't the battles she was talking about, but I fought on and won big in the end. Peace.

only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over again to annihilation
can that which is indestructible arise within in.
In this lies the dignity of daring.
The goal of living life and inner peace
is not to acquire a state of harmony where nothing can ever trouble us-
inner peace allows us to be perturbed, to be insulted, moved, broken, battered, in order that we may discover
in doing battle
that which awaits us beyond the world of opposites.
We must have the courage to face life,
to encounter all that is most perilous in this world.

Karlfried Graf Durkheim

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I was thinking about cow balls today.

My friend, Sativa, discovered my fascination with Anthony Bourdain (great chef, incredible writer, totally cheeky),
so I checked out her latest piece in the NewTimes reviewing his new book Medium Raw. It sounds like a great read and I'm down to #9 on the library waiting list, so it won't be too much longer. Always a sucker for old time Phoenix stories, I stumbled upon a NewTimes piece about The Stockyards restaurant in Phoenix. It described the old days as the place to see and be seen and the even older days as an administration building for a massive cattle ranch, overseeing production of beef galore. These days they're still serving the old faves including cow balls. Crispy on the outside, spongy on the inside. One of the reviewer's guests even ordered a hot dog to go along with the cow balls, which is a great joke, but also one more thing to think about before I go back to eating meat - you never really know which part might show up. So, of course, I had to ask Shawn about the balls (as the only house member in the know - poor Sully the dog had to say good-bye to his long ago). He agreed that one could make anything crispy on the outside, but wasn't too sure about the spongy part. Not that he wanted to try them. After all that ball talk, he got a little uncomfortable and was reminded that a few days ago in the garage he somehow banged into something down there.  It hurt so much that it took his breath away so, of course, we moved to people balls. Why does it hurt so much? I can't think of a place on my body that with only somewhat minimal impact would cause so much damage. Maybe if men gave birth, they wouldn't whine so much about their balls. Maybe it's due to evolution and Mother Nature figured that extreme pain was the only message your average guy could understand in order to protect the boys for the continuation of the species. They're sort of like the administration building for the production of humans, just like at The Stockyards. Crispy on the outside, spongy on the inside.

I bet Tony has a recipe for cow balls that aren't spongy.

Pass The Pasta

Finally had the family in one place after traveling the world - Canada, France, even Springerville, so met at the Frank Sinatra would have loved it place, Pasta Brioni, for some catching up, birthday presents (yay!), news, plans, pot, AIDS, you know, the usual.

Movie Madness - I Am Love

Hmmm. How can I say this? I Am Love was incredible. It was absolutely amazing during some parts - the way it was filmed, the acting, the drama, the suspense, the scenery - Milan, San Remo, London. But, unfortunately, then there were the other parts. The four times too long scenes, the music shouting in our ears telling us how we are supposed to feel, the improbable highs and lows. The pretty packed for a Monday Camelview didn't know what to do when it was over. It's like we all were wondering, "Well, now what?" But the never discouraged Movie Madness gang made plans for next week anyway.

I Am Love

Man v. Food - Chompies

I have never actually watched an entire episode of Man V. Food, but occasionally I'll find Shawn and Shana in the family room ohhing and ahhing over it. I guess it's sort of like a car accident for some people - you just can't turn away. Anyhow, they filmed a show at one of Phoenix's very own Chompie's (my just down the street, on my cell phone contact list, kitchen away from home). It involves sliders. I don't know what's in a slider, but after shoving as many as possible into your mouth for 30 minutes, it probably doesn't even matter.

Wednesday at 9pm on the Travel Channel


Friday, July 9, 2010


Shana and her friends just couldn't stand the heat anymore, but with low funds and Workshop starting on Sunday, they opted for a staycation instead. Gainey Hyatt. Less than $30 bucks a night per person on Orbitz. Reptile class at 4, Native American dancing at 5, Flamenco music at 5:30, light-up stuff in the pool at 8, Pei Wei across the street - who needs California?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's A Dry Heat

You know that people make fun of us when we say, "it's a dry heat," but look who's laughing now. From what I hear from my sister, Amy, in NY and my sistah, Laurel, in Wisconsin, it's worse out there. People are dropping like flies. Hot, sticky, steamy. Amy said somebody measured the temperature coming off of the sidewalk and it was 140. It's not like I'm out running around in our high of 102 today, but I'm not hiding, either. On the 3rd and 4th, we went out to watch the fireworks and it was actually nice both nights. Temps in the 80s. Breezy. No humidity. No complaining. No sweat.

Cute pic of hot POTUS and FLOTUS (I guess no matter how disgusting it is in DC in the summer, it's not so bad if you own the place).

So, sorry it's so gross out there, but I'll take high and dry anytime.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thirsty, Thirsty

Last minute Lipstick Call at the Z. Lovely ladies, cheap drinks, good eats, the kids are extraordinarily wonderful (well, three out of four ain't bad), summer's sailing along, trips have been/will be great, life is good. Fill 'er up!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hitting the Rez

My neighborhood is changing. Right down the street on the Salt River Pima Indian reservation is a brand new resort - Talking Stick. Next to that, the new Diamondbacks Spring Training facility is going up. Shana and I made our way through the cloud of cigarette smoke in the casino to check out the new hotel. It was Shana's first time in a casino and I pointed out the buffet and all of the people with their walkers and oxygen tanks and beer feeding the slot machines. Here's one of the resort rooms.
Next door is the old mall, the Scottsdale Pavilions. It's open, but under major construction (just stay off of Pima Road for the next few months, trust me) and adding lots of new stuff. I heard that the developers paid a pretty penny to the tribe to allow them to sell alcohol on their land, previously prohibited, making room for some higher end restaurants (and more close-by Happy Hour places!) It looks like a cool new theater is going in called Ultra Star with some neat features like in-seat snack ordering and seat reservations (don't worry Dan Harkins, Monday Movie Madness at Camelview will always be my favorite). So, there's a little tour. I'll give them a few more months to spruce up and go back for another review.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Junk Drawer

I'm sort of a pig, but I can usually find what I need in my house. It's the stuff that I never need that's the problem. It piles up in closets and cupboards and the laundry room and the garage until I can't open the doors anymore. But, starting today, that has changed. After helping my in-laws for a few days pack up their recently sold house, I realized that one junk drawer is enough. They had thirty year old stuff in every nook and cranny of the 5,000 square foot house. Thank God my mother-in-law is an extremely organized neat freak (so unlike me), making the process somewhat bearable. I came home and purged. In two hours alone I made it through two large cabinets in my bathroom, resulting in two bags of trash, one bag of recycling, twelve mini sewing kits I'm keeping and two boxes I have already dropped off at Goodwill. It looks good. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sizzling Summer Saturdays at the Heard

If you haven't been to The Heard Museum since that field trip in third grade, then get down there. It's really incredible. I'm ashamed to say that I have no idea when they renovated it but it is now a world-class building with amazing exhibits ranging from Barry Goldwater's Kachina Doll collection to a Native American Pop Art display. There's a learning center, lots of turquoise, well-informed tour guides and so much more. Here are Shana, Heather and Allison in front of a very cool evolution piece made of glass. We started off at the dance performance, complete with beautiful music, gorgeous outfits and some how-did-they-do-that dancing, all led and described by some guys that should have been stand-up comics.

Ssssssizzling Sssssummer Ssssssaturdays at the Heard Museum. And they're free! I LOVE free!

Here is the 2009 and 2010 National Junior Hoop Dancing Champion - he rocked!

Friday, July 2, 2010


I thought that I was too young to be a Deadhead. I missed out on the whole tie-dye, acid-dropping, VW van traveling days, coming of age instead with big hair, shoulder pads and wine cooler 80's music. But tonight, hanging out with total Deadhead friend at the cool new spot The Compound Grill, I saw what it was all about as we listened to a Grateful Dead cover band. Great music. Really. There were some fans dancing, or "twirling" as I learned a new word for people sort of swaying and turning like they are in a dream or trance or had way too many wine coolers. But it all took Deadhead Carla back to the days of the real band, except for the clear head and sparkling clean bathrooms.

Next up - Lipstick Call with AZ Chicks With Picks 8pm July 15th