Random Cultural Things

  1. Phoenix: One Bite at a Time

    Outside of Cucina Cucina Modern Italian in downtown Phoenix on 8/10/16. Dinner with son; my entree Salmone Affumicato:
  2. Fast Food Thursdays

    Update made on June 24 at bottom of post... I work in Flagstaff on Thursdays. It is about an hour's drive from home. Fortunately I get paid to drive and a nice gas reimbursement. I also get a meal reimbursement—up to $14.00 for lunch. Since I never eat lunch, I use it to purchase an early dinner instead—before I head home. I could do the sit-down thing, but frankly, I just want to get back to the Verde Valley ASAP. So I have been indulging in—or rather, slumming it—on fast food. I pretty...
  3. Vive la Vida!

    UPDATE 3/27/16 at bottom of post... Mexico on my mind. One week from today, David and I are driving to Rocky Point Mexico for a five-day-weekend. I can't wait. It will be my first real vacation in over a year. I rented a beautiful house right on the beach. We plan to party, dance, collect shells, and eat very well. Here is where we are staying... Casa del Mar Casista A little mood music... I'll post pics when I return. UPDATE: 3/27/16 I'm back. Mexico was awesome in all ways: the casita...
  4. Have Passport Will Travel

    I love my job but I took today off because it is my birthday and I want to treat myself to a nice present. I have an appointment at 1:00 PM to have my passport renewed. Got my photos yesterday so I am good to go. My tentative plan is to go to England this coming August. I'd like to visit Cornwall, the Cotswolds, London, Manchester and York. If time permits, I would also love to go to Paris and Barcelona. Dream a little dream with me. *Update 11/7/15: Passport came in the mail yesterday....
  5. Mom Gone Wild

    Phoenix was a trip—back—to my twenty-one-year-old self. Sunday, early evening, David, his girlfriend Hannah, and I are having drinks and starters at Chili's. I had won a gift card and thought I'd take us all out. A beer in, David asks, " Would you be down for a party? It's Gustavo's birthday and the guys (skater pals) are having a party for him." I could just picture it: anti-social stonerheads sitting around playing video games on a large screen TV. Not my idea of a fun night out. David...
  6. If You Need Me, I'll Be Here

    It seems like forever since I last blogged. Work is so mentally stimulating that all I want to do when I get home is plant myself in front of the TV and watch mindless shows like Project Runway and Face Off. But as we all know all work and no play... will lead to burnout or even insanity. We don't need any of that. And so, I am taking a three day vacation. Booked my hotel several weeks ago. Staying at the same place my parents stayed when they came to Phoenix last. It was so magical I just...
  7. Pretty Certain It's Happening

    Tucson/Puerto Pensaco, Mexico trip August 13-17. Tampa FL trip October 14-20. Woo-hoo. Can't wait.
  8. Symbols

    Symbols can be powerful—evoking strong emotions to rise to the surface from some deep, out of view space. I have been subjected to three Confederate flags this last week—all were flying from long wooden poles alongside the US flag—attached to the beds of four wheel drive trucks, validating at least one stereotype perfectly. OK. This is Arizona. I am not in the South. The West should not feel any affiliation or loyalty to the Confederacy. What exactly are these fools embracing and expressing...
  9. Success is the Only Revenge I Seek

    I am not superstitious and I certainly think Karma is bunk. But something makes me hesitate shouting at the top of my lungs, "life is good," out of fear that I will jinx myself—that the hubris police will come cracking down and put me back in my miserable place. Maybe I am simply not used to success. It feels different. I feel vulnerable. Could I lose it all in a moment's notice? I should feel I deserve this chance at greatness. Haven't I suffered enough? I don't want to be a victim...
  10. Give Me a Break

    I need a break. Wow, has it been a taxing and intense last six weeks. My training ended last Friday. I have been set free to sink or swim. Yesterday was Crazy with a capital C. Five appointments! Fortunately all were pleasant and patient—while I got my footing. Everyone has been telling me it takes years to learn this job and they still don't know everything. I think that is reassuring. I still haven't decided. I will still be traveling to Flagstaff on Thursdays to meet with clients...
  11. Survivors' Guilt

    I'm a survivor. I have survived two major medical illnesses. Why have I arrived on the other side whereas others with similar illnesses have lost the battle or are continuing to fight for their lives—daily, hourly? Why me? Why not me? When I got spinal cancer at age 16, I could have felt pity for myself. Instead I decided not to be a victim but rather a warrior. I was going to live, dammit. Thirty years later, I remain cancer free. I have a few scars—battle wounds—but I am walking and...
  12. Yumfreakin'liscious!

    Have a V-8 spritzer! In a very large glass with lots of ice, mix a 12 ounce can of V-8 Low Sodium with a 12 ounce can of seltzer. Drink with straw. :) Have one at lunch and one mid-afternoon. Will keep you full, hydrated, and satisfied until dinner at 6:00 pm.
  13. Pure pleasure. OK, not so pure.

    I am in training up in Flagstaff for the next two weeks. I opted to commute back and forth rather than campout in Flag. Needless to say after yesterday's fourteen-hour-day, I am a zombie. Now, I know you know I am not big on fast food—certainly not greasy, salt-laden stuff. I am so inexperienced at the whole drive through window thing that I actually hit the curb pulling up to the takeout window. Could have something to do with exhaustion as well. Anyhow, I am not familiar with any fast...
  14. Spring Has Sprung

    Last Sunday I planted two new tomato plants. This season I decided to place them below the porch--up on crates--rather than on the porch. Meet Ben. He is a Better Boy hybrid. This is Bud. He is a Big Beef hybrid. I will update this post soon. And keep you abreast of their progress. 3/27: Both Ben and Bud are 13" and look very strong and healthy. 4/3: Bud has taken off. He now stands 18". Ben is trailing behind at 14". 4/11: Bud stands 21". Ben is at 17". 4/19: Bud ~ 25"....
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