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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Roommate Parade

I've been looking for another roommate for the last couple of weeks with no luck. Several people have come to look at the room, but no one has decided to move in yet. If you know of anyone who is looking for a place, please tell them about me!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Part of the master plan to be totally mobile is to scan all of my old photos & (flat) memorabilia onto my new laptop so that I can get rid of the material things & carry my memories with me virtually. Of course I'll back them up by posting them online, so that even if my laptop dies or gets stolen, I'll still be able to access the images.

I'm working on finding a scanner that will jive with my computer so that I can get started. I've tried a couple of different hand-me-down scanners without success. I'd hate to have to go out & buy a new one, especially since it goes completely contrary to the whole idea of getting rid of my material stuff. I'm sure I'll work it out somehow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Hey! What happened to the nice weather?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cool Chix

This morning I met a group of girlfriends at Mama Java's for coffee. We meet once a month at a different independent coffee shop around the Valley, from Chandler to Glendale to Central Phoenix to North Scottsdale. Many of us bring a book or two to trade, & all of us bring great conversation & the warmth of friendship.

I love these gatherings because I can catch up with my friends. But also because I enjoy being in the midst of such amazing women, all of whom are in one way or another my role models. The Cool Chix are definitely an important positive part of my life.

Thanks, Chix!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kayaking on Saguaro Lake

I spent the day at Saguaro Lake kayaking. The photo above is not mine, but my day looked a lot like that.

The weather was almost perfect all day. The sky was overcast, protecting us from the sun. It only sprinkled on us for a few minutes. Then, as we were heading back to shore, the sun came out to brighten the day.

There was hardly anyone at the lake, which turns into a madhouse in the spring time. It was a nice, serene day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Dad

This is a photo of my dad that I took while we were Skyping. He's trying to figure out how to un-mute the microphone so that we can hear each other. Hee hee!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh So Very Close

I finally finished painting the bathroom today. It took me three days - so much longer than I expected. This whole bathroom problem has lasted way too long. I'm starting to think I should change the name of this blog to "How to go crazy without leaving home". Sheesh!

Anyway, so the last step is to get the plumber back in to reset the toilet, something I already paid for back in November, but it's taken this long to get to the point where the toilet could be put back in place. Of course they can't come out till Monday.

I can't tell you how happy I'll be when I don't have anything else to say about the bathroom! (You too, huh?)

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Lizard

There's a lizard that lives behind one of the wallhangings in my room. He often hangs out behind the frame, doing a whole lot of nothing. I'm not sure what he eats - I imagine that he finds his share of spiders & crickets to eat. & I have no idea where his water source is.

I think I heard somewhere that in Asian cultures, lizards are good luck. Anyway, I like him, & he doesn't seem to mind me, so he can stay.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Skype Rocks!

My new laptop has a webcam, something completely new, & utterly exciting to me. The other day I had my very first video phone call with my friend Michelle. & tonight, I just talked with my dad using the webcam. So cool!

I got my parents a webcam for Christmas. As part of the master plan to go completely mobile, I was thinking that I will probably want to keep in touch with friends & family on the road. With my new laptop, I can do that easily using Skype & my built-in webcam. Dad set up the webcam on his end tonight & called me.

What a cool thing Skype is!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

We Watch Short Shorts

I spent the afternoon today watching some short film submissions to the Phoenix Film Festival. One of the members of the Phoenix Independent, Foreign & Art House Film Club wanted some help determining whether or not to include today's films in the festival, so a group of us gathered around the television to watch & critique the shorts.

As would be expected, some of the films were good, some bad, some indifferent. But I certainly enjoyed the process. The conversation was excellent. We shared likes & dislikes, as well as insight into other films that various members have seen in the past.

This is the same group that held the Backyard Cinema event that I went to a couple of months ago, which I also liked very much. I look forward to the next gathering with this group.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Visiting Otis & Justice

I went out to the Superstitions today to hike the Peralta Trail, & have a visit with my dogs. When each of my dogs died, I took their ashes up to Fremont Saddle, which has a beautiful view of Weaver's Needle. It had been almost a year since I was last there, & I wanted to pay a visit.

The weather was gorgeous today, almost hot! I passed several people along the trail going up. But when I got to the saddle, there was no one in sight. I stayed there for half an hour without a soul around. As soon as I got up to head down the trail again, a group of six arrived.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Story Corps

StoryCorps: Listen Here
I've always felt distant from my parents. I love them very much & want to know more about who they are, but it seems that I just find myself learning more about what they're doing instead. My father, especially, has a strong emotional barrier. I've tried to break through a few times, but when I meet with resistance, I don't push it. That's my fault, I guess.

I am most interested in who my mother is as an individual (I blogged about this on my book blog), so when I heard about Story Corps, I thought that I might have a chance at finding out more about her. I was going to try to approach her over the holidays, under the pretense of recording her story for the online project. I even created a list of questions to ask her. But in the end, I didn't do it.

I can find lots of excuses for why I didn't go through with the interview: There was never a chance for the two of us to be alone. There didn't seem to be a good window of time to be able to steal her away for an hour. But the real reason is that I was afraid of being rejected. I was afraid that she wouldn't want to answer my questions, & I was afraid that my father would ridicule the idea in front of everyone. I was afraid that everyone would think it was a stupid idea, & that it would make my mother uncomfortable.

But the reality is that even though my mother might feel uncomfortable about answering questions like: "Was Dad your first love?" or "What was your relationship like with your parents?", she would probably be flattered that I am even interested. Maybe one day I will summon the courage to make the connection.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Scrabble Mania

I spent the afternoon today playing Scrabble with the North Phoenix Scrabble Meetup group. I know, I'm a wild one.

I haven't really played much of the game - a friendly game on a road trip, or with family over the holidays. But most of my experience comes from playing Scrabble in Spanish with my students. We play by The Spanish Place rules, which just means that we can cheat a lot. I do enjoy the game, though, & was looking for new ways to spend my free time, so I decided to check this group out.

There were about ten people at the meeting today, mostly women. Some were pretty competitive. One woman I played with chided me when I asked her what her word meant, saying that I was responsible for knowing my vocabulary. The same woman was disappointed that I did not break 300 points on that game. Luckily, the next person I was paired with was much more relaxed.

I'm not sure how frequently I will join this particular Scrabble Meetup. As their name implies, they meet mostly in North Phoenix. However, there is a Tempe Scrabble Meetup that I might check out next week.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thanks Michael :)

Thanks to my friend Michael, I now have a new working laptop computer, & I can finally say goodbye to my old desktop. I'm now one step closer to getting on the road.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

There's a Light

Could this really be the beginning of the end?

The contractor came to the house again today to - I don't really know what he was doing, but he promised he'd be back on Thursday to finally put things back together in the bathroom, which has been sitting naked since before Thanksgiving. I don't want to get too excited until it's actually complete, but I'm getting all tingly in the belly just thinking about it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Trip to LA

Annoyingly Long Blog Post
This post is super long. I usually try to keep them short, but this one is over the top. So I've made category headings to make it easier to skim if you prefer.

I spent the holidays with the family in Los Angeles, where my brother Don & sister-in-law Mae live. My parents flew out from Tennessee to celebrate with us, & Mae's family already lives there, so the whole family was together.

Mostly we hung out & ate & hung out some more & ate some more. But we did some cool things too.

The Holidays
We spent Christmas Day at the house, eating & opening presents. Mae's mother & sister Roz cooked lots of food for us, & made a special effort to have plenty of vegan options for me. Roz, who has a wacky sense of humor, brought along her John Deere Jenga set for us to play.

New Years Eve Day we spent market-hopping. We stopped at a Thai market, a Japanese market, & a Korean market just for the fun of it. That day we ate lunch at AOI, a Japanese restaurant, where we had miso soup, nori rolls, edamame, gyoza, & udon noodles. Yum! We rang in the new year watching Dick Clark & drinking champagne.

New Years Day, the rest of Mae's family came over with her mother & Roz. Mae's mother made us a spread of Japanese food, again with lots of vegan goodies. The boys watched football while the women played Scrabble. I was glad for the practice since I've just joined a Scrabble Meetup in Tempe.

Eating Out
The first night that my parents were in town, we went to Palms Thai Restaurant, where we've eaten several times before. It's a special favorite because of the Thai Elvis impersonator who goes on stage every night at 7:00pm.

One morning for breakfast, we ate at the 101 Coffee Shop, where my brother says a scene from the movie Swingers was filmed. That could probably be said about any place in LA. I liked the coffee shop because they served a variety of vegan breakfast options, something practically unheard of in Phoenix.

Surfing came to California from Hawaii, & so, apparently, did Duke's in Malibu, a seafood lover's Hawaiian-themed paradise. My family seemed to enjoy it. I ate a salad & some french fries while we watched the pelicans diving into the ocean after their own afternoon meal.

The night that we went out to ArcLight Cinemas to see Slumdog Millionaire, my brother & sister-in-law treated me to Truly, a vegan restaurant across the street from Palms Thai. My coconut milk & udon noodle soup was yummy. So was everything else we tried.

Another night, we went to Miceli's, an Italian restaurant near my brother's house. We were hoping to catch their famous singing waiters on stage, but they seated us in a booth on the other side of the restaurant. No matter. The food was good.

As you can see, my family enjoys eating out!

I didn't get much exercise in over the ten-day visit. However, one of the first things that I did after I got there was sign up at the nearest yoga studio, Golden Bridge, which is less than two miles from my brother's house. I borrowed a bike & rode down there three of the days I was there - downhill going, uphill coming back. They also had a great almost-vegan lunch cafe there with some yummy food & lots of vegan dessert options.

After all that eating out, I'm going to have to do some serious exercising now that I'm back in Phoenix. Camelback, here I come!

Killing Time
One of the days, we killed some time by stopping at Amoeba Music, a huge independent media store. My friend Michelle would love that place. I'm just glad I didn't have any money to spend.

Another day, we stopped at Designers Views, a really cool furniture/interior design store. They had a lot of Asian items, & a little of everything else. Walking through the store was like getting lost in a maze.

Tourist Traps
Saturday was the perfect day to head out to Venice Beach. The sun was out & so were the people, the usual suspects & the tourists alike. We sat at the Sidewalk Cafe, & honed our people watching skills over bagels & coffee.

The day that we went out to Joshua Tree to see my brother's plot of land there, we stopped in Pioneer Town at Pappy & Harriet's for a brew & some zydeco music. It was a pretty dive-y dive bar with indoor & outdoor seating. When we arrived, there was a man raking the sand outside into neat stripes. I called it the Zen Beer Garden.

On my last day in LA, we went to the J. Paul Getty Museum. We had been there before a couple of years ago, but it had rained & we couldn't see the famed gardens, so we went back to try again. This time it didn't rain, but it was super foggy all day long. Alas - will the third time be the charm?

One very cool thing at the Getty this time was The Vexed Man, a sculpture by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt. The detail was amazing. Apparently, this is just one of 69 "character heads" by the same artist. I would love to see them exhibited together some day.

That's All Folks
So, I had a great time in LA with the family. Now I'm back in Phoenix trying to get geared up to deal with "real" life again. Yuck.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Unless the damn thing falls on you, of course.