Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Stretch!

Hello all! Today is another day off and it is starting on the very lazy side. :) Just like I like it. I'll be working Saturday and Sunday, and then I'm not sure about the week of Christmas, but I assume I'll work most of the week before the 3-4 day break. I'm VERY excited to see Kara & John, who will arrive late on the 21st.

I have received TWO Christmas presents so far and I am in Heaven! I know I wasn't supposed to, but I opened one present already. It was an ACCIDENT! I cut the package just a tiny, tiny bit to see if John & Leah had wrapped the gift inside, and instead I saw an AWESOME pair of earrings Leah made and I just couldn't help myself! (As a side note - J&L: I wore the purple shirt yesterday - it fits me perfectly! And I love love both sets of earrings! I've been wearing them nonstop, too! THANK YOU!)

Yesterday was the first real rain I saw in Tucson since the night I drove in. Ryan and I were running the stand by ourselves, as Laura and Randy were picking their youngest son up from the airport in Phoenix. Business was slow due to the cold weather, but watching the clouds move up and down the Catalina Mountains over and over was breathtaking. The rain continued into the night, so I got to listen to the beautiful sound of raindrops on my roof as I went to sleep. I didn't realize how long it'd been since I'd seen precipitation!

Today I might try out a new gym. Or I might not... :) I will definitely get further in a few books I'm reading and watch a few more Bones episodes (I'm addicted, at the moment). For the most part, I'm just waiting around for Christmas - but hey, at least we're on the home stretch!

I hope this finds you all well! Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Updates from Reginald

Hi there! Can someone please show these pictures to Grandma? I think she'd love to see them. :) The first picture was taken just three days ago! The second I took this morning. I can't believe how quickly he's growing! And TWO blooms! :) Anyone know what I'm supposed to do once he blooms? Does he just keep on growing til next Christmas? Or am I supposed to do something special with his bulb?


I have tomorrow off work and I'm looking forward to reading in the sun, doing some craft projects and writing a few letters. I work again on Thursday (which is also the day Ryan Wise will be flying into town) and then have Friday off again.

Hope this finds you all well!

Friday, December 10, 2010

New Vantage

Hello, hello! Today was a productive day off. I started it nice and early (about 7:40ish) and managed to get grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, laundry and a post office visit done all before lunch! Then, of course, it was time to sit in the sun and read. This afternoon I dyed my hair an auburn color and I've posted some pictures below so you can see how it turned out. Not as deep as I expected, but I still like it a lot. The lighting in my apartment is weird at night, so I took two photos.

I ALSO drove to Gates Pass today. I'm not sure exactly what lies beyond the pass, but the pass itself is beautiful. Nothing too steep, to be honest, but when you crest the top - WOW! What a view! I caught it just about sundown. The pictures don't do it justice. The colors were BRILLIANT. Saguaro cactus trees were everywhere. The sky was painted pink during my drive back. It's about 40-45 minutes from my apartment. Oh! And I passed by both the university and the Wildlife Museum on the way. Very exciting. :)

I'll post pictures of Christmas lights and Reginald's progress next. :)

Love you all!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adele - Rolling In The Deep

You MUST turn your speakers WAY up before listening to this. I recommend just listening to the song before getting distracted by watching the video (which is interesting, because it's a great portrait of the singer, but I think takes away from the song as a whole). Jill, you're going to LOVE this one. Excellent drums.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Another Day in Paradise!

Hello all! The weather is back up to the upper 70s and should be there most of the week. Manny, my co-worker, is a little down about this since he likes to snowboard (he told me once that their ski season here is usually about a month and a half long - two and a half if they're lucky. He was pretty dang surprised and jealous when I told him about Washington's winters). I, as you can assume, am not down about it in the slightest. :)

Day three down of a six day work week. The new schedule seems to be working out for everyone very well. The only downside I can see is that our new business hours are almost the exact same as the post office. Mailing presents, therefore, will be a little bit of a struggle. I plan to start the process tomorrow, but might end up finishing the task during my lunch hour. My only previous Tucson post office experience was this: I walked through the doors three minutes after the windows opened and 15 people were already in line. Since two of the three open windows were clogged by trouble-customers for a good 10 minutes, the rest of us were forced to slowly process through the last remaining window. I was almost late for work! So... wish me luck. ;)

I haven't had any recent trouble with my computer, so I think it is officially fixed. Oh! And Reginald is looking VERY sharp these days (insert proud expression here). He is nearly three inches tall! I make sure to move him to the window every day when I leave. I'll have to take a picture of him for you soon.

I learned of another vantage point to check out on my next day off (Friday & Saturday). I'm not yet sure if there are any trails there, but I might make the drive just to see the area. It is to the far west of Tucson, whereas I live in the far east side.

OH! And MY GOODNESS! The swag and edible goodies were SO wonderful to get in the mail! Many thanks to the Havillah crew for sending all that love my direction! I put the swag on the walkway next to my door. It looks wonderful there. And the cookies are already all gone! (I was nice and shared with my co-workers.)

Hope this finds you well. Love you all lots!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cait's Random Day Off

Greetings! I had an interesting day so far. It started with vampires, werewolves and preternaturals, and ended with talk of travel and Italian restaurants.

I finished Blameless (a very silly, but utterly engrossing book about supernaturals) early in the morning, got some Christmas shopping done, wrote a few letters and even managed to work out for a bit (it had been a while... Thanksgiving and all that). In the evening, I then chatted away with my new computer guru: a guy named Jeremy who I hired to remove a virus from my computer. My computer, so far, seems to be much happier, but there still may be something evil embedded deep inside somewhere. Time will tell. Lucky for me, if anything else IS in fact wrong, Jeremy will do another entire 'deep clean-type' session for free. So that's nice. I'm happy enough to get online for the moment, and to have entertainment for the night.

In any case, what I thought would be an awkward couple of hours with a stranger turned into a very fun chat. I believe he grew up stateside (he seemed purposefully vague about that), but went to high school in Australia. He then spent some time in Canada, Malaysia and China. Oh, yes, and his girlfriend, whom he met in Mexico, is from Italy. We had a good chat about how silly America is when it comes to certain things (like trains), how interesting the parks in Canada are, how beautiful Tuscany is, how important personal roots are, and the whole bit. Jaima will agree: chatting about travel comes SO easily and is so much fun. (Of course, Jeremy was sitting on my ..."slightly"... broken chair all the while. Except he didn't know it was broken. He'd keep adjusting his weight and I'd hear it squeak and have to just praying it did fall apart underneath him! Oh, how embarrassing that would have been...)

SO! Tomorrow will mark the start of a six day work week, but I will be rewarded by two days off in a row at the end. We're starting a new schedule which involves 8 hour shifts and regular weekends. I'm a fan of the plan so far. :)

The weather here has been WONDERFUL. High 70s ever since Pat left, so of course I've been giving him a hard time by blaming the bout of cold weather on him. ;)

People are not so much into the holiday decor around here. It's a little bit sad, to be honest. Sure there are advertisement displays at the stores, and my apartment's leasing office has gone to the effort to put lights up... but really, it's few and far between as far as the holiday spirit goes around here. Oh, speaking of that! I haven't picked up my swag from the post office yet (SORRY!), but I plan on doing it first thing tomorrow morning before work. I was hoping my postal delivery man would leave it at my door, but apparently I have to go in to pick it up. I'm VERY excited to see it! Thank you mom, grandma, Jaima, Jill, Kim, April, June and anyone else who pitched in on it!!!

Love you all. Have a good night! Happy weekend!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wonderful Visits & New Volunteering Opportunities

Greetings to all! Happy Monday night. I got home from dropping Pat off at the airport not too long ago. It sounds like he had some trouble getting his ticket (at some point a woman said to him, “You shouldn’t even have been able to leave Spokane…”, and later a Travelocity representative said via phone, “Are you SURE you’re in Tucson? You made it to Tucson from Spokane?”), but he was finally able to board at 7 p.m. bound for a Salt Lake City layover before landing in Spokane. Of course, it remains to be known if he will be held in Salt Lake City due to snow conditions. So he may have an interesting night ahead of him.

We had a wonderful time together. We tried out a restaurant called Bamboo Club last night for a drink and appetizers. We got a little bit of shopping done – I think we both were just looking around for Christmas ideas, although not much materialized. It will take a while to get used to having the apartment to myself again. He did leave me with some good new music to listen to, though (Kings of Leon’s new stuff) and a new book to read (the third of a fourpolly sent from my sister), so at least I’ve got some things to stay occupied with for a while. 

Upon arriving in Tucson, I set about looking for volunteer opportunities. I spent two or three years of college volunteering at a nursing home (with Sara) and found the experience to reap unparalleled rewards. Learning from the older generations, and watching them meet difficult challenges, has taught me so much. I was therefore very excited to start that back up with the free time I’d have down here. Unfortunately, a lot has changed since I volunteered in Ellensburg. A minimum of 30 training hours and a tetanus shot must be administered before you can even apply to be a volunteer now. Sad story. After much personal debate, though, I finally found something that fits my personality – I applied for and have been matched to write a ‘pen pal’ prisoner in Texas through God Cares We Care ministry. Maybe it’s a little bit ‘out there’ for some of you, but I hope you can at least appreciate that it utilizes my free time, my love of writing letters, and my love of loving other people, despite their backgrounds. So… I got my first letter today and will be responding to it shortly. Just wanted to share my excitement with you – it feels good to ‘volunteer’ and help other people again.

Not too much else new. Again, I had a great time with Pat. We made use of the hot tub and pool, watched some good movies, ate a ridiculous amount of food and took everything very slow. I’m very lucky to have had company over the holiday weekend. Now it’s back to the grindstone of working, which really isn’t all that bad, anyhow. The weather should be warming back up to the 70s by Wednesday, and it couldn’t happen fast enough for me. My toes are freezing as I write this.

Love you all!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Weekend Greetings

Sigh, what a wonderful feeling it is to know I have tomorrow off - THREE DAYS IN A ROW! I picked Pat up from the airport at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving day and we had a good time making dinner together that afternoon. Aside from the pie that was slightly on the unsweet side (although when we lathered it with toppings we couldn't tell as much), everything was a huge success. We had squash, marinated chicken, stuffing, cranberries and braeburn apples. Today we went up to Summerhaven, which is a beautiful hour long-ish drive to the top of Mt. Lemmon. We then checked out the shopping scene at Old Navy, but didn't buy anything (the line was all the way to the back of the store!). Next was a stop at In n Out for burgers (Pat had never had it before! Check that off the bucket list ;) and watched The Expendables, which is a silly, over-the-top, but wonderful action flick with Sylvester Stallone (yes, it DOES include an exploding helicopter! And an exploding palace, which is also good).

We've got a few things on the books for tomorrow, but for the most part we're playing it by ear. I've been thinking of you all constantly and hoping the holiday is full of laughter, good food and lots of relaxing. Love you all bunches. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Notes While Baking in the Morning

Greetings from the sunny land of Tucson. We had a huge chill come through last night, but nothing like the blizzard that swept Spokane, from how I understand it. I hope everyone is SAFE and happily covered in layers of blankets (or in Jill and Gordon's case, moving swiftly down a hill in some fashion of kayak, skis or sled).

Things here are going very well. Only two more days of work until I get company in town and a three day weekend. I'm very excited. Pat and I don't have a whole lot on the schedule, but there are a few restaurants and bars I want to try out (hopefully play a little pool, if I'm lucky), and a day trip to Summerhaven (that will lead us back up to Mt. Lemmon - I'm excited to go back!!).

I've currently got the pumpkin baking in the oven and a load of laundry getting washed, so I'm feeling all kinds of productive this morning. (Also, my apartment smells delicious!) I did, however, buy an extra already-made pumpkin pie in case this one goes south. I'm crossing my fingers! I'll let you know in two days, I guess. :)

Nothing much else to report. I tried to make yam for dinner last night and it was only semi-successful. Baby steps, though. Baby steps.

Turns out Marvin isn't as depressed as I thought! He was just allergic to Energize batteries. When the noise from the air pump began to sound something similar to an agonizing whimper last night, I switched out the batteries for Duracell and BAM Marvin was up and pumped and full of life like you wouldn't believe! Who knows, though. He may relapse. I'll keep ya posted.

Well, I'm signing off for now, but please send me updates on how you're spending this wonderful, snowy day (work? play? books? anything I should read?).

All my snowy love,

The Bait

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Muck

It's a Sunday morning and I am not feeling motivated to get anything done at all. :) Although I have a rather short 'to do' list, I think I will leave the bulk of it for tomorrow morning. It is the first cloudy morning since I moved into my new apartment, so perhaps cooler weather is on its way after all. Work has been going well and only four more days til I have company and a three day weekend. :)

I'm preparing to make pumpkin pie filling soon, and I have a question for everyone - Is there something to do with all the muck and seeds inside? Laura's instructions only have me use the actual pumpkin shell, but I seem to remember Grandma keeping the muck for some reason or another. Is there something I should be doing with it??


Friday, November 19, 2010

Art, Sun, Hiking and Holiday Countdowns!

Happy Friday to everyone! Of course, it’s not MY Friday, but there are worse things that can happen. I had a wonderful day off yesterday – started with some exploring to track down a few galleries. I ended up in the right area, but it is a very congested section of town, full of confusing one ways, so I ended up only looking at two galleries. Still, it is good to have finally given it a try, and I know where ‘gallery row’ is now in case I want to go back again sometime. The first gallery wasn’t impressive at all, unfortunately, but the second was incredibly interesting. It wasn’t your typical gallery with just a few striking paintings on the wall – it was almost like three huge rooms of someone’s unorganized office; artwork EVERYwhere – on the walls, on the floor, stacked against the wall, one behind the other. Most of the artists had some sort of connection with Arizona; either they lived here for a while or captured the landscape at some point in their lives. I saw a statue by Erte, who, as it turns out, is really well known. I can see why. I’m not that big into statues, but these are small enough, and combine just enough style to be captivating. It’s like a cross between the 1920s and Egyptian art. Very strange, but very awesome. Two others I liked were George Bodine and Kelly Murray. (That second link is actually the gallery's home link, too.)

Second on my list for the day was sun tanning. It had been a week, if not more, since I spent any time in the sun. And OH what a perfect day it was for that! Later in the afternoon, Ryan (co-worker) and I went for a hike on Mt. Lemmon. The drive was forever long (only about 30 miles away, but most of it is windy, 30 mph stuff), but very worth it for the views. There is a very small ski resort up there that we drove through, which was also interesting. Apparently it is the only place to ski for several hours in all directions.

Today is another sunny morning. Reginald is sun bathing in the corner… making some progress toward growing, but not a whole heck of a lot. (True, Herold is a family name, AND Christmassy ;), but not quite artsy enough – I think Reginald fits him very well, though). I will need to drive down to the coffee shop in a moment to send this out to you all, since my STUPID internet won’t connect. Six days til Thanksgiving!!! Wahoo!

Oh, and the license plates of the day are: LEXUS and WINK 1.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Photo Op

Greetings! Not a whole lot new to say today, but I did end up taking a few photos yesterday that I wanted to share with you. The first is the gorgeous tree outside my living room window that lights up brilliantly with the morning sun (of course, the photo doesn’t do it justice). The second is a picture of my new house plant – an amaryllis that my Grandma mailed to me. If I’m lucky, it’ll bloom at Christmas. Anyone have any suggestions for a name? I think it’s a guy, if that helps. The rest are photos from work. (Kara, I tried to get one of your parents, but I didn’t realize how camera-shy your mom was; apparently I have to be very sneaky to succeed in that plot.)

Love you all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tents, Eating, Sadness (tents eating sadness!? oh my!)

Greetings from AZ! I'm happy to say the permanent tent has been up for several days now and everyone absolutely loves it. Laura (of Laura and Randy Wise - my bosses) did an amazing job of arranging and decorating everything. I will hopefully have more pictures up for you soon, so you can see our progress.

I am less excited to tell you that my eating habits have reverted back to what we'll call the 'college era' diet, relying primarily on boxed goods of the breakfast variety. However, Pat will be spending four days with me around Thanksgiving, and I'm hoping to try out squash for the first time (John Henry - do you have any advice for simple things I could do to make it more tasty?), and perhaps a few other things. Even if I'm not eating the greatest, though, I certainly still am learning a lot about food - and loving it! Laura knows a bazillion easy recipes for all the food we sell and I love picking her brain about apple sauces, pumpkin butter, zucchini bread, etc.

Today I got the very, very sad news that a classmate of mine from kindergarden through graduation died in a car accident. His name was Travis Rearden, and although we didn't keep in touch after graduation, people tend to have special places in your heart after 15 years together. That, and my ongoing worries over Joe Johnson (he's recovering from a rock climbing fall) really threw my morning for a loop. Well, and also my stomach isn't happy about something I ate last night. So I was a little quiet at work today and Laura asked if anything was wrong and ended up letting me take the rest of the day off - I am VERY thankful to be working for these two wonderful, understanding people!

In any case, the news about Travis reminded me that we never knew when we'll go, and it's important to be making the most of everything. I've had a couple of rough days here and there when the distance between me and everything that is dear to me seemed to be a bit much. But, the sad news of the day put some things into better perspective; I feel good that I've taken this plunge, that I'm seeing and learning new things, and making the most of opportunities.

Here is Joe's mailing address - even if you don't know him well, I urge you to send him a quick pick-me-up. He is a very incredible individual and about the closest thing I have to a brother - I'd love it if we could flood his mailbox with encouragement.

PO Box 642
Tonasket, WA 98855

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Minutes, Meditation & Music in the Morning

Well! I had a startling revelation this morning (which is usually when they happen, strangely enough, but in my opinion, the most unfortunate time of the day for it): I have used 712 of the 450 minutes I have been allotted by Verizon to talk on my phone. This can only be construed as a compliment to all my Washington loves; I've spent 712 minutes telling you how much I love you! Unfortunately, it also means a very grim-looking bill. So if I don't return your call for 10 days, it's not because I don't love you - it's because my bill cycle renews in 10 days. Sigh, it will be a long one. ;)

In other unrelated news, I've learned there is a monkery (Buddhist temple) very close to my house and I hope to investigate it soon. Some temples, of course, don't want you there unless you are Buddhist. Others, though, offer meditation classes for just about anyone. So, I'll report back on that later.

Here is a video to help get you started in the morning. It is silly. But it is happy. Jill & Gord: this music reminds me of your house (after the first cup of coffee) when you two start buzzing about with cleaning and cooking. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The 70s (the temperature, not the decade), Crazy Red, Big Tents and Rating Xx

Greetings from Tucson! It is another bright morning, but clouds are out and about; I've been warned by a customer that the overextended summer weather will be bidding its leave soon, so perhaps we will be graduating to 70-degree weather soon. (It is very true that you get used to the warm weather here quickly - I would be overjoyed and donning shorts in Washington's 70-degree weather. Somehow, here it is not so.)

I haven't done a whole heck of a lot these past couple of days, but it's taken me a little bit to get used to working afternoons. Perhaps tomorrow I will work up the gumption to see some art galleries before my shift. We'll see. I have, however, managed to experience a few local venues, work out (meagerly) a few times in the cardio fitness room on site, and now am the proud owner of a Fry's membership card. I'm hoping these few things somehow redeem my otherwise lazy schedule.

The guys at work started setting the big tent up yesterday, but it is slow going so far. If we are lucky, though, it will be up by the end of the day today. We are all getting very, very, very tired of the temporary tents, which are too willing to follow the wind's every desire. Laura found some locally made jam and BBQ sauce so our inventory is ever-expanding... I had my eye on the jams yesterday and I might have to break down and buy some (they have PEAR and PLUM flavors, for crying out loud! My taste buds are just dying to try it).

So! It is decided - I will be dying my hair Crazy Red at the start of December. And I'm rather excited for it. Unfortunately, I'll probably finally LOOK like the over-zealous, flighty, slightly-off person I am, but I've been fooling people long enough - perhaps it'll be a civic favor to let people know what their getting into before striking a conversation.

I've made a few additions to my music list on the right. I hope you all will give them a try if you have time. I'm also very intrigued by a band called Xx (not risque, don't worry), but haven't necessarily made up my mind quite yet (Kara, you should look them - you might dig it!).

I hope this finds you all well. STRANGELY enough, I do find myself missing the crisp, cold PNW air. Enjoy it for me!

Oh, and Marvin gives his condolences. Not about anything in particular - just about life in general. His, apparently, isn't getting any better.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

News on a Day Off

Greetings! My, my – it is hard to believe I’ve only been here about two and a half weeks. It feels like much longer than that! However, considering that I haven’t been out to see many venues and attractions yet, it does make me feel slightly better knowing I am still new to this place.

Eugene showed up mid afternoon on Friday with a HUGE truckload of supplies, tools and the permanent tent. We’ll be setting that up on Monday. Today is my day off, which feels nice. I haven’t done a whole lot with it, but I’m making progress in both my tan and my book, so that’s good.

My music mix has been filled with a lot of KT Tunstall lately, as well as some Snow Patrol and Bruce (of course). I recently finished the book High Tide in Tucson by Barbara Kingsoliver (thanks to Gracie), and am now halfway through Changeless (the second in a Vampire/Wolf steam punk series – thanks to Jaima). I have a handful of others awaiting my attention once this one is done.

The weather has been nice lately, after those horrible, HORRIBLE three and half days of Ellensburgian wind. I think I can notice a slight decrease in the temperature, though, and a lot of the locals have mentioned their surprise that ‘summer’ has held on this long – it sounds as though my days of poolside sunbathing may be numbered (I know, poor me).

Yesterday was a MARKED improvement from the prior weekend in regard to sales at the stand (possibly to do with Halloween busyness last weekend), which is pretty encouraging. I’m sure it wasn’t anything compared to what the I-90 stand is used to getting, but this was a constant, steady flow of people buying in semi-bulk, so that’s good. It’s kinda funny, though – people get all huffy about wanting everything to be ‘local.’ Unfortunately, Arizona produces bare-minimum beyond lettuce and pistachios. Do they WANT us to ONLY sell those things? It’s as if they're offended when we bring GOOD stuff in from California, as though we had some other closer alternative. Goodness. So... we have to reeducate every person, one by one, in a polite, non-offensive way. And every time, they are surprised. At first. And then, finally, each one concedes that not much can grow in their climate. Ahh….. dealing with mass amounts of public, what bliss.

More later!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Report on Local Establishments, Depressed Mattresses and The Like

I've successfully completed my first load of laundry here on the apartment premises, which uses a prepaid card system rather than quarters, so the task is a feat of sorts for first timers. Apparently the card system is fairly widespread down here; my co-worker's old apartment used the same thing. In any case, I feel like that solidifies my residency here. And I like it.

I tried out the local grocery chain, Frys, today (it seems to be Tucson's equivalent to Rosauers in Spokane, although slightly more modern in inside appearances). Although I didn't have a membership card, I managed to buy about eight items for under $12, so I'm not entirely sure I didn't rob them, but no one chased after me, so... I suppose that means I'm going back there next time! :)

Another local 'gem' is Eegee's. It's much like Subway, as far as I can tell, except that it was founded in Tucson and it offers overly sugary iced drink concoctions (one called an 'eegee,' another called a 'teagee.' Barf on the cheesiness). In any case, there is one located just two businesses down from us at work, so I've wasted a good chuck of money on it so far. The food is good, to be sure, but I'm alarmed at how MANY of them are around! They seem to be the Starbucks of Tucson - you can't go two blocks without seeing another one! A true Tucson obsession.

I'm continually disappointed with the lack of fashion consciousness Tucsonians employ (is that the right reference for people who live in Tucson?). I saw two people (TWO!) today walking around in PAJAMAS. Really, people. Disappointing.

I am still very content with my apartment. Unfortunately, my air mattress has been feeling a bit homesick lately and is not happy at all about the move. It seems to have been afflicted with a Marvin-like depression; much like the downcast robot in 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,' it simply does NOT find any satisfaction in any productive activity; namely being inflated and staying inflated. It fights with me on a DAILY basis in this regard. Inflating it has become an activity I need to budget a good five or ten minutes for - I know! Absurd. In any case, I think I'm going to start calling it Marvin.

Well, I hope this finds you all well. It sounds like Washington is getting colder and colder by the day. Is the snow in the mountains sticking yet?

Much love!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Election Day!

Greetings on this fine election day! It was a windy one here, which meant all kinds of trouble at the stand (the large tents would have much rather been gusting over the city instead of being planted in the ground like good, shade-providing objects). I am proud to say I saw a great many customers with 'I voted' stickers on their shirts, although for the most part, people were pretty quiet about political matters; it seems the far left and far right live in very close proximity here and they've learned to shy away from public arguments.

I've gotten accustomed to the new apartment complex and am very happy with it still. Although noise through the narrower corridors tends to echo, it rarely bothers me during the middle of the night, which is the time that matters most to me. ;) The walls are a slight bit bare, and the furniture is... well, 'minimal,' but it suits me just fine.

My skin is getting DARK already. Unfortunately, since I wear jeans at work, my legs are looking alien compared to my arms, but I suppose that doesn't really hurt anything.

I won't have another day off until next Sunday, but another recruit from Washington (Eugene - he has helped with Wises with the I-90 stand for several years)will be coming into town on Friday so I think our work schedule will even out eventually. Oh, and it sounds like I'll be working a few local farmers markets soon, which makes me both very happy and very full of Spokane memories. :)

I hope this finds you well. Here are a few more pictures of the strange vegetation in the area.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Excerpt from Mary Oliver's "Evidence"


Where do I live? If I had no address, as many people do not, I could nevertheless say that I lived in the same town as the lilies of the field, and the sill waters.


I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.

As for the body, it is solid and strong and curious and full of detail; it wants to polish itself; it wants to love another body; it is the only vessel in the world that can hold, in a mix of power and sweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas, ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.

Keep room in your heart for the unimaginable.


There are many ways to perish, or to flourish.

How old pain, for example, can stall us at the threshold of function.


Still friends, consider stone, that is without the fret of gravity, and water that is without anxiety.

And the pine trees that never forget their recipe for renewal.

And the female wood duck who is looking this way and that way for her children. And the snapping turtle who is looking this way and that way also. This is the world.

And consider, always, every day, the determination of the grass to grow despite the unending obstacles.


I ask you again: if you have not been enchanted by this adventure--your life--what would do for you?

And, where are you, with your ears bagged down as if with packets of sand? Listen. We all have much more listening to do. Tear the sand away. And listen. The river is singing.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy (Early) Halloween!!!

I just got off the phone with Jill, Gord, Amanda and Sean who were getting ready for the best fundraiser of the year - complete with Halloween costumes! (My dance moves and Gordon's ability to down shooters of green alcohol at last year's fundraiser were legendary! I can only imagine what this year will bring.) It was SO wonderful hearing familiar, lovable voices! I've been very busy these last few days, so I'm sorry for being delinquent in the communication department. The good news is!: I moved into my new apartment!!! I did the hard work of lugging everything up the stairs (haha.... yes, I live on the third floor AGAIN - I can't get enough of it)yesterday, and have been having a good today organizing and decorating... And laughing at the random assortment of things I brought down versus those things I decided not to pack: a hammer, but no nails; a bean bag chair, but no insides to fill it; a broken chair, but no glue to fix it. So... I'm currently leaning against a bean bag filled with pillows since I, for some reason, thought I'd need five throw pillows and five full size pillows while I'm down here.... ??? (Never pack under stress - it comes out all mashed up in the worst of ways.)

Work continues to go well. The weather has been scorching, though, so I've been guzzling more water than I ever thought was possible. I live about three minutes (driving) from work now, so the extra sleep is fantastic. I'm still exploring/learning about my new apartment complex (don't know where the laundry room is... but it'll turn up somewhere), but it comes with a lot of perks, like a fitness room and WiFi.

Here are some more pictures for you to enjoy. Oh, and thanks for all your comments - I miss you all and love hearing from you!

P.S. If you haven't voted on my poll yet, DO IT NOW.

And lastly, I'll leave you with today's personalized license plate: B FLYE

(The top photo is the view of the Catalina Mountains from my bedroom window. The apartment is long and skinny, so you can see the front door through the hallway in the photo taken from the bedroom. The kitchen is closest to the living room, and the bathroom follows on the way to the bedroom in the back - shower and toilet on one side and sink/mirror on the other - I actually like it quite a bit.)

YES - TWO closets! A girl's dream. ;)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

First Day Off

Greetings! I’ve got a cup of amazing brew near my hand and an Arizona sunrise in view, so things are looking up. It’s also my first day off, which sure doesn’t detract. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard from the apartment place (I believe because it’s awfully hard to get an answer out of both my previous landlord and previous employer via fax; I advised the apartment personnel to call the offices instead, but we’ll see). However, I still hold hope that I’ll get the okay to move in later today.

Until then, I plan on shopping! Sounds like a good use of a day off, right? Oh, and I’ve been meaning to put my sisters’ concern to rest – please don’t worry, not only do they have Ross here, they have TONS of locations. I know, close one, right?

I also hope to go on a walk this morning. I took another short walk last night to catch some of the sunset. It’s fairly flat here (save for the mountains, of course), but I’m determined to find a vantage point from which to see more of the area.

To revisit an earlier entry, I’ve come across a few more personalized license plates worth sharing. Most are up-lifting, if not inspirational, such as ‘EMAGINE’ and ‘TGOODTB.’ Once in a while, though, you find something a bit concerning: ‘WKUPNOW.’

A week ago today was my first full day in town. It feels like I’ve been here a LOT longer than that. I’ve already fell into a routine, and the Wise’s dogs love me like their own now (which is good in some ways, but the excessive slobber sure isn’t a perk ;). The first two days I had to use Google maps to get myself to and from work (which is kinda funny, if you ask me), but I’ve got the route memorized now. I even know the area of the fruit stand fairly well already.

I’m very excited about how well the fruit stand is doing so far. And my goodness, I love being around all this delicious food! We’re building up our inventory day by day, as Randy makes more and more local connections. So far we’ve got: apples (many varieties), sweet corn, potatoes (several varieties), tomatoes, d’anjou and bosc pears (SOOO good), bell peppers, garlic, squash (many varieties), red and yellow onions, green beans, cucumbers, oranges, lemons, peanuts and jalapenos. Although I had to take a sabbatical from the Fancy Paper Plate Club in order to take this trip, I think we could say I’m using the trip to conduct ‘research,’ and I plan on coming back with loads of additional knowledge regarding food and food preparation.

I haven’t done a lot in the way of seeing the sights yet, but I’m starting to compile a list of interesting things to check out. Unfortunately, the local derby league website doesn’t show any upcoming bouts – that would’ve been fun to see. However, there is something called Biosphere 2, located about 15 miles past the Wise’s house, that sounds rather interesting, as well as several microbreweries that come highly recommended by my co-worker: Nebulous and Mario. I hope to check both of those out soon.

Here are a few more photos for you to enjoy. Oh, and please keep the hair dye vote going – so far ‘mermaid green streaks’ is winning by a total of two votes (which was almost ‘mermaid green steaks’…). Although I’m leaning toward the ‘bright red’ option, I’m willing to do which ever wins – so please make your vote count! (Are we sure blue streaks wouldn’t be cooler than green? I don’t want to look like I have fungus growing in my hair…) :)

Love you all! And thanks for commenting. I love getting news!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Well! Enough is enough. I am not satisfied with lack of comments left on my blog. How, I pray you, HOW!? am I to know anyone cares for me!?

SO! I am issuing a challenge. I will be posting a poll today that I'd like all of you to respond to - along with any comments that would cheer me up and let me know how much you love me. :) (Of course, I am doing rather well, and don't need to be 'cheered up' per se, but I sure wouldn't mind the love.)

By the by, the weather was great today. I turned in a few more things to the apartment place, and hope to move in on Thursday (my day off), but haven't heard for sure. I'll let you know.

Love ya tons!

Monday, October 25, 2010

WAHOOO! We Have Internet!

Greetings! I am happily writing from my LAP TOP! Things are going really well in Tuscon for me. The streets are really easy to learn, there are a lot of beautiful muscle and sports cars to drool over, it's surprisingly very bike friendly, and every sun rise is gorgeous! The weather has been very varied so far - from rainy to overcast to blazing sunny to CRAZY windy (today). I'm not a fan of the wind (almost Ellensburg bad), but they tell me it doesn't come through very often.

If all goes well, I will move into my new apartment on Thursday. That will also be my first day off since I got down here - and I figure getting my own place (after a month of living out of a suitcase) is a good way to celebrate. I'll be living very close to work, which is also good.

I keep missing phone calls from friends, so I need to get this posted and return a few calls, but I'll be sure to post more tomorrow. Hope this finds everyone well. I miss you all SO much, and would love any comments you think to jot down for me. :)


P.S. Mom - It's great to hear you've got turbo water and great inlaws to help when you need them! Kara - I LOVE your wedding photos SO SO much! You and John BOTH look so incredible. Sara - I'm glad to hear you are better! I know there's so much left to do at school in this semester but I know you can do it! Sisters - I MISS you! I'm sad I missed out on your get-together. I'm really excited to hear new music, though! Thanks for thinking of me. Spokane friends - I miss you so much! I miss all our delicious dinners, pool playing and pottery get-togethers. You mean SO much to me.

(Some pictures taken on a walk near the Wise's house.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Notes

Well Bruce spingsteen came on the radio two times today so I think that adds up to be a pretty great day. :D. After some extensive sadness, I finally began reprogramming my car's radio stations. There are a bazillion to choose from but I think I found some gems.

The weather was even better today, but still only allowed for a few hours of direct sun. I find that most people are content to wear jeans in this weather, although im sure most washingtonians would be sporting shorts at the same temperature.

I think I had some luck with apartment shopping today. I'll try to get the application turned in tomorrow and we'll see how it goes.

Tonight is homecoming and a very important football game for the Arizona wildcats. I'm sure ill be hearing all about it tomorrow from my coworkers, although I'm very content to be a hermit in the country with the Wises at the moment.

Miss everyone dearly! Take care.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Learning the Ropes

Hello all! Day number two is done. We had better weather today and also sold slightly more at the stand. I'm getting the hang of what fruit is good for what kind of dish - FPPC members would be proud! I went for a short walk this morning before work and took a few photos of the gorgeous mountains near the house. I thought about trying to find a coffee shop with wireless internet so I could add the photos via my laptop, but then I remembered people aren't as obsessed with coffee down here. They are hard to find, in fact! I know, hard to believe. Here are a few other things I've noticed about Tucson: they are REALLY into personalized license plates here (ie IM DUB); they are, unfortunately, not so into fashion... at all; they've got great, wide streets and U turns are LEGAL! YES!! Ah, U turns are so much fun.

I work tomorrow morning, but will try to post again tomorrow afternoon. We will have internet at the house by Monday, I think. Wish me luck on apartment shopping- I hope a few will be open for viewing during the weekend.

Love and miss you all!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day One!

I am all snuggled into a huge blow up mattress bed -thanks to the Wises -which is a huge upgrade from the camping pad I had been using before. Today was a great and busy day. I navigated the city to find a few apartment options - one of which I think ill apply for - and worked about 7 hours at the fruit stand. In addition to the two owners, I work with two fantastic guys: Ryan and Emmanuel. Ryan just graduated from college and has been a transplant from California for six years. He is an outgoing six foot something redhead. Emmanuel grew up here and is in his senior year of college. He's a quieter guy, but that seems to round out our little team quite well. It was rainy off and on today, so of course the joke was that I brought cold weather down with me. The business, in my eyes, is doing really well. People down here seemed starved for quality fruit. I'll be working again tomorrow afternoon/evening, and looking forward to a slow morning doing more online research for apartments. I really like Tucson so far and am very impressed that I've managed to get myself to and from the drug stand since its an hour away from the Wises house. Well, I'm still tapping this out on my phone, so ill call it quits tonight and crack open my book before bed. Thanks so much for checking up on me! I miss you all dearly.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

made it!

No internet here either, so again ill keep it quick but just wanted to let everyone know I'm here safe! More soon!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quick Note

Joe does have internet, but doesn't have his login info handy, so here's just a quick note from salt lake city via my phone. I made good time and was able to spend an hour stretching my legs at a park before Joe came home. Traffic here is scary, but I'm okay so far. We took a drive up a canyon to see where he works and caught the sunset hitting all those brilliant fall colors. We had excellent fish tacos and nearly non-alcoholic coronas at a Mexican place for dinner and are calling an early night after a good chat. Good to see my bro again.:D Tomorrow will be an EARLY morning and a long drive. Thank you all for your comments and phone calls. I love them all.

Headed to Salt Lake

Tracy just left for class and I'll be headed out the door soon, too, headed for Salt Lake City. I started the morning with Bruce Springsteen's 'Sad Eyes,' but the rest of 18 Tracks is starting to perk me up.

I plan (if I can find it...) it stop at City Brew on my way out of town. It comes highly recommended by both Tracy and Pat. I'll probably need to rush it, though - I'm a little behind schedule.

It will be a LONG drive today, but I'm thankful to have some 'books on tape' type entertainment to keep my mind occupied.

Last night was a fantastic time - we walked into town which gave me a good view of the river, streets and establishments. Tracy was fighting a cold, and I'm just, well, emotionally spent, I guess, so we decided to turn in early, but not before we checked out two great bars and had a fun time catching up.

Well, if Joe has internet I'll be sure to post once more this evening or tomorrow morning. Hope this finds you all well.

Monday, October 18, 2010

First Leg Done!

I'm feeling somewhat optimistic having just completed my first leg of the trip (yes, it is rather pesky of me to write a second blog entry after having just created the blog five hours ago... but perhaps I'm feeling a bit needy in the communication department). I'm sitting in Tracy's house and will venture out on foot in a few moments to track down a coffee shop she recommended. We'll meet up when she's off work so I can get a mini tour of town - looking forward to it!

The drive here was uneventful, thankfully. I stopped in Albertson for gas, which was a ghost of a town. Cars were parked on either side of the road, and it had a promising high school on the main drag, but there wasn't a person to be found. Inside the gas station, I found (in addition to a clean bathroom - thank goodness!) the late 20ish cashier gossiping about her mom to her a friend who had stopped in to visit. Almost prompted a desire to do a study on the town. Almost. :)

The wide open valley of Missoula (which looks similar to the flats of Ellensburg) was a welcome sight after miles of towering mountains - the skinny, winding freeway seemed like a tiny passage between green, sleeping giants. Beautiful, for sure, in its own way, but Missoula beats it in my book. I did notice, however, a multitude of build-in-three-months cookie-cutter duplexes near the freeway, though - much like the cheap developments we saw go up in the back end of Ellensburg. I'm not a fan of those types of developments, but I suppose they do serve a purpose. In any case, the more historic area Tracy lives near, and the yellow/orange trees littering the town, was enough to set my mind at ease.

I miss you all dearly.

On Leaving

In less than an hour, I will be freeway bound, destined for Arizona. Along the way, I'll be stopping in Missoula, MT and Salt Lake City, UT to visit friends and get some rest. I hate to leave Spokane during its most beautiful time of year - I've enjoyed the brilliant leaves, crisp air and gorgeous sunshine so much these past few days. Nevertheless, I am also excited to explore and learn about a new city. I've never been to Tuscon, or even Arizona for that matter, but the idea of heat all year long and desert beauty intrigues me.

My eyes have nearly come to tears a few times so far this morning. And I couldn't remember my pin number at the post office - so I was forced to write a check. Of course, the clerk asked if my driver's license address was current - ha! I don't have an address. So I just said yes. Needless to say, my brain is on the fried side.

Still, I feel so blessed. Blessed to have recently gone on an international trip with my older sister. Blessed to see my usually terrorizing cat recently mellow to constant snuggles. Blessed to have dear friends who have shown their love in countless ways upon the approach of my leave date. Blessed to have a boyfriend who cares for me absolutely. Blessed to have the opportunity to explore more of the USA.

I plan to keep you all updated on my adventures this winter by posting them on a nearly weekly basis. I'll be sure to post photos, as well.

Thank you ALL for being in my life. I couldn't do this trip without the support I've received from each of you.

Okay, enough of the gushy stuff. I'm off like a pelican... ;)