Random Stuff from My Life

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I love Tucson. It's been about five years (can't believe it!) since we've been here, so I had forgotten how much I like it. I particularly like summer. I know that sounds crazy, but the heat imparts a quality to the experience that is unmatched. The sky is SO blue and beautiful--the clouds are like afterthoughts.

The drive down to the airport was almost as hot (102 in Marin County!) as Arizona. ALMOST... it's 107 outside the Phoenix airport.

Speaking of the Phoenix airport, our Phoenix to Tucson connecting flight was oversold, so we volunteered to take another flight an hour later and got a $200 voucher. Considering that we only paid $118 for the tickets originally, that's a heck of a good deal. I like making money on the airlines; it almost makes removing your shoes for security worth it.

Our later flight to Tucson turned out to be on a TINY plane-a Dash 8 commuter prop. I think this thing only seated about 25 passengers. The last row (where we were) was five seats across, so Stan had plenty of leg room.

The "casita" at our timeshare was lovely as well. Just as nice as I remembered, but now with a Tempur Pedic mattress. The one bad feature was that the previous guests had left the alarm set for 5:30 a.m. Considering that after our late arrival we had gotten in bed at midnight, that was an unwelcome surprise. Stan couldn't figure out how to silence the thing and ended up just unplugging it.

After we woke up (again), we headed to Waffle House for breakfast. I love Waffle House; pecan waffles rock! We got some groceries, then headed back to the condo where I checked e-mail. (Another bummer; had to pay for Internet access.)

In the afternoon we got bored and went driving around. (Yes, during the hottest part of the day; at least running the a/c kept the car windows from cracking in the heat.) We ended up at Old Tucson studios. It was about two hours before closing, so we got a late afternoon discount. (Which was good, because the $16.95 regular price is a total rip-off.) We went to one of the shows, and I got pulled up on stage to dance with the can-can girls, which made the visit a total success in The Husband's eyes.

We ended up at a mall and it happened to be the mall that has a fondue restaurant in it. I've been wanting to go for fondue for years, but there always seem to be better options whenever we're in the city. It was a lot of fun, and quite tasty, but it took forever.

Last night we went out with my ex, and today we visited some friends for lunch. We had really enjoyable conversations both times. All in all, it was a great trip and I've made a vow not to wait another five years to return. We are so happy with our timeshare. It's nice to have a "home" in Tucson, but if we only visit it every 2-5 years at least we're not having to worry about it in the meantime.

Now we are headed for San Fran. We're supposed to meet up with one couple of friends tonight after we get in and another couple tomorrow night. I wish this vacation (like most vacations) were a little longer, but I'm glad I've been able to check in with work while I've been gone. (I also brought a few RFP's with me and looked at them briefly; maybe I'll have time to finish up my review tomorrow--ha!)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Of pears and drag queens

My boss has a cabin in the mountains. The cabin has a pear tree (or trees; I've never been there). Two weeks ago, she brought in two huge boxes full of pears and encouraged us all to take some home. Since pears are not something The Husband likes, we never have them around. I brought home about 15 of them. The first few were barely ripe; green and hard. Two weeks later, the few that we have left can safely be described as "over-ripe." They are basically pear-shaped containers of juice with a skin containing their volume.

Tomorrow is the start of a new pay period at work. That makes it also the first official day of my promotion. I changed my e-mail signature and outgoing voice mail message today, and our secretary printed me new business cards yesterday.

Tonight we went to drag queen bingo. Ended up sitting with the boss from Stan's temp job. None of us won anything, but everyone around us did. This year it was held in the bingo room at one of the casinos, so of course we went into the casino afterwards. Didn't win anything, but didn't lose either, which is more than I can say for bingo. At least bingo was a fundraiser for a homeless youth program.

Wednesday we are off to the land of sun and fun (or at least HEAT). I am looking forward to Tucson. All our friends are busy until Friday night, so we should have plenty of time to just hang out by the pool at our resort.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Quick Update

We had a good time at our friends' wedding over the weekend. Also managed to sneak in enough shopping so that I now have two new pairs of black shoes. Black shoes are so much more versatile than brown ones...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Problems" of an affluent Westerner

I hate all my shirts. Or rather, I love most of my shirts, but I am bored with them. I looked in my closet a few days ago and found absolutely nothing I wanted to wear. The ones I like take too much ironing. The ones that don't require a lot of ironing are boring. So, I have begun systematically replacing my wardrobe. First I went to the Gap. Two new shirts in, three old shirts out. Tonight it was Ross. In with two more new, out with two more old.

I also sorted all my shirts by color in the closet. Yeah, I know, but having not done so for several years, it was a revelation. I have two nearly identical purple and white striped button-downs. One is Brooks Brothers and has a front pocket. The other is Polo Ralph Lauren and doesn't. The Polo is more of an aubergine while the Brooks is a lighter purple. But they are both the same weight of Oxford cloth. If I wore them on consecutive days, a non-metrosexual straight guy would think I wore the same shirt twice. Why do I need two such similar shirts?

Likewise, I have two solid-color yellow shirts. Okay, one is a button-down Oxford in a poly/cotton blend and the other is a spread collar broadcloth in 100% cotton. But honestly, how much call is there for a yellow shirt in one's wardrobe? (And I'm not talking about the other shirts that have some yellow in them.) Four solid white shirts in different styles is understandable; white is very versatile in an office environment. But gradations of yellow?

I also have three different shades of solid red. I actually like all of those and they are in pretty frequent rotation, but c'mon...

What I don't have (surprising, given my penchant for browns) is anything in a solid beige.

So, this weekend we are heading down to the Bay Area for our friends' wedding. That means Macy's. I am excited by the possibilities. But, despite the fact that St. Vincent de Paul is going to get some really nice hand-me-downs, I am feeling very superficial and vain and, well, guilty to be so obsessed with replacement of perfectly serviceable attire in pursuit of some new-clothes "high." I guess it's fools like me that keep capitalism working. Wait, that's not necessarily a comforting thought, either...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I did it first!

Lately, it seems to be all the rage to deny oneself something deeply embedded in popular culture and then write a book about it. On the heels of My Year without Shopping, or whatever it's called, some woman has written a book about attempting to live for a year without buying anything made in China. But those of you who've known me for at least fifteen years can attest to the time in college I got so pissed off at animal rights activists' campaigns against fur and leather that I went for a year without wearing any plant-based fabrics. No Chinese-made goods? Amateur! Try avoiding cotton undies. Always ahead of my time, I guess. If only I'd saved (or written in the first place) that manuscript...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another wedding

Well, I'm not on my new laptop. I'm on the old standby. I just got home from the Sprint Store, where I was pondering yet another new toy. The saleskid saved me from myself by revealing that if I just wait until October 1, I'll be eligible for all their rebates, whereas now I'm not because I've had my current phone for less than 22 months.

Instead, I'm spending money on hotels. We are making ANOTHER unscheduled trip to the Midwest this summer, because The Husband's niece invited us to her nuptials in September.

Monday, August 06, 2007

You know what's nice?

Vacations are nice. Even little three-day weekend trips like this. I’ve caught up on all the magazine reading that’s been piling up and awaiting my attention. (Well, not ALL of it; I think I still have some issues from 2006 on the floor of the spare bedroom, but all of this month’s issues anyway.) Plus, there was that whole "getting to see family and friends" thing...

You know what else is nice? Laptops. Now that I’m done with my magazines, I can play Solitaire. And even though I can’t connect to a wi-fi signal right now and POST to my blog, I can still compose and save for future cut-and-paste. (In the past, I’ve had to do this by paper and pen, and writing something twice just seems to take so much effort–not to mention the jarring anachronism of handwriting a draft for online posting.) I wonder if having the laptop will also induce me to post more regularly and timely... No promises.

Another nice thing? Last minute-deals on United. We actually got to fly into the City this weekend, which cut out one of the three 12-hour roundtrip drives we would otherwise have been making this month. That led to a weird experience, though. Getting off the plane Friday night at SFO, it was freaky to instantaneously be engulfed by so much humanity. At least when you drive the transition from rural to urban occurs in stages rather than all at once. Still, five minutes of being unsettled beats six hours in a car.

Anyway, back to the laptop... Since we are waiting for standby on an earlier flight, we seem destined not to be able to use the DVD feature of the laptop. (We’ve had Ray, from our Netflix queue, for an entire month now.) Still, it was nice to show my parents all of our recent digital photos. (And to have already downloaded the photos from THIS trip onto the computer and cleared the camera’s memory card.) Another cool feature? The laptop holds WAY more music than the MP3 player–whole albums! Which leads to my final nice thing... Journey’s Greatest Hits! Okay, you have to be in the mood, but still...