Sunday, May 24, 2009

memorial day weekend

Can I just tell you how much I love 3 day weekends?


Yesterday, I cleaned a little a while Joe worked on the AC in his truck (he had to replace the AC compressor because his AC isn't working) and then we went down to Tempe with Lucy and swam for a while then had a little mexican food fiesta when Alanna got home from work. YUMMMMM!!! Then today we woke up and went back to AutoZone because it turns out that in order to recharge his AC he had to convert the refrigerant system from R-12 to R-134A (why they don't make a system called R2-D2 is beyond me!). While he was busy at work doing that, I finished cleaning the house so that now you can safely eat off of any surface in the house. Not advisable, obviously, but it's just THAT clean. Then, after Joe came back inside from winning the battle with his truck's AC (it's a good thing because no AC in the summer here = imminent death) and he helped finish up the cleaning. It was amazing how tired we were so we took a nap.

A nap.

On a Sunday afternoon.

It was just heaven!

Tonight we are going to have some dinner, take Lucy to the park for bit and then go see the new Star Trek movie, which we keep hearing nothing but good things about. And tomorrow we're headed back down to Tempe for more swimming, playing with Lucy, possibly board games, and of course getting our food on! I seriously can't tell you how much I love three-day weekends. It's so nice to gets things done and now have an extra day to relax. The joy of it also makes it very easy to forget what the extra day is for.

Memorial Day. Remembering the American men and women who have died during their military service. Through all of our happiness and relaxation this weekend, I'm now a little saddened thinking about the lost lives of so many people who have helped make it possible for us live in this country today. That's really what the holiday is about, and it's just kind of sad that sometimes the meaning slips through the cracks as we gather with loved ones to enjoy the extra day off. And I am admitting fully that I am a guilty offender of this. But on this Memorial Day, I am taking the extra time to actually do what is intended for this day.


In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake, From the skies.
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor, God keep.
On the land or the deep, Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone, Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars, 'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know, God is nigh.

For something completely unrelated...

For those Goonies fans out there, you will appreciate the following links:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lucy has a new friend

This morning at 3:30 Lucy woke me up needing to go outside. I threw on some clothes and my glasses and took her out. She was acting a little strange, sniffing even more than usual, and her tail was down between her legs like she was nervous. She didn't immediately urinate so I took her around "the block" (our building). We got halfway around when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I stopped and looked and saw an animal that I thought was a dog, it was slightly taller than Lucy, with erect triangular ears, a long muzzle, lean frame, and a bushy tail. Lucy started growling, then barked and the animal turned and ran between the buildings into a wash. I still wasn't sure what it was because I was pretty sleepy, and started to head back to the house. Looking back I realized it was following us. This kinda freaked me out, and I picked up my pace a little, half-ran into the house. closed the door and yelled "Hey T, want to see a coyote?" I ran into the kitchen and saw it sniffing around outside our front door. Theresa jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen, but it was gone. Lucy was going nuts, barking and growling and sniffing under the door. A few minutes passed and we realized Lucy never peed. A little afraid it was still out there, and might be rabid, I went out first, with my pocket knife, and Theresa followed with Lucy once the coast was clear. We looked around, but did not see the coyote again. I had never heard of a black coyote, so we googled it, and sure enough though rare, they do exist ! We kind of want it to come back so we can get a better look (and maybe a picture) But we also don't want to run into it in the middle of the night if it's rabid.

6/22/09 UPDATE: I was talking to one of our neighbors who has a dog (that I had warned after this happened), and she told me that her friend lives in the condos closer to the mountains and a black coyote was stalking her friend while she walked her big golden-doodle. When she brought her dog in, the coyote hung out around the steps to her front door sniffing around ? It's gotta be the same one because black coyotes are rare.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I am terrified of driving in Arizona

All statistics mentioned are derived from 2007 research reports from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Yes, I know it's 2009 already, but the latest complete lists I could find were from 2007. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but time is off the essence and I wanted to share some of the information I found.
Granted, the numbers are pretty intense for every state in one way or another - with some states having worse statistics than Arizona in some categories. However, the fact of the matter is that I am officially afraid to drive in Arizona. Even more than I was afraid of driving in downtown Boston and Manhattan even. Honestly, those places are a walk in the park compared to Phoenix. Especially with regards to speeders.

Speeding, in my opinion, is the stupidest thing ever. I mean...what are you going to win by speeding and passing people on the left and right? What do you win if you do this? Nothing. And if someone cuts you off, just back off a little and let them get ahead. Chances are they are drunk and don't have insurance anyway.

Another thing to keep in mind, however, is that the reason I know this information is because I had to attend Defensive Driving School a couple of weeks ago. I didn't completely stop for 3 seconds before turning right at a red light and got zapped by the camera. So I am guilty of letting the rules slide as well. Something I am SO not proud of.

But in 1 1/2 years of being in Arizona, I have already been hit twice. Once by a lady turning left onto the main street without looking. She t-boned me while I was driving straight like I should have been and totaled my Corolla. The second time was by some man who was in the middle lane and decided to switch to the right lane (where I was) without looking and sideswiped me.
Surprise, buddy! I was right there! Didn't see me? Well LOOK next time before you switch lanes.

The fact that drivers both had insurance makes me so grateful, but still solidifies my fear that people here just don't pay attention and are ruthless. My fear of driving in Arizona won't keep me from living my life and getting where I need to be. But it's a real fear. People here drive and think they are invincible, and they don't get behind the wheel thinking that their life (as well as any others in the vehicle) are at stake every time they set foot in their car. They drive way too fast while eating, drinking, talking, texting and thinking that the metal box around them is a safe place. They couldn't be more wrong.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

to move or not to move, that is the question...

As I mentioned in the last post, my buddy Heidi and her husband Mike bought Joe and I a trip out to Eugene, Oregon for a couple days. Our time there was so short and packed with running around trying to see and do as much as possible - it was quite the whirlwind trip. But it was so unexpectedly wonderful and seriously one of the coolest gifts. I wish we were still there!

Here are some of our snapshots:

Trying to avoid contracting the swine flu.

Heidi, Collin, and Mike.

Moss covering every inch of a tree.

Joe standing beside a really small tree.

Heceta Head.

lighthouse at Heceta Head.

View the rest of our pictures from Oregon HERE in our online photo gallery!!

For quite some time now, I have wanted to travel up through the Pacific Northwest. I don't really know why - maybe just because of the fact that the weather is quite opposite that of Phoenix. Whatever the reasons were, our time spent there blew my mind - we were able to spend some really nice quality time with Heidi and Mike, went on some quick hikes, visited Veneta, went to the Saturday Market in Eugene, got rained on, traveled out to the coast, enjoyed the fresh ocean air, poked around looking at anenomes, climbed rocks, relaxed, fell asleep to the sound of rain, played with cutie-pie Collin, drove around town, and even saw Portland (even if only for about an hour).

It was just plain awesome.

And a real wake up call for us in terms of figuring out where we want to settle down to start a family. I still have a huge soft spot for New England - the family, the people, my previous employer who I still keep in contact with. But one interesting thing is that the Pacific Northwest, we found, actually reminds us a LOT of New England (just tending to be not as frigid in the winter time and a little greener because of all the rain). On the other hand, there might be an opportunity for us to consider in Illinois with my friend, Anna, and her family. But at the end of the day, I also have a huge soft spot for Arizona - the family, my history here, and the multitude of things that we have yet to explore here.

So this is the question - with Joe and I having explored different parts of the country and narrowing down our choices as to where we want to "set up shop", how do you select one knowing that there will be things that we will miss so dearly, and knowing that our decision affects others as well? We feel like we are being pulled in a few different directions, so how do settle on one, especially when the feelings of family and friends are involved? And how do you know which decision is the right one? This is a decision that we will definitely not be taking lightly, that's for sure.
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