Archive for the ‘Arizona’ Category

Bill and I signed up for the early mail-in ballots, received them, and then proceeded to procrastinate until it was too late to mail them in. So we filled them out and now need to drop them off at our polling place today. BECAUSE we didn’t mail in our ballots, Those Who Keep Track Of These Things called us… and called us… and CALLED US, to the point where the phone would ring, we’d pick it up, they’d ask for me, they’d start their spiel, and we’d interrupt them with “YES WE HAVE RECEIVED OUR BALLOTS”. Then they’d call back five minutes later and ask for Bill. Because “T” comes before “W” in the alphabet.

Then there’s all the robo-calls, and smear campaigns, and negative ads, and ALL the FUCKING FLIERS in the mail that tried to out-do each other in size, glossiness, and CAPITAL LETTERS. Every street corner is crowded with campaign signs that, rather than informing us (with REASONS) about who we SHOULD vote for, only serve to whine about who we SHOULDN’T vote for. Along with the evil, evil organizations who support them. “Vote for me!” “Hey, don’t vote for HIM, he’s supported by Sheriff Joe!” “Yes, but THEY’RE supported by the NRA!”

With that methodology in mind, I should just turn in a blank ballot.

Suffice it to say, I feel like my vote will NOT count in a way that it has NOT counted in every election since my birth. And yet, I persist. As does Bill. We just both wish that there were some reliable way to get our hands on ACCURATE information about each of the candidates (IMPOSSIBLE), and propositions (which wasn’t bad; we relied on Ballotpedia again), and even the darn Supreme Court and Superior Court Justices, for crying out loud (okay, never mind, I just found it… bookmarked for next time!). A comparison matrix would be nice. Who voted for what in the past. And some performance report cards. But NO. As much as I looked, all over the internet, for some reliable information, all I found were sales pitches and angst. Lots and loooooots of angst.

Which makes me believe, what with the ease of access for pretty much ANY other topic on the PLANET, that when it comes to politics, they (whoever “they” are) are trying to muddle things up and confuse the information on purpose, such that it will be easier for “them” to hide the fact that the elections are, in fact, fixed. The outcome is ordained long before elections even commence. “They” don’t WANT us to be informed, because if we were, the political landscape would be MUCH different than the one we enjoy today.

And THAT’S why I think my vote doesn’t count. So, to all of the people who will be “representing” me and my interests, in their various political capacities, I say to you: EPIC DEMOCRATIC PROCESS FAIL.


Monday Meta

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Arizona, Friends, photography, vacation, work

– I haven’t been writing here as much as I’d like. The reason? I’ve been busy. Verra, verra busy.

– We are officially OVER the 100+ degree temps in Arizona and are headed, finally, into autumn. Today’s high is 93 with a good chance of thunderstorms – one of which is brewing outside of my window as I type this. Tomorrow’s high is 88 with more storms. The highest it’s going to get over the next ten days is 92, which I am more than capable of dealing with. Thank you, October.

– I had a photography gig at the home of one of my co-workers on Saturday. She hired me to photograph her daughter and her daughter’s two best friends, for a full-page spread in their yearbook. I was a little nervous at first, but once we got going we had a great time. Two hours and four outfit changes later, I left with over two hundred photos to post-process. I was very pleased with a lot of them. I’ll share them with you on my Flickr account after my client has seen them, but for a Double Secret Probation Unauthorized Preview, go here.

– If you had to decide between a vacation to Washington DC to explore the Smithsonian, a long weekend in Monterey, or a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which one would you choose and why?

– Work this week is going to suck ass. Because I was off for a day and a half last week, and because I’ll be in training Tuesday through Thursday of this week, today’s workload was challenging to say the least. The aforementioned training is to acquire my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. We Must! We Must! We Must Increase Our Bust! Reduce Waste and Variation! I’ll be at the “other” AcronymCo campus, which of course throws off my routine. I HATE being thrown off my routine. We’ll also be required to shut down our laptops and pay attention (dammit), so blog reading and tweeting and e-mailing will be relegated to an hour-long frenzy at lunchtime.

Kim and her family suffered a horrible loss over the weekend. Dear Kim, when you get a chance to read this, please know that Bill and I extend our heartfelt sorrow and are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.

Happy Puppy, Happy Sky

Posted: August 25, 2010 in Arizona, Home, pets, photography

Bill and I were hanging out in the back yard the other evening, enjoying the sunset. So was our little potroast of a Beagle. And our buttinsky Mini-Pin.

I just finished writing the last two articles for Beyond Megapixels that needed to be scheduled prior to our departure on Thursday. I find the thought that I have NO writing responsibilities from now until the 26th to be pleasing.

Now I am eating a tuna sandwich to fortify myself against the asstastic amount of house cleaning that is on the schedule for today. I do like our habit of cleaning the house prior to a vacation; it’s nice to come home to a clean house, though it’s painful to be cleaning when there’s all the other vacation prep going on at the same time. Robert and Joy will be staying here while we’re gone, but I know Joy at least will keep things neat. Robert claims that his cleanliness habits have improved since his teenage years, but we all know it’s Joy’s influence that keeps their apartment as lovely and tidy as it is.

There’s a thought in my brain about how funny it is to clean the house as if company is coming, when it’s just the kids coming over, and when the heck did that shift take place, and why the heck should we care if the house is clean for the kids. There, the thought is out there, even if the prose isn’t pretty.

Be happy for Bill today, as he is in the company of a lovely 24-year-old female co-worker, headed down south for some client calls. There are days, he will tell you, that his job is a pleasure.

Speaking of Bill, he just called me to let me know that he heard on the radio that temperatures are supposed to be as high as 118F by the end of this week, with humidity up to 60 percent (it’s monsoon season). That works in a similar yet opposite manner as wind chill factor, such that it will “feel” about 135. Degrees. Fahrenheit. Or 57 degrees Celsius, for my metric readers. The National Weather Service has posted an “excessive heat warning”, stating that the weather will be “oppressive, even for Phoenix resident standards”. Translation, “It’s going to be really fucking hot.” We’ve timed our departure to Maine quite well, actually. I’m glad the kids will be here to rescue the dogs from the back yard.

I find it amusing that the highs in Maine are not supposed to break 85 during our stay, while we keep our A/C at 82 during the day here in AZ.

Also, shout out to Kim. And you thought YOU had weather to bitch about! Heh.

Alright, I’ve lallygagged long enough. Time to get on this house cleaning. Son of a bitch.

I got a message on Facebook from a guy I used to go to school with. His mom was my brownie troop leader, and we were in all the same classes from kindergarten until the end of 4th grade, when my mom passed away and I switched schools to the elementary school one town over. Then we were in the same high school for our entire tenures – we would have graduated in the same class had I not skipped a year. He was always a good kid, and nice to me, which was important at the time as I was on the lower rungs of the popularity ladder.

Anyway. He sent me a message in Facebook. Seems he and I have been living and working in the same area of Arizona for quite some time. It’s a small frikin’ world when someone from your high school in rural Maine ends up living and working in the same town, over three thousand miles away from home. And apparently, there are two more folks from our school who live near here, too. He told me their names – they ring a faint bell but time and the purposeful suppression of memories have dimmed the specifics.

I just thought that was cool, and that I would share it with you guys.


So! I bought the wrong battery grip for my camera. You may have seen me mention it on Twitter or Facebook. The one that I bought is for a Canon Digital Rebel XS, XSi or T1i. I have a Canon Digital Rebel XTi. Since I (stupidly) threw away the box it came in, I cannot return it. Do any of you, my fine readers, have a Digital Rebel XS, XSi or T1i? If so, my stupidity is your gain! I will mail you the grip, batteries, and battery chargers for FREE (a $60-ish dollar value!). It’s this one, specifically. First person to e-mail me with their snail-mail address gets it!


Finally, the best way to enjoy a shot of tequila:

Da da da da da da DA.  Tequila!

Da da da da da da DA. Tequila!

Just a general word of advice (not directed to any particular person, just to the general hysteria surrounding the topic), try reading Senate Bill 1070 before judging it.

Because, you know, it’s annoying to pontificate on something you haven’t even read.

My husband is very anxious for me to share this shot with you:


Because, see, if you zoom in on the glass window of the door at the end of that hall, you see this:


And here it is again, with brightness and contrast increased:


As you’ve probably guessed, this is a shot from inside the Hotel Monte Vista, which I mentioned in my last entry is purported to be haunted. This is the fourth floor hallway (we were room 411, the “Gene Tierney” room, which was very… mauve), and the picture was taken at around 9:30 at night. Bill was bringing the camera back up to our room because we were in the lounge and I didn’t think I’d need it anymore (and then of course I ended up going right back upstairs and getting it again a half-hour later). He paused in the hallway and called out for any ghosts to make themselves known (we’ve been watching too many episodes of Ghost Hunters), then he took this shot. I didn’t notice anything until the post-processing when I looked a little closer at the reflection in the window, and goosebumps raised right up on my arms. I showed it to Bill, and he kind of freaked out a little.

I will say that Bill was standing too far back (he’d zoomed in down the hallway toward the door) for this to be his reflection. So. A ghost? A trick of the light? Weird reflective stuff? I’ll let you decide. We certainly didn’t experience any tangible supernatural experiences during our stay.

Anyway, work is swampy with all the swampiness, so the remainder of the weekend’s activities will have to wait for my next entry. In the meantime, I’ll share a few photos to whet your appetites (and if you follow me on Flickr or Twitter you’ve probably already seen some of these).





Bill’s headed up north today on a job, so I’m going to drive up after work and meet him in Flagstaff for an overnighter. Never for one second do I take for granted these lovely little getaways that we’re able to take so frequently. Despite how much we bitch and moan, we really do live a pretty marvelous life.

Tonight, we’re staying at the Hotel Monte Vista. There are numerous stories of the hotel being haunted, and I have to say that I would LOVE to experience some of the things that have been reported by the patrons. I even looked up articles on how to photograph ghosts, you know, just in case. I also found this little video all about the hauntings at Hotel Monte Vista:

So, pretty cool stuff! I’m running home at lunch to pack a bag and feed the animals. I’ve also got my music lined up for the two-and-a-half hour drive. Picture me, if you will, barreling up the mountain and singing Abba’s Greatest Hits at the top of my lungs. And also the soundtrack for Jersey Boys, John Mellencamp’s Greatest Hits, Modest Mouse, Bruce Springsteen’s Greatest Hits, and one other that I can’t think of right now (I have a six CD deck). I suspect it’s another “Greatest Hits” from someone or other.

Anyway, staying at the HMV puts us right downtown, within walking distance of a TON of bars, clubs, and restaurants. So, I anticipate drunken debauchery tonight as we wander along the sidewalks. Tomorrow morning we plan on visiting The Arboretum at Flagstaff and witnessing their Live Birds of Prey raptor free-flight program.

Lots of photography fodder is on deck for this weekend, and you can rest assured I will share with you to the point where you’ll be all, “What, AGAIN with this stuff?”

Happy Friday!

Robert and Joy are coming over tomorrow to hang out and eat and watch movies. And probably drink. It’s what we do.

I’m making roasted barbecue chicken breasts. I have a very tried and true method for cooking perfect boneless chicken breasts (I imagine it would work for bone-in, too), regardless of the herbage I apply. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, put the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray. Coat chicken breasts in whatever sauce/herbs/spices/salt/pepper/whathaveyou that you desire (we’re using this of course!). Stick them in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes. Voila! Perfection every time. No need to baste them or cover them or anything.

I’m also making Grandma’s Triple Top-Secret Potato Salad, and trying my hand at this recipe for carrot cake that PW recently posted.

It’s been a while since I messed around in the kitchen. I’m kind of looking forward to it.

On Sunday, Bill and I are driving about two hours east to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. The wildflowers are supposedly in full-tilt kick-assedness, so look forward to pictures next week! Plus some more of the zoo and the other stuff Bill and I did last weekend – still haven’t gotten around to processing those pictures, yet. I’ve gotta say, I’m totally LOVING how Bill keeps coming up with stuff for us to do together every weekend. First it was Oro Valley, then the zoo and stuff last weekend, now this. Gosh, I just think he’s the bee’s knees.

Finally, I don’t think I posted about it, but I got the all-clear from my doc about the heart thing. The scans were normal, the inflammation is gone, and the short PR interval is nothing to be concerned about, just aware of. Ticker’s doing good!


And now, the song that is currently stuck in my head. You’re welcome, and happy weekend!

Yesterday was the BEST DAY EVAR.

Bill got home Saturday evening, which was lovely. I mean, I can handle being alone during the day just fine, but by the time bedtime rolls around I’m all lonely and anxious and shit. So, one night away = tons better than two.

Unbeknownst to me, he’d set the alarm clock to go off at 7:00 on Sunday morning. So when it started buzzing I was all, WTF? Is it Monday? He hopped up and turned off the alarm and responded to my mutter with, “Time to get up!” So I groaned, and stuffed my head under the pillow until the scent of coffee came wafting in from the kitchen. I got up, went into the living room, and sipped and read my book while he sipped and read his paper.

We showered and got ready – I was going to wear flip-flops, but Bill said I should wear something more comfortable on my feet. Which is when I started to get the drift that he had Sunday Plans. Drift was solidified when he told me to grab the camera. We drove over to The Good Egg for breakfast – I must say, they had more than their fair allotment of screaming children yesterday morning. Seemed NOBODY under the age of three really felt like a nutritious breakfast. So, we dealt with that with patience that waned by the minute, then busted back out into the 70-degree, breezy, sunny day.

Bill had me choose between the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo. Both sounded appealing to me, but since we’ve been to the garden more recently, I called zoo. Upon reflection, if we wanted to avoid further exposure to shrieking children, I probably should have went with the DBG. Kids will be kids – I get that. Outdoors on a sunny day with lions and tigers and bears and monkeys and giraffes and elephants and SUGAR tends to get them wound up. It just seemed to me that parents were being particularly indifferent to their children’s misbehavior yesterday. After the twentieth time that I had to stop short or else bowl over an oblivious two foot tall micro-human, while their parent stared dully in another direction, I started to get a little impatient. And we had to leave the wolf exhibit before our patience fled completely, because a father and daughter were keeping up a CONSTANT “conversation” with the wolves – “Howl at the wolves, honey! Awww-ooooo! Arrrwww-oooooooo! Howl at the wolves, I bet they can understand us! Wooooooooooooo!” FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Once was cute, twice was inevitable, five hundred times was crazy-making.


But! Sunny day! Hand in hand with my love! And meercats! It was hard to be in a bad mood over very much of anything, really. Even though we were surrounded by a crowd of Captain Obvious. You know, those people who keep up a running commentary and point out BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS details about their surroundings. “Oh, look at the toucan! Look at his beak! His beak is red! He’s a bird! Birds are pretty!” “Look at the elephant! He’s big! He’s eating treats! He likes his treats!” “Look at the giraffe! He can reach the top leaves on the trees! He has a long tongue! Bet he needs a good chiropractor, huh? Har! Har!”


Also, the zoo used to sell beer, and now it doesn’t. EPIC FAIL, ZOO. We would have been much more tolerant of humanity if we could walk around with brew.

So. We’d worked up a powerful thirst by the time we did the circuit. Back in the truck, we drove over to Pier 54 for a couple of drinks. We were enjoying the outdoor patio with views over the lake, when the inevitable Drunk Guy stumbled over and started up a slurred and incomprehensible conversation with us. He wanted to look at my camera (I had the new lens and hood on it, and I guess it looks pretty impressive – it got quite a few comments from folks we encountered throughout the day). I held it up. He went to take it from me, and I pulled it back a little. He was all, “Aww, I just wanted to see it for a second!” Little does he know, the only other person I trust to hold my camera is Bill. Anyway. He muttered something about having to go “pee-pee” (niiiice) and shuffled back off again. We took that as our opportunity to leave.


The Chevrolet dealership from which we’ve purchased almost every vehicle in the past fifteen years was hosting a Camaro car show, so of course we had to stop by and take pictures. Bill will probably regale you in the comments as to why, exactly, everything was so very Man Show Testosteroney. I just kept saying, “Pretty!” and Bill kept rolling his eyes at me. I don’t know what a blower is, or why it would be So Very Cool to have one. I’m sorry. I could make some lewd jokes and wisecracks if you’d like, though.


So, after the car show we went back home and got the motorcycle, then rode over to Sandstone for a couple of beers. We split a plate of most excellent chicken fajitas and shot the shit with the other regulars that were there. We finished up the evening back at home with a brief visit from Robert and Joy, messing around with Cheeto and taking pictures, and DVR’ed episodes of “The Pacific” and “Life”. We mourned the fact that Monday came back around again and snuggled and snoofied at each other and wished aloud that we could spend every waking moment with each other.


Scoff all you want, but by the time the lights were out and we were in bed, expressing to each other how much fun the day was, I suddenly became panic-stricken. I imagined the day when we wouldn’t be together. I thought of that day, sometime in the murky future, where one of us would come home to an empty house. I imagined never hearing Bill’s voice again, never hearing him holler for me as he busts through the front door. Never smelling the back of his neck again. And I started to cry, for fear of that hopefully EONS in the future day. It’s tough, being so in love with a person that the mere thought of being without them sucks the very breath from your lungs.

Bill held me, I got myself together, and we fell asleep entwined.

It was the best day ever, despite the meltdown at the end, and my favorite way to spend a Sunday.