West Valley Brush Fire

Late Wednesday afternoon I happened to be looking out the window from the high-rise I work in downtown Phoenix, and noticed a  huge black cloud of smoke filling the sky from the area we live in.

I phoned my husband, who then reassured me that this fire was not in our neighborhood but only a few blocks away.  This fire started by lightening strikes and has stayed mainly across the street near the mountains.  It is still disconcerting to look out and see the smoke still rising days later.

Friends of ours in Chandler can smell the smoke from there and have even had ashes falling in their neighborhood.

We are lucky that the fire has not spread out of the brush from which it is still currently burning.  No homes or businesses have been damaged. 


The picture above was taken Friday evening while I stood on a chair in our backyard.  At times it even blocked out the sun, as you can see in the pictures taken around my neighborhood below.




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Summer Literary Gems

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the library.  It was nice to escape the 115 degree day and bury myself behind many a book.  I came home with an arm load of the following gems:

The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton

Aphrodite; A Memoir of the Senses, by Isabel Allende

Enlightenment for Idiots, by Anne Cushman

With Billie, by Julia Blackburn

The Gift of Rain, by Tan Twang Eng

Eat, Love, Pray, by Elizabeth Gilbert

I read recently that Edith Wharton's book was a great summer read.  I actually got to visit her home last September while visiting Boston.  I saw the room where she wrote.  The house is reported to be haunted as well.  So far I am 100 pages into The House of Mirth.  I read her book The Age of Innocence about 15 years ago.  There is something to be said for the classics.

I also enjoy any of Elizabeth George's books.  They are murder mysteries and I have read them all.  I am currently awaiting her next installment.

Reading to me is a luxury.  It is to me like wine is to the wino.  In fact, I'm going to leave off here and spend the rest of the evening with Edith!

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When Did We Become Such Slugs?


Before I get into this post and Ruben's and my current stay in 'Slugdom,' I needed to post the following picture.  Six Weasels, this is for you.  Your posts have become part of my morning ritual and I have read them over many a cup of coffee.  I hope this makes you laugh as many of your posts have made me laugh. 




(Now just picture him with a purple belly dancing scarf with silver coins hanging from it ,and no shoes, and that's pretty much how I felt the other night.  Thanks for laughing with me over that one –Jennifer).


It has been over a week since we returned from vacation and Ruben and I have come to the conclusion that we are both slugs.  This could have something to do with the fact that upon returning to our beloved Phoenix, the temperature had shot up to 110+ degrees.  We are usually pretty active people so this lack of motion has really been apparent.  Last week I heard the tv volume go down in Ruben's tv room (aka: the Man Cave).  I was sitting at the computer in the kitchen either blogging, reading email, or checking my bank account or something when I hear him yell out to me.  "Hey babe?"


"Have you noticed that we have been complete slugs lately?

"Yes, we have been, haven't we?"

"Why do you think that is?" 

Well I could make up a million excuses to why we are in this current state but I do know one thing; it has to stop.  Besides the Tuesday night dance class, I have not done squat since we were on the boat a few weeks ago, and boy do I feel it!

I had commmitted myself to eating healthy this year and making exercise a part of my regular

routine.  This past December I signed both Ruben and I up at a gym.  He and I were consistently going for such a long time.  As work headed towards the fiscal year end, I found myself staying late and skipping the gym.  My workouts have dwindled and now it has been at least a month since I've been back to the gym.  

Well all this is about to change.  Starting this Saturday I will get my butt out of bed and head over to the kick-boxing class.  On Sunday there is a Latin dance class that I will be partaking in as well.  I also have not weighed myself since before vacation (gulp).  I figured I would wait until Monday to survey the damage.  At least at that point I will have two workouts under my belt.  

And water!  I have not had nearly as much water as I should be drinking.  The only fruit I had over vacation was in a mango martini.  Somehow I don't think that really counts.


I have no more excuses.  My darling husband bought me a new pair of sneakers over the weekend to replace the pair in my luggage.  I just feel 'mushy,' if that makes sense.  Maybe I'll take Abby for a walk after work.  I could also get up a half hour early to walk her before work.  The Abinator would like that, too.

This all sounds like a great idea now but come 5pm I may be fighting the feelings of wanting to plop down and watch TV in a nice air conditioned room.  I will instead take myself by the ear and go do something productive.





As Tony Little says, "You can do it!"   Now if blogging only burned calories I would be in great shape! 






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Thoughts on a Wednesday…




Last night was the first night of dance classes at The Goddess Garden. 

I struggled a bit as it has been at least a few weeks since I last danced – or exercised for that matter.

Over the weekend I purchased a new sports bra and workout shorts to replace the set that was in my luggage.  Don't ask me why I purchased extra-large shorts.  They kept falling down and I had them hiked up to my rib cage.  It felt like an episode of Urkel Does The Turkish Fusion.  I felt so silly.   Anyhow, this class was much harder than the ones I have taken in the past.  It felt great though, once I got the steps down and could move in unison with Demi, my instructor, and one other advanced student. 

My new role was announced to the company today.  I will also be meeting with the new team.  This role has been my goal since I started here almost 3 years ago.  My whole body feels like it has breathed a sigh of relief.  I will take June and July off from my college classes so that I may focus on getting this new job down, and then I will be right back at it come August. 

I have come to the conclusion that I have to stop worrying about if and when I'll get my suitcase back.  I don't know at this point.  I have made phone calls and I have written letters.  Right now I am procrastinating filling out the claim form for the airline.  It's like I'm still in denial.  I have to do it though, and just be done with it.  Like ripping off a band-aid, right?  I associate the items in my suitcase with how I acquired them.  Like the brown boots I bought with my sister on a trip back to Boston, or the cute teeshirt my stepmother sent me for my birthday.  I think about the hiking boots that have climbed all over Arizona.  And lastly, the cute blue bathing suit I bought years ago for a trip to Mexico with new girlfriends I had made when first moving here.  Memories will remain, but the material things are obviously gone.  And 'material' is the key word here. 

I have some great girlfriends both in and outside of work.  The picture here is of a t-shirt a friend

made before attending the Sex In The City movie premiere a few weeks ago.  Apparently a whole group went and they all wore similar shirts.  They are such a fun group.  Lately I've had the itch for a girl's camping trip.  I put it out there and next thing I know another email comes back for us to meet at 2pm for frozen yogurt to discuss the details of this trip.  I love it!   

I've toyed with the idea for awhile to change my hair color.  It used to be dark brown/black but now has turned completely gray.  I color it but I always feel like a skunk once it starts growing back.  I got the name of a colorist whom I left a message for yesterday.  I knew I wanted a change once I turned 40.  I'm hoping to set up a consultation soon.  I'd like to lighten it which would probably mean I would have to lighten my eyebrows as well.  I hope I don't look ridiculous.  I dreamed of growing up and looking like Barbie.  The reality is that I look more like Barbie's nerdy exchange student friend that she only hangs with when the cool kids like Skipper and Ken aren't around.  Regardless, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Since when have you seen Barbie in a belly dancing costume?  And Barbie didn't get to marry a cool cowboy like I did. 

But I digress.  It will be interesting to see what the stylist has to say.  Gosh, I haven't visited a stylist in years!  This could be interesting.



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Gun Store & Christian Books? Um, okay…


If I had not have seen this tonight, I don't think I would have believed it. I took this picture rather non-chalantly. If caught I wasn't sure if I'd be held up or thumped on the head with a Bible.

This is just another time I'm thankful to have had my camera with me. Life indeed can be stranger than the Sci Fi Channel on a Saturday night..

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Where in The World???

Since I still have not received my luggage from a recent vacation, I can only imagine where it is right now.  Since I haven't received any post cards from it like the person years ago whose lawn gnome was kidnapped and photographed all over the world, I can only speculate.  Here are my speculations:


Great Wall of China maybe?














How about on Safari?











Mais oui!  Paris in Spring.
















Que romantico!










I expected a post card at the very least! 

This was my attempt at poking fun over a situation that I have allowed to stress me out over this past week.  I hope it made you laugh –and no, I don't really own a 'Hello Kitty' suitcase but I thought it would be somewhat fitting to add.  🙂

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In Honor of Dear Old Dad…

On today, this Father's Day, I want to take a moment to honor our Dads. 

To the left is Ruben's Dad, Ted.  They are watching TV together.  It was most likely the show Chavo, which is a Mexican comedy show that they both watched together.  The reruns are still shown today.

I believe this was taken in California.  Ted is one of the wisest men I know.  He is incredibly insightful and caring.  He is also a minister at their family's church.  I joke that I married the wild preacher's son which there is probably more reality to than joke. 😉


Ruben has inherited his great sense of humor.


Here is my Dad, Fred, with my Grandma (his Mom) Estelle.  This was taken at our wedding here in Phoenix 2 years ago.  My Grandma is my last surviving grandparent.

Dad has taught me many things over the years.  If I wanted sympathy, I'd go to my Mother.  If I wanted real answers on problems or situations, I'd go to Dad.  He never steered me in the wrong direction. 

I see pieces of my Grandfathers reflected in Ruben.  He shares their work ethic and their love of family.  It is uncanny sometimes.  I guess we truly are attracted to what we know.







I tried to find a picture of my Dad and I together while growing up and was unsuccessful.  I did find, however, this note that was sent with a folder full of old pictures of myself a few years ago.

My Dad is a great note writer.  When I was 19 years old, I worked for this awful company and I always seem to be in trouble.  Looking back now, I just think it had more to do with the mean people I was working with and not anything I was really doing. 

My Dad wrote another note at that time that had me in tears.  It is tattered and torn in places but I still keep it on me to read when I feel like I need some inspiration to not give up. 

10 years ago Dad and I went to a Father Daughter Dance.  We were the oldest ones there and were surrounded by men who were my age at the time and their 4 to 5 year old daughters.  When it came time to honor our Dad's openly, I whipped out that letter and read it to the crowd.  Dad's eyes were filled with tears.  He had no idea I had kept it that long.


Ruben's Dad is camping today in Sedona with the rest of the family.  We were unfortunately not able to make it.  I'm amazed that both Ruben's parents are in their 70s and still enjoy tent camping.  God love 'em.

My Dad is fishing in a remote area of Canada today.  When we spoke on Friday he was stressing on how he was going to only pack 50 lbs. worth of supplies with him.  This trip requires travel in a sea plane with a pontoon bottom, and there is a weight restriction.  I'm sure he is working it out.

It's good to know that they both are enjoying their Father's Day doing what they enjoy most.  Although they won't be with us today, I hope they are getting in the rest and peace that they both undoubtedly deserve.


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