Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Not me thankfully, or not yet anyway.  25 got sick.  It's notable because it's the first "really sick/injured" of our relationship.  We've both had colds, but real sick is different.  Anything that requires a trip to the urgent care is different.

While I'm not happy he got bronchitis, it is a useful measuring stick.  Like I said, it's a milestone. It's great that it didn't happen when we'd only been dating a couple months. That could have ended things.  In my experience, women and very specifically me, tend to want to care for, even mother, a man.  I like to be helpful, offer assistance.  I've learned over the years, through trial and lots of errors plus a little reading (Why men date bitches and the like) you can't do that too soon.  When dating a man, you have to increase those sorts of "taking care of my man" sorts of things slowly, veeerrrrryyyyy sssssssssssssslllllllllllllooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwlllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyy. If you come on too fast/too much, they are like deer - they panic and flee. I can't speak for most women, but I often find that difficult.  I want to help. I have had to very deiliberately scale those efforts back to basics.

25 is like any man.  When he gets the flu is quickly turns in to manflu.  He had that a couple months ago, maybe January.  He had the sniffles, he wanted sympathy. He got a bit and no offers of soup, drugstore runs, etc. This time, with months behind us, it was different.

We both had minor cold symptoms Sunday a couple weeks ago.  I was congested, he had a sore throat.  We didn't really think anything of it.  My stuffy nose and sneezing lasted about four days.  25 was exposed to bronchitis at work and several other co-workers that were sick or had sick partners. He called in stick to work Wednesday and Thursday.  I took him soup on Wednesday night, hung out for a couple hours then went home because I had to get my beauty sleep for early work the next day.

Against my suggestion, he went to work Friday and was, let's say, less than productive.  Over the weekend he stayed at my place, mostly sleeping. He was burning up and had a very persistent cough, though none of the other more cold-like symptoms that I'd had. By Sunday morning he had decided that a trip to the urgent care clinic was warranted, and so it was. Acute bronchitis meant an injection and prescriptions.

The milestone part to all of this is that he let me take care of him.  He said more than once that he'd be/have been a lot worse off without me. He thanked me for being there, for having him at the house and making sure he had gatorade and soup. He seemed to notice that having me in his life for a long time would be a really good thing, beneficial on multiple fronts.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A New Flow

Week two on the newest contract and I'm working on my flow.  With this kind of work, the hours and days tend to change with and without notice. This week for example:

Monday: 07:00 - 17:30 (10.5h)
Tuesday: 12:00 - 20:00 (8h)
Wednesday: 08:00 - 19:30 (9.5h)
Thursday: ??
Friday: 08:00 - 19:30 (9.5h)

Monday, Wednesday, Friday I'm "assisting" in a training class.  I have to get authorized to teach at this facility even though I've taught before (standard operating procedure no matter who the facility is). That it what dictates my hours for those days.  Right now, there is only class 1pm to 5pm but that could and probably will change.  I showed up at 7am today to get ready for an 8am class only to find out that there wasn't an 8am class.  As my department lead says "we are water, we flow with it", which I like.  You won't last long as an Epic contractor if you can't be silly putty - flexible, ready to bend, adaptable and able to copy/memorize.

It's doubly nice that at this project we have lots of dedicated training rooms with hardware that is set up and ready to go. The rooms are roomy with space to spread out, projectors for demonstrations, a box of supplies for each room and individual temperature controls.  It's miles ahead of my last project.  The management seems very different so far aw well and in all the best ways.  They believe us to be the professionals we are. They give us the information and leave us to prepare, not reading it to us like kindergarteners. They understand that sometimes we will need to work more than forty hours per week to prep, clean up, prepare, etc in addition to class hours.  They have a highly rational and logical approach to teaching and management.  The key might be SO FAR, but I have high hopes and my fingers crossed.

Since I'm working, I can no longer go to the gym at 11am.  I'll take advantage to go midday when I can, like tomorrow I'll go about 9 or 10am, but that will be a treat.  Instead I have to figure out when to jam it in to my schedule.  LAst week I got to the gym exactly zero days.  I did run my neighborhood, but nothing the rest of the week.  I saw 25 on Wednesday, went to a brewery for a special tapping with a friend on Thursday, saw 25 over the weekend and now it's Monday. I've got to balance work, the gym and a social life.  I am having a hard time believing I can get up at 4am to work out before driving to work at 6am for a 7am start but afternoon turns into the "buts" and not my butt on the elliptical machine. After work I am prone to "I could/should go to the gym but I'm tired/I have to go shopping/I need to let the dog out/I have to _____". It's easier to find a reason not to go after work. A Mariners game, a date, dinner, exhaustion are all acceptable reasons.  Therefore, it's got to be morning, but MAN! 4am?!?!

I also noticed that the weekend flew by. I'm now playing that age old game of "how to I cram fun and hafto's into just 48 hours"?

Any ideas?

Friday, April 26, 2013

The First Week

I have survived my first week of work.

I always forget how tiring work is.  It's frustrating to be out of work but it's tiring to be at work. It's doubly tiring to try to look busy at work.

Now don't mistake me.  I am glad I'm back at work.  I'm glad to be working where I am but at the moment, there isn't a lot for me to be actively working on. Until I get credentialed (a process that is slightly different in each place but basically verifies that I know my stuff well enough and can present it well enough that both Epic, the owners of the software, and my current hospital system both feel that I will be a good representative for them) there isn't much to do. This time is usually used to learn curriculum, training methods, specifics for a specific facility.  I don't mean to brag because that usually gives the universe an opportunity to make you look the fool, but I'm a great trainer.  I don't have to learn training methods. The material here is about 95% the same as the last place I was a trainer and there isn't much (so far) that is special for here.

That leaves me with forty hours to fill and little to fill it.  There are a requisite number of hours listening to practice teachings by other trainers, or train the trainer classes on things like learning styles or training expectations. We use YouTube videos to bring people back from break so I spent a couple hours today building a YouTube library (suggestions welcome for funny PG rated under five minute videos!).

To make matters worse, it's been even harder to be at work this week because the weather has been amazing! The last couple of weeks, when I was off work, were gray, rainy and generally crappy. I started work on Monday and it was in the 60's and sunny and lovely.  It's been that way all week, into the 70's. This weekend it's supposed to be 57 and rainy.  That's proof that God created man (if that's what you believe) just to entertain himself and have a laugh.

Working with my contracting company (they hire and pay me to work at the healthcare facility but I still have to interview with the facility) was tough this go around too.  It took all week to finally get the everything they needed and vice versa.  I had to request timesheet submission information no less than four times.  I sent them back their start up packet and apparently missed a couple signatures.  I actually think two of the forms had been left out of the first packet but whatever.

I'm once again a working stif which does mean that weekends are significant again. With that, I'm off to daydream about making the most of my measly two days sans work.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Not a Myth?

When I lived in Indonesia the locals swore that everyone got sick at change of season.  It's because it's (enter adjective here that is a change from what it just was - hotter, drier, wet, cool, etc). I didn't really believe it, just as I didn't believe my Guatemalan house mother when she said I'd get sick because I walked around the house barefoot. Baaah, old wive's tales!

Spring seems to have sprung in the Pacific Northwest and I'm sick. 25 is also sick with a cough, aches and flu like symptoms.  Two other trainers I'm working with are both sniffling and sneezing in class and I just found out my sister got sick over the weekend as well.

It could be that my allergies started the same way you start a race -with a bang and all at once- but that seems less likely.  I can't seem to draw in oxygen through both nostrils at the same time, and usually only one if I'm lucky.  I have sneezed no less than a dozen times.  Due to both the previous points, I've been fighting a headache.  I can't get my ears to pop and find it difficult to focus. 

Maybe there is something to the "change of seasons". The temperature has increased a whopping eight to ten degrees as it is supposed to hit 70 later in the week.  It seems early for hayfever but I've read a couple of news stories that report earlier and more severe pollen seasons due to climate change.

It's amazing how I take breathing for granted until I can't.  Such a "simple task" when not sick becomes the most strenuous, difficult thing to do in the world. On that note, I'm off to pop a zinc lozenge and find some menthol rub.


I know I may catch hell for this but I've got to ask: In the wake of the Boston bombing (which I have elected not to talk about), Facebook blew up (bad, unintentional pun) with people posting "I'm praying for everyone in Boston", "Pray for Boston", etc. How many people who put those sentiments out there actually pray?  I don't pray.  I'm not praying for Boston.  I'm not praying for them the same way I'm not praying for anyone else, not just to be especially spiteful.  I understand, as a society, we generally lack the words to deal with death.  That's a conversation for another day because we use euphemisms and catch-alls to talk about it. I drove by a local church who's reader board said "Pray for Boston" and I thought well, it's a church so that makes sense.  On the other hand, I saw several people post something similar on FB.  These are people that I know have no religious affiliations so it left me scratching my head.

Also, at what point does an incident become a national tragedy to be forever and ever memorialized? The bombing in Boston was horrible. Three people died.  It is getting lots more coverage than a bus wreck that kills nineteen. Or the bombing in Somalia last week that killed 28.  I'm sure there's an element of the homeland vs elsewhere. Anything that happens in the US gets lots of media coverage simply for that reason. Most people can't be asked to know where Somalia is, let alone what happens there. I can understand the coverage after Superstorm Sandy because that impacted tens thousands of people and had a final cost of tens of billions of dollars. There was a huge explosion in Texas the same day as the Boston bombing that killed fourteen people (so far, which is eleven MORE than Boston), yet I haven't seen more than one or two headlines about it. I won't get started on the fact there was another earthquake in China today that has a death toll of over 208 so far and is the latest in a series of quakes that are possibly triggered by man.  Instead, Boston has been inescapable on the internet, the radio, facebook, etc, etc, etc.

I suppose the bombing is getting lots of play for a similar reason that a plan crash does.  It's out of the ordinary. Bombing don't happen everyday (well, outside of Afghanistan and Iraq) so regardless of the size of the bomb or the number of affected, it's a rarity. It also sells headlines because it prays on people's insecurities. The media can feed the beast that is born shortly after an event. A beast that feeds on information, pictures, interviews, however important or superfluous and who's life the media tries to extend.

After events like this, especially when it happens in the US, it doesn't take long for the public's bloodlust to reach a peak. In cases like Boston, where the suspects flee and died or are seriously injured in a hail of gunfire and tactical maneuvers, the bloodlust is quickly quenched. It means that there isn't a wait for a trial, sentencing and a slow moving judicial system. It also means that there isn't any information gleaned, no insight gained, no knowledge that might prevent any of this from continuing to happen.

I didn't have a visceral reaction to this attack, much as I haven't for the attacks I see on international soils. I ponder the why's, the how's and the what next's. It leaves me with more questions than answers and mostly about who we are as a species, as a culture, as individuals.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Apparently I don't suck at life

Or I just suck in temporary spurts.

I'm posting writing this on Sunday and posting it late on Monday because


I'm at work at the time I would usually be posting this. The interesting thing about working as a contractor in the field I do (Electronic Medical Records Trainer) is that the work comes and goes.  I know someone who has been consistently employed over the last twelve months at three different positions. I know a couple women who I worked with one one project, had each worked on one since and and are each currently employed on a third, with periods of worklessness in between. I seemed to have the least luck with work.  From October until March I worked an average of two weeks each month, though not evenly distributed. It sounds great, only working about half the time, but that also means less income and a lot less consistent income.

These projects tend to have high levels of chaos, miscommunication, confusion, and flexible timelines. As a contractor one must get accustomed to this very quickly. In the last three months, the three biggest projects I was put in for all had major changes to their timelines which changed the staffing needs and urgency. I was submitted as a candidate by two different firms (for different projects) and more than once for each project. Again and again I was told their needs had changed, they were postponing the projects, yadda, yadda.  I wrote before that interviewing is like dating and again it proves to be.  There was lots of hope and prepping for a company that just wasn't ready and it all turned out to be for naught. Then I got a call on Friday for a phone interview.  wait, wait, wait then rush!

I'd reckon that a part of the reason I got the job is not only that I have applicable experience but that I am a local candidate and can start Monday. I am not going to assume that's the only reason. I am going to make the most of the opportunity and show them what a great trainer I am.  I've been told the job could go through the end of the year.  I want to be on the team that are there until the end. More information but probably a little less first while I adjust to being (happily) employed again!

* Note added Monday evening - First day went very smoothly, I even knew one of the other trainers from a previous project. It was unfortunate that it was a sunny beautiful day and I was in a room without so much as a window. It was doubly unfortunate that either I'm getting a head cold OR allergy season started like a piano landing on my head.  D'oh!

Friday, April 19, 2013


Why is it that one negative remark can outweigh ten compliments? Why is it that a difficult patch in one part of my life bleeds over to everything else?

Humans seem to be programmed to focus on the negative. It's easy to recall the awful thing a kid in your class said to you all the way back in fourth grade.  It's much tougher to forget it.  Look at the issues we have with anorexia, bulimia, and plastic surgery addiction.  We have multiple news channels, many of which run news 24 hours a day and the vast majority of it is horrible.  You could fill your days with nothing other than stories of rape, murder, terrorism and political scandal/ineptitude. Sure, there was the two and a half minute story about the dog that rescued a cat but does that make up for the other 1,437.5 minutes for tragedy and mayhem? It extends into Facebook, into our conversations and inevitably into our consciousness.

People are more often negative to each other too.  That couples with the long lasting memories of those interactions.  I can remember the messages on an online dating site where the guy was clearly being a dick.  It ruffles my feathers when someone is obnoxious to me (or someone else) in a store or cuts me off driving. Sure, some of those incidents pass as part of the chaos of living in a heavily populated society. Other incidents mean I stay ruffled for the rest of the day. Even a compliment doesn't sufficiently soothe a hurt.

Granted, life can't be all Mariners wins and cold beers on sunny afternoons. But how often do we identify ourselves by pain, suffering or frustration? Mariners fans, and Seattle sports fans in general, are long suffering and we're usually the first to say so.  The best music and art was created from heartbreak and hard times. If things are going well at work and you ask "How's work?" I'll likely say "Fine" but if it's not going well, grab a cup of coffee and I'll give you the whole run down. We perpetually remember tragic events. Year after year the flags are lowered, the world stops to recognize the victims and their families. At the rate we're going, between old incidents and new ones, we'll be lowering the flags daily. My tragedies have all been personal ones.  I didn't lose a family member in a bombing or terrorist attack but I'd imagine that at some point I'd want to be known as more than victim number 1857. At what point does remembering prevent moving forward?

I digress. You may have noticed I write more, more passionately and more animatedly when things are going wrong than when they are going right.  For several years now I've tried to really note the positives in my life, even when most of it is circling the drain, yet I often find myself incapable of halting the cycle. It seems to have it's own life force.  After a couple days, when it's run it's course, then I'm back to normal, but I'll be damned if I can't short circuit it sooner.

On that note, go compliment someone. Make it someone you know and a total stranger. Smile when you greet someone or are greeted. And go forth, for better or worse, because it beats staring at a computer screen alone all day.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Idle Hands

are the devil's workshop, so the saying goes. I don't know about the devil but I do know that I'm doing lots to keep busy and fight off the crazies.

I borrowed a dehydrator and I'm experimenting with ingredients and recipes for the upcoming backpacking/hiking season.  Yesterday I tried batch one with a can each of pinto beans, minestrone soup and beanless chili.  Each was a 15oz can and was reduced to between 2.8 to 3.6 oz after dehydrating.  I've got to rehydrate and submit them to a taste test. Batch two was fruit: strawberries, mangoes, golden delicious and granny smith apples, comice and anjou pears, bananas, limes and lemons. The results are obviously drastically reduced weight, change in texture.  I was surprised that they weren't sweeter than they were. There are ways to sweeten by pre-treating the fruit but I needed a baseline to start from. Right now I'm dehydrating ham, breakfast sausage and some fresh chorizo with steak marinating in the fridge for jerky-fying later.

I'm making things that aren't dehydrated too.  A batch of from scratch pasta sauce, vegetable soup with homemade chicken stock, bell pepper and jalapeno hummus, homemade applesauce, and rhubarb sauce within the last five days or so. Luckily, 25 is happy to have leftovers for lunch so I don't have to have soup for seven straight days. The dog even got some of the goods as I made her some peanut butter treats. Oh, and I perfected a sugarfree mojito. Between that and the yard, I'm doing my best to lure the warm weather to Seattle.

But wait . . . There's more! Yesterday I also had a big shop at Winco, a local grocery.  I bought all the above fruits plus some big packs of chicken and beef that needed to be repacked in to smaller bags. The weather was good so I headed to the backyard. All the patio furniture (six chairs, two ottomans, a small and large table) are all scrubbed.  I cleared the deck but need to scrub it too. I did some light weeding and in concert with the potted flowers, it looks ready for summer.  I planted four baskets of fuscias and three mixed baskets of full sun flowers.  On the food front, there are two tomato plants (sweet thousands and Viva Italia), spinach, broccoli, green and yellow onions, two types of basil and garlic growing. There are daffodils up and I'm hoping the daliah bulbs will spring up too.

In addition, I vacuumed and walked the dog yesterday. Oh, and I blogged. Hmmm, an excess of anxious energy maybe? I'm off to the craft room now for a sketch pad to draw up some headboard ideas and then the gym after that.

My excess of output may seem a little, I hate to use the word crazy but. . . .
Well, it's either that or I give up, move a mini fridge full of beer next to my bed and never leave the house.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How would I know if . . .

I suck at life?  I can't be the only one who has wondered if I simply suck at life. Before you start wondering just how bipolar I am because yesterday's post was good news, this isn't out of the blue.  Shockingly, I do keep the vast majority of my life to myself.  I blog about selected topics but I don't tweet or instagram or vomit the details of my life on to multiple social media outlets.

It's been a rough stretch lately in every realm other than dating, which is quite the reversal. After moving back to the US, I got into the world of Electronic Medical Records as a trainer.  I enjoy the work, it's interesting and profitable.  The problem is that it's contract work and it is as fleeting as sunshine in Seattle in April. I worked about seven and a half months total in 2012 (granted I didn't move back until March. So far in 2013 I've worked about six weeks, which sounds great.  When you're working, the prospect of time off to travel or complete tasks around the house is like heaven. The problem is when you're not working, there's no money for travel, or groceries. What people really want is time off work with unlimited resources. I've got a couple leads, but that's been the case since early March. Still nothin'.

When I moved back, I had to get a car.  "Lucky" for me, my sister had a car that she used for about a whopping thousand miles a year.  Since it was mostly just taking up one of the precious parking spaces on Capitol Hill, she gave/lent/sold it to me. A 1995 Nissan Maxima. I just rolled the odometer over to 150,000 miles yesterday.  The engine was replaced at about 140,000 but the rest of the car wasn't.  Since I inherited it, I had to recharge the AC ($350), replace the started ($300), replace two taillights and a side mirror ($95), replace both bumper covers ($250), replace the tires ($400 plus the single replacement in Portland for another $50), get an alignment ($80) and switch from regular oil changes at $30 to high mileage oil changes at $45. This car is costing me more than a new car with payments would. Not to mention that it smells like burning oil and has started smoking if I drive is more than fifteen minutes. The catch about living on the West Coast is that it is exceedingly difficult to do so without a car unless you both live and work downtown (which I'd love but isn't likely).

Then there are the thousand little issues that make me think I might suck at life:
I was worried I'd drop my phone in the toilet if I kept it in my back pocket so I moved it to the pocket of my hoodie and only then dropped it in the toilet.
PMS and PostMS have hit like an avil on the coyote's head. I'm a roaring, irrational bitch who may have had an internal organ melt down for all I'm bleeding. Good luck to anyone who's trying to have a conversation with me, especially 25.
Either due to my "monthly friend" or other reasons, I've had either a stabbing stomachache or screaming headache pretty much every day for about the last three weeks.  I don't know the cause but it's getting old.
I've been very consistently hitting the gym for the last six weeks.  I've been a little better about what I'm eating but did have a wedding and two birthdays during that timespan. Yet I haven't dropped so much as a pound. I am, however, pounding my head against the wall.
A bottle of creme de cacao tipped over in the car and now it smells like tootsie rolls.
The dog chews up something on a weekly basis.
The cat has become a whiny bastard and doesn't seem to be happy with anything I do to appease him.  I realize that sounds typical of most cats, but he's never been that way before.
I think I'm just going to stop the list now.

On a lighter note:
I have managed to turn the Room of Doom (former bedroom/craft room.office that was overtaken by crap and became a storage room) into a less doomy, more usable room.
I've planted spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic, two types of basil, four fuscia hanging baskets, and three sunny flower planters.
I am still going to the gym.
I'm figuring out how to use a food dehydrator, cook things I usually buy and stretch every dollar in the kitchen.
I haven't run 25 off.
I haven't started drinking at ten am . . . yet.

Maybe I only suck at certain swaths of life, not all of it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


My relationship with 25 has been fairly smooth sailing so far.  Actually, comparatively, it has been a hot air balloon ride on a sunny day with a light breeze and a great view. It has been very different than past relationships.  I would venture to guess that it's a combination of reasons; I've grown up and matured (shocking to even me), I'm more certain of myself and willing to make a claim for what I want and need, I've had enough bad experiences to steer clear of situations that are reminiscent of them, he is very patient with me, we've been pretty darn open and honest since date one.

He seems to be able to short circuit some emotions that have historically gotten me in to trouble, like being extremely short on patience and occasionally short tempered and a memory and insistence on history/correctness that lead to arguments. He surely doesn't know he does this because he doesn't know the me I was with other men, he knows the me I am with him. I am easily my happiest, mellowest self around him. . . .

usually . . .

We've hit a few bumps in the road as of late.  Now when I say bumps, these are really like tiny pebbles.  Nothing major, nothing that causes me any real concern, but a slight difference from previously. We are both going through some stressful times - he at work, me without work - and also spending more time together on a regular basis.  That causes a little friction.  We've had to hammer out a better method for communication because when he gets 400+ emails a day at work, the last thing he wants or needs is an email from me, regardless of the topic. We've gone round and round trying to explain or understand something or why the other people does/said something.

That all in consideration, it's securing and gratifying to have a little friction and see that it isn't more than. The bumps are staying small and we can resolve the issues. There's a laying out of the issue, an explanation of why it's a problem, and suggested solutions. Even when there's frustration (yes, usually on my side but not always!) it doesn't last and it's never and eleven, on a scale of one to ten. It has been much, MUCH easier than ever before, or than I thought possible really. Maybe that's a good sign!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Not from blogging, from match.com and okcupid.com

That's where things have gone.  25 and I had a conversation two weeks ago that went like this:

Me: Are you still on match?

Him: Uh, I think i still have a membership but I never go on it.


Him:  I guess stop it so it doesn't auto renew me when it ends in April.

Me: Does that mean you're ending your match membership?

Him: Yea, I think so.

Me: Ok, I'll end mine when it's up in May too.

We met on match.  Somehow, all my ridiculous online dating stories turned in to a "success story", but don't tell match.com that or I'll probably have to do some shmarmy commercial.

We started really slow.  I think our first three dates were spread over about six weeks or so.  We both dated other people for a couple months. We never had a typical commitment talk.  We've talked about what we might want going forward but never exactly a talk to figure out if we are "together", dating, involved or whatnot. So this was our talk.

I assume, and feel good about that assumption, not that I'm making an "ass out of u and me" (think about it!) that we are together.  I see him at least four evenings a week. We have plans throughout the summer including camping, concerts and weekends away. If that doesn't mean something then having a "talk" wouldn't either.

I feel good about giving the online dating a rest.  Luckily, should the need arise, it'll be there for me to peruse again.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Arizona and Sedona

Driving near Tuzigoot
After two nights in Flagstaff we headed south to Sedona.  The red rock area that's part way between Flagstaff and Phoenix is a must see. It may not be quite as well known internationally as the Grand Canyon and I won't venture to guess about it's domestic reknown.  I had been to Sedona once as a teenager when we stopped there as a family.  My mom went to school at the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff and consequently had spent plenty of time in Sedona, less than a hour drive.
Sedona near Chapel of the Holy Cross

In many ways I prefer Sedona to the Grand Canyon.  The rock formations extend up above car level, not below like the Canyon.  The colors are more vibrant.  The formations lend themselves to imagination.  They are named by what people thought they looked like: Bell Rock, Snoopy Rock, Coffeepot Rock, etc. The colors change a lot as the sun moves.  The color contrast between the bright blue sky, the green scrub brush and the red rock is breath taking.

Jerome Saloon
While staying in Sedona we saw Chapel of the Holy Cross, and day tripped to Cottonwood, Jerome: an old mining town that was nearly abandoned in the 1950's when the mine closed and the population dropped from 1000 to less than 400 people.  The town still has an old west mining feel and is mostly supported by tourism now. We saw the Tuzigoot National monument which is Native American ruins from roughly 1125- 1400AD.  On the drive down to Phoenix we tried to go to V-bar-V to see petroglyphs but it was closed so we made do with Montezuma Well and Montezuma Castle which continued the trend we saw starting with Tuzigoot of really poorly named things. 

Montezuma Well: a self sustaining well with a constant spring in the bottom, middle. Two Native American groups consider it their source of origin.

Tuzigoot is a derivative of Tuzighoot which means crooked water in an Apache language, named for the creek that runs nearby. Tuzigoot (with a different emphasis) means nothing in any language. There was a reference at most National monuments in this area to the Sin Agua Indians.  That name comes from a Spanish explorers name for the  hills nearby, Sierra Sin Agua, though most historians now recognize that there were never a people who referred to themselves or were referred to by others as the Sinaguas. Montezuma, of course, was never in Arizona but the inital discovery team thought that both the well and castle may have been part of the Aztec empire ruled over by Montezuma.  Hey, it was the 1800's, no google back then. There were again references to the Sinaguas at MC and MW.
Old World Brewery sampler.  The Season was Yard Dog - a sour version of the Dark Knight Porter.
The last night in Arizona we stayed in Phoenix due to our 5am flight the following day. I wasn't sure how we'd pass the time until I found a LivingSocial deal for Old World Brewery. Two tasting flights of five samples each, two pint glasses, a six pack for $17. We met Matt, the head brewer and chatted him and another employee up about their beers.  That earned us three more tastes, two off the tanks in the back. The Dark Knight Porter is their most popular beer and I can understand why.  The guys then recommended Angel's Trumpet to us.  Wow.  I wish that Angel's was in Seattle.  35 taps including local beers and imports.  Three taps turned over in the hour and a half we were there.  We each got a six place sampler for $9 and picked different from each other to have the biggest spread. What a stellar selection.  The food was plentiful and very good.  We even saw Matt from Old World again!

Final thoughts on the trip:
It proved to be a very good, potentially important step in my still budding relationship with 25. We got along through navigation snafus, nights of very short sleep, familial trials and lots of time together. We stayed near our loosely outlined budget, neither left the other on the side of a road, and, speaking only for myself, I enjoyed my time immensely for the historical aspects, the romantic possibilities and the breathtaking scenery.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

I Survived!

We both did actually.  I didn't kill him nor vice versa, though we all know which was the bigger threat.  I made it through my first trip with a someone-I'm-dating. Prior to this, my only trip with a someone was when I came back to Washington to visit family.  That doesn't really count because the stress was about a 1.2 on the Richter scale, not a 7.5.  There wasn't any flying, setting an agenda, navigating, etc. We had all of that plus he met my mom and step dad.

We flew out at before the crack of dawn on Friday.  It was painfully early, and I'm kind of a morning person. The flight to Phoenix was direct and by the time we picked up the rental car it felt like it should have been three in the afternoon when in reality it was 9:30 am. We snagged a quick bite and headed for Flagstaff, where we would stay two nights.  He very wisely suggested a nap and we were both semi-conscious at best by then. El Capitan provided a great pre-nap snack complete with high class beer  . . . a PBR tall boy in a paperbag.

We went to Lowell Observatory that night and saw Jupiter plus four of it's moons.  There is a telescope there that was built about 1906. It was educational and interesting.  The area smelled like the world's best campground, wood smoke and piney.  The staff were all amazingly friendly and knowledgeable. There is a AAA discount and we spend a whopping three plus hours there. I recommend it.

That night we went to Beaver Street Brewery that wasn't far away.  We split a sampler of all eight beers they had on tap, all their own.  A couple were very good, like the Red Rock Raspberry.  A few were disappointing.  My Pesto Cream Cheese bake was stellar though to claim it was unhealthy was an understatement. His chicken soup taste like it had been left out in the woods to get gamey.  ick.
Saturday we went to the Grand Canyon.  I'd never been and was excited to go.  It's a couple hours drive there and we had a stutter start with low tire pressure and snack finding. The weather was good enough but without direct sun the Canyon takes on a strange 2D quality. It looks like all the postcards you've seen.  The closer levels of red rock look 3D and have depth and detail.  The North Rim (we were standing on the South Rim) looks very flat and the edges are fuzzy. The point of focus in the distance isn't really one point but a line.  It's strange but not entirely unappealing.  We spent about six hours walking around, taking in the visitors center and geology museum.  We walked about five miles, walked, sat, snacked, people-watched and really enjoyed the day there.  It was a fantastic day.

I do need to comment on some of the looney toons at national parks.  I understand that National Parks are made for the public, but I don't really like the public.  If I were ever to be ridiculously wealthy I would pay for the privilege to go to some of these sites alone. sort of a "I'll make a huge donation if you close the park for me for half a day" kind of thing. End of March/early April is spring break for some schools and of course lots of folks take their families to the Grand Canyon, but man, why does everyone have children? UGH!! There seemed to be very few well behaved, quiet children.  There were children with whistles, children running around in the walking path of others, etc. We also noted the man who walked out to the edge of the Canyon for photos and the presumed entertainment of his friends.  He was dressed head to toe in Columbia/REI gear which was overkill considering the rims of the Canyon have paths and little trekking. There was a family who had a couple of kids.  They'd gone to the trouble to bring their kids all the way to the Grand Canyon but were "smart" enough to keep one kid in the stroller staring at an ipad so that he didn't get any exercise or enjoy/see/learn from the experience.
 It was nice to see that the US government hasn't caved and put rails and glass on every edge of the Grand Canyon to prevent people from accidentally or intentionally maiming themselves. That said, it did mean that I contemplated throwing a particularly irritating child in to the canyon. I wouldn't but it was a nice thought.
Sunday was Easter.  We found a little place called Bellevia for breakfast.  It was very busy with a high turnover so we didn't wait long.  The Eggs Benedict selection was interesting and different; I had the king crab and jack cheese.  If you need a singular reason to go it's the cafe aloha!! Think mocha but with coconut cream instead of chocolate syrup.  Afterward was a leisurely stroll around town in the sun and some shopping. Sunset crater was our destination for the day.  There were two associated sites there and apparently we missed the third/last/best site.  Other than that, the day was kind of a miss for seeing something interesting and amazing.  The company and weather were good but I got a bit surly and we gave up on the sites.  That evening we headed back in to town to meet up with my mom, stepdad, sister and a couple that are family friends. Dinner at Salsa Brava to wrap up the day before we crashed.

I'll wrap up the trip in Sedona in the next blog post.