Finally Resting

In the first few months of this year, I feel like I am finally okay with making time to rest and enjoy life. I always get good sleep–that’s not what I’m talking about. Since I’m not leaving Phoenix all the time, I feel like I am finally getting into the rhythm of savoring life. I’m not all jumpy because I have a plane to catch. I can slow down and actually enjoy all the fruits of my labor.

When I lay on my couch and watch “The Office”, I don’t feel lazy or feel like I’m falling behind in the race to get things done. I don’t have to accomplish things in all hours of the day. It’s okay to rest and enjoy life.

My New Refrigerator is Rad

I am working from home today because I my new refrigerator was scheduled to be delivered this afternoon. It was bizarre because at 8:30 AM they were delivering the fridge to me, but it was the wrong one. By 9:00 AM, they had the correct fridge, but nobody to ship it. By 9:45 I they agreed to deliver it today, but I had to settle a commission dispute with their sales staff. Apparently someone claimed they sold it to me the day before. Then it was a string of phone calls from a confused delivery truck driver. After all of that work, it’s finally here!

I know that buying kitchen appliances is something only adults do, and I’m okay with letting go of a what’s left of my youth by openly discussing my appliances. This fridge is that cool. First, it’s stainless steel. I know it’s the trendy thing to have a stainless fridge, but I’ve liked anything that shiny and metal for as long as I could remember. So it’s going to be kind of fun to bring a modern touch to my house with something as practical and useful as a refrigerator.

Function. The top is the fridge part and the bottom is the freezer. The fridge opens like French doors. The bottom freezer is a drawer. This is the first fridge I’ve ever had where it feels like the doors wants to swing shut and seal up. It makes a cool sound when it closes too. I just plugged it in an hour ago, and it’s amazing how quiet it is. This is going to be fun!;

KitchenAide Architect Series

Hiking Camelback Mtn with Candyce

This is another one of those journals that I won’t be able to post for another month; because I don’t want to spoil any surprises. But I have to write about it now because I’m dealing with it now.

This afternoon Candyce and I hiked Camelback mountain. I’ve wanted to hike with Candyce this spring anyway, but the big reason was to give Candyce a headfake so she would think I was going to propose to her. Her dad proposed to her mom on the mountain back in the day, and it’s a probable place that I would propose to their daughter.

Candyce on Camelback Mountain

Candyce sits amongst granite boulders. You can see downtown Phoenix in the distance.

I’ve had ring for her for over three weeks now, and I am planning on proposing to her when we go out to San Diego together at the end of this month. Today’s trip of the mountain kind of diffuses expectation and creates more suspense so that when I do propose to her, it will be more fun.

We watched the sunset and enjoyed watching the colors of the trees and mountains change as the sun neared the horizon. The citrus trees were blooming in Arcadia at the foot of the mountain, and when the wind blew, the air was filled with the intoxicating aroma of orange blossoms. I swear that is the best smell in the world.

What a sunset! The mountains in the distance still had snow sprinkled on the top.

Once we got down from the mountain, we had dinner at Postino, a hip wine bar in a converted post office in Arcadia. It’s about as cool as you can get, and that means Thursday night it’s packed. The food is good, so it’s always worth the wait. By the time we were finished with our meal, it was cold out, so we decided to grab some coffee across the parking lot at LGO. Before we could make it through the door, we ran into Hipster Billy and his friend who was in town from Indiana.

Billy informed me that he finally wrote a movie review for lifeteen.com. He’s a film student, articulate, and a good Catholic, so he’s the perfect candidate to write for the site. I’ve harassed him for two years, and out of no where Adam the intern asked him once and he said yes. Go figure.

We finished tonight at Kevin Day’s birthday party. It seemed like all of our friends were there, so it was just a good time. It’s one of those parties that you leave feeling really thankful for so many good friends.

Now I’m here at the house burning off the last bit of caffeine from the cup of coffee I drank two hours ago. I’ve been conditioned to have anxiety on Thursday nights because I’ve traveled on almost every Friday for the past five years. It didn’t matter how much fun I would have on Thursday night, I knew that I had to go home and pack my suitcase, print my flight itinerary, and go to sleep early so I could make it through the weekend. But now life is different. Thursday night practically the first night of the weekend. Life is just so much easier when you have weekends.

Tomorrow I get my MTV Cribs refrigerator.

Mini Cactus

A miniature cactus blooms for the spring.

Snowing in Phoenix

It’s been raining in the valley and snowing in the mountains surrounding Phoenix. For the first time in the five years that I’ve lived in Phoenix, there is snow all in the mountains that surround the town. It looks less like Phoenix and more like Aspen.

I’ve learned that during the nicest weather of the year, it’s important to get out and do fun things. So when the miserable heat arrives in the summer, it’s easier to remember why you live in Phoenix. So this morning I spotted in the paper that their was a tour of homes in the historic Coronado neighborhood in downtown Phoenix, I knew Candyce and I had an adventure waiting for us.

The first home on the tour was owned by what seemed to be a very strange and dirty man. By comparison, each of the eight homes left on the tour was tasteful and well-done. Phoenix doesn’t have much history, so it was fun to see homes that were built before 1950.; But what was most fun was meeting enthusiastic homeowners who live a little on the wild side. The snub the safe suburbs of new homes for the wild streets close to downtown.

We had a late lunch at Zoe Cafe, a healthy sandwich shop in the antiques district off of Seventh Avenue. About half way through the sandwiches, I convinced Candyce that we should go to Mass at a church in the mountains in north Phoenix. Ten minutes later, she was asleep in the car while I drove due north towards the white mountains.

I decided to go for the Carefree / Cave Creek area. I imagined Candyce and I would be the only ones on the adventure north, but I was wrong. The closer we got to the snow, the thicker the traffic. What was more bizarre is that all of the cars coming towards us from the mountain had miniature snowmen on the hoods of their cars. I thought it was a joke amongst friends in a caravan of maybe four cars. But as the miles passed, there were hundreds of cars that had snowmen on their hoods. I’d never seen anything like it.

Phoenix Snow

I pulled off the side of the road. Actually, I had to parallel park because there were hundreds of people pulled off as well. I had to parallel park in the middle of the desert! Hundreds of kids were running through through stands of Saguaro cacti hurling snowballs at each other. I’d never seen something quite that bizarre.

Next we went to Mass at Our Lady of Joy in Carefree. It was so cold outside, another thing we don’t get here in Phoenix very often. People stumbled into the church all bundled up with heavy coats and scarves. Mass itself was gentle and calming. St. Tim’s is usually packed and pretty loud, so the contrast was cool.

The must stunning scene of the evening was when we walked out the door and saw the snow-covered mountains in the distance framed by the Spanish archway at the entrance of the church. The sun was setting, so the snow had a sherbet glow. I was standing in the middle of a postcard. There’s few moments in life where you can occupy the same space as that much natural beauty.

For dinner, we went to a charming Mexican restaurant called El Encanto. The courtyard patio wrapped around a small pond with swans and ducks. With a couple fireplaces, a Mexican guitarist and a dancer, it was like we were in Mexico. We went from Aspen to Mexico in ten minutes. We ate chili rellenos and savored the warmth.

The snow had melted off of my Honda Element by the time we made it back to Candyce’s house. I was hoping to have just a little to show off to my friends, but that’s okay. Today has been a wonderful day, a day I never expected to experience in the deserts of Arizona.

Snowing in Gold Canyon, near Phoenix

143 Days of Drought Broken

I’ve been sleeping outside on the patio because it’s Lent and it’s my little sacrifice, but I also enjoy it. The weather is nice, and in Phoenix, you really have to savor spring because the summer is long.; I woke up around three in the morning to earthshaking thunder. It’s one thing to wake up to an buzzing alarm clock, but it’s quite different to wake up to a thunder clap. But I wasn’t scared–I was so happy I could barely fall back asleep. The 143-day drought is over!

It’s about ten in the morning, and it is still raining. I am sitting at Candyce’s coffee shop and everyone is scurrying in with their umbrellas. People in Arizona don’t get to use their umbrellas except maybe five times a year, so popping off the rain outside the door is a treat for us.

Everyone here is so excited. I mean, people are smiling because it has rained as much as it has, and every time we look out the window, we see more rain coming down. The parking lots are filled with puddles. Finally the dust won’t clog the sky. Rejoice citizens of Phoenix!

I usually get here to the coffee shop earlier, but it was easy to sleep in when it was cloudy. I think it’s Feng Shui that says you should sleep with your bed positioned so your wake up with your face to the east. I’m sure this means something spiritually, but practically, it’s hard to sleep in with the sun shining in your face. I mean, it’s painful to sleep in an extra fifteen minutes with the world’s biggest flash light in your face.

But this morning there was no sun because there was only clouds–nature’s snooze button. I slept until nine, and then I laid there for another half hour just listening to the rain. I could almost hear my lawn laughing with relief.

In the more northern parts of the valley it actually snowed. So all of those tall desert saguaros are dusted with white. I imagine the nature photographers are scrambling to get up there and snap some photos before it all melts. A snow-covered cactus is guaranteed to make at least one month in a nature calendar.

I am just so excited today. I guess this is how the people of Boston felt when the Red Sox finally won.

:::

On another note, I just saw in the paper that Toyota is really going to manufacture the retro-styled FJ–a vintage Jeep-looking truck. I first saw the FJ a few years ago in magazines, but most cars that cool never make it to the showrooms. I’m happy to see more stylish cars being made. Right now we have the Chrysler 300, the Dodge Magnum, the Ford Mustang, the Scion xB, the Nissan 350, the Honda Element, the Hummer H3, and the Mini Cooper. These cars make driving the streets more interesting. Who wants to be stuck in traffic behind a Toyota Camry?

Toyota FJ Cruiser