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Hiking Pictures

July 18, 2011 - 3:24am

Chris, Ryan, Brandon

Kristen & Erica

Dogs in a giant puddle

Cactus in the Forest

Stewie found a stick

View all the pictures from our day of hiking in Pine, Arizona.

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No Short Term Debt Extension

July 14, 2011 - 1:42pm

“This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington. Everyone is more interested in posturing, political position and protecting their base than in solving problems.”
- President Obama, as quoted by ABC

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July 12, 2011 - 10:34pm

me: FYI - I changed my password on my gmail account. I'm not trying to keep you out of it. I've just realized I need to change passwords more often (and more securely).

him: I think about that too. I changed mine a month ago or so.
I also (finally) changed my 4-letter yahoo password
It was actually a little tough to give up.
"Back when I got started, 4 letters was secure enough!"

me: Ha! Old Man

him: :P

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Delayed Weekend Start

July 12, 2011 - 1:49pm

When I work out of town all week, my weekends at home with Chris are precious. Due to the July 4th holiday, I worked in Nashville Tuesday through Friday last week. I was looking forward to getting home Friday night at a decent hour (8pm) and going to a friend's housewarming party. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans for me.

I flew from Nashville to Denver and upon arrival, I learned my flight to Phoenix was delayed. Apparently our aircraft didn't leave on time to arrive in Denver as planned. I'm lucky enough to have a membership to an airline club, thanks to my employer, so I settled in to the lounge. About 30 minutes before my flight was supposed to board, an intense thunderstorm rolled into the airport. I sat watching an amazing lightning show and hoping for a fast-moving storm.

Rainbow at DIA

Apparently it wasn't fast-moving enough so around 9pm the airline canceled my flight home. Boo! It meant missing the housewarming party and spending yet another night away from Chris. In order to make the best of it, I called Summer, my best friend from high school, who happens to live outside of Denver. She and her husband, Brett, welcomed me despite the late hour. I grabbed a rental car (hilariously a Ford F150, which is a giant, giant truck) and headed to their house. We stayed up late talking and catching up. It was so wonderful to see good friends even for a few hours.

Early the next morning, I was finally on the short flight from Denver to Phoenix. I was absolutely thrilled when we landed almost a half hour early! But it was premature; gates at the airport were tied up so we sat on the tarmac for almost an hour. I didn't get off the plane until 20 minutes later than scheduled. Delays, delays - how much you suck because you eat into personal time!*

Chris, my knight in shining armor, was at the airport to whisk me away and patiently deal with my grumpiness. (Have I mentioned that Chris always drops me off and picks me up from the airport? He is a complete saint for doing it and making navigating the airport considerably easier on me.) We had a lovely breakfast at Maizie's then back home where I promptly fell asleep for a couple hours.

It felt so good to be home. Saturday night we went to The Film Bar in downtown where we saw, The Robber, an independent film about a marathon runner who robs banks. I loved The Film Bar but didn't care for the movie. Sunday we went up to Pine, Arizona for cooler weather and hiking. Pine is about 2 hours northeast of Phoenix. We took the dogs and met up with Ryan, Kristen, and Brandon. The hiking trail I had planned on taking was closed due to fire risk but we managed to find a good spot to wander around the woods. It seemed that much of Tonto National Forrest was closed, which was very unfortunate, so we ended the afternoon at The Rimside Cafe for lunch. Despite things not going as planned, it was a great day of being in nature and getting out of the Phoenix heat.

Map view of Pine, AZ

Erica & Stewie

When we got home, Chris and I surfed the internet together. We looked up cabins and land north of Phoenix and fantasizing about someday having a little place outside town. It was a great way to wrap up a really wonderful weekend together.

*In the year and a half that I've been traveling regularly for work, I've been delayed getting to the client's office only a couple of times. However, I've been significantly delayed in getting home at least a dozen times. I really resent that it's always my personal time that gets taken away.

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Phoenix Heat

July 9, 2011 - 12:59pm

Yes, it's hot in Phoenix. It's summertime. It's hot in most places. I know that you think I'm crazy for living somewhere that has a high of 117 degrees. I know you and the rest of the country is obsessed with how hot it is in Phoenix in the summer. But can we talk about something else?*

On the third of July, we went to Lake Pleasant with Steve & Ang. There was to be a fireworks show so it seemed like a great excuse to take the boat out. That day was really hot. Of course before you go to the lake, you have to run a bunch of errands - gas, snacks, drinks, etc. There was a lot of complaining about temperature that day. Then we got to the lake and it was complete bliss.

The fireworks over the lake were pretty fabulous too. A summer storm had rolled in about the same time as the fireworks. It was the first time I had seen fireworks and lightening at the same time. Cool.

Just as the fireworks show was wrapping up, the rain started. We were quite a sight to see - six people wrapped up in towels huddled under the tiny canopy of the ski boat. Within a few minutes, we were freezing! It was hard to believe that earlier that day we complained non-stop about the heat. It's probably the only time this summer that I will feel cold. A great memory.

By Tuesday, I was working in Nashville again so I missed the big dust storm (haboob) in Phoenix. Check out an amazing panorama by my friend, Christopher Marks, from the 17th floor of a building in downtown Phoenix.

*I kinda like that Phoenix gets so much weather attention in the summer because it makes people think of one thing - HOT. What they don't know is that the rest of the year is absolutely glorious. So when you think of summer in Chicago, that's what Phoenix is like fall, winter, and spring. But don't tell anyone because Phoenix is already crowded - the 6th largest city in the US.

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July 1, 2011 - 6:06pm


My friends are funny. These were a series of pictures posted to Facebook. Made me laugh.

Edited to add:
More patrolling

Patrolling 2

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The Big Unit

June 28, 2011 - 1:57am

It only took us a year, but we finally made it to Cooperstown to try The Big Unit. I first heard about it from Man Vs. Food Phoenix edition. It's a one-pound hot dog topped with all the fixings. It's named after after former Diamondbacks pitcher, Randy Johnson.

The Big Unit at Cooperstown

This hot dog is huge! Whenever one comes out of the kitchen, the waiter rings a bell and everyone in the restaurant yells, "The Big Unit." We had another patron stop by our table to take a picture of it. Unfortunately, we were able to eat the whole thing. Chris joked that he felt like less of a man by leaving some on the plate. Next time we'll definitely need a third person to help finish it.

The Big Unit at Cooperstown


June 26, 2011 - 2:51pm


This is Stewart, my friend, Ryan's cat. He's awesome. I wish I wasn't allergic to him.


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June 22, 2011 - 5:54pm

Awhile back I shared some pictures of the current backyard construction. I also shared a model of what the bench was going to look like. Then we got really busy with Chris' graduation and work and life so I never posted pictures of what we completed.


We added a wall with a cantilevered bench that goes around the fire pit and a new dining table. Keep in mind the fire pit is still a work in progress...right now the fire ring sits on top of a stack of concrete block. It won't always look so raw, but for now we're taking some time off. It's getting warm in Phoenix, which cuts into construction time and we really need to save up money for the next round. But right now I'm feeling really awesome about the state of the backyard.

I especially love the dining table. It's getting a ton of use. I think the next project just might be a light to hang over it so dinners aren't so dark.


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