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Act Like a Kid

June 22, 2011 - 12:58am

Sometimes it's really great to act like a kid. Sometimes you should just hop on your bicycle with 50 of you closest friends. Then you should ride around town hopping into fountains and swimming pools. You'd be surprised how much better you feel after acting like a kid for a few hours.

TBAG Summer Solstice Swimsuit Ride

*Huge thanks to T.B.A.G. for putting on the Summer Solstice Swimsuit Ride!

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Phoenix Bicycles and Art

June 16, 2011 - 5:59pm

Excerpts from the Tempe Bicycle Action Group June Newsletter:

Call to Illustrators: The City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department invites illustrators to apply for the Bicycle Safety Graphic Art Project, to work with the Bicycle Coordinator, the Phoenix Street Transportation Department, and the project team to design bicycle safety graphic art material for city of Phoenix. Submissions are due Friday, June 24. For more info contact: joseph.perez@phoenix.gov

Bicycle Public Art: TBAG is seeking to commission an artist (or artists team) to work with to create a permanent public art piece in Tempe, in the Mitchell Park Neighborhoods area. The project commission is for $15K and is inclusive of all design and fabrication costs associated with the project. TBAG, the neighborhoods, and the City of Tempe will work with the artist to see the project through to construction. The intention of the project is to create a local landmark that supports bicycle culture in Tempe. Artists of all skill levels are encouraged to apply.Check out http://www.biketempe.org/public-art-project/ for more information.

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A Year Ago

June 16, 2011 - 4:00pm

This time last year, I was working in Chicago. This is a picture of the John Hancock Center (often referred to the Hancock Building), with some of its 95 stories in the fog.
Lost in the Clouds

This year I'm working in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee. Interestingly there was a lot of fog here this morning (though no interesting buildings to take pictures of).

Chevy Volt

June 10, 2011 - 10:31pm

On April 15, 2011, I had the opportunity to test drive a Chevy Volt. Chris and I went to General Motor's Main Street in Motion Test Drive Event at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix. The Volt is "Chevrolet's new electric vehicle that can use gas." It's not all-electric, like the Nissan Leaf,* but it's not exactly a Hybrid, like the Toyota Prius, either. The Volt always uses electricity to drive the car. If the car runs out of electricity in the batteries, the gas engine turns on to charge the batteries so you can keep driving the car.

Chris & Erica at Chevy Drive Event

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

    Things I liked about the Chevy Volt
  • Another electric car on the market is awesome! Consumers finally have some choice when it comes to more eco-friendly cars
  • A great electric option for people who can only have one car
  • No range anxiety
  • Made in America
  • The Volt drives like any other car
  • The electronics / display are very slick
  • Fun graphic door panels as an upgrade option
  • Great sized four door
  • Ample trunk space
  • Plugs into any electrical outlet so an electric charger isn't necessary

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

    Things I didn't like about the Chevy Volt
  • The back only seats two since the batteries go through the middle of the car
  • The electric range isn't very long (about 40 miles)
  • Still uses gas
  • Price is a bit high, in my opinion

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

Overall, I really liked the Chevy Volt. It's an great option for people that can only own one car. (Chris and I own more than one car so if we drive out of town, we can take a gas-powered car.) For those with the Chevy Volt, they get the benefit of driving electric in the city on their usual commute, but if they leave town for the weekend, they take advantage of the gas generator.

I'm so glad that there's another electric car on the market, because it's good to have options. The car industry is changing and I'm so excited to be here at the beginning of this shift.

Chevy Volt

Recently, I'm seeing that shift. At the Modern Phoenix home tour in May, we saw a Chevy Volt but unfortunately didn't meet the driver. Then last week I was excited to see a tweet that indicated Ben purchased the first Volt in Arizona. I think it is absolutely great we've got electric cars in this country and I can't wait for more! Great job, Chevy for helping pave the way with this innovative new car.

Modern Phoenix Home Tour 2011

Volt Tweet

*Disclaimer: My husband and I leased a Nissan Leaf in March 2011 after being on a waiting list for about a year.

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Cuteness

June 2, 2011 - 1:36pm

My niece is soooo cute! I'm looking forward to seeing her in a few weeks when my sister & her family drive through Phoenix. They're relocating from the Seattle area to Oklahoma City. I wish I could join them when they stop at Disneyland just to see her experience it. Alas, there's just not enough vacation time. I'll just have to settle for pictures.

hipster?

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Solar Panels

May 31, 2011 - 9:55pm

We've got solar panels on our house. They got turned on last week and are generating electricity! I'm excited. It feels so futuristic.

Solar Panels

But in reality, it really wasn't a huge deal. We signed up for a solar lease through SunRun, which makes it very affordable to have solar. We made a reasonable down payment for the install then we'll just make monthly payments to SunRun over the next 20 years (the length of our lease). The system was designed and installed by American Solar Electric. It should make our electricity costs slightly lower (or keep them the same) over the course of a year.

See, how it works, is that during low energy usage months, like the winter, our panels will make more electricity than we use. So we're "selling" electricity to the electric company. Then in the months of high energy usage, like the summer, we "buy" that electricity back from the electric company.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels

Yeah for renewable energy!

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Chris Graduated!

May 25, 2011 - 5:35pm

Chris graduated last week from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Design in Housing and Community Development.

Chris' Graduation

It is a huge accomplishment for which I'm very proud of him. When Chris moved to Phoenix about four years ago, he decided to go back to school. He started out part time at community college then went full time shortly after we got married. He finished his associates degree at Paradise Valley Community College which earned him acceptance to Arizona State University. He's been attending ASU full time for the past two years. Last Thursday all of his hard work for the past three years was recognized when he walked across a stage and received his diploma.

Chris' Graduation

I was lucky to witness the special moment with both of our parents. We were excited and so proud. We cheered. Both his mom and I cried. Chris looked handsome in that cap and gown. I'm SO proud of him.

Chris' Graduation

Chris' Graduation

Graduation was surprisingly emotional for me. I'm always emotional at big events but this felt like we crested a hill and the view before us was magnificent. It didn't feel like the journey is over but that we had reached an exciting point in it. The possibilities ahead of us are exciting.

Chris' father congratulated me for "getting Chris to finish school" when they had tried for many years. I don't believe I deserve that much credit. It was just the right time for Chris to do this. He made a major life change when he left a great career in Dallas in order to live with me in Phoenix. He took a risk with a small company and the housing market in Phoenix. We all know that the housing market crashed and took Chris' job with it.

Chris and I were lucky that we were committed to each other, because it wasn't an easy situation. Instead of letting it create a divide, we made the best of it. The fact that I remained employed meant we could be creative in our response to the situation. It meant that Chris could choose what he should do next.

I remembered a lot of conversations about possibilities. The two options that we talked about most were Chris going back to school or starting a woodworking business. I would have been happy with either choice because Chris would have been completely successful with either. I felt like the choice was completely up to Chris since it meant how he was going to spend all of his time. As you can see, he chose school and he was successful!

    A few memories from Chris' college experience:
  • He loved anthropology and would come home with fascinating information. It made me want to take an anthropology class.
  • He was president of the club for his major and his classmates called him "Mr. President." (I suspect it also had something to do with his age.)
  • He led most of group projects. Chris is a natural leader.
  • He was studying construction project management at the kitchen table one day and exclaimed that had he known half of that information, he could have been even more successful with his job in Dallas.
  • I went out for drinks a few times with Chris, his classmates, and their instructor. I was struck by how much the instructor respected Chris. He was clearly an exceptional student.

What's Next
Everyone is asking if Chris has a job yet. Unfortunately, no. However, he's been interning with a real estate developer in Scottsdale during his last semester in school. They're working on a small project, a 7 unit condo near Scottsdale Fashion Square. If they can get funding for the project, there's a good chance Chris will be asked to stay on at the company. It all depends on whether or not a loan can be secured for this project. Based on news about the credit market in recent months, I'm not sure what to think. Thankfully, I'm employed and there's no urgency for Chris. Things will work out when they work out.

Right now we're still celebrating this wonderful accomplishment. I've said it a billion times, but I'm so proud of Chris and I'm so glad he's my husband.

View all the pictures from Chris' graduation.

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3rd Anniversary

May 24, 2011 - 12:52am

Chris and I got married three years ago. It was the best decision of my life and I'm so lucky to have Chris.

I didn't really need the reminder, Facebook.

Anniversary Reminder

(Yes, the dates are right: We went to the Justice of the Peace on May 23 and had a wedding ceremony on May 30th.)

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Philly

May 20, 2011 - 2:44pm

IMG-20110520-00028.jpg

Worked in Nashville this week and while it was busy and stressful, it went well. I'm learning a lot and being stretched. I'm thankful for a job that helps me grow. Unfortunately, this isn't a picture of Nashville, but Philadelphia. I didn't plan on spending the night in Philly but the airline decided it was in the cards for me. At least I get to see some beautiful architecture! (I think this is City Hall.) I'm working in the hotel for a few hours then will catch a flight home this afternoon. Looking forward to the weekend!

(Note to self: Don't schedule flights connecting through cities on the East Coast or Chicago. Two weeks ago, I connected through Chicago and was delayed due to weather. I had to stay the night, which was rather awful because it was SO late and I hadn't eaten. The biggest thing I learned is to eat as soon as I know about a delay so I can better handle the logistics of an overnight delay. Waiting until 11pm only means I'll be grouchy and everything will be closed!)

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