Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sedona Vine

On our way back to Phoenix from Sedona, we made plans to stop at a couple of wineries. The vines of the high desert might not compare to those of Napa Valley just yet, but we really enjoyed  them. 

The first one we stopped at was Oak Creek Vineyards. It was a really cute little spot and it was kind of fun that we were the only people there.

Maybe my favorite part was that they had a toy table set up for kids to use. So while the rest of us were at the bar doing some tasting, Kai and June were happy to play over at their table.  

The next place, Javelina Leap, was also cute. It was definitely a more ... mature place. It was really lovely inside, dark walls and a dark bar and local crafts and art covering the walls. But it was also not super family-friendly. There was a sign out front reminding us that all children had to be carefully watched. Since June didn't have a table to play with, Michael decided to sit the tasting out and keep an eye on her the whole time.

We took a tour of the place and ended up having lunch there also. It was a great way to end our short trip up to Sedona.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You Can Plan a Pretty Picnic

For the joint celebration of my mom and dad's birthdays this year, we (JP, Michael and I) decided to do something a little special. We made some plans, wrote up an itinerary and told M&D the news - we'd spend a weekend in Sedona and they were going to a beautiful helicopter ride for a lovely sunny view of the red rocks!!

Well, ...

Yeeeaahhhh... about that.

It was the one day in the Arizona year where you get all day rain. Rain, as rare as it is, does happen in AZ, but it's usually a quick storm and then it's gone. The ONE DAY we make plans to go up to Sedona and it pours all. day. long.

The helicopter tour was cancelled and we tried to make the most out of the day. We briefly walked around the deserted shops and moved from one restaurant to the next while trying to escape the rain.

At some point we checked into the hotel and relaxed a bit on the covered patio outside our rooms. June was supposed to be napping but apparently the excitement of the new surrounding was too much for such boring things as "naps."

We walked around a little shopping center called Tlaquepaque, which under normal circumstances is this beautiful, romantic setting with adorable boutiques and shops.

It was still beautiful in the rain. Unfortunately, I didn't get much of a chance to appreciate it because I was too busy holding a squirming toddler, trying to keep her under the umbrella, trying to keep her out of the puddles, trying to keep her from touching all of the art and just generally feeling anxiety about everything.

We had dinner at a local place that got glowing reviews from several sources. It's called Elote and if you ever go, go early (like we did) so you can get seated in the first seating. Otherwise you're in for a wait! (And get the Elote appetizer, which is some mixture of corn and cream sauce and tiny fragments of Heaven itself.)

After June and Kai went to bed, the adults stayed up in one of the rooms, having drinks and listening to Pandora and laughing. At one point I googled "Indoor activities to do with kids in Sedona in rainy weather" and the results were basically "None."

The next morning, the weather had eased up a bit. It was still gloomy, but it sort of left us with interesting views of those famous Rocks.

Then we walked around town a little.


Then we headed down to some wineries, but I'll save that post for another day.

Happy Birthday to my Mom and Dad! Thanks for a great weekend in spite of the weather. We make plans and God laughs!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Five Things I've Learned this Week

1. Meta

I kept seeing references to something being "meta" and it meant nothing to me. I finally asked a friend and found out that something is meta when it is sort of referring to itself. For example, an X about X. A conference on conferences. A discussion about discussion. Zombie movie about zombie movies.

2. Final Girl

The phenomenon/trend that, in horror movies, the last survivor of the film and the one to survive to tell the tale is a young woman. I somehow ended up on a wiki article and now really want to read the referenced books about gender in the horror genre. Specifically, about how the final girl is usually a chaste, virtuous girl and the slutty girls get axed around the time they engage in sexual activity. And how important it is for the Final Girl to feel abject terror, and that a general feeling is that masculine characters can't represent this as well as females.  And how the villains are males whose masculinity (and sexuality) are in crisis. I'm suddenly feeling the need to watch Halloween

3. Prince Charles is Great Britain's oldest Prince of Wales

...since that became the title given to the heir apparent.

4. How to reverse image search in Google. 

In reading something about catfishing the other day, I saw yet another reference to reverse image searching. I finally decided to try to figure out what this was so I could feel like a super sleuth. I went to Google Images and searched for a random picture I had saved to my desktop. 

Sure enough, it searched the interwebz and came back and told me that the only place it was featured on the web was my blog. (I'm now blogging about blogging ... how meta!) Really, really incredible. People are able to use this to track to make sure their art isn't being claimed by other people and make sure the pictures they're sent by their online girlfriends really are their online girlfriends.

5. June's favorite Disney Princess is Snow White, but she likes Tiana too because she thinks she looks like Mommy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A New Chapter

Moving past that, the corniest post title ever, I have some news. I got a new job!

For the obvious reasons, I didn't blog about my interview process or how nervous I was to give my notice to my current job. But there has been a lot going on lately, which might explain why I've felt pretty absent on this blog.

Tomorrow is my last day at my current/old job. These past two weeks have felt so odd, with training other people and closing out projects and telling people that I'm leaving. Which I've determined is the most awkward thing ever.

I'm really excited and nervous for this new position. Excited that it'll be a great step moving forward for me, excited to try something new. I hope that I like the people and the office culture. I also hope that I am able to balance my need to come across as professional with my spazzy inner child. When I started at my current position, I was very quiet and professional for 6 months and then accidentally broke out in dance one day, outing myself as a crazy. Someone told me today that my personality really "blossomed" after I had June, and I was like, bless your heart, I've been hip-thrusting long before my I started procreating.

So wish me luck, if you would, and some control over my own hips.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wake Up Call

Have you heard?

The new "in" thing is to be socializing at 5:15 AM. June found out about this recent trend and, as always, is on-point with its application.

June's schedule got a little messed up when we went to the Midwest after Christmas for a week. We tried to keep her on Arizona time which worked out nicely...she'd stay up a little later and be able to socialize or go out to dinner and be in bed at 8:30 or 9. Then she'd sleep in a little and let us all catch some extra Z's also.

The schedule got a bit askew and when we got back to Arizona, she was waking up a little earlier than her usual. Keep in mind that her "usual" is a still-dark 6:30 or so. We figured that she'd get back to her norm after a couple of days, a week tops. Then she got sick, so we thought that her coughing could be the thing that was waking her up in the five o'clock hour.

And we don't have much to blame. She just...gets up early.

We've tried going into her room and putting her back to bed. We've tried telling her that it's too early, that everyone is still sleeping, that all children with a shred of compassion for their parents would go back to bed for two more hours at least.

We end up trying to get her to go back to sleep in our bed between us in the darkness of our room. We end up with elbows in our faces, fingers up our noses and/or a thirty-pound girlchild sitting on my head suddenly just as I was about to drift off again.

Or she'll just make it clear that she doesn't want to be there at all. "Out der?"(out there, usually pointing toward the living room.) "A book?" "Yo-gurt?" "Milk?"

I shouldn't complain. I'm sure there are people out there with toddlers who still have a hard time sleeping through the night. I guess I should be grateful for having a girl who goes to sleep easily at seven and sleeps through 'til five.

I suppose we could try keeping her up a little later. Other than that, I'm not sure what else to do. Any suggestions? Any tips for keeping children in their beds until sunrise? Anyone else who is sick of having their nasal passages assaulted by tiny fingers at five-dark-thirty? Or is that just me?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Walking Routine

Every day after I pick June up from school, we take a walk through the neighborhood. I pick her up out of her car seat and say "Do you want to go for a walk?" and she reminds me, "Key first," because we have to get the mailbox key.

She feels around in the drawer of the entryway table, grabs the keys and toddles out the front door. She'll usually insist on bringing the stroller (her "car") even if she wants to walk behind it and push it the whole way. 

We get the mail, we visit with a pack of kids that live down the street, we point out things we see.

She has a set route she always tries to get me to take. "Dat way!" she'll exclaim, pointing down a street. "Not dat way," she'll pout, pointing down another. She wants to walk to the little shops, and sometimes I take her to Trader Joe's to pick up a few items. During this last trip, a single banana mysteriously found its way into my basket without my knowledge.

She never wants to come home. I usually have to entice her with reminders that Daddy might be home by now, and that it's so warm inside, and that we'll have dinner when we get home! Food! That child would do anything for food but come home. So sometimes I have to chase her down as she hurries off in the other direction and haul her over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes. ("Sack uh tatos").

To stall, she'll find something, anything in the garage to play with. Look! A push broom! It is fascinating and playing with it is so much better than going inside!

Maybe I'll start leaving little projects out in the garage. "Wow June, some laundry that needs folding! Guess you can help me match the socks!'

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Manti Te'o Theory

For some reason I'm really fascinated by this Manti Te'o story. I'm sure you've heard of it. Actually, I hadn't heard about it until I read this LINK posted on Twitter. And then I saw a reference to the movie Catfish, which led to the MTV show Catfish, and the general term "to catfish" someone. So I'm all wrapped up in the oddness of relationships built on the internet and this is the God's honest truth: I write this from my couch as I watch "You've Got Mail" on TV.

(Holy link overload!)(And let's not even go into how Michael and I met.)

(I'm not going to go into the Manti Te'o story, but I will say that "to catfish" someone is to dupe someone online into thinking you're in a relationship when it's really a hoax. The film Catfish was about a young man who decided to go surprise the person he'd been cultivating a relationship with online and it turned out it was an older married woman just trying to shake things up in her life.)

I guess there are two major possibilities with Manti Te'o.

1. He's the victim of a terrible hoax. Some girl or guy out there created a made-up person and contacted Te'o over the course of 3 years so much that he thought he was in love. He was truly devastated when she 'died' and is the innocent victim of the cruelty of another person/persons.

2. He was in on it. He and a friend (there has been some investigation that showed that the person behind the girlfriend's fake twitter account was a guy he knew and hung out with) created this story to generate some interest and media attention. It did certainly add some spice to Heisman conversations. When the level of attention and media-interest got a little too much, they decided to kill off this 'love interest' to try to quiet it down before being discovered.

If it was the first, I feel truly sorry for him. But if he was really the victim, why would he lie the whole time and say that he had met this woman in person several times? Why would his family say that? Because he (they?) were so embarrassed that he was in love with someone he'd only ever met online? I read somewhere that he's claiming that, well, he tried to meet her in person, but she always flaked. For three years?? He was that gullible?

If it was the second one, it's pretty despicable. I mean, I know he's just a young man who is allowed to make mistakes, but that is pretty low.

But can I tell you what I think the real situation is? And this isn't a totally original idea, as I did first hear it suggested in the comments section of an article. And it's totally unfounded in research, just something I feel.

3. The whole thing was a cover for his being gay. Being absorbed in the machismo culture of college football at Notre Dame, he wouldn't/couldn't come out as being homosexual. He and this friend - the one who is tied to the fake girlfriend's twitter account, the one who Te'o was proved to have hung out with in the past three years - were involved romantically. By being "in a relationship," he was saved from the pressure to date girls around school. One of the biggest signs to me is that right around the time that his 'girlfriend' got in a car accident and was hospitalized, so was this male friend of his who ran the twitter account. He was truthfully reporting to friends or the media that the person he was in a relationship with was in an accident. The idea that they killed off the girlfriend when attention grew too much applies here too.

Not that it means anything one way or the other. If this theory were true, I'd only feel sad that he felt he had to lie about himself to his team and the world. It certainly would be saying something about football culture. It'd be a terrible way to come out, too, with the eye of the national media focused so much on you.

Anyway, that's my theory, which means the truth will come out tomorrow and I will have been proven way off. Now off to finish "You've Got Mail." Tom Hanks just asked Meg Ryan if they should meet, so he's already being 100% less sketchy than the whole Te'o ordeal.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Color Me in Love

Michael and I had SUCH an amazing date night last night. 

Nestled back on 3rd Avenue in Old Town Scottsdale is a little storefront called the Brush Bar. It's a spot where you can order wine (and beer) (or not) and create a painting surrounded by other people doing the same. It was such a fun experience!

When you're making your reservation, you look through their calendar for a date and picture that you'd be interested in painting. This is key - I definitely like some of their paintings better than others. Here's a picture from the calendar on their website to give you an idea:

It is $40, which might not seem like much to some but for us it was a special occasion - it was one of Michael's Christmas gifts to me. This includes one drink at the bar and all the materials for "class."

We showed up, got shown to our places and grabbed a drink at the bar.

We picked out aprons to protect our clothes. Michael got a lot of compliments for his choice.

We pumped our paint onto our "palette." There were the suggested colors based on the painting we'd be attempting and some other colors for those who wanted to get a little creative.

And then we painted.

There was an instructor up on a little stage who walked us through the steps. Truly, even the most artistically challenged could paint using the instructions they give you.

I'd say there were about 40 people in our class, which was sold out. It was so fun to listen in on peoples' conversations ("Which brush did she say? I've been using this baby one...") and see everyones' interpretations in their paintings. See, while we all had the same instruction and the same idea to go by, they encouraged you to be creative. Our painting was of Venice at sunset, but our instructor told us we could do the New York skyline, or Paris, or Seattle or anything.

Michael and I stuck with Venice, but even then the application of different building types varied on each painting in the room.

It was a so much fun, and I love the results!



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Indy in Winter

There's something about snow at Christmastime. 

I know that it might be different when you live there and have to deal with the inconveniences of snow on a daily basis. I know I got to enjoy my white winter and then go back to Arizona where the sun is shining and it's merely sweater weather. And I know that it was a little after Christmas when we were there, but still. There's something about snow at Christmastime. 

I kept finding myself staring out windows. I couldn't wait to get out and play with June in it. 

We had a very cozy stay with my in-laws for a few days. Our time was filled with home-cooked meals and seeing the family and we even squeezed in a date night! (My dearest love saw Les Mis with me and I think I need to see it again because I was just squealing through the whole thing. In between the open sobbing, that is.)

One of my favorite nights was when my parents came to visit for an evening. We ate, played games and ended up having a tournament of leg wrestling on the living room floor. 

For some reason June adores her cousin James. She's generally pretty shy around other people when she first meets them. And even once she opens up, she's not particularly fond of other people holding her. But she would walk up to James with a book and sit on his lap as he read to her. She would shimmy up next to him and sit on his lap as he played games with the girls. It was so adorable.

Lauren and Meredith got June a book that has buttons that make little sounds to go along with the story. There are these three buttons that play about 15 seconds of songs. Amira, Saige, June, my mom and I made up some dances to go with each one and did nothing but the dances for about 90 minutes. This picture depicts us doing "the superhero" and you can glimpse June lifting her arm in the back.