Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Greetings from Utah!

So yes, I'm in Utah for a few weeks, but nothing else in this post will talk about Utah. I spent the last two weeks in Phoenix, and as usual, it went by way too fast. Thankfully it wasn't too hot. Yay monsoons!

I drove over late on a Saturday night, just missing the Travyon Martin protests that were shutting down the 10 freeway in LA. (Seriously - people! Protest, let your voice be heard, but why on earth would you jam an already jammed freeway in Los Angeles?!!)  I needed to spend one last day at the beach, so after my tan started coming in, I headed home, threw clothes into the car and took off towards AZ.

I spent most of the first few days, just hanging out on Meghan's bed.  She was out of town, her roommate was out of town, and I took over the place. Her bed is really comfy.

Oh yeah, there might be some sunset photos, as they always are when I go to AZ.

Sunday morning I managed to get up fairly early to drive out to Glendale to pick up Marcello. He's currently on tour with NKOTB as their photographer, which is such a funny job. He tries to make it to church when he can, so I picked up him for brunch with his amigo, Brandon (yes, we broke the Sabbath at Windsor, whoops) and then we went to church.

Marcello had some extra show tickets for friends, so I headed back to Glendale that night to see the full show, since I'd skip about half of the DC show. Yes, I went to two NKOTB shows this summer. It really is a fascinating experience. You see things like this:


Joey was my favorite back in the day, and gosh, he's still adorable, but I think Jordan might have overtaken the title. At least they both can sing well.
 

 The show is actually quite impressive. And the crowd, wowza. The people watching takes the cake.

Afterward, I went a little behind the scenes to tour Marcello's bus. Triple bunks on either side of the aisle - claustrophobia! Or coziness, if you like that sort of thing.

Monday kicked off the work week, and awesome coworker, Leslie, once again brought me treats from her summer European adventures. My favorite Spanish candy! I ate the whole package in about two days. I don't ration well.

I came home after work and hung out on Meghan's couch. I really didn't feel like being social; it was really nice to be in the quiet and read and eat ice cream while trying to stay cool.

It did rain pretty well one night and the temps dropped to 82! Cool enough to run, so I did. I'm falling behind on my 10k training though, as the temps came back up or I got too busy. I went to a park in Scottsdale that has some underpasses under the roads - all flooded. Eeek!

Darryl hit me up for dinner one night, since he was headed out of town. I'd never tried this place, and it lived up to the Yelp reviews. We ordered some appetizers (including my favorite chopped salad from Cowboy Ciao), mac and cheese and something else delicious. Perfect amount for a late dinner.

And after eating all that food, I had to go straight to bed. A 5am and 6am work meeting where awaiting me. Ugh. I usually only wake up that early to catch airplanes.

Meghan got home the next night, and she and me and Holly had some Postino for dinner and some LGO for dessert. As usual. You all know by now that's just my routine in Phoenix.


I spent Friday night with Kari Ann and Kelly with dinner at Joe's BBQ. Kari got a new fish and he has some really cool colors.
 

Saturday morning, Meghan, Holly and I headed over to Karve Studio for a ballet bar type workout. Man, was it hard! My legs were shaking and burning, and that means you're doing it right. I sneezed three days later and my abs still hurt!

After the morning workout, I drove south to Coolidge to visit my grandparents.

Grandma wasn't feeling well, but we had a nice lunch and then we all took naps. Awesome! Aunt Ruth Ann and family came over later for dinner, then I drove cousin Laura up to her sister's house in Phoenix. The monsoon rains nearly washed us away, but some hazard lights and 40mph kept us going on the freeway. Finally made it back to Phoenix, just in time to catch a flick at Camelview.

Sunday, church day. And baking day! As much as Meghan bakes, I honestly don't think I'd ever made cupcakes with her. She did an amazing toffee chocolate cupcake with some vanilla buttercream frosting. She's good. They were amazing.

She's got a whole tackle box, just for frosting tools!


So. Good.

Monday after work I stopped by to visit cousin Clint and Alexis and Ainsley. She's gotten much bigger since the last time I saw her! We got along great.


And then it was down the street to see cousins Raelyn and Kristine, and their cutie kids. We had popsicles and played on the swings, and had some singing/dancing numbers from the girls.


They changed clothes about four times.

Tuesday at work we had a little team lunch outing to The Greene House in Scottsdale. I'd never been, but it's a Fox restaurant, so it's got to be good. I had the crispy half chicken, and I give it two thumbs up.

After work I headed over to see Chantal and Nate, the newlyweds! Nate's three boys were in town for a couple weeks, so we had some pool time.

Then it was dinner time with Kari and Angela at Praying Monk, followed by a meet up with Chris on Mill Ave.

Okay, the rest of the week! I wanted to buy a new camera, so I went to Best Buy to check one out. Debating between Sony and Canon, and none of the Sony models were available in any physical store. I wanted to play with it before I purchased!  The sky was pretty rad on my drive to Best Buy.



Another night, we got the Trivia Team back together! Tried out a new format at a new location, and I really enjoyed the incorporation of some audio and visual rounds. I don't know why everyone doesn't love pub trivia. The sky was cool when I got there, too.

We tied for 4th place, out of about 14 teams. Not too bad for the first time in this new setting.

So yeah, I bought that camera. Way cheaper to buy online at Best Buy and pick up in store. So I did. So easy.

I'd had lunch with Holly on Monday, and she works at the Musical Instrument Museum. It's right down the street from my office, and I'd always wanted go. They stay open late on Thursdays, so Holly left a ticket for me and I went exploring. It's a lovely space!



The museum is organized by geography, and probably every country has an exhibit with instruments commonly found there. Video screens show short clips of singing and dance performances, and your magic headphones just pick up the signals as you walk around. No need to fiddle with any buttons!



Harmonicas!

I got a little misty-eyed when I watched the video on how Steinways are made. They are all works of art.


Shannon had a birthday! We had ice cream sandwiches (with some amazing Snickerdoodles, thanks Camilla!) and various cookies before we had actual dinner. There's a good reason for that.




Dinner celebration happened at a taco truck that didn't open til 9pm. Here we are, waiting for tacos and mini quesadillas.




Pretty tasty! And cheap. I don't know why I never visited this truck while I lived in Phoenix. Oh wait, cause it's in the avenues...Los Yaquis, you are delicious.


The next day, another birthday! Julia's, this time. We had dinner at Tommy V's in Scottsdale. I went with classic spaghetti and meatballs, and shared some hazelnut mushroom risotto with Holly. It was alright. Such mild flavors.


Meghan, Holly and I rushed out of dinner to go pick up Julia's birthday cake, carefully baked and decorated by M and H. Once again, the sky was ridiculous!





Okay, to the park, for a water fight. I did not participate in that, only in the cake-eating part.




Check out those layers. And my cute friends. Who bake.



One more crazy tree sky photo, just because. And then I went to bed so I could be an early riser and get to Utah!

Back to the Balkans! And I'm Getting Married...

Let's try something revolutionary. Let's try writing about a trip immediately upon return! So back in November or something, there...