sailorzeo: (thinking)
Okay. So, Wednesday the ninth, my parents came out for a week. Here's the recap:

Plane was about an hour late coming in, so instead of them arriving just before I could get out of work, they arrived about 20 min after I got out of work. Picked them up at Sky Harbor, then went to Ajo Al's in Scottsdale for dinner. Home, early bed, because....

Thursday, we got up around 4 am, to get on the road between 5 and 5:30, to get to Williams, AZ by 8 am. What's in Williams, AZ? The Train. The Grand Canyon Railway.  On the drive up to Williams, we could see Mount Humpries in the distance, and watched the ambient temperature drop from the mid-sixties in Phoenix to the low thirties as we climbed in altitude.  
The train is neat; all restored historic cars.  We could only afford coach/Budd class, since the Pullmans don't run this time of year.   There was a little "wild west" show beforehand (really little, and fairly silly, and VERY cold), and I picked up a copy of the train guide.  It was okay, with milepost markings, telling you points of interest along the way.  

Okay.  So, we get to the Canyon at noon.  It was COLD and WINDY.  We can't check into our room (Maswik Lodge) until 4.  So, we had lunch at the Maswik cafeteria (not a lot of choices for someone gluten-intolerant).  I had the pork chop (dry), Matt had taco salad, Dad had a hamburger, and Mom had the chili in a bread bowl.  Finished eating, around 1 pm, Dad decided to check if the room might possibly be ready (since checkout's at 11, and Mom had the bag she brought on the train with her knitting).  No go.  Okay, so we walked along the Rim Trail for a bit.  Got back to the lodge at 3:30  Room still not ready.  We were tired, having been up since 4 (3 in my case), so we just sat in the cafeteria until 4, when finally, they said the room was ready.  We had an hour before the sunset tour: no time to get dinner, just enough time to put our bags down, use the restroom, and rest for a little bit.  Sunset tour, still very cold.  Getting in and out of the bus, in the cold/warm/cold/warm, was making me sick to my stomach, so the last few stops, I just sat in the bus.  Especially since around stop 3, the camera died.

We'd decided to have dinner at the Bright Angel Restaurant, since we'd already eaten at the Maswik Cafeteria and it didn't look like the menu changed for dinner.   After again determining there wasn't much on the menu I could eat (especially since I was COLD and didn't want a cold salad), I ordered the South Rim Spinach Artichoke Dip.  Technically an appetizer, but the only thing I could eat that was hot and sounded appetizing.  Matt got the Trailblazing Fajitas, Mom got the Sunset Sour Cream Chicken (and gave me one of the pieces of chicken), and Dad got the Canyon's Favorite Natural Roast Porkloin.  Now, here's where I mention the fact that we got the slowest waiter on the planet.  It was bad enough that a table that came in half an hour after we had (and we'd ordered, but not received anything) went to the host stand to ask for service.  Mind you, I read Waiter Rant.  I understand the concept of being in the weeds, having worked in a timing-oriented service field myself.  Matt understands, having worked at Papa John's as long as he did.  We're understanding of certain things.  But, when people who've come in after us have been served and LEFT before we got our food?  Refills were slow, if they came at all.   My food was slightly burnt on one edge.  The waiter, when he _did_ stop, never let us finish what we wanted to ask or request, and it would be twenty minutes before we saw him again.  I almost felt like I was a guest at a restaurant on Kitchen Nightmares BEFORE Gordon Ramsay knocked sense into the owners.

Either way, it was almost eleven before we got back to the room.  This is where Matt realized the camera charging-only-dock and the printer dock require different power supplies, and he'd brought the wrong one.  No charging the camera that night.

And still, I woke up around 3:30 am.  Lucky for me, Matt was mostly awake, too, and we went to have a shower together since the parents were still sleeping and hey, we're still newlyweds.  :-P  Managed to doze off a little after that, and when the Weather Channel read NINETEEN DEGREES outside, we figured we could stay in the room a little longer.  SciFi was running a Doctor Who marathon, reminding me that I'd never set the DVR to tape Sarah Jane (and still haven't!!  argh!!).  Finally, around 9 am, we decided to brave the cold.  Hiked down to El Tovar for breakfast.

Ever since Matt and I started dating, all I've heard about when it comes to hot chocolate is the hot chocolate at El Tovar.  How rich, how creamy, how wonderful it is.  So of course, we had to get the hot chocolate.  For food, Mom and Dad split a cinnamon roll as big as a dinner plate, and still had a breakfast entree.  Dad got the pancake trio (buttermilk, blue corn and buckwheat) with prickly pear syrup and honey pine nut butter.  Matt got Sonoran Style Eggs with Chicken and Chorizo.  Mom got the special, which isn't on the online menu.  :-P  And I got the Hickory Smoked Bacon, Gouda and Chive Three-Egg Omelette.  Again, not much on there for the gluten-intolerant.

Well, the hot chocolate was okay, but I didn't think it anything special.  Matt agreed that it wasn't what he remembered.  Then again, it was seven years ago when he had it last.  

Back to the room, to get the stuff together so we could check out.  Again, checkout's at 11, the train doesn't leave until 4.  I think that was the biggest annoyance on the trip.  We had to figure out what we wanted to carry for five hours.  Water bottle (I got a nifty clip so I could hang my water bottle off my belt loop), hat, jacket, wallet, keys.  Everything else went into the bag, which would be checked on the train by the staff.  We took the shuttle down to the other side of the South Rim, down to the end of that section of Rim Trail, then hiked back along the Canyon to where we'd gotten on the bus.  I was fairly wiped out by then (at 7000 feet, the air's a little thin, and I admit it, I'm out of shape), so we took the shuttle back to the El Tovar area.  We checked out Hopi House, and another gift shop, got some lunch at the Bright Angel Luncheonette (hot dog, no bun, chips, ice cream), and by then, the train was boarding.

Loot/Souveniers:
water bottle clip
hat/shirt combo (I needed the hat)
patch for my collection
poster of lightening over the Canyon
gift for Matt's mom
gift for Matt's dad

So, train back to Williams, where I picked up a Grand Canyon Railway patch for my collection, then all back into the car for the trip down to Kirkland Junction and dinner.

Mapquest lies on times.  It took an hour longer than quoted to get there, but at least my parents really enjoyed it.  Mom loved their fries.  If it had flopped, we'd have been more upset about the time to get there.  Matt and I love their steaks, but we were nervous.  

Got home a little after midnight.  

Saturday, it was time for the 25th Annual Glendale Jazz and Blues Festival.  Mom doesn't like jazz, so Matt and Dad went and listened to the bands.  Mom and I walked around the vendors (nothing we could afford), then the Bead Museum (only two rooms...I thought it would be bigger), and a few little shops in downtown Glendale.  Met back with Matt and Dad at three.  Again, I was beat, so we decided to head up to Fuddruckers.  This is because of Matt's "free 1/2 pound burger a week for a year" card.  Use it or lose it.  Did minor grocery shopping, then back home.  

Sunday, Matt and I went to meeting, then we just sort of hung out at home.  Played mexican train dominoes, canadian cribbage, and golf (the card game).  Had mesquite grilled chicken for dinner.

Monday, we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens.  Very pretty.  Very hot.  Very tiring.  I think I walked more that week than I have in a long time.  I ended up skipping the desert wildflower trail, just heading for the gift shop.   That's where Mom found a lot of things she was looking for, like prickly pear jelly, and pure habanero hot sauce for Jeff.  We came home, had leftovers for lunch, and we all took naps.  At least, Matt, Dad and I did.  Don't know if Mom napped or if she just sat on the back porch and read.  Ron and Omera came over for a bit and visited, then it was bedtime.

Tuesday, Matt and I were back on our normal 4 am wake time, took parents to the airport, then off to work.  If I'd been smart, I'd have requested Tuesday off, too, since I was falling asleep all day at work.

And I think that's what I'm going to do now.  Go back to bed.  

The stuff

Apr. 17th, 2008 09:07 pm
sailorzeo: (Default)
I went to "the big hole in the ground up north" last week. Longer post will follow once I'm recovered fully from my vacation.

Quick points: camera battery died on day one. We brought the charger, but the wrong power supply. So, no more pictures the rest of the vacation. Means we gotta go back sometime.

Relativity

Dec. 6th, 2007 12:23 pm
sailorzeo: (Default)
After living in Arizona for almost a year now, I can empathize with my great uncle who lived in Tucson. He called my grandmother (who lived in PA) one winter, complaining of the cold. She asked him how cold it was. He replied, "It's only seventy!!"

She hung up on him. :)

Right now, it's "only" 66. I still have a few windows open here, because I'm cleaning and I overheat, but yeah. I've had a few days of "Wow, it's cold!" and it's still been "summer" temperatures for what I grew up in.

Also, I quit my job at 2Wire Tuesday. I start as a key operator (production only) at AlphaGraphics on Monday.

Brain Dump

May. 16th, 2007 09:52 am
sailorzeo: (Default)
The cacti are in bloom.  I like driving to work and seeing the saguaro crowned with white blossoms, and the rich yellow flowers of the prickly pear.  It makes me want to go to a park or a garden, so I can see them up close.  I can't really pull over on my way to or from work to check out the landscaping in the median.

Bob's Red Mill whole grain gluten-free bread mix is tasty.  Lots of seeds.  I'm not sure about the caraway seeds in it, and it took me most of the slice to realize the chewier bits were sunflower seeds, but overall, I'm satisfied with the mix.  I still want to try the "Manna from Anna" mix that Omera likes, but I haven't found it anywhere but online.

Blue Diamond pecan nut thins are a great gluten-free snack food, and not overly expensive, either.  About the same cost as a box of Triscuits.  Crackery...oh, and we have that Babybel cheese in the fridge....maybe some cheese and crackers....

Don't have 6 Excedrin and 2 Godiva Belgian Blend Milk Chocolate Mocha drinks in three hours.  Not good.  It didn't even clear out the headache.  :-P

There's a company in Sedona that makes gluten-free all-purpose flour that they say is a cup-for-cup direct replacement for AP wheat flour.  They say on their website it's distributed in AZ and the southwest for now.  BUT THEY DON'T LIST WHICH STORES.  I may have to call, or Matt's theory is we just go to Sedona for the day anyway.  I wouldn't mind, I hear it's pretty.

Last night

Mar. 16th, 2007 08:40 am
sailorzeo: (fabulous hair)
The third Thursday of every month, downtown Glendale has "That Thursday Thing," a free, themed event with music, activities, and extended hours in the shops. This month's thing was "The Bead Trail." You started at the Glendale Visitors Center, where you received a bag with a map, a coupon sheet, a small bar of Cerreta's chocolate (local downtown chocolate factory), and a zippy bag with one bead. The map had the locations of the beads, as well as where the musicians and other events were (such as free massages, cariacatures, half-price wine tasting), and which locations were restaurants.

I think there were ten bead stops, not counting the start (Visitors Center) and end (The Bead Museum, naturally). At the final stop, you got to assemble your beads into a bracelet (nothing special, just stretchy bead thread, with black wooden beads you could use as spacers). It wasn't as crowded or as centrally-located as Glendale Glitters and Glows (January, crowded with college football fans) or the Glendale Chocolate Affaire (February, all contained in the park). It was more spread out across both Historic Downtown and the "trendier" Catlin Court areas. It was neat to walk around, see what I recognized from the other times we've been down there, and hear Matt comment on how much of it has changed in the five years since he lived down there (his coffee shop is now a "lounge").

There are a couple tearooms, lots of antique stores, collectibles and knick-knack stores, and a lot of specialty restaurants. We might take some time today to go back downtown and just walk around, maybe get dinner since today's payday.

We're probably going to try to go again next year (I gathered, from comments at The Bead Museum, that The Bead Trail is a yearly thing). They haven't posted what next month's Thursday Thing is yet.

The only problem is that Thursday is book study, and we'd hoped to be able to finish before we had to leave, but I had to stick around an hour later at work, and we didn't get home until 6. So we ended up missing book study, which is Not A Good Thing. Plus, since we were trying to rush, I didn't take the time to remember what each bead was. There was a blue fish at the start and an irridescent fish at the end, a bone bead, a horn bead, a clay bead, a porcelain bead, a glass bead, an "eye" bead, a fimo bead, a mother of pearl dove bead, a glass heart, a berry nut (I think) bead, and two beads I can't remember: a little green one (Matt's was bigger and orange), and a big crackly yellow bead with red flecks.

Plus, to my eye, the beads were't "cohesive:" there wasn't a logical or a "good" way to string them together. After three different attempts, I finally gave up and just stuck them all on the cord. High fashion it ain't.
sailorzeo: (Default)
Things I have to remember now:
Edys is Dreyers.
Hellmans is Best Foods.
Hardees is Carl's Jr.
Krogers is Fry's Food.

The last one is a bit of a stretch; they're owned by the same parent company, but they're not the same store (well, they're both grocery stores).

Things I'm noticing here:
Gas is a little more expensive.
Milk is a LOT cheaper.
Produce can go either way, depending on where you go.
There are a lot more "variety meats" in the markets (again, depending on where you go. We went to Food City and saw, among other things, beef lips and pork snouts).

Phoenix got a dusting of snow last night. Not the area I'm in, but they said there was snow as far south as Tuscon.

The air mattress we've been using until we get the house in order and can get our "real" mattress has a leak somewhere. It's only been what, two and a half weeks? So we're going to try to exchange it. We got it at WalMart, and still have the receipt, so it should be okay. Another night of ending up on the floor is not for me.

Work's going okay; I'm trying a new route there and back today since the morning shifts, taking the freeway, dump me in "rush" hour in and out. I can take a 40-minute commute. I can't take an hour and a half or more sitting in gridlock.

Painting is going well, if slowly. Kitchen's done. Hallway will be finished today (Matt worked on it Saturday and is finishing doors and second coat today). I'll try to work on the guest room Wednesday when I'm off. But then, I've been saying that for a while.

We still have no idea what we want to do in our room. We went to Ikea yesterday (good breakfast) and found ideas for a couch and for a bed for the guest room. Also finally got the digital food scale and remote probe meat thermometer we've been wanting. Spent about three hours there, which is about what we'd planned for.

And now I have to go to work again. Sigh. Once again, it isn't the work itself I mind, it's the "going to" part. I like the new store, but some days, I wish I'd taken the quieter, less-busy store that was CLOSER. At least my license is legal again. And it's the last license I'll have to get for a long time. AZ licenses are good until you're 65. Need to update the picture every 12 years.

And I'm still getting the hang of the on-peak/off-peak hours thing with the electricity. It costs more to run things like the washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc, from 5am to 9 am, and again from 5 pm to 9 pm (at least in winter, it changes in summer). So that means if it's my day off and I'm planning to do laundry, I have to wait until after 9 am. And I have to wait to start the dishwasher until after 9 pm. I'll get used to it eventually.
sailorzeo: (fabulous hair)
...and back into the soup that is NC. Average temperature in AZ was around 103F, average humidity was around 40%. According to Weatherbug, it's 88F and 67% humidity in NC--AZ felt so much better.

We got in to AZ (Sky Harbor airport) around 5:30 MST. Arizona doesn't do daylight savings, so we were about three hours behind NC. We flew Southwest Airlines, which is a no-frills airline: no assigned seatong, no meal, no movie, etc. They seat in groups: we got our boarding passes at the airport and were in the last boarding group. I ended up sitting two rows from the back of the plane, between two women about Mom's age, and Matt was three rows from the front of the plane.

The Plane Trip and Friday Night )

Thursday )

Friday )

Saturday )

Sunday )

Monday )

Tuesday, home again )

So when people at work ask me how the trip was, overall, it was positive, and I'm looking forward to moving there, hopefully in late December/early January. Matt really didn't want to fly home today; he was leaning against me yesterday, and said, "Jen, I don't wanna go back to Raleigh tomorrow. I AM home."

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