Archive for November, 2005

Thanks for Ruining the Mall, Teenagers!

Need to do some shopping but HATE wading through throngs of 7th graders at THE MALL as much as I do? The Arizona Republic has a whole online fashion directory provided under the Yes style section that’s got nearly every category imaginable.


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! We’re still on vacation in Hawaii and having a great time. Just wanted to check in, say hello and wish everyone Happy Holidays!

We’ll be back in Phoenix on Friday!

President Bush at the Tee Pee Tap Room

I believe Bush ate there this evening. He does just about every time he’s in the valley which makes for a great excuse to mention the place – the food’s fantastic and the atmosphere’s good.

Tee Pee Tap Room
And Bush is staying at the Royal Palms so watch the traffic around there early tomorrow morning!

Do not blink…

We have cousins. Better set some more dishes.

The Metroblogging family keeps growing.



and Miami.

Go say howdy.

It was below freezing today.

Seven below freezing in the East Valley?!? I have to head to the malls afterall. I was going to do all my shopping online. But after this morning’s freeze, I realize I am ill prepared for this temperature. I guess there are technologies that will make this weather bearable. I need thermals, a ceramic heater, and socks. I have not worn socks in years.

Because We Are Certified Professionals

Ah yes, ’tis holiday season. The time of year when we bike through our neighborhood late at night, bundled in fleece and rank the decorating and lighting schemes of our neighbors. We are, of course, certified professionals in this field and our opinions should be heeded with extreme seriousness.

Many have requested a tangible document of our ranking system, rules and regulations; however, because we are certified professionals, we don’t need to utilize an organized, printed ranking sheet. We prefer to operate as all certified professionals do in any field and that, of course, is by sheer brilliance of expertise, the extent of which could never be put on paper and communicated to the layperson.

But since it is the holiday season and I am in the mood to be uncharacteristically generous in revealing highly confidential trade secrets, here’s a sampling of how it works:

-1 to -10 pts for overly ornate displays including (but not limited to) life-sized Nativity scenes with glow in the dark baby Jesuses, stuffed animals riding mechanized trains around presents and inclusion of Santa as the 4th Wiseman (Certified professionals feel this is an obvious display of overcompensation for a lack of love in childhood. So does Dr. Phil.)

-2 pts for mechanized deer and snowmen producing unusually loud critchy-creaky noises (Certified professionals will not accept laziness in oiling the joints of holiday decor)

+1 pt for an attempt at a lighting system (Certified professionals feel in their cold hearts that there is some warmth to be given to those who try; however, if they use orange lights they have tried and failed and 3 points will be deducted.)

+3 pts for attaching ornaments to cacti

-2 pts for inflatable oversized snowman, Santa or snow globe (Certified professionals feel this is too pretentious)

If you know someone who you feel should be ranked by certified professionals, please let us know and we will glady bicycle to their home and report back to you with a tangible document signed by us, the certified professionals. Leather casing and a gold seal are $5 extra.

Happy 30th Birthday Greasewood Flats!

I used to love going to Greasewood Flats because it truly felt like you were out in the middle of nowhere, even though you were only a 30 minute drive from the city. Despite the fact that it is now surrounded by mansions, high-end resorts and fancy restaurants, I still like going to Greasewood Flats to sit by the campfire, drink beer, listen to country music and watch the resident mutts wrestle on the dance floor (and by mutts, I mean actual dogs – this was not a reference to some of the clientele). Of course, with all the recent development it no longer feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but my loyalty is now due to the fact that these people have the spine to stand up to all the developers who would love to get their hands on the land on which Greasewood Flats sits. So Happy Birthday Greasewood Flats! And here’s to another 30 years as one of the last holdouts of the way things used to be.

P.S. If you don’t know what or where Greasewood Flats is, read this.

Thanksgiving was boring, as usual

And sadly, besides my mom coming in from Gallup, NM, I really don’t know what could’ve made it less boring. Anyone have recommendations for future holidays?

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas (despite the 70 degree weather)

Between now and the first of the year is probably my favorite time of year. The weather in Phoenix is great and there is comfort knowing it will be this nice for the next 5-6 months. It’s also my favorite time of year because it’s holiday time, things at my place of work tend to slow down a bit, people’s moods generally seem to be lighter, and there are lots of parties and festivities. I also enjoy skiing, and most major resorts in the West open around Thanksgiving. To get myself in the mood for the holidays, one thing I’ve enjoyed doing since I was a child is driving around to look at Christmas lights. has published a pretty extensive map of the best light displays in the Valley, which you can access by clicking here. There are some people in the Valley who take their light displays quite seriously, so this can make for a very entertaining evening out and about with the family.

Love Your Saguaro

I’ve been fascinated with the saguaro cactus since moving to the desert almost 9 years ago. It is the most recognizable symbol of the Sonoran Desert. The saguaro is respected by natives, adored by newcomers, and idolized by visitors.

There is a somewhat disturbing article about the threat of wildfires to the saguaro population in this month’s Phoenix Magazine. Wildfires are not a common event in the native Sonoran Desert which, due to lack of water, does not support undergrowth that fuels fire. With the significant increase in population that has moved to Phoenix from other areas of the country over the last 50 years, the desert has become home to many plants that are much more susceptible to wildfires. And this past winter’s rain served as fuel for a disastrous fire season that made victims of many saguaros that are highly sensitive to wildfires.

I’m lucky enough to have moved to Phoenix before the north Scottsdale housing boom of the last few years and still remember a time when the area was largely undeveloped and was mainly accessible by dirt roads that allowed weekend warriors to get an up-close view of the native desert. I know developers do their best to save as many saguaros as possible, but it is still a little sad to see the desert moving farther away (and the saguaros going with it).

I’ve been in the process of landscaping my CenPho backyard over the last year, and one of the final touches I’m planning to complete in the next couple weeks is planting a saguaro cactus. In the future, hopefully many more people will be inspired by the idyllic images we have in our minds of the desert Southwest and support desert landscaping that includes our friend the saguaro!

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