Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Token Thanksgiving Post

Since my poor husband had to work literally every day of Thanksgiving weekend (yes, even the holiday itself), he selflessly bought me a plane ticket and shipped me off to Utah to be with my family for the holiday. I missed him a lot, and the thought of him sitting on the couch alone, eating a big Mac for Thanksgiving dinner almost put me in tears, but it was great to be home and see my family. I didn't take very many pictures, and the few I did take didn't turn out great, but here are a few snapshots of the long weekend.

My mom, me and my twin cousins Beth and Emma. My cousins put a lot of thought into their Thanksgiving Day outfits. Beth's "Cape Cod, Massachusetts" shirt was worn in honor of our ancestors' place of entry (Plymouth, MA) when they arrived to this new land. Emma's pilgrim collar compliments the sail boat (of Mayflower) pattern on her skirt.  
My Dad smoked this turkey outside in the backyard, using some sort of smoking contraption. It tasted fantastic.
This picture makes me laugh out loud, because it showcases the holiday so nicely. While most families use fancy tablecloths and festive dinnerware, this band of muppets dined (and played games) at a card table with a folded up ping pong table in the background. We loved every minute of it.
Joel, Shad and I in the back of the car, on our way up to Temple Square to see the lights.

Some random man took this picture so I couldn't be picky about how it turned out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All the Latest Haps (Really Hip Slang Word for "Happenings")

A typical day for Brock and Carolyn these days? Wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. Again and again.

Luckily there are a few exceptions. 

Here are some pictures from a few delightfully non-typical days we've had recently.

My mom and me at...a hockey game?Yes! My parents came to visit us a few weeks ago! It was so fun to see them, and I felt so grown up hosting my parents ay my own apartment. We went to a Phoenix Coyotes hockey game one night which was surprisingly really entertaining. Even my mom got into it. 
(She is notorious in our family for reading Harry Potter III during a Mariner's game once, so obviously this is a big deal.) I got into it too. So into it apparently, that I forgot to relieve my dad from camera duty and get a picture with him in it. Sorry Dad.

Whenever the Coyotes scored, everyone would howl. So of course, being the super fan I am, I joined in enthusiastically.  Unfortunately Brock informed me that I was howling all wrong. Apparently a howl is more of a one syllable ordeal. I was doing more of a two syllable "A-WOO" sort of thing.

 Note to Mom: Mom, before you get offended that I cropped you out of this picture, I think you should know that this was the shot in which your face looked like it had an extra bone in it. Or some weird plastic surgery situation going on. I personally think you looked great but rather than risk your retaliation on your blog (you have some incriminating pictures of me) I figured I'd rather be safe than sorry. Love you! :)

 Last weekend we went over to this cute little town in the middle of nowhere called Fountain Hills. There is this pretty (man made, of course) lake with a huge 300 foot fountain in the middle. Unfortunately the fountain was turned off before we could get a picture, so just imagine a huge beautiful fountain behind us.(At first, Brock told me the fountain was natural and I believed him for like 20 minutes. I was in the middle of a rant about Old Faithful being overrated when he finally interrupted me with the truth.)

 See, isn't this place pretty? And the weather was perfect. A nice breezy 70 degrees all afternoon. Not bad for November. Maybe I can get used to this Arizona weather thing after all... I really need to work on some new poses for my solo pictures. I've just about reached my "one hand on the hip" quota.

After the fake lake, we went to a real lake called Saguaro Lake. It was even prettier. But we had to leave before we got many pictures because this weird man and his son (both with huge guts and ponytails) kept giving us traveling tips and I got sick of nodding and fake laughing.
 The weekend before last, we went up to St. George for a quick weekend trip and hiked Angel's Landing up in Zions with Brock's family. This bunch of troopers made it all the way up to the top despite our lack of legit hiking apparel and the impending blizzard. Well, maybe it wasn't a blizzard. But it was definitely snowing.

 This background could be straight from Lord of the Rings, no? The misty mountains of Middle Earth... If only I were wearing my elf robes, or maybe a Gollum loincloth... I swear, since we've moved to the city, I am more enchanted with beautiful scenery than ever. I will never take fall leaves for granted again, I swear! 

Doesn't this tree stump look just like a baby bear? We all seriously thought it was a wood carving someone had ditched beside the trail. 

Jenn (Brock's mom) doing an "Angel Pose" on Angel's Landing. This is actually an action shot from a whole wing flapping cliff side routine.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Wasted Wish. Thanks a Lot, Pinterest.

I purposefully waited up all evening tonight so I could make a wish at 11:11, 11/11/11.

(Note: I missed the AM occurrence due to my reluctant and very awkward participation in a break dancing contest at our company's Veterans Day Barbecue this morning. My fierce competition consisted of 4 black 13 year olds, most armed with converse high tops/hoodies, an impressive collection of "moves" and absolutely no inhibitions. Yes, I believe this situation deserves a blog post of its own.)

Since Brock fell asleep at around 9:00, I had a few hours to kill before the magic moment arrived. What better way to waste time than to poke around on the ever-addicting Pinterest, right? 

Wrong. I was so mesmerized by Pinterest's captivating array of whimsical craft ideas, dogs/babies in costumes, calorie dense recipes, work out tips and Jennifer Aniston's hair that I completely missed the magic moment.

At exactly 11:12 I looked up at the clock. What? Are you kidding me? I missed the greatest wishing opportunity of this lifetime all because I was too engrossed in a tutorial on making your own pore cleansing strips out of gelatin.

Well shoot, there goes my Range Rover, 25 inch waist, seasonally replenishing J Crew wardrobe and jaw dropping breakdance skills. (The latter was a new addition to my wishlist as of this morning.)

On the plus side, I'm quite excited to purchase some plain gelatin tomorrow. Good bye and good riddance, blackheads.

Seriously, this is the kind of thing I've been wasting my time on tonight:

Haha. (Sheepish laughter.) I can't help it. It is a little funny... Or maybe I just need to go to bed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finally... Some Honesty

Maybe it's a biological response to the recent arrival of cooler fall weather, or the enabling effects of its accompanying bulky sweaters/stretchy leggings but my body seems to be hanging on to every single calorie I ingest these days.

Okay so I didn't exactly avoid the recent influx in the Halloween candy supply at our office. And yes, my hot chocolate consumption has drastically increased lately. But still, for how faithful I've been to my spin bike, you'd think those calories would be negated by now!

Anyway, while engaging in some embarrassing google searches that may or may not have contained the words "Victoria's Secret model" and "diet" I came across this recent article.

Let's all just take a moment to applaud this wonderful, saintly vixen of a woman for actually being honest about what it actually requires to look like she does.

I am sick to death of models insisting that they achieve their stunning physiques by "eating a handful of nuts and raisins for a snack", or  "going to pilates class twice a week". Then there's my personal favorite- "I stay active by chasing my kids around!" Give me a break, ladies.

That's why I was thrilled to read this article. Because what Adriana puts herself through pre-fashion show?

I absolutely could. not. do.

And I am fine with that. Why? Because I'm sick of eating a small handful of trail mix, doing a couple laps around the living room with a small child then looking down, puzzled at my still present cottage cheese adorned thighs, wondering what is wrong with me. What am I missing!? Should I be throwing up while chasing around the kids? And how is Giselle's trail mix different than mine? (Answer- because it's laced with nicotine and able to be inhaled via cigarette.) It's quite demoralizing. But with this refreshing new light shed on Adriana's workout, I have assured myself that if I really wanted to look like her, I could. All I'd have to do is work out twice a day for three straight months, drink a small creek's worth of water, and only ingest food in liquid form.

I just don't want to.

For now I'm okay with 30 minutes on my trusty Schwin spin bike. Followed by a costco sized bag of trail mix. Dang it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hip Hop Critic: My Calling in Life?

Today I met an aspiring Hip-Hop artist in the Wal Mart Parking lot. This is nothing out of the ordinary. I have a feeling that the West Phoenix "Mercado de Walmart" is host to much of Hip-Hop's aspiring talent. However, this morning as I was unloading my grocery bags into the car, a tricked out jeep pulled up into the parking slot next to me, unashamedly blasting something I can only assume would be played in a Miami night club. The bass was pumped up so high I'm pretty sure the pavement was shaking a little bit. Now, maybe this is just me, but whenever a car's windows are rolled up, I don't feel the need to acknowledge the person inside. It's almost like the person and car are one anonymous being you can ignore. But this car's windows were rolled down, making it a whole different story. I felt compelled to glance up and smile at the driver. It would have been awkward not to- unless I were completely deaf, it was obvious that I knew he was there. He got really excited and flashed a gap toothed (but very white) smile back at me.

Then he beckoned me over to the jeep. What did I do? Scampered right over, of course. Who am I to disobey someone who's music choice featured the lyrics "imma blow dis club up o'er 'errbody" or something like that.

He introduced himself as "Jus' Arion", one of the valley's rising Hip-Hop stars. He asked if I liked Hip Hop and I responded with "as much, if not more, as any white girl around here..."

He laughed and asked me to listen to his new song and give some honest feedback. "Okay..", I agreed. "But I mean, I don't know how much help I'll be. I don't really have high standards when it comes to music..."

He laughed and began playing (well, blasting- his speakers only seemed to have one volume- very loud) his new (future) hit single. As it played, I wasn't quite sure what to do. Should I sort of bob my head in time to the beat? Should I sort of close my eyes, sway my head and throw up gang signs? Attempt to crip walk? I settled with the first option, and subtly nodded my head with a serious look on my face, trying to look as "hood" possible, despite the fact that I was wearing Yellowstone sweats and holding a bag of Goldfish Crackers.

When it was done, he asked me for my honest opinion.

I told him I really liked it. (Actually, I really did.) I told him that if the song were to come on the radio, I definitely wouldn't change it. Then he asked me if there were any parts I didn't like. I told him to maybe take out the part where he rhymes "pubix" with "rubix". I don't even know what a "pubix" is, but it doesn't sound nice. He laughed and told me he was thinking the same thing.

Soooo... if by some chance "Jus Arion" somehow rises to the top of Hip-Hop fame, I will be able to say that I met him in the West Phoenix Wal Mart Parking lot and provided him some constructive criticism. Let's just hope he takes my advice to heart, because if I'm listening to the radio someday and hear the word "pubix", I'm gonna be really upset.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Think It's Been a Good Day...

Why has today been particularly enjoyable?

1. I woke up and ran 4 miles. On the treadmill. Honestly, I'm pretty sure that without decreasing the speed, I could have walked the entire thing and not fallen off the back. And yes, falling off the back of the treadmill is definitely a possibility; it has happened. More than once. But much worse is when the treadmill speed decreases suddenly without your knowledge, sending you careening into the front of the machine at breakneck speed. Or, in my case, a breezy 6 miles an hour.

Engaging in this particular form of exercise is a huge deal for me.

Unfortunately, so is my butt these days.

Which leads me to accomplishment 2.

2. I received a box of Kirkland Signature brand chocolates from my boss as a gift yesterday. (I later found out that they were left over from Christmas '10- still, chocolates don't go bad do they?) They sat perched atop our coffee table all of last night, tempting me with their plaid ribbon adorned decadence. Today? After eating one, I repeat ONE chocolate piece, I threw the entire box away. Into the big garbage. (I've been known to lose willpower and dig things out of the trash before.) For most people this act would be considered wasteful and foolish instead of a victory. But sometimes pre-commitment is necessary and I just don't trust myself to treat the box like a normal person and enjoy one chocolate a day for a few months. Those babies would have ended up slapped onto my hips by tonight. And I'm sorry, but it would take many an hour on the treadmill to undo that damage. 40 minutes today is plenty for me.

3. I finally got my hair did. I will post pictures later, but I've had a really hard time doing the arm stretch self portrait technique today. I tried to send Brock a picture of my hair at work and I ended up somehow looking like an angry pedophile. My pet peeve about hair salons is this: they are always so vague about prices. You look online and a partial weave is listed as starting at $70. Okay, I can live with that. I assumed that if the price was going to be higher, due to extra product usage, they would let me know first right? Wrong. When all the foil folding, washing and trimming was done, I was presented with a whopping $130 bill! What the...? How did that happen? Don't you think the stylist should have warned me that when she mixed an extra bowl of bleach the cost was gonna double? And due to the 4 years I spent in the restaurant industry, I pride myself on my generosity when it comes to tips. You know, karma and all. So after a 20% tip, I was out the door $160 poorer. But... I refuse to let this get me down. I really like how my hair turned out, and I have definitely learned my lesson. Any place that gives you a hand massage during your conditioning treatment and applies lip gloss to your lips post blow dry (so awkward) is gonna be pricey.

4. My parents are coming to visit on Wednesday!!! Sorry to get so cheesy- 3 exclamation marks in a row? But really, I am thrilled to have visitors. If moving away has made me realize one thing, it's how much I love and miss my family. We are trying to think of some fun things to do while they're here, but we'll probably just end up doing a lot of relaxing. Which sounds perfect to me. While I'm on the note of family, I also had lunch with my cute cousin Rachel who is attending ASU. She told me all about her college life adventures and I told her all about... well, I didn't have much to contribute. If this blog's content is any indicator, nothing too exciting is happening to me these days. Ha.

5. Luckily the weather is finally starting to cool down. I can't believe I consider a high of 83 degrees as "cool". But I think we've got some really nice months ahead of us. I drove all the way to my hair appointment with the car windows down, blasting my music enjoying the morning sun and freeway induced breeze. For the first time, I actually felt glad to be in Arizona, weather wise. I still miss my hoodies though. Maybe in January....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cliff Dwelling's What We're All About

Brock and I decided to take a much needed day trip up to Flagstaff this past week. For those not so familiar with the layout of Arizona (I'm assuming most of you,) Flagstaff is about 2 hours north of Phoenix, 7,000 feet higher and most importantly, 30 degrees cooler. Once we got there, I completely forgot that we were still surrounded by the vast South West desert; everything was so green and beautiful. I felt like I was in Yellowstone or somewhere equally as vegetation rich. (In fact, the whole time I might have pretended I was...) I was also able to sport a particular Carolyn classic- my gray hoodie- a favorite articles of clothing that I sadly haven't been able to touch since July. (Seriously, even looking at long sleeves make me start to sweat some days.) Somehow nature just has this way of making me feel so good. No matter what is going on in life, a deep breath of fresh air always makes everything better. Who needs Prozac when you've got the mountains?

Here are some pictures from the day:

 Presenting... Mormon Lake. Ta-da! Impressive, isn't it? Totally worth the 40 minute drive, right? Just kidding. This "lake" was quite the enigma. Although it has it's own signs on the freeway, webpage and small village complete with a town lodge and a jam-packed KOA, Brock and I failed to see what the hype was all about. I mean, it's basically a swamp right? I just don't get what so many RVs and boats were doing camped out on its banks... What were they all planning on doing? Mud masks? Maybe a mud wrestling competition? Or perhaps the members of Mormon Lake Village haven't been paying their tithing...? 

 We decided that the degree to which you can see this lake is a direct reflection of your degree of righteousness. So although it wasn't the overflowing reservoir a temple president might see, we were proud to see a little moisture down there.

 After visiting the highly anti-climactic Mormon Lake, we went to some sort of state park which features an entire cliff full of Anasazi dwelling ruins. I typically feel that any picture with no people is pointless, unless it's an artistic gem (which this certainly is not.) But this kind of gives you an idea of what was going on there.

 When we got to the visitor's center, Brock told the old, mustache adorned man behind the ticket counter that we were interested in hiking and seeing the cliff dwellings. His enthusiastic response? "Well, you've come to the right place folks! Cliff dwelling's what we're all about here!"And that's when we knew that the day had been a success. We re-quoted that line for the rest of the day.

 I posted this picture for two reasons. 1. To demonstrate this beautifully crafted and preserved Anasazi cliff dwelling. 2. I think my legs look misleadingly thin in this picture (a rarity these days, I'm afraid), and I felt it would be a pity not to post it.

 Once again, I am fascinated by my body and it's ability to so closely resemble Gumby's. Stretchy, bendy and gooey all at once. It does showcase the hoodie nicely though.

 Brock demonstrating an ancient Anasazi war pose. Anasazis often wore cargo shorts and plaid button downs, I've heard. 

I was pretending to pose by this small door/window, but really I was just taking a much needed rest. This little hike required far too much stair climbing for my current fitness level. Brock and I spent 3/4 of our time here discussing the purchases of Weight Watchers subscriptions and home gym equipment. Between huffing, puffing and gasping for air, of course.

 All in all, it was a great trip. I'm planning on writing a hefty tithing check, deleting a few rap songs from my iTunes and giving Mormon Lake another go. This time, with the Jet Skis.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Principal/Principle of the Thing...

As the official "HR Person" at my work, my job includes keeping track of all employees' personnel files. These files contain the usual documents: social security cards, W-4 forms, background checks etc.

The other day I was informed that a certain employee had been terminated due to having "questionable documents" in his file.

So of course, I had to look.

What did I find? A forged high school diploma.

How did I know it was forged? Only because it had been signed by the school's "principle".

Seriously, I'll give the guy credit-- he must have spent hours creating this gem on Microsoft Publisher. It looked like any other photocopied high school diploma. He even incorporated a little school seal and some sort of official looking watermark. But then he had to ruin it by adding that signature line...

So the moral of this story? Stay in school, kids. If only to gain the knowledge needed to successfully forge a document later in life- even a high school education pays off.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Housewife of the Year (Or at Least the Month of September...)

Disclaimer: the following post consists mostly of me bragging about my new found "house-wiving" skills. It also contains incriminating details about the kind of music I listen to when Brock is not home. Basically, read at your own risk. (I'm sorry, I am just really proud right now and feel the need to brag via Blogger.)

Due to Brock's new work schedule, I am now spending every Saturday husband less. This doesn't thrill me, but I have decided to make the best of it by actually using the time constructively. Let me explain. I don't know if it's because we're newlyweds and still just thrilled to be around each other or what, but for some reason I feel like when Brock is around, I never seem to get anything done! I think it is because since we both work full time, we only get to spend a few hours together every day; neither one of us is about to spend that valuable time vacuuming crushed goldfish crackers off the floor or folding the laundry. Yes, we've been living out of a heap of clean laundry that's been piled on top of the living room chair for a week now. And yes, there has been a ground up goldfish cracker underneath the coffee table for a few days too. Hey, if were still in one piece there's no way it would still be there. I'm a firm believer in the "5 day" rule. 

So I took advantage of today as an opportunity to make some progress on the cleanliness/hygiene of our apartment. I literally tackled every square inch of this place (which isn't actually all that many). Okay, maybe not every inch, but you better believe this place is looking great now. I (gasp) actually moved the couches and vacuumed underneath them. Yeah, I know. Big time. That goldfish cracker, along with some other gems (fruit snacks...bobby pins...hairballs) are all history. And the bathroom? Let's just say that I'm actually considering a bath tonight. This wouldn't mean much if I wasn't completely disgusted by baths. There is something about marinating in a puddle of my own lukewarm filth that really sicks me out. Or maybe I've just never had a clean enough tub. So back to cleaning- I even dusted. As in, the inch thick layer of dust that used to reside on top of the tv, dressers and pretty much all other horizontal surfaces in the house has now been replaced with smooth, shiny cleanliness. And apparently taking out both bathroom trash cans actually makes a difference in how the entire place smells. Imagine that!

A few hours (and an air freshener purchase) later, the apartment was looking (and smelling) fabulous. I figured I might as well not waste this fabulous momentum, so I continued the domestic streak by applying my energy to the kitchen. An hour later, these babies appeared. Yes, you are looking at homemade whole grain banana nut muffins, my friends. With cream cheese frosting. (I don't know if frosting is a typical muffin component, but everything is better with cream cheese frosting.) I'd like to add some extra emphasis to the words "homemade" (no Krusteaz muffin mix for this domestic goddess) and"whole grain" (because anything made with whole grains is healthy, even if it's slathered in cream cheese frosting and cinnamon sugar, right?)

Admittedly, this painfully amateur photo is actually the best of multiple shots. I don't know how these "pro food bloggers" seem to get such appetizing shots of their culinary creations! 

I'd like to pay a quick tribute to what really made today's feats possible: my stretch leggings from Costco and the fabulous new mix on my iPod. Kirkland really knows how to make a pair of pants, I'll tell you that. Somehow these guys suck in the trouble spots while still allowing breathable comfort. And somehow they make me feel like I could do the splits if I really wanted to. But I just don't want to. ;) I never could have squatted behind the toilet for so long without them. Oh, and by "new mix" I definitely don't mean mix of new songs. Let's just say there is no way I could have cleaned for 3 hours straight without a mix containing the winning combination of Wilson Phillips, Keith Sweat and songs found on the Goofy Movie Soundtrack. Had Brock been here today to witness this musical selection, I doubt he'd ever let me live it down. I'm still getting crap from the time I suggested we bump some Maroon 5 on a road trip...

If I were more confident in my cooking skills, I'd post the muffin recipe. However, I got the recipe off the back of a yogurt container, which I may or may not be able to cite as a credible source. Also, I haven't actually tasted them yet. I was so smitten by the fact that they actually slid right out of the muffin tin, yet didn't come out charred, that I kinda wanted to bask in the moment for a while. 

I can't wait for Brock to come home to be greeted by a clean, Febreeze scented apartment with a plate of muffins and a spandex clad wife waiting for him. And possibly a little Keith Sweat. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Situation in Which I Will Never Be a “Cool Wife”

For the most part, I consider myself a pretty cool wife. I keep the fridge stocked with Costco hotdogs, I give a mean full back scratch (as opposed to the all-too-common partial back scratch which consists of repeadedly running the fingernails across the same two inches of skin, practically burrowing a hole through the shirt) and I actually enjoy watching shows on Comedy Central. I can quote Dave Chappell with the best of ‘em! (Well, my accent might be a bit off…)

But when it comes to the sport of football, I will just never be cool.

I absolutely hate football.

I’m sorry. I wish I didn’t. But I do. Maybe it’s because I’ve never played it myself, and therefore don’t appreciate the skill involved. Maybe it’s because I was too busy flirting/socializing during my own high school football games to actually learn the rules. I guess I just don’t see how the things the players are doing are that impressive. I mean, in baseball I find it amazing that the players are actually to use a wooden bat to make contact with a ball moving over 90 mps. In basketball, it fascinates me that those players can run for hours non-stop, and consistently shoot the ball into a foot-wide hoop. In football? I just don’t see what is so impressive about a bunch of fat people crashing into eachother. And that only lasts about 3 seconds. Then everyone gets to rest for 5 minutes. 

Anyway, a few nights ago the Arizona Cardinals hosted the Denver Broncos in a pre-season football game. Since it was a pre-season game, tickets were available for literally $3. So of course, we had to go.

Honestly, here are my problems with football.

1.     Why does the game have to be SO long? I mean, the fact that it takes an hour to get through a 15 minute quarter is just ridiculous. But if that’s how the game is played, why can’t they switch these 15 minute quarters to 15 minute halves? The game would still be a good two hours. Which is still plenty long, in my book.

2.    Why is there more time-out than time-in? I’m not kidding, WAY more time is spent huddling/discussing plays/standing there than actual play time. The second things actually get exciting, the whistle blows and the clock stops. And the huddling resumes.

3.     Why isn’t the football brightly colored? I mean, at this particular stadium, the goal posts have been painted bright yellow-green. I assume this is so they can be easily seen, right? Well, why can’t they spray paint the ball this color? Because I personally don’t think I actually saw the football once down there. This can probably be blamed on our nosebleed seats, but still- I can’t even see the ball when it’s on HDTV! The players have it cradled up all secretly in their arms when they’re running with it. Then they throw it so far and fast, I have no idea it’s even moved.

In hindsight the game was actually pretty fun, but not because of the game itself. We met up with our friends Greg and Lindsey Smart. Luckily Lindsey and I are on the same page when it comes to football so we were able to spend the last half of the game discussing important matters, like the outcome of last Monday’s “Bachelor Pad” episode. Plus, the people-watching was great. I’ve never seen so many belted jerseys worn as sexy mini-dresses. Here are a couple of pictures from the evening. 

 Despite having worn my glasses, I still couldn't tell what was going on down there.
 Greg and Lindsey. I was jealous that Lindsey looked so stylish and cute.
 Token "boys picture".
 And yes, the token "girls picture".

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Things I Miss Most about Utah

Cafe Rio

Naturally, food is the first item to make my list. After having battled cravings for six weeks, Brock and I finally made the 45 minute drive to the Gilbert, AZ Cafe Rio this afternoon. Their pork very well could be laced with crack. Withdrawl symptoms usually kick in about ten minutes after I've finished the above pictured beauty. Although I feel lucky to still have Cafe Rio as an option down here, I definitely miss having the luxurious and tasty option of dining there once a week. (At least.) 

The Canyon

Although of course I didn't realize it during the 18 years I lived ten minutes away from it, I am convinced that Provo Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Well, at least in this part of the country. I may have a slightly distorted memory of the place, because the month right before we moved happened to be the most beautiful it  has ever looked. Because of the loooong winter, the grass and trees were extra green and the river was higher than I'd ever seen it. Brock and I went on walks in the canyon about once a week the entire time we lived there. We even got engaged there! I also have great memories of long morning canyon runs with some of my best friends last fall. As great as Arizona is, I doubt I'll ever find a place that compares to Provo Canyon.

Family (duh)

Family should have been number one on here, but to be honest, a Cafe Rio salad picture was easier to google and upload. Being away from my family for the first time in my life has proved to be MUCH harder than I thought it would be. Living ten minutes away from my parents was always so convenient, I'm afraid I sometimes took it for granted. Why wasn't I over there every single free minute of every day? I feel so lucky to have such an awesome family who support Brock and me in everything we do. There is always something going on at my parents house; there is never a dull moment. I have the most fun, laid back hilarious family ever. This picture is missing Jeff (although there are some with him photoshopped in floating around somewhere) who I also really miss. He'll be home in February from his LDS mission to Germany. He and his new brother-in-law will get along great. Then there is the Sargent family. I am so grateful I got to marry into such an awesome family! They made me feel so included and comfortable from day one. (I was the nervous, probably awkward girlfriend on my first ever "meet the parents" trip.) They are always so much fun and I miss them like crazy too. I can't wait for it to cool down here, so we can hopefully get some visitors!

My Besties

I have never been much of a phone-talker until we moved. Now I find myself searching through the contacts in my phone every time I have a few minutes to kill. My drive home from work flies by when I'm having a nice chat. Even though I can't be there to go to lunch with, exercise with, or just hang out with my favorite girls, I know that we'll all stay in touch.

My Old Job

I don't have a picture of this (I am also sick of uploading things. I have a new found respect for professional bloggers and the effort they put into all of this uploading!) I know I've always said it, and I probably always will, but I seriously feel lucky to have worked at Magleby's all during college. I'm pretty sure that never again will I find a job that I actually enjoy doing. I loved being a server. I loved that the shifts were laid back and flexible, I loved making tips and walking home with cash at the end of the night, and I loved the people I worked with. I am now working 9-5 which is what grown ups do. This is normal and this is good. I know I can't just dink around and wait tables with my best friends forever. However,
I do realize how good I had it back in the day.

Maybe I am just a total "grass is greener" person. Because as much as I miss Utah now, I specifically remember being absolutely thrilled when I found out we were moving to Arizona. I couldn't wait to get out. And you know what, as much as I miss things back there, I really do like it down here. I mean, we haven't even been here a month! Sometimes I get kind of lonely and homesick, because I put everything in Utah on a pedestal. I remember the beautiful sunny days, the baseball games, the fun nights out etc... I tend to filter out the early mornings scraping the car, the months and months of rain, and the beauty (lack thereof) of State Street in Orem. All of my memories are there. Of course I don't have any fond memories here. There hasn't been enough time to make any! I really do like it down here. When it comes down to it, I like Arizona because this is where my husband is and as long as I'm with him, things are good!  

Friday, July 22, 2011

...however, we do have a modeling job available...

I have always been proud of my ability to laugh at myself.

When crushing, life-altering situations arise (ie. missing an episode of “The Bachelorette” or arriving at Chilis ten minutes after closing) I am pretty good at using laughter to cope. However, for some reason I tend to get embarrassed by really small, stupid things. Things that should not be embarrassing, but for some reason are! I cringe at memories of strutting around campus confidently, only to find out later that my backpack was partially unzipped the entire time. Why is this so mortifying to me!? It’s not like anything particularly incriminating was exposed. Well, aside from the Chelsea Handler paperback and melted fruit-by-the-foot tucked in with my Health Science textbooks…

Maybe it’s because I’ve had a lot of free time, but it seems I’ve recently had more than my fair share of these experiences. Here are some highlights- or to be more accurate- lowlights.

Since I have yet to find a job, I’ve dedicated myself to being the best housewife possible. I’ve actually begun sorting laundry into appropriate color loads before washing, vacuuming the carpets before the visible toast crumbs/popcorn kernels/dirt clods appear and cooking dinners that require the chopping and stirring of ingredients, as opposed to pressing “high-3 mins” on the microwave.  As part of this “ideal housewife” persona, I’ve also taken it upon myself to regularly visit our apartment clubhouse gym.

I’m usually the only one there. The Barossa Apartment residents seem to prefer carne asada fiestas over the Stair Master. (Actually, I do too. I just can’t afford to buy bigger clothes.) The other day I actually had a work out companion. A Black or maybe part Hispanic boy in a do-rag who looked about 15 years old was pumping some iron. He was probably getting ready for nearby Aqua Fria High School’s football season. I had been going strong on the treadmill due to extra energy provided by a few bagels and an excellent workout playlist. I needed a drink, so I stopped and removed my headphones. To my horror, my music was blasting for all (well, both) to hear. The weight room was too quiet, and my ipod volume too loud. The song was sort of tinny and far away sounding, but every lyric and note was easily being heard by Mr. Aqua Fria High, who gave me a curious look when I sheepishly paused the music, cutting off the upbeat chorus of a song that came straight from the Space Jam soundtrack. I felt myself turn red. Why did this embarrass me so much? Again, this was not even a big deal! I quickly reviewed the songs in my previous lineup to assess the damage. Katy Perry, Lil’ Wayne, some random Fleetwood Mac… not too bad. Uh oh. Not only had I listened to Tupac’s “Life Goes On”, I had listened to it twice in a row. (In my defense, it has a good running beat.) I thought of Aqua Fria High watching me, a painfully white girl, thumping out a 12 minute mile to a tribute to victims of the streets and homies doing life etc. No doubt this kid had more street cred in his pinky finger than I’ll ever have in my life. I imagined him shaking his head in dissaproval. “She knows nothing about the hood life,” he’d be thinking. Ugh, and then there was the Space Jam song…

Yesterday I was applying for jobs via Craigslist. One job in particular asked for a resume and a picture. I couldn’t find a decent picture of myself- all recent pictures seem to be of me in my Yellowstone t-shirt. I decided to take matters into my own hands (or hand, I guess) and take a picture of myself to upload. I came up with a decent shot (again-decent, not great-this is important) and sent it along with my resume. I made sure to crop out most of my arm that was extended out towards the camera.
(Notice the obviously outstretched arm-
dead giveaway that it was self-taken. 
The messy kitchen has been cropped out)

Now I don’t know what posessed me to do this. I don’t know if it was a sudden surge of confidence due to endorphins from the treadmill, or my increased alone time making me crazy. For some reason, I felt it might be a good idea to attach this “head shot” to my email responses to all my application emails- even though no others asked for one. Again, I don’t know what I was thinking! I mean, how tacky is that, right?! I thought about it for the rest of the day, wishing I could retract those emails. I personally would jump at the chance to make fun of someone for sending an unrequested picture with her cover letter. Especially since it wasn’t even a nice, professional picture. It was a crappy self-taken shot with a messy kitchen in the background.

Before I went to bed last night, I checked my email. I had gotten a response! I opened it.

“Carolyn, the receptionist position has already been filled. However we do have a modeling job available. ;) Sincerely, Joe Something-or-Other”

Oh my gosh. I totally got called out. I wasn’t fooled for a second. This was not a modeling job offer. Believe me, I watch a lot of “America’s Next Top Model”-mine was no gig-worthy head shot. This email was a blatant stab at my bad behavior and I completely deserved it! The job was at a Collision Repair company, for heaven sakes. Unless this modeling job was for MySpace, Joe Something-or-Other was making fun of me. Lesson learned.

The last awkward instance happened while interviewing for a job. It wasn’t a typical interview at an office. The company hadn’t fired my predecessor yet so our meeting was covert in nature; I was to meet my interviewer at a local coffee shop. I arrived 45 minutes early. (I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get there and wanted to be safe.) I filled the time by looking Susan (my interviewer) up on Facebook. I was slightly worried I wouldn’t know who she was. For all I knew, she could already be there, nestled up in a booth with a laptop and cappuccino. It’s not like we’d both arranged to appear with red roses or anything. When she arrived, I stood up.

“Hi Susan,” I greeted her in my most personable, “hire-me” voice. She greeted me warmly and we exchanged a solid handshake. (I pride myself on my firm handshake.) Then I ruined it.

“I stalked you on Facebook,” I blurted out. It was silent for a good seven seconds. Which is a long time when you’re suddenly being watched by every poem reading hippie in the place. “You know, so I’d know who you were…” I fumbled, trailing off.

“Oh!” She sounded a bit alarmed. It was quiet for another few seconds. Crap, that one really did not land.

Despite my facebook blunder, the interview went pretty well. Although about halfway through I realized that everybody in the coffee shop had tuned in to my interview. Not only was I trying to convince Susan that I had what it took to be a fabulous assistant, I was performing for all of “The Urban Bean’s” staff/customers as well. At one point I said something really cliché- something about taking the initiative- and I could have sworn I heard a snort/chuckle coming from behind a bearded man’s laptop.

I’ll find out about the job next week. I may have humiliated myself at the interview, but at least I didn’t send them a picture.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Legend of Joe Greeson

Aside from throbbing zits that won't pop and DVDs that skip during the climax of "Prison Break", there is nothing more frustrating to me than rental housing contracts.

If I were a property manager, I like to think I'd be empathetic (not to mention Christlike) enough to work with tenants and be flexible with exit dates and liberal about additional fees. Especially if said tenants were absolute model renters. Renters who always got their full rent check mailed weeks in advance. Renters who put up with a kimono wearing techno enthusiast living upstairs for six months. Renters who literally went through four paper towel rolls, three Windex bottles and a gallon of bleach the day before cleaning check.

As you can probably guess, this was not the case with our previous landlord. Our contract was about as thick as a National Geographic and peppered with nit-picky clauses and addendums. Every detail was spelled out down to the last nail hole and cobweb. ($5 a pop if either are found after check out.) Another annoying little clause was brought to our attention when we found out we were moving. The contract stated that not only were we responsible to pay a nice little "early exit fee", we also had to find a new tenant to take over the remaining months on our contract. So the Craigslist ad was written and fortunately the calls/emails started coming in.

When we got the first email from "Single White Guy", we dismissed it as a joke. Craigslist responses are notorious for being scams, after all. (After recently applying to about 40 jobs via Craigslist, the only response I got was from some character named Jose Pancreas offering me $1,000/week to work from home. This was all in broken English, of course, and ended by asking for my Social Security number and bank account info. Jose Pancreas? I'd just love to know what was going through that hacker's mind when he came up with that creative little Latino name/vital organ combo...)

Okay, back to "Single White Guy." In his email, Joe Greeson introduced himself in great detail, making sure to include all important information including his height (5'10") weight (180-185 lbs) and the fact that he works out often. With weights. (I'm dead serious here.) He then explained that he was a retired Fidelity Securities Trader with an excellent credit score and solid references. Sick of the crime rate in Tuscon AZ, he was looking to move up to Provo. This single white guy was extremely interested in the apartment and expressed a desire to come look at it ASAP.

Like I said, we assumed this email was a scam, so we had a good laugh then forgot about it. But then, like a true business professional would, Joe Greeson decided to take the initiative and placed a follow up call. He chatted Brock up for a good 30 minutes, furiously selling himself the whole time. The phone call ended up with arrangements made for Joe to come see the apartment in a few days. I don't know if I'd drive 14 hours plus just to see a ground level apartment in South Provo, but hey if the guy wants to take over our contract, I'm all for it!

The next day was a Sunday. Brock and I were still up in Idaho at Brock's family's cabin, but we were planning on leaving the following day. We got a call from Joe that evening. Really, how on-the-ball is this guy? He actually wanted to check in with us and let us know that he had just arrived in Provo. He continued by informing us that he was exhausted from driving all day and going to bed early. Whew, thanks for the info, Greeson. Good thing you let us know; we had been planning on a nice phone chat later that night. Just kidding. Brock sent him a text explaining that we'd be home the next day and he could drop by then.

On Monday night, we rolled back into town. I dashed straight to the mailbox and began rifling through the J Crew catalogs and Costco leaflets, in search of the NetFlix Prison Break DVD. It was there! I was so excited to get Season 2 started, I almost didn't notice the small note scribbled on a piece of Travelodge stationary. In shaky, old man (white man, to be specific) handwriting, it said:

"Hi. I'm on my way back to Arizona. This town is trashier than Arizona. -Joe"

Really Joe? You drove 14 hours to look at the outside of our apartment, only to turn around and leave hours later? I was overcome with a variety of emotions. I was shocked that somebody (a supposedly successful businessman none the less) would actually make that much effort for a $625/month apartment. I mean, between the hours spent drafting that email, keeping in touch via cell phone on a daily basis, and the 14 hours he spent driving up, this ordeal was a time commitment! I was hurt that after only minutes in my hometown, he decided it was trashy. On that note, I was confused. What could he have possibly seen that would convince him that Provo is trashier than Tucson? I mean, unless he took a scenic stroll by the Provo Town Center mall... Still, overall Provo is a pretty nice area, right?  Lastly, I felt violated. How creepy is that? Some old dude was lurking around the outside of our house, probably trying to look in windows. He probably looked through our mail as he left his note. Ewww. 

We've now been moved out for over a week. We still haven't sold our contract, but we actually only have a month left on our lease so it's not really a huge deal. We would like to give Joe Greeson- Tucson's infamous "Single White Guy"- a huge thank you for providing us with jokes that still haven't gotten old. Not quite, at least. 

You stay classy, Joe Greeson.

Friday, July 8, 2011

4th of July/My Birthday

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much of a birthday this year. With all the hassles of moving/getting situated, I figured the early July holidays would kind of get pushed under the rug. And I was fine with that! From all the "grown up" experiences we've had lately (moving, buying a freaking couch etc.), not to mention the new stuff (again, new apartment, new couch etc.), I feel like I have already had a lifetime's worth of birthdays. But of course, my sweetheart of a husband wasn't going to let this quarter century event go by uncelebrated. I always think of the 4th of July and my birthday as one long holiday, so here are pics from both days.

 We ventured to downtown Phoenix for some sort of 4th of July celebration. As was expected, there were plenty of ice cream cones enjoyed and Neil Diamond songs played. Turns out Phoenix doesn't magically get cool when the sun goes down. After a few sweaty hours, we bailed early and didn't actually see any fireworks.

 Brock posing in front of some sort of military aircraft. 
 The morning of my birthday, Brock made me breakfast. Yes I am one of those people who eats ketchup with everything. I also may or may not have consumed an entire jar of jam with my pancakes. Hey, you only turn 25 once.
This car was NOT a birthday present. However, it's arrival did conveniently correspond with my birthday so this picture is being posted here. It is a Mazda CX-7 and it's most appreciated feature is definitely the great air conditioning. 

Brock is the absolute best gift-giver. Yes, I am incredibly easy to buy for; there is ALWAYS something I am wanting and I'm usually pretty vocal about it. Brock just happens to remember things and then go about getting them in a secretive sneaky way so I'm always surprised. These sandals were much needed, as my usual flip flops have recently turned my feet into a blistered mess. These sunglasses are not the actual sunglasses Brock got me, but mine are down in the car and I'm not about to venture into the 110 degree heat to snap a picture.  When I expressed a desire for "moderately priced sunglasses", I didn't actually think I would get some anytime soon. Once again, home run by Brock.

 Brock made me the cutest, tastiest birthday cake ever. There were only 24 candles on it, but who wants to buy 2 24 count packages for just one candle? We're on a budget here...
 Thanks to the generosity of certain family members, I got myself a new and much needed wallet and purse. The purse looks sort of like either a scripture case or something you'd strap onto the side of a horse. I love it.
After a day at the pool, shopping, dinner out and an Armegeddon-esque dust storm, we returned home to enjoy Brock's culinary creation. Take special note of the Yellowstone shirt I am wearing. I have now worn that shirt every night for 6 days straight. Best $7 I ever spent.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

115 Degrees is Hotter than I Thought it Would Be...

It's official. We are now officially residents of the state of Arizona. Like any major change in life, it will take some getting used to, but I think we're really gonna love it here. The move turned out to be quite the process. Luckily the gallons of sweat I lost didn't cause any water damage to the camera. Here are just a few pictures that were taken between fits of heat exhaustion. 
I orchestrated a little farewell dinner with some of my best friends the night before we left. All my clothes were literally buried 8 feet deep in the back of a Uhaul, so above outfit was resourcefully purchased (for under $20) beforehand. I didn't feel it was proper to bid farewell in the sweaty and stained shorts/plaid shirt combo I'd been sporting for literally three days. These girls are the best, hands down, and I'll miss them a lot.
Pumping gas in Kingman, AZ. Confession: the only reason I included this picture is because I think I look delightfully (and misleadingly) waif-ish and thin, like a withering reed about to blow away in the hot Arizona wind. Sorry Kingman- Mary Kate Olsen was not at your Texaco last weekend.

 Someone call the Lifetime channel- here is some quality acting. Brock displays his disgust at how expensive the Uhaul was to fill up. That $99 tank was one of many we burned through on the 12 hour drive.

 This was a fake smile. I repeat- fake smile. This picture was taken between emotional breakdowns- apparently moving sloppily packed boxes up three flights of stairs in 115 degree heat was among life's toughest challenges for me. Pathetic, I know. 

This time, Brock is not acting. This completely candid picture doesn't do the situation justice- there were way more boxes and much more sweat. Brock is seriously the hardest worker I know. I am a dang lucky girl.
 Finally, our apartment started to take shape. Here are some more pictures.