Author Archives: Mary Vaughan

So Much Whining

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My weekend was a total bust. I woke up Thursday with a fever, and a throat so sore I was sure I’d tried sword swallowing in my sleep.  Many of our students have coughs, runny noses, and need hugs and hand holding and noses wiped . . . all my specialties.  I went to school Thursday despite my illness, knowing we were super short-staffed due to illness. I did not go to work Friday; I spent the next three days on the couch napping and binge watching Friends From College, Jack Whitehall: Travels with my Father, and looking at homes for sale. (I thought I wanted to downsize, however, there are no homes in our price range better than the one we’ve lived in for 18 years now, so we are putting that off for  now).

We had to cancel our Friday night dinner date with band friends (friends we met while our kids were in Corona marching band).  Fran and I had planned weeks ago for nine of us to dine at Ghost Ranch, a new, upscale New Mexican restaurant a mile from our house.  Susan tells me they toasted to my improved health at dinner, which I think is the sweetest thing ever!  Hubby chose to stay home with me, to make sure I was okay (also the sweetest thing). Saturday we were supposed to do a mountain hike and later, cocktails with my brother and SIL, but instead we ordered in pizza and wings from Barro’s, and I dozed on the couch.  I hate being sick. What a waste of a weekend! I’m just lucky my cough didn’t last long, and I only had to miss one day of work.

In better news, the weather in Tempe has been BEAUTIFUL!  Lovely cold nights, vibrant sunsets, and sweater days.  I have a whole dresser full of awkward sweaters I’ve accumulated over the years—I’ve been wearing the worst ones to school in order to get a thumbs up or a thumbs down, hoping to clear out the worst ones.  (Thanks to the friends who gave me honest opinions–I told Gwen I thought the one I was wearing made me look “lumpy” and she started us laughing until we were crying.)  Okay, that one goes to Goodwill!  Seriously, I own too many clothes, and am always trying to donate the chaff. Every December when I buy a calendar for the new year, I thumb through to November, where I immediately write in large red letters, “Do not buy any new sweaters!  You already own too many!” Last month when I looked in Patrick’s old dresser at all the odd sweaters, I nodded in agreement, and I thank last year’s Mary for her wisdom!

I’m sure some of you narrowed your eyes when I just said, “when I buy a calendar for the new year.” I do.  I really do.  Every year, I buy a glossy calendar at Costco that has large squares into which I can write important events.  This way everyone in the family can look in the calendar drawer and see what’s going on:  concerts, family dinners, vacations, medical appointments.  I assure you I am aware that there are shared family calendars on the Web . . .  but does my entire family need to know every time I have a haircut, meet friends for happy hour, have a staff meeting, or get a bikini wax?  I think not, so I choose to be old fashioned.  Plus, isn’t it kind of nice once in awhile to be “off the grid?”

This is a very boring blog entry, however, my goal tonight was to distract myself from the HORRIBLE NOISE in the next room which is Hubby watching the State of the Union address . . . . which I am completely loathe to listen to.  Hubby feels it’s imperative to be informed.  I feel like it would just make me sooooo mad.  I will gleefully listen to the Democratic rebuttal, which happens any minute. This night has always been sacred in our home, even when our children were small, be the President Blue or Red. We all would watch and listen and later, discuss.  I can only hope that very soon, we will be able to watch with hope and pride again.

Cheers,

Mary

 

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Pearls of Wisdom

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Can you believe one year ago I was dancing at my oldest son’s wedding?  What a magical evening we had with friends and family, good food, champagne, and all of us dressed to the nines. Patrick could not have chosen any better; we love Samantha so much.  She is kind, so bright (I mean super smart, but I also mean “bright” in that she has such a sunny disposition). She is generous, curious, and most of all, a lover of pets of all kinds.  I am so happy for both of them!

I am such a dork—even though I’ve kept their wedding announcement on the fridge for a year and a half, I invited them for dinner here tonight.  TOTALLY forgot it was their anniversary weekend. Rumor has it they spent last night at a lovely hotel in downtown Phoenix. Happy first anniversary to Patrick and Samantha!!!

I was thinking back on our first anniversary. I’ve always been one to love gift giving. For Hubby’s and my first anniversary, I had a balloon bouquet sent to Hubby’s office (those were a big deal back in the 1980’s). He arrived home in the evening with the balloons looking a little chagrined.  I’d bought steaks for the grill and a good bottle of wine and waited for my gift. After a while I asked him what he’d gotten me, and it was clear he hadn’t bought anything.  Granted we were super broke, but if he would have remembered, he would have known just a single rose would have been enough to make me smile.  So what did he do?  He pulled out of his pocket a pack of Juicy Fruit gum he’d bought for himself.  OMG!  I used to be such a hothead; I remember storming out of our apartment in a fury, walking up and down the street so indignant, certain I’d married the wrong guy.  He’d reeled me in with great gifts over the years, so I was hurt. Of course we patched things up quickly and fast forward to 30 years later:  it’s a joke in our family that the first anniversary is the “gum anniversary.”  Now we only exchange sweet, sappy cards for our anniversary which is easy, with no expectations!

Hubby and I met my freshmen year in high school, and we were friends for a year before we began dating.  We dated for two years–he was my first love!  He went away to college, and I’m still amazed that we found each other again when I was 22 years old.  During our teen dating years, he gave me so many thoughtful gifts.  I’m remembering one of the gifts he gave me that wasn’t exactly perfect:  a pearl ring.  I hated it. It was SO not cool.  It was so not me!  I was a petite blonde girl who looked so wholesome—I wanted to be dark, sexy, and cool.  I wanted to look like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan . . . and a dorky pearl ring did NOT lend itself to that thrift shop style.  BUT . . . I wore it because it was a gift from my boyfriend.

Back in the old days, my family would wash our cars in the driveway on Sunday afternoons.  I had inherited my Grandma Summer’s 1974 Malibu Classic. It was a long, red boat of a car which my friends called “The Flintstone Car” because some of the floor was so rusted out that you could see the road through the floor of the car.  All I knew is I had wheels—I had freedom!  We didn’t live in the best neighborhood, but I was 16 and didn’t think twice about taking off my rings on the driveway before getting out the bucket of soap, the hose, the big yellow sponge, and the shammy.  Yes, I forgot my rings there on the driveway overnight, and yes, they were stolen. I saved money from my job at Baskin Robbins for a month to replace that dumb ring so Hubby wouldn’t know I’d lost it.  And here’s the punchline:  Hubby didn’t even choose it for me.  His very Southern mom told him every girl should have a nice pearl ring. During our 30 years of being married, Hubby has given me so many gifts and the older I get, the more I realize the best gifts are our travels, our times with friends, and our three children.

I’m wondering where that dumb pearl ring is now?  I’m sure I have it somewhere in the house. And as it turns out, I do love pearls: sea pearls. I am my best self when near an ocean, and wearing my sea pearls reminds me of the beach. I wear my sea pearl earrings almost every day.  Unlike the cultured pearl which is perfect and smooth, each sea pearl is lumpy, imperfect, and unique; just like me.

Cheers,

Mary

A Lunar Eclipse at the Beach

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I’ve just arrived home from four days at my favorite beach in Puerto Penasco, Mexico.  Before I give you the trip report, I have to tell you something hilarious:   just yesterday I put two and two together and figured out that a “MAGA” hat is one that reads, “Make America Great Again.”  I’m laughing out loud at how clueless I can be!  I knew a MAGA hat was a hat worn by Trump supporters, but I assumed it was a brand name, you know, like Nike or New Balance.  Now I’m wondering how many other things exist that I don’t know about (but everyone else does)???

We always visit the beach on MLK weekend because it is a three-day weekend off work.  Even though it was colder than a witch’s tit two weeks ago, MLK weekend is ALWAYS sunny and warm.  ALWAYS.  I packed a different swim suit for each day, and only two tank tops and one sweater and two pairs of jeans (and undies and slippers).  Well.  The wind was chilly enough that I never dared to put a swim suit on, but instead wore my Awakening Seed 40th anniversary tank top the whole vacation. EVERY DAY. Luckily there was no one to make fashion judgements–I mean NO ONE.  Two elderly couples and perhaps two other friend groups inhabited the 25 condos and were practically invisible.

Hubby and I took long walks each day, peeking in windows of beachfront homes for sale, promising to start buying lottery tickets (I’ve only ever purchased one in my entire life, and it was so I could buy pre-sale tickets to a Dave Matthews Band concert).  Some of those houses are amazing with vaulted ceilings and balconies and grand staircases.  On our walks we saw dolphins, long lines of pelicans flying overhead, and noticed that the Osprey have moved away from the perch nearest us and taken up on a new perch a quarter mile east. I’m pretty sure I saw a few rebel (or perhaps lost?) Monarch butterflies on our walks.  You may recall we were at the beach in 2018 during a huge migration where we saw thousands of Monarchs over a long weekend. Blue Heron and White Heron played along the tide all weekend.

One night we ate at our favorite place on the water, Flavio’s.  It’s always been the opposite of fancy, but being as they are in the middle of a complete renovation, it was a downright mess. It appears they are adding a second story, but our cute young server had very little English and could not explain.  I’m just grateful that he understood when we told him the margaritas were clearly needing more tequila. He graciously brought us each a top-shelf shot, saying “on the house.”  I’ve been trying to mock up Flavio’s #43 Shrimp Stuffed Peppers for years and just can’t quite get it right. It is so spicy that it burns on the way in and on the way out, but it is sooooooo delicious. Hubby always gets Carlos the 5th, which is so rich that I don’t even want to trade bites. Imagine a large shrimp wrapped and grilled in bacon and covered in a thick white cheese. YUCK. It is tooooo rich.

Last night the thermometer read 65 degrees, but the chilly wind had us shivering in our jean jackets so we chose to eat indoors at The Satisfied Frog.  Interesting that Saturday and Sunday nights had been so crowded that it took forever to drive by the Malecon, the plaza filled with families and at least five different bandas (small music groups), and at least 20 different mobile food shacks selling churros and tacos and anything else you’d want. Last night it was dead, with only a few homeless men walking around with their packs, hoping to sell a trinket to buy themselves dinner.  We were happy to see the restaurant was open, and we had just settled into our fried dinners (mine shrimp, Hubby’s flounder) when all of a sudden the place filled with smoke and an alarm began to sound!  The poor old guy sitting near us jumped up in a serious panic (I wondered if he had served in a war—I’ve heard loud alarms can panic a soldier for their entire lives) . . .  but it was soon clear it was a kitchen disaster.  The fierce wind had blown down the wood burning pizza oven and blown smoke and ash all over the kitchen.  I couldn’t breathe and stuck my head out the window. The waiters laughed and said it happens on every windy night.  I muttered to Hubby that I am no engineer, but I’m pretty sure I could quickly invent something to place on the chimney that would prevent that from happening, and we agreed it’s probably something that is required in the States. Anyway, we REEKED of kitchen smoke all night, but we’ve been visiting this charming small beach town for almost 40 years and know how quirky it can be, so we just shook our heads and laughed.

I can’t believe I almost forgot to tell you about the total lunar eclipse.  It was spectacular.  Seriously breathtaking.  The night was chilly, so we wrapped up in our jackets and beach blankets and watched the moon disappear so quickly at about 9:30.  The sky was mostly clear; we were incredulous to smell the scent of the dump burning, something they seem to do on a whim. The burning garbage created a bit of a haze (and most def a stinky wind) but the sky was very dark, allowing for a perfect astronomical show.  The moon in shadow allowed the stars to shine, and as always, we sighed at the magic that happens every single time we visit our favorite little beach.

Cheers,

Mary

 

Catsplaining

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We’ve had a couple of lovely cold and rainy days this weekend.  Our house is drafty, so you’ll find me in thick socks or slippers with the fabric bag of Grandma’s heated beans on my lap or on the back of my neck.  Grandma bought it at a flea market thirty years ago.  I keep thinking I should cut a small hole in a corner to find out what type of beans are in it, so I can make bean warmers for all my friends.  All I know is you can pop it in the microwave for 90 seconds, and it comes out all toasty warm.  It smells a bit of oatmeal . . . and makes you feel super warm and cozy.

Speaking of Grandma, I miss her and other departed family members so much at Christmas.  I have so many wonderful memories of my grandparents, but that doesn’t replace being able to pick up the phone to have a nice long chat, does it?  I would call Grandma Summers every Thursday morning when my children were small.  She’d be sitting at her kitchen table, describing the scene outside her window.  Sometimes there was sunshine and the lilacs were blooming, and other times there would be snow with bright red cardinals perched on a tree branch.  She’d tell me about church happenings or about small gossipy things in her tiny town of Poplar Grove.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to have one more day with her, sipping coffee and eating coffee cake at her kitchen table!

Many of you will think I’m nuts, but I recently had an appointment to have my chakras balanced and cleansed.  The lovely young woman describes herself as a medium, and I found the whole experience interesting and helpful.  She immediately told me she felt the presence of a grandmother, and I knew she was talking about Grandma Summers. “Loves to bake, lives in a rural setting, on of your first experiences of unconditional love.”  Anyway, I have no need to prove or disprove this woman’s abilities; I left feeling light and happy at the thought of my dear Grandma looking out for me and wanting me to be living my best life.  AND it was cheaper than a therapist (ha ha).

Tomorrow I return to school.  It’s been a refreshing 16 days off with friends, family, food, too much tv (I binge watched all of This Is Us and A Million Little Things).  I read some really good books (Crooked Letter Crooked Letter and Tyler Henry’s Between Two Worlds.) I played approximately one million points in Words With Friends (I continue to be very addicted . . . it’s harmless, right?).  I tried new recipes. I played games: I had never played Mexican Train before (very fun), and Five Crowns and Carcasonne continue to be favorites. I ordered Chickapig because Dave Matthews is a co-creator on this game (and anyone who know me well knows I’m a huge fan of Dave’s), however, it was a little too complex for me.  I will try it again sometime when I am not drinking adult beverages, tee hee.

I realized a few days ago it was time to get back to work because I’ve been doing too much of what I call “catsplaining.”  You may have heard the term “mansplaining” which is when a man explains something to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.  I am not patronizing my cats, but am giving them words, or narrating for them if you will.  When Tilly and Maisie are getting ready for a fight, I speak for Tilly “I’m going to scratch your eyes out,” then Maisie responds, “Only if you can catch me, you old fatty!”  This type of behavior is worrisome to my family and to the cats. I need to get out of the house!

I just watched the movie Oliver Twist and have some fresh ideas about how to keep my preschoolers in line this semester.  Having them call us Ma’m and Sir is a good start, denying them gruel, and then making them scrub the floors are all on my list (jk). My goodness, that movie made me so sad!  I’ve missed my wee students and plan to arrive early tomorrow so as to get the most hugs before the bell rings.

Happy New Year!

Mary

 

My Christmas Tree Tried to Kill Me and Other Stories

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My Christmas tree tried to kill me.  I woke up every morning for weeks with a puffy face and stuffy sinuses.  My nose is red and chapped from all the nose blowing, and I’m afraid my face will never return to normal.  On Christmas Day I made an official proclamation to my family, my loved ones who reject the idea of an artificial tree.  “Hear ye, hear ye!  This will be our last REAL Christmas tree, so enjoy it today because it is coming down tomorrow!”  Yesterday we removed the ornaments and the lights and dragged it out back where we can enjoy it through the kitchen window.  It’s a 7-foot tall Douglas fir, and we sure had fun shopping for it with our daughter one Saturday morning early in December.  But I swear I’m feeling better, even though the danged thing has only been out of the house 12 hours.

After our guests left on Christmas night, Hubby and I hive-fived. “Another successful Christmas in the bag!”  It takes a lot of cleaning, shopping, spending, and cooking to pull off the perfect day, where our kids and their significant others enjoy their gifts and the meals prepared for them.  I’m loving my two new pairs of earrings and tickets to see Eddie Vedder at the Innings Festival in March!  William bought me a beautiful hand-carved candle in Sedona.  Hubby was happy with his new watch, and I surprised him with a 23 and Me kit.  I did mine this summer and found the results fascinating, and the cognitive tests were fun to complete.  Our kids just wanted cash, but Patrick was excited to see a shiny new Barbecue grill for their backyard, and, of course, everyone got new socks!

The last few weeks of school were CRAZY.  Each year our school has a Solstice Celebration at a nearby high school auditorium.  Each class (even the one-year-olds) performs a three-minute musical routine in full costume.  We practiced every day, and we felt confident our Threes were ready for the big night!  I’d have to give them a 7 out of ten for their performance, but it wasn’t their fault that a previous class left a bunch of shiny ribbons on the stage.  Our students began crawling onto the stage dressed like turtles to the song Somewhere Beyond the Sea, and it was all going so well until that first child saw the ribbons. When you are three and see something colorful and shiny, you MUST stop everything to check it out!  Our class got lots of laughs and applause.  At the end the teachers, students, and audience sang Feliz Navidad together, and it was a special moment for all.  Hubby took a photo of the stage, and when I saw it I burst out laughing. I look so serene, but what was really happening was Andrew and I were exchanging looks because it was obvious someone had poopy pants.  I narrowed my eyes and wrinkled my nose, he nodded, and we were both looking around to see if anyone was squirmy.  The show ended, parents came up to fetch their children, and I’ll never know who pooped their pants during Feliz Navidad.

Happy New Years to all of you!!!

Cheers,

Mary

 

Date Night

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There was a time last week when I was in our classroom (a swirling mass of screaming toddlers) that I thought I heard my phone receive a text.  I remembered hours later to check my phone, and yes!  There was a text from Hubby asking if I was free for a date on Friday night. Date night?  Hmmmm.  How unusual, yet how lovely! My first response was, “But . . . what will our friends do without us at Hop Central on Friday night??” Friday has become a regular night to see friends and to support this new local tap room near our home. The owners are still working their day jobs at Intel, and we are trying our best to keep them afloat, one IPA at a time. But how can a girl pass up an invitation for a date night?

Friday evening finally arrived, and as we were sprucing for our date, sure enough, I got a photo text from Louis which showed an empty beer glass.  I harumphed aloud, “Why would he wait until his beer was EMPTY to invite us?”  But I texted back that we were having a date night and wished the group a happy Friday to all.  It’s always nice to have an invitation, isn’t it?

Hubby and I headed out to this new place in Gilbert (a 20-minute drive) to a “speakeasy” called The White Rabbit.  One must get on their email list, then wait to receive the weekly password in order to gain access to the club.  We were intrigued!  We arrived and easily parked in the free lot directly across the street; typically parking in downtown Gilbert is very difficult.  At the door, we were greeted by two young men dressed in suits. “Do you know the password?,” they asked us in hushed tones.  “Penicillin,” I whispered.  (The establishment has a Prohibition theme, and penicillin was discovered in in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming while experimenting with the influenza virus in London. You’re welcome for the history lesson.)

We were made to wait five minutes before they moved the velvet rope and allowed us to descend to the basement lounge.  We opened the door to a dark, long hallway, lit only on one side and decorated to be an old-timey apothecary.  Rows and rows of antique medicine bottles lined the wall.  In front of us was a book shelf.  When I realized there was no clear entrance, I immediately felt claustrophobic. Hubby pushed at different parts of the wall, and both of us were feeling quite ridiculous. Then Hubby noticed a large brass rabbit on the book shelf and pulled it towards him. The bookcase swung open to reveal a loud, dark speakeasy with a long mirrored bar and a beautifully decorated space. The wait staff was dressed in twenties attire, and the whole vibe was very up and fun.

They are known for their craft cocktails, but eff me, I’m not paying $14 for a small glass of fruit juice with various splashes of six spirits.  The IPA I normally would pay $5 for was $8.  I reminded myself we were paying for the ambiance.  There were only six items on the food menu, and we decided on the meat and cheese platter for $18.  (I apologize; I am frugal in the most annoying way.)

It felt fun to be in a new place, dressed up, Hubby in a sport coat and me with my sexiest red lipstick and my hair up.  We held hands and talked about our days, sharing a kiss in the dark club.  Work has been so hard for both of us the past few months; it felt great to have this romantic end to our hard week.  We haven’t done this type of date for a long time. We smiled at each other over the candle light and listened to the sweet old depression-era songs.

Our meat and cheese board arrived, and I frowned. OLIVES!  Nothing on the menu mentioned anything about olives! I HATE OLIVES. And pickled peppers??? I HATE PICKLED PEPPERS. There were three different types of yummy cheeses, including a spreadable Guinness cheese, but only TWO crackers.  Seriously?  We asked the waitress for more crackers . . . and she brought us TWO more  (lol).

Trying to maintain the romantic momentum, I tried not to give much energy to the terrible smells of the olives and the peppers. I happily sipped my IPA and nibbled the cheese and sausage.  That’s when I realized the sausage bite in my mouth was so gristly. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to swallow it. I persisted, chewing that flavorful bit of fat like it was a piece of Juicy Fruit gum, but it did not diminish in size, and there was no way in hell it was going to fit down my gullet.

Hubby and I have been married 30 years, but it was DATE NIGHT.  I wanted to be a lady; I wanted to be on my best date behavior!   I waited until he looked away, then picked up the small empty dish that had held those vile pickled peppers. I quickly spit the gum-sized gristle into the dish . . . and somehow managed to spill the tablespoons of pickled juices onto my chest, down my cleavage.  I felt ridiculous.

A beautiful young woman at a nearby table nearly spit out her drink laughing at my discomfort.  Hubby looked over to see my chest and blouse wet. Embarrassed, I mopped at my chest with my napkin and said, “Good thing this isn’t our first date, right?”  Hubby laughed and kissed me  . . . and said, “I love you.”

Life is good.

Cheers,

Mary

Friendship

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It’s been so long since I’ve posted, but I’ve been so tired!  I love each one of my wee students, but every day is very physical and VERY LOUD, and once I’m home, my body feels so tired.  Sigh. I feel so hopeful, but it’s been very stressful. But it feels good to be doing good works, handing out hugs and tissues when they are needed.

BUT . . . life is good!  Hubby and I were at our favorite beach in Mexico two different times in October for long weekends (simply heaven).  Here at home, we see friends together on the weekends, and I see gal pals during the week.  Yucca Taproom is a classic dive bar that boasts as being the oldest tavern in Tempe; I know I saw live music there during my college years and only recently have been going back almost every Tuesday for their “tap take over,” which means they have kegs representing craft breweries from throughout the U.S.  Often there is a brewery rep handing out swag—I’ve gotten so many free pint glasses that I’ve had to find new places to store them.  (Don’t you love free stuff?)  Also every Tuesday it’s two-for-one for tacos ($1.50) and two-for-one baos ($2.50).  A bao is traditionally a Chinese dumpling, but the way Yucca makes them, they are more like a pita that is more doughy, with deliciously spicy fillings like fried chicken with pickled onion and cabbage, and Bulgogi beef with pickled jalepeno. YUM! The juke box (yes, I said JUKE BOX), has a great playlist, and last night, my friends sang along in a lively fashion to the song Brandy by Looking Glass. I don’t want to call my friends out, but they are just the tiniest bit older than me–I didn’t know all the words like they did since the song was a wee bit before my time.  We had a blast! Over the past few months, I’ve tempted many of our yuppy South Tempe friends to join me on Tuesdays at this old dive bar and all have been charmed. If you are local, let’s meet up next week!  You know where to find me  ;^)

I’ve met so many amazing friends at the school where I teach (a private school in Phoenix), but as people do, they come and go.  Tonight I invited to my home two Seed friends who no longer work there for a few hours of chips, salsa, and gossip.  It filled my bucket to be see their beautiful faces at my kitchen table. Lyndsy was supposed to bring her four-month-old baby—I opened the door and there was no baby.  I glared at her.  “Where’s the baby????”  I totally understand the need for a break from a baby on your boob, but hope to see her sweet girl soon! We had fun despite the absence of the cutest baby I think I’ve ever met, catching up on each other’s lives and laughing over little things.  Being with friends is one of my most favorite things in life (always has been).

When the temps get below 80 degrees, the Valley of the Sun comes alive. Every weekend there are more activities happening than one can possibly attend.  On Sunday Hubby and I had fun exploring the Scottsdale Canal Convergence which had ten different large-scale illuminated art works.  Due to the pouring rain, we’d missed Octoberfest at Tempe Town Lake, so this was a make-up event to walk around at night with a diverse crowd, enjoying a cultural event.  The Sunday prior, we’d spent three hours (!!!) at Phoenix Art Museum immersing ourselves in the many new exhibits.  As I meandered around nine large video screens, I experienced Ragnar Kjartansson’s “The Visitors” as a series of overlapping sounds and images. This montage shows nine different talented musicians all playing the same song. Picture nine large screens each with a different musician:  A woman is in her tattered night gown playing a viola. A man plays the guitar in the bathtub.  One screen shows a group of diverse people gathered on a Southern home’s veranda, who eventually join in with vocals.  One elegant Southern interior is featured on several screens, and I was amused when the guitarist from one screen moved to a different screen (with the hipster pianist) and both slowly lit cigars and smoked quietly together.  The song is so melancholy and the experience so immersive; I felt like I never wanted to leave.  I was completely enchanted; I had tears in my eyes several times.  GET THEE TO THE PHOENIX ART MUSEUM BEFORE IT LEAVES.

My garden is prepped and waiting for seeds.  Soon there will be a day when I am excited to plant those seeds:  arugula, radish, carrots, green onions, cherry tomato plants. I don’t want to plant on a day when I’m tired and cranky; I’m certain the seeds feel my angst. I want to plant on a day when I feel serene and full of intention.  It’s a miracle the oregano made it through our record-hot-summer. I reach my arms out in a hug and that is how big the oregano grew over a year’s time. I trimmed it down to half, sad to throw away its fragrant green stalks, but feeling happy to smell spicy all day and later enjoy its fresh taste in my chicken black bean chili.

Life is good.

Cheers,
Mary