Arizona, January 2020

… will I eventually end up living in the desert given how much I travel there? Yes. Yes I probably will.

In any case, I had two (well, three) main reasons to go on this vacation:
1. Free Desert Museum tickets from Visit Tucson that I had to use up before the end of April;
2. Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona half-marathon in Tempe; and
3. seeing B’s mom who’s trying out wintering in Scottsdale.

I mean, we’re probably going to head back down again for spring training, but that’ll be such a short trip without enough time to head to Tucson. So, this trip.

Wednesday, January 15

We left early as we always do … basically early enough to hit up the Starbucks in Pueblo as it opens. Despite the obnoxious construction going on I-25 between Castle Rock and Colorado Springs, it was a fairly uneventful drive.

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Though we did stop at a rest area to pee, and I saw this little gorgeousness.

As we’ve learned we need to see cacti first thing, we exited I-10 a bit early to go straight to Saguaro National Park (east side). This … was a genius idea. Particularly as the sunset that night? I have been WAITING for a sunset like that. You’ll see.

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… and B was worried it wasn’t going to be awesome …

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Literally in love.

Then finally off to check in to the hotel and hit up Casa Molina for dinner.

Thursday, January 16

This trip also ended up being a good excuse for me to be able to support some friends and get some green corn tamales. The kid of our good friends, Seton and Debbie, sold tamales over Christmas as a Boy Scout fundraiser. Since we all know I love me some green corns, I commented that “oh man, I wish.” Debbie said that if I knew I’d be in Tucson somewhat soon, she’d just freeze them for me. Sooooo … I bought two dozen green corn tamales. We met them for breakfast (at a new place, Baja Cafe, that was delicious) and tamale exchange.

After breakfast, it was off to use our passes to the Desert Museum. It had been a few years since we’d gone, so we were happy to do so.

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Snory Gila.

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… is it a desert trip if B doesn’t hug a saguaro?

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We paid extra to go play with the stingrays. I got super splashed. Which was kind of hilarious.

It started sprinkling as we left the Desert Museum and then it started raining in earnest on our drive back. We got eegee’s and tried their flavor of the month – tangerine. Tasted like a Sunkist … which I like, but it also meant that it was SUPER sweet. We also spent some time at a few of the Bookman’s locations, trying to sell some more of B’s old Nintendo games and picking up some books.

We got in a quick workout back at the hotel – just a run on the treadmill as opposed to our hoped-for bike, but we did get to see a rainbow.

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Dinner was January date night at El Corral (which we’ve done before, but hey, it works).

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Note to self: skip the bread, skip the fries, only order the prime rib.

Friday, January 17

We woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel, got coffee, and then got on the road. Our eventual destination was the place B’s mom’s renting in Scottsdale, but we had a few stops first.

Stop one was Cadence Running Company in Gilbert. A tri acquaintance owns it (who unfortunately wasn’t there as he was at a tri camp), but we were both able to find new running shoes. We’re both sick of specialty running in Denver, so why not try a new place in a different state?

Then it was off to downtown Phoenix to pick up my race packet for Sunday’s half-marathon before finally making it to Scottsdale. We ran a few errands with his mom, squeezed in a super quick bike ride, and then enjoyed a dinner with some of his family that lives down in the area.

Saturday, January 18

We started off Saturday morning by walking to breakfast at Randy’s, a place right around the corner from where B’s mom is renting. It was a cute local place (but beware: cash only). She had to return some stuff to the mall, so we went and got coffee while she did that. Then it was on to lunch and to see her sister and brother-in-law in Mesa (and to steal a whole bunch of the fruit off their trees). B and I got the golf cart tour of their community while the sisters visited.

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Saw this amazingly awesome saguaro during the ride.

The rest of the evening was fairly low key with a bit of race prep. B made me my standard breakfast-for-dinner which was amazing.

Sunday, January 19

Most of Sunday morning was dedicated to me running my half-marathon … which if you’re curious about how that went, go here.

Post-race, back to shower and relax before doing a late lunch in Old Town Scottsdale at a place called Cien Agaves.

They had a cheese crisp on the menu so we tried it … definitely not the best we’ve had. Everything looked a touch spicy on the menu, so I decided to chance the cheese enchiladas.

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My mouth was on fire the whole time. Also not the best enchiladas I’ve had. Probably would not go back.

We walked around Old Town Scottsdale for a tiny bit afterward before heading back.

The rest of the evening was super chill, mostly just getting all packed up.

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Evening sky.

Monday, January 20

We rolled out of bed super early and left around 4am. I made a quick egg at the house, but our first real stop was in Payson – for gas and for more food (tried out BoSa Donuts – pretty good – and, of course, some Starbucks).

Once again, the drive home was fairly uneventful which is always nice.

mil frustration

you’re NOT a child i know this seriously YOU’RE A FUCKING SENIOR CITIZEN i don’t want to revert resort to a meme but sometimes ok boomer i don’t want to misdiagnose you and maybe it would be easier if you actually were bipolar but i’m not supposed to use the term if you’re not ACTUALLY but i don’t know how else to describe it you’re a teenager and if i think of it that way you’re marginally easier to deal with but i swear you’re also as frustrating as a teenager (not that i’d actually know since i don’t have them myself)(nor will i ever) but holy shit you’re also not useless i know you’re not useless you’ve been on this planet so much longer and i’m sure you’re fine on your own but put a man around you whether it be your husband or your son (and so much always your son which is my husband now he’s an adult he’s a fucking adult can you not see that he’s a goddamn FUCKING adult) and suddenly oh no i know nothing i need your help do this do that and it chafes my modern feminist heart (which isn’t my whole heart but it’s enough of a section maybe that’s me being a partial elder statesman millennial i don’t know but holy fuck either way goddamn it CHAFES) and i’m not strong enough to ignore it and to school my face and maybe if i were in regency england or when you yourself were a child then maybe but i’m NOT i’m NOT and i won’t be i know i can change but i will NOT change in this because it’s not ME that’s the problem everyone else in the family likes me but YOU and YOUR HUSBAND and it’s all because i took your son and took him away (far far away) and you resent me for it and you hate me for it and i know there is nothing i can do to make you happy (except to pop out a million grandbabies and to move next door and to completely change who i am and) so is it even worthwhile for me to make the effort and i swear it’s not so i’m not i’m not bothering fuck you i’m not going to be happy i’m not going to be fake i’m not going to do it i’m staying me i’m not playing a role i’m not that good of an actress i’m not i’m not i’m not i’m sorry husband i can’t do it i know it’s hard for you and i know you’re struggling but if she’s not going to make an effort if she’s going to change her personality and be useless (how much do i hate useless) i’m not i’m not i’m not i’m not i’m not i’m not i’m not
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mil frustration, 1.18.20

On 2019 and 2020

I wrote quite a bit about 2019 in here already.

It contained a few concerts. I met Shinedown again.

It had some travel. A bit less than last year, but still some wonderful places – Las Vegas, Tucson, Madison, Bozeman, Yellowstone, Coeur d’Alene, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Mexico (near Tulum), and Amsterdam.

I don’t think I gained weight (for once), but I’m not sure I actually lost much, either. Maybe a few pounds. Maybe that’s not bad for being well on the wrong side of thirty.

I didn’t do the two super creative things I wanted to – finish that purse I’ve been working on and do a larger painting – but I did actually completely swap out my paints (… they were a little old and a little gross) and did a small piece. That I obviously forgot to share here. I did write a bit more (as evidenced by quite a few more drabbles posted here).

I didn’t really have a main goal in 2019. I don’t know if I really want to have one in 2020, either.

I’d like to try to get my house in order (both literal and metaphorical). Deep clean everything, swap some stuff out, continue culling items. Also acquire a few more things, but have them be more purposeful.

I would love to keep writing, and maybe even a book. If I can ignore and fight my brain’s natural inclination to self-edit EVERYTHING. Maybe if I hand write it I’ll have more luck. Maybe.

I would love to keep sewing. Maybe make a few more pillows, maybe finish that purse (hey let’s not get crazy here), definitely keep up with my mending pile.

I would love to paint more, too. I forgot how much I do truly love it.

Really, I would love to just continue being me and finding out who “me” is these days.

Books Read 2019

I actually read more than last year. Is it still a decent amount of novellas and Pride and Prejudice fan fiction? Yep. Do I care? Nope.

I did read a bit of non-fiction, though, and hope to try to read a little more of that in the upcoming year. Mostly because I have a crapton of it on my to-read list.

Melting the Ice by Jaci Burton
… if there’s a romance novel involving hockey players, I will find it. I *think* this one had to deal with a fashion designer and an old flame who became a professional hockey player, but I don’t quite remember. Clearly I need to reread it.

Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton
Set at an Olympics between a figure skater (mostly her story) and, surprise surprise, a hockey player. Marginally same universe as the prior book as the hockey player in that one is also in this one. Did enjoy. As I do.

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky
I’ve had this one on my to-read list FOREVER and I finally did. I vaguely remember trying to read this a few years ago and failing, but I read it this year. Really enjoyed this one. Great book from the perspective of someone who has worked in the hotel/hospitality industry for years. If you like to travel … read this. Or maybe not – you might see some things about yourself you don’t like. Pro tip: tip the hotel staff.

i can barely take care of myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids by Jen Kirkman
Another one that’s been on the to-read list. Since I don’t want kids, I was intrigued to read about her perspective on it. Definitely more of a comedic book.

Too Gentlemanly by Timothy Underwood
Like most things … started to read on FF.net, found it was published … bought it. I actually don’t really remember this one. Clearly I need to reread it.

What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen by Kate Fagan
I remember reading Fagan’s initial article on this story (… originally published on espnW, iirc). I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to read the book, but I’m glad I did. Great perspective on females in sport and the pressures they face.

Impulse and Initiative by Abigail Reynolds
Oh look, more P&P fic. Reynolds is a fairly respected published author of the stuff, and I actually found this in paperback at a used bookstore (Bookman’s, in Tucson. GO VISIT THEM). Regency style.

Pemberley by the Sea by Abigail Reynolds
Modern take on P&P where Elizabeth Bennet is an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Institute on Cape Cod.

The Missing Prince by Timothy Underwood
Magical take on P&P, but definitely not cheesy. Includes an unexpected villain, which I liked.

Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Bride by Elizabeth Goodrich
Quick, fun read.

Mr. Darcy’s Hidden Desire by V.L. King
… while my weakness for P&P fanfic is well known, the fact that it also includes P&P erotica is less so. This is along those lines.

Mr. Darcy is Diverted by Demi Monde
More erotic P&P fanfic. Ahem.

The Hidden Power of F*cking Upby The Try Guys
I remember the Try Guys from their Buzzfeed YouTube videos so when B had this on his to-read list … I kind of stole it first. And liked it way more than he did. Basically, each guy tries something way out of his comfort zone and explains the lessons learned and how you can adapt it for your own life. I can understand why B didn’t like it, but I enjoyed it.

My Alpha, Mr. Darcy by Caitlin Marie Carrington
Erotic P&P fanfic with a touch of fantasy involved.

Mrs. Darcy’s Masque Seduction by V.L. King
More erotic P&P fanfic.

Much Ado About Darcy by Jane Grix
Oh hey, first new Jane Grix title of the year. I believe this is also reminiscent of some Shakespeare, but as I haven’t yet read Much Ado About Nothing … I can’t be sure.

Relentless Pursuit by Kathleen Brooks
Next book in the Bluegrass Brothers series. I think I have one or two more. Clearly I keep forgetting to download them.

A Dishonorable Offer by Timothy Underwood
Sheesh, three by Underwood this year?

In Deep by Claudia Hall Christian
FINALLY the next novel in the Alex the Fey series. Much awaited. Loved as always. I’m a big fan of Christian; the Alex the Fey series runs parallel to the Denver Cereal (which is also amazing – GO READ IT. GO READ THEM BOTH). And, if you live in Denver/Colorado (like I do), you’ll recognize a ton. It’s great.

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
You know I love me some T. Kingfisher. This is T. Kingfisher horror. I read the ebook and then ended up also buying a paperback copy because that’s how you support your favorite authors, friends. I’m not all that much into horror anymore these days, but I had to read this given that it was Kingfisher. Super creepy. Super awesome.

Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher
In searching for The Twisted Ones, I came across this which I apparently missed that she published …? Cute little novella.

Miss Bennet and the Beast by April Floyd
I’ve read quite a bit of Floyd’s work before and I’ve liked other P&P stories that loosely parallel the Beauty and the Beast story. Not the best; not the worst.

A Girl’s Guide to Finding Her Happy Pace by Ashley Wiles
I’ve known of Wiles through her work with Live Feisty (and their Kona coverage). When I heard she was doing an IndieGoGo for a graphic novel, I decided to donate for it. It has a few errors, but overall, it’s a good story. I would recommend this for younger girls – probably 10-18. I might lend it to my sister-in-law who does counselling.

Darcy and Diamonds by Caitlin Marie Carrington
… you know, I only read this a month or two ago and I don’t entirely remember it. Clearly I need to reread it.

Properly Humbled by April Floyd
Purchased in a downloading spree before Mexico. P&P fanfiction.

Darcy and the Wicked Waltz by Jane Grix
Oh, amnesiac Darcy stories. They’re amusing.

Darcy’s Secret Garden by Jane Grix
Definitely a different P&P AU, but enjoyable.

Evenings with Darcy by Jane Grix
Part of that same downloading spree.

Darcy’s Mistletoe Kiss by Jane Grix.
Like pretty much all of Grix’s work, a quick, enjoyable read.

Fourth Quarter Style: 2019

… is it because it was post-IM that I had more outfits? Or because I went to a lot of weddings? Or both?

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Worn to the Denver Selfie Museum (think Happy Place from this post)(also I should probably blog about *that*, too).

Pullover: Skirt Sports
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind
Boots: JustFab Online

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Same outfit, but also in winter version. Worn to B’s cousin’s wedding in Chicago (as seen here).

Hat: Skirt Sports
Coat: DKNY
Dress: Eliza J
Tights: no idea
Shoes: JustFab Online
Clutch: Simply Vera Vera Wang (Kohl’s)
Earrings: Kendra Scott
Watch: Garmin
Bracelet: Express

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Greatest dress ever, worn to Jesus Christ Superstar at the DCPA.

Earrings: Sugarfix for BaubleBar (Target)
Necklace: Kate Spade
Bracelet: Forever 21? I think?
Dress: A.B.S. Allen Schwartz Collection
Shoes: JustFab Online

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At my cousin’s wedding in Mexico.

Sunglasses: Quay Australia
Earrings: Sugarfix for BaubleBar (Target)
Necklace: don’t remember
Bracelets: MantraBand, IRONMAN
Dress: Smashfest Queen
Sandals: Vionic

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Worn to Blossoms of Light and Rodizio for New Year’s Eve date night (tried to get better lighting; failed).

Earrings: Sugarfix for BaubleBar (Target)
Necklace: Kate Spade
Bracelets: MantraBand, Forever 21 (?)
Dress: Vince Camuto
Tights: A New Day (Target)
Booties: JustFab Online