a little bit more about me

My name is Beth and I accidentally have found myself living in Arizona but I'm originally from Tennessee. My education is in history and anthropology, which means that I know a little about a lot of things and can hold my own at a cocktail party in mixed company. I work in museums, doing all sorts of things ranging from researching and writing exhibits to cataloguing absolute wickety wak. I love comedy, baking, photography, my daughter, dogs, and above all else, napping.*

* 2013 edit: Oh yeah, and my new son too.

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    Entries in Phoenix (16)

    Wednesday
    Oct012014

    Tempe bike enthusiasts: just stick to your URL, please

    When I'm in a hurry, I usually tell people who aren't familiar with the Phoenix area that I live in Phoenix because it's just easier and faster than explaining that I live in the Phoenix metropolitan area but good GOD NO I do not live in Phoenix, UGH!

    Phoenix serves as adequate shorthand for a ton of satellite cities that all merge together in one giant sprawlopolis. But if I have time and/or am not lazy, I'll actually take the time to explain that I live just outside Phoenix in Tempe. It's an important distinction.

    Phoenix is enormous. It's more than 500 square miles big. Its growth has been made possible through nearly unchecked annexation of land since World War II and 20th century car-centered geography. Low-density housing developments seep farther and farther out from any urban center, leaving gaping holes in between - with all the residual effects. Basically, it might be the world's least sustainable city.

    Tempe, on the other hand, is much more compact. It is constrained on all sides by other cities, and so it leaned towards infill development and higher population density rather than sprawl. Something about it just feels more like a community than a giant city. It also just feels much more sustainably-minded than Phoenix. We have a solar water treatment plant, one of the city's golf courses is about to become a farm, and one of the big reasons we love living here instead of our giant sprawling neighbor is you can walk or bike just about anywhere you need to go yearround most of the whenever it is below 100 (so maybe 3 months a year). Now it's not just us that recognize the 165+ miles of bikeways- we just got named the 17th most bike friendly city in the US. We have this whole awesome bicycling community group here who's

    Oh Jesus their acronym is TBAG.

    I will now shut up about how hip my city is.

    Saturday
    Sep062014

    Unfiltered thoughts: what the...?

    Tempe is full of weird ass signs. Here's one.

    Friday
    Apr252014

    Yup, this one's about the weather

    Today is a nearly-May miracle. It's been only 72 and it's rainy-ish.

    Let me repeat that. Seventy two degrees.

    Look, I get how perfect that might sound to you, Dear Readers, who may still be mired in winter. In fact, some of our friends came in town this weekend *because* they couldn't stand yet another snowstorm and so decided at the last second to come here. They've invited us over to their hotel to hang by and in the pool all weekend. Here's how that conversation went:

    But it's freezing!

    "What are you talking about, it's 70 degrees today and supposed to be almost 90 tomorrow!"

    Like I said, freezing.

    Maybe unless you've lived in a climate like this, it's hard to relate to loving rainy, gray days as a byproduct of hating so much sunshine & warmth. But I do. (And I'm not alone.)

    So while they're hanging in shorts & swimsuits, I'll be inside, curled up on the couch under a blanket, sipping hot coffee, and watching a movie with the Dawdler.

    Thursday
    Sep272012

    So That's Where Summer's Been: Indoors with the Rest of Us

    As I mentioned a couple of days ago, every year I reach my breaking point. When I am just completely out of patience with the heat. By mid to late September every year I find myself thinking "Where in the HELL has summer gone?" as darkness falls earlier every day. But then I quickly realize "Oh wait. It was here." It's just that what I think of as summer - a season designed to spend as much time outdoors as possible - stopped by here way back in February or March. Then it just gets too hot to leave the air conditioning.

    But finally, things have turned. (Shhhh! I don't want the sun to hear me and plot its final revenge of the year). This week the highs are below 100 for the first time in months.

    Sh*t. I think it did hear me, because as I looked up the forecast to confirm that's still the case, the weekend highs are over 100, but just barely, so I'm still going to tentatively mark this one in the win column.

    Still. Last night, we went for the first of many nightly walks (now that it's not blisteringly hot), we found that EVERYONE has been going stircrazy with staying indoors. Normally, even once it gets dark, I'll see AT MOST 2 other people out & about at the park - usually walking their dog quickly before retreating back indoors. But last night, we saw no fewer than 38 people at our humble little neighborhood park. THIRTY EIGHT. A soccer game, a father teaching his son to throw a football, a family throwing a frisbee around, a family grilling some burgers, little ones playing on the playground equipment, and people just out having a nice night. In other words: all the activities I associate with summer, and always will, despite where I happen to live now, where the summer months are associated only with alternating between complaining about the heat and making a game of who can stay indoors more or log more hours floating around endlessly in a pool.

    So if you're looking for me, Baby & I will be in the park. Or out on a walk. Or off on a bike ride. Anything we can do to be outdoors until next summer arrives. Which, I expect to be around next February.

    Monday
    Sep242012

    In Which I Gain 7 lbs in One Week

    In addition to being sick, it has been too goddamn hot to set foot outside my front door. So I've not been going for the daily walks I so look forward to once summer is over. The September equinox may have signaled fall's arrival to the rest of the country, but here it just means that in another month or so I might be able to part the blackout curtains that are drawn all summer long. Which, here, is at least 5 months long, give or take. (Please take, by the way. TAKE IT AWAY. I daydream that some southern hemisphere equivalent of a Nordic god will come and throw his reins around the sun and drag it kicking and screaming right where it belongs: safely underground until further notice. Or maybe Vermont since I hear it's not all that sunny there? Maybe they could borrow it for awhile...) I get that I should expect it to still be this hot since I live on the surface of the sun but I am just over it. Every year I reach my breaking point, and this year, as always, it comes in September when it should not still be 107 (as it has been all week). I would be shaking my fist skyward as I say that but that would mean I'd have to expose my incredibly fair, delicate skin to even more sun damage. Where fair and delicate should be read as "formerly fair & delicate but now permanently sun-damaged and prematurely aged."

    In addition to being too sick and wiped out to brave the heat to get exercise, I've also been too wiped out to make multiple meals, which means we've been meal planning around Baby. Bad idea, as she has grown quite picky. Proper meals of a protein and vegetables - grilled chicken with vegetables, a lovely salad with fish - are all out of the question. She won't eat any meat at all, nor most vegetables. She's an utter carbitarian. A fruitivore. This means that our menus for the past week have looked something like this:

    • Mac'n'cheese
    • Spaghetti
    • Stuffed shells with pesto
    • Grilled cheese
    • Quesadillas
    • Leftovers of all of the above, served with sides of fruit and cheese

    On top of everything else, now I've got another issue to tackle this week: our dryer seems to be on the fritz. All of our pants seem to be shrinking...