Tag Archives: tucson

OMG, it’s The Bachelor!

At the urging of one of my most hilarious friends, I last night watched the first episode of the new season of ABC’s The Bachelor.

In the important pre-show briefing between friend and I (carried out by telephone between a hotel in Chicago and a backyard deckchair in Tucson) I learned that there would be much ridiculousness, high levels of “boy craziness” and that a post-show debrief would be essential.

So I tracked down the show that evening and within moments was scrabbling around for pen and paper with which to capture just a taste of the truly amazing content. Here are some of the sparkling gems…

“I’ll be disappointed if Ben doesn’t eat some cow balls.”

This was from Amber, a big game hunter and a woman with clearly defined culinary views. I think she knows what she wants from a relationship.

“It’s really hard to have a conversation with him when he’s blindfolded and being fed different kinds of…candy!”

From across the room comes this objection from a contestant who probably wishes she’d thought of blindfolding the amazing Ben and feeding him something (presumably not cow balls).

“Rode in on a horse? She makes us look bad!”

Such are the whispers, bordering on outrage, that were to be heard after the entrance of a horse loving contestant on, you guessed it, a horse. How dare she?

“I’m at the point in my life where I’m a model…”

This is a comment from deep thinking contestant Courtney, reflecting on where she is in life. She also makes it clear during the evening that she has no need to feel jealousy as she is – has she mentioned? – a model.

Courtney may be above jealousy, or so she says, but there is plenty of it on display from everyone else. One contestant gets so overwrought that she spends the second half of the episode bawling in the bathroom and is late to the all important Rose Ceremony. The drama!

“He’s so real!”

And we mustn’t forget that our beloved bachelor Ben is from the get-go absolutely adored by each and every of the 25 contestants. No one says “well, he’s cute but I’d like to get to know him first.” No, they are all oozing phrases like these: “He’s so real!” and “He’s so sincere!” (Ladies, I saw the bit after the episode where we’re shown “highlights” from the rest of the season and, well, good luck with that. He appears to sincerely and really like several of you, possibly all at the same time but I couldn’t really tell.)

What a tragedy that I will not be able to watch what happens next, as we don’t have ABC in the UK and I don’t think abc.com or Hulu will let me in from overseas! I’ll never get to find out firsthand whether Ben ate some cow balls.

I think I’m going to have to go away now and cry in the toilet.

Yoga and my bicycle

English: Yoga 4 Love Community Outdoor Yoga cl...
Image via Wikipedia

I guess there are always things you will miss when you travel away from home, even if you’re visiting another place that’s ‘home’. Two things I have been missing while away from Bristol for the holidays: yoga and my trusty bike (whose name I now think is Petal, though she doesn’t always answer when I call her). Ah, to cycle in the warm sun on flat roads! Ok, Bristol isn’t entirely made up of hills and isn’t entirely devoid of sunshine, but you know, it’s December, or January (depending on the time zone) and, well…some people will know what I mean.

Anyway, no bike here. But yoga, yes. My brother and his girlfriend wanted to find a class while in town and thought, correctly, that I might be similarly inclined. They researched what was on offer and I awaited their findings. The class they turned up was a 90-minute Bikram Method class. Was I still interested? Now, I had never been to a Bikram class before, though I’d heard tales from those taking up introductory offers in Bristol. Lives being taken over during the introductory month! Sweat and money pouring out everywhere! Was it strangely regimented or something? If I tried it, would I keel over and be expelled from the class (like so much student sweat)?!

Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Reviews of the studio in question suggested that there would be “no shouting”. This we found encouraging. In fact, not only was there no shouting, the place we went to, Yoga Vida, was really welcoming. There was a lot of sweating, of course, but there was also encouragement and humour. And I felt great doing it and felt great afterwards. Yoga, I said I’d missed you!

Awww, a happy ending to this tale. How nice. Another thing I’ve missed of late is writing this blog. So here I am again. Watch out.

Dear Brown Boots

Dear Brown Boots,

I miss you.

I can’t remember where or exactly when I bought you, although I know it was in a secondhand shop in the southwest – either of America or of England. I sort of think it was around five or six years ago, and I know for a fact that you were once with me in Arizona because my sister was there too and thought you were pretty groovy. (I think you and I were both a bit pleased about that.)

Dear Brown Boots, you zipped up the side and looked good with jeans.

Dear Brown Boots, you helped me feel brave.

Dear Brown Boots, can you remember, did I buy you when I left England for half a year, to spend time in the desert, to take a hiatus in the city of my birth? I know that you were there around that time. I believe we used to sometimes go to gigs downtown together. Did you come out that night the Kissers, from Madison, played at Plush and I danced and danced? Do you remember Rasputina at Club Congress?

Dear Brown Boots, you know, I could have used your chunky heels the other night at the Anson Rooms. I still enjoyed the band but everyone in the crowd seemed very tall.

I think I have given up looking for you. I know that you travelled with me to Bristol and we settled in first one place, then another, and a third. That last time we moved, I know you found a spot to safely perch. I remember you were here. And I know we continued, as we always had, to go out from time to time together. But now I cannot find you.

Dear Brown Boots, I hope wherever you are you are happy. I hope you are not being held prisoner, covered in dust.

I hope wherever you are, you still sometimes dance. I do.

 

Dear Brown Boots,

 

I miss you.

 

I can’t remember where or exactly when I bought you, although I know it was in a secondhand shop in the southwest – either of America or of England. I sort of think it was around five or six years ago, and I know for a fact you once were with me in Arizona because my sister was there too and thought you were pretty groovy. (I think you and I were both a bit pleased about that.)

 

Dear Brown Boots, you zipped up the side and looked good with jeans.

 

Dear Brown Boots, you made me feel gooood.

 

Dear Brown Boots, so did I buy you when I left England for half a year, to spend time in the desert, to take a hiatus in the city of my birth? I know that you were there. I believe we used to sometimes go to gigs downtown together. Were you there that night the Kissers, from Madison, played at Plush and I danced and danced? Do you remember Rasputina at Club Congress?

 

Dear Brown Boots, you know, I could have used your height the other evening at the Anson Rooms. Everyone seemed very tall.

 

But I have given up looking for you. I know that you travelled with me to Bristol and we settled in first one place, then another, and a third. That last time we moved, I know you safely found a spot to perch. I remember you here. And I know we continued to go out from time to time together. But now I cannot find you.

 

Dear Brown Boots, I hope wherever you are you are happy. I hope you are not being held prisoner. I hope you are not covered in dust.

 

I hope wherever you are, you still sometimes dance.

Getting on with it, as always

Last year I wrote about the frustrations of unemployment and the joys of getting back into cycling. For me, both have taken strength, the occasional dose of courage and lots of perseverence.

With cycling I had to face my fear of mixing with faster, more “menacing” traffic. Like so much in life, I realised it is so much easier when you give yourself permission to take up the space you need to take up. Simple as that. And that if you don’t take a risk you give up the chance to feel the wind in your face and your hair as you hurtle down National Cycle Route 4 (yee haw!).

And a few other things worth noting.

1. The other traffic is mostly non-menacing. It’s just traffic. Like me, like you.

2a. One should not take one’s legs for granted.

2b. A sense of silliness keeps one from becoming too dull. One hopes.

I pledge allegiance to my legs and their united state of happy exhaustion, and to my feet on which I stand, one woman, under the sky, indefatigable, with licorice and rock cakes for all.

Bike sticker from Tucson, Arizona

Blog-a-week

So I thought it might be an interesting challenge to try to publish at least one blog post a week. I got the idea when I received an email from WordPress inviting bloggers to take up a ‘new year’ challenge of blogging every day. Me, I know my limits. Once a week is good.

I was thinking, for me, 2009 was a bit like a river, which emptied into the sea of 2010. I’m pretty sure I know what I mean by that, but I’m not sure what that makes 2011. Doesn’t matter.

What I want from 2011 is adventure, confidence and connection. Again, I think I know what I mean by that. While I ponder the year ahead, have a look at some pretty pictures from a hike I did today with my sister. We hiked the Bear Canyon trail in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

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We were in t-shirts, soaking up the desert sunshine. Really, really lovely to find myself exactly where I was (am!).

Next I’m off on a mini tour of the Midwest, where I will reacquaint myself with the concept of cold. Especially on the Chicago leg of my tour.  Gives me something to blog about, no? (Later in the month I may well blog about Unemployment Strikes Again, Top Ideas for Getting Out of the House, and 101 Ways to Doctor your CV. But for now, adventure, where I find it.)

If anyone’s reading, what are you hoping for in the year ahead? Please comment if the whim strikes…

New year, new stuff

So here we are in 2010. On New Year’s Eve Mom and I ventured downtown to ‘First Night Tucson’, taking in music performances at various venues, some improv comedy, even an Ansel Adams exhibition at the museum of art. (Very cultured of us!) That New Year’s blue moon was beautiful. Here it is as it hung over downtown Tucson that night.

One of my early achievements of the year is this genuine crocheted ipod cover, which I fashioned with my very own clumsy hands. The photo makes it look like a giant (it’s not, I didn’t go that wrong.). It’s based on the one here, but with a big old button instead of a bow. Quirky, no?

I am both excited and jittery about my upcoming travels. I have fears, but they are just fears and, really, what a nice alternative to work and winter I face. Besides, I have done far scarier things. Four springs ago I moved to a city where I knew no one. My first days in Bristol were probably some of the hardest of my life. I have nothing to fear from travelling solo. Not jet lag, not loneliness, not the things that will go ‘wrong’. It isn’t that those things won’t be part of my experience – they will. It’s just that it’s worth it for all the other things I’ll experience.

I’ve been reading Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach. She writes about the time she took a year off from her job in America and headed to Europe. She includes the ups and downs of her travels and speaks of the adventure inherent in taking off for parts unknown. I like this quote from the introduction: ‘you are a woman in search of an adventure, said the voice inside. Take the risk. Say “Yes” to life instead of “No.”

So, tomorrow: I fly to southern California, where I will stay with my dad and stepmom. The following evening they will deliver me to LAX where I will board that 14 and a half hour flight to Sydney. Me, a backpack (which I carry with authority, I tell you, you should have seen me parading around the back garden the other day…), and a daypack stuffed with novels, food, a passport and other essentials.

I’ll take my trepidation with me too. But hopefully, like Alice Steinbach, I’ll be ‘guided less by expectations than by curiosity’.

I’m a swinger

So lately I’ve been taking little walks around the neighbourhood here in Tucson, and one of my routine destinations on these little meanderings is the local park. At the park they have a set of swings. And I love swinging so I often throw myself into it with gusto. Nobody in the vicinity need know that the sunglassed person sailing through the air is actually 33 years old. Shh. But who cares anyway? You have to have a pastime.

So today in the park I saw some other people out doing what they enjoy. There were two older gentlemen practicing the art of metal detecting. Oh yes, very cool. One of them had suspenders (uh, braces) holding up his pants (trousers). I sat on the swings, unobtrusively observing them as they exchanged tips on the best methodologies. You know, like at what angle you should hold your metal detecting thing for best results. Then Suspenders/Braces started talking to his device, sort of good naturedly scolding it for giving him false alarms. I smiled to myself, but in truth I often find myself not only talking to inanimate objects but having heated (one-sided) debates with them, so I shouldn’t poke fun at the guy.

There was also a man and a woman in the park with their dogs. The guy called out to one of the dogs, presumably for doing or going something or somewhere it shouldn’t. Made me think that perhaps there is a universal ‘Hey!’ used across the world for addressing one’s dog while out on a walk. I suppose the accents change but the sentiment is much the same, isn’t it. Sort of a shorthand for ‘Hey [name of dog], steer clear of those metal detectors and that woman sitting around waiting for them to move out of the way so she can take a photo of an empty swing set to adorn an entry in her oh-so-quirky travel blog…’

swing set

And just to prove that there are more exciting landscapes in these parts, and should swinging fail to excite you, behold some scenery from Tuesday’s visit to Mt Lemmon. (Those from Arizona need not be impressed. Those from elsewhere, now please politely ooh and aah. Well done, thank you!)