Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day Trip

Today J and I went on a day trip. It took us through Apache Junction, through Canyon Lake and we made our final stop at Tortilla Flats. We were told if you go further past Tortilla Flats it is the 2nd largest canyon, next of kin to the Grand Canyon. We'll save that trip for another day.

We stopped at an old cole mining ghost town called Goldfield. You can pan for your own gold, watch a gun fight, have an old western picture taken, shop for gifts, eat at one of the two restaurants, get old fashioned candy, tour the reptile exhibit, take a train ride or a carriage ride. Afterwards we stopped at Needle Vista National Forest on our way to Canyon Lake.

We took the winding road up to the Canyon Lake lookout on the way to Tortilla Flats. It was beautiful! So far the best trip we've seen. We passed many different picnic parks, lakes, and RV parks on the way. We defiantly found some great places to come to this Spring to hang out or bring guests to. There is a steamboat ride you can do for lunch of dinner that we'd love to do (Steamboat Dolly). We continued onto Tortilla Flats and made our final stop at their restaurant/gift shop. the bar has saddles for barstools. Naturally, I wanted to sit up on the saddle at the bar. I've never been on a saddle before, which means I've never been on a horse either. We ordered a beer and split a BBQ pork sandwich which came w/ fries and cole slaw. It was delicious! We chilled there for a while and talked w/ our waitress a bit. The inside of the place is lined w/ $1 bills. It's a tradition that caught on over the years. People sign the $1 bills and they get hung up all over the restaurant. The menu comes in a newspaper along w/ some of the towns history. Tortilla Flats consists of 6 residents!

On our way home, we saw the beautiful sunset and couldn't wait to come back and see more!

New Years Eve we are going to the Fiesta Bowl game and the block party afterwards. We were invited by J's cousin who obtained 4 free tickets to the game and party. It is supposed to be huge! Lots of bands playing, several firework displays and lots of drinking and partying is going to be witnessed.

For you Omaha folks, I found this for your viewing pleasure: Design Sponge They talk about good places to eat and some things to do. I found it interesting.

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008


This morning I met w/ the personal trainer to get my meal plan. This is supposed to help me get to my goal weight quicker. It's one day's worth of food, but to be eaten everyday until the weight is met. If anyone is interested in the meal plan, let me know and I'll send it to you. I know I'll be tweaking some of it as time goes on.

DSW has been going well. It's the easiest job I've ever had and recommend it to anyone looking for some extra cash. Sometimes I'll end up talking to people for 15-20 minutes, so that helps eat up time. I've seen some interesting people come in, including a man from Canada who wore a turban. Weird. This one women told me her entire life story and another guy is a recovering alcoholic who used to be a in a rock band, but now does Christian rock and stopped drinking. I've yet to purchase any shoes, which is shocking for people who know I like to shop. I'm pretty good on shoes, in fact I'd love to buy new shoes and throw away my old ones.

The temperature has actually heated up today. It was about 70, which is a warm up from the 50's we've been having. The nights are still cold though, lows of 30's and 40's. It's been frosted over the last 3 days. I never would have thought it would frost in the desert. Gasoline has been holding steady at $1.47.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jack Frost

Last night we had our first frost. Our little patch of grass was pretty white. Tonight is supposed to do the same, except this time I've noticed people all over town covering their desert plants w/ towels. I don't know if it's worth me pulling in my plants or not, guess I'll find out if they die.

Today was another busy day. I slept in later than normal, took Tory for a walk then got ready to meet up w/ Mary and Barry at Abuelo's Mexican restaurant. It was a great meal, except it was hard to hear each other talk since the music was fairly loud. After lunch, me, J and Uncle B took the Charger over to Scottsdale for a car show. We were there pretty much the whole afternoon. Today's high was only in the 50's which meant we were all wearing our coats.

I'm not much of a writer when it comes to these blogs. I use this more as a journal for myself; it's fun to go back to re-read some entries and remember what we've done and gone through. Not sure if anyone from the Arizona vicinity will ever stumble upon my blog, but if they do, I be sure to include web sites and input about the places we've been to as a guide for others. Happy reading.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tis the Season for Blogging

December 24:
Christmas Eve is the day I usually go to church, eat and open presents w/ my family. This year we would have a mellow Christmas. I had to work at DSW until 6 then I came home and cooked supper then I talked J into going to church w/ me. He looked up a church that was close and we headed over about 7:30 for the 8:00 mass. The night before I had told J that it didn't feel like Christmas this year. He asked me why and I said because it wasn't cold and snowy, there wouldn't be any family around and no presents to open. Also, for some reason going to the Christmas mass made it feel Christmasy and it was tradition. J has never been to a Catholic mass and was pleasantly surprised. When we arrived home, I called to talk to my mom to see how my nephews liked my presents. After I hung up, J asked me if I was ready to open my presents. Now I feel bad because I didn't buy anything for him, including a card since we agreed we wouldn't buy anything for each other. He wanted to buy me some presents to make it feel like Christmas for me. How sweet :)

December 25:
Christmas day we picked up Uncle B and headed up to Surprise to have Christmas lunch w/ his friends. We arrived about 12:30 and started drinking wine and helping in the kitchen. We had an awesome meal of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, biscuits and jell-o salad. It was a regular Thanksgiving feast! We played a couple games of dice and enjoyed each others company. It was a relaxing, fun Christmas.

December 26:
The day after Christmas, AKA the new black Friday. We decided to wake up at 5:30 and go get us some Christmas decorations/lights/tree for next year. We started at Frys to see if they had the 9 foot tree we've eyeballed. The employees were just starting to get all the decorations together so we didn't see any trees at the time. We headed over to Home Depot to see what they had left. We found some good LED lights, garland, 100 shatter-proof bulbs and cheap Glade candles. It was then time to head to Wal Mart to see if we could strike up some more bargains. It was nice and quiet at 7 a.m. We made out very well there. I purchased gift bags, decorations, wrapping paper, bows, candles, plates, napkins and J picked out lots of LED lights. I have never seen J so happy about lights and decorations. We ended up spending $200 on decorations for the day. I had to head to DSW for a few hours where we were pretty busy. After I arrived home, we headed back to Fry's to rent a movie and decided to see if they had any trees left. There it was! The 9 foot, 1000 light tree-on sale for less than $200! Another purchase it was to complete our Christmas for 2009. The tree was originally $349 and we got a bargain for it.

Our Christmas was fantastic! The fun continues onto the weekend as well. Stay tuned for more story time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December 23

Yesterday I met w/ the personal trainer. He's supposed to set me up with a meal plan, but he ran out of time yesterday and was supposed to call me today to go over it w/ me. I've yet to hear from him. The meal plan will help me lose my goal weight which he said I should achieve by February 2. We'll see how this goes. Today my arms are sore from doing some weights.

Today was my actual first day of work at DSW. It was a good-easy time. Basically all I have to do is pick up the trash, straighten shoes, ask people if they need a bag, ask them if they want to sign up for the rewards program and if they need help. I'm not sure when I'll be up at the register, but so far it's all been cake walk.

Why do people bring their dogs in the store? I've seen this happen twice here. I don't understand how people have the guts and no brains to bring a dog in a store. They aren't little dogs either; they are big dogs on a leash.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

First Time for Everything

When I started my job search I posted my resume and filled out my profile for Careerbuilder, Monster and Jobbing.com. Not once did I get any leads or any response. Instead my inbox filled up w/ junk mail and millions of sales jobs, mostly for insurance. I also applied for many jobs using their web sites and never got a response. Most of these sites want you to pay them to get more exposure to your resume. I don't know anyone who has used these sites for job searching or anyone who got a job from these sites so I don't know if paying to use the service would actually help. If you know someone, let me know. But I don't think these sites work. Thank goodness my job hunt is over for now!

On a lighter note, on Friday J and I tried out another restaurant. After our first workout at Fitness Works we decided to head out to get some food, you guessed it, Mexican food! We tried a place called Si Senor. For $1o you get chips w/ 4 different dipping sauces, a large meal and dessert. This is J's new favorite Mexican restaurant. It is great that dessert is included!

Saturday Uncles B's neighbor, Anne, invited us over for her annual Christmas party. We headed over there about 2:30. It was nice to be surround by people, even if they were all older folks. Makes it seem like I have a bunch of grandmas. Anne made a huge spread of food! It turned out to be another good ol' Saturday. Another weekend full of firsts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Bi-polar recruiter Sarah from Chase called me today. She acted like she's never talked to me before and never mentioned my messages. Anyway, she offered me the Teller position and was taken back when I didn't accept it. Too bad, so sad bi-polar-unorganized-stoned-crazy Sarah.

This evening J and I joined the Fitness Works gym. I'm really excited about this place! They have classes everyday, a hot tub, pool, sauna and a steam room all included in the membership. Plus a personal trainer is set to work w/ you once a month. You can add some additional services like tanning, the spa, swim lessons or more personal training for extra costs. I'll keep you all informed on my progress.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Brighter Day

Yesterday's sorrow turned into today's joy. The gloominess of the weather doesn't help the stressful job search. My search is coming to an end on this sunny day... finally. I've accepted the part time job w/ DSW as you may know from a previous posting and today was my orientation. It consisted of me and another girl (a high school senior) watching a couple videos, going over the handbook w/ the merchandising manager and a store tour. The manager, Sandy has got to be one of the nicest women I've ever met!

Monday I had a phone screening call w/ Wells Fargo and had an interview with them today. The drive is only about 15-20 minutes away and the buildings are beautiful w/ a great view of the mountains. The interview went well and the man and woman who interviewed me were probably the coolest-normal-laid back interviewers I've had. I wasn't home only a couple of hours when they called to offer me the position. I accepted the position for their ATM/Debit Fraud Specialist II position. The only downside is the hours. It's not the typical Monday through Friday 8-5 job. I'd have to work Saturdays which means I'd have Sunday off and another day of the week. I'm still waiting to hear back from Edward Jones though.

You may remember me talking about the position at Chase I interviewed for. Well, when Sarah the recruiter called last Saturday, she gave me false hope. When I leave her messages, she never returns them. When I call and speak to her she constantly says "everything is so busy and crazy right now" she started to phone screen me again when I talked to her on Monday. When I told her I already had an interview w/ the branch that I was returning her call because I thought it was about that. She stated for me to call her back on Tuesday, that she'd call the branch to find out the status. I called and left another message on Tuesday, I still haven't heard from her. I was about to call her again today when Wells Fargo beat me. So forget about Chase and their unorganized-complaining-pot headed recruiter; hence she is probably the reason the position has been open for 2 months.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not So Dry

I thought this state was dry country, but instead it's been raining all afternoon. In fact, it's snowing up north and flooding north west and we're supposed to get about 3 inches of rain in The Valley. Um, people keep telling us that it only rains about 5 days a year. It's rained at least that much since we've been here and it's not even the monsoon season. The weatherman doesn't seem to know when it was going to rain and when it's supposed to stop either, because I heard him on the news saying that he was just going to add rain to the forecast from Monday through Thursday because he wasn't sure, LOL.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Almost Christmas

I can not wait for the Ferrero chocolate commercial to be over! Everytime that damn doorbell rings Tory takes off for the front door barking up a storm. It's not like I can catch the commercial to mute it since the doorbell is the first of the commercial. It takes her a while to calm her down from that, but it's funny at the same time.

I still haven't received a paycheck from my4 days of working at Red White and Brew. I called today and spoke with Stacie, I asked for Jackie and Stacie told me that she no longer works there. GREAT- just my luck!! So she turned me over to the new manager named Tim. Tim has no clue about anything, but he took my name, number and the dates I worked. I got out of that place in time and I'm sure Jackie got canned. HaHa

It's been a cloudy rainy day today. Snowing big time up Northern Arizona and even supposed to get some down in Tucson. I guess that's why we're called The Valley, we're at a low enough altitude to miss all the snow.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Creamy Pesto Chicken & Bow Ties

I'd like to share a delicious recipe I found in my Campbells Casserole recipe book. I made the fabulous dish this past week and I have added it to my list of the best main entrees I've made.

Prep/Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

3 Cups uncooked bow tie pasta
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 Pound skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 Can Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken (can do fat free too)
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 Cup prepared pesto sauce

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Heat butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned, stirring often.

Add soup, milk and pesto sauce. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in pasta and heat through.

My Notes: I cook the chicken all the way while in the butter so it has a slight brown tint (there isn't any pink as stated in the 3rd step). I thought that a 3/4 cup of pesto would have been enough. I cooked the chicken and added the mixture at the same time I was cooking the pasta (they separate the steps). Have bread as part of the meal that way you can use it to scoop up any remaining pesto sauce on your plate! (Pesto sauce can be found in the pasta isle, in a small glass jar)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blue Pool Hues

Today was a much better day. It started off w/ J and I going to Shasta Pool to pick out pool remodeling colors and material. We've had a couple of guys come and give us their sales pitch throughout the week. We also are researching the different types of pool heating. So far we're leaning towards gas, but solar heating is becoming pretty popular. We had a guy come and tell us about solar heating too. We'll see, we might re-do the pool this year, but may wait until next year. The prices drop in the winter months; on the first of January the prices go back up. At least we have our material picked out and ready to go when the time is right.

We spent the afternoon at Mary and Barry's. Barry took me for a ride in his 2005 Corvette; the fourth Corvette he's owned. I would love to get me one of those! During the visit I missed some phone calls I was waiting to get on Friday. One was from DSW and another from Chase. I accepted a part time gig at DSW, it will be low hours, but at least I'll be getting a paycheck and a 30% discount. It should be a fun job. I had to leave a message for Chase, it was after 5 when I got her message so I assume I won't hear back until Monday. It turned out to be a nice little Saturday.

Sunday the weather is going to take a big turn for the worse. It will be the coldest day thusfar; only a high of 61, cloudy all day and a chance of rain. I guess winter is officially here!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Week, Come and Gone

An interesting week it has been. I've had four interviews, one of which included a phone interview. Next week I have another phone interview. I hate these types of interviews. I thought I'd like them, but since I've had my first one, I've decided against them. I never know if the timeframe they give you is the truth. I've been told timeframes, but it doesn't seem to be what they say. My search continues and I'm finding it to be depressing, irritating and disappointing. Even Target doesn't want me and I never interviewed! All I can do is Laugh. Something will come along someday.

To keep light of things my ex-co worker and good friend Susan came to visit. It was refreshing to see a face I knew and to have a friend close by. Even though we only got to spend one day together, it was relaxing to me. Can't wait for her to return in May!

Well, as you may guess, I didn't receive AC/DC tickets :( The concert was Wednesday night. J did look for them, but people were asking outrages prices for them. It's silly how much people ask for tickets that aren't even close to face value and there are actually people who would probably pay for them. I'd rather go on vacation than to spend $400 on a concert. I know they are old, but I have faith that they will be doing another tour in the future.

Tonight J and I stayed in. We rented Step Brothers from the $1 rental and I drank my hot chocolate :) The movie was pretty funny, but I thought they used the F bomb a little too much. It's a rule of mine to see all of Will Ferrel's and Vince Vaughn's movies, along w/ Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson's movies.

Monday, December 8, 2008


What a weekend it was! The Tempe Art Festival on Mill Avenue was a great time. We got there about 1ish and walked around. We ended up getting something to eat at a pizza joint next to the food vendors. A place called Slices. Their slices are very large and tasty and they have some unique toppings I've never seen before; like chicken parmesan. We watched a live band while enjoying our pizza. The art festival was fairly large and it was spaced out well so you're not bumping into people all the time.

After the arts we headed to downtown Chandler for their Parade of Lights and tree lighting. They also had food vendors and some craft vendors along w/ local school bands performing Christmas songs. It defiantly got me in the mood for Christmas. The Chandler Christmas tree consists of tumbleweeds, over 2000 of them layed on top of each other. It is quite the sight to see, LOL. I've never seen a parade of lights or a tree lighting, but it was a nice evening.

Sunday was a cloudy cool day to see the NE boys basketball. We lost to ASU, but we anticipated it. It was a good experience at the arena though. We decided to head to Lowes to purchase a vacuum cleaner. I've been wanting a good one for some time now. Some of you may know, I like to vacuum. I love my shop vac and using it in my car, so naturally I love to vacuum inside the house. I've spent some time researching online and reading reviews. I found one that had no bad reviews at all and it had everything I was looking for: the Eureka Capture, bagless, upright. Vacuum cleaners are so expensive and if you're going to spend that much money on something, it better be worth it. Of course, we got home and I put it to the test. I love it! I would highly recommend this vacuum for anyone looking for a replacement.

To finish my night of vacuuming, I naturally worked up an appetite. J offered to eat at Logans Roadhouse. Yep, it's just like Texas Roadhouse w/ very minor differences. It was a great way to end the weekend.

Friday, December 5, 2008

This N That

Every Thursday the Chandler farmers market is open from 3-7. I've been wanting to check it out, so we headed over there about 4. There was a few tables set up with crafts and the rest was fresh baked items such as tamales, Mexican food, bread, honey, produce etc. My fridge is full w/ vegetables so once that runs out, I'd like to make it back to get some fresh pesticide-free food. We ended up buying some whole wheat bread though. After that we headed over to Uncle B's for some Pizza Hut pasta and pick up Christmas decorations. He decided to go through his decor and give us the rest of them.

Tonight J and I headed over to the Fulton Ranch car show. Ate some samples, had some hot chocolate, fresh popped popcorn, saw Santa and hung out w/ Uncle B. After that was over we headed over to Garcia's for supper. Then J and I drove around looking at Christmas lights.
Tomorrow (Saturday) we'll be heading to Tempe for their art show. Sunday we have tickets for the NE boys basketball game!

Note: If you're looking for some cheap prices on Christmas decorations, check out Lowes; everything is 50 % off. We were over there checking out Christmas trees.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It is the end

Well, today I quit RWB. Why, you ask? It wasn't the waitressing, that part is easy, it wasn't the type of people that come in, they are all nice, it wasn't uncleanliness, it's actually organized and clean. The manager is a bitch. I can tolerate a lot, but disrespect I do not tolerate. Every time I walked in there I feel and sense the tension in that place. The employees were pretty much all college students, very clicky and gossipy; one chick in fact would not talk to me and would always interrupt me while I was asking my trainer questions, because you know her shopping and the lack of guys liking her was more important (rolling eyes). Anyway, no one ever had anything good to say about the manager or the owners. Hence the tension all the time. I could go into detail about how the manager raised her voice to me several times, kept going against her word, never once heard a thank you or a please out of her mouth, was never appreciative of anything, doesn't seem to have an understanding bone in her body, bitched about how no one knew anything the list goes on. I decided that I don't want to surround myself in that atmosphere or be associated with people like that. I'm better than that. Today I turned in my apron and told her the restaurant didn't fit me. I was not happy, I shed many tears last night over it. When you feel that way about a place, it's not worth it. There are better things out there w/ better people and opportunities. I thought finding a job would be easier in a big city, but that doesn't seem to be the case, well, along w/ the lack of jobs. So last night I applied to about 15 places. Today I applied to another 8. Pretty much anything and everything. I'm crossing my fingers for one of the banking jobs though, especially the one down the street (blah that it's only part time, but it's a foot in the door).

On a different note, J and I attended our monthly HOA meeting for the first time. It was interesting and heated. One of the homeowners was sure getting into it with one of the board members. A couple other women had some issues going on in their 'hoods. Made us glad we didn't move on that street! The problems they are having is a parenting issue. The kids are hoodlums. The cops don't seem to do anything about it either, which doesn't put any confidence in the Police department. They spend most of their times looking for speeders and illegals.

Speaking of speeding, you wouldn't believe the amount of money that is spent on catching speeders here. This is not good for my lead foot. There are mobile speed catchers on the sides of the highways and interstate. There are speed catchers at major sections and random streets. What they are is cameras that take your picture if you blow past a red light. They are bright lights too. But if you hold something over your face you can't get a ticket, because the face in the car has to match the plates on the car. Photo enforcement is huge here; there are an additional 100 camera locations that will be active by February. The camera catches 6 seconds of video too, which will capture your activities and you can enter your ticket number online to watch your video! LOL Good stuff!

Monday, December 1, 2008

South Mountain

Yesterday J and I had planned to visit the top of South Mountain. If you hear anyone say they live in SoMo, that's short for South Mountain. It is actually located in Phoenix. We started our voyage at 10:30 a.m. We drove the winding road up the mountain to the overlook. It was a little hazy though, but the view was amazing. After the lookout we headed over to Tempe to check out the main drag where all the college kids hang out. We ate at The Library bar and grill and headed to check out the Tempe Marketplace to see a movie. The marketplace is huge! It holds tons of stores and restaurants. We bought our Four Christmases tickets and walked around a bit and saw the giant Christmas tree. The theater was nice, it has your different flavored popcorn toppers, rocking chairs and very wide aisles so you wouldn't come anywhere close to kicking the chair in front of you with plenty of room to walk through.