Forever 14

I had Criminal Minds playing in the background last night while I was working and something caught my attention. I heard Dr. Reed (which is a total hunk) say, “No music ever impacts us as much as what we listen to at age 14.” I began to think about it and wonder if this was true so I googled it and found that, in fact, it was totally true. Apparently that age is when we start branching out, finding out what we like and don’t like and really start having opinions of our own which will inevitably define who we are and become.

Of course at fourteen we don’t know that is what is happening. We just know that MC Hammer is awesome in those parachute pants, gold chains and that You Can’t Touch This. When I was fourteen I didn’t realize that the way I dressed, the songs I loved and the choices I made would make me who I am today but as I look back I can see it. I still own and LOVE my Bomber jacket, Dr. Martens, Pearl Jam albums and NKOTB dolls (just Donnie though). Thankfully those things are still around and making quite the comeback (Pearl Jam never left).

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So I took a look back to my top 14 songs out of the top 100 hits of 1990. And you know what, I still probably know every damn word to each of these songs. What are yours? Don’t be shy. I showed you mine, now you show me yours?  ;)

  1. Step by Step – New Kids on the Block

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     2. Hold On – Wilson Phillips

     3. Vision of Love – Mariah Carey

     4. Janie’s Got a Gun – Aerosmith

     5. Freedom – George Michael

     6. Nothing Compares to You – Sinead O’Connor

     7. Vogue – Madonna

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     8. Epic – Faith No More

     9. Blaze of Glory – Jon Bon Jovi

   10. Opposites Attract – Paula Abdul

   11. Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers

   12. When Didn’t Start the Fire – Billy Joel

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   13. All I Want to Do is Make Love to You – Heart

   14. Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice (this came out the year before but was still on the charts)

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Bungalows, Grannies and Waving

I moved a few months ago into Central Phoenix or CenPho as they call it. It’s a rather small apartment complex, about 10 units, built back in the late 60’s that has managed to modernize without losing its charm. Minutes from downtown and across the street from the new light rail, it is a dream location. Previously, I lived in a huge apartment complex filled with families and retirees in the Northeast part of the city. It was okay but nothing was within walking distance except 4 other large apartment communities and a giant Costco. It lacked originality and it was a fairly new area so it really hasn’t had a chance to be anything other than major corporation stores.

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The new place is surrounded by old homes, built as far back as 1926 and more than ¾ of the homes are exactly the same as they were in their prime. Most of them are in that Los Angeles bungalow style and sit on big half acre properties. These homes used to be four miles outside of town but now its located smack dab in Central Phoenix. And I am happy it is. It shows me that around every corner there are hidden gems in the city. Its not just filled with cookie cutter homes, Costco’s and Wal-Mart’s but filled with big lawns and a place where people actually sit on the front porch and wave at passerby’s.

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Seeing these homes everyday when I go for my morning jog (yes, I jog!) makes me a better person. It makes me thankful for the past and it also makes me want to always pick up after my dog, not throw cigarette butts and pick up trash when I see it, even if its not mine. I want this neighborhood to see another 88 years just exactly as it is. I want everyone to still wave at each other, I want to continue to see a dad walk to pick up his son every day and I want to see grandma with the most beautiful roses bending down to smell them every morning. This is my neighborhood and I am so proud they haven’t changed in years!

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5 Months of Bliss

It sits there waiting silent, still and calm. It sits there taunting me all through the semi-cold winter. It sits there all shiny and refreshing begging me to get into it…yes it’s the pool, my beautiful, wonderful, happy Arizona pool.

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Once September hits most Phoenicians don’t dare step into their pool, it’s much to cold. But once February/March hits, you start to see people lying by the pool starting on their tans. No one gets in, not yet, because it’s a frigid 80 degrees. (brr). But once the temperatures go up to a solid 86+ we cant get enough. (FYI once it gets past 110 degrees the pool feels like hot bathwater, yuck!). We have a good 5-month pool season here and that is perfectly fine with us!

The pool isn’t just a place to cool down from the torturous Arizona sun; it’s a place where family, friends and even strangers gather. I have had parties, business meetings and my best ideas in or around a pool. It’s the one place that I feel like I can just be calm, rational, silly and fun all at the same time (unless drinks are involved then rationality is gone). There is just something awesome about a pool party with all the fixins: BBQ, horseshoes, drinks and floaties.

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Pool season in Arizona means you have more than 1 bathing suit. In fact, it’s perfectly acceptable to have 6 or 7 and wear them everywhere. You see people sporting them at the grocery store, the local Starbucks and even at the mall because you never know when your buddies are heading to the lake for an impromptu afternoon swim. And to be honest, you probably have a six-pack or bottle of your favorite alcohol in your trunk for occasions such as this. 

Arizona can get pretty damn hot but with a pool in almost every yard it certainly makes the heat a bit more bearable. Actually, it makes living here damn right awesome. So the leaves never really change colors, so it never snows but for a good 5 months we are hanging out with our buddies by the pool with snacks, beer and great conversation…and we don’t even have to change clothes to go to the bank!

Crazy About Vader

I am a huge animal lover, I have walked dogs for the last two years and haven’t been doing it for the money, I can assure you of that.  But I would see people with their dogs, dressing them up, taking them everywhere, cooking them special meals, having them groomed every couple of weeks etc. I thought those people were a little nutty until…I became one of them.

Now I have owned dogs all my life mostly larger dogs like Labradors, Shepherds and the like but never a small dog. I just was a big dog kind of girl. I wanted a dog that was bigger than me more like a small horse than an actual dog. But sadly, my ex got our dog in the break up leaving me with no dog for almost four years. I really wanted to get another dog and kept my eyes peeled for one . Then I met Vader.

One hung over day my friends and I had to go and get my car where I had left it the night before. My car was in the parking lot of the Farmer’s Market and we decided to take a walk through it.  My friend fell in love with two of the dogs that were up for adoption, Vader and Bones (big Sci-fi fans I am assuming).  She couldn’t adopt them since she was moving to Paris in a few weeks but she decided to foster both dogs.

Bones was a stringy white mix with a huge over-bite and Vader was a black Chug (½ Chihuahua and ½ Pug).  I had gone over to her place a few times and Vader kinda hung in the back like a shy little pup. But soon he would come and put his head on my hand. Instantly, I fell in love. He was just so little and scared. I decided then that I had to have him so I told her that while she was in Paris, I would see how Vader did with me. The day he came home I knew that he would be mine forever.

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I have had him now for almost a year and I have dressed him in shirts, tuxedos (for his birthday), snow suits and sunglasses. I take him to get coffee or sit in the many dog friendly lunch spots around town. He goes to the groomers every two weeks where he comes out smelling like cologne. We make him yogurt and granola for breakfast and turkey dinners all mixed with his dog food.

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I have become that crazed pet owner that has substituted their dog for children. I can’t bear to be away from him for longer than a day or two and my mother calls him her grandchild. He has touched my heart in a way not no other dog has and I am happy to say …I am a crazy pet owner.

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I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times

Maybe I have gotten older or just not as hip or cool as I used to be (not sure if I ever was, but go with me).  I know that I can be very critical when it comes to musicians and celebrities but I tried, I really, really tried but just couldn’t do it. What am I complaining about today you ask…well it’s the Grammy Awards from last night.

I hadn’t watched them in a few years but I really wanted to give it a go this year. So I did my due diligence and looked up all the list of nominees and categories.  I was pleasantly surprised that I knew most of the bands and/or people that were nominated this year (So much for not being cool anymore, eh).  I was all set for the show.

Right away I felt like I was having flashbacks from the 80’s.  Beyoncé doing an awesome Flashdance interpretation, Taylor Swift with her Tawny Kitaen hair tossing (insert piano instead of car), Paul and Ringo doing their best imitation of the amazing band The Beatles and Madonna donning one sparkly glove.

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Tawny Kitaen

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Speaking of Madge…Queen Latifah officiated a touching ceremony to a dozen couples while Macklemore and Lewis sang One Love.  But then Madge appeared wearing Steven Tyler’s white suit and MJ’s glove.  I was touched because nothing says romantic wedding ceremony like an old woman walking with a pimp cane whilst sporting a gold tooth.

There were parts of the show that I really enjoyed: the Daft Punk, Pharrell and Stevie Wonder performance, Pink’s acrobatics and Beyonce’s awkward gyration to Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton’s (WTF) rendition of Mama Don’t Let Your Babies.  All and all though I would say that my first thought is correct, I am just not hip or cool enough for the Grammy’s.

Sneaky Chris

This Christmas season has seriously snuck up on me. I didn’t start buying gifts until the week of and I have totally paid a ton in 2-day shipping. This is not my norm. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not the kind to start shopping for gifts in April but I definitely have realized Christmas is a-coming by Thanksgiving.  Something about this year had me all confused.

My roommate had to remind me to start Christmas shopping because I had no presents.  We didn’t even set up the tree till 3 days before Christmas. And even then it was because my roommate asked me to help him set it up. Its not that I was all bah humbug and anti-Christmas, I wasn’t.  I just wasn’t really on top of it this year.

Even though I was a complete and total flake until the week before I managed to pull it together and have all gifts bought, delivered and wrapped by Christmas Eve.  I call that a success. Okay, I didn’t put as much thought into the gifts as I normally do but I got say I didn’t do too bad: Elvis snuggie for Mom, moonshine for Dad and adult toys for brother.  Get your mind out of the gutter not “adult” toys but like collectible toys for the shelves.  Geez, you’re dirty minded!

New Years hasn’t much better.  I worked that night till 9pm and by 11pm I was asleep.  My roommate woke me up to say happy new year and I was out again. I am not a huge partier for New Years.  I don’t spend a fortune on an extravagant night but I do like to at least be up till midnight.  I am turning into an old woman!  But at least I got the dog in the Christmas Spirit!

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My Love For Joe

When I was younger I would start my morning with a nice Diet Pepsi and only in a plastic bottle.  I would drive to work every day and sip on the syrupy brown goodness all the way into town.  I wouldn’t think of drinking the normal morning beverage that good ol’  cup of joe. The thought of that bitter drink made my stomach turn.

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Now 5 years later, I might officially call myself a coffee addict. My friends are surprised if I don’t have a cup in my hand, I take one everywhere. I am the girl that gets a hot coffee before roller derby and leaves it in the car (can’t dehydrate before skating) just so I can have it after when we all meet at the bar. It took me awhile to figure out which coffee was my favorite. I am a no frills kinda girl. My drink of choice is Americano with a splash of soy. No sugar, no whipped cream, or syrupy bullshit.

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I really think that I got hooked because of coffee cups. I am such a huge fan of funky and fun cups and I never found the usefulness of them if I didn’t actually drink coffee. I think they sucked me in. I know this sounds ridiculous but I love the handle. Yes, I blame it on these wonderful beauties.

I am not picky when out and about and needing coffee.  Well… let me make the distinction, I am not picky about coffee as long as it’s from a coffee shop.  I am not talking 7-Eleven or Circle K because I will gladly pass on coffee before I drink theirs.  But when it comes to a coffee shop, I am really not all that picky. I have my favorite but really any coffee shop will do. Its pretty hard to mess up an Americano and if it happens they can remake it.

I just felt that it was time to let the world know that I no longer drink that syrup goodness I have traded it for the robust, aromatic cup of joe.  Coffee, I love you!

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