Monthly Archives: September 2012

Tucson Greek Festival

Apparently Festival Season in Tucson starts at the end of September! I’m very excited about this – I love festivals! It’s a chance to get out without really needing to plan something to do. They are usually pretty inexpensive or (even better) free to attend, and there is almost always lots of good food.

This past weekend we went to the Tucson Greek Festival at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. To be fair, I went for the baklava. As long as there was baklava there, I was going to be happy. Considering it was a Greek festival, my chances were approximately 100%. And I was not disappointed! Not only do I love baklava, I love Greek food in general. We went a little befor dinner and wandered around the display stalls and the festival grounds to see what there was. Not too much beyond the food and stages, but that was OK by me. Then we went a got some delicious food and stayed for a bit to watch the dancing and listen to the music.

Festival

Keo

Dolmathes

Dolmathes – Delicious stuffed grape leaves

Always the Mountains

Always the Mountains

Loukoumades

Loukoumades – deep fried dough dipped in honey

Baklava and Coffee

Baklava and Coffee

Dancing

Dancing

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It’s Moving Day!

Never have I been more excited for a moving day than this. And moving days were always pretty exciting things in my childhood, and I usually didn’t actually have to carry much, so the miserable part was not present. Which might be why I’m excited for this moving day – I don’t actually have to move anything! And all my stuff is coming back. HOORAY!

So you can find me SITTING ON A COUCH (!) directing traffic and trying to figure out how our whole house full of items is going to fit in our new apartment. (Washer and dryer in the living room? Desk in the dining room? Will all the boxes from the basement fit in the spare bedroom?) I keep trying to remember that it all came out of a two bedroom apartment less than a year ago, so it must fit. We didn’t purchase very much after we moved into the house, except the washer and dryer and some yard care items. We didn’t take our lawn mower with us, as there are no lawns here, so we don’t have to figure out where that goes. Part of my head tells me that it will fit just fine, and the other part is not believing it. We’ll have to see how it works out! After all the build up about the things I’m excited to get back, I wonder which ones I will appreciate the most once they are here!

Moving Day!

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Second Saturday Downtown: Our Adventure on the Town

A few weeks ago we decided to go out and explore some Tucson culture. Every second Saturday of the month, downtown Tucson is host to a free urban street fair with live bands, food, street vendors, and kids activities. We’d never gone, although we’d been talking about it for a while, so we went to check it out.

Combo Westside

Combo Westside – Jazz, Bossa Nova, Bolero, Soul, Funk

The Tryst

The Tryst – Soul, Funk, Rock, Jazz and more

Deceptively Innocent

Deceptively Innocent

Storefront

Chicago Music Store Storefront – not sure why Forever 27

I really enjoyed the music from The Tryst, and Nate liked Deceptively Innocent. Turns out they’re a Green Day cover band, so no surprise there. They are all about 16 and they played for 4 straight hours with way more energy than I will ever have.

It was a nice night out, although I’m not sure we’ll make it a monthly excursion. It was a pretty small crowd and there weren’t a ton of options that we could see, for food and drink. Well, there were no options for drink, so that might be part of it. But the music was pretty good and it was fun to be out around other people! Yay!

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Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love you, Tomorrow, You’re Only A Day Away

In 1 Day We Get Our BED Back!

I left the best for last, obviously.  I have an unusual relationship with my bed.  I love it very much.  It pretty much got me through college, and I often get a huge grin on my face right before I take a flying leap and jump into it, fluffy down comforter and all.  It’s one of my favorite things.

Being without it hasn’t been as hard as you’d think.  I’ve had a lot of odd sleeping arrangements over the years, so an air-mattress wasn’t too daunting. Plus, we’ve slept on an air mattress tons of times, and, while not the most comfortable things ever, it was usually more than sufficient.

So we got here, purchased the nicest air mattress we could find (double high with flocked top for comfort), and went to sleep. Sort of. I don’t know what exactly it was (I actually blame the SUPER LOUD air conditioner more than the mattress), but I didn’t sleep for a week. Plus, Nate is a snorer usually, and the (apparently extra firm) pillows we bought were making it way worse. After many very cranky days and right before we decided to pack up our two suitcases and fly back to our house, we went back to Target and made two more essential purchases: a softer pillow that did not encourage Nate’s snoring and a foam mattress topper with all these crazy patterns in it that’s supposed to make sleeping more comfortable.

Made Bed

And all was well and right in the world, and I was sleeping again, UNTIL the fateful day when we woke up ON THE FLOOR. So sad. Our air mattress had sprung a leak, which is a bad thing in general, and extra bad when it is the only soft surface in your home and you are getting tired of sitting on the floor. Being the thrifty people we are, we decided to find the hole and patch it. I wish I had taken pictures of Nate in the bathroom trying to stuff the double height queen air mattress in the tub. It doesn’t fit.

Finding the Leak

I did, however, take a picture of the afternoon I spent making a slip-n-slide in my living room while trying to find the leak. No luck, but it was fun! Hard to explain to Nate why the carpet was all wet when he got home from work, though.

We thought we patched the hole, woke up on the floor again, and repeated this for several days, until we finally ditched the mattress completely and slept on the foam topper on the floor until we could accurately find and patch the hole. Which we did for a week. ON THE FLOOR.

Foam Topper Bed

Patching the Leak

Nate patching the leak. It never actually held, but we were persistent and kept patching it!

We finally gave up after about a week an a half of this nonsense. But this time we even knew we were moving and getting our stuff back, but a few more weeks was too long to sleep on the floor. We purchased a new air mattress and are back to mostly-normal sleeping arrangements. I’m really looking forward to having our real bed back, though!

Lamp in the Corner

Our realtors lent us this lamp and side table – it’s made such a difference making our bedroom more homey (and, you know, light when it’s dark out)

1 Day

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In 2 Days We Get Our Couch Back!

I was having trouble  thinking of what I missed SO MUCH today. I’ve covered pretty much everything that I continually said “man, I wish I had my…” about. I thought maybe I would make a list of the little things I’ve been missing (the spatula every time I make a smoothie and can’t get the last bits off the sides, my fun jewelry last night when my shirt alone was pretty boring and we were going to dinner, etc). Plus, I already said that I would prefer our dining table and chairs back over the couch! But then I looked over at Nate curled up between two metal folding chairs – one to sit on, one for his feet – and decided that yes, the couch was very important. When we watched the olympics, we dragged the bed out to lay on, or made a pillow pile on the floor. When Nate’s playing video games or watching football, he sits on the folding chairs. When I read or really do anything, I sit on the floor, my back against the wall. The olympics was fun, and if we were to watch a movie or something, we probably would bring out the pillows again. But the other two set-ups are just uncomfortable after a while. So I’m ready for the couch back, if only so we can sit next to each other sometimes without being on the floor.

2 Days

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In 3 Days We Get Our Microwave and Toaster Oven Back!

I call this a necessity because we have become so dependent on these appliances in our day to day life.  The funniest part about not having a microwave was that in the welcome basket that the apartment complex left for us when we moved in, there was a bag of microwave popcorn!  It is still un-popped in our cabinet, because the apartment did not come with a microwave.  But it’s one of those things that we just assume everyone has.  I also bought some oatmeal that has very specific directions in ALL CAPS that you must ONLY USE THE MICROWAVE for this product.  No cooking it with hot water or on the stove.  I cook it on the stove.  It works just fine.

We’ve been heating up leftovers in a pan with some water in it and a lid.  It takes about a thousand times longer than the microwave, but it’s worth it when that’s your only option!  We make toast in the oven under the broiler.  This mostly results in burnt toast, but we have gotten better at judging how long it takes.  We make popcorn by my favorite oil-in-a-pot method.  I prefer it, but it also takes longer.  I think we could do without the microwave and toaster – we’ve become pretty good at returning to the old-time methods of cooking, you know, on the stove and in the oven – but they will be nice to have back!

3 Days

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In 4 Days We Get Our Vacuum Back!

I am incredibly excited for this, because our living space has become pretty gross.  We also don’t have a broom, so our kitchen and bathroom floors are only cleaned by sponge and soap.  I was almost to the point of asking one of the women from our church group if I could borrow her vacuum, but then we decided to move and get our stuff back, so I’m just holding out on this one.  Also nice: we will get the vacuum back before we have to turn in our keys to our current apartment, so I can give it a proper cleaning before we vacate.  My Dad always taught me to leave places cleaner than I found them!

We are not incredibly dirty people.  We mostly walk on sidewalks so we don’t track a ton of dirt in.  Nate works indoors and I don’t often leave the house, but grime accumulates anyway.  Plus, I shed hair like crazy.

It’s kind of funny that I’m so excited for the vacuum.  Our house had entirely hard floors, so for the whole time we lived there I didn’t vacuum once.  I thought maybe it was one appliance I wouldn’t really need anymore, but I’m glad I didn’t get rid of it!  Our new apartment is almost entirely carpeted, and who knows what our eventual house will be!

4 Days

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In 5 Days We Get Our Spices Back!

This one kills me.  I now have time to cook and explore new recipes (Nate is THRILLED, I assure you) and not only does every new recipe require some crazy kitchen gadget that, even if I do own, I did not bring with me, they all require different spices.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love spices.  In fact, I have a huge collection of spices!  We got a huge spice rack as a wedding gift, and that only accounts for about 1/4 of the spices that we have.  I’ll take a picture for you when we get them unpacked so you can see.  But, except for the salt and pepper mills, spices were not prioritized for the trip here.  So, as I’ve been trying new recipes (because, of course, I don’t HAVE any of my usual recipes) I’ve been making tradeoffs between which spices I’m going to purchase even though I already own them and which I will go without.

My saddest purchase was dried oregano.  You have no idea how much dried oregano I already own.  It’s one of the spices my Dad grows in his garden, and one that Erin and I grew on our deck.  Plus, the spice rack came with some, and I had a (very large) tin of it from some prior recipe.  Alas, I use it all the time so I bought more.  If you ever need oregano, let me know.  I have plenty.

But, seriously, I don’t know how people cook without spices.  I can totally understand why kids don’t like their (bland boiled canned) vegetables.  I wouldn’t either.  But cook it up with some garlic and butter, or sprinkle a little chile powder on it, it’s a whole new species!

5 Days

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What I’m Reading

One of my favorite things about having all this extra time on my hands is that I FINALLY get to read again! I grew up literally with my nose in a book – at lunch, walking down the halls, when I was supposed to be paying attention in math class, weekends, holidays, all summer long. And then I met DAAP, and all (novel) reading (for fun) ceased.

Thesis Books

Bookshelf of reading for my thesis

I didn’t even have time to read the required reading for my classes how was I supposed to devour a good novel? In short, I didn’t. I probably read 5 (non-school-related) books the whole time I was in school, and 3 of those were while I was on planes and trains in Europe.

Reading in the Airport

Reading in the Airport – it’s a terrible picture, but the only one of anyone reading. We flew home the day the last (I think?) Harry Potter book came out.

Paris

Because we were doing things like looking out at Paris from the Eiffel Tower

Sacre Coeur

And climbing to the top of Sacre Coeur.

Colosseum

And seeing the Colosseum

Venice

And riding the canals of Venice

Cafe

And eating at amazing cafes.

Airport Sleeping

Here’s an awful picture from the Harry Potter reading night – when we spent the night in the Dublin Airport and it was probably about 3am at this point.

Even after I graduated I was super busy. Wedding planning! Getting Married! Figuring Out How To Live With Nate! Moving! Buying a House! So, when I made my list of resolutions in January, I put reading on it. Then, I had to find a good reading list. Since I moved around so much in high school, I missed a lot of the required reading. I read some books twice, many not at all, and ended up running out of English and Literature classes. I also skipped all the college lit classes, thanks to AP (see: running out of English and Literature classes and making up AP classes for myself) and a major that is not all that concerned with “literature.” Although I think it should be, architecture is very steeped in culture. However, there were a lot of classes to pack into those 6 years, so I was not sad. Until I graduated and realized how many classics I had missed.

And where did I turn for a list of classics I must read? The BBC, of course. Isn’t that where everyone goes? Actually, I think it was just the first list that popped up in Google, and it looked pretty good, so I went with it. I used this list (that I actually found here first, then tracked back to its original, which it didn’t exactly match, so I mixed them together) and added books from my Goodreads feed that look interesting. Which means that my list grows significantly faster than I can read the books off it. But that is OK, I am enjoying making the list and reading the books and keeping the library in business. I currently have 144 classics on my list and maybe 40 or so currently popular books. I have read 22 books since I picked up The Paris Wife by Paula McLain in March. Pretty good progress, if I say so myself.

The start of my second reading career.

I’m not really going to review books here. If you want book reviews, go see Mary Jo at MeReader or check out Goodreads (and if you do that, be my friend), but I do like to track my progress and at least offer whether or not I liked a book and would recommend it. For example, I started Animal Farm last night. At about 12 pages in, I’m not amused. I will finish it because those are THE RULES, but so far I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, classic or not. It will be interesting to read, for sure, as will 1984, which is packaged in the same book. But there is a difference between “interesting” and “I would recommend this book.”

Anyway, I just finished The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. They were so much fun to read! I can see why they inspired such a following, as readers can easily get wrapped up in the adventures of the characters. I enjoy reading because I get to create my own pictures of the characters (especially the villans – trolls and orcs and black riders) so I don’t think I will watch the movies. I enjoyed creating images of the hobbits and elves, the talking and walking trees, and the ring itself.

        

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In 6 Days We Get Our Bikes Back!

Tucson is a biking community.  There are bike lanes on almost every major road AND PEOPLE USE THEM.  ON BIKES.  Craziness.  And, since in 6 days we are also moving closer to the center of Tucson, biking will become a viable option for transportation!  I’m super excited about this.  I will finally be able to bike to the grocery store and the gym and maybe even to work (what?!).  This is also the item that Nate requested when I asked him what he missed most.  We have always wanted to bike more, but it wasn’t exactly feasible in our previous situations.  In our house it would have been fine, and I’m sure we would have gone on many bike rides over the summer (I hope they would have been more successful than the one we did attempt), but we only lived there in the winter.  Before that, our bikes were kept in the crazy jigsaw puzzle of our guest room/storage room and it was quite a task to get them out and then down the stairs.  We did take them out quite often, but it was no fun.

In our new place, we will have an enclosed patio where we will probably store them (chained and covered, it may be enclosed but we’re not that trusting yet) and I hope we will ride them often.  Plus, the weathermen say that Monsoon season is basically over, so I don’t expect it to rain for, like, 6 months.  Maybe more.  And, as the temperature goes down (slightly), the weather will become perfect for bike rides.

6 Days

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