Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2013 -- week 41 -- tucson meet yourself!

tucson comes alive during the spring and the fall. the students are in town, the snow birds are down south for the winter, and there are always things to do. this weekend it was tucson meet yourself, an annual festival that celebrates the people and cultures of southern arizona and northern mexico. there are food stalls from all over the world, performances and art by different cultural groups, and booths by local organizations. it's colorful, flavorful, and friendly. and it's one of our favorite festivals of the year. tucson, like most places, is an incredibly diverse and stunning place, and tucson meet yourself really attempts to celebrate that diversity through the food that is served and the music and dancing that is performed. each year we learn something new about our beautiful town, and we appreciate it a little more. 

while walking home from the festival on saturday night, we stumbled upon one of my favorite parts of downtown tucson, the ben's bells murals. last time i took pictures of them the murals weren't quite complete, so we decided to go back the next day and take more pictures now that the mosaics covered all four sides of the building.

every time i walk by these murals, or any of the other ones hidden around tucson, i feel so inspired. the message is simple: be kind. but it's not always an easy message to follow. i love that this beautiful organization has taken it upon themselves to bring a little more joy and love into the world. now if we all remembered to be kind, that would be the real gift. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2013 -- week 40 -- my first comedy show!

this past weekend bill burr performed at the celebrity theatre in phoenix. it's a super famous venue, open since 1963, and all of the greats have played there: grateful dead, george carlin, louis ck, diana ross, etc.  it was an amazing show and i laughed from start to finish. if you ever get a chance you should check out joe bartnick and/or bill burr -- they're both so funny. and if you ever get a chance to go to the celebrity theatre, go; it's a great space.

are there any comedians you recommend?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

2013 -- week 39 -- if you teach me to make biscuits, i'll make you a whole southern feast.

have you ever read if you give a mouse a cookie? no? here's the general gist of the story: if you give a mouse a cookie, he'll ask for a glass of milk. if you give him milk, he'll probably ask for a straw. then he'll ask for a napkin. and a mirror to make sure he doesn't have a milk moustache. etc. etc.

anyways, that's what my life has become recently. it all started with this amazingly easy and delicious biscuits and gravy recipe, and it snowballed. my thinking: if i can make biscuits, then i should make grits. if i can make grits, then we definitely need to have collard greens. if i can make collard greens, how hard can it be to make fried okra?

so i put it all on my to do list and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. the collard greens are as simple as putting cut up bacon and collards in boiling water for 30-45 minutes, and the grits are instant, so those took less than 10 minutes, and bacon wrapped scallops are as hard as wrapping bacon around scallops and putting them in the oven. even the fried okra was a piece of cake -- you dunk okra in buttermilk and an easy batter of flour and corn meal and fry them up. who knew it was that easy?

of course, after i finished making this delicious southern meal, my next immediate thought was: if i can make fried okra, i can certainly make fried catfish and hush puppies. and so they both went on the menu for the following week.

ps. if you've never read if you give a mouse a cookie, do it now. it's so good. maybe one of the best books of my childhood. there are tons of other books like it (if you give a moose a muffin, if you give a pig a pancake, etc.) but it's the original, and it's the best.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

2013 -- week 38 -- sex ed!

i know i complain about how much i have to drive, but have i ever mentioned how cool my job is? each week i meet with four or five different groups of kids and talk about their sexual health. these conversations can be about relationships, values, self-esteem, sexuality, and sex ed, among other things. and it's so much fun! we talk about them, their experiences, their knowledge, and their lives. together we learn about healthy relationships and healthy life practices. but my favorite part is when we talk about sex. have you ever had a conversation with a middle or high school student about sex? the conversations are awkward and uncomfortable, but they're so interesting, mainly because the kids don't know anything. most of them are desperate to talk to someone about sex and the changes their bodies are going through, but they don't feel comfortable talking to their parents or teachers about it. and often their parents and teachers aren't comfortable talking about it either. these conversations are totally awkward and uncomfortable, so i get it, but they're vitally important to have. and i'm glad that i can be that person that they ask and can get straight, honest answers and medically accurate information from.

another reason i love my job: i get to play with fun toys, like the condom educator kit in the picture above.

there are tons of amazing places to go bouldering in tucson, and we explored a new place this weekend: silverbell boulders. if you're interested in finding other places to climb check out tyler mcmillen's tucson bouldering guide

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


when i started this photo a day challenge i was really good; i woke up every morning, found out what the prompt was and spent the whole day focusing on it until i had the perfect picture. not any more. i still wake up and figure out what the prompt is but i don't obsess over the perfect picture. sometimes we'll be sitting down to dinner and i'll realize that i haven't taken any pictures and will scramble to find something that fits. there are even some occasions where i have to cheat -- i'll take a picture the following day, but i make sure it's a photo i could have taken the day before. so even though the photograph was snapped a day late, it still reflects the things i did or saw on the day it was supposed to have been taken. it's a shame really, because i love doing the photo a day challenge. but this month will be different, i can just feel it. 

 together: family boozy brunch // my name begins with... v: don't tread on me // lines: working from home
alone: driving through the desert // here forever: music (cafe tacuba) // getting ready: downton abbey date
white: swimming bag // made by me: lime cilantro sorbet! // on the wall: school clock
 sweet: tiger love // what you did today: drive! // shadow: pre-season kickball
 unexpected: swimming a mile & feeling good // liquid: harry potter shots! // season: sunshine and shorts
frame: homemade dry erase board // in front of me: cracked windshield // vintage: my childhood keyboard
what is this? a water fountain for cats // morning: reading the news // rule of thirds: crazy hair!
made me smile: homemade indian food // from my childhood: making bracelets // space: she's in my pillow space
h is for... hot cheese fondue // curve: the drive to csv's house // wtf? isn't soy sauce already gluten free?
10 o'clock: bored & laying on the floor // gold: possible wedding jewelry // found: a dollar!

what did your september look like?

Monday, October 7, 2013

dog street, williamsburg, virginia

when you attend the college of william and mary colonial williamsburg is your oyster. as a student you get the added perk of getting into most of the attractions for free. for someone like me, a self-proclaimed history nerd, it was a dream come true, and i took every opportunity to explore the hidden gems that lie on the other side of richmond road. one of my favorite things to do was go running down duke of gloucester street, or dog street to locals. it was a fun experience because you could count on seeing  tourists exploring and learning, horse carriages and reenacters in colonial garb, cute shops with colonial products for sale, and if you were lucky, a fife and drum corp practicing. plus, it was the perfect two mile loop to run. so of course it was one of the first places i wanted to take rcg when we went to visit in june.  

it was a gorgeous day, blue skies and humid, as we set off on our walk down dog street. (it's free for anyone to walk around colonial williamsburg, you only have to pay if you want to go into the exhibits and museums.) since i had been hogging the newytuij camera on my road trip, rcg took a spin behind the lens, and i think he did a really great job of capturing the beauty of williamsburg. plus, it gave me time to catch up with friends as he wandered off and explored!


the governor's palace is one of the places you have to pay to get into, even william and mary students. students are allowed to explore once their freshman year when colonial williamsburg welcomes new students, but after that they're not allowed in without a day pass. which is why students have developed the tradition of the triathlon, three events around campus that air on the mischievous side -- streaking the sunken gardens, swimming in the crim dell, and jumping the governor's palace walls and going through the maze. 



another favorite place for students and tourists alike are the taverns, restaurants styled after those that would have been present during the colonial era. each one has a different style, but they all have amazing food and drinks and the wait staff are attired in traditional colonial clothing. they can be hard to get into though, there is often a long line, but if you call ahead and make reservations, they're definitely worth it.

when you visit colonial williamsburg you have to take the opportunity to explore some of the shops, they're amazing! both my mother and i own beautiful silver bracelets from the silversmith shop, and there are a number of other great places, including a print shop and a hat shop. all of the goods are authentically colonial and the staff are happy to explain how things were made during the colonial era, so don't be afraid to ask questions!

i really can't recommend colonial williamsburg enough. if nothing else, it's fun to take pictures in the pillory outside of the courthouse. the pillory is made of wood, with holes for your head and hands, and traditionally, people would have thrown rotten fruits and vegetables at you as you stood punishment. nowadays, people use it for cute posed pictures and silly jokes about where they'll send their children when they misbehave. another thing i recommend: buy (or at least try on) a tri-corner hat or bonnet. again, it's a perfect photo opportunity.

all pictures taken by rcg.