Monthly Archives: April 2013

Travelogue: Red Rock & Roll

While doing some pre-move cleaning I found a spiral notebook in which I had written my travel notes for a trip we took to the Southwest.  I tore the pages out; but most likely they will be lost forever as we pack them for our move. Sooooo, I decided to digitize the notes… and add photos, for the win! Herewith, I bring you,

RED ROCK & ROLL

Vienna –> Phoenix

Took the taxi to National [Airport] — [paid a lot more that expected. Abut $40 — yikes!

We left at 7:30 for a 10:30 flight. Not bad — Matt snoozed at the airport

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

while Michele used her Palm [Pre] to while away the time.

We each had aisle seats, at at first it looked like we’d both have no middle seats…but Matt ended up with a married couple in 14A&B.

The US Air flight had no in-flight entertainment, so we both read. Matt snoozed some more. 🙂

We arrived in Phoenix at about 12:30 local. It was about 102°!  We got our car (a Chrysler Sebring), but the rental guy was a real PITA [pain in the a**]. Sleazy. Kept trying to talk us into an upgrade. Anyway, we got our car and off we went.

Our chariot through the Red Rocks.

Our chariot through the Red Rocks.

Almost…

I realized I forgot the tour books and AAA maps, so we stopped at a Circle K (or something like that) and got a map. Then we located a Barnes & Noble (in a “big box” store shopping center).  Kind of incongruous in the middle of a desert!

Well then we stopped at a Carl’s Jr. so I could get some lunch (Matt was fasting). THEN we were on our way…at least to Sedona.

PHOENIX –> sEDONA (7/4/2009)

Up I-17, then AZ-179 to Sedona. Nothing too unusual, but the sudden appearance of the red rocks was exciting. Before that, it was cactus (Phoenix) and than scrub and small trees.

See them? See them through the window?

See them? See the rocks through the window?

The drive through the main part of Sedona was, well, fun — all the roundabouts. It felt like England.

We used the GPS to locate our hotel: The Southwest Inn “is ahead,” it said. We check in around 4:30 or 5:00-ish.

We asked for dinner recommendations & settled on D’Lish, which was right next to the hotel.  It was great! Vegan pace;l Matt had a “cup” of curry lentil soup, I ha the grilled veggie wrap.  They were GREAT.  Also, Matt picked up some kombucha. [Note: D’lish is now closed, but here’s a link to Yelp entries for D’Lish.)

We came back to the room & settled in. Matt “took a soak” in the Jacuzzi. Went to bed at around 10:000-ish. Sooooo tired.

Sunday july 5, 2009

Hitting the trails in Sedona:  Started out with a continental breakfast at the hotel and made it out by about 8:00 AM.

We drove up Dry Creek Road” and got our Red Rocks pass, then drove a bit and hiked on Dead Man’s Pass Trail (really!). It wasn’t too hot out, but as the morning wore on, it got hot.

Next we went to Doe Mountain Trail. It’s pretty steep, so we only went partway up. We sat on a rock for quite some time there (it was in the shade). Saw a rock formation across the road that looked like an old Native American with a pointed hat on.

The face was watching us...

The face was watching us…

Next we went to Fay Canyon Trail and walked a fir bit. It was getting really hot, so we turned back.

For lunch I got a vanilla date milkshake and Matt got a fruit juice blend …back at D’Lish! We talked to the owner about the place and other things (healing, medicinal treatments, etc.).

The we took the Loop Roads. Went to Red Rock State Park and saw the movie about Sedona. Drove around some more — the road turned into an unpaved road & we had memories of Salisbury, England! (What if we got stuck in the road??) Luckily the road became blacktop again — no worries.

We had an early dinner at D’Lish (again!) before our Earth Wisdom Jeep Tour.

Ridin' the Rocks.,

Ridin’ the Rocks.,

Kevin was our guide.

Our trusty guide.

Our trusty guide.

We saw almost all of the main sites, including Al Pacino’s house! Keven even played his wood flute for us. A great tour. [The end of our tour was at sunset, so we got an iconic shot of Cathedral Rock.]

Moonrise over Cathedral Rock.

Moonrise over Cathedral Rock.

Early to bed and up early to gop to ….

Sunset crater &  wupatki (4/6/09)

Up early for breakfast, then took of for points north. First we stopped at Airport Mesa [in Sedona] — and the Airport Vortex.  There was a Disney Discovery tour bus at the overlook. Afterwards we saw the sign for the Masonic Temple up there and the Shrine of the Red Rocks. The Vortex energy was very strong there.

At the Airport Vortex.

At the Airport Vortex

We hung out there for a while then took off up AZ-89A North through Oak Creek Canyon.  Lovely drive.   But first…

…we went to the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  It was built into the red rocks.  Pretty amazing!

What a view from those windows!

What a view from those windows!

Back to 89A North.  We got lost looking for a AAA office in Flagstaff. Apparently I put in a wrong address & we ended up on a residential street. OH WELL….

So we continued on to Sunset Crater.

It was pretty freaky, all the black cinder ash and hardened lava. We took a 1-mile loop in the park. It was hot but there was lots of wind and occasional shade.

A little life amid the cinders.

A little life amid the cinders.

900-year-old lava from

900-year-old lava from the volcanic eruption

Then on to Wupatki, site of some ancient Navajo ruins. It was HOT! HOT! HOT! there with absolutely NO shade. We walked the path through the ruins.  Saw a blowhole — a vent in the earth’s crust that blows cool air (if the air pressure is lower outside the hole). That was the only cool place on the site!

Do you see any trees?

Do you see any trees?

On the way to Wupatki, we stopped at the Painted Desert overlook.  Off in the distance was the Painted Desert.  Truly magical. It almost looked like a pink mirage.

Had to see the Painted Desert, but it's there.

Hard to see the Painted Desert, but it’s there.

On the way back to our hotel we stopped at the “amphitheater” to watch the sunset [and moonrise].  (Kevin had taken us there the evening before during our Jeep tour.) It was more peaceful.

Fortunately the moon was full during our visit.

Fortunately the moon was full during our visit.

Then we drove across to where we could look at West Sedona and the rocks beyond. We going tomorrow AM.

[This is where that particular trip record ends. Hope you enjoyed this part.]

The Kitchen Breakthrough

Second in a series:

Oh what a long, strange trip it’s been getting to a final plan for our new kitchen.  You see, about 5 feet of the kitchen was created by extending the dimensions into the new part of the house.  Ever since framing began, we could only “see” about 3/4 of the future kitchen, and for much of the time it was the location of windows and other demolition detritus.  (See picture below.)

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

Then, a month or so ago, after all the roofing and windows were in, the wall dividing the “old” house and the “new” house was busted down.  We finally  after we saw the “new part” — that approximately 5-foot addition to the “old” house — but we still couldn’t visualize a possible layout.

Our first glimpse.

Our first glimpse of the 2-ft. addition and the 2-ft pantry space.

Nothing seemed to work.  By fits & starts we moved through a preliminary kitchen design (thanks to our ever-patient Home Depot kitchen designers).  The U-shaped main part of the kitchen (where the cooktop, sink, & double oven are) was pretty much set.  Only minor tweaks remained.  It was that run of cabinets next to it and a low, desk-like work counter opposite that that was the sticky wicket.

I always wanted a pantry, but our first design seemed unworkable.  It featured a a long, skinny pantry space that had constricted access to where the shelves would be.  We worked with our architect to come up with alternative designs for that area.

Our penultimate design was not too satisfactory. Beause the original plan’s pantry was difficult to access, we eliminated it totally, eliminated the wall framing it, and substituted the pantry cabinet.  Well, that sufficied, but it did not satisfy, know what I mean?

During that day’s site visit, I had made an offhand comment about orienting the pantry 90° from the original design. But none of us pursued this at the time. I fretted about that darn pantry cabinet all evening and into the night.  So I sat down the next morning and worked on trying to define that small space (approximately 100″ x 84″ x 100″).  It was like a breakthrough! An epiphany!

Have a look at the PDF file (linked below) to see the new design for the portion of the kitchen that was giving us such fits:

KitchenPlan 4-28-13

I think we’ve bridged the gap, busted through the impasse, and now have a winner design.

(I’ll send pictures of the finished product.)

Stay tuned for more updates on the project.

Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned

And now, for the latest update of Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned.

The new ones are at the top.  Enjoy!

Want to know why I’m doing this? Click this link.

Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned

And now, for the latest update of Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned.

The new ones are at the top.  Enjoy!

Want to know why I’m doing this? Click this link.

The Fifth Installment: Best. Song. Lyrics. EVAH.

jukebox-11296573473NeNAnd now it’s time for The Sixth Installment of my Favorite. Song. Lyrics. EVER.  (See installments 1, 2, 3, 4,  and 5.)

As always, enjoy!

  • “I looked around, a lousy candle’s all I found.” – Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf. (Video and lyrics.)
  • “I tell you love, sister, it’s just a kiss away / It’s just a kiss away.” – Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones. (Video and lyrics.)
  • “Some give a damn/some give their lives/why don’t we give peace a chance?” – What’s in a Word by The Christians (video and lyrics.) [Note: I couldn’t find a better video. The sound and motion aren’t synched. Sorry ’bout that.]
  • “I saw a werewolf drinkin’ a pina colada at Trader Vic’s / And his hair was perfect” – Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon. (Video and lyrics.

Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned

And now, for the latest update of Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned.

The new ones are at the top.  Enjoy!

Want to know why I’m doing this? Click this link.

Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned

And now, for the latest update of Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned.

The new ones are at the top.  Enjoy!

Want to know why I’m doing this? Click this link.

Taking a Walk & Going Upstairs

Second in a series about building our new house.

Our New House

Our New House (R-to-L is: Laundry room, bathroom, 2nd bedroom, entry (bump-in), kitchen, great room, entry (hidden in this picture), garage). Matt’s office is above the great room.

The day we’ve waited for: being able to walk from one end of our new home to the other.

My husband Matt and I are adding a new addition to an existing house, and the contractors left the adjoining wall intact until just last week.  Extensive work had been done on the old part and the new part was constructed after that was done.  The photo above shows the old portion with new siding (except for a small part with is still the green stucco board).

So, Matt and I “took a walk” from the old house down to the new section. (“Down,” because the Great Room will be “sunken,” separated from the kitchen/dining room by 1 or 2 steps.) It was great to finally get a sense of the final sweep of the house. It was also a relief to not need to use  a 2×12 plank to get up into the Great Room.  (I don’t like heights — particularly when coupled with narrow walkways; but I needed helping hands to go up & down the plank, even though it was not particularly high.)

A week later I visited the site.  By then the stairway to the 2nd floor had been installed, so I was able to see Matt’s office upstairs and walk across the passageway from his office to the storage area above the garage, (an area affectionately dubbed “the Bonus Room”. We don’t have a basement, so most of our long-ish term storage will be above the garage.) The “Bonus Room” is huge.  It is above a 2-car garage that has had an additional 5 or so feet added to the rear. So, yes, we can store a fair amount up there.

Here’s the passageway:

Not-So-Secret Passageway

Not-So-Secret Passageway

Here’s the back half of the “Bonus Room.” (My camera was acting up during the “photo shoot” Tuesday; so I actually didn’t get a panoramic photo of the Bonus Room.)

Bonus Room (well, only 1/2 of it)

Bonus Room (well, only 1/2 of it)

That’s all for now.  Coming soon:  Designing the kitchen.

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As I mentioned in my last post, when this saga began I decided to record the progress with photos and videos.   You can see them in my Flickr set.  I will keep adding until the project is completed.