Archive for ‘Observations’

3 Birthdays, Turkey, and Belly Dancing

That’s a lot to be thankful for! Our Thanksgiving weekend started with a celebration of Scott, George, and Coralie’s birthdays (all within a week of each other). Desiree and I topped the cake with 205 candles (their cumulative ages). We couldn’t get them all lit before the heat melted the icing and started a small fire. The flaming cake was hysterical! Luckily, we didn’t need the fire extinguisher and some of the cake was still edible.

Thanksgiving Day was blustery and cloudy, very Fall-like which made staying inside and eating lots of delicious food quite desirable. During our after dinner stroll through town we admired some of the fine architecture. The evening was capped off with belly dancing by Deborah.

On Black Friday we “shopped” for treasures along an old, abandoned rail line: netting one dime, an intact Thomas Edison battery oil bottle, flowery painted pieces of Southern Pacific china, 3 devil’s claws, and 2 barrel staves.

Good food, laughter, and random activities = one of our typical family gatherings.

An Arid and Dusty Hellscape?!

Stephen and I are in the middle of our first tiff. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. I admire his impressive intellect, his boyish good looks, his undeniable charm, and his sensational sense of humor but those attributes were dreadfully diminished when he mocked my fair city.

At the 25th minute of his 10-29 show Stephen Colbert crossed the line by saying, “Mars has long been thought of as an arid and dusty hellscape where no one would want to live. Which is why it is often called the Tucson of space.”

Oh, Stephen, you were almost right. You were only off by 90 miles. Everyone in Arizona knows that the place most similar to the hellscape of Mars is Phoenix. Don’t believe me? Compare the dust storm in The Martian with news footage of recent haboobs in Phoenix. ‘Nuff said.

I think we can patch things up. Stephen, I’ll happily give you a tour of Tucson so that you don’t embarrass yourself on national TV again. Oh, and when you come over, bring some ice cream. Americone Dream will do nicely…

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Greg’s Behind the Scenes Tour

My Aunt Coralie gets invited to the coolest events and often I’m fortunate to be her guest. The tour this week was led by the University of Arizona’s amazing Athletic Director, Greg Byrne (technically Vice President for Athletics but I think AD sounds better). Greg joined the UA in mid-2010 and we welcomed him with out of date facilities for fans and student athletes, aging buildings, luke-warm support for sports other than football and men’s basketball, and roughly a billion dollars in needed upgrades.

Boy, did he hit the ground running! No one expected Greg to improve the programs by this much this soon. He’s raised hundreds of millions in donations, overseen $72 million in improvements to Arizona Stadium, $30 million in upgrades at McKale, hired exciting, dedicated coaches, solidified UA branding, and increased awareness of UA throughout the state. He’s a dynamo and he’s all-in. During our tour he greeted every single athlete and coach by name (there’s well over 500 athletes alone).

There was a twinkle in his eye when he talked about future projects. He couldn’t share the details but based on what we’ve seen so far it is going to be great. And yes, I’m an alumnus but trust me his enthusiasm would’ve rubbed off on you too!

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Inside McKale: new floor, new lights, new seats, new sound system = nice!IMG_3690

Coralie and GregIMG_3703

Inside the men’s basketball lounge with Greg, Trey Mason, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, and Gabe York. Great guys!

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Me, near mid-field, because it’s cool, yo!IMG_3722

According to Greg (and this list) male athletes don’t wear cups anymore, they wear girdles. Ah, so that’s where they all went!IMG_3728

View from the $10,000-season box. It does seat 4 people and comes with a buffet, access to an air-conditioned lounge that sells beer and wine, and the newest bathrooms in the stadium. And, nope, I didn’t buy one, they’re sold out!