Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Cherry On Top

I'm done with Phoenix. I'm exhausted. This week has been one thing after another, including this:

Not to mention, I am sick of hearing the news anchors attempt to scare everyone to death about The Baseline Killer and the Serial Shooter.

I'm over it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

4 Star Resort? Not So Much...

One of the amazing things about Phoenix in the summer is that the hotel rates for 4 Star resorts are ridiculously low. This is the one time of year that I get to live in luxury which helps make up for the 114 degree heat.

Yesterday afternoon I checked into my room and I couldn't have been happier. A king sized bed. A poolside room. An insanely comfortable bed. I am in heaven.

At 1.30 I turn out the lights and get some much needed sleep. At 4.30am I hear it. The dreaded fire alarm. Just my luck. After about 10 minutes of this thing going off I decided to evacuate. Funny thing is that there were no firetrucks or employees of the hotel to be found. Just 100 guests with bedhead standing around in their pajamas. It's now 90 degrees outside and the concrete was still hot.

After about 15 minutes and still no sign of anyone from the hotel or firetrucks, we headed inside. One hotel employee comes out of nowhere and just stands at the desk as if nothing was wrong! A guy finally goes up and has to ask what was going on and the employee says that it was a false alarm and that we could go back to our rooms. "The alarms will be turned off momentarily" he assures us.

I found some earplugs that I travel with and try to get some rest. Didn't happen. The alarm stayed on for the next hour and a half! At 6am I finally fell asleep only to be awakened by my alarm 20 minutes later. Argh.

Fast forward to this evening and the monsoon that is happening outside my window. I don't know how this is possible but there is water dripping into my room and I'm on second of three floors. How is this possible? Once again, I am kept from my precious sleep ... when will this insanity end?!

I am so ready for vacation next week!

July 21, 2006 - The One Year Mark

It's hard to believe but just one short year ago, I drove into Huntington Beach ready to start my new life. Oh. My. Gosh. Where has the time gone?! It feels like just yesterday I arrived at my tiny little apartment and wondered what in the hell I had done. Why did I abandon the life I had loved so much in TN? Why did I sell my house? Why did I give up my dog? Was I going to be able to succeed in my new position? I never had a desire to live in California so what made me decide to make this move?

Well, looking back, it was the hardest year but probably the best year of my life. I've had a lot of fun, a lot of heartache, and a lot of time to do some real soul searching. If I've learned nothing else from this past year, I've learned who I really am, what I want out of life, and most importantly how important my family and friends are to me.

Not to mention, I get to see sunsets like this every night:

A friend of mine said that a life change of this sort would either make you more fearful or it would make you a much more grounded/confident person. I'm just thankful that it was the latter that happened to me. I have realized that we are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for - especially if we have faith.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cowboy Up

This weekend marked another first for me - the rodeo! I found myself at the biggest rodeo in the state of California! So big that they pronounce rodeo as "row-day-oh". No lie.

This is the event of the year in Salinas, CA and the entire town goes crazy. I've never seen so many cowboy hats, wranglers and handlebar mustaches in my life! The city was sold out of hotel rooms, all of the store window fronts were painted in a rodeo theme and you could find signs like this everywhere:

I never realized that they had so many events at a rodeo: a stunt horse rider, 5 well trained stunt dogs, barrel racing, roping, bull riding, bareback riding, and bullfighting just to name a few. The bull riders were my favorite by far. Check it out:

These guys are crazy!

Luckily I didn't see any of the riders get seriously injured but I did see a lot of this:

For the grand finale they brought out the bull fighters. These guys have to be the bravest or dumbest people I have ever seen. Dressed up as clowns, they willing put themselves within touching distance of a bull and dance around in front of their faces. All the while dodging the bulls attempts to kill them.

This was the only bull fighter that used the barrel as a prop in his "show". If you look closely, you can see the rodeo clown rolled up inside of that barrel. After I shot this picture, the bull fighter standing jumped on top of the barrel and ran down the bulls back!

It was amazing....and I loved every minute of it!