Friday, September 20, 2013

Okay, Thanks Phoenix but Even I’m Done Now

This probably started just down the street from us.
You all know I live in Phoenix. And most everyone knows that the climate in our little corner of the country is on the warm side most of the time. In fact the monster number of days of sunshine and warmth were two of the main reasons I wanted to live here in the first place.

But even I’m saying Uncle at this point.

Our first 100+ degree day was on April, 28. May only had 9 days at 100° or better (but we had 18 days between 90-99°), no day in June was under 100°, only 3 days were below 100° in July (and only 1 day below 96°), 2 days below 100° in August, and now 14 days in September have been 100° or more.

That’s 113 days do far. Funny, that’s what the temperature feels like out there. Keep in mind there are only 145 days between April 28 and today, September 20. Although today’s figures haven’t been shared yet on the Phoenix NOAA page. But if you trust my phone’s weather App it got to at least 102° today.

I trust my phone because it sure feels like it. And it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. At least not this week.

Okay Phoenix, thanks, but could you back off just a little please? Even dropping to 90° would feel like a vacation.

I thought the trip we took to California for our anniversary would be a nice transition because as soon as we got back we had 3 days in a row under 95 degrees. We thought the worst was behind us.

It was perfect weather in San Diego actually. Funny though, the night we got in the news was reporting on their “major heat wave” and what residents were doing to stay cool in the high temperatures.

They reported that it had been close to 90° for about 5 days in a row. Matt and I looked at each other and just started laughing. Picture me patting people on the head and saying ‘oh you’re so cute thinking it’s hot here!’ We went to Cali to cool off. And cool off we did.

But the weather must have caught up with the fact we came back and Mother Nature turned up her furnace once she figured it out. How very nice of her. Remind me to send her a melted basket of chocolate covered fruit.

Even our record low warm was broken this month. On the 18th in 1992 the low temperature was 85 degrees. This past Tuesday it only got down to 88°. Though, I’m not gonna lie, at 9:00 at night when there’s no sun and no humidity that temperature feels glorious.

I’m just sad we didn’t win the huge Powerball lottery the other day. You can bet I’d become a late summer snowbird and spend all of September in San Diego if I had the means to do so. Maybe October too. Because at this point I have no idea how we’re going to drop off before Halloween.

And melted chocolate doesn’t sound very delicious.

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Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Read her blog

Friday, September 13, 2013

This List Should be Shrinking not Growing, Right?

I’ve been pitching for a bunch of different writing gigs lately and this morning THE ideal job posting came across the wires – a travel blog writer. For money. Holy crap! I don’t really have experience writing articles so much but I’m an expert reviewer. Not to mention an expert traveler by car as couples.

So that’s what I based my pitch on. Along with some creative and flowery adjectives describing my own backyard. Hey, travel starts in your own neighborhood right? Especially when you’re an “expat” like me – a Townie in a new land.

But anyway, while I was going back through my blog posts to see what articles I could share as samples of my style, I came across a post from April 16, 2011 titled Something to Do Before I Die. I re-read it and had to laugh. My bucket list that I wrote back then included a bunch of good stuff but the list itself has definitely grown since I wrote that post. But a few things got knocked off and they sure were fun!

Let’s break it down and see where I’m at as of September 2013…

The Bucket List – as originally published on 4/16/2011

• Be on the New York Times best sellers list, “The” list not one of those offshoots

Um, not quite there just yet. Don’t know how soon this one might get crossed off but I’ll keep giving that old college try!

• Travel to Spain, specifically Barcelona

We have some friends with a condo in Rocky Point, Mexico. Their place is right on the beach and only about a 3 or so hour drive from Phoenix. And they go almost every weekend in the summer and keep inviting us to go with them. Why am I telling you this on a point related to Spain? Well, we haven’t even gotten our passports updated to go 3 hours away by car with friends. So looks like Spain is on the back burner for a while, huh?

• Travel back to Amsterdam (with Matt this time)

See above…

• Travel back to Ireland


• Travel to Hawaii

We actually have the opportunity to stay with my sister’s BFF and her husband who just recently moved to one of the Hawaiian islands to live permanently. No passport required? Free place to stay? Challenge accepted!

• Travel to Portugal

You know the answer by now.

• Live and make a living in San Diego

Not yet but this is definitely on both mine and Matt’s radar right now. We got home from our anniversary trip and actually seriously started talking about how we could make it happen to get a condo out there that we rent out until we’re ready to “retire” (I use quotes because I’ll be writing until my fingers fall off, the retiring part can be left to Matt).

• See the Red Sox play the Yankees at Fenway in a game 4 for the sweep and kick their sorry asses right back to the Bronx where they belong (if this season is any indication I’ve got a couple years before this occurs)

As predicted, not so much the past couple seasons. Although this one is looking pretty promising. But I can 100% guarantee I wouldn’t be able to catch the game even if it happened as I laid out here. Too much other travel this fall for weddings. We won’t be able to get back to Boston until next summer unfortunately.

• Settle for seeing the Sox beat the Yanks in any regular season game at Fenway

And because we can’t get back east until 2014 I’d settle for seeing it happen on TV.

• Sit beside my Aunt at the finals when the Bruins win the Cup for the first time in 38+ years (yes, I mean this year damn it!)

I did not get to sit next to Sue when they won the Cup but…

• Settle for seeing them win the cup at all (either in the stands or on my sofa next to my Aunt) and getting to go to the parade

GOAL ACHIEVED!!! (Pun intended). That was THE BEST WAY EVER to wrap up our Boston lives before moving to Arizona! The parade was insanely cool and something I’ll remember the rest of my life. And I’m so glad I got to share that day with Sue, Matt and my Uncle!

• Becoming a millionaire, not through inheritance or anything like that, my own blood, sweat & tears

Still working on this one…

• Graduate college

No longer caring to work on this one…

• Be in a big budget movie (I’ll even take a small part like “Friend’s neighbor” or something but it has to be a speaking role [one line will do] and I must be credited

Not yet but I’ll keep it in the back of my mind. I am so not attractive on camera and I really dislike my recorded voice, but maybe with the right lighting and direction, plus the fact I wouldn’t have to be the “star” would help me be better at those parts?

• Make my living as a published author (book tours, readings/signings, etc included)

I think I should’ve said published Writer, not Author, because that’s more in line with my real life goals. And I’m actually making major headway toward that now doing freelance and publishing books. I love my job!

• Get to see all 50 states & spend time in each of them seeing sights (20 down -- MA, NH, VT, ME, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, OH, MD, DE, NC, FL, TX, AZ, CA, DC, LA, GA -- of course the only time I really spent in Delaware was at rest stops but what else is there to see, really? I imagine we’ll knock at least 7 more off the list just driving out to our new home and probably another 5 within the first year we live out there. That only leaves 18 more!)

OK, I’m up to: MA, NH, VT, ME, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, OH, MD, DE, NC, SC, VA, FL, TX, AZ, CA, DC, LA, GA, TN, MS, OK, AR, NM
That’s 26 states and one Capital. Only 14 to go, mostly stuff in the middle and northwest.

• Drive a race car around a track at over 125 mph

Not yet!

• Go white water rafting again

Done it once so it isn’t as crucial I get back, just something I’d love to do with Matt.

• Get Matt to Disney World

This will happen for our 15 year anniversary. I’m making the declaration now.

Stuff that should’ve been included (some of which is already crossed off)

Catch a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau
Get to a game at every NHL arena (2 down, only 28 to go!)
Become a season ticket holder of a professional US sport – Coyotes here we come!
Be in the studio audience at the Maury show when the DNA test results are revealed.
Meet Jason Mraz (preferably not as a fan-girl but maybe at a party or something)
Renovate a home (not in the ghetto) that we intend to live in – Currently in process!
Get a byline in a major market publication (I’ll take magazine or newspaper and online is ok)
Publish something that goes viral
Chase a tornado
Own a second home used only for vacations or rental income
Make enough as a Writer that Matt can quit working Corporate (if he wants to)
Learn to surf (even though I’m terrified of sharks I still can’t shake this one)
Get to Australia & New Zealand

I’m sure there’s more but I just can’t think of them off the top right now. Maybe I’ll have a lot to cross off and more to add in another 2-1/2 years. Until then, it looks like the top item on the list should be ‘Update passport’ huh?

What are your top 3 bucket list items?

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Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Read her blog

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sometimes Someone Else Just says it better than I Ever Could

This is one of those days that I have to keep busy, to think of anything else other than the date or I might just find myself sitting on the sofa watching 12 year old news footage all day. I will never forget, that's a fact and something I've even written about before, but I also try very hard to live in the positive force of now.

And right now?

Life has changed, moved on, moved through, and moved past the events that happened on 9/11/01. At least that's the way it is for me. Friends, family, random acquaintances, jobs, geographic locations, apartments, cars, plates of food, pints of beer – they’ve all come and gone and I just kept moving forward.

So now what?

I opened this post on a somewhat somber note and led everyone to believe I might share some of what happened to me on that day. Or at least how my mind has processed things that have happened since. But honestly I just don’t want to. I don’t want to write it again, I don’t want to re-hash it all and sit around being sad and depressed all day.

Because that’s not the spirit I gleaned from the people of this country after the biggest tragedy in our history took place. I gleaned love and positivity, togetherness and a helpful life-force.

Which basically means I need to find some way to transition from the first few paragraphs of this post - ones that likely brought up all kinds of crazy memories for many of you - to something lighter, brighter and more upbeat.

Because that's where my brain likes to live these days.

Tall order?

In the spirit of that I always think the best way to bridge any gap is through music. So here's a quote to chew on for a few seconds that will hopefully give you some idea of the place I'm forcing my head to live today:

"The struggles I'm facing, the chances I'm taking. Sometimes might knock me down but, no I'm not breaking." **

Actually, now that I mention it, I think sharing a few of my favorite quotes from songs might not be a bad idea. It’s the kind of thing that makes for an interesting enough post, one that people can hopefully connect with in some small way.

And hopefully one that can help alleviate the emotional memories someone might be experiencing today. If only for a few minutes.

The List – Favorite Lines from Songs

I’ve been compiling a list for the past few months in a notepad document on my phone. Well my phone is about to get kicked to the curb for an upgrade soon so I guess there’s no time like the present to share what I’ve already got.

Obviously this list isn’t complete, that list would take decades to compile and probably still wouldn’t be complete. But enjoy these nuggets of brilliance for what they’re worth. Some are single lines, some entire verses. Some I’d have put the entire song as a quote because it just speaks to me so intensely. Those ones are linked back to a YouTube video so you can listen to the whole thing if you like.

And maybe finding out who the artists are behind some of these quotes will surprise you.

I'm just a notch in your bedpost but you're just a line in a song.
– Fall Out Boy

Hold onto 16 as long as you can, changes comin’ round real soon make us women & men.
– John Cougar Mellencamp

Well maybe I'm off, yeah, I'm strangely askew. Maybe I ran away just when you started to get a good view. And maybe who I am turned out to be, nothing like the me that you wanted me to be.
          - Melisa Ferrick (I REALLY tried to find this song sung by Ferrick live somewhere so I could link to it but other than the tiny clip on Amazon’s link to purchase there’s just nothing online. The song isn’t one Ferrick usually performs live. Just go buy Valentine Heartache.)

We're just 2 lost souls swimmin’ in a fishbowl year after year.
          - Pink Floyd

It’s when you cry just a little but you laugh in the middle that you've made it.
          - Jason Mraz

All my life I've been searchin’ for somethin’ somethin’ never comes never leads to nothin’ nothin’ satisfies but I'm getting’ close closer to the prize at the end of the rope.
          - Foo Fighters

There's always gonna be another mountain I'm always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. Ain't about how fast I get there, ain't about what's waiting on the other side. It's the climb.
          - **Miley Cyrus

Some things in this world, man, they don’t make sense. Some things you don’t need until they leave you then they’re things that you miss.
          - Matchbox 20

If I knew all the words I would write myself out of here.
          - Jason Mraz

Now that we're here so far away, all the struggle we fought was in vain. And all the mistakes one life contained, they all finally start to go away. Now that we’re here so far away, and I feel like I can face the day. I can forgive and I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today.
          - Staind

You only get one shot do not miss your chance & blow ‘cause opportunity comes once in a lifetime.
          - Eminem

And you're measuring your minutes by a clock that's blinking 8's.
          - Dashboard Confessional

Life's like an hourglass glued to the table. No one can find the rewind button now. Sing it if you understand. And breathe. Just breathe.
- Anna Nalick

I mean how can we get lost running in a straight line?
          - Jason Mraz

‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony this life. Try to make ends meet you're a slave to money then you die.
          - The Verve

I find sometimes it’s easy to be myself, sometimes I find it’s better to be somebody else.
          - Dave Matthews Band

Climb up over the top survey the state of your soul, you've got to find out for yourself whether or not you're truly trying. Why not give it a shot shake it take control & inevitably wind up finding for yourself all the strengths that you have inside of you.
          - Jason Mraz

And that seems like a pretty great way to close this post.

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Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Read her blog