Archive for March, 2009

A new look?

March 25, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Parenthood

We returned to school on Monday after being off for over two weeks for Spring Break. Before break she always dressed mostly in shorts, jeans or long pants, and whatever shoe fit her fancy. After break she suddenly wanted to wear dresses, have her hair done, and bathe daily.

Mama hates to get up early. This morning Claire announced that she wanted to her hair braided by Mama at about 4:30AM. My wife’s alarm goes off at 7AM. I chuckled and told her to go into our bedroom to ask. I stood quietly by the door to see what my wife’s response would be, because I knew how she’d respond to me! She nicely said “gimme a minute to wake up” and proceeded to get out of bed within minutes. Go figure!

My little Supergirl

March 20, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Parenthood

Claire’s taking karate now, which requires her to wear a starched, bleach white karate uniform four days a week. Well, climbing in and out of cars is dirty and so are parking lots. It’s quickly becoming a chore to put on and take off this uniform as we come and go and fit karate in among other things. Today, after karate, we were heading to ASU to pick up a friend. Claire hopped into her car seat and strapped herself in quickly, but as I got on the road she checked with me about where we were going and how we had some errands to run, and then she grabbed a blanket we keep in the back seat and tossed it over her head. I knew she was tired or thought she was playing, but after what seemed like 14 nanoseconds, she tossed off the blanket (almost as if ti cry TADA!) and she was full clothed in a really cute blue plaid short set with pink tank. She smiled at me like she was Helen Slater in that cheesy Supergirl moving from like 1983. Remember the one where Helen Slater was getting a few jobs because her brother was suppose to be the next Jack Nickolson? Anyway, Claire gave me this smile, like “this is how I roll and I’m ready to rock, Dada…”

Helen has her phone booth; Claire has her fleece moose blanket!

Used under (cc) from Mark Owens, 2009.

Used under (cc) from Mark Owens, 2009.

Disclaimer: No I don’t advocate allowing your 3/4 year old unbuckle her car seat & strip in public.

Google Calendar for a 4 yr old

March 19, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Parenthood

Claire’s 4 in a few weeks here, but the other day we were forced to give her her own Google Calendar. She’s accumulated enough weekly events that we’ve moved her to her own calendar. Haha yes, with Karate now four times a week, we were both done with her events crowding our own calendar items. Between gymnastics, karate, and swim, this girl’s got it made. Stuff to do all of the time. Our little social butterfly has her fingers in everything, including a brand spanking new own Google Cal. One of her grand mothers with whom we shared it (she’s Google savvy) responded only with “oh yoi”. Now if I can just get Claire to put her own events on the calendar, drive herself there, and get a part time job to pay for it all!

CCCC in San Francisco

March 16, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Travel

Each time I have a chance to go to San Francisco, it never disappoints. This time it was the recent Conference on College Composition and Communication. A good friend of mine has recently co-published a research writing handbook, which was being pushed at this conference so a few of us decided to go to support her. We stayed just on the edge of The Tenderloin on the side of Nob Hill and had an awesome time. During the day, it was great session after great session but night time was all about site seeing, being wined and dined by the publishers and hitting some nightlife.

I was there for five days and was able to go to dinner at The House with family friends, we also hit the Empress of China restaurant in Chinatown after a cable car ride, and last night three of us spent most of the night in The Haight and in North Beach. Beautiful time and pictures coming to a Flickr near you (search ours for “cccc09”).

Weeds are Wack

March 10, 2009 By: nooccar Category: House

City Code Sucks

Each and every spring it rains in the desert, and each and every spring I have weeds in my yard. I pull them, spray, them, or pay people to pull them to only have them return in two weeks. Recently my front yard reminded me of Jumanji and something had to be done. We were busy so we put it off until we came home to find a large City of Chandler code inspector nasty-gram on our door. Damnit. He was planning to to reinspect in less than a week. You know what? We’ve been in our house for 5 years and always had March weeds. NO ONE has ever inspected my yard! I think the city is losing money because Jan Brewer sucks (my brother has more of a degree than she does!), so they need to suck it from us. My neighbor and I both got these nasty grams.

City Code Sucks

The wife and I hemmed and hawed about what we’d do, and finally we decided to call some weed killing people. They will head out in a few days, but in the meantime I had to make the, in some places, two feet tall weeds, go AWAY. Donna, Claire and I pulled weeds one night until we couldn’t see anymore but there were more. More MORE! The killers were coming, but I needed to at least knock them down. I considered a 9-iron until neighbor man suggested I borrow his weed wacker. I wholeheartedly agreed to borrow a TOOL! And one that I get to plug in! Awesome. I am Man. Hear Me Roar.

Weeds Blow

Well, it was more like roaring from rocks flinging off my legs since I was the idiot who weeded in shorts. And the real fun was when weed wacked my leg. Tres cool. Not. That hurt, but I’d live. All weeds died a painful death at my ministrations, but my entire leg looked like something out of Swamp Thing. I was surprised that the shower worked so well, but I did find weed wack string pieces sticking out of my leg under the green blood and body parts of the weeds of death.

2009-67 (March 8)

Tonto Natural Bridge Closed

March 05, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Politics, Travel

Donna and I visit the Payson/Pine/Strawberry area often (me more than her), and last summer I was excited to head up there and get out to see some nature. My friend, Coop, recommended Tonto Natural Bridge north of Payson off the Beeline, so after a wonderful weekend at Angelika’s cabin, we drove over there for an afternoon. For me, it was one of the coolest things we’d seen in Arizona, and I’ve talked about the state park to friends and students ever since. Many people have eagerly said they were going based on my recommendation alone, and I even blogged the experience here.

Tonight I was surfing through my gmail and checked today’s Flickr uploads. My friend and colleague Alan who lives near Tonto Natural Bridge posted a VERY disturbing photo on Flickr with an equally disturbing caption. I will post the entirety below, but here’s the link to the original.

Short Sighted Government Stupidity in Action “Short Sighted Government Stupidity in Action” posted to Flickr by Cogdog on March 3, 2009.

Hmmm, I’ve been waiting for a local cause and here it is. The far seeing Arizona state legislature has slashed $35 million from state parks, which are closing like falling dominoes across the state.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is just south of Pine, AZ, about 6 miles from where I live. It features what is called the largest travertine natural bridge (a natural bridge being like an arch, but over flowing water). The “hole” is more than 180 feet high.

According to an article in the Payson Roundup, this little park drew 100,00 visitors last year, and with a raise on fees from $3 to $4 the park is self supporting.

Why close it?

The estimated local economic impact of visitors coming to the park is $3.5 million.

Oh, it makes sense to take that away from the marginal local economies. Already in the small towns of Pine and Payson, at least 2 restaurants are boarded up. That puts a handful of people out of work, and then they are not putting money into the local economy, which has the effect of… spreading the slide.

To me, the staggering stupidity of closing a park like this is much deeper then the grand canyon. Hopefully some of the dusty heads in Phoenix will get a clue.

This is ridiculous. Everything President Obama is fighting to fix nationally is still being screwed by local government. According to the official Tonto site, the park is closed because of maintenance which may be true but many of us question the validity of the timing. The site says it may be closed only six months so we’ll see. In the meantime the official press release states that it’s because the lodge roof leaks. I’ve been there, the lodge is NOWHERE near the bridge itself. According to Assistant Parks Director, Jay Ream, after the repairs are completed “after completion the Board will re-evaluate the budget situation for re-opening,” which means they’re being vague enough to screw the people who love this place in the end. I suggest all of you call Arizona State Parks at (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free 800-285-3703), ask for Jay Ream’s and tell him to keep our beloved parks open. While I am serious about the state government not following suit when it comes to turning around our current recession, I am not getting into what I’ve not properly researched, so I will only leave you with the beautiful video I have of the first (and what may be the last time) I am able to share such a wonderful natural wonder with my daughter.

Tonto Natural Bridge from Devon Adams on Vimeo.

Fireside Espresso Payson, AZ

March 02, 2009 By: nooccar Category: holidays, Reviews, Travel

Recently I needed to get out of the desert, and it’s always great to have friends who have a cool cabin in the woods 90 minutes north in Payson, AZ. We don’t get there as often as we should, but recently we were invited. My wife is in grad school and needed to be online to finish and post her final paper was worried about this project. I contacted my friend Alan Levine who lived in the area, and he mentioned a coffeehouse called Fireside Espresso at the corner of Forest Road and the Beeline Highway. The wife agreed to check it out, and off we went.

Now, I’ve been to some pretty cool coffeehouses in places like Pittsburgh, San Francisco, New York City, London, etc… until last week there were no coffeehouses in Arizona that lived up to my expectations. FIreside Espresso changed all of this.


Sure this coffeehouse is in Payson and isn’t actually in Phoenix, but it’s a helluva cool drive up the Beeline and I can be sitting in Fireside Espresso in 90 minutes. The red and white building is on a corner near a gas station with a large logo of a man drinking coffee over a campfire. The cozy “partner-up” atmosphere continued inside. The sage walls jutted up from wood floors surrounded by a large space sectioned off into smaller rooms. One large section had a fireplace and welcoming leather couch where a man was sleeping when I first went in. Across the entire front of the building were windows and large sitting areas. I saw a local group of folks playing Scrabble one time I went and the other time I went there was a single’s Bible study at the long wooden, polished table. This is the perfect place to have informal meet-ups in this area.


My wife grabbed a table in an area that is used for Open Mic Night and booted her computer; she was quickly online while I ordered several things. The barista explained all food is made from scratch right there on site, and I quickly ordered various scones and quiche. It felt like most people were locals or at least treated like locals. The barrister turned out to the be the owner, Amy Anderson. Amy made several recommendations for drinks and deserts before we grabbed some seats. We had three children between ages 2-5 with us; Amy and every customer there didn’t even raise an eyebrow when they ran across the stage or shouted through the coffeehouse.


The quiche was phenomenal and the Americano was the perfect wake me up. On the menu I saw a drink called a “London Fog”, so I asked Amy what it was. I’d never heard of it and later realized it’s more popular than I knew. I told her that i wanted one the next time I came in, which just happened to be three hours later. She turned back to make one of the best drinks I had, which I later discovered was steamed milk, Torani vanilla, and earl grey tea bags (the secret is to steep for only 2 minutes!) Amy mentioned that she had been in the business for four years and ran Fireside Espresso for two of them.


I’ve been searching for a coffeehouse that felt like family — a Cheers for the caffeine set, I suppose. Fireside Espresso is this place. Drive up, go see Amy, tell her I said hello and to have my London Fog ready the next time I head north for some weather.

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