Monday, August 28, 2006

The Reunion that Ate the World

I'm telling you, this reunion thing? I'm going to be glad when its over. Remember when I first joined the committee and it was all about how cool everyone is now, how fun it would be to plan a party, how I'd have a chance to meet new people? The honeymoon is over kids. It seems that there are people with lots of different ideas, and we're not having an easy time listening to each other's opinions. I'm trying to say this nicely because although I'm a little upset about some stuff, I do like these girls and I want the reunion to be good. I'm just amazed that after 10 years, the high school drama continues. People are actively sending emails on the sly to each other trying to get people on their side. I'm not entirely innocent in that respect, but I'm to the point where I just don't know how to handle it anymore. I think we've all just put in a lot of work and we all feel some ownership in the event. It just.... sucks right now. And honestly I'm going to be glad when this thing is all over. In the next month I've been tasked to burn a crapload of CD memory books, put together a slide show, and format and print pictures of all the attending classmates (then AND now) for centerpieces. Yikes. And *sigh*.

OK, but I have BIG and EXCITING news. That's a lot of capital letters people. Emphasis on 'big'. The Big Apple! Ryan and I decided last minute to go w/ a group of guys from his department to the Tunnel to Towers run in New York. The run is in memorial to a NYC firefighter who was on his way home on 9/11 when the towers were hit. He jumped out of his truck at Battery Tunnel (south of Manhattan), put on his gear, and ran all the way to the Towers to try and help. He lost his life that day. The run follows the same route that Stephen Siller ran and it benefits burn centers across the country, childrens organizations (especially orphans because Stephen was one), and more recently children who suffered from Hurricane Katrina. Its only a 5k, but I'm training for it because I really want to do well. I want to run without stopping. Well, with the exception of when I need to take a picture of course (I'm carrying a small camera). We run through the entire tunnel, through Battery Park, and then finish at Ground Zero.

We're going on this trip with 6 other firefighters and one other wife. Its going to be 4 full days of drinking, eating, walking, and being out of countrol. I'm so excited! I'm a lucky girl that I've got a husband who thinks I'm cool enough to hang out with the boys. Our plan is to get in on Thursday and have a nice dinner and drink some fancy NYC drinks. The rest of the group gets in on Friday morning and then the party starts. We've got the firefighter Pasta Dinner on Saturday night, Sunday is the run and festival, and there are also plans to visit some fire stations in the City for pictures and to trade shirts with the other guys. And! Surprise, surprise, but the burliest of the bunch asked us if we'd be willing to see a Broadway show with them.

Speaking of, we saw Wicked last weekend. I'm telling you, that's a good show. I left there humming the songs and with lots to talk about. Its the very last of our season tickets. My parents have had them since I was about 12 and I'm bummed that its over. Maybe some day we'll get them again. I do love going to the theater.

Prepare yourself for more reunion talk and more NYC plans. Add to that a trip to Mexico in a month and half and we're crazy busy! Talk atcha soon.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The DVR has taken over

It drives Ryan a little nuts that I don't want for more things. He's always asking me, "Well don't you want anything?" Well, um, no. I don't. I'm just happy. Period. I hardly ever go clothes shopping, I'm OK with the TV we have, I like the house how it is so we don't need anything new for it... I'm good. But it does make me a whole lot harder to shop for.

Ryan got me a DVR for Valentine's Day. (We're all about practical gifts around here. ) Its one of the few things that I REALLY wanted, and I couldn't believe he did it for me. It will save me so much time! I don't have to be attached to my TV anymore to catch the shows I like! But that's not where it stops. Entourage, I've never seen that show. I might as well set the DVR to record all episodes. Oh! And Charmed! I missed it when it was actually on TV before, so I better record all available episodes now (that's 4 a day). And That '70s Show! We love that! So that's about 4 episodes a day of that too. See my problem?

So far today I've watched Project Runway and 5 episodes of Charmed. I need help.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


You have no idea what kind of non-Internet hell I've been in. My computer caught a cold last week and had to go to the Data Doctor. No Perez Hilton, limited Flickr cruising, and NO BLOGGING. Oh man.. You have no idea how tempting it is to be sitting in front of a computer all day and not be allowed to surf for anything fun. And Vegas was so long ago I barely remember the details enough to tell you about it. OK, so I don't remember all the details because of the alcohol, but that's besides the point. Here's some fun pictures for you:

Yep, still Vegas. That's the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel. Almost like the real thing. We did a LOT of walking in Vegas. Walking, losing money, and drinking. That's what Vegas is all about people. The couple we went with, Matt and Rebecca, go to Vegas a lot and they've got things they're accustomed to doing, just like we've got our things we do. So, we spent the 3 days we were there visiting each other's Vegas. Matt and Bec's Vegas includes a lot of gambling (in which they win and we do not) at the cheaper, rowdy casinos. These casinos serve coupious amounts of alcohol to anyone in the building, whether they're gambling or not. Thus our first night. In which we all got so wasted I vaguely remember dancing w/ some Seattle Supersonics at Margaritaville and I remember telling the guys at the craps table that Bec and I were 'together'. They seemed to, um, like it.

See me in that picture with the Beatles? I cannot tell you how completely awesome the Love show was. We had seats in the very back row (because its OK to waste $100 in a half hour at blackjack, but not on good seats for Love). On our way in the little person showing us to our seats assured us that they were the best seats in the house. Huh? OK, well, she was totally right! There's so much amazing stuff going on I can't even describe it. Have you seen a Cirque du Solei before? Imagine the best one you've ever seen, add more death-defining feats, and throw in a dab of arguably the best music ever made. You JUST DON'T KNOW. It was gorgeous, and from our lofty perch we could see it all. And just the sound of the Fab Four's voices had me crying like a 50's teeny bopper more than once.

All in all, we had an awesome time. Bec and Matt's Vegas is so much fun and I think they liked our beer-drinking, arcade-game playing Vegas as well. Oh, and why is Matts shirt wet in that picture? Well, he decided to try pouring a full beer from about 5 inches from his head into his house. And have I mentioned that the boy is blessed with an insane amount of luck? And that between Ryan and I we blew all our gambling budget in the first two days, but that meant we got to play penny slots the last night and concentrate on our beer drinking.

Work is so slow for me that I'm crazy looney. I've one the Expert level of Mindsweeper 3 times now and Spider Solitaire can bow down to me. Its at times like this I sorta miss my old job. Sure I didn't sleep at night and I was so stressed I (embarassingly) cried a few times at work, but I wasn't bored.

Summer has been insane. We've been overextended to the max. Like this weekend we're going to see Wicked on Friday night, we're also supposed to be camping all weekend, and we've got a party on Saturday night. So we're doing it all. For real. We're young, right? Might as well do everything while we're young.

This party on Saturday is not really a fun, happy party. My Godmother has been called up again to go to Iraq. She's been once before and it was really hard and it felt like forever. There's this great group at my work who gets together care packages for the soldiers, and my Aunt (Aunt Deb is what we call her) was one of the receipiants. It was totally surreal to get pictures from her from Iraq. She's really a sweet faced lady and to see her in full fatigues standing next to a Saddam head. She's got 2 awesome girls who are both in college, a new husband who treats her like the queen that she is, and a handful of stepkids who love her. Its just so sad. Its so easy to see pictures from Iraq and count our blessings that it doesn't affect us, but for some people it really does. You might see some pictures of her here on this blog.

The Reunion Committee is picking up steam. I've got carpal tunnel from entering in people's bios for the Memory Book. I've entered almost 50 I'd guess, and it made me really stressed out about my own entry. How to summarize 10 years, not sound like a braggy freak, and add in a little humor? Oh, and that's not even taking into consideration the fact that I have to pick a picture to go with the bio. I really have got to get over this image thing I've got going on right now. I think I'll forget about it over a glass of wine. And some ice cream.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Viva las Hangover!

Well tomorrow we're off to sin city folks. I plan on seeing quite a bit of this:

My liver is aching in anticipation! And so is my wallet. But we're going w/ a couple that we always have a blast with, so whatever happens we know it'll be fun!

I was so inspired by that moon last night (anyone else?!) that I grabbed my camera and headed over to the greenbelt by my house. The thing about photography is that you're reminded daily of the things you don't know how to do. I guess for me, taking pictures of the moon is one of those things. But I did happen to look down and notice this awesome guy:

Great mushroom, huh? Yet another weird thing growing in the desert right now after all the rain.

I'm off to my Reunion Committee meeting here in about a half hour. The charm of being on this committee has worn off a bit. We've got a few strong personalities in the group (mine included, embarassingly) and sometimes things don't go smoothly. Some days I swear I'm going to stop volunteering for things and just wait for our leader lady to give me a menial task to work on. Not only that, but some of us girls put in our own money up front anticipating that we'd be paid back as soon as people register. Well, out of a class of almost 800 students, only 42 people TOTAL have registered, and the due date is this Saturday. Eek! If we don't have at least 100 by then we lose the space we rented. Its very stressful. I just want to show up to the thing, drink, pretend I remember people and act like I don't care when they don't remember me, and go home. OK, not really, but still, this thing is way more stressful then I'd anticipated. And I only went to the first meeting for the free food! *sigh*

Ryan's doing well. His company is still sort of on my list. He loves his job, and he knows he's really lucky to have the job he has, but his company doesn't treat them really well. After over 2 years working with them, he still doesn't have a home station and carts all his belongings all around the Valley like a homeless person. And he's got senority over about 80% of the guys in his position! Add to that the fact that they've already lost at least 15 guys this year from the dept, and the fact that it is common knowledge that his dept is the lowest paying in the Valley, and I just can't imagine why they're not doing SOMETHING to boost morale with the guys. They could do so much for the guys by doing so little. Like more communication about when station bids will be available again, or a party so the families can get to know each other, or a simple system where the guys can reward each other for a job well done. I'm just saying... Not that they have to, but wouldn't they WANT to?

OK, gotta go get my act together for this meeting. And by 'get my act together', I don't mean making sure that I've got all my assignments done for tonight. I mean picking out a cute outfit. Come on! I've got ex-cheerleaders to convince that I'm now cool!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


The prospect of my new lens has kicked my creative bug into gear. My lens is still about 3 weeks away and I'm dying here!

Yesterday I was driving around with Ryan and for some reason the city seemed a little off. Something wasn't right with what I was seeing out the car window. It was color! Everywhere! Now that the monsoon finally delivered we've got flowers dotting the desert. The most amazing flower is this purple one that is everywhere. And we Phoenicians really notice when there's colors added to our normal colors of browns and dark browns. People have been talking about the flowers everywhere I go! So of course I had to take some pictures.

The water lilies are actually from my parents' backyard. They've got a gorgeous koi pond back there.

So I was at my parents house to pick my mom up for a day of museum tromping. We hit the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix. It is a museum dedicated to Native American art, but it also houses traveling exibits of all sorts. In my next post look for pictures of art using Coleman ice chests and Ikea furniture pieces. Um, yeah... I'm telling you, if that's art, how come I'm not famous by now?

Busy weekend. On Friday I went to a surprise b-day party with a 'Crazy Hat' theme. I think I've mentioned before that besides my girlfriends Ryan and I hang out w/ people considerably older than us. The party was for one of our best friends who turned 47. Ryan was working, so I flew solo (which REALLY sucks at a party). So here I am, the youngest person by at least 15 years and I left at 9pm to calls of "Wuss! You can't be ready for bed YET can you??". Yeah, I'm the oldest 28 year-old on the planet. We also went to an ice cream party last night (think 15 pints of Ben and Jerry's, one spoon for each of the 8 people there, mmmmm) and then on to a firefighter party. Man those firefighters can drink.

Big week this week! We're off to Vegas on Thursday. We're going to the new Beatle's Cirque du Solei show. Go ahead and be jealous. I'll bring back lots of pictures for sure.

Off to have my Sunday beers!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


My good girlfriend Kelli wrote this post yesterday that mentioned me. Look, I freak out. About a lot of stuff. In fact, my little phobias are so varied that Ryan's gotten to the point where he totally ignores them all.

I'm claustrophobic. I don't know if phobias are genetic, but if they are I totally got this one from my dad. Elevators are OK as long as they keep moving, but anything smaller then that and I'm a wreck. I had to get an MRI once (knee and ankle) and I figured it would be cool because you don't have to go into the machine all the way for a knee, right? WRONG. They stick you all the way in that sucker. At one point I was so freaked out I started climbing out of that thing and the tech had to start all over. It was a nightmare. If I hide under the bedsheets from the dogs and they jump on the bed to where I can't easily get back out from under the sheets I flip out. I'm a freak.

The flu thing. Oh don't get me started. OK, I'm started. I'm better now, but for a while there I was pretty freaking freaked out about a flu outbreak. I made Ryan go to Costco ('cause I hate crowds, ANOTHER PHOBIA!) for tuna fish and bottled water. And tequila. Because who wouldn't want to be drunk in a flu outbreak?

Fire. Yeah, I said fire. I am so flipping scared of fire that about 50% of the time I have Ryan go back to the house so I can make sure everything is unplugged. (and that's when I'm not making him drive back to make sure that we closed the garage door even though I REMEBER closing it) At night if we've grilled earlier I'll be laying in bed obsessing about whether or not the grill is off. Its a joke now because Ryan KNOWS that I'm going to ask him about it as soon as the lights are off, and he also knows he's going to get up and make sure or no one is getting any sleep. When we were in college our apartment building almost burned to the ground (the building right up next to it was 2 stories engulfed one night). Since then I STILL sometimes wake up thinking I'm hearing the roaring of a huge fire. And my husband is a firefighter. Nice.

I know I've got issues, but I tell Ryan all the time that he needs to understand that 1) I fully know its mental but that doesn't make it easier to deal with and 2) there are people who are WAY worse off then me. I know I'm a freak, but I really do figure that it can't hurt to be extra cautious about things, right? I'm comfortable with my OCD. Can't you be?

Food depresses me.... because I love it so!

When I was in 6th grade I put deodorant on my forehead. Because foreheads sweat. Right?

Don't know what made me think of that today other than I've been working out really hard in the gym lately. I could use deodorant for my whole body.

I'm feeling very anti my body right now. Like for real. And I'm fully aware of the fact that it is ridiculous because I'm not overweight. I've said that before, right? But I can very easily see why those actresses are all rail thin. I really do feel bad for them. People say I look like Kate Bosworth (yay me for dating Orlando Bloom!) and I have to admit a few years ago when I'd see her in movies even I thought there was some similarity there. But lately? Scary. She's so scary thin that it just makes me feel sad for her. What happened to that girl who looked awesome and curvy in her bikini for Blue Crush? Now she looks like a bobblehead. LOOK!

(by the way, i REALLY don't like her in this pic)

Ha! I totally went looking for a skinny pic of her, and look at the 'Before' picture they've got of her. That's her Blue Crush body right there. WHAT HAPPENED?! Why is this happening? Are we, the Star-loving public expecting this? Are clothes getting smaller so we are? Are health standards changing? Whatever it is, its disgusting.

So why is it so easy for me to say that, yet here I am on a diet. A DIET. Why can't I just realize that I'm normal and normal people don't look like those skinny stars? But still, I diet and work out like a fiend. I hate hating food.

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    Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

    I'm Amanda. I'm an engineer in an industry full of men, a professional wedding and family portrait photographer, a firefighter's wife, a traveler, and a dogMa.

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