Monday, March 26, 2012

Phoenix in February is Fun: Day 4

Monday was to be the last day of my trip to Arizona and as it was yet another fantastically warm and sunny day, Julie suggested we head to a nearby waterfowl refuge/walking area/there's a library there too/ place, called Riparian Park (or Riparian something or other).

Anyway, it was great to enjoy the nice warm weather, and we also got to see quite a few cool birds. My favorites were the great blue herons, who we saw several of. The first one flew right near us and landed in a nearby marsh.  I thought it would be fun to get a picture of one in flight, and Julie was a good enough host to walk around to where it was and make it fly. :)  Thankfully it didn't come to having to throw pebbles at it to get it to fly, as that might have been frowned upon at a refuge, I imagine.  We spent a while there walking around, seeing the herons, ducks, egrets, etc.

Great Blue Heron
Pre-Julie's visit to its neighborhood

Great Blue Heron in flight
Post-Julie's visit

Arizona - President's Day Weekend 2012 107
Pretty looking duck

Afterward we grabbed some lunch at Jack-in-the-Box (since we don't have those in Salt Lake), and then hit up the yogurt ranch so Julie could get some nutella fro-yo. 

After lunch and dessert we drove out to an outdoor shopping area where we just window shopped and enjoyed more time in the nice weather.

Then Julie drove me back to the airport which was a little busy with youth soccer teams heading home after what must have been a huge weekend-long tournament, but I had no problems getting through security and to my gate in time for some Wendy's dinner.

Got home on time, and took the shuttle back to my car.  It had snowed while I was gone, but only a tiny bit remained on my dashboard. Just enough to remind of how nice it was to be somewhere warm. :)

Thanks again to Julie for hosting me. :)

Phoenix in February is Fun: Day 3

What's that you say? I went to Phoenix over a month ago and I still haven't finished blogging about my trip? Well I guess its a good thing that I haven't done anything else interesting since then. :)

Sunday of my trip, I didn't even take my camera out, so you'll just have to bear with me as a paint a picture for you with my words.  I apologize in advance. :)

It was a pretty typical single Mormon Sunday, really.  Went over to Julie's house in the morning. Ate some cereal.  Went to her singles' ward.  Mix and mingled, lingered longer, etc.  Then back to her house where we ended up having people over to play games (Kinect mostly, plus puzzles).  At this point, that's all I really remember from Sunday.

I'm an efficient word painter, ok?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Phoenix in February is Fun: Day 2

Despite my rough draft being finished a week ago, last week was still full of revision writing for my paper, and no writing for my blog.  Hopefully this week I'll have a little more writing energy left, though I still probably need to read through my paper one last time before submitting it.

In any case, I definitely need to finish recapping my trip to Arizona before I've forgotten everything that I didn't actually take pictures of...

Saturday morning, Julie came and picked me up at her friend Steven's house, where I was staying for the weekend, and we headed to the store to buy stuff for breakfast burritos.  After breakfast, we brainstormed ideas of things to do, and eventually I suggested the Phoenix Zoo and she was kind enough to be excited to go. :)

On the whole, I thought the Phoenix Zoo was pretty good. Felt like they could have done a little better in the primate category (no gorillas or chimpanzees or gibbons as far as I could see).  They had a fun "monkeyland" place where you could go inside with little monkeys (but don't touch them!). They had a whole area dedicated to this one South American bear (they're rare, I guess?). There was a giant anteater that was really cool to look at, but kind of far away and hard to take good photos of. There was a nice big white rhino. And they had a really nice big open African area with giraffes, ostriches, watusi cattle, and other stuff all together.

A monster! Ok, just a Gila Monster. But kind of cool that it has "monster" in its name, right?

Maybe the elephant hears music that we just can't hear

Warty Pig
The warty pigs had fun haircuts

Bald Eagles
Felt like these bald eagles were appropriate to photograph as it was President's Day weekend.

Galapagos Tortoise
They had a couple Galapagos Tortoises. And this one was even doing something!

With the White Rhino
Me and the rhino (The Rhino and I?)

White Rhino
Just the rhino

Lions laying low in the afternoon

Oh the ostrich! So dainty!

From the African exhibit

After the zoo, we were pretty hungry (having had only our burritos to eat so far) and Julie took me to a place called Sauce where I got a pizza and she got some salad.  That night, we ended up playing games at a friend's place, and I had a surprisingly good time playing sedarahc (backwards charades), where the whole team acts out the clue at once while just one person guesses.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Phoenix in February is Fun: Day 1

I know I'm a little late getting around to posting about my President's Day weekend trip to Phoenix. I'd been procrastinating a paper I'm writing for a conference, and because I knew I was supposed to be writing that, it was hard to feel OK about writing something else. If that makes any sense at all.  Anyway, I finally got a rough draft done, and I'm waiting for feedback from my co-authors, so I feel okay about doing a little recreational writing today.

I flew down to Phoenix on Friday afternoon of President's Day weekend to hang out with Julie and enjoy some warm weather. It would take a lot to get me to go to Phoenix between June and August, but February was just about perfect. Highs in the 60s and 70s all weekend. Plenty of outdoorsy things to do. Definitely a nice change of pace from winter here in Salt Lake, even if it has been the mildest winter I can remember.

Anyway, Julie picked me up at the airport and we meandered our way back toward Gilbert where she lives, making a pit stop at Tempe Diablo Stadium, Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  As we pulled into the parking lot, we could see a gate was open, so we got out and went up to check it out.  We walked in, and as far as we could tell the only guy there was down painting something on the top of one of the dugouts.  We checked out the field and then went through a door that led up some stairs to the press box and other offices.  The drink machine wasn't working and we decided against taking any Shasta from the fridge, but we did get in at least one good rendition of "The Jet stole home!!!"  We wandered down a hallway and greeted a few people who actually were there working, before finally heading back to the car.

Tempe Diablo Stadium

Tempe Diablo Stadium - Press Box

Tempe Diablo Stadium

After the stadium, Julie gave me a tour of more of the greater Tempe area and described a variety of options for where we might get dinner. We finally ended up at a Mexican place called "On the Border", that turned out be positively delightful.  They had an "All You Can Eat Enchiladas" special going for like $8, which Julie ordered, and I settled on "The Big Borderito".  Our server (also named Julie) was so nice to keep bringing more enchiladas all night. Even when Julie said she was full, she said "well don't you want some to take home with you?" Way to earn that tip, other Julie. :)

After our retirement-community appropriate early dinner, we stopped by Julie's place for a bit, worked on a puzzle, cruised to an outdoor shopping area to enjoy a free band playing outside situation (and also found some potential family reunion shirts for Julie's family), and finished the night about by watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes.