Before I got all mopey, Rosalind and I spent a fabulous weekend at the Arizona Biltmore (it’s so nice to have friends who are good at winning contests).

The Biltmore oozes old-school glamour – although at first, they tried to stick us in the “Biltmore” add-on motel at the back of the resort, with a view of an air conditioner.  No, thank you.  Luckily, Rosalind doesn’t fear making firm phone calls, and soon we were cozied up nicely in a garden room.   Ahhhh.  Everything was divine, and Rosalind and I decided to settle in and have a cocktail.  Time to pull out the bottle of rum and make a quick trip to the ice machine.

Um, where is the ice machine, please?

Ah, wonderful.  Down the hall, then…

And…through the unmarked door?

Into the creepy abandoned room where one might find a dead body…

Through another creepy door??  What is that in the corner? Is it moving?  Ahhh!

Seriously, I think someone should call Detective Beckett. Oh no, she was shot in the season finale.  Dammit, Castle! 

…Wait, what’s that in the back corner there, some sort of  torture device?

Ice machine!!  God, I hope it doesn’t spit out severed fingers…

Run, Rosalind!  Run back to sweet civilization!

Worth it:

Introducing…

July 1, 2010

Orange Juicy!

Moo’s favorite name for her little brother will now officially become his blog pseudonym.  Nicknames Juicy, Juice, and OJ (we can get over that whole association, can’t we?).

Last weekend we commemorated the Juice man’s arrival with a photo shoot taken by the fair Rosalind of EME Photography.  She got some pictures that make me swoon:

And then she wanted to try some experimental shots.  Rosalind has been admiring pictures taken by this photographer who somehow gets infants into these crazy, bendy-foldy positions.  So we lulled Juicy into a deep sleep and then started twisting him around like a pretzel.

It…almost worked:

Ker-Splat!

We tried again and again until li’l J got so annoyed he peed on Rosalind.  (Side note:  so not prepared for how the pee goes EVERYwhere with boys!)  We concluded that getting those pictures is impossible, and that this photographer must hand out the secret infant-propper-upper doohickey at her $5,000 seminars.

The Juice Man beckons!  Gotta go.

On the Side

March 12, 2010

Well, I stretched out my birthday as long as I could over the weekend.  Rosalind took me to dinner Friday night to Tuck Shop, which is a cool old renovated house with an actual living room where you can hang out while you wait for a table, complete with games, books, and those little water games where you push the button and air makes the rings fly up and land on the doohickey… Anyway, it was great (best mac n’ cheese EVER – crispy proscuitto!) except that first, we got verrry familiar with the squirty games because the host/manager forgot us, and then tried to make it up to us by…selling us another appetizer and not offering to pay?  And then, we finally got seated and decided to order one of the shareable plates, a big pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw and sweet potato fries.  Our waiter came to take our order, and upon hearing that the cole slaw was served ON the sandwich, this exchange occurred:

Rosalind:  “Oh, then could we get the cole slaw on the side?”

Waiter:  “…..Why?”

The answer is that Rosalind and mayonnaise have a HATE-HATE relationship, which she disclosed in a rather baffled manner, and by the time our waiter snootily agreed and turned away, I was doubled over trying to guffaw silently.  I mean, I have witnessed Rosalind make some rather complicated, mayonnaise-based restaurant requests, but cole slaw on the side?  How simple is that?  Apparently, at Tuck Shop, they hold their cabbagey side items in very high esteem.  For the rest of the meal, I was greatly amused by the palpable feeling of “I despise you” between Rosalind and our waiter (Rosalind’s paying!  Joke’s on you, buddy!), but despite our giggles and the great food, I’m afraid the clueless manager and mean waiter will keep me from making a return visit.

The next morning, I declared that I wished to take a hike, which is usually something I want to do about as often as I want to visit the dentist.  But ballet class has been killing my back, and I needed some sort of exercise after all that ice cream on my birthday.  However, I didn’t want to just hike to the top of some boring mountain, I needed a goal – specifically, cinnamon rolls.  Luckily, we didn’t have to go up and down the mountain, just sort of arooound it, all the way to the bakery at AJ’s.   Hiking isn’t that awful when the mountains are so green, and when you’ve got a sweet husband and a sweet Moo (in the hiking backpack) to keep you company.  We sang princess songs the whole way (which go like this:  “Princessssss, princess princessssss la la lee lee laa Cinderella grass bunny laaa.”  I barely made it on the way back, but later I found out I’d walked FIVE MILES (I mean, that is a lot of traversing for me), so I certainly earned a cinnamon roll or three, yes?

That night Herbie and I had a birthday date night.  First, we had possibly the most perfect cheeseburgers ever at Delux, where we also met a couple with a 3-month-old baby and tried to WILL them to be our friends (alas!), and then we saw the movie A Single Man, which, besides being a beautiful and devastating film, had a lot of naked Colin Firth bum, so happy birthday to me!

Finally, on Sunday, I decided I wanted one last birthday outing.  To Ikea!  Where we live, that means piling in the car and taking a 35-minute drive, but dammit I had a gift card and the glory that is Ikea makes the long drive worth every second.  The wacky product names!  The meatballs!  The floor-model furniture that your toddler can somersault on to her heart’s delight!  The MEATBALLS!  We bought some side tables, one of those nifty 3-tier serving dishes, a tiny 50-cent snake, rainbow cups, a secret birthday present for Moo, and about 18 packages of napkins.

Guaranteed to make dinner 78% more delightful!

Happy Birthday Rosalind!

July 27, 2009

Rosalind turned 35 on Saturday – for the record, still not old

To celebrate her not old-ness, we visited Smeeks, a brand-new candy shop in town, right next to the best boutique in Phoenix, Frances.

I have found heaven on Earth, and it is called Smeeks:

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We treated ourselves to root beer barrels, Skybars, Chick-O-Sticks, candy cigarettes (which we smoked while buying movie tickets later), cupcake lipgloss (see above) and an ice cream cone that is actually a pen/lip gloss COMBO!  Genius.

Dancing Fireflies

July 7, 2009

Yesterday we visited the Phoenix Art Museum, because we believe it’s so important to expose Moo to art, and also, um – Rosalind gave us free tickets.   Oh yes, we’ve got connections – Rosalind helps out in the museum store whenever she can, and sometimes gifts us her museum passes.  She’s not quite a museum expert – as she told me, “Every time a customer opens their mouth, I’m just praying they’re going to ask where the bathroom or the elevator is, because other than that, I have no clue.”

So of course when we arrived, I asked if she could direct us to the Early European Impressionists, and also do you have any books on Himalayan art?  Rosalind was not amused.  She did, however, know where we could find the fireflies, which is where we spent most of the afternoon.

Technically, the fireflies are called, “YOU WHO ARE GETTING OBLITERATED IN THE DANCING SWARM OF FIREFLIES!!!”  by Yayoi Kusama.  I don’t think Kusama included the capitalization and exclamation marks in the title, but I just don’t see how you can’t SHOUT IT!  DANCING FIREFLY SWARM!  ACH!  SO BEAUTIFUL AND SO SWARMY!  EEK I AM GETTING OBLITERATED!

Here’s someone’s trippy picture of the experience:

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But the obliteration is actually much more peaceful than that – it’s simply a dark, mirrored room with thousands (?) of LED lights hanging down and constantly changing color.  You can’t see yourself at all, and it looks like these little firefly lights go on and on forever.  I thought Moo might freak out, but safely in her Daddy’s arms, she made best friends with the fireflies in a snap and was soon deep in conversation with them.  “I’m red!  Ooh no, now I’m green!  Look, you’re pink!”

Moo also was hypnotized by this dancing tree:

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And of course, she loved the miniature room, a gallery of tiny bedrooms and dining rooms replicating period-style European and American houses, which has not changed a smidge since I was a kid pressing my nose up to the glass.  Moo seemed entranced by the teeny tiny books lining the walls, and declared that she was pretty sure her snake “King True” lived in the most opulent rooms.

We also visited the “Kids Gallery,” which apparently re-opened last May, and left me scratching my head.  I visited the kids’ space a few years ago with my niece and nephew, and it was pretty lame back then – remarkably, it has become even more lame.  I don’t think you can call a stack of books about art and a glorified puzzle a “gallery.”  I felt nostalgic for the good ol’ days at the Phoenix Art Museum when I was a kid – correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I remember a shadow room in the basement, giant blocks, and a velcro wall.  And at Christmas, they always had a Christmas tree and gingerbread house exhibit.  Back then, they courted younger visitors – now it almost seems like they don’t want children to visit.  But I don’t know, perhaps the good folks at the art museum are just trying to save the youth from TOTAL FIREFLY OBLITERATION!

If you haven’t seen the fireflies yet, I highly recommend that you go check them out.  And while you’re there, say hi to Rosalind!  Ask her where you might find the Spanish Colonial art.  She’ll love it.

Rosalind always has the inside word on the coolest, newest, yummiest places in town, so when she sent me an email describing a new ice cream shop in Scottsdale that made “artisan ice cream and sorbet,” I immediately drooled on my keyboard.

We finally made it out there this afternoon, after lunch at Oregano’s, where I told Moo that she’d have to eat all her lunch if she wanted a sweet treat afterwards.  She called my bluff and promptly declared that she did not like pizza, so I had to negotiate a compromise (because there was no way I was skipping the ice cream, I’d been dreaming about it all day) in which she promised to eat lunch after her nap.  I’m still not sure which one of us was manipulated in that situation.

Sweet Republic is glorious.  They have over 100 flavors, offering about 25 per day, so you never know what you’re going to find, except you can usually count on some of the favorites (Salted Butter Caramel!) and some of the infamous (Blue Cheese and Date!).  I think Rosalind and I frightened the owner when we arrived and immediately asked if there was a limit on how many flavors we could taste.  “Uh, nooooo…” she replied, obviously concerned that we were going to mini-spoon her right out of business.  We tried Basil Lime, Malted Vanilla, Mojito Citrus, and of course Blue Cheese, which was – oh goodness, indescribably dreamy.  We finally settled on Peaches n’ Cream and Salted Butter Caramel, and Moo chose easily – pink!  We added some whipped cream and mini chocolate chips so she would be as excited as we were.

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I ended up taking home a big bag of ice cream to-go (not the most practical purchase in Phoenix), so that I could share the sweet creaminess with all my loved ones.  Or – that was the idea… but I did leave Herbie a few bites.

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Sweet Republic – check it out for yourself! (Cuz I’m not sharing.)

Put On A Happy Face

April 30, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, Rosalind, Moo and I found refuge from all the flu hysteria in a hidden garden (no really, that’s what it’s called) in north Phoenix.  Moo explored the fountains and flowers while the fabulous Rosalind snapped pictures to commemorate Moo’s newfound Twoness.

 

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And I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Rosalind is going to be in San Diego in July and August doing beach portraits, so if you’re going to be in the area, well, you already know I think she’s a genius.