Saturday, January 31, 2009

Airport Bathrooms

Over the past two years on the road, I've developed a great fondness for the blessings of a comfortable, clean, functioning bathroom. Somehow, it feels like home to me. In trying to explain this to Case, I asked, "You know how everyone does a quick assessment of a new bathroom just after walking in -- is it clean, is it supplied, is it comfortable, or am I better off outside?"

He gave me a blank look: "No."

Well, he ought to know it about me! He's been there many of the times when I walked into a bathroom and walked straight back out to find a bush!

To me, a good bathroom is a peaceful, quiet place on the earth were one spends part of every day, preparing for the day, cleaning up following the day, and with an occasional visit in between. Just call me a bathroom connoisseur.

What with Case's plane and all, we spend time in airports here and there, and I can tell you that airport bathrooms can be an adventure. I've experienced the non-existent, find-a-bush type at a nameless airstrip in the middle of eastern Oregon, and the opulent, marble-lined "La Toilette des Dames" at "Million Air" in Monterey, CA, where they cater to private jet travellers with single-use toiletries (toothbrushes, tiny bottles of mouthwash, etc.) and little linen washcloths that you use and then drop into a hamper for laundering.

Recently, this little bathroom at Stellar Airpark in Chandler, AZ, got my vote for function, fashion, and humor. Wispy white clouds set off the blue-sky walls, accented with a wide selection of both functional and fashionable airplane magazines.

The extra-large, bright orange dispenser for hand degreaser adds a cheery touch along with the economy-size bathroom spray.
TP abounds, a man-sized plunger sits close at hand and the blue sign insists on cleanliness. For humor, some silly (or perhaps experienced?) soul finished off the room with a gas mask conveniently placed for immediate use.

For what it's worth, here's my vote for a bathroom done well & superbly matched to its clientelle!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pheonix, Arizona

Flying into Pheonix Wednesdsay night, rain or virga, reflected the lights of the city sky scape. Unfortunately, it is barely visible in the photo.
Case had meetings to attend and I like tagging along! What's not to like about hanging out at comfortable hotel on the outskirts of Pheonix in the winter?

Conversations around the pool made it plain that many attending this meeting were escaping Midwest & East Coast snow. Kids and adults enjoyed the water slide, forgetting snow and minus 37 degree winter temperatures (yes, I actually overheard that figure!) for a few days. I also heard some Australian kids, here for summer break, reminiscing in the hot tub about their recent visit to Disney World in Florida

A desert river provides cooling scenery for golf courses and a nature trail -- the latter a nice spot for a jog. The river is one of a very few benefits that the Sheraton Hotels provides on a complimentary basis. (Our bill showed a whopping $42/day mandatory bell services "tip" -- not bad pay for opening a taxi door and lifting out a bag, then reversing the process three days later!) Apparently, the Sheraton engineered this feature in memory of the Gila River that once-upon-a-time watered this Pima Indian territory. (The Indians, having lost the flow of water, make do with a flow of money from the hotel and two adjacent casinos... though I did overhear someone saying they were suing New Mexico State and its farmers to get their water back, too!)

This stay provided time to make progress on a rather ambitious counted cross-stitch project.

The hotel property being situated on Pima Indian land, their culture is honored through out the hotel, which also employs many Indians from the tribe.

Following the meetings and some relaxation, Case files our homeward flight plan. (If Case didn't always have a pen or a flashlight to stick in his mouth, maybe he'd be tempted to take up smoking... Pockets, I say!)
The small airport we flew in and out of on this trip has a history for Case and me. Back in 2005, when Case and I were just starting to get to know each other, our mutual friend, Denis, invited us on a Sunday flight here, as he had to come meet someone. I remember escaping the 120 degree heat under this sunshade, chatting, going out to lunch at a local mall, and looking at airplane stuff with the guys. This was our first time back to this spot, a pleasant memory.

Case begins his pre-flight rounds of the airplane. (The real reason he schedules these meetings is to provide an excuse for communing with his toy!)
Once airborne,
...we looked back on the resort, where the golf courses and water features stand out against the dry desert.
Looking over Pheonix's suburban sprawl, we glimpsed downtown in the distance.

The small mountain range southwest of Phoenix divides the city...

... from the desert. Maybe this is where the Pima's water went? "The desert shall bloom and blossom" ... well, if not quite as a rose, it's still pretty!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Here's to the first, wild-off-course, golf ball I've found in the back yard. Someone with my level of golf ability must have hit this one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Two Weeks on the Job

After two weeks at the new job, unpacking and transitioning Case sacks out on the couch early Friday evening!

Cat Fight

Jack reflects on the morning...

Jack and I continue to settle into the house this morning while Case is off at work. Jack's idea of settling in is finding the softest, warmest, most comfortable spot for an all morning snooze. So far it seems this ideal location is a sunny spot, on the bed, in our middle guest room curled up on his blue blanket. The morning was quietly passing by as I caught up with news and friends, before returning to my window washing project.

In the midst of my chatty internet conversation a loud howl, cat screams and a mad tussle broke out somewhere near by, a rare occurrence with Jack (but sadly, with cats in our family). I jumped to my feet concerned, knowing that Jack, a rather large dominant male, is well able to handle his WMD's (Weapons of Mass Destruction) . Tearing into a neighbor cat wouldn't be the best way to introduce himself to our new neighborhood.

Running for the open patio door, I heard another round of the brawl erupt. Immediately reversing my direction, I headed back into the house toward the middle bedroom. Turning the corner into the hallway I nearly stepped on a cat running scared, headed for the nearest door of escape. Jack was full tilt right on his tail, but I sat on Jack, pinning him between the floor and the wall. Focused, and being a big strong cat, Jack wiggled free leaving me sitting on the floor. Jack again pursued the neighborhood cat, who hunkered down hissing as he discovered his exit door, unlike his entrance door, was closed off with a screen. My eyes were glued on both cats, and I prepared myself to see fur fly as I got to my feet. But this time Jack stood down, maybe fearful of being sat on again.

They continued to snarl and hiss at each other at close range. Collecting myself from the floor, I scooped up Jack and let the neighborhood cat, who was wearing a collar, out the screened door.

before taking another shnoooz.

So far, Jack is not scoring so well on "plays well with others", but we'll give him a break seeing he may have been rudely invaded upon during his kitty dreams!

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 Begins in Arroyo Grande, California

I am unpacking boxes and arranging the house, while in the evenings after work, Case has been sorting through wires and reestablishing our connection to the outside world and tonight our home internet is up and running.
I am being distracted from unpacking boxes by beautiful views out the windows of the south side of our rental house.
We've made progress and the piles of boxes are dwindling to a few boxes scattered through the rooms.
Today, I unpacked our book boxes and it feels more home like with our books surrounding us.