Saturday, August 25, 2007


Least my new job will be interesting. Yesterday at 9am I was asked if I wanted to go and help pick up 16 puppies from Window Rock.
'Sure' I said...'Where is Window Rock?'
'About 3 hours away in the Navajo Nation'
So off Will and I set. He driving the van full of cages and me napping, reading and watching the scenery.
We have a agreement with the Navajo Nation to help and accept dogs from them.

Why Window Rock is called Window Rock.

Its beautiful country, and anyone who has read any Tony Hillerman will know exactly what its like.
Red earth, blue sky, arroyos cutting through canyons, sage, pine and spruce vying for water and space. Along the highway there a old faded billboards exclaiming 'Genuine Indian Goods' and 'Best Coffee on Route 66', decaying buildings like a old white washed jail and boarded up petrol stations.
And me without my camera.
Truck stops and big flash hotels literally in the middle of nowhere, I couldn't see the point of ever stopping there, drive a other hour and get to a town at least.

I am reading "The Dark Tower" by P.D James. Set in a cold, grim English village and invalid home, where a murder may or may not have happened. Full of petty jealousies and frustrated desires.
I may have been on a different planet from looking out the window.

We got to Window Rock Vet clinic, but they had no puppies since the guy organising it was still out. So we waited, and waited, had Taco Hell for lunch and waited. Watched two cops handcuff and stand over a man (who I think must have been drunk or something) till the ambulance came and took him away. Fast times in Window Rock.
Finally there were puppies, only 9 though. We loaded them up and took off for home.
I sat in the back wedged between cages, filling out paperwork, putting on naming collars, and generally checking them out. All very cute and healthy so I can't imagine any problems with adopting them out.
We now have -

Much more interesting than serving people Iced Tea. Which I have to go do tonight.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I have to hand it to the postage service. I send 4 boxes of goodies to the family last week (AJ, sorry you missed out my dear, pretend I sent you the camera ;) and they got there in a week.
I knew it had gotten alot faster but thats pretty good. The world is shrinking every day, and once we get those teleportation beams they promised us up and running, we will be sorted.

We had a good weekend, family dinner on Friday night out on the veranda. The weather is really loverly at the moment, warm days, cool nights with the odd thunderstorm. The forest is green and the wildflowers abundant.

On Saturday morning I got Weatherwax, my Troll Shaman to level 70, finally. I've been a slow poke. I also have two other characters in the 60's aswell, so I'll blame spreading myself thin and not focusing. But I'm there and have a flying purple Manticore..woot.
Watched the trailer for the new expansion (which looks pretty cool) which probably won't be out for a year or two, and it will level cap out at 80....sheez. It never, ever ends.

Oh I'm talking about World Of Warcraft here in case you don't have enough nerd points saved up.

After that important bit of business was attended to, we actually went outside.
Highway 89A from Flagstaff to Sedona, runs though Oak Creek Canyon, you drive down a bunch of switchbacks off the Mogollon Rim, into Sedona. When we drove to Sedona a few months ago we went the more straight boring route because it was snowing and didn't want to slide off the edge to our Doom. We couldn't come back up that way because a large rockslide buried part of the road that day and it was closed for two weeks.

Oak Creek Canyon switchbacks

So finally we made the long, arduous 20 minutes drive to Pumphouse Wash Trail. It still surprises me how close beautiful and varying landscapes and views are from here. Its wonderful.
The trail is really a dry creekbed loomed over by canyon walls. Not a place to be after heavy rain, but it was perfect on the day and no flashfloods in sight. Darwin had fun rockhopping, and we only had to lift her up and over a couple of times. She got to paddle and drink in the occasional pool and roll in something really stinky.

Pumphouse Wash walk.

We are hoping that when our box turns up and we get our camping gear back...(its been 7 months now and I forget most of the contents) we can do some overnighters. We could just borrow some, which at this point we just should cause who knows when it will get here. We think its in the country, just needs to go through customs and the such.

After our walk, we all cleaned up and relaxed. Darwin was not happy talking a shower and being de-stinkafied.
Went for dinner at the Outback Steak House....maaaaaate it was bonza. Though I'm considering offering my consulation skillz for a modest fee to help Aussie it up.
We still remember a radio ad from '99, in a appalling accent it went 'Bring your mate and your date and your flaming appetate...' which all sort of rhymed in a horrible way. I don't think they have it anymore which is a shame, cause I still quote it and it makes me laugh.

Maaaaate...bonza beer and a few coasters I liberated.

My steak and Aussie chips were tasty but Rob burger had NO beetroot...and they presume to be a Australian themed restaurant...bah.
They had Coopers and Boags so we were pretty happy about. It was all good and our waiter asked if I wanted a application because I would be a shoe in. I told him was already had two jobs and would probably be ditching one. But I'll keep it i mind if the Vet Tech thing doesn't work out.

Faux Aussie burger....sans beetroot.

After our patriotic meat and beer fill we went and saw 'Stardust'. Its a fairy tale written by Neil Gaiman. I love his stuff, the Sandman graphic novels are awesome. I read Stardust about 10 years ago so couldn't remember much of the plot. The movie was gorgeous, a great tale, actors and pacing. Kids would love it and leave the adults charmed. Everyone is really good in their parts but I think Robert De Niro steals the show as Capt. Shakespeare.

I've started a Facebook thingy. Its pretty cool and a big timewaster. I will probably spend far to much time fiddling with it and then forget about it, but till then its another good way to keep up with folk.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Mid August, already.
I was just thinking that its been a year since I left my full time Lab Monkey job. ( I'm pretty sure it was August...I've mostly blocked it out). I worked there for 6 years, and was pretty happy with it over all. Interesting people, good pay and training opportunities. The last couple of months were pretty horrible in several respects and it was a mutual case of good riddance from both parties.
I wasn't totally innocent I will admit but things were pretty badly handed all round and still makes me shake my head if I dwell on it.
When work makes you cry its time to hit the toad.
I very nearly didn't go back and quit on the spot. Rob, the calm voice of reason and bringer of red wine and cups of tea convince me otherwise.
I started looking for another science job, but as I realised the whole Green Card thing was moving along, it seemed wrong to take another job like that knowing I was leaving the country, so a bar job was perfect. Different skillz and part time.
I still miss the people and I hope they are all well. I must send out emails to a few folks and see whats happening.
But hey that was a year ago....lots of clean, clean water under the bridge.

Since then I haven't worked full time and spent alot of time sleeping in. After leaving SW I started work just up the road at the Leagues Club, which was pretty funny since people would come up for lunch. I promise I never weed into the managers beer...not even once.

Then there was mucho packing and moving out of our house to stay in Speedy's spare flat for a couple of months. It didn't really sink in that I was moving countries, just the last few weeks were a blaze of parties, packing, and a few tears now and then.

We couldn't get a direct flight so we flew out mid January to Taiwan for 3 days. Was fun to check out Taipei and the local coastline.
We flew into Flagstaff, greeted by the family and a foot of snow on the ground.

Its been 7 months, 7 good months.
Rob is still working from home. A two meter or a 14000 km commute, depending how you look at it. We like to look at it as 'The Sweetest Job Ever'.
I've slept, read, biked, hiked, volunteered, shopped and occasionally worked.
'Sweetest Life Style Ever'.

Just after I started at the new bar job, the Animal Shelter where I have been volunteering as a Vet Tech offered me a job. Originally it wasn't going to start for another few weeks but they wanted me to start earlier so the last two days, I've been there getting paid. Cool.
It will be part time to start with, with a full time option. Once I'm properly trained up and they sort out a few things I'll be going out with the Mobile Vet Van. They spend a few days each week going out to the towns and remote areas mostly on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations doing vaccinations, spays and general pet care. It sounds like hard work but definately interesting and challenging. It will be a great way to see more of the area and I'm looking forward to it.

I don't think I will be able to keep doing at my bar job though. I'll give it another couple of weeks and see how fragged I get. I don't need to work two jobs just to eat, I'd much rather have the time off.

Its been a interesting, life changing year and a positive change. I'm really glad we did this move and I'm very happy. The only obvious downside is being so far away from my family and friends.
I get home sick at the weirdest times and over the oddest things. There are a few clouds at home at the moment and I wish I was back there now to help out, not that I could do much but that doesn't stop me getting sooky.
It helps that Rob's family is here and we are all close, but if they weren't neither would we. That being a large part of moving here, well that and the desire to do something different.

Well, its time to go do some chores, and when I say chores I mean go to the Mall and get my hair coloured.

Peace, Love and Mung beans.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


You Are 35% American

America: You don't love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn't mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you'll fly a freak flag instead...
And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!


While on our walk today we managed to spot two Hummingbirds flitting about. The migrate through here every year. I heard them before I saw them. Their wings make a audible metallic trill. They are truely awesome teeny, tiny critters. Its like watching stop motion they way they fly and hover.
Since I have buckleys of ever getting a decent photo here are some types which hang out here in the summer. The ones we saw were greenish, which may make them Broadtailed or Rufus.
Also the Arizona Flickr group I belong to has some great shots.

The Eggs With Eyes have a new home. I've had to keep the hamsters separated into two tanks for a while now since Evil McEvil beats up on the littlest one. We are talking bloody ears and scabs. Not understanding the social dynamics of Dwarf Hamsters its the best I can do. Least the screaming at 3am has stopped which makes life better for all concerned.
The pet shop in the mall was closing down, not sure why since their dog prices only ranged from $1000-$3000!!.... so they had everything cheap except the dogs. So I spent even more money on the evil fur balls and bought them the 'Critter Trail XTREME' and 'Critter Trail ONE' and connected them together. The two who don't try to eat each other are living in xtreme coloured plastic boxs and Fangora is in solitary.

Check out the Xtreme green wheel action. bitchin'. It also serves as a comfy bed and seed stash.

Last week we spent one night at the cabin and spent the morning picking blackberries, playing in the creek, doing some archery and wishing we didn't need to leave. Jamie found and shot this two pronged tailed lizard. Sign of the end times? Maybe.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Back from our speedy, whirlwind trip to California. We went mostly for a wedding and Gran's 92nd birthday.
Rob, Sallie and I flew to Sacramento on Friday, picked up a hire car (PT Cruiser) and drove to Gran's who lives on the Delta about 40 minutes from the airport. We had a loverly visit and stayed overnight. Next day we drove the 4 odd hours to the coast at Monterey, to hand in our hire car, have a English pub meal and wait to be picked up by Laura, Mike and kids. The day was warm and we spent the afternoon on the beach near the wharf. Mid summer and the water was freezing...OMG! it was cold. The kids braved it but I think I lost feeling in my feet for a while there.
Northern California coast, beautiful but not for the weak.
The last time I was at Monterey, way back in '99 we went to the Aquarium, which still impresses me even now. Sadly we didn't have time to go, but I'll be back. You could stand outside and watch the Sea Otters and Seals frolick in the kelp beads just off shore and they had the most amazing JellyFish displays. Like living lava lamps.

Do not be fooled. The water will kill you unless you are under 10 or a dog. Middle of summer beach..pfft
We drove down to Big Sur, and found our accomodation. We were booked into tent cabins, which we discovered when we got there at 9pm and it was cold, we needed to bring bedding. No one knew this as we didn't book them or even think about it. It does make sense in a way but for $60 a night you'd think they could supply bedding.
There was 6 of us, and really no where else to go. Managed to scrounge up 4 sets, so Rob and I spent $100 on sleeping bags and a torch. Was all a bit thingy there for a while but it got sorted and we were warm.
It was a beautiful place right on the river, nestled in the redwoods, man those trees are gimornous.

The wedding was a loverly afternoon surrounded by redwoods and happy people.The father of the groom (this is what I heard) got a right to marry license off the internet which only lasted a week so he could be the mighty marrying dude. It may be on of those 'Only in America' thangs but nfi.

From 6 to 101

The next day we turned around and headed back up to Gran's place near Sacramento for her 92nd birthday. Afternoon was spent lounging in the pool and eating chocolate cake.
Spent the night at the family cabin which is never long enough, then back to Sacramento airport to fly home. Whew!
Note to self- Next time stay longer, bugger Rob's work or my schedule.

Finished reading Harry Potter, managed to escape any spoilers and be pretty happy with it all.

Everybody sparkle