Tag Archives: Weekly review

23rd Week in Review: Storms Rolling In

This week meant rain, thunder, and lightning for much of Arizona.  It felt like the chaos of the weather was spilling over into our lives too.  We headed to Phoenix on Friday evening for the Arizona AmeriCorps Governor’s Conference.  There were lots of logistical challenges to getting there, but ultimately we did and it was fun to meet AmeriCorps members from around the state.  It was also nice to catch up on some wedding planning with Jay’s parents.  We ordered a suit for Jay and got ready to order invitations.

Jay helps a fellow AmeriCorps member in a skit at the Governor’s Conference

Over the weekend, Jay started having pain in his mouth.  Not a good sign when you have had dental problems in the past.  The pain got worse Sunday night and first thing Monday morning Jay got in to see his old dentist here.  Bad news – it was time for a root canal.  After suffering through a full day of intense pain, he got in to see the endodontist on Tuesday morning.  We’re happy that Jay is no longer in pain and back to his old self.  Boy do we miss dental insurance.

Volunteering:  Sharon started working on the website for her class reunion and prepared for her new officer role with Toastmasters.

Beer of the Week: Jay really liked the John John Dead Guy Ale from Rogue

Something New:  Jay got a new suit for the wedding!

Highlight of Being in One Place: Having a regular doctor or dentist who you know and trust.

22nd Week in Review: Settling In

We’ve been living in limbo for the last five months.  Not much has changed about our situation – we are both still only employed through September – but something felt different this week.  We switched our car insurance, registration, etc. to Arizona and submitted change of address forms to the post office.  We are still living out of boxes, still too temporary to bring our cat home, and still unsure of where we will be after our wedding in October.  That said, we would like to stay in Flagstaff for awhile if it works out, and taking these small steps was one way to acknowledge that.


Our friend Kate being inducted as a new officer in the Toastmasters Club

Another small step I took was to accept an officer role with our Toastmasters Club.  I have a back up in case I have to leave in October, but for now I am making a commitment and putting those roots out a little further.

Volunteering:  Sharon gave a tour at Riordan Mansion and trained new readers at Sun Sounds.  She has also joined the planning committee for her 10 year high school reunion and got inducted as an officer in the Toast of Flag Toastmasters club.

Beer of the Week: Jay’s favorite beer lately has been the Deschutes Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale

Something New:  Jay showed me the new segment of Loop Trail near our house.  We also finally made it to the farmer’s market on Sunday.  And my soccer team won our first game!

Highlight of Being in One Place:  Taking a leadership role in a community organization like Toastmasters.

21st Week in Review: Summertime and the Living’s Easy

Looking patriotic and representing AmeriCorps

Not much to report from the week that was.  I picked up Jay on Wednesday and we enjoyed spending the weekend together, sleeping in, mountain biking, having brunch with his parents, watching roller derby, and hiking.  It’s a beautiful Flagstaff summer and we are feeling lucky to be here for it.


Jay on his return from his first field work trip with ACE


Watching our local Roller Derby team, HARD, play their first home town bout

Volunteering:  Sharon read the AZ Daily Sun live on the radio at Sun Sounds on Tuesday evening.

Beer of the Week: Mother Road’s Painted Racer ESB

Something New:  We attended the very first ever Roller Derby Bout in Flagstaff.  A first for Flag and a first for us!

Highlight of Being in One Place: Being part of the community — I definitely felt connected as I walked in the Fourth of July parade downtown.

Week 20: Learning to Be Apart

As I wrote about earlier this week, the key characteristic of this week was that I was at home and Jay was not.  Jay has started a new job where all of his work is in the field, camping in the forest, away from internet or even cell phone signal.  He will go out for 4-8 days at a time and then be home for  5-6 days.  This week fell into the 8 day window that he was working.  I spent the week looking for ways to keep myself busy and trying not to miss him too terribly.

The Brewer’s Breakfast at Made in the Shade — note the chair covers made by yours truly

Volunteering:  Sharon gave a tour of Riordan Mansion on Friday.  It was finally time for the Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival, at which Sharon volunteered all day, assisting with the Brewer’s Breakfast, managing live updates on Facebook, and MCing the costume contest.

Beer of the Week: Amazingly enough Sharon did not taste any beer at the festival (since she was working), and Jay can not and does not drink while he’s in the field.  When Jay got home on Wednesday we headed to Hops on Birch for a celebratory beer.  Jay tried the Four Peaks Barley Wine and I tried the Great Divide Belgian Blonde Ale.  Both were quite tasty.

Something New:  Jay got to know the new folks on his crew.  I checked out a new Zumba class for the first time.

Highlight of Being in One Place:  I have joined the recreation center and am really enjoying the classes and facilities there.

Week 18: Getting Settled


Charlie is adorable

So this week we have some exciting news.  Jay has accepted an AmeriCorps position with American Conservation Experience.  He starts this coming Sunday and will be serving as an Assistant Crew Supervisor.  This is a great fit for his skills and interests and will hopefully transition into an ongoing position with a conservation crew.  If that’s the case we will be putting down some roots here in Flagstaff.  It’s too soon to tell if that’s what will happen, but it’s nice to know that might be a possibility.  Congratulations Jay!


Rachel shows off her party trick

This past weekend we had a great time hanging out with Jay’s friend from Phoenix, Sarah and her sister Rachel and nephew Charlie.  We also got to spend time with Jay’s parents who came up to escape the Phoenix heat.  We all did the Flagstaff Ale Trail together on Saturday and had a great time.  Sunday, Cindi and I went on an interpretive hike led by Steve and Lois Hirst.


Jay’s dad Morgan tries to create a new party trick

Volunteering:  Sharon gave a tour of Riordan Mansion on Friday.  Sharon also continued promotion of the 20th Annual Made in the Shade Beer Festival.

Beer of the Week: Well, since we did the Flagstaff Ale Trail again we got a great sampling of local brews.  We love the Maibock at Beaver Street, enjoy the new blends at Mother Road, are happy with pretty much everything Cosmic puts out, and enjoy Flagstaff Brewery’s Blackbird Porter.  Lumberyard disappoints only because they never have their full line up at the tap room to sample.

Something New:  Jay got a job!  To be more specific, he will be serving as an AmeriCorps member for the American Conservation Experience.

Highlight of Being in One Place:  Sharon signed up for summer soccer and had her first game this weekend!

Week 17: Mini Reunion in New Orleans

This week we got the chance to travel again, first to Jay’s grandmother’s house in Prescott, then to Jay’s parents in Phoenix, and finally to New Orleans.  The occasion was my high school friend Andy’s wedding.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that many other friends had made the trip (we are spread out all over the country), creating a mini 10 year high school reunion.  Only this reunion had the best food, a fun location, and a fabulous wedding!  Congratulations Andy and Margaret, we are so happy for you!

Yes, those are flamingos behind us in the picture.  Andy and Margaret’s reception was at the Audubon Tea Room at the zoo!

Volunteering:  Sharon continued promotion of the 20th Annual Made in the Shade Beer Festival.

Beer of the Week: Well, the beer we drank the most of was the Abita Amber, but we preferred the Abita Turbo Dog.  Actually, the best beer we tried in New Orleans was the Crescent City Brew House’s Black Forest.  Thanks Kate for the recommendation!

Something New:  Neither of us had ever been to New Orleans before.  We really enjoyed our trip and hope to go back when we can explore the surrounding area as well.

Highlight of Being in One Place:  This week we spent very little time at home, but having a home to return to is probably one of the best things about being in one place.

Video of the Week:  


Week 15: Living at the Overland Expo

Our home at the Expo

This week was a blur as Jay and I worked at the Expo from Wednesday until Sunday (and Jay went back Monday to help clean up).  Our week really was fully consumed by working at the Overland Expo as campground hosts.  Jay’s parents came up from Phoenix for one of the days of the expo, so that was a nice treat.

Monday I went back to my regular job, which is getting busy as we get ready for the next AmeriCorps term.

Volunteering: We both worked all 7 days this week and did not have the opportunity to volunteer except for Sharon’s continued promotion of the 20th Annual Made in the Shade Beer Festival.

Beer of the Week:  A New Belgium Fat Tire in a bottle that was offered to me for free by a three year old at the Expo (she was assisting her father in outreach).  Also, Mother Road was one of the sponsors of the expo and I enjoyed their Twin Arrows Brown Ale on tap.

Something New:  We learned at lot at the Overland Expo this week – Sharon got to drive a Evoque Range Rover on the 4-Wheel driving course!  On Wednesday, Jay gave his first speech at Toastmasters.

Highlight of Being in One Place: Being locals for a large event like the Overland Expo, we had the chance to give out dinner recommendations and directions

Video of the Week:  We didn’t take this video, but it’s a nice look at the Overland Expo


Week 14: Disappointment

This week was filled with so many good things.  My parents were in town.  Jay went on an epic mountain bike ride on the peaks.  My photographs were on display downtown in the Artist’s Gallery.  Jay worked for the Overland Expo.  I gave not one, but two speeches at Toastmasters.  We had a great time at the first trail work day of the season.  For a week full of joy and promise, it ended with sadness and uncertainty.

Jay at trail work

Last Wednesday, we had what felt like an opportunity of a lifetime.  We interviewed to be the next Suburu IMBA Trail Care Crew.  This is our dream job and we have been thinking and talking about it for more than nine months.    Yesterday, we learned that we did not get the position.  It feels like a huge loss.  It was not just a job.  It was the start of a five year plan.  It seemed like the next logical step in our plan.  A way to continue to travel together while still working towards our respective careers.  It made sense.  Now, without that opportunity we are staring at blank map.  There is no clear path forward.

I am not afraid of a blank map, but the lack of direction is intimidating.  I want to start to draw lines and form boundaries to bring a new plan into view.  However, I am learning that sometimes it is most rewarding to just sit with the uncertainty.  As I sit here, with knots in my stomach and unemployment looming in six weeks, I am comforted in the knowledge that I sit next to my partner.  Together, Jay and I will untangle a way forward through this hairball of possibilities.  Who knows where we will be in July, but we will be there together and will keep taking risks to live a full and meaningful life.

This morning, the first day of knowing that we have no defined plan, we went out together for a mountain bike ride.  Without worrying about whether or not my mountain bike skills are good enough, I finally cleaned all of Soldier’s Trail.  We had a great ride together, just enjoying Flagstaff and one another.  It was actually one of the best days I have had in a long time.


Two of my photographs in the window of the Artist’s Gallery downtown

Volunteering:  We participated in the first trail work day of the season with Flagstaff Biking Organization.  Sharon gave a tour at Riordan Mansion. I attended a planning meeting and continued to work on social media marketing for Sun Sounds of Arizona, promoting the 20th Annual Made in the Shade Beer Festival.

Beer of the Week:  Jay enjoyed the San Tan Devil’s Pale Ale and I enjoyed the Flagstaff Brewery Porter at Hops on Birch last night

Something New:  My parents were in town for a Road Scholar trip and we got to take them to a few of our favorite restaurants and local sites.

Highlight of Being in One Place: Finally cleaning Soldier’s Trail — having a local trail that I can ride before work.

Video of the Week: 

Week 13: Together Again

Jay’s family

This week just flew by as Jay came home from his trip and we headed to Phoenix for the weekend to celebrate our niece’s birthday.  Monday Jay had the chance to do some work for the Overland Expo delivering barrels to the event site.  The barrels will be part of a demonstration by the Camel Trophy winners where they will build a raft to float a vehicle on a pond.  We are getting excited about the expo, which is only 2 weeks away!

Last night my parents flew to Arizona from Virginia and we will be spending the weekend with them here in Flagstaff.  It is sure to be a fun filled weekend with a Riordan tour, Art Walk, the first trail day of the season, and relaxing with my parents.

Volunteering:  Jay came back Friday from his volunteer trip with Arizona Game and Fish.  I continued to work on social media marketing for Sun Sounds of Arizona, promoting the 20th Annual Made in the Shade Beer Festival.

Beer of the Week:  We enjoyed the Deschutes Green Lakes Organic Ale this week.

Something New:  I was wowed by the inflatable water slide that Jay’s brother and his wife rented for our neice, Laya’s birthday party.

Highlight of Being in One Place:  We got to ride on the Lost Arrow Trail in Phoenix on Monday.  It’s so neat to be able to ride it because Jay was one of the volunteers that helped build that trail.

Week 11: Playing with a Little Princess

Laya has an amazing stomach for spinning and it's a favorite game that she plays with her Uncle Jay

This week we had the opportunity to go down to Phoenix for the weekend.  We were both able to work on Friday as I had a meeting in Phoenix and Jay welded a gate.   Meanwhile it was snowing all day on Saturday in Flagstaff.  Some parts of town had a foot of snow accumulate.  As we played tee-ball with our niece in the yard I was very grateful for the diverse climates of Arizona and our opportunity to skip the snow.

Laya was incredibly excited to receive some dress up clothes from her great grandma Millie

I was glad we had the chance to spend the weekend together, because yesterday Jay left for a 10 day volunteer trip into the Grand Canyon with Arizona Fish and Game.  This is an amazing opportunity for him and he is so excited to be able to go on this trip.  That said, we always miss one another when we are apart and this is the longest separation we have had in a few years.

The snow had already mostly melted by the time we drove back to town, but you can see the evidence on the peaks.

Volunteering:  Sharon volunteered as a board operator at Sun Sounds of Arizona (2.5 hours).  Jay left for a 10 day volunteer trip with AZ Fish and Game to count the native Humpback Chub fish in the Little Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

Friday after work I got to ride at a new-to-me park in Phoenix

Beer of the Week:  New Belgium’s Abbey Ale – we rediscovered this old favorite of ours.  Jay also enjoyed Phoenix Ale’s Camelback IPA when we were in Phoenix.

Something New:  Yesterday Jay had the opportunity to ride in a helicopter for the first time.  The helicopter went from Cameron, Arizona and then landed in the Grand Canyon near the confluence of the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River to drop him off for a volunteer project.

Highlight of Being in One Place: We really enjoy being close to family (it’s so challenging that our families live 2,000 miles apart so we can’t be close to both at once!).  We were able to celebrate Jay’s brother’s first wedding anniversary with his family.


The hummingbirds were very active in the desert and I had a chance to photograph several of them.