Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A View of Phoenix: The Day Before the Setup

The Day Before the Setup

My sister Tina and I were on the way to Phoenix a day early for some sister time, but also to explore Phoenix a bit, before setting up for the show. I usually like to drive at the crack of dawn to avoid the Los Angeles morning traffic, so poor sis' had to endure leaving at 5:30 a.m. I actually enjoy these long drives now because it allows me time to think and reflect upon many things. Normally my days are so focused in the bead world, in one aspect or another, that I don't have time to just sit and not do anything. When you are driving 6+ hours, well not much is done during that time. Maybe I drove Tina a bit crazy, but I had Marty Casey cycling over and over again in the the background, while we caught up on things in our lives. It was a good break and time well spent catching up with my sister. We stopped off at Denny's for some much needed COFFEE and then I was fully awake to drive the remainder of the way.

I drove the entire way to Phoenix with only two small breaks. Egads! Yes, it was exhausting but once we arrived, we had an interesting time finding our hotel. While looking, we spotted an antique store and I just had to stop to check it out. Oooh little tiny treasures everywhere in dusty corners and in secret cabinets. I looked at everything, sometimes twice, and found interesting things (I'm keeping them a secret) for some possible future projects. I love visiting antique stores to find those elusive bargains from yesteryear. I imagined who could have owned the pieces that I now own. We visited another antique shop but they were way too expensive for this bargain shopper to relinquish any more money so we moved on to discover more of Phoenix.

We hadn't eaten all day but decided we'll try our chances in checking in early at the Central Phoenix Best Western so we could unload our luggage and freshen up a bit. Last minute I decided to leave for Phoenix one day early so I had to make reservations elsewhere than the host hotel, Wyndham. I'm like that. I do somethings spontaneously, spur of the moment, even though most of the time I plan things well in advance. It's fun to just have fun for the fun of it. Well the hotel was right across from Channel 12 NBC News Studios. (Interesting, Friday I would appear on Channel 15 ABC Studios (KNXV) on the Sonoran Living Live.)

After we checked in, we thought we would go check out the Phoenix Public Farmer's Market down the street. However, it was a disappointment, so disappointing that I didn't even want to waste my digital "film" and Canon's power on snapping a photo for prosperity. I think many people were either on vacation or maybe the Wednesday event is just smaller. We were looking forward to picking up some fresh veggies for snacks! There were a few booths but it was not the standard farmers market that I am used to attending. We were STARVING by this point. So, Tina and I decided to drive up to Camelback Blvd. to the Biltmore Fashion Park, an outdoor shopping center. We had hooked up with a nice map from the Best Western so was on our way.

When we arrived, I went to pick up some necessities for my TV appearance (more on that in a future post), such as real makeup from MAC Cosmetics. They fixed me up perfectly and made me look pretty for the evening too. While there we noticed a scent of SMOKE in the air. Someone came into MAC and said there was a fire at California Pizza Kitchen. Whoa. I'm all for playing with fire but this was not what I had in mind for my first night in Phoenix.

The Phoenix fire department had things handled and interestingly enough, they parked their fire engine right next to my CRV! So I figured while Tina (yes I gave her the car keys - only because of pure exhaustion of driving from California - otherwise generally no one touches my car... hahah) would figure out how to get us out of there and to dinner. The firemen were very nice so I thought to snap a photo to show you! YES, Do "Watch Your Kids!" Hopefully, no one got hurt in the CPK fire.

We left the Biltmore Fashion Park and returned back on Camelback Blvd. We had spotted a Trader Joe's and you know me withTJ's. I had to go get some snacks and water for the show anyways. After parking we saw a Pizzeria named "Pie Zanos". I thought it was funny because Nick's last name is Pisano. So the photo below is more for him as a good laugh.

Before we found our way to TJ's, I spotted a bookstore. I ALWAYS have to enter a bookstore in whatever town/city I am visiting, if it is within eye's view. Bookstar is also know in some cities as "Barnes and Noble". Aaaah, guess what? I belong to the frequent book buyers club so we waltz in. I found a few books to add to my library in the bargain section. I love looking in the bargain section of bookstores.

Then an idea came to mind. Hmmmm.... I wonder if Bead Romantique would be here. And then, there it was. Ah! It was so cool to find my book in a bookstore. I had also found the book in the Pasadena Barnes and Noble but didn't have my Canon there to capture it. A sense of joy came over me. How cool is this? It's way cool to a first time author!

The Bookstar employee, helped us with some directions on getting to the Arizona Center (where we headed to after TJ's) According to Wikipedia and this knowledgeable Bookstar employee, the street system in Phoenix is laid out in a traditional grid system, with most roads oriented either North-South or East-West. The zero point is the intersection of Central Avenue and Washington Street. Numbered Avenues run north–south west of Central; numbered Streets run north–south east of Central. Then somewhere in there, there are streets named after Presidents in downtown Phoenix.

So we finished our TJ's run and while driving out saw My Big Fat Greek Restaurant as we were leaving the shopping complex. Boy, we were STARVING but the restaurant didn't looked like it was opened and we both wanted to see the Arizona Center. But seeing the MBFG Restaurant was a premonition to a fantastic meal later that evening. Hold on... one moment folks... I will tell you all about it in the NEXT post.

The Valley of the Sun

I love living
Never the dull life
Full of adventures
Full of sights
Full of the things
That makes me alive

Blue skies up above
Sun in my face
Walking here and there
Soaking in the city
The life that is
Within and without

Watching the people
In their everyday living
The singular and multiples
Dancing through life
Me as their visitor
In the Valley of the Sun

Shine on Phoenix, shine on
As I walk through your city
In the streets and alleys
Seeking, looking, and finding
Visions of today and tomorrow
Smiling secretly

Be HAPPY as happiness is ME
Right now, this instant
As time stands still
Enjoying the moment
Enjoying the memories
Enjoying the telling

Stories of my travels
Stories of my discoveries
Stories of my life
Read, listen and enjoy
My what a wonderful life
To just breathe in this JOY

Peace, JOY and Happiness,

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