Happy Birthday Joe!

December 30th – a sucky time to have a birthday in general. Everyone is totally over the holidays, out of money, and pretty much does not really care if you feel ripped off by getting a dual gift wrapped in paper that says Ho Ho Ho!

I care about birthdays, so I really do try to make them special for the person in question. But this time of year does wear me out. I don’t really like Christmas. (Enter the collective gasp!) I find small bits of magic every year amidst the tyranny of Santa, the barrage of angry Christians who insist if I don’t say “Merry Christmas!” with a giant smile to every checkout person and colleague I am somehow degrading their religion, and the forced gatherings of people who don’t necessarily want to hang out together but are somehow compelled to sit at Z Tejas on a Thursday afternoon, eat nachos and exchange “white elephant” gifts. (I brought a book of poetry. It was not well received.)

So I feel badly for Joe. His birthday – today – falls right after my energy has been completely drained of goodwill towards men. This year is worse given the fact that the previous two weeks at work have been so stressful I have been dreaming that our company had a secret business of creating zombies that looked like normal people and so the population was confused and dying at rapid rates. It was my job to a) Alert the Public while b) Protecting The Company.

I’m also a planner. So earlier this year, knowing my post-holiday mood would be less-than-pleasant, we booked a cabin in the mountains for a family getaway. We left town on Saturday and drove the long trip up to Greer.



Two boys, lots of Rainbow Looming accouterments, and a small travel dog.  I think it took about 4.5 hours to get here, since we stopped on the way to buy snow pants, gloves, and taco shells. It’s unclear how we fit these items into the over-stuffed Jeep – mainly everything new went around my feet.

I used to come up here as a kid. My parents were skiers. They liked to be in the lift line at 8:45 to make the first trip up the mountain, take a 30 minute break for lunch, and make sure to be in the line to make the last 4 p.m. ride. They called me “Princess Molasses” because I did not move very fast – I don’t like to be cold, I don’t like to hurl myself quickly down mountains, and I don’t like people to make fun of me. A bad mixture all around. As I was recalling these memories the other night, I think I offended my mom who apparently never knew I didn’t want to go skiing and don’t like too much activity. Or cold.

So here we are in our cabin in Greer, with our dog and two kids in the middle of winter. It was 16 degrees this morning and amazing frost on our patio. I stayed in my pajamas until 1 p.m. today…my kind of vacation…


Joe’s day included sleeping in, two pots of coffee, kids who are on somewhat good behavior, snowball fights, an afternoon nap, and dinner out at Molly Butler’s. Considering last year we were in Paris it’s a tough to compete. (That was incredible, amazing, shocking, fun and exhausting. This is relaxing, quiet, and not very romantic. Which is better?)

So happy birthday Joe! Here is your birthday blog, which I hope you like as much as you liked your birthday Zentangle:





Is Rocky Point Safe?

In the great city of Phoenix, we are lulled into a dream of safety that does not exist. Crime is rampant. Drugs and guns and killing are everywhere, and whether or not our friends in the media want to tell the story, it is still a story. Our house was robbed. My friend’s brother was murdered about a mile away. A high speed car chase ended on our block, with the meth-addled driver trying to run from police in the middle of the afternoon. We pretend we are safe because to believe otherwise would spiral us all in to a constant state of fear. And who wants to live like that?

This is always my argument when I make the trek down to Rocky Point in Mexico. Is it dangerous? Not any more dangerous than Phoenix. Yes, there is crime in the parts of town where criminals live. I hang out in the tourist areas. I have never once felt unsafe.

Then this week a military operation began at the border and ended in a shootout right in front of the Bella Sirena resort, where I have stayed many times. The beginning of this video is from a balcony in the resort.

Gunfire at 5 a.m. Ok. I’m not usually walking around town at 5 a.m. The military was chasing criminals. The mayor has responded with a statement that all security protocol was followed by the agents in pursuit of these criminals.

I’m mulling this over. If “security protocol” involves agents firing machine guns and throwing grenades from helicopters in a residential/resort area, I’m not certain I agree with that protocol.

No civilians were harmed. Some pretty bad guys are dead. But at what price?

I have always respected the fact that Mexico has very different laws. On my last trip in October I was pulled over for “speeding” in Sonoyta. The officer politely told me that the fine for speeding was $40 American cash. We had just spent a weekend on vacation and I did not have a dime to my name. I have to admit I was slightly panicked and imagining me and the boys locked in a cell somewhere while Joe had to fly down and rescue us. I breathed a giant sigh of relief when we crossed the border – about 200 yards later – and the threat passed.

I am distraught. I am questioning whether or not I can take my kids back. (Joe, incidentally is not questioning a thing. He texted me when it happened “so now what do you want to do for Spring Break?”) I do not want to give up this place that I love, because when I am there I am happy and calm and peaceful and free. The water is warm, the locals are delightful, the tacos are delicious, and the seashells are plentiful.

We were planning to take the boys in March. I was planning to go in June to see the Peacemakers on the beach. What bothers me most is the inability to find any news about what *actually* happened versus what the the politicians want me to think happened. People have taken down their YouTube videos and Facebook posts. That doesn’t make me feel better.

Many of my readers love Rocky Point as much as I do. Some think I’m crazy to go there. I admit my resolve is shaken, and Joe is no longer on the fence, he’s firmly planted in the “No Mexico” camp.

Please leave a comment below – does this make you sad? Or are you validated in your opinion that people should not go to Rocky Point?




I’m Home!

The lawyer holiday party was a raging success. The Palomar knows what’s up. Uber Phoenix successfully transported us in a safe and economical way. The personailities did not disappoint, and I didn’t even embarrass Joe, even though he was worried a time or two.

Now I’m on the couch watching iCarly with the boys, who had a super-fun-time at Cub Scouts with my parents. Apparently there were 4 cop cars, 8 cops, and 3 dogs. Luckily they are still young enough to think that’s cool and not terrifying.

I spent much of the night chatting up the young lawyers. They are so smart and hard working! I had to tell one that he wasn’t allowed to talk about work. Wait, that was Joe. One of them had some type of electrified mat that kept her cats away from the Christmas tree. She seemed mildly worried that I might use this technology on my kids.

Thank you all for reading my tiny attempt to blog as I go. Normally I wait a few days, write something, edit it, add photos, edit some more. This was a new experience, and I only edited a few things for grammar.

And I still don’t see the draw of Instagram…