Thursday Thoughts

Whenever it’s time to go either direction (to AZ in December or to Denver in May), I feel sad. There are things I miss from both places. Family, of course, but other specific things as well. In AZ, I miss the lovely spring weather during which we don’t have to worry about snow the next day, my charming manageably-sized ranch home, Fuddruckers, my garbage disposal (which not only doesn’t back up regularly as does ours in Denver, but is big enough to actually grind up an elephant should that need arise, given that Bill installed it), and our wonderful church. But perhaps most of all, I miss the fancy Fry’s Supermarkets that have sushi bars where you can sit down and enjoy your meal, beautiful delis with seating, and an actual wine and beer bar where you can sit and enjoy a selection of adult beverages…..

I took this photo while sitting at the bar at Fry’s Supermarket.

I support small businesses. I really do. But I will tell you that I wish with all of my heart that you could buy wine in grocery stores in Colorado. Having a beer and wine bar would only be the icing on the cake.

You Call This Food?
Bill and I took a field trip yesterday to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, a state park that, despite only being about 30 miles away from our front door, we have never visited. In fact, we had never heard of it, and only learned about it from friends. I will tell you about our visit next week. But let me quickly tell you that afterwards, we stopped in the nearest town – called Superior – for lunch. The town is optimistically named, as it certainly isn’t superior to much of anything. The restaurant we chose out of the few that didn’t have boarded-up windows was called Buckboard City Café. It was the “café” that sold us – that, and the fact that all of the other restaurants were boarded up. I am not fussy about food; truly, I’m not. While some restaurants are better than others, I can tolerate most any of them. The Buckboard Café was simply awful. The highlight might have been when a man came in to return the burritos that he had purchased earlier. I don’t know why, and frankly, don’t want to know why. What was disturbing, however, was that the server who was helping him literally yelled from the front of the restaurant into the kitchen, “Sue, there’s a man here who wants to return his burritos. What should I do?” What you should do my friend is not holler at the top of your lungs that people are actually returning your retched food. They did, however, boast the world’s smallest museum which we didn’t bother to visit….

We couldn’t help but enjoy the so-called artwork outside in the parking lot…..

Home is Where the Pocketbook Is
I wish I could remember where I come across these things because it would make me so much more believable. But here is an image I found most remarkable, and most troubling. It showed what income was necessary to be able to afford the AVERAGE home in each state. If I read the map correctly, Colorado is fifth highest behind only Hawaii, California, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts. I’m happy that all of our Colorado children (and we) already own our home, because homebuying would be much more difficult these days. Yoiks.



Thursday Thoughts

Make the House Ready
Late tomorrow (like midnight!), Dave and Jll and the four kids arrive in AZ for a visit. YAY! We dangled the opening game of the Chicago Cubs Spring Training before their looking-at-disney-picseyes, and they bit. Dave is a life-long Cubs fan, stemming from the fact that both his father and mother were born and reared in the Windy City, and Dave spent considerable time there visiting family. In fact, he was born in Arlington Heights, a suburb of Chicago, though they moved to Denver when he was small. He had wanted to go to a game when the Cubs were in the World Series back in the fall, but it didn’t happen. But given the fact that we are already seeing people in Cubs garb here in Mesa, the Spring Training season should be fun. Bill and Dave are going to the Cubs opening game, and all of us will be going to games on Sunday and Tuesday. Go Cubs! By the way, if you want a reminder of just how much the kids like the Cubs, re-read this blog post from December…..

I talk all the time about the number of Midwesterners who come to AZ to spend the winter, getting relief from the below-freezing temperatures. The longer I’m here, the more I suspect that a major share of the so-called winter visitors are from the great minnesota-license-platestate of Minnesota. Who can blame them? One of our priests – who himself is retired and hails from Minnesota – claims that the bishop of the Minneapolis Archdiocese actually holds his Christmas collection on July 25 because on that day, the state is full of visiting tourists intent on fishing the 10,000 lakes, while on December 25, the churches are empty because everyone’s in AZ! Bill and I were returning from somewhere the other day, and we were a mile or so from home. I said to Bill, “I’ll bet you that we spot a Minnesota license plate between here an home.” I wish I would have bet him after-dinner clean-up duties for a week, because sure enough, a few blocks from our house, a car with Minnesota plates drove past.

Would You Like that Wine in Paper or Plastic?
One of the featured appetizers at Bec’s annual Mardis Gras party are mini-muffulettas, those wonderful sandwiches featuring salami, mortadella, cheese and a delicious olive spread. It’s the olive spread that makes these sandwiches stand out. Each year, she has gotten her olive spread at Fry’s. But she called me a couple of days before the party to lament that her neighborhood Fry’s no longer carried the olive spread. I told her that I would check the two Fry’s that are near me here in Mesa to see if they still carried the spread. I was actually at my Fry’s unsuccessfully seeking the olive spread when my phone rang. It was Bec. “You won’t believe where I am,” she said. “I am at the fanciest Fry’s Market that I have ever in my life seen.” “Uh-huh,” I said, still searching for olive spread. “No, I’m serious,” she said. “It has a sushi bar. It has a salad bar. For heaven’s sake, it has a WINE BAR.” Wait, what? I was still smiling as I went to the self-check registers to ring up my groceries, which didn’t include olive spread because the fancy Fry’s of course, had an olive bar and so Bec had already bought the spread. The woman assisting at the self-check registers came over to see if she could help me with something because I was laughing. I explained about the telephone call from my sister, and she was not surprised. She told me that all of the new Fry’s were including all of those things, and that there was one not far from where I was standing right that very second. I quickly paid for my groceries and headed that way. It was true. It was just as Bec had described, down to the sushi bar and the wine and beer bar. When I say sushi bar, I don’t mean just plastic containers of sushi; I mean there are people making sushi to order and you sit at the bar (probably with a glass of wine from the wine bar) and enjoy your sushi. There was no one partaking at the wine bar that day, but I have gone a couple of times since, and both times there have been people drinking a beer and eating something from the deli. Maybe the reason this so astounds me is because they don’t sell wine or beer in grocery stores in Colorado. All I know is, I AM GOING TO GO HAVE A GLASS OF WINE ONE AFTERNOON WHILE I’M SHOPPING. Because I can.