Tag Archives: Tucson

Because Wine.

The fabulous owner of our beloved local vino bar, Hoppin’ Grapes, has invited me and two other lucky ladies to an industry wine tasting event in Tucson, later this month, and my cheeks are all aflush just thinking about it.

It’s a large, annual event held at a beautiful resort where vendors ply merchants with free booze and food. Excellent booze, superb food. Some friends of mine were invited to go last year, and they described the experience as something close to a celestial playground for lushes.
A fermented nirvana.
Heaven for winos.

“I had a 300 dollar glass of wine, and do you know what? It tasted like a 300 dollar glass of wine! I tasted every dollar of it. Every. Dollar. It was amazing……… I think it changed my life.”
That may not be a direct quote, but close enough.

Thus my team of wine-tasty ladies and I have already booked our master suite and, it likely goes without saying but, MY EXCITED MENTAL CARTWHEELS OF EXCITEMENT ARE SO FREAKING EXCITED RIGHT NOW. Because, if there’s a chain in this scenario, anywhere, I’m completely certain this event is going to fly the frack off it!

The only draw back might be that I’d recently decided to make ever-so-slight changes to the amount (abundance?) of intoxicating beverages I consume. Perhaps a contradictory goal in light of today’s “Whoo-hoo! Let’s party, bitches!” war cry. But……it’s all good. And fine. And well.
Pay no mind to the drunken woman behind the curtain.

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Smile

On the corner of Valencia and Alvernon, on a 72 degree Tucson, Arizona winter’s day, stood a familiar sight; the scruffy looking man holding a cardboard sign. The poor soul wasn’t standing on the corner, exactly; he was pacing the median to my left as I was approaching the stoplight, waiting to make a turn in that direction.

A month previous, my daughter and I were exiting a shopping center and drove by a forlorn-looking gentleman clutching that infamous cardboard. As we passed, I made no eye contact, and I realized my daughter has learned to do the same. It occurred to me that she’s never seen me be charitable to a homeless person on the street. She missed those days. The days when I was younger and less cynical. The days when I lived in a city and I spared my change. That fact, combined with it being Christmas time, was enough to get me to drive a circle – through two traffic lights, and holiday shopping parking lots – just to give the four dollars cash I had on hand to the middle-aged man with the sign.

I’m aware of the idea/myth/possible reality that many homeless persons with “Will work for food.”, “Children starving, please help.”, “Hungry veteran. This is humiliating.” signs are just duplicitously playing on your sympathies and, in fact, make more in a day on the freeway exit ramp than you do all week. But I’ve never been quite sure how much of that is true or how much of that is something we tell ourselves so we don’t have to feel bad – or, worse, make eye contact.

So, as I sat in the left turn lane, at the corner of Valencia and Alvernon, with my two children in the backseat, the man with sign approached my window and I stared stoically ahead at a light that could not turn green fast enough. He was the most aggressive panhandler I’d ever known. The minute we stopped he rushed my window, practically pasting his sign on my driver’s side glass. So aggressive that I was compelled to turn my head and read it.

It said, “Smile.”

With a little smiley face beneath the single word. And I did. I smiled. More accurately, I smirked – in the caught-off-guard, “Ah, you got me good” way. And I made my left turn with all sorts of philosophical thoughts about the wackiness of the world. But I think I smiled most at the thought, “Hipster or homeless?”

And I Said to Myself…

I, like many of us who move onto the newest, coolest, next-best-thing on the interwebs, have a neglected Livejournal account. I decided to revisit it recently and found all sorts of obnoxious things to delete. But here and there I found gems that made me smile, laugh or even tear up. Like the entry below, where I talk about drinking to excess and smoking (um…I was still in my twenties? Heaven knows I’d never be so shameless now…not never) and being scared to death of the mere idea of marrying my now husband.

I’d been living in Arizona just two months at the time this was written.
Funny, in retrospect. And sweet, in it’s way.

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Originally Posted: November 20th, 2006
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we went out last night and i was the stranger in the strange land. i drank steadily, out of boredom, and i smoked three cigarettes . i haven’t smoked in two months. but for all the drinking i was never drunk, and for all the smoking i was never ill. except for when i woke this morning – in pure misery.

and when my eyes could focus again i glanced across the bedroom and i saw a dozen red roses.
this was my….hangover present? no. this was just because he loves me.

what’s so funny is, the night before a friend of his was speaking about her impending wedding, and as she related a story about her fiance she said, “and that’s when i said to myself ‘i’m going to marry this man'”, and scott turns to me and asks “so, have you had an ‘i’m going to marry this man’ moment yet?” i quickly got up from the table and mumbled, “what? i don’t know. ihavetogototherestroomnowbutiloveyou…” and exited in a hurry.

as i left i heard him tell his friend, “she always gets paranoid when we talk about marriage.”

true and not true. because we don’t talk about it. we allude to it.

what i would have answered, if i had the cajones, and maybe should have answered, is that i’ve had an “i’m going to marry this man” moment every single day for longer than i’m willing to admit – even here. take this morning, for instance, with the roses. that was a definite “i’d be lucky to call you my husband someday” moment, for sure.

but i never tell him these things. i tell him how much i love him – how VERY much i love him – but i rarely confide how frightened i am to dream of a future with him. and i don’t know why. because nothing would make me happier. nothing.

and when he snuck up behind me while i was typing this, i was so startled i jumped up and reflexively karate-chopped him in the throat.
whoops.
there goes my engagement ring.