Phoenix is nice, especially at night. The moon over mountains, the cacti and bright pops of pink and yellow flowers. Little bunnies running over grass. It feels simultaneouly lush and desert.

Cacti as tall as the mountains! Well, taller than the roof of building at least.

Our hotel is an extended-stay one, so it has a adorable little kitchen, sitting room and bedroom. I felt like we were newlyweds moving into our tiny first apartment:

We bought a few groceries, and let me tell you it is so nice to be able to turn on the tv at night (national spelling bee!) and grab a beer from the fridge instead of having to go to the hotel bar (which doesn't actually exist here) or having to call room service (which may not actually exist here either). And it's lovely to make a full pot of coffee instead of those little one-cup deals in leaky paper cups. It really is the difference between feeling like you are at home and feeling like you are at a cheap hotel. I could live here.

The grocery shopping also meant that I could have my normal yogurt and fruit and stuff for breakfast, instead of a honey-bun off the buffet. And for the first time ever in my entire life, I planned to exercise. On vacation. I packed my shoes and sports bra and dvd:

But for some stupid reason the laptop won't play a dvd without some stupid plug-in purchases or whatever and so, I have excused myself from exercise. I'm going to have to figure out how to put the dvd on my ipod, if that's even possible, and then there will be no more excuses. (I know, I could go to the fitness center, but I still am not ready to exercise around or in front of other people. It just seems like a private thing for me, maybe because I am so clumsy?)

All that stuff about the dry heat that you can't really feel is not true - it's hot! I spent a few lovely hours yesterday by the pool (with lots of sunscreen), and had to dip in every 20 minutes of so to keep from boiling. I was almost completely dry - hair included - 5 minutes later, I could feel the water evaporating from my skin.

I picked a perfect summer read from the airport,
I Love You, Beth Cooper, which is (so far) funny, charming, and witty. Perfect for the pool.

Last night we went out for
dinner and I wore my chic-magnet sundress. This dress is funny in that every time I wear it, everywhere I go, random women will come up to me and say how much they like it.

Since last night was only the second time I wore the dress, it was still a theory. Four women did it. One said,
I saw your dress from across the room and had to come and tell you that I like it. It is the only thing that I wear that makes this happen, so it really stands out.

Look at the drink we had with dinner - Bubbles & Berries:

It had dry ice in it and just kept smoking and bubbling away. It was so neat, and so good. I love froufy drinks when they are not just really froufy, but also really tasty. (I also love happy hour, which we accidentally made it to.) Here's what was in Bubbles & Berries, along with the dry ice:
Belvedere Cytrus Vodka, Creme de Cassis, marinated blackberries, Housemade Sour, Domaine Chandon Brut.

It reminded me of the Wanton Abandon cocktail from Amsterdam, which was picked soley by name, but turned out to be so good. I wish I could remember how they made that.

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