The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

NM/AZ 2009 Vacation: Phoenix

As usual, we stayed at La Posada in Winslow, Arizona in order to break up the long drive between Santa Fe and Phoenix, dining once again in The Turquoise Room, where I had a magnificent churro lamb sampler. Then it was over the Mogollon Rim, past the Mazatzal Mountains, into greater Phoenix.

Phoenix is sprawling and lacks the kind of urban neighborhoods I prefer. I just go there because that’s where Dave’s baseball seminar takes place, and since the seminar anchors the vacation, I go there once a year. But there were some pleasant surprises this time. First, we discovered a delightful and affordable French restaurant, Petite Maison, where we had a lovely meal  on Thursday, then went back on Sunday because we liked it so much. This is a place to rediscover escargot, dessert souffles, and basic French entrees. It’s all good, and we hope to go back next time we’re in Phoenix.

The next night, I caught some pictures of the setting sun off of the hotel outdoor walkway:

DSCN0372 DSCN0363

And on Saturday night, we  went to the all-star game of the Arizona Fall League, which is a developmental league for promising young players who are expected to make the major league. I used this as an occasion to play with the stop-action feature on my camera, which was fun. Here are a few shots, first of batters, then of a pitcher in slo-mo. It was fun! 



And these only include every other shot, so I actually had a much finer level of stop-action photography.

So that’s it for the vacation. In a few days, I’ll resume the book reviews.

November 23, 2009 Posted by | travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of Autobiography of a Fat Bride, by Laurie Notaro

I’m trying to remember which friend said she loved Laurie Notaro. This is driving me crazy.

And Laurie Notaro has potential to drive a person crazy. She is hilarious and observant, but I think if I ran into her on my annual pilgrimage to Phoenix, I’d say “great book, Laurie” and leave it at that. She’s intense. And that’s not a criticism, but it’s something to keep in mind while reading this book. It’s not a sit-down-and-read-it-all-Saturday-afternoon book, it’s more of a keep-in-your-purse-and-read-a-few-pages-at-a-time-while-in-line book. And it really does lend itself to short spurts of reading, because it’s written as a series of 2 to 6 page essays.

Laurie has an impossible mother, a mind-boggling grandma, a sweet but very languid husband, weird neighbors, sisters (and thanks again to my brothers for being boys instead girls), pets, a job, and a body that might qualify her to be a plus-size model were she so inspired.

At her wedding reception, she ejected the videographer who thought the entire event had been planned just so he could play at being dictator. That alone is reason to love her. And how can you not giggle at someone who writes: “it looks like Stevie Wonder and Bo Derek jumped you in an alley and gang-braided you”? On the other hand, there were a few essays that did not enrich my life, to put it mildly. But most were fun. I would recommend this to anyone except stick-in-the-mud types. You know who you are.

As for animals, there are a very few unpleasant images, but nothing that’s likely to stay with you. And I don’t believe she really forgot to feed her dog – first, dogs don’t let you forget that, and second, she exaggerates so much that I believe she said that for effect. Still, Notaro is outrageous for effect, and the animals fall into her line of sight occasionally. I’m going to declare this book SAFE for animal lovers, but promise not to take her literally, okay?

August 13, 2009 Posted by | animals, beach book, Book Reviews, humor, pets, satire | , , | 1 Comment

Vacation Chronicle – Phoenix, AZ (Days 8-12)

Phoenix is where Dave and I start separate vacations. He attends a seminar on scouting minor league baseball players for rotisserie leagues, and I … entertain myself, usually with the computer and a bunch of books, sometimes by driving off hither and yon. This year, a messy cold that popped up about 5 minutes after we entered the city limits kept me close to the hotel, which had been my plan anyway.

I have mixed feelings about Phoenix. It’s very sprawling, and while I like the nearby mountains, getting to them is a pain. We’ve had some good times there, but it’s mostly Dave’s thing. This time, he saw several games of the Arizona Fall League, a developmental league for minor league baseball players. I went to one with him, and it was so poorly played it was laughable. Seriously, people around us were laughing, too. We did find a couple of good restaurants. For example, at Babbo’s Italian Restaurant  in Surprise, we had a good, reasonably priced dinner before heading to the ballpark. We also returned to the Tortilla Factory  in Scottsdale. And we always enjoy visiting Roaring Fork , also in Scottsdale. One thing about Scottsdale, though – we’re used to seeing a lively street scene, and there was almost no one out. Signs of a recession, I guess, and too bad for some charming shops and restaurants that relied upon people having disposable income.

But mostly I sniffled, took cold medication, wrote about 10 blog posts for the future, and read books. It was a low-key ending to a wonderful trip. We have a couple of short trips planned around the holidays, but otherwise that’s it until sometime next year.

In a few days, I’ll return to posting book reviews for animal lovers, which is the primary purpose of this blog.

November 17, 2008 Posted by | food, travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments