Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Midwest Trip

Last week I had a whole week off to visit family and friends, and participate in some Fraternity stuff.

I flew out of Phoenix on Saturday 7/2, on Southwest nonstop to Indianapolis.  Got in a little late, picked up my rental car and headed north.  I stopped for the night in lovely Plymouth, Indiana, a small town that is reasonably charming.  Had a nice dinner and looked around a bit -- lovely old homes near downtown.

The next morning I headed north to South Bend and took some time to look at the Notre Dame campus and especially to visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  It's gorgeous!  As I'm still gimpy, walking around campus even to the limited extent that I did was probably not too smart.  I did enjoy it though.  The contrast between the beautiful campus and South Bend was stark -- the town is not the best and seems to be suffering.

After my visit I drove to Ann Arbor and stayed with my cousin Mary and her husband, along with their kids and my aunt and uncle.  We had a cookout that night, then for the 4th more swimming, eating, and hanging out.  My cousin Joe came down from Detroit for the occasion, and my cousins Mark and Martha were there with their spouses and children so it was quite the gathering.  I've always envied the closeness the Rogers clan have -- it's pretty awesome.

Tuesday was a quiet day; I went to noon Mass with my uncle Art at St. Thomas, then came back and hung out for the rest of the day.

Wednesday morning I said my goodbyes and headed back to Indianapolis.  While there weren't any "big activities" during my stay, I really enjoyed it.  With my broken ankle  I wasn't really up to such things, and anyway I really just wanted to spend time with family, which I got to do in spades.  I can't say enough how much I enjoyed my visit.

I got down to Indy around 4:45 and went to my friend Julia's house.  I had not seen her or her husband Todd since their wedding in 2013 (I was gimpy then too!). Since then they've moved into a beyoootiful new house and have an amazingly cute daughter Katie.  We had a great visit (amazing dinner!) and wonderful conversation.

Thursday morning I hit the road for Evansville.  I-69 does not run all the way from Indy to Evansville, there is a pretty substantial gap between the Indy and the end of the freeway.  So Siri took me on a rather "interesting" trip through central Indiana.  All worked well, though and I arrived at Lyrecrest (headquarters for Phi Mu Alpha) an hour earlier than expected -- southwest Indiana, as it turns out, is on Central time, not Eastern, so I gained an hour.

I spent the next several days attending our Province Governors Convocation.  This is an annual gathering of the Fraternity's PGs and deputy PGs.  We learned a lot of good info but the most important was just time to bond as a group and share stories and experiences.  I learned a lot of good stuff which I will take back to my province.  All in all I'm convinced that we are on the right track in my Province.  There is a lot to do, though!

Sunday morning we wrapped up our Convocation and after some extended conversations it was time to head back to Indy.  I hit the road (I took a different route) and got to the airport with plenty of time before my 9 p.m. flight.  After an uneventful flight I got to Phoenix, hopped in a cab, and a few minutes (and $46) later I was home, tired but happy.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Gimpy Again

I broke my left ankle last week during my power skating lesson.  Gaaah!

I know in the great scheme of things, it could have been far, far worse.  For one thing, I tucked my head so I didn't whack it. That's awesome, because I'd rather have a broken bone than a concussion.  And while having a fractured fibula is no fun (but love the alliteration :-) ) at least it's not weightbearing.  A fractured tibia would have been a real problem.  As it is I'm off the ice for 4- 6 weeks, probably, so I'll have a wasted summer as far as skating and getting things done :-(.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Ralph Vaughan Williams "Dona Nobis Pacem"

Tonight I drove down to Tucson after work to attend a concert of the Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Choir and Symphonic Choir performing Ralph Vaughan Williams's "Dona Nobis Pacem."  My friend Mikey (Miguel) sat with me and was nice enough to get me a free ticket!

It was a wonderful concert!  The soloists (esp. the baritone) were really good, and the choirs and orchestra did a great job.  I had not heard this live since I performed it with the Ventura County Master Chorale back when I lived in Oxnard so many years ago.  It is not performed often, which is a shame.

I was especially struck, as I had not been when I was performing, by the "story" aspect of the piece.  As an audience member I could experience and appreciate interplay between the soloists and the orchestra and choir to convey such a depth of meaning.  It was just beautiful and I couldn't help but cry.  I'm so glad I made time to go.

Monday, May 02, 2016


I was up in northern Arizona this weekend.  I drove up to Flagstaff Saturday afternoon and had a chance to hang out with my friend Katie.  She's a FOCUS missionary at NAU.  She's done a great job there but her time is short as she will be leaving at the end of the semester.

Saturday evening was Kappa Xi chapter's initiation ritual.  It was pretty good and their new guys are really terrific.  Of course it was a very late night and I didn't get to bed until like 3!  And of course it snowed... it seems like it almost always snows when I'm up there for initiation.  Just an inch or 2 and it was gone in the a.m. so that was okay.

Sunday I stopped off on my way home to tour Arcosanti. I had driven by so many times but never had a chance to visit, so I was determined to take advantage of this opportunity.  I got there just in time for the 1 p.m. tour.

It's ... interesting.  Soleri's vision of a different way to design a city is still a long way from any kind of completion.  It's been a work in progress for over 40 years and I think it will always be that, actually.  That's not such a bad thing, though perhaps it's different from what the original hype was and/or what Soleri and others thought would happen.  As a place to prototype and experiment with different "city technologies" it can do a lot.  I don't really foresee it ever being a "real" city but that's doesn't mean it's a failure.

Monday, April 25, 2016


A lot of fraternity stuff the last couple of days... and a goodbye.

Saturday morning was a gathering to remember our good friend Tawnya who passed away in December.  I knew Tawnya through skating, but she was a woman of many, many talents and interests.  She was a cancer survivor for many years but alas the cancer came back and she lost her fight.  Seeing the broad spectrum of friends and family that came out to remember her and the breadth of her interests and involvement, it was more clear than ever what a loss this was to so many.  Rest in peace Tawnya.

Saturday afternoon and evening was spent in Tucson for the Alpha Upsilon chapter's initiation.  They had 9 guys enter.  A good turnout, including 2 brothers from Iota Phi (UNM) who made the trip.  A wonderful evening.

Sunday I had dinner with another brother, and we wound up meeting with Province 35's Commission on Standards representative, who was in town to visit family.  The COS is in charge (among other things) of overseeing colonies as they work to become full-fledged chapters of Phi Mu Alpha.  We had a nice dinner and a good conversation.

Tonight I had a rehearsal for our upcoming (Thursday!) concert of the Honegger King David.  Afterwards I stopped off to visit the Kappa Nu colony at their last regular meeting for the year.  After the business was done, they had an impromptu jam session. Watching them having fun making music together and just being sociable, I was really joyous at the effect that Sinfonia is having on their lives.  As I told them, a year ago they were just some guys who knew each other a little.  Now they are a SOMETHING.  An entity, a group with a purpose.  They have come so far!  And seeing them tonight I know that they are going to make it, because they "get it." They are beginning to understand what it is to be a Sinfonian.  Now, we just need to make it official.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tucson For A Day

I was in Tucson today for a couple of events.  I worked from "home" today, where home was Connect Coworking downtown.  I've worked here a couple of times before while visiting.  Drop-ins are $25/day.  Due to some events they were having, I got to be in the upstairs part of the building which is normally reserved for monthly clients.  It's pretty nice up there!  There are reserved offices and reserved desks, along with clean bathrooms (with a shower!) a kitchen, printers, conference rooms, etc.  It's a pretty nice, quiet space and I could see it as a viable place to work if you needed that and your company would pay for it, or you were a startup.  I paid for street parking, which is $1/hr.

The first event I was here for was the bimonthly NewMonics alumni lunch.  I worked at NewMonics from 1998 - 2002.  It was an awesome place to work, and the fact that we still gather to hang out, eat and chat all these years later says something about what kind of place it was.  There were only four of us today (myself, Evan, Frank, and Bergy) but we had good food and a great conversation.  Awesome.

After my work day I met up with a couple of the guys from the Alpha Upsilon chapter (Danny B and Nick) for dinner on University.  Good conversation and good food, again.  I'm spoiled!

After that I hit the road for home.  It was a nice day and frankly left me rather homesick for Tucson. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Road Trip

This weekend I went on a road trip for Fraternity business!

Friday night I left town after work and drove to Show Low.  I stopped off in Payson and had dinner with an old high school classmate and friend, Kathy S.  I drive through Payson all the time and had never had a chance to stop and say hi, so I'm glad I was able to this time.  We had some great Mexican food and a wonderful conversation.  Afterward I drove on to Show Low and stayed the night.

The next morning (Saturday) I hit the road.  First stop was Greer, to look around and reconnoiter for our Province Retreat at Benny Creek campground over Labor Day.  The campground was closed but I was able to take some good pictures of the area and get a feel for what it's like.  I think it will be nice.

After that brief excursion I drove on to Albuquerque via US 60 to NM 36 to NM 117 through the El Malpais National Monument.  It's a pretty desolate area, but I love seeing the lava flow there.  It's so striking and thought provoking to me -- I imagine what it must have been like when the lava was flowing and wonder why it did stop THERE and not somewhere else? Then on to I-40.

I got into town and checked into my hotel with just enough time to shower and change and get to the restaurant for dinner with the Iota Phi chapter and their probationary members.  We had a great dinner and fellowship, including (of course) serenading our waitresses.  After dinner and some post-dinner talking it was off to UNM to get ready for the initiation ritual.  As usual I spent most of my time beforehand sitting with the PMs, getting to know them and hearing about their experience in the PM process.  They are a great bunch of guys, and as usual Iota Phi has done a great job preparing them.

The Ritual was well done and, in a first, starting only 20 minutes after the nominal "knock" time of 9 p.m.  I was impressed!  Afterward we took pictures as usual and then I went back to the hotel and went to bed.

Sunday morning I drove up to Santa Fe to grab some stuff for my friend Olivia (she just moved to Phoenix) from her mom, then back down I-25 to El Paso.  I got in around 3:30, checked in to the hotel, then went over to UTEP to meet with Nu Lambda's vice president and FEO.  We talked for about an hour, I think, and I got a good overview of how things are going for them and gave some insights and advice.  Afterward I hung around writing up some notes for a while, then headed out for some dinner and back to the hotel.

Monday morning I checked out of the hotel and went over to UTEP.  I was at school all day for meetings:

  • chapter Faculty Advisors
  • FA for the SAI colony there
  • chapter secretary
  • chapter treasurer
  • chapter alumni relations officer
  • chapter president
  • other brothers
Unfortunately I did not get to meet with the SOM assistant head.  The school is in the process of choosing a new department head and they were actually in meetings that day for more discussions so everyone was very busy.

I did manage to sneak out for some food at the UTEP student union.  It's really a pretty neat campus.

At the end of the day (around 6) the chapter did their "Black Night".  This is normally part of the PM process; they don't have a PM class this semester but did one anyway as part of fraternal education.  I only was able to stay for an hour but I found it very edifying.

At 7ish I hit the road for home!  I had gassed-up the car Sunday night so I drove straight through to Deming, where I stopped for some food and a potty break.  Then back on the road and straight through to Tucson for another food/bio-break, and then home around 1 a.m.   Phew!  It was a good trip though.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Take Me Out To The Ball Game...

Today was a pretty fun day -- Shutterfly took our team out to watch the Diamondbacks - Rockies game at Chase Field.  We got a ticket and $20 of Dbucks for food. 

I rode the light rail out to the game from the park n' ride at Apache and 101.  I'd never ridden the Phoenix light rail; it's pretty much the same as Portland's MAX except the people are not as interesting :-).  Round trip was $4 which beat paying for parking and dealing with horrible traffic, so that was nice.

The game was fun, although we lost 4-3.  I really do enjoy spending time with my coworkers; they are a good bunch and a lot of fun.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Just checking in...

I've not posted here in almost 2 years... geez!  Sorry about that.

I took some time to update the blog template.  Not horribly impressed but Blogger has made a lot of changes since I started this blog in 2002 and the old stuff is not well supported, so it was time. I'll see if I can actually start posting again.

Since I posted last....

  • I'm still at Shutterfly
  • Still skating!
  • In October 2014 I was appointed Province Governor for Province 35 of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a men's music fraternity that I joined in 1983.  As PG I am responsible for keeping an eye on four chapters in Arizona, New Mexico, and "extreme West Texas" a.k.a. El Paso.  In addition we have a colony (chapter in the making) at ASU that I've been working with for 2 years or so.  With a bit of luck we will have them operation by this time next year.
  • I'm still singing with the Schola at Ss. Peter and Paul in Tucson.
  • I'm also singing with the ASU Choral Union, a community chorus sponsored by ASU and conducted by the inimitable Dr. Schildkret.  It's a lot of fun and we do some pretty good music!  We are performing the Honegger "King David" April 28th.
That's it for now!