Category Archives: Miscellaneous Diversions

Thompson Thrift Comes to Life

Happy Tofurkey Day to all!

I think I’ve mentioned it here on the blog before but JT and I have always dreamed of one day doddering away our time in a joint venture, “Thompson Guitar and Thrift” – a store full of amazing guitars and vintage furniture and objects – kind of just a place you would want to hang out in all day.  Add in Sophie and Shenanigan as two lazy shop dogs and you’re painting my dream picture.

At any rate, a brick and mortar store isn’t something we’re ready to commit to at this point in our lives.  We both have full time day jobs and frankly like the security and 401ks those bring.  But we still dream of the shop and so we’ve both taken (online) steps to make our dream a reality.

JT has been doing the guitar thing for a while now, first on eBay and now on Reverb.  Reverb has been great for him – the percent they take from your sale is way less than eBay and Reverb is geared right at him and his fellow musicians.

Reverb Store

JT has his very own Black Friday sale running until Sunday evening.

Reverb Store Inventory

He’s got some good stuff squirreled away — the ’78 Fender Telecaster, a whole Strat or just a Strat body and pickguards galore.  You can see his store here.  He has 24 reviews right now and I think they’re all five star – he’s a responsive seller and he knows his guitar stuff.

Etsy Homepage Screenshot

Not to be left behind, I decided to open my own store on Etsy, focusing on the vintage goods side of things.  It kind of grew out of necessity as I was bringing so much stuff home that the house began to feel like it was overflowing.  The online shop became a reality last week and I already made my first sale – you can find me at Thompson Thrift!Shop Inventory To DateBoth JT and I have the same philosophy when it comes to curating our shops – we make it a point to only offer items that we would buy for ourselves.  In fact I keep making side eyes at the copper colander I have up right now … maybe I will set it out as part of my Tofurkey Day table setting.

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I made a little photo shoot spot in the breakfast nook window as it faces north and gets nice diffuse light.  The Ikea faux sheepskin has been working hard as a nice wintery neutral background for my photos.  I’ve actually been photographing everything with my iPhone using the Camera+ app – it has great controls for focus and brightness along with handy little grid lines to help center things up.  I also started using the Google photo drive to quickly send all my photos to the computer where I can edit and upload them.  I don’t think this Etsy venture is going to be a path to quick riches but it’s a fun hobby and helps justify my weekends spent at the thrifts.

Have a great holiday all.  Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year.  Food, family and relaxation can’t be beat.  And I’m going to try out this vegan Pumpkin Bread Pudding recipe for dessert.  Cheers!  CT

 

 

Portland … It’s all true.

Hey guys – happy Friday!  In theory both JT and I are off on Fridays thanks to our 4-10 schedule but I have a project that waits until Friday to need me.  The joy.  Oh well, what do you do?  Relive an earlier vacation?  Okay!

So we had never been anywhere in the Pacific Northwest before and we decided that early August would be a perfect time to escape the desert and break up the looooong summer we get here in Phoenix.  We landed at PDX (with the new carpet, boo) and learned that everything you’ve ever heard about Portland is true.

I’ll just give you a quick, non-linear recap because we saw and did and drank so much on our trip that there’s not enough internet or pictures to really go through it all.  So.

NATURE

Nature – they have that in spades.  Everything was SO GREEN!  We mainly stayed downtown but on the last day we rented a car and drove out to see some of the sights.

ROSE GARDEN

They have nature in town too – we visited the (free) International Rose Test Garden as it was in full bloom.  Amazing.  Roses for miles and they all have a slightly different scent but I thought the overall base smell was kind of lemon-y.  We lucked out and got the most beautiful weather while we were vacationing.  It was sunny and a little hot (not Phoenix hot) during the day and cool and perfect in the evening.

DRINKING 2

Beer.  Portland is the micro-brewery capital of the world or something. We visited a few places – Deschutes, Widmer Brothers (did the brewery tour) and McMenamins (the one in the Pearl District).

DRINKING 1

We did AirBnB for our lodgings and while we had a little hiccup at the beginning, it worked out okay and was a great location and view – we were in a historic building on the 8th floor near Madison and 6th Avenue downtown.  The photo below on the left is a view from the balcony looking west-ish and the other photo is JT after a grueling afternoon beer tasting – that’s hard work.  We loved the space, especially all the plants.  It was a little urban jungle and we slept with those doors open every night.  It let in all the awesome cool fresh air and the yells from the hobos fighting.  (Portland has A LOT of homeless people.)

AIRBNB

The apartment was within walking distance of a few metro stops and especially close to the Art Museum.  We saw the Ai Weiwei exhibit that is now set to open in Phoenix in about a month.  The space they used in Portland was well suited to the installation, I might have to check it out here as well to compare.

AI WEI WEI

What else?  Shopping – did that.  Everything was delightfully Portland-esque, made of real wood or leather and artisanally handcrafted by a hipster and displayed on a live edge tree slice.  We visited Powell’s Books twice and got nice and lost.  I also had my first visit to a brick and mortar Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams store only to learn they are soon opening one in Scottsdale.

SHOPPING

We saw a lot of the iconic Portland things (besides the hipsters, but they were everywhere).  There is a convenience chain called the “Plaid Pantry” – awesome.  We stumbled under the “Portlandia” statue on our way home from too much dining and drinking one night (see blurry night photo below).  We visited the food shacks (like food trucks but not actually driveable) a few too many times and the “Wolf + Bear” one below was quintessential Portland down to the font of the sign.  While there we saw a guy riding a unicycle playing the bagpipe and wearing a Darth Vader helmet – all in the name of keeping Portland weird.

ICONIC PORTLAND

We partied with the liberals at a free Bernie Sanders rally (There was more beer there too) and rode the metro back over one of Portland’s many bridges.
BERNIEWe dined and dined – visiting Clyde Common in the Ace Hotel and taking in a Portland sunset at Departures on the top of the Meiers + Frank building.

DEPARTURES

They had the best Asian noodle dish there (it was a pasta strand that was as thick as my pinky with a good spicy sauce on it) and a separate “special” menu just for vegans.  It was hard to pick when I had a whole menu to peruse!

TRAM

We rode the tram, we walked around some more, drank lots of coffee and we took it all in.  Portland was amazing – beautiful and hand crafted and full of beer.  Four days wasn’t enough but we crammed a lot in.  We plan on going back to visit the Oregon countryside and all of the wineries.  Cheers to (maybe) next summer!  CT

P.S. – JT also has a post coming up today about one of his guitar projects and his online “Thompson Guitar and Thrift” store.  This has been a way better option for him than the crazy fees of eBay and maybe we’re one step closer to a brick and mortar “Thompson Guitar and Thrift” …. I’d better start on my estate sale-ing and Goodwill searching so I can be ready to keep up with him!

 

In Hot Water

This is our second summer in Phoenix and while May was unseasonably cool (not really chilly but just below average temperatures for the area), June rolled around and brought the hot weather with it.  I call it the hair dryer – even the breezes are hot.  Temperatures all week are above 110 and it makes outdoor activity, especially physical exercise, virtually impossible for a heat weakling like me.  Summer in Phoenix takes on qualities of the winter in the Midwest – a lot of indoors time leads to cabin fever and a little weight gain.  Not so fun.

However our new house brought us into a new neighborhood and we have a community pool.  I started out by just getting a punch pass and over time I may become a monthly member.  It’s great because the lane lines are always in place and there are diving blocks and the warning flags – it’s a real “competition” style pool available to me 6 days a week and all year round.

IMG_4699

Being able to get in the pool and get a workout will make this summer tolerable I think.  JT is not a swimmer (I was on the high school swim team for three years) so he has invested in a mountain bike that he takes out on the mountain you can kind of see in the background of the image above while I’m cruising in the pool.  It works out because while I enjoy bikes while on a flat, stable surface, South Mountain is the opposite of flat so we both get some exercise into our 30 something selves.

The pool stays open until 9:15 pm during the week so during the work week I have been swimming in the dusk and evening.  It’s such a cool feeling to glide through the water with the night sky above you.

IMG_4706 2

Here was the workout I did last night:

-1 x 200 freestyle with 100 easy then 100 intense
-1x 50 breaststroke
-1 x 200 freestyle with 100 easy then 100 intense
-1 x 50 backstroke
Repeat the above twice
-500 freestyle with a moderate build
-100 cool down

I’m not Olympic material and don’t necessarily want to join a Masters swim group just because I don’t really have a competitive bone in my body when it comes to sports.  However I do go “full swimmer” and wear a swim cap, goggles and do flip turns during my workout.  It felt like riding a bike (ha ha) – I haven’t done a real “swim practice” since probably 1998 but getting back in the pool and working on my strokes felt so natural.  It’s also a great release from all the “screens” in my life – the work computer, the home computer, the work tablet, the home TV.  When you’re in the pool, swimming in your own lane, it’s just you, your breathing and your thoughts.  I also count each lap to hold my place in the workout (for some of you non-swimmers, a 200 is 8 laps in a 25 yard pool and a 500 is 20 laps) and it’s very meditative.  I’m in (not very) hot water and I love it.

Cheers!
CT

(PS – JT and I have been having a lot of home conversations about the Charleston shootings.  I hope you have conversations with the people in your life too.  We need more conversations and we need change.)

 

Snapshots from Phoenix

Hi everyone.  Have I mentioned that it is really hot in Phoenix right now?  It is really hot in Phoenix right now.  And now that July has kicked in, there is now humidity thanks to the monsoon storms.  I was told this place had dry heat.  I need a refund.

Nevertheless, the heat can’t keep me in – I refuse! Last weekend (4th of July weekend which was really long for us since we got Monday off as well (which to note is not an Arizona thing but rather a result of working 4 ten-hour days)) we did a little exploring and this weekend we did a little more.  I thought I’d share our adventures with you in a few snapshots.

Last weekend’s visit to the Antique Plaza in Mesa yielded a few results – some more vinyl for JT’s record collection and a cool copper printed map of Arizona for me.  There were some other items I didn’t want to leave behind . . .

MESA ANTIQUE PLAZA 1

MESA ANTIQUE PLAZA 2

The Antique Plaza was huge!  Some of the prices were right on, some were a little high and there was actually some MCM to be found (usually with the higher price tag).  We’ll be back.

We have a field mouse hiding in our house somewhere . . . I’m trying to catch him with peanut butter and love but the next step will be JT taking over the offensive and his methods are not so sweet.

MOUSE IN THE HOUSE

Friday night while JT was out doing a band audition I met the mouse and went to Home Depot for the traps.  The next morning found me back at the Depot for a lighting class and meet and greet with (now) local blogger Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook.  The actual class went a little sideways and no one else took photos so I grabbed this shot with furtive shame on my phone (that’s Jenny on the right in the green blouse).

LITTLE GREEN NOTEBOOK

Jenny was super sweet and ready to relax a little after finishing up the Domino Magazine photo shoot at her house.  I can’t even imagine!

And no, that isn’t me above with a half buzzed head but the heat has convinced me that less hair is the better option.   Here’s a quick in-the-salon before pic to show just how long (and kind of straggly) my hair had become.

LONG HAIR

And after!  So much better for the summer!

SHORTER HAIR

So today I took my new haircut out into the heat and JT and I visited Cosanti which is the residence and studios of Paolo Soleri.  JT described it as looking like the place where Luke Skywalker lives and while I don’t have a good frame of reference on  that, it was a unique place that had primitive and futuristic aspects all at the same time.

COSANT 3

Doesn’t that kind of look like a wooden spaceship came to land in the desert?  Steampunk kids take note, this place was started in the 1950s.

COSANTI 2 COSANTI 1

Also (random alert) there was a lot of olive trees among the vegetation and the site produces, bottles and sells its own olive oil.  Wowza.

OLIVES

I can’t wait to go up north and stay the night at Soleri’s larger experiment, Arcosanti.

What’s been going on with you guys?  Any tips for the heat?  Thank goodness my local grocery store carries a few flavors of coconut milk ice cream or I might have melted already.  Cheers – CT

(PS – More adventures to come – a day trip to Jerome and JT finds a new man chair.  Oooooh!)

Hot Crowd

Has anyone else noticed how Jimmy Fallon always comments that there is a “hot crowd” now that he’s on the Tonight Show?  And so the crowd cheers louder because he may be saying that they’re physically attractive but really he may be commenting on their general liveliness?  Well (to transition this thing over) we’re always a hot crowd here in Phoenix now that the days are mostly in the 100 to 100 degree range.  It’s like a long-standing joke on us (until September when we then laugh at the rest of the country).

We got up early a few weekends back to see if hiking was still feasible in this heat.  The Valley had a layer of smog when we were only 20 minutes in and not very high up the mountain.

THE VALLEY

The sun started baking us and we called it a little early to head back home, drink all the water we could find and generally lay about.

THE SUN

The heat means I open the doors to send the dogs out and in a few short minutes I see this out the back door . . .

HOT DOGS ON A PORCH

So we let them back in and then they generally lay about the place.  Like so (Sophie, who finally learned how to use pillows):

LAZY SOPHIE

And so:

LAZY PAIR

And so (a princess and the pea Shenanigan when I piled up the dog beds so our robot vacuum could be unleashed in the bedroom):

LAZY BOO

One benefit of the heat is a 50% discount offered to Arizona residents for visits to Taliesin West.  JT and I thought the first tour on Saturday morning (9am) might be nice and empty but it was packed instead.  So it was a little difficult to take pictures due to the throng of fellow architecture enthusiasts we were surrounded by.

TALIESIN

The tour was interesting, the sun was hot and I enjoyed nosing around.  As this was Wright’s winter home, he left a lot of the structures open with only canvas as a covering for a few years until his wife convinced him to go with glass.

I found a handsome man on the tour …

HANDSOME MAN

A sculpture I liked . . .

SCULPTURE BACK

Oh, you wanted me to turn around? (Picture fail)

SCULPTURE FRONT

A picture of a picture (heading into the dinner theatre area – what don’t you have your architecture students/servants put on a dinner theatre for you on your winter vacation?)

PICTURE IN A PICTURE

(Sidenote: I didn’t realize my hair was getting so long . . .)

TALIESIN 2

The view towards McDowell Mountain.  You can definitely see where Wright got his inspiration!  Time to get back inside and away from the sun’s burning rays!  Cheers – CT

 

 

What a week …

LAZY DOGS

This Friday finds me a little drained . . . adjusting to my new schedule is, well, an adjustment.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to love having Fridays off and we just found out today that JT is approved to work a 4-day week as well so we’ll be able to have adventures together.  Our plan for this weekend is to hit up  the Phoenix Public Market followed by Micro Dwell 2014.  I may have finagled an Ikea trip in there as well.

MICRO DWELL 2014

Image via Micro Dwell

PHX PUBLIC MARKET

Image via Phoenix Public Market

So I’m excited for my weekend.  What do you have going on for yours?  We’re off to a good start as the blog got a sweet mention over at third story(ies)!  Cheers – CT

Good News!

I know I’ve been a little on the gloom and doom side of things lately but I have to say this whole relocating across the country with about a month worth of notice was HARD!  It’s an amazing adventure and I’m so glad we did it but there was a lot of ups and downs on this roller coaster of relocation.  I feel like the final piece finally fell into place when I started my new job last Monday.

NEW JOB

I was able to find a great place in a firm that specializes in education design, very similar to what I was doing in St. Louis.  It’s a small office and everyone has been very welcoming so far.  The office is set up to do four 10 hour days and then have Fridays off.  Now that we’re settled in down here in Phoenix, I’m excited for long three-day weekends so we can go on road trips to California or Las Vegas or Flagstaff or wherever the mood takes us (Mexico maybe?  Who knows.)  They say things always work out the way they’re supposed to be in the end but there were most definitely a few months there where I wasn’t so sure.  I’m happy (now) that I stuck it out and held out for a job that really suits me and takes my career a step forward.  Cheers! CT