It’s Arizona

A small cactus in Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale, Arizona

The second job offer arrived this morning, and while it’s been difficult to choose between the two offers as I liked the work and the teams at both companies, in the end the cost of living difference between California and Arizona was too much to ignore. I might feel differently in the summer when my face has melted off.

It will be hard to say goodbye to my beloved Northwest but I’m looking forward to saying hello to the Southwest. This quick visit to Pinnacle Peak during my interview trip was a test to make sure I’d enjoy exploring the desert as much as I hoped. I’ve lived in eight states in this great land, Oregon felt like home the moment we moved here and is by far the longest I’ve lived anywhere. Arizona will be the ninth, here’s hoping we also love life in the desert.

Take Me With You

To prepare for my trip to Arizona, I started laying out on the guest bed everything I wanted to take with me and stepped away for a moment. I came back to find an extra item that I couldn’t bring with me, much as I would have loved to, but which will come along to wherever we end up.

Fur Coat

Our cat Trixie sleeps on a coat on the hardwood floor

We normally let our dog Ellie out through the back door but when she was having trouble with the stairs we started letting her out the front, as the broad stairs were easier for her to navigate. I keep this old winter coat hanging by the back door for walking her in the colder weather, but when I came back in via the front I realized there was no room on that coat rack and set the coat on the floor while I got Ellie settled. I came back to find a small creature had climbed aboard and settled in for a nap.

Turning the Architecture World on Its Side

Our cat Boo sits inside a large box, nearly obscured by the packing paper spilling out of the front

Resident architect Boo continues to tweak his design for the Boo Box Condo, literally turning it onto its side and opening up a whole new world of possibilities. Designed with an open front for easy access, its innovative shapes link the inside and outside worlds while providing the necessary privacy when others approach and impinge on your personal freedoms.

It’s a Dry Heat

A close up of the spines on a saguaro cactus in Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale, Arizona

They say it’s hot in Arizona, but it’s a dry heat. It wasn’t hot on my trip since it was the winter but it was dry. How dry? This is what my skin looked like after two full days in the desert.

Because I was in Scottsdale for an interview, I didn’t bring along my camera as I knew I wouldn’t have much time for hiking. I did venture up to Pinnacle Peak Park for a brief hike, a short way in before turning around, just to make sure I’d enjoy hiking in the desert. The saguaros are as amazing as I expected, as well as the variety of cacti near the trail, plus I saw a lizard! I toyed with the idea of getting up for sunrise, but I was worn out and decided to sleep in. If we move there, given the constant sun, there will be plenty of opportunities for photographing in that lovely early light when I have my camera with me and not just my phone. But it is remarkable what you can do with an iPhone these days, it’s the reason I decided to leave the bigger camera at home in the first place.

And for the record, since this kind of thing seems unimportant at the time but is the sort of thing I’d like to know years from now, Pinnacle Peak Park is the first park I visited in Arizona.

The Aubergine Duo Ride Again

A side-by-side view of the Tom Bihn ID laptop bag and Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 travel bag, both in aubergine

A quick shot of my travel bags after I got back from my trip to Arizona. I meant to photograph them together while on either my trip to California or Arizona but I kept forgetting, they were stressful trips as both travels were for job interviews. The bags worked a charm, as they always have, and were both easy to carry around the airport and easy to live out of during my stay. For the photo I didn’t take out all of the little accessory bags that kept me organized. On the left is the Tom Bihn ID laptop bag that I used as my personal item, carrying my MacBook Pro and iPad, and on the right is the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 which I used as my carry-on. I love not only that it has backpack straps that can pull out to make carrying the bag easy, and be put away when you don’t need them, but that the whole process can be done so quickly and easily. Both of these bags were clearly designed and manufactured with a lot of care, which is why I love my Tom Bihn bags.

Also, love that aubergine!