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    ANTS!

    I learned something new today…
    If you leave the remnants of sugar that spilled out of a bag of Watermelon Sour Patches (best candy ever!) from last football season (yes, one year ago… I believe from that blessed day when UW beat USC…) in the bottom of the center console of your car, nothing happens… IF you live in Washington. In Washington, sugar just sits there. Waiting. Waiting for a full car detail to erase its existence (clearly not a priority for me in the past 12 months), waiting for a moment of starvation where the granules of sugar get licked up by a hungry driver… I don’t know. They just sit there, and they have in my car for the past 365ish days.
    However, in Arizona, a few granules of sugar cannot just sit in the bottom of the console beneath the spare napkins, winter gloves (that I now sometimes wear to touch my steering wheel when it’s extremely hot out), and sunglasses. Lingering sugar must be consumed… by ants.
    I was driving to school today when something caught my eye down below. Movement around my stick shift. I squint and see that black ants are climbing all over my center console. At first I think they must be attracted to the remnants of an Americano I spilled in my car last spring. I mean, it’s been cleaned of course, but you can still see streaks of lingering white chocolate goodness if you look closely. Then I realize that the ants seem to be coming in and out of the covered compartment where I store the seasonal items mentioned above. So the Americano remains must be dessert and I figure the main course of the feast must be inside… but since I was driving, very erratically I might add as the ants were demanding my attention instead of the road, I could not proceed with my investigation until I arrived at school.
    I have to say that my pets made me uneasy as I was driving along. At first, I was afraid they were fire ants and I was going to get bit and swell up like I always do… then I realized they seemed to be pacifists… just really in it for the food. When I finally got to pull everything out of the compartment, I saw a few little specks of sugar at the bottom. The remnants of my snack at a UW football game last year had now become lunch for my new pets… I cleaned the area out as best as I could with Armor-All wipes I found in my trunk. When I went back tonight to do a more thorough cleaning, my visitors were gone! There is still a little sugar left in the bottom, so maybe they will be back again tomorrow for seconds.
    I have always been anti-pets, but maybe I am changing my tune in this new Arizona lifestyle…
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    Phoenix… is that all you got?!

    So I moved to Phoenix….
    And I have a major problem. Phoenix is not hot enough.
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    A week after moving in I asked Jen if there is any place hotter than Phoenix that we could live. She named a desert in Africa, but much to my dismay no place in the continental US.
    Welcome to Satan’s Basement. The locals tell me that this is like the surface of the sun and they can hardly bear July and August because it’s sooo hot. Well I’ve got news for the locals… if this is as hot as the surface of the sun, I’m walkin on sunshine.
    Jen and I were sitting in the finest dining establishment in Scottsdale last night, Applebees, gorging ourselves on the finest hors d’ouvers, including: honey BBQ wings, mozzarella sticks, and some other fried grease, when we noticed that we were both freezing because the AC was at a frigid seventy two…brrr.
    Let’s go outside to warm up… but it’s only 106 outside and 106 here is not like other parts of the country.
    The temp outside is not what you think when you see Komo 4’s Steve Pool point to the red and say “OUCH!!! 110. Better wear your sunscreen.” If you have ever known the sweltering heat of Minnesota in July then you know that you go into a sauna to escape their 89 degree day. Or a 95 degree day in Seattle day when people loosen up their birkenstocks buckles to get a little more air flow. No, 110 here is not the ridiculous fry an egg on my head heat you get in the states that have humidity.
    110 here makes me wear a coat to work everyday… well that and the dress code.
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    Blonde alert!

    During our first weekend in Arizona, we attended a church called Love International in downtown Phoenix. Micah had been invited by a co-worker, and with a long list of churches to “try out,” we figured we might as well go to the one on the list we had actually been invited to. We did a little background research on the web to make sure it wasn’t a cult or anything, and when the church passed our online theology check, we decided to attend. We knew it was an international church, but we didn’t really know what that would entail…
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    Let’s just say I have never felt more Norwegian in my life. Micah and I, with our blonde hair and blue eyes, could not be more conspicuous in this church of a few thousand Hispanic congregants. I guess I wrongly assumed that an international church would preach in English with Spanish subtitles or something like that. I guess that shows how seflish and culturally self-focused I really am. This chuch was basically a Spanish-speaking church that also acknowledged an English speaking minority. For example, most of the songs were sung in Spanish and they would sometimes repeat choruses of the songs in English. During the message, the pastor preached in Spanish and then another pastor echoed him in English. Although it was a bit of sensory overload trying to take in the new place, two voices during the sermon, and two languages, it turned out to be downright amazing. If I had this experience on a mission trip, I would come home raving about hearing the message preached in two languages. But why can’t it be even more exciting to know that kind of sermon is going on in the USA, in the heart of Phoenix? When I got over my cultural insecurities, I found myself praising God that He has called such a large group of Latino people to believe and share His gospel. God is breaking into a culture that is traditionally stuck in a strange mix of loosely held Catholic beliefs and worldliness and transforming it with the Gospel of Jesus! This church has a congregation of a few thousand and is planting more churches. Although we haven’t gone back to Love International, we have actually become friends with Jack (Micah’s co-worker) and his new wife, Angelica. We have hung out with them twice since attending their church. We definitely appreciate their kindness, hospitality and the pretty amazing taco truck they introduced us to last weekend. And, yes, we were the only blondes eating carne asada as well…
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