Wednesday, November 14, 2012

dirty little city

Coming back from a 4-day-Arizona-leisure trip is a challenge.

Who knew that the little city I grew up in would be such a perfect vacation spot?

Vacation spot, you say? Tucson... Arizona? You heard me right. Turns out my little hometown is my new favorite weekend getaway-- what with the cheap drinks, easy driving, ample parking, school spirit, and fantastic company, I was in heaven.

Friday morning I picked Johnny and Jimmy up from Silver Lake and we hit the road!

Jimmy is pumping gas. Johnny is on the phone with a lady who was helping him with payment options for a fake gun he just bought. This is what happens when guys win game show money.

Johnny was also a very sleepy baby.  He worked until 7am that day and slept almost the whole way to Tucson. Jimmy and Johnny switched on the way back to keep me entertained during the drive.

We stopped just once because Johnny "needed to get Vermont mac n'cheese from Wendy's" (which, I might add, doesn't exist) and charge his dead cellphone. Just 7 1/2 fun-filled hours later and we were in Tucson! Glorious Tucson!

As soon as we pulled into town we grabbed my dearest best friend Bryan for pizza and beer at 1702, one of my favorite Tucson eateries. It was so fun feeling like a local again in our old Tucson haunts. 

Lovable scamps.

After carbo-prepping ourselves for the evening, we tried to casually ask about prices and designs in a snooty tattoo parlor, dropped our bags off at Johnny's friend Tot's house, played with his dog Coco, and then Bryan and I headed over to our first little Darwin reunion/get-together.

It's funny how the older I get... the older I feel. All the new Darwins are such sweet little babies and have no idea who I am. I kept talking in my old lady Darwin-voice (which is pretty impressive, I might add) about the good ol' days in the Cellar in the Student Union and about not having microphones for a 400 person audience. Just like an old lady, I also made sure to announce each time I made a joke, just in case it wasn't obvious or they weren't laughing. Kids. No sense of humor these days. (ahem, this is also mostly a joke). 

Then the bar-hopping and friend-sightings began!

My favorites-- Brett and Bryan. 

Oliver Scarf Twist.
We stopped at several Tucson bar favorites that night, including Auld Dubliner, the Wreck, and finally Trident. I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to pay $3.50 for a Blue Moon and pay $6 for a cab ride. Tucson is a beautiful thing.

Johnny, Jimfi, and I also reunited with Spencer for the first time since meeting last summer at Bang Comedy Theatre. It was interesting being in Tucson with Spencer as we never knew each other during college but both share a love and appreciation for this dirty little city. Even Jimmy and Johnny and I weren't real life U of A friends. Just acquaintances in class. Strange... Los Angeles has the power to bring like-minded Cats together, I guess.

Officially the worst picture ever with my favorite guys ever.

A couple hours later and we were headed back to Tot's to crash on blow-up mattresses in 30 degree -living-room-weather. Brr!

Spencer using his SF skills to... hitchhike? a cab.

We woke up the next morning bright and early to head back out for the U of A game. 

Jimfi and Coco cuddling. Always the ladies man.

Whoever scheduled a homecoming football game for 11:30 in the morning must have a real sense of humor. HILARIOUS. Us twenty-somethings need our sleep and some proper tailgating action before a game! We headed over to No Anchovies on University for some breakfast pizza and beer before the game started. Me and the boys... meeting up with all of their fraternity brothers, etc...

And that's when I realized.

The number of friends I have from college with true Arizona spirit? Enough to purposely come back for Homecoming? I can probably count them on two hands.

I have a collection of the coolest friends thanks to the many opportunities I had in my four years at the University of Arizona. I worked at the Rec Center, lived in La Paz dorms, was a proud member of the Charles Darwin Experience, worked backstage in costumes and stagecraft, was active in clubs like Students on Stage and wrote my own play and solo performance. I went to Ice Cats games and booed the goalies, volunteered at Juvenile Diabetes walks, went to talk-back screenings in the Gallagher theater, slept on the mall, attended women's lib talks and went to every group study session my classes had to offer. I studied abroad in England, watched intramural basketball games twice a week, volunteered at concerts and did charity improv shows at 1am on cold Tucson nights. I went to parties. Yes, most of the time they were theatre costume parties. I went to bars and did karaoke. I never missed a football game but I also never showed up falling-down-drunk (though I did have numerous intoxicated people fall on me and I have the scars to prove it). My college experience was hardly conventional-- and I absolutely loved every minute.

Unfortunately, Homecoming does not necessarily beckon my college friends home for the weekend. For one, most of my friends (a) now live in NYC or Hollywood (b) are completely unaware that it's Homecoming and (c) have no idea why that might be fun. I had at least three of my friends ask me this weekend if I was in town for any special reason. 

I remember several times trying to organize mass groups to go to basketball games or other sporting events to only be met with confused stares. Eh... what are you going to do? I love the University of Arizona more than most places, so Homecoming is an absolute no-brainer for me. Without getting too mushy-- I don't know where I'd be without the strength I found there. But you bet I wish more of my lazy-butt friends would come out for Homecoming already!

Luckily I had some of the best Cats I know in town-- one being Bryan.

Bry, me, and his former roommate Jenny at Frog & Firkin having "Girl Scouts", which tasted just like a thin mint. Don't worry, I absolutely recited the Girl Scout pledge out loud before downing it.

After watching the first half of the game with Jimmy and Bryan at Frog & Firkin, we headed to Bry's old business fraternity to meet with friends. I then wandered around University, met with the beautiful Danielle for a celebratory lunch at Wilco, spontaneously bought a new Homecoming/party dress at Urban Outfitters and changed in my car, met up again with the crazy boys at Dub, and then had dinner with Spencer at his favorite mexican restaurant-- Rosa's.

Look at that face. Too bad we are terrible at eating.
The rest of the night was spent doing the same old stuff-- bar hopping down 4th Avenue, hitting a house party or two and then calling it a night, heading back to Tot's house, and climbing under a questionable sleeping bag on a freezing cold air mattress. Ahhh... I love college.


Sunday was Alison day!

Spencer and I met with Alison at Blue Willow-- Al Pal's and my favorite place to get breakfast. Spencer pointed out that the only time he has ever gone out for breakfast was with girls... which makes total sense and makes me laugh. Ladies love their breakfast. We ate eggs benedict and chorizo scrambles, chatted, and then I dropped Mr. S off on University so he could catch the basketball game. Then Alison Sunday Funday commenced!

We spent several hours shopping around the city, catching up on all of the ups and downs of life, laughing and daydreaming. Then of course, no Alison/Jenny Funday would be complete without a movie and an extra huge bucket of popcorn.

Alison and I don't kid around with our popcorn experience. We always get a large, bring an extra bag with us, dump it out, and hop right back in line for our refill. It's sick and genius all at once. Then we each have a large popcorn that we can hardly even eat half of (though lord knows it's been done before). Unfortunately Al Pal spilled her popcorn right in the middle of the movie... which was very dramatic. Don't worry, we shared.

I am obsessed with this little girl. One arm around a bucket of popcorn, strutting along with her sparkly red shoes and sassy outfit with a big smile on her face. I wanted to take her home with me.

Sunday night Alison's brother Brad, sister Diana, and Diana's wife Nicole came over for dinner! We drank wine, made caesar salad, chicken parmesan and chocolate pie for dessert. We couldn't decide between macaroni and cheese or shells & white cheddar for a side dish... so we had both. Birds of a feather, man. I love this family.

Action shot! Brad, my niece-dog Mia, Al, Diana, Nicole, and my nephew-dog, Witten. 

Sunday was incredibly busy before heading back to Los Angeles:

Aaron and I met up for lattes and hugs at Cartel...

I had lunch with my family, shopped around with Alison and Connie and bought some new boots...

Met up with Calvin for an Eegee...

And after a full tank of gas we were on our way!

Johnny hasn't pumped gas in a long time. This lady had to come out and help him... twice
Johnny and Jimmy and I discussed varying degrees of (in)appropriate life things, listened to mix cd's made by my 8th grade boyfriend, and enjoyed the end of a wonderfully effortless trip.

Johnny losing his sanity, post twenty chicken nuggets, on the 8-hour drive home.

We decided this song was the perfect end to the trip-- Green Eyes-- my favorite Coldplay song of all. It makes my heart hurt. If I could trade this song for Brown Eyed Girl, I would. 


All in all it was a picturesque weekend.

And I'm happy and exhausted just thinking about it.

Hope yours was also spirited and carefree.



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