Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bathroom Philosophy

Finding a clean bathroom on a road trip is essential. I have spent the majority of the last 6 plus years on the road as a Farm Bureau Field Services Manager that I don't really like to do road trips anymore because I do them everyday. I joke about knowing where all the clean bathrooms are and the spots police like to wait for speeders (but that is a different post) and have a philosophy about both.

First my philosophy on bathrooms- specifically bathroom doors.

First, if there was a hook on the bathroom door and it's broken or missing, you have a 75 percent or greater chance the lock on the door doesn't work. I haven't actually done a scientific study but usually more often than not the lock doesn't work or it's been replaced by something that you have jimmy and put your shoulder into it to secure the door and hope you can open it back up.

I tried to find a bathroom door to show you what I mean about the messed up lock but the one time I was in a stall that was messed up I didn't have my phone. And I didn't want to seem crazy running out to get it and coming back to wait for a specific stall. I am dedicated but not crazy!

I did come across a very unique solution to a door lock problem. I am just not sure they fixed it correctly and wouldn't it have been the same about to buy a new knob as it was the chain?

Second, just because the appearance of the establishment is clean and neat doesn't mean the bathrooms are and the same can be said for the opposite in a rare occasion

Third, there is just sometimes that bathroom humor isn't really the typical bathroom humor. For example, in a Mexican Restaurant (Club 21) in Tucson, if you go to the women's bathroom, you may need to bring a foot stool with you if you are.... say under 5'5". Their paper towel dispenser is hung very high on the wall. I have to stretch my arm out completely to reach the handle and I am 5'8". Is it wrong that I want to bring my friend Ana with me to a meeting so I can see her try and dry her hands. I think she is maybe 5'2".

(I took the picture with my phone directly in front of my face.)

I also find it funny that one station in Yuma County was creative to fix the gap between the door and the rest of the partition in the bathroom stalls by using a decorative tape. It makes me laugh every time I stop in there.

Finally, here is the list of clean bathrooms I have found along my travels. I don't try to use or stop at rest stops. They are a little scary and most of them in the state are closed.

When I travel to Apache/Navajo Counties through Payson: I like the Giant on the right hand side as you are leaving Payson just past the Safeway a little ways. If I am headed back into Payson (coming from Navajo/Apache) and can't wait to make it to the Giant, the Circle K in Star Valley works in a pinch.

Once I get to Heber/Overgaard I use the Chevron/Dairy Queen if I need to and finally in Snowflake I like the gas station that is across from the Pizza Hut. I can't really remember what it is.

If I am heading from the Salt River Canyon area I like the gas station just as you are coming into Show Low.

Graham/Greenlee counties: I stop in Globe at the Chevron where the 60 splits off to go to Show Low. They have recently remodeled bathrooms that are nice.

If I must stop on the reservation and I don't like to but I hit the Apache Burger. Once I am into the Gila Valley, I either go to the Quick Stop or Super Stop (can't remember the name), it's on the right just after you pass through Pima but before you get to the stretch that is where the Mormon Temple is. If I have time and can pass that one up I will stop at Walmart but I don't use the front bathrooms, I go to the back.

For Duncan, we meet at the library so that's the bathroom I use. Very clean and just imagine all the reading material available (not that I have ever done that)!


Pinal is easy. It's either the bathroom at the Farm Bureau office or if that's not available to you, then the Quick Trip on Pinal Avenue or Target (Florence Blvd and I-10) is a good bet.

Pima- I have three places I will stop (and I always stop because they also have the cheapest gas in the state).

The first two are Quick Trips- one at Cortaro Road on the East side of I-10 or the West side of 10 on Grant Road (. The third is a Circle K (newer store) at Palo Verde on the North side of 10.

Cochise- If I need to I will stop in Benson. They have a new truck stop so the bathrooms are clean there. Just take the exit to Fort Huachuca/Sierra Vista. If I am in town and not at the Farm Bureau meeting then I will also use the ones at the truck stop which is the north side of 10 at Rex Allen. They are clean and nice.


When I go to Yuma I take 10 to Maricopa then use "Dead Cow Road" to Gila Bend. I don't know the road number, it's just what those of us who drove it back in the day refer to it as because it use to have dead cows (hit by trains, trucks, cars, etc) littered along since the reservation was open range. They now have it fenced so I haven't seen a dead cow along the road in a couple of years. ( I digress).

In Maricopa, if I drank too much water before leaving or it's on my way back, I will go through town to the Quick Trip (are you seeing a pattern). It's a new one so the bathrooms are really clean. If I can't make it that far then I hit the Basha's at the intersection. There is a Circle K there but the bathroom leaves a lot to be desired.

Once to Gila Bend, I use the Pilot, not really great but clean and it's the best of all the options. If I need to go before I get to Yuma, I stop in Dateland. Great Bathrooms!!! They tore down the old center and built a new one. Full length doors and the new dryers that take your skin off but dry your hands in 15 seconds (not that I am in love with public bathrooms, but it might be my favorite). In Yuma, I pretty much just go to Booth Machinery (off Araby Road). We hold our meetings there but I am sure Harold and Dennis wouldn't mind you stopping in and saying hello as you use their facility. They also have a free soda machine although it's now Pepsi instead of Coke. Another spot in Yuma is the Pilot on 3E. It's new.

On my way back from Yuma if I can't make it to Dateland, I hit the Cheveron at Coyote Wash. There, ladies will get to see the butterfly tape as they use the facilities.

I hope this public service announcement was helpful.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Small Towns

I grew up in a small town and now I live in Phoenix. I have enjoyed the availability of things such as the grocery store, take out, doctor visits without the 45 minute drive. If run out of something I run down to the store to pick it up. I have found an affection for Target and the movies. I only have to buy enough groceries for a couple days instead of a week or a month. I don't have to plan to buy gas if I am at a quarter of a tank before heading home so that I make sure that I have enough to get back to town. If I was still in my small town, the movies (up until recently) and Target was an hour and half away.

That all being said... I realized yesterday on my way to Yuma for the Farm Bureau meeting how much I miss my small town. Where I grew up in Oregon, our town consisted of a store, gas station, post office, bar/cafe and a house.

Maybe I should clarify... the entire town is in one building. Maybe town is the wrong word... medium wide spot along the road. But it was where I grew up and I have a lot of great memories there. It's a place that the hours of the bar are the same as the store.

It's where you can spend a couple hours drinking coffee or soda and see your neighbors and catch up with what is going on. It's where if you are walking or jogging down the road, people stop to see if you need a ride because you might be broken down. It's where you leave your doors unlocked and keys in the ignition of your vehicles because no one is going to take them. It's where you run a tab at the store because up until a few years ago it was strictly a cash or check business. It's where the only time you don't recognize vehicles or have more than 5 pass you on the way to town is during hunting and fishing season. It's where going to the parade in town (the town 45 minutes away) is a big deal because you and your dad walk the entire length of it and back to see all the neighbors that live within a 50 mile radius. It's where everyone knows your name, your parents and grandparents names and your dog's too.

I thought of all of this because I was driving through Wellton/Roll area after leaving a school and a farmer waved at me. He didn't know me but he probably was a Farm Bureau member and I was in the Farm Bureau truck but the most logical reason he waved is because that is what you do when you live in a small town or come from a medium wide spot in the road.

When I moved to college I loved the fact that for the first time, most people didn't know me. I wasn't hindered by who I was in kindergarten or grade school. When I moved to Phoenix I loved it for the same reasons. But yesterday I realized I don't like having my neighbors not know me or the fact that people don't wave driving down the road or that instead of going to a neighbor's house to borrow sugar I go to the store instead. I miss the long and deep friendships you have with your neighbors when you live in a wide spot in the road that you miss living in a large city.

I miss living in a place without smog, rush hour traffic and where you can't order a pizza for delivery.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Accountability- My Running Last Night

Last night I went for a run. When I say run- what I really mean is a run a little bit and walk a little bit for the loop through my neighborhood. It was my first time since January 15th. I was nervous but my friend Danyelle joined me. We make a good team. We are both learning to run so there isn't really the intimidation of running woth a runner.

I realized when we were almost done that even though I was slower than the last time I was out there I did more. Not in running distance but in speed. Danyelle may be five inches shorter but she runs faster. She pushed me and I appreciated it. I am looking forward to it again. We were able to talk and I didn't even listen to my music.

I felt a little sore this morning but I enjoyed the soreness because it meant I was working out and that I could breathe.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Facing My Fear- Running (in public)

Just over a year ago, two of my friends- Stacey and Bethany- and I got together for our almost monthly get together to catch up on each others lives. Stacey had just ran in a marathon in Iowa to qualify for the Boston Marathon. She mentioned that it was on her bucket list. So we decided to each make up a bucket list and meet the next month and share our lists. It was exciting making my list. Being an organized person, my list was broken down into places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to do. I put on there things like going to Russia, Germany, Scotland, Prague, all 50 states and the list goes on for places. As for experiences I put down things like going to a Broadway show in NYC, attending an Olympic game (that was on all three of our lists) and seeing the musical Wicked (I did that last weekend).

The conversation progressed to about getting out of our comfort zones and experiencing things maybe not on our list but on each others. So I ended up with doing a half marathon on my list (read not on your life would I do that). I am not a runner, I am not built like a runner and my philosophy on running has always been "why run when you can drive." But I took on the challenge.

It has been a challenge. I found out I have asthma when I run so I worked on that. I still can't run a mile and it's been over a year. I used to have almost a panic attack when I would think about running. It wasn't about actually running but more of what are people going to think. I would picture myself running like Pheobe did in Friends- arms flaling about. I eventually got over that fear and then self doubt would creep into my head... "I can't finish 13.1 miles in 4 hours; I can't do this; I am not a runner" and so on.

The deal is I did a half marathon in January and I finished in 3 hours and 29 minutes and 10 seconds. That's about 29 minutes and 10 seconds longer than I had set a my goal at but the thing is that I finished. I set out to accomplish something but I didn't cross it off my list just yet. Instead I signed up for another one in November. I want to be able to come in under 3 hours and eventually be able to run the entire thing. That means more half marathons and more running. Something I never ever imagined I would do.

I say all this because for the last 7-8 weeks since the race, I have had an asthma issue followed by a head cold/sinus infection. So today I am planning on going out and running again but I find myself totally slipping back into the panic mode. I still think I run like Pheobe but now I doubt that I can do the 3.2 mile loop around my neighborhood in 45 minutes that I did right before the race.

I know it's self doubt and maybe a little bit of Satan picking at me but I am going to face my fear tonight and as a way to hold myself accountable I will post here tomorrow (and on Facebook) what my time was.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I am not observing Lent

I grew up in a Baptist church and I currently am going to a Baptist church but until I moved to Arizona I don't think I had ever heard of Lent. I didn't know what Ash Wednesday was until I went to college. Then I would see a few of the girls at the sorority house come in on a wednesday and have ash all over their forhead. When I moved to Arizona, I heard friends talking about giving up stuff- chocolate, soda, dessert, etc for Lent. So I thought it was just a Catholic holiday until I learned that Methodists and some Lutherans were observing Lent.

A few years ago, I had a conversation with my cousin about Lent and the real meaning behind it. Lent isn't to just give up something but to add something to your life and to focus on God during that time and hopefully it would become a permant part of your life. Not just something you did prior to Easter. A few of my friends this year are giving up sweets, soda or focusing on verses during Lent.

I am still a Baptist and we don't as a church practice Lent but I have been thinking about it for the past few weeks and although I am not doing it for Lent, I am trying to release the hold chocolate- specifically candy- has on me. I am a self- admitted sweets eater. I love my candy and especially chocolate. I eat if I get bad news, I eat it if I get good news or I am bored or I am driving and just want it. It has gotten to the point that I would pick bathroom stops along my travels based on what candy bar options I had.

Before Lent, I was reading a friends blog about how she was going to give up sweets and eating out because they had become a god in her life. It got me thinking that instead of turning to chocolate for good/bad news or because of boredom maybe I should shift that focus to God.

So I am working on not eating chocolate until Easter and instead trying to focus on God. I haven't eaten any and I do more time in prayer or working on my Bible study. Don't get me wrong, I still want chocolate and I catch myself reaching for that Symphony bar or Dove bar or my favorite Easter candy- Cadbury mini chocalate eggs. I am not giving up my chocolate forever but I am trying to learn new, healthier eating habits. Now I pack snacks or reach for veggies instead of candy.

I am trying to be a better steward of the body God gave me and live a longer and healther life. So I am not participating in Lent but I am trying to focus not on instant gratification (even if it is for a split second) and focus on the bigger picture. I will still struggle and there may be bad days but if I can accomplish this small task, I may be one step closer to conquering my food addition issues.