This is My Chandler

Our Chandler mascot, at The Ostrich Festival!

“I am sick of having to look over my shoulder all the time. I want to live in a safer, gentler, happier world. What creature wouldn’t?” James Bowen from one of his fabulous books about his cat, Bob, and his recovery from heroin addiction.

My husband just informed me we have lived in Chandler, AZ for 20 years. This was shocking news to me. That’s just not what I thought. I thought we moved here ‘a couple years ago.’ But, um, no. I must learn the freeway system now.

We’ve lived here long enough to have an opinion. It’s been the right place to raise children and live a good life. But, I’m kind of a big city girl, I’ve lived in Manhattan, L.A., Brussels, Belgium, Japan, and have been fortunate enough to travel the world. But, I’ve lived in this suburb in Chandler longer than I could have ever imagined. And moving here was a good decision.

Here is what I have grown to love/hate about Chandler:

It is the second safest place to live in Arizona. Gilbert, which is right next-door, is the safest place to live in almost anywhere.

Historic Downtown Chandler, established in 1912, is the coolest place we have! On that note, on September 8, 2018 from 5-8 PM I will be playing Harriet “Flip” Fullerton,a Chandler native from the 1930’s, along with 3 other ImprovManiacs/actors in the ChandLore event in Downtown Chandler. I’ll be near CeCe the Ostrich (pictured below) “Flip” was the life of any party, she was one of John F. Kennedy’s lovers! I’ll have some fun with this part of her life…Come on down and say S’up? That’d be nice.

Love this place!

The Perch Brewery is practically hidden, but if you find it, inside is a lush, brick-lined patio and rooftop bar. It is home to over 50 tropical rescue birds. This place is trendy, unique, and known for their tater-tots and craft beer. I love this place! It looks like Walt Disney moved into the bad part of town and dropped The Tiki Room down on an asphalt jungle. Plus, my youngest daughter has worked there for about 4 years.

At the other end of their parking lot sits Improvmania next door to Gangplank, a think tank for entrepreneurs to create and connect. My husband, Keith, The Very Patient Man, is an Improvmaniac. Dave and Colleen Specht own and run this business. They are hilarious. You should go laugh some weekend night, because laughing is the key to happiness. Say hi to Keith or Dave or Colleen. Maybe stop by Gangplank first? They are a city funded company and offer up an important place to grow or create a business. Very cool.

In the basement of the ‘haunted’ San Marcos Hotel is an unmarked speakeasy, The Ostrich, a neighborhood craft cocktail lounge. If you find it, once inside, you too, can have a signature cocktail made by a renowned mixologist for about the same price as the average Chandler mortgage payment. JK, it’s not that bad…It’s fun too, so worth it. Chandler has this love of Ostrich’s…I’m fairly certain it’s symbolic of something; a flightless bird that sticks it’s head in the sand…you can make your own opinion on this comparison.  

The square in the middle of Historic Downtown Chandler is home to the Tumbleweed Tree lighting ceremony the first week in December. It’s a Christmas tree made from hundreds of tumbleweeds. There’s a parade and a block party. It’s cute and small-town and brings families and businesses together and is a bit quirky, in the best possible way.

All things Historic Downtown Chandler:

 Other stuff that you might like to know if you’re thinking about moving here:

Our neighborhood social media sites are full of the good things we do for each other here in Chandler and this positivity lifts up and over:

The constant state of road construction. Our motto is: If in doubt, dig it up.

The ‘dry heat’

The cactus and rock landscaping

The debilitating summer temperatures

The earth that has dried to the consistency of cement

Being essentially beige

Wearing oven mitts to drive

Oh, did I mention it’s hot?

The drivers here aren’t great. The roads are wide and long with traffic lights one mile apart. This is just enough distance to get up a good speed and choose to run red lights or slam on breaks. We have traffic cameras now and the number of fatalities has gone down a little. But, still, good to have a heads up while driving through an intersection here.

When we first moved here, I called a doctor’s office to ask for directions (before GPS) and the assistant, who was completely serious, said, “You’ll recognize it because it’s the beige stucco building.” As if this set the building apart…so there’s this mentality too.

That’s about it!

On the plus side:

♦     The overall crime rate in Chandler is 11% lower than the national average.

♦     For every 100,000 people, there are 6.91 daily crimes that occur in Chandler.

♦     Chandler is safer than 53% of the cities in the United States.

♦     In Chandler you have a 1 in 40 chance of becoming a victim of any crime.

 Intel, a ginormous tech company lives at the end of our street. In February of 2017, they announced they were investing $7 billion to finish a factory, Fab 42, which will reportedly add 2,000 to 3,000 jobs when they finish construction in 2021.

What this means to most of us in Chandler, is that Fab 42 will bring more road ‘rehab.’ along with more neighbors! Intel  makes a significant impact in our community by making massive donations to Title 1 schools and providing backpacks and school supplies to under-served communities along with volunteering for their employees to be a part of their work day. Pretty cool.

 The average income is $72,072. The schools are given a rating of B- by In my experience, my children had an okay to great experience from elementary to high school, which all were in walking distance. Nice.

 Kindness is abundant here.

 Reason enough to stay. And thrive.

This is CeCe. She lives in Downtown Chandler. Did not know she had a name.

The Ostrich is the Chandler Totem. A large, flightless bird or a person who refuses to face reality.

Well, there ya go.

I’d love to hear what quirky thing about your city that you find wonderful, or amusing, or gets in the way of your true destinations. Or more info on Chandler is always good! This post is about to become it’s own page to keep adding on to Chandler-isms.

Funny Can Equal Kindness

This Giraffe is looking for a little action. Why a giraffe? They are unlikely and, in my opinion, hilarious. That’s it.

Kindness tip of the week:  

look for the funny in everything and life is easier to handle.

For example!

The-Very-Patient-Husband accompanied me to a doctor’s appointment on Friday. It was a serious appointment, we were both a little nervous and became even more so when the nurse greeted us. She seemed a bit peeved about…perhaps, the idiocy of our world, the people in it, and most likely her job specifically (I’m just guessing). Maybe she hadn’t had any coffee yet, that would do it for me.

Now, to add to this prickly mood that she wasn’t informed earlier I’m allergic to the ultrasound cord, plus the room is tiny and I was in her way, then I didn’t lay down fast enough on the table and didn’t point my face in the desired direction quickly enough so she felt she had to shove it there. I was this hell to have biopsy’s taken from my thyroid because I have tumors that appear cancerous. It was, I was…tense. 

At this point, I had only spoken three small sentences, “Hi.” and “I’m severely allergic to the ultrasound cord. It needs to wrapped.” The-Very-Patient-Husband was fervently patting my foot in his attempt to let me know this was all okay. But, it didn’t seem like that to me. This woman was about to assist putting several needles into my neck…I decided I didn’t have cancer and it was time to bolt. I started to slide off the table when the nurse was facing away from us trying, unsuccessfully, to wrap the ultrasound cord and sighing. Loudly. But, The-Very-Patient-Husband started laughing a little and mouthed “I think she’s having a bad day.” 

His understatement was hilarious. We had a two second glance that changed us. We were not laughing at her, in fact, we didn’t actually laugh. We just noticed that this wasn’t a life or death situation and therefore, we could lighten up.  This is why I married him. He makes me laugh. He changed both of us in this one observation. So I stayed on the table. The doctor came in, the nurse relaxed and I did not fear for my life when the needles came in to explore.

By the time we left, ‘our nurse’ even smiled at us and told The-Very-Patient-Husband to take me out to lunch. He didn’t. It was only 9:30 at this point.

I feel certain she truly was just having a bad day. A day that started way before we arrived.  Everyone in this office is wonderful, but no one can be wonderful for days and years on end. The next time you run into a similar kerfuffle, step aside and look for the amusing. I hope you always find it. Your life will get easier if you manage to try this long enough to become a habit.

I know for a fact that my sense of humor has gotten me through more than a million difficult encounters and, ultimately, kept me alive. More on this later.

This is just one example of humor diffusion. Do you have any?

The Butterfly Effect concept has grown from the scientific finding that one flap of a butterfly’s wings can cause a tornado, to also include: one kindness, one shared laugh, one empathetic action can spread out past our imaginations. But, the counter argument is also true; one slur, one lie, one gunshot, can spread the same distance as compassion.

I love most stories, but sharing a story that might make life easier for someone else, is a story with a higher purpose.

Tell the world a good/funny story through the comment section here ⇓.  It can be your one kind thing you do today.

Thank you in advance! I look forward to the laugh.



BoxLunch and Happy Compassion

We have a BoxLunch store at our local mall, Chandler Fashion Square.

This store is a combination of business sense, whimsy and compassion.

I’d never noticed it because I’m usually flying by unfamiliar stores at light speed on my way to Sephora. But, this past Saturday I was glancing around frantically hoping for a last little birthday present for youngest daughter’s 21st birthday. Still moving faster than is safe because I never allow enough time to complete anything, and desperately searching every store window for a glimmer of an idea, I thankfully saw what might be the perfect gift for her from her dog….A Christopher Robin Cook Book sat off to the side in the window with a sign near it that said: 

After blissfully glancing through the recipes and wisdom inside, I purchased the book and in the process donated 2 meals to United Food Bank in Mesa.

Our family loves everything Pooh related…I even knew I would marry my husband on our first date when we discovered we both loved, and felt that deep down we were,Tigger. Winnie the Pooh and his woodland friends covered the walls of our daughters nurseries and remain our most beloved connections among our family. My daughter loves to cook and the book ended up being a great gift. She loved it.

To find a store that would sell the most perfect birthday present and make a difference, not only in our community, but in every store location was a total score. Goodness exists in the most surprising of places.

Have you been in a BoxLunch store yet?

BoxLunch is partnered with Feeding America and has donated 20 million meals through their 100 locations here in the states. So cool. I am inspired to give more just because I see what is possible by combining fun and generosity. I hope you will also be inspired to do the same. Their motto is: Get Some. Give Back. I’m good with that!

If ever you need a pick me up in Chandler, stop in, your entire day will suddenly perk right up just by looking in the window. Harry Potter, BB-8, Rick and Morty, Stranger Things and Monsters, Inc. will all smile back at you. Allow yourself a moment of fun. There is energy and endorphins and silly delight waiting just inside. Then take your mood out into the world and see where you can spread this new found sense of being.

Our local store is at the top of escalators on the left as you head to the food court. If you do go in, please leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it! Click here to find a store in your ‘hood.

Christopher Robin and Donate a Meal caught my eye and brought a smile to my daughter and 2 meals to a hungry human being. Goodness is right where we choose to stop and look.

“There is knowledge, there is wisdom, the difference is compassion.” The Tao of Pooh