The Plan

A couple of months ago the plan was to bring in the new year with our closest friends and family in the desert..camping. It all sounded great until a few days ago when the plan started to sound…let’s say…mentally challenged.

Winter decided to make an appearance in Arizona!   We haven’t seen any snow in the suburbs outside of Phoenix but it rained all day yesterday and it was less than 30 Fahrenheit for the low. We would have died in our sleep. No doubt about it.

Jason and I thought it would be a better idea to have the celebration at our place. Have a nice cozy fire in the backyard (yep, on a NO BURN DAY, we would’ve totally done it) with our friends and our dogs and our drinks. That plan was perfect and the best thing about it? We wouldn’t have to drive anywhere…

For the most part, everyone was all in but…there’s always a but…they all have children under twelve. Of course the children would have been welcome BUT.. we have nothing entertaining at all for children to do in our house. They would have been bored to crazy.

Plan C…get our daughter to drive us to our friends house and then we could take a taxi home! Brilliant! 🙂 But…she left and went up north with her friends AND..that would mean we would be leaving our fur babies at home..alone…scared..to deal with the loud firecracker noises.

In the end, we decided to stay home with our fur babies and power through episode after episode of Orange is the New Black season two. In between we ate a delicious Jager Schnitzel with hunter sauce, beets and mashed potatoes courtesy of chef Jason. There was also whiskey and wine..of course.

Happy New Year people! In my heart of hearts I wish nothing but peace, love and prosperity to er’yone! 🙂

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Adventures in Camping..

Physically, I am not here today. It’s been a super long work week and I am so ready to start the weekend. I find myself daydreaming about my last weekend adventure with friends and the Mr.

The dogs, myself and the Mr. piled into the Tacoma and drove up to the Wal-Mart (yea, yea, yea..shut it…). Immediately, I am a teeny bit irked..Why oh why would we have not gone to the store the day before to get the food necessities? Now, certainly someone was going to have to stay..in the parking lot…with the dogs..while the other went into the abyss that is Wal-Mart.

We both knew who was going to play what role..no way was I going to go in..Mainly, it’s not my favorite place but secondly, I would inevitably forget important things..The man is MUCH better at making sure we have all we need.

Our friends met us, the “boys” went shopping and us ladies hung out in the parking lot all fancy and what not with my dogs. Who, by the way, were terrorizing anything and anyone who may pass by on foot or wheels. So embarrassing – I have NO control over those monsters.

About an hour later we were on our way!

Northbound to cooler weather. Or so we thought..It was dry and 90, the sun was piercing and we didn’t really quite know exactly where we were going. I loved it. Investigating our state for a fun new spot!

We stopped in Clarkdale, which is a neat quiet little town that I think I could live in.. While the guys figured out which way to turn, Amy and I got out to explore.

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This is a little tourist/gift shop. I didn’t go in – only peaked through the window. Amy said they had soaps that she wanted to by but we never went back..

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Interested in the art, I wandered across the street until I was told… “get back in the truck, lets go”!

Pavement to off road we enjoyed the bumpy ride, the breeze and of course the scenery. Untouched Arizona really is beautiful. When I first moved here (a gazillion years ago) I did not appreciate the desert landscaping at all..I thought cactus were ugly and I very much disliked the color brown. Cut to today..I can choreograph a simple dance based on the different arm poses of each cactus and brown? I look good in brown earthy tones so, were cool too.

Our second stop was Sycamore Canyon.

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Mental notes were made..we must come back and do the hike down the canyon and long the river when we did not have the dogs and when miss Amy was fully recovered from a recent surgery…

The breeze was nice and it looked like a storm was rolling in from the south (no such luck). Strangers and their dogs were making the way up the path from their hike and our four legged terrorists were on full guard..which could only mean..Time to go!

One more stop as made for a view and a beer!

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This seemed like a nice place to camp for the night but we all voted to press on to see what else was around the corner..

Thankfully so!

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No long after we found the “perfect” spot to set up!

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I was secretly thankful Amy was instructed by her doctor to remain on light duty for a few more weeks post surgery. She was not able to help Danny out with camp set up so it made me not look so bad being my normal not so helpful self. 🙂

While the guys made our home for the night all cozy Amy and I played around with our cameras and be silly..with the aid of boxed wine of course….

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Yep, this one was all my idea haha…I decided it would be so funny to pretend like we were leaping off the edge of the cliff..convinced?

All too soon, our view of the beautiful blue sky, the red painted mountains and the green lushness of the Sedona-ish valley were drowned out by the light of the moon and darkness had fully taken its place.

We had a warm fire (not that we needed it for warmth – even after the sunset the weather was still about 70 Fahrenheit). Have you ever smelled Juniper wood burn in a camp fire? It’s delightful!

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Around the fire we ate the best cheeseburgers – well, maybe not the “the” best cheeseburgers but honestly…the Mr knows how to make a tasty burger!

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Oh and there were hot dogs too. The guys left them out overnight as some sort of experiment and surprisingly enough..they had not been eaten by any wildlife…

Earlier, while the Mr was setting up camp I had asked him what kind of wildlife we may run into out here and COYOTE could not have come out of his mouth any faster..literally he spewed out “coyote” before I had finished my question.

This scared me but lucky for me…I forget easily and I paid no mind to wildlife thereafter..well until…

Bellies full, camp set..the four of us sitting around the fire talking, listening to music while I sang loudly along to my bestie and (obviously) having a few drinks. We had seen a couple of camp fires about a mile out and below our area so it didn’t surprise me to hear a loud “woooooooooooo” coming from the wilderness. I, of course, excited to share with our neighbors that we too were having a great time so I answered back with a louder, “WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOO”.. The guys quickly jump to their feet and got pistol ready… apparently….I was answering a COYOTE… some may now call me forever the coyote whisperer :/

Just as fast as the guys became pistol ready (which was really sexy..by the way…very manly) I rounded up all three dogs and made them get in the truck until I was told we were safe enough.

The drama combined with the box o’ wine made me sleepy..I crawled into the tent and that was the end of my fun for the night.

Come sunrise, I was the first and only one up and about. Normally, when we camp with the dogs they go bat shit crazy, can’t relax and bark at every little noise. Not the case this trip! It was so quiet and the pups chilled out in the tent and waited for their master to wake up…not me…

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This one, though..may have been a little on guard. 🙂 She didn’t move from that spot for like a half hour.

It wasn’t too long after we had to pack up and head out..the stupid sun was coming out to burn us alive.

So long magical Sedona…

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Beerfest 2014 ~ 10 Year Anniversary

The first weekend of August, for the past seven or eight years (I can’t remember which), Jason, me, the dogs and our daughter head up the hill to the Mogollon Rim with oh about 100 of our “closest” friends to participate in the annual event which is names…Backwoods Beerfest.

Beerfest was started by a close friend of ours ten years ago this year… we missed out on the first two or three but have not missed one since.

If you live or have heard of the hellish hotness that is the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix metro area) you can bet your life we all become super excited to beat the heat, lose touch with the modern world, drink, connect with friends and become one with Mother Nature herself.

Weather wise..we never know what we are going to get..some years it is in the 80’s, dry and hot and some years it’s nothing but torrential rains..this year..we we lucky to get the best of both worlds.

My friend and I sent our other halves up the hill a day early so they could grab a sweet spot and set up camp. We would have loved to go up with them but we had to work…BOOO…who am I kidding 😉 it was the BEST rolling into camp with everything set up already!

This was home for three days and two nights. The mister is so good at making sure everything is as perfect as can be for his lady..his mutts and his self.

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I really should not have allowed an entire week to go by before I told you my story because I’ll be honest..I don’t remember much 😉 It is after all…BEERFEST *should be deemed…drunkfest!*

Thinking about it now..I know we arrived around 4 in the afternoon on Friday the 31st..That’s all I remember from that night..not because I was wasted but I think the events of Saturday completely overshadowed my first night in the woods. Holy crap..honestly..there is nothing significant that I remember from Friday..it’s like it didn’t even happen. I do know..it was lovely to be there..the weather was perfect and I behaved myself…as much as this kid can…

The next morning was full of relaxation..

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Even the mister enjoy the most comfy spot in the house..

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There were more than a few “nature walks” ~ My major complaint of Beerfest…It is neat that a bunch of people come together BUT..that also means I have to walk like 1/4 mile just to pee……I know..I know..they have private toilets available for camping but I’m sorry..to me? That’s just gross..

 

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This year, someone bought a live pig, raised it, slaughtered it and brought it to camp for a pig roast.

* Side note: what is a better word for slaughter? The person(s) who raised this pig and “sacrificed” it for the sake of our tummies treated this little guy so much..I mean SO MUCH..better than ANY animal we could ever buy at the meat counter in our grocery stores..to use the word slaughter or sacrifice seems inappropriate. *

Anyway, here is the little guy who served us so selflessly

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They started Mr. Piggy around 0530 because he needed to roast for like 8 to 10 hours.. I had coffee and continued my stent in the hammock until my friends woke up and made me a bloody mary. So good..the perfect amount of horseradish and olives and vodka and mary mix and whatever else goes into the making of this morning treat! Another one of our camp mates had made a bloody maria..I am not a big fan of those. I had one sip and didn’t like it. I will give it just one more “shot” but it will have to be a different tequila..Jose..is NOT a friend of mine..I am pretty sure the end result will be the same. Mary will win over Maria.

Sometime in the day the rain came in and was more than welcome..her timing was perfect too, rain for a few hours, stopped in time for all of us to gather around the beer tables for the annual tasting! Let the fun begin!

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Yup, someone brought these flamingos and I LOVE this idea 🙂 NOTHING screams “I am a redneck” more than pink flamingos in your front yard and a rebel flag hah!

There was, of course, even event security 😉

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I mean really..with all of these people here combined with all the beer..you would think it was needed ** Luckily..all was good and I think the shirts were just for fun **

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Shortly after, the rain started again and we all ventured to the pig for some delicious snack time.

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Yup! Red solo wine cup and BBQ topped with cole slaw. We know how to camp. 🙂

Sadly, No more pictures of this day… it’s just as well though because had I been running around the forest with my camera..it would not have survived..at least I had enough sense to put it away during the torrential down pour.

That was the beginning of the end for me woooo partay time! Box o’ wine was flowing, red and white. I am pretty sure I made it to all the campsites to spread my joyful cheer until I was poured into my tent for the night. I did not even care that my sleeping bag was soaked along with my pillow and the rest of my clothes. Did you know that when you buy a tent it does not already come waterproof?? That is the goofiest thing ever. A tent is to protect you from the elements..you would think one of those elements would include RAIN..nope.. you buy a tent..you have to water proof it. Apparently the mister knew of this because he said he has a spray that seals the tent..but for whatever reason..didnt do it. Word to the wise..

The next morning we took our sweet time, packed up, said our goodbyes and headed down the hill.

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Until next year Rim….photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Our Roots

I am a either a hypocrite, lazy or just ignorant. I am leaning more towards..chosen ignorance. Here’s the deal..I despise big commercial farming. BUT I am also super guilty of buying beef, chicken and other meat products from the grocery store and I KNOW..they come from big commercial farms. It’s easy. I try try try…as much as humanly possible to buy local and grass fed meat products but let’s face it…it’s really not that cheap and not that easy to come by…

This weekend Jason and I spent some time with friends who have land and live off of it as much as possible.

Bonus number 1:

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A little Chardonnay patch of their own. I would not choose a white BUT…hey..they have a choice and good on them!! 🙂

Bonus number 2:

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They raise their own beef. This is where I get torn.. I actually had to walk away for a few moments and take other pictures in and around the area because..I knew..those moo cows were inevitably going to be on someones plate in about a year. Luckily for those moo cows..our friends freezers a full for the time being.

I WISH..I had the ability..will power..or whatever..to become a vegetarian because I am truly AM a sympathizer. But..I also..like the taste of meat and I know the human body actually needs it..it’s what we were designed for. This is where I become torn. I love the idea of knowing where my food comes from, what my meat has been raised on and also knowing that my food has never once been treated inhumanly. This..I can 100% guarantee..is the case with these cows featured in this blog.

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The cycle starts with education. I was raised..not in a bad way..but like a lot of Americans..not knowing any different. Our food comes from the grocery store. That’s just the way it is. I think it’s important we teach our kids and grand kids how people survived before the “Big Mac”..Let’s get rid of the options..go back to the rustic days and live off the land!

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I’ll get to that point one day..I am realizing the importance of such things more and more..everyday..

A Day for the Dogs

I love my dogs. They are like my youngest children. We have twins (half Beagle and half Australian Shepherds..don’t ask how that happened..I don’t know and I don’t want to know). 

** Side bar..we also have Larry..who is an almost angel. He is not featured in todays post ** 😉 

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Little girl on the left is Ollie – she has more Beagle looks and attitude. Her regal sister on the right is Bollie – she has more Aussie looks and attitude. 

These pups are our babies and are way more spoiled than any other dog I know…on the planet. 

Naturally, when the opportunity arose for me to stay home with the dogs whilst I worked and waited on the HVAC guy to fix our A/C unit…I JUMPED at the chance! 🙂 

By the end of the day..I realized.. I am sooooo thankful Jason and I only had one child. Seriously..dogs are way more difficult to deal with than children. All day I felt like I had four three year olds running a muck around the house. 

Baby gate was put up so the girls wouldn’t get all up in the AC guys business barking mad at him all the live long day. I also had a chair strategically placed over the doggie door so they could not get in the back yard. 

Ollie tried as hard as she could to find a way out. I kept having to say, “No, Ollie..go lay down. Ollie, come on..go lay down. Ollie, no..you can’t go outside.” Weaving to and fro, in and out of the chair legs. She was not going to give up and pretended to she could not hear me.

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She did eventually get out. The HVAC guy happened to be out there. I don’t know if you have ever seen a beagle passionately howl at something or someone but it’s pretty comical.

It goes a teeny bit something like this:

She peeked around the corner (I know because I followed her, I knew she would not harm our guest however she is an animal and you can never be too careful…animals can change mood modes in the blink of an eye), spotted the unwanted (in her eyes) guest, stood firm on her hind legs, threw her head back and howled like no ones business. It took a bit (a tap on the butt) to get her attention and I directed her back inside. No harm no foul. 

Her sister, Bollie, did not dare go outside. She is certainly not brave enough to check out the scene. She would much rather sit inside and bark her head off.. or hide under the dining table. Either way..I had two nutgalls to deal with and I think I would much rather have three three year old humans. Until my friend pointed out…How much more expensive they are hah! 

 

Next time…I’m going to the office and will let someone else stay home with the terrorists. 😉 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year Y’all!!

Happy New Year Everyone! 2013 is here and I have no idea what it will bring.

I don’t usually make “new year resolutions” but this year I have too many. So many, I may be setting myself up for failure. Make no mistake, I plan and would love to follow through with all of my resolutions but…I am not oblivious to the fact that I am well known for making tons of plans, setting goals, dreaming big and then…not doing any of them. My intentions and thoughts are always genuine, I am a pretty passionate person…about a lot of things at any given moment.
For example…I watched the movie “Big Miracle” the other day. Great movie, based on a true story set in 1988 about a mommy, daddy and baby whale who got stuck in a a section of rapidly closing ice holes in the sea off of Barrow, Alaska. Greenpeace, the U.S Military, the entire community nearest Barrow, AK., the nation were involved in the rescue of these whales. By the end of the movie, I wanted to become a part of Greenpeace and save our oceans critters…Now, I know that will never happen but I like to think I about “if only I could”.

Maybe, one day, far off into the future this thought will come back to me and I will do my part. For now, I will stick to some little things I can might be able to actually follow through.

Here goes…I will walk my dogs every night. I’ve been reading Cesar Milans book, “Cesars Way” — Do you know that man exercises his dogs for eight hours a day? This is not possible for me or anyone else living in my house so, the mutts will get their morning play of catch with the husband and in the evening I will come home and take them straight away on a run.
We have three so it’s a little difficult. I have to take little Fat Larry out first – I will  run him around the neighborhood, bring him home and come back for the other two. Larry is a good walker, he’s little, easy to control. The other two? HA! They are terrible walkers! While walking them together, if one dog gets in front of the other they viciously attack each other. It’s quite embarrassing. If a person walks by…they bark at them…if a person walks by with a dog??? They bark and pull HARD on their leashes like they are going in for a kill. I have to add here that my dogs are the biggest chicken dogs of all time. I don’t know if they would even know what to do if I…say…let their leashes go. Needless to say..I have no control. I will continue to read “Cesars Way” and try to apply the advice to our daily walking/running routine. So far…three days of walk/running.

Do you want to hear something pathetic?

The day after our first walk, of maybe  mile, my quads were sore, my shin muscles were sore..do you know even my ANKLE muscles were sore?? My ankle muscles have never hurt before. This was a sad sad realization I was slapped with. I am seriously out of shape! I must continue 🙂 My chub will go away, dogs chub will go away and we will all be happier!! Wish me luck here!

When I started tonights blog…I had full intention of babbling on and on about the oh so many resolutions I have for 2013.

I changed my mind. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow. If I still see reason for more resolution..I will let you know 🙂 For now, in this moment, I am perfectly content with my walking/running nightly goal!

Here are a few pictures of my running partners!!

This here is (for now) Fat Larry!

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Above: We have Bollie

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Above: This is Ollie

Best wishes to all of you for 2013!!!

 

Attempt to Clean Green

Friday felt like the longest Friday in the history of Fridays! I am pretty sure I say that every Friday but man they are all torturous. Sitting in the office waiting for the weekend to begin, I feel like a little kid in time out!
When the clock, FINALLY, struck four-thirty I heard the horn from the Flinstones theme blaring in my ears as I packed up my belongings and made the trek homeward bound.

Dinner was a free for all (sometimes we have those nights when we neither the hubs nor I want to cook so we just grab whatever we want from the pantry or fridge) so I had a ham sandwich and some carrots.

It was a practice night for Jason and Kiah was out with her friends so I enjoyed some alone time with a bottle of wine, movies, surfing the internet and in between cleaning the floors. I had a blast 🙂

Out of floor cleaner I remembered a “recipe” for a nice green way to clean wood floors. After I swept, I mixed olive oil and vinegar and proceeded to mop.

The agents in the vinegar really do a good job a cleaning and the olive oil creates a beautiful shine.

 

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The downfalls??? After I was done and I walked on the floor…I left lovely footprints due to the olive oil, the smell is not good AND one of my dogs would not stop licking the floors!

I gave up and decided that Saturday  I would go back to cleaning my floors with chemicals until something green in invented to shine the floor and keep foot prints at bay.