Happy New Year!

It’s good to be back! Well, I think? I guess it depends on how well this post goes. I am extremely out of blogging/writing practice. I didn’t bother to check my page to see how long it has been since I’ve posted ANYTHING. I would venture to guess it’s been at least since the last NY.

In 2017, I denied you access to my stories and photos of travel, monotony, ups and downs. Quick summary ~ (based on memory so I’m sure more things happened but I can’t remember everything). My memories are all documented on my phone and I don’t know how to extract them to my laptop so here goes..2017 highlights! Mother/daughter trip to San Diego to visit friends, photo shoot road trips with the husbands band, lunch dates with the bestie, annual Backwoods Beerfest (camping with booze on the Mogollon Rim), trip to visit friends in North Carolina (love it there), Roger Waters concert,  Mother/Daughter trip to Amsterdam and Spain, Great Christmas with family and friends.

Cut to:

The last day of 2017 was spent with the husband and our friend visiting from Switzerland.  Where do you take a guy from the cold mountains of Switzerland when he visits Arizona?

Flagstaff, AZ. of course 😉 We jumped in my car and headed north.

First stop was lunch at SnowBowl. The lunch was subpar but the views and the company were supreme.


Sadly, Arizona has had zero snow..look at how dry the trees and their surroundings are :/

All the snow behind us, for the skiers, was man-made. After lunch we decided to venture off to a place neither Jason nor I had ever been. The Lava River Cave. It is located about 18 miles west of Snow Bowl so it took us no time to get there. It is off a dirt road, so I did worry we were headed in the wrong direction, but it turned out to be an OK drive even with my little Volkswagen.

The cave entrance is only a short jaunt, through the pines, from the parking lot.



I am claustrophobic and we only had cell phones to light our path so I didn’t think we were going to get out of there alive. As per usual, my worries were unwarranted, walking over the rocks down into the cave was cake and super open, not like a spelunking cave at all. 🙂 P.S. don’t ever ask me to go spelunking…not doin’ it!




We made it about half way through and my cell phone died leaving me with no light source, I had to walk up all in Jasons business to follow his light. A few times,  I couldn’t  keep up and had to stop dead in my tracks and cry, “Help me, I’m stuck”.

We made it out alive! 🙂

If you’re ever in the area, you should check it out. It’s pretty amazing this tube, just under a mile long, was formed around 700,000 years ago from melted rocks..

You can read more about it here:  Lava River Cave

Daylight was fading fast so we decided to head south, made a pit stop in Sedona so our Swiss friend could absorb the spiritual vortex mojo of this great locale. We did arrive just in time for him to see the great red rocks of the area but the sun quickly disappeared. Grabbed a cappuccino to go and head for home.

All in all it was a great way to end 2017.

With that, I will end this post with a visual of how my day one 2018 was spent. Perfectly.



League Day!

Football season is here and with that brings our annual Fantasy Football league day draft. It’s great fun to get together, have snacks and steal each others draft picks for this years Football games.

I am barely a football fan but I have to admit these draft parties are a great way to spend a Saturday. 🙂


That picture was stolen from my friends Facebook page because the only picture I took yesterday was this one of the board and one of our league members cautiously choosing his next player.


There are sixteen rounds of picks and to be honest..I was done thinking by round five but I trooped along until… round 15..I, admittedly, allowed our friends three year old daughter to pick her favorite color (player position) and any ole sticker (player name). Those were to be my final picks 🙂

The guys said she did a good job though so I’m not complaining! win win! I’ve played FF for three years now and have yet to win the SHIVA..(yes, we stole this name from the show The League..it is a trophy given to the inner of the FF league..Maybe this is year we will get to bring it home!

You have to understand, people…this process takes like FOUR hours! Yes, HOURS…we have drinks and snacks and breaks and ten different conversations going on throughout so it is easy to understand the length of time and commitment needed.

Did I tell you there were snacks? I’ve heard people talking of cheat days, yesterday was definitely an indulgent cheat day..

I ate mounds of buffalo chicken dip laced with blue cheese, pizza bread, three beers (a delicious Camelback IPA from our local brewery)  and a chilled glass of Cab to round out the day.

Now, I guess I should find out when the real football season starts and maybe log into my ESPN account to move some players about!

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope it goes slow for you if you are so lucky to have this day to rest and fast for you if you’re so lucky to be working!

Cultural Celebration

A few weeks ago Jason told me we had been invited to a milestone celebration for our neighbors seven month old daughter. Obviously, the fact that I  grew up in a completely culture free environment, I had never heard of Annaprashan. I had much to investigate! What is this celebration? What am I supposed to wear? What type gift do I bring?

In a nutshell, Annaprashan is a Hindu rite of passage (Anna means “grain” and Prashan means “to feed” ~ so the celebration is the beginning step to the weaning process from milk to solid foods. OK..I’ll buy that..plus..who can pass up a legit reason to bring family and friends to together to admire the baby (insert annoying lady from Seinfeld “Ya gotta see the babayyyy”) have great food and enjoy company??

Gift ideas can be anywhere from gold/silver bowls (most likely left to the family members to present) spoons and plates to outfits an baby memorabilia.. I decided to leave the fancy gift ideas to their family..I wouldn’t want to one up the grandparents :D…and settled on a simple cute outfit, a couple of bibs and a stainless steel sippy cup.

As much as I wanted to dress up in Salwar Kameez,  I supposed that would be inappropriate soooo… I opted for simple black dress pants, a gray 3/4 sleeve top and simple Steve Madden pointy toe pumps. 🙂

Received with great smiles from the hosts and family – we said our congratulations and ogled the beautifully dress guest of honor, set our gift bag down and were both happy to see that our old neighbors were there with their three little ones. We sat at a table with them and caught up while we gorged on appetizers.

Side note:  I really wanted to bring my camera but Jason said, “NO” ~ I didn’t even feel comfortable taking cell phone pictures so I hate to say this but…I snagged these pictures from google images 😦


I don’t remember the name of these but they were so good dipped in this beautiful green sauce:

images-1 I tasted cucumber and cilantro and now I must find a recipe to copy!

I’ll leave that for another day..for now I have learned this dipping sauce is green chutney and does not have any cucumber in it whatsoever. They had Tamarind Chutney also but the dates tasted too much like prunes and I did not like the sweetness – on the other hand…Jason loved it..

The chicken tikka masala was AH..MAY..ZINGG..

Recipe Inspirations Chicken Tikka Masala

There were a lot of children there – maybe twelve? Our hosts had prepared for this so they brilliantly hired a magician to entertain the hyperactive little people and it worked like a charm! He had me on the edge of my seat laughing the entire time.  I told Jason on the way home this magician made me want to adopt a five year old so I could have a party that included a magician…He laughs now but we’ll see.. muahh ah ah ah..

Close to the end of the performance, the main course was set out for us to fill our plates.

Jason pointed out ..all of the men were handling this task as the women all sat at their own tables. I told him this was because the women do all the work in labor and after the baby is out! 🙂 I don’t know if this is true or not but seems perfectly logical to me.

There were so many dishes to try! I did try small samples of each of them and my favorites were:

The rice pilaf with peas:


and…the goat mutton


I have never eaten goat before..It reminded a bit of as if a lamb and just the part of a cow that makes roast were to have a baby. So good.

After dinner there was CAKE! I was so full from dinner that I only managed two bites but the whip cream frosting was the best. All in all I’d say their Annaprashan was a great success and I was so flattered to have been invited to take part! I love learning about the rituals of other cultures.

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! 🙂

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.


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!



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!


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!


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!


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…


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…


Arizona Style…

You know you have lived in Arizona for too long when you agree to someones crazy a$$ idea when they say…”Hey, we should go to the desert and take band photos”!

The date was August 31st, it was oh about 110 Fahrenheit and super sunny. I am pretty sure that around the time we left, 16:00, it was the hottest part of the day too. 

The trip was two fold, the guys wanted to get their trucks in 4×4 mode and they needed some updated band photos since the recent departure of our guitar playing friend Craig.

Cooler filled with ice, beer, ciders and burgers we headed up to the Table Mesa exit for some off road and photog fun!





Our first sign of what was to come was the huge bright orange warning:  ROAD DAMAGE

On the drive up I noticed off to the east of the highway some significant flood damage. We had some good monsoon storms about a week ago and the nerdy people that build their lives and homes in the Arizona riverbeds (yea..I’m judging 🙂 )

…sure paid a good price.

There were trees, cacti, bushes, buildings not very well built, furniture, etc all washed away down the length of the river bed. I would have liked to have had some photos to share with you but honestly I was so wowed I completely forgot to grab the camera.

Back to our road! We met up and traveled east..passed through a rickety fence and as we passed by I see another warning. ROAD IMPASSABLE. Still..we continued on..


Hmm..conundrum. The 4 wheel drivers assessing the situation.


Odd enough, I was wearing my vans instead of flip flops so I decided to walk across to test the waters. You know..check out how deep the water was and point out big ole boulders in the wash. The water came up to the middle of my thigh (which if you know me…really is not that tall) and there were a few boulders the guys needed to avoid. Of course I was not done with my assessment before my mister jumped in the Tacoma and cruised across!!




Along came the others. There was only one little hiccup. One of the trucks didn’t have enough clearance to cross so we decided to stay where we were instead of leaving the low rider and driving another five miles to the ancient ruins. All was not lost though..the band photographer got some good shots of the guys in that perfect little spot anyway. You’ll have to check http://www.hogjawmusic.com or look the band Hogjaw up on Facebook to see those as I didn’t take the pics so I don’t have authorization to share. 🙂

I can share some silliness those so keep reading for those little shots!

Those on foot walked across the “pond” to get to the other side.


Before the sun went down all the 4×4’s crossed back to the other side.


While the guys were taking pictures, the ladies enjoyed the scenery and company.


And then the shenanigans began!

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BOONES FARM! The epitome of teenage drunkenness trouble in a bottle..at least it was in the 90’s haha! Come on now, you lie if you say you never sneaked a slug off the Strawberry Hill back in the day! 🙂







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..


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


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..



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



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 😉


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 **


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


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