Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy belated birthday to me....

For my 30th birthday, Josh bought us tickets to go see a musical that I've wanted to see for years - Wicked. The tickets are for tonight at ASU Gammage in Tempe, AZ. It seemed like today would never come. I'm so excited.

Relax and Breathe

I was long overdue for a relaxing weekend. So it was wonderful to get out of town and head down south. On Thursday night we saw Wilco at Centennial Hall in Tucson and then spent the night at Josh's brother's house. The venue was wonderful. We were able to sit, relax and enjoy the music. It was easy to get in and get out. The vibe of the crowd was really nice. The band did and excellent job.

On Friday morning, I tried to go to a yoga class at the Tucson LA Fitness. Unfortunately, the teacher was ill. So, the replacement teacher taught a form of Tai Chi/Yoga/Pilates. It was a little too fast paced for my liking, but I did my best to keep up. After getting cleaned up and having some lunch, Josh & I headed down to his parent's ranch near the Cochise Stronghold.

His parents grow and sell an assortment of plants as well as grow lots of produce: tomatoes, egg plant, zucchini, squash, beans, onions, etc....It is a little slice of colorful paradise.

With 40 acres, there is plenty of room for camping out under the stars. We also got to spend lots of quality time with the ranch dogs: Reno, Sparks, Merl & Chubs. They are so lovable. They can never get enough of Josh.

On Saturday morning, I got the chance for a little yoga mountainside. It was very refreshing.

Then we headed out to a little town called St. David, AZ. It is home to the Holy Trinity Monastery. It is a gorgeous oasis. We really enjoyed our time spent here.

Peacocks symbolize immortality and eternal life. The peacock annually sheds its bright colored feathers in a "resurrection" of new colors. The peacocks were just roaming free through the grounds. They were so beautiful.

Josh and I in front of the church. There was a courtyard full of flowers and a nice water fountain.

Then we headed down further south to Bisbee. It is definitely a colorful city and was extra colorful for Gay Pride Weekend. Josh & I wandered around and were fascinated by the old buildings and ornate decorations.

The mine outside of Bisbee is enormous. I've never seen anything quite like it. We were impressed.

Josh's mom showed me that she had a little nest behind a few of her flower pots. Little baby birdy eggs.

I love the eco-system. I love all of the bugs and creatures that can be found if you look closely.

And the fresh produce was fantastic. Josh's dad made a really great pico de gallo, using almost all fresh ingredients from their garden.

We stayed just long enough to see the little baby birds peck through their eggs and see the light of day.

We also saw two little, itty bitty baby bunnies. I was/am in love with them. They are so tiny and so cute! I sure hope a coyote doesn't get them. I didn't get a picture, but we saw a coyote up close and personal right through the living room window. I was in awe. It went too quick for me to have time to capture it on film.

Josh's parents are known for their scented geraniums. These were perfectly blooming.

Like I said, lots and lots of insects, animals and plants. The butterflies are as big as small birds. The bumble bees are huge too.

It was really nice for Josh to be able to spend Father's day with his dad and his brother. I'm glad that we could be there. It is always nice to see Josh's mom and his brother's girlfriend Meredith.

I found it hard to relax at times. My go-go-go lifestyle can be hard to slow down, but I recognize how important it is that you have time off and away. I did a lot of knitting. I am still working on my first scarf. I'm impressed with how long it has gotten with some due dilligence this past weekend. I also read a lot and just tried to enjoy the moment. I was not always successful, but all in all it was a very enjoyable and much needed time to relax and breathe. I think we will go back again for the 4th of July in a few weeks.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July weekend

When most people think of Arizona, they think of the flat, hot desolate desert. But there is actually a lot more here than meets the eye in the major metropolis areas. The lowest elevation in the state is low, only 70 feet above sea level - but the highest elevation is 12,633ft at Humphreys Peak. This is just shy of the highest peak in my home state of Montana. And in between these two elevations is a whole lot of differing and interesting eco-systems. At any time of year, you can find the perfect temperature somewhere in Arizona. At any rate, this past weekend Josh and I spent time with this family in Cochise again. This time we took a day trip up Mt. Graham. It WAS amazing. It is about 10,000 ft above sea level at its peak. We went very close to the top. We saw a breath taking, knock the wind out of you view near the top, as pictured above. I think it is hard for pictures to capture such beauty, but it does make for a nice keepsake to remind me of a beautiful place. I think that Josh told me that the high at the peak of Mt Graham (in Southern AZ mind you) is just under 70 degrees. It is lush, green and a little slice of Arizona heaven for this desert dweller.

A few other nice photos:

We enjoyed a little rain.

Me and my love at the highest GREEN!

Look at that AMAZING view!

The sun was setting as we headed down the mountain.

We somehow drove by Wilcox just in time for their fireworks show as well as the entire show in Sunsites, AZ. It was meant to be. I hope that every one else had a lovely 4th of July too.

Best of all...Josh's parents sent us home with homegrown produce from their ranch in Cochise County. YUM! Not pictured is our homemade fresh salsa that also made it into our bag.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Magic Bullet proves to be Magical!

Last weekend, I had breakfast at The Farm at South Mountain with one of my best friend Erin. Let me rewind, really this all started in Milwaukee. In Milwaukee, the show runs late on several nights. This can make getting dinner tricky. Hundreds of exhibitors all of a sudden flood every restaurant in the near proximity of the show. Everyone is starving. The restaurant isn't used to being jam packed for dinner at 9pm on a Thursday night, so they are almost always under staffed. I chose to go the Miller Time pub in my hotel for several nights in a row. It's close by. It's easy. Yada, yada, yada. Although I'm sure the Miller Time pub is fine for one night, several nights was overkill. Excuses aside, I had far too much fried food. So when I came home, I was really craving fresh food. I filled our fridge with lots of veggies and fruits. Josh & I have a really different take on our food preferences. I'm always trying to figure out how I can get my veggies and fruits into meals that he will like too. Over time, I've come to realize that it isn't so much the fruit or the veggie itself that he doesn't like. In most cases, it is the texture. So as Erin and I ate our very fresh meal at The Farm, we were talking about ways to get more fresh food into our diet. I was complaining about my almost never been used blender. We need a washer to make it work properly and I've been looking for the right washer for a LONG time. Then we started talking about food processors to puree veggies to add to sauce. We decided to check out Target and see what sorts of food processors they had to offer. As we stood in the appliance aisle and tried to compare the $19.99 to the $29.99 to the Kitchenaid, etc - I just felt overwhelmed. Is this what I really want? Do I need a 2 cup, 3 cup or the mega size? Finally we decided that we needed more information to make an informed decision. As we headed out of the aisle, Erin spotted the Magic Bullet. I am so thankful she did. We both bought Magic Bullets and it has been wonderful. I have been making smoothies and low fat frozen yogurt shakes for Josh & I this week. I am very excited about the possibilities of adding squash, zucchini, cauliflower and other fresh veggies to my pastas. Yay! Fresh food....mmmmm!


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