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Monday, June 3, 2013

Graduation

I have much to say about graduation, but I am exhausted after 3 days of celebrating, a house full of guests (including a precocious two year old) & a moody graduate who thinks she should have no rules.  Throw in Freshman Orientation & a super moody graduate& now moody mama & you have a recipe for a melt down.  I promise to get back to posting...but for now this will have to do.  Photos by the best friend in the whole world, Audra Blair.




Monday, May 6, 2013

Conquering Fears


(Seriously cool grate.  Do you see the "K"?  I've walked by this grate 100+ times...only time I've seen the "K")

Today I did a really scary thing.  I went swimming.  In a great big pool.  Not an itty bitty pool.  An competition sized pool.  If I were a brave girl, this post would have a photo of a swimsuit, not a seriously cool grate.  But I'm so not brave I left my phone at home...accident?  Maybe.  So what brings on swimming, something I'm seriously afraid of since an event at Lake Powell some years ago?  The only explanation I have is that I was looking for scuba classes at work for Don & it dawned on me that I'm no longer a strong swimmer & that I'm pretty afraid of it.  I actually signed up for a lap swimming class for the fall, but dropped it because I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts instead.  (I'll tell you about that some day.)  Then some girl Don used to work with made me ridiculously jealous by something she said & implied...the next thing you know, I'm at the pool swimming laps.  

Today I went for the first time.  I had butterflies in my stomach.  But I made myself go.  Turns out the big pool has the lanes in the long course pattern today.  Oh joy (she says dripping with sarcasm).  The long course is 50 meters one way.  I have not been in a pools for anything other than a few handstands in years.  I venture out to the pool & just stare at the length of it.  Holy crap.  What have I gotten myself into?

There are about two dozen swimmers there.  Translation:  you have to share a lane.  Luckily someone warned me at the front desk that you can "split" a lane with another swimmer as long as they are ok with it.  I grab my kickboard & ease into the pool.  I expected it to be much cooler, but it is quite comfortable...refreshing, even!  Down & back...100 meters...with a kickboard.  This isn't so bad, I think to myself.  Lets try freestyle.  Halfway down the lane I begin to panic a little bit...I feel myself becoming exhausted & anxious.  I have a good little talk with myself & relax a little & keep going.  When I get to the end (50 meters) I stop & have to catch my breath.  I forgot how hard this is!  I gather my wits & swim back, breast stroke...much easier.  I go that way a while, alternating kickboard/freestyle...each lap getting just a little bit easier.  I suffered some foot cramping, but that has always been an issue when I swim.  After 35 minutes I feel home.  The water is where I'm meant to be.

As I leave the pool, I make sure to sign up for a yearly pass. This is exactly what I need.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bear Mountain, Sedona

I never got around to telling you about our hike up Bear Mountain, did I?  It was quite an adventure!

We woke up Sunday morning (oh my goodness...that was two weeks ago already!) & headed to The Coffee Pot for breakfast.  Locals call it "Home of 101 omelets & ten parking spaces".  It's typical diner food...nothing to write home about.  (What we should have done was get to the trail at 7 am.) Then we met our friend Whitney in the parking lot at Bear Mountain.  Now, I'm not really sure whose idea this hike was...I don't want to blame anyone...but lets just say, it was intense.  However, according to Cosmic Ray's guide book, it's hard.  Cosmic Ray claims the Airport Mesa Loop is intense.  Dude is seriously messed up on his words.  Hard is an understatement.
 

That's Whitney & Aggie.  A really beautiful trail!  It starts out pretty innocent...


Happy to be out & hiking!


So pretty!


You want me to go where?!


This trail...is not easy.  But it is by far the most beautiful place I have ever been.  These photos do not do it justice...


One of the places I "needed" to take a photo.  Really what I needed to do was not throw up.


At the top!  Made it all the way!  1 hour 45 minutes for 2 miles.  For the record, I can walk 3.5 miles of hilly terrain in 50 minutes.  That's how steep that trail is...

Worth every single step...


On the way down.  Oohhh...you can kinda see how steep it is here!


Love him!


Yes, I am awesome!





Almost to the end...a job well done!  This trail is my 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.  Will I do it again?  Mmmmm, maybe.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Airport Mesa Loop, Sedona

I don't remember ever going to Sedona as much as we have in the past few weeks.  Frankly, I am sick of being cold.  Sedona promises weather that is usually 20 degrees warmer & that my friends is what I am after...warm!  It's just a short 45 minute drive down the switch backs & poof you are in a beautiful place that is warm & sunny!

This past weekend Don & I went down to Sedona on Saturday & came back Sunday.  We didn't get there until 4:30 pm so we had to curtail our hike so we were done before sunset.  The guy at the hotel desk suggested the Airport Mesa Loop.  It's a 3.5 mile loop around Airport Mesa (go figure).  It starts across the street from the Airport Vortex & ends at the Vortex.  To say this loop is rocky is an understatement.  It's also filled with prickly pear cactus...tons of it!  The trail is clear, just don't stumble...


This trail gives you a 360 degree view of Sedona in all it's beauty.  It's pretty spectacular!


Prickly Pear Cactus.  If you have the patience, the jam & syrup you can make from the fruit of this cactus is delicious!  But getting those spines off sucks!


I know.  You're thinking, "she just said that trail was rocky...doesn't look rocky to me".  That's because I couldn't take photos when it was rocky...didn't want to fall into all those cacti that were filled with what I imagined to be thousands of snakes...don't even ask about the snakes.  I am a freak about them (and I don't mean that in a good way).


I tried a few times to get that flower in focus...I was shooting with my phone, so I'll cut myself some slack. (I think it's Indian Paintbrush...anyone know?)


Little baby cactus blooms...I am just facinated with what happens to cactus lately.


I have no idea what this is.  Don & I thought it was a Century Plant, but I just googled it & I'm pretty sure it's not.  Any ideas?


The backside of the trail.  What a view!



Ocotillo.  These are so cool when they bloom!  In the winter they look like dead sticks...something you should pull & toss.  Then they start to leaf out & get these pretty little blooms.  


The backside of the Vortex. Since Wikipedia is the keeper of all that is true & accurate on the internet (ha!  I'm kidding!) I'll let them explain a vortex to you here.  Turns out Wikipedia is greatly lacking in Sedona Vortex info.  Here's a much better explanation.  I am not sure if i believe the Vortex's really have any energy or if they're a tourist trap.  I sat on top of that big rock for 45 minutes, even mediated a little....nothing.  It was absolutely breathtaking & stunning, so I'll go back.  And if I happen to get a little Vortex energy on the side?  That'll be a bonus.


This wasn't even the best part...that I didn't get a photo of.

I think I'm going to start rating our hikes on a scale of 1-10 for how hard they were.  Don & I thought that this trail was relatively easy.  Let's go with 4.5.  Wait til I tell you about Bear Mountain...in the meantime:


A random bike at our hotel (we stayed at Sedona Super 8...it was clean & the nicest Super 8 I've ever stayed in).  I love all the bumper stickers & the teddy bear on the handle bars.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mermaids

I seem to have mermaids on the brain lately.  I painted this little gal for a card I made for my Love Notes pen pal.


I hope she likes her! 

Painting with watercolor has been fun a fun adventure!  I learn something new every time I pull the watercolors out.  I can't wait to see where this takes me.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wall Art

A few months ago I came across this blog post showcasing transforming a wall with stencils.  The photos of the project just made me want to stencil every room in our house.  Stencils have been around forever, but honestly, I had visions of lame grapes & leaves so I never paid them any attention.  Until that blog post.  Royal Designs makes some fun, modern stencils!  It was hard to narrow it down to one, but I ended up getting this one.  It's called Endless Circles.  Love it!  But I had to convince Don that it would look good in our bedroom.  It took convincing because he had to repaint the bedroom wall a light ivory color (it's the color we use on all the trim in our house)...and then we needed to stencil over it with the color that already on the walls (I didn't want to change the color, surprise, surprise!).  The result is a wall that I love.  The process?  Took way longer than I had hoped.  I had hoped it would take 3 hours...it took 7 1/2.  Yes, you read that right.  7 1/2 hours

Here's a little bit of the process (bad light & cell phone photos...I didn't want to get paint on my camera, sorry):


You have to start somewhere, right?  Painters tape, spray adhesive, a small paint roller, a level, Behr Spa paint & an entire Saturday are all you need.


The paint has to be rolled on really lightly.  So lightly that it's supposed to dry instantly.  I never quite achieved that.  If the paint is too heavy, it seeps under the template.  Too light & you have to keep going over it.  I suspect going over it twice is why it took so long, but it was necessary.


Lining up the stencil wasn't hard at all.  Leveling it was a little more challenging.  


When I started the first row I really wasn't sure if I was supposed to flip the stencil or keep it the same orientation.  I flipped it once...and in the second row, I regretted it.  It all worked out, just a little extra challenge.


Oops...haha!


Another oops....


Am I ever going to be done?  I'm afraid not!


The ceiling & corners were the hardest part.  I ended up free handing the ceiling line...I just couldn't handle that floppy stencil.


Not perfect, but I don't think anyone will notice.  Please ignore the popcorn ceiling.  It's not a project I care to tackle right now.  (Kendall's on me all the time to remove it...notice I didn't say "Kendall offered to help us remove all that nasty popcorn."  Just saying.)


This is the worst of the paint mess.  I kinda loved that the paint got so thick I just peeled it off.  

I could not have done the corners without Don.  Well, I could have, but there would have been a great big meltdown.  Thank you, honey!

Will I do this again?  Yes!  I'm thinking of doing this one in my living room. On the wall with all the photos.

And dad, if you're still reading, the next project is a green house made out of whatever we can find...windows, siding, etc.  I'll need your help for that one!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Playing

At the insistance of Kim, I have started scheduling creating on my Google Calendar. I added reminders for blogging & meditation, too. But like most over zealous things, I over scheduled it & couldn't live up to my own very high expectations. At first I found my inability to keep my own appointments incredibly frustrating. Now I'm ok with it (must be the meditation!) but it's something I need to refine. I have had to realize that i don't have to do something every single day. A few times a week is just fine.

This week I've been playing with watercolor & sketching in my little book. It has created such a mind shift for me. My doodles may not be stellar but they've opened up some forgotten part of my brain that seems to be essential for my survival. This is not melodrama. It is real. When I create I am happier & dare I say, content. When I don't create, life kinda sucks.

Here are a couple things I've created recently (they're in process). My big painting that i showed a few posts ago is awaiting a weekend that isn't packed full of activity...maybe this one...




Monday, March 25, 2013

Little Horse Trail

Saturday Don & I headed down to Sedona with our friend Nate for a day of exploring.  Who knew Nate had never been to Sedona? Crazy!  We hopped in Kendall's cute little convertible (not that we could put the top down...freaking cold I tell you!) & headed down the switchbacks.  Along with about a dozen people on bikes that were loaded down with gear...on a teeny, tiny road, filled with tourists.  That was eventful!

Our destination, Little Horse Trail, was just before the Bell Rock Trail, between Sedona & the Village of Oak Creek.  Both are pretty fabulous & easy to follow.  I'd say there are less people on Little Horse, but then I didn't see jeep tours on Bell Rock...


I love how well marked the Sedona trails are.




I'm that girl who's always making shapes out of clouds in her mind.  I do the same with rocks.  Do you see the pansy in the left third of this photo?  Seriously?  You have to see it there!


First signs of spring...yes!
 

Stunning, no?


The sky was totally that blue.  (I don't have time to edit photos & make you believe it was that blue when it really wasn't.)  And look!  The Easter Bunny!  Don't tell me you don't see him....


Those wee little people are Nate & Don, heading to the top of Chicken Point to check out the view.  Stunning, I'd imagine.  I was perfectly fine sitting on my behind watching them climb that rock.  I have a huge fear of heights...and sliding down sandstone on my ass.


An incredibly blurry image of Nate & Don...egads.  Sometimes I should not have a camera in my hands.


More signs of spring at the Chapel of the Holy Cross (now that is one spectacular church!).  Pretty as a postcard, don't you think?


People make wishes & toss money on the rocks surrounding the chapel.  Some of it just rolls down the parking lot, down the hill...maybe that's why there are mansions down there.  Ha!


I'm a sucker for mosaics.  This one is at the entrance of the chapel. 

I don't really have any good photos of the inside, but can tell you it is small.  Teeny, tiny.  Down below is a sweet gift shop filled with all sorts of religious things...crosses, nativities, etc.  I bought two St. Anthony charms because my friend Doris says that when you have lost something, St. Anthony will find it for you.  Can't hurt, right?

Spending the day with Nate was so fun!  He is adventurous, funny & sweet.  When was the last time a 15 year old wanted to hang out with you?  I can't remember when!  So for Nate to want to come along was a treat, as well as a bit of an ego boost!  Everything we showed him he showed genuine interest.  It was truly a great day!  Thank you, Nate!

Now, if he'd only told us he was turning into a popsicle on the way back....Flagstaff may just be a little too cold yet for a convertible....

Oh & Beth, this would be a good trail for us when you come to visit...though I think I liked Soliders Pass Trail better (but it is much, much longer).