Z is for Zen…


Today is the last day of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge with the letter Z….and if you participated in the challenge then you may be feeling a little happy (I made it!  :)  ), a little sad (it’s over???  :(  ), and have a slight feeling of loss (NOW what do I do??? ).  All of those things pretty much sum up my feelings this Tuesday morning, and that’s why I chose the book “Ten Zen Seconds” by Eric Maisel.


I think I’ve read most of Dr. Maisel’s nonfiction books – he really understands the creative individual, and I’ve learned things from his books.  This book appealed to me because I am the Queen of Procrastination, and this is something I really have to work on!  So, I read the book, tried out the twelve incantations, and found it does help to calm my brain before I go to sleep if I’m worried about something.  It also helped calm me when I had to face a couple of difficult challenges last year in regards to my work.  However I will be honest…I still have my Procrastination Queen title, so it hasn’t helped me give up that title, although I’m still trying too!  LOL  :)

“Ten Zen Seconds” involves two parts – breathing and thinking.  The breathing I was already good at:  I do both Pilates and Yoga, so I’m able to slow my breathing and stretch it out.  But the thinking….I’m a naturally “the glass is half full” type of person, and while I know I should think more positive, it’s HARD!  However, with the techniques and sayings suggested in “Ten Zen Seconds” I’ve become better at thinking positive.

So, dear reader, this is the end of the line for Blogging A-Z this year.  However, I’m working on a posting schedule, and will continue to post three times per week (possibly more…we’ll see).  One post a week will be about hiking or some other healthy thing, I’ll have one post a week about writing itself – or time management, which I need to get better at – and at least one post will be about bliss.  I’m also thinking of joining the Blogher challenge on blogging about comfort for the month of May – I’m definitely going out of my own comfort zone as of May 24th (I resigned my teaching job at the school I’m currently teaching at).  I hope you’ll continue to come along with me!

Happy Living!  ;)


X and Y



Good Monday morning, dear readers!  Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t post anything on Saturday – that’s because I was up and out of the house by 6am to participate in a two mile walk/run for Diabetes that the organization I work for put on.  It was interesting…I’ve never done anything like that before, and while I had a good time walking/running (well, to be honest it was more walking than running) it was hot by the time I was finished.  So I came home, took another shower, and just lounged around for the rest of the weekend!  🙂

Anyhoo, I thought I would combine Saturday’s post and today’s post together.  First, we’ll talk about X – the Kit FoX!

The kit fox is the smallest of the fox family that is found in much of North America.  They only weigh between 3-6 pounds, and have really large ears that help the fox to keep cool when living in the desert.  Kit foxes live in dry, open flat areas and are nocturnal, so it is not often seen by people. In fact, the only time I’ve ever seen them is at the Phoenix Zoo!  The kit fox is carnivorous, and basically eats kangaroo rats for most of its diet.

kit fox1

kit fox2

Both pictures are from Wiki Commons

Y is for the Yucca arizonica, also known as blue yucca.  This plant can be found from the Sonoran Desert here in Arizona down to through the state of Sonora, Mexico.  It can grow up to 8 feet tall, with thick clusters of stems and leaves that range from a bluish color to yellowish.  One of the interesting things about the blue yucca is that the roots are used by the  Tohono O’odham people in Arizona (formerly called the Papago Indians) to used in their baskets.


NOT a plant I would want to trip and fall on!

yucca 1

All pictures from Wiki Commons

Happy Hiking!  🙂

W is the letter of the Day!


W, dear reader, is the letter of the day!  W is supposed to stand for hiking the Wind Cave Trail at Usery Mountain Regional Park – at least that was my plan.  But you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men….

Originally I was supposed to have done two hikes last weekend – Spillway and Signal Wash trails on Saturday, and Wind Cave Trail on Sunday.  Guess what?  I did one….but not the other.  I’ve hiked Wind Cave before, and it’s definitely NOT a trail for someone either new to hiking, in poor physical health/condition, or for an older person who’s not used to hiking.  The map  you’re provided with when you first enter the park is correct in rating it a difficult  hike.  Oh…it’s not the length – that’s only 3 miles round trip – it’s the change in elevation (a difference of 247 feet up and down) and the terrain you’re hiking on that make it challenging.


Most of the trail is like this, and worse…


…although you’ll see some pretty wildflowers…  🙂


…and interesting looking cactus.

So why didn’t I hike Wind Cave Trail again, dear reader, and take pictures to share with you?  Because I was working on a project for the computer class I’m taking to upgrade my web design skills, and the time SERIOUSLY got away from me!  😦  Note to self…must plan better!  If only I had a clone or two (or three), I would get so much more done!  LOL

Have a great Friday, and take a walk for me today – I have another project coming due for class!  🙂



It’s Thursday and V day, so that means it’s Vista Trail time!  Vista is a short trail – it’s only 1/2 mile long, and I actually combined it with the Merkle Trail one evening when I was running short on time, but still wanted to hit the trails.  While anyone can hike Merke Trail – I do NOT recommend everyone to try Vista!


Vista starts off easy…


…and then turns into this.  First time I saw this I thought, ‘is this the trail?’

It was.


When you get to the top, the views are lovely.  There’s Superstition Mountains.


Looking to the west at Phoenix


There’s my car…Henry looks so much smaller up here!

Usery Mountain Regional Park labels Vista trail as moderate, and while I hiked this trail, my mother stayed down on Merkle trail and hiked that trail.  If you’re  not an older avid hiker – don’t try Vista.  Enjoy some of the other trails instead!  🙂

U is for un…


U is for Unbirthday!  😀

Dear reader,

Sometimes in this craziness that we call life, we need to stop and enjoy whatever moment we are currently in.  You’ve been on this month long journey with me for 24 days now, and I would like to thank you for joining – and continuing – with me.  So, as a way to celebrate, I’ve decided to join Mr. Lewis Carroll and the Mad Hatter and wish you a “VERY, MERRY UNBIRTHDAY”!!


First some tea…


…then some cake…


…and finally…take a moment to relax and enjoy

the moment!

Happy Unbirthday to you!  😉



Today’s post isn’t about a trail I’ve already hiked, but about a trail I’m hoping to hike this weekend!  If you’re familiar with these mountains…


…then you might have an inkling of the trail – that begins with the letter T – I’m planning on hiking.  Give up?  It’s the Treasure Trail at the Lost Dutchman State Park!  😀


Treasure trail is supposed to be about a 2.4 mile hike, and the trail description says it’s a moderate trail.  It also says that the elevation will change by about 500′ while I’m hiking, and that it can be completed in about 1 and 1/2 hours.  Apparently, Treasure Trail will take me right up to a rock formation called “Praying Hands”, but not to “Weaver’s Needle”.  I’m thinking that will have to be another hike…


Weaver’s Needle picture from Wiki Commons

I’ve been wanting to hike the Lost Dutchman State Park, because the Superstition Mountains fascinate me.  I live pretty close to them, and the feelings I get when I look at them change from day to day.  Sometimes they look foreboding…


…and other times they look like something from an old Star Trek T.V. episode!  Either way they look on Saturday, I’m hoping it’ll be an interesting hike!

Happy trails to you (I just couldn’t resist)!  😉

Spillway and Signal Wash Trails – it’s S Day!


It’s S Day – and I went on a 5.5 mile hike yesterday over Spillway and Signal Wash trails!  Hopefully this means my motivation is back!  🙂

The thing about both of these trails is that you actually have to hike Blevins Trail to get to Spillway Trail, and then you can hike Spillway to Signal Wash trail.  But to get back to your vehicle, you’ll have to hike about half a mile on Meridian Trail to get to Amigo Wash trail to get to Blevins Trail to get back to the parking lot!  That’s how it goes from being a 1.7 mile hike to a 5.5 mile hike!  🙂  It’s a pretty easy hike – the map lists them all as “easy”, and my seventy-two year mother was able to do it yesterday.  But remember – watch out for snakes this time  of year, and take LOTS OF WATER!!!

Happy Hiking!  ;D


Yep, there’s my mother about half way through the hike!

blevin 6

Some lovely cacti – you can buy these in the grocery stores here, and actually eat the (with the cacti spines, of course!)  🙂


There are places where you want to watch your footing!


Phoenix, Arizona is the sixth largest city in the U.S. – but

you really get the sense of being out in the desert, with no around you

when hiking at Usery Mountain Regional Park!



R is for wondeRing…yes, that’s right.  WondeRing!  🙂  You see, I’m sitting at my desk this chilly (to me – the window is open, and there’s an ever so slight breeze) Saturday morning with a cup of coffee…


…next to my laptop and I’m wondeRing if any of my readers have a favorite trail they like to hike, a favorite place they like to run/walk, etc.  You see, I originally began this blogging challenge as a way of telling others about the Sonoran Desert, AND as a way of incorporating much needed exercise into my life.  You see, I’m 41 years old, I weigh 152lbs, my triglyceride levels are 232 (as of February), and my blood glucose was 98.  I changed MOST of my diet since getting the go ahead from my oral surgeon – had jaw surgery over Christmas Break and was on a liquid diet for 12 weeks, which accounts for some the high tri and glucose numbers – but I still have my morning cup of coffee!  Unfortunately though, I’m finding lately that I’m losing  my motivation to exercise.  A co-worker got me to sign up for a 2 mile run/walk for Diabetes next Saturday, and I really should get out and hit the trails to practice.  I don’t what to be the only sad, pitiful person huffing and puffing  1/2 a mile into it!  So what am I doing?  SITTING AT MY DESK! ~sigh~

So, dear reader, what do you like to do to exercise?  I would really like some ideas, as I’m wondeRing how to get my motivation back up where it needs to be!  Happy Saturday!  🙂


Q is for Quail


Happy Friday, dear reader!  I hope the weather is lovely where you’re at.  Here in the northern part of the Sonoran Desert it’s WINDY – has been ALL. WEEK. LONG.  I’m originally from southwestern Kansas, and I’ve NEVER been a big fan of the wind!  Breezes are great, but wind?  Seriously….it can stop now!!!  😦

No sense in moaning anymore – it’ll just make me think about my sinuses, and how much I loathe the wind – so let’s get back on track, shall we?  Today’s letter is for Quail – actually the real name is Gambel’s Quail.

GambelsQuail_web_000I love these little birds – they’re so cute!  You can find them pretty much everywhere there’s a little bit of open space.  My son attends a small branch of the local community college, and they’re all over the campus.  Early in the morning, or of an evening before the sun goes down, we can see them in the front yard.  They can fly, but usually they walk around, looking for seeds and such to eat.


So, dear reader, there you have it – proof that not all of our Sonoran Desert animals look scary!  🙂   What’s been your favorite animal I’ve blogged about so far?  Have you learned anything new, or a tidbit you didn’t know about?  Inquiring minds would love to know!

Happy hiking, and don’t let the wind get you down.  😉  LOL

P is for pondering…


Today’s post is different – I’m not going to talk about a particular hiking trail, or some of the animals/plants one can find here in the Sonoran Desert.  Instead I’m pondering…because as I hike around here, I often wonder what the people who traveled through Arizona (usually on their way to California) thought when they encountered our desert.  Were they surprised?  Scared?  Awed?  Bewildered?  Did they think they had stumbled into another world?


View along Cat’s Peak Trail


I honestly can’t remember which hike I was on when I took this shot…


This shot was from the Vista Trail before sunset – there was a lot of hazy clouds that day.  Lighting was horrible!


Along the Levee Trail…


Another shot from Cat’s Peak Trail…

As you look at these photos, dear reader, what are your thoughts?  What do you think of the Sonoran Desert?  Pondering minds want to know!  🙂

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