Sunday, April 17, 2011


Well, we made the leap from cable TV to internet streaming! We purchased a Roku for about the same amount that it costs us for cable TV for one month.  Now, we are able to stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, MLB TV, Pandora, movie channels, etc. through the Roku to the TV. There are a lot of channels, though some are just silly ones... like a channel about a surf spot, games, etc.

We are saving over $500/year with Roku!! We still have to pay for Netflix, Hulu Plus and, but this way we get to watch the Braves, TV shows that we want, and we can watch Netflix on our TV without using the computer!  It's magnificent!


About 3 months ago, our neighbors across the street found a dog in the wash. She was really sweet to people and a little nervous around other dogs. Well, she was pregnant!! And now her puppies are 7 weeks old and absolutely adorable!! Their other dog, Lily, is jealous of the puppies, as is their daughter Olivia, so they jumped on me with the puppies :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rain in Arizona

We took a vacation last week and went on an Arizona road trip.  The weeks leading up to our trip were sunny and hot. We were having record hot temperatures for March! We were excited about climbing in Cochise Stronghold, hiking in Flagstaff, treking through Slide Rock State Park in Sedona, and enjoying an Olive Oil Mill tour topped off with climbing near Queen Creek.  We had a full week planned of tent camping and adventure with Barley.

Cochise Stronghold is amazing. It is a large grass field with mountains of pure rock all around. It is an open range for cattle, who are used to the human visitors by now. After driving along a gravel/dirt road for over 12 miles and maneuvering around drainage holes in the road, we arrived at what we hoped was our destination. We set up camp in a shady grove at the base of a massive slab and set off to find climbing. Miraculously, we stumbled on a group of NOLS adventurers and the correct climbing walls we were looking for. It was luck that we found the correct walls.  After climbing with amazing views, we trekked back to our campsite to view the sunset.

The next morning we woke early, enjoyed eggs and pancakes for breakfast before packing the Camry and making the long drive to Flagstaff.  

Before the trip, we looked at the Flagstaff weather and decided it would be too cold for us to camp up there overnight. We decided to stay in a hotel, and we are SSOOO glad that we did! On the way up to Flagstaff, it began raining... and it was very cold!! We enjoyed a nice hot shower before heading to downtown Flagstaff for dinner.  We found a pizza place with some outdoor seating so we could eat with Barley, so we bundled up in hats and coats for dinner.  After dinner we found a dog park for Barley to blow off some steam, drove through Northern Arizona University in search of the large Lumberjack (never found it though....), and went to Oregano's for their infamous Pazooki! :) 

The next morning we awoke and discovered it was not raining, though still cold, and decided to go for a short hike, partially for us and partially for Barley :)  We found a relatively short hike, close to the city and it was gorgeous! There was snow on the mountain too!

Tommy really enjoyed the 500 year old Elder Juniper and "holy" rock :)

After the hike, we checked out of Flagstaff and started the scenic drive to Sedona in hopes it would be warmer and sunnier down the mountain.... It wasn't.  When we arrived, there was still a chill in the air, though no rain... yet.  We set up camp at Cave Springs Campground in Oak Creek, just north of Sedona.  Barley loved the open area and creek that ran along the campground.  After setting up camp, we decided to get dressed... for a VERY nice dinner.  Tommy's boss, Richard Serna, used to be the Sous Chef at Enchantment Resort's Yavapai Restaurant. The elegant restaurant called for dressy clothes... and that is tough when you're tent camping!

Dinner was amazing! Richard had told the Chef at Yavapai that we were coming, and they took GREAT care of us! We started dinner with starters of Maine lobster tacos with smoked chiles and avocado in a ponzu sauce, and we enjoyed slow cooked pork belly in a root beer glaze with a saffron and curry sauce with corn puree.  DELICIOUS! We were then served a roasted beet salad with a yogurt dressing to cleanse our palate for the main entrees... Tommy enjoyed four lamb chops served on a ragout of farro, bacon, and camboloza cheese.  I indulged in three large scallops served with Osetra caviar on a lobster risotto in a beurre blanc sauce. We finished dinner with a chocolate lava cake served with a raspberry sherbet (though I had a cinnamon gillato) and expresso.  We were so stuffed with yummy food that we returned back to camp and slept very well :) 

It was a lovely dinner and evening.  The morning however... is a different story... we woke up to rain and hail! We quickly made a run for the car and decided to head into Sedona for breakfast, since camp-style eggs and pancakes were out of the question.  After breakfast, the rain let up and we returned to the campsite and learned that they were expecting SNOW! 6-12 inches of snow at the site... so we decided to leave. We packed the wet tent and wet dog and decided to head down to Queen Creek to camp there. We thought, it's outside of Phoenix, should be dry... warm... no. It was cold! Again! So, we unloaded everything, built a fire, cooked dinner, s'mores, played with Barley :) It was a cold but nice evening.  The next morning, we awoke to... RAIN! Crazy! So... rock climbing and Queen Creek Olive Oil Mill were out of the question... we packed the car in the rain and decided to just head back home... Mother Nature did not want us to camp anymore.  

We plan to head back to Queen Creek and Sedona when the weather is more... cooperative :)