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Glanvillia, Saint John, Dominica
i am a mom/wife/textile designer gone haywire. I love to sing(music/arts AA degree), craft, exercise, and be goofy. Just living life outside the norm. And the norm thanks me for it. Oh yeah, and I like me some haikus. . . . . . . . . . What are we up to currently? Aaron recently started medical school at Ross University on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean, and the kids and I are along for the crazy ride :)

Tomorrow's hike chosen! Willow Springs Canyon to Bagley Tank

Friday, July 30, 2010

I had never heard of the Goldfield mountains before finding this hike so I'm excited! They are north of the Superstitions and on the way to Saguaro Lake.  Here is a trail log I found:

Easy & Scenic
Overview: From SR88 hike through upper Willow Springs Canyon following an old jeep road over to Bagley Tank. Return by the same route or make up your own off trail loop back to the trailhead.

I wondered what was north of the Apache Trail having driven by many times. I looked up the Goldfield Mountains on the computer and found a great deal of information about the area. For example there are very few actual trails and only some jeep trails to follow. Most of the great scenery is off trail. There are many natural arches in the area but all have to be reached by off trail hikes. I selected the Willow Springs Trailhead. As a reference point, Needle Vista viewpoint is on the south side of the highway. The trailhead is not marked but it's a clear pulloff area just before mile marker 204.

Hike: A locked iron fence blocks the road from vehicle use (maybe by permission but we are hikers) and once through it the jeep trail winds down into the Canyon to Willow Springs Well that looks to be quite deep with a cement frame around it. Our objective was Bagley Tank which is roughly 3.5 miles from the highway. We found some caves, pipe lashings, cement troughs and lots of evidence of years ago cattle areas.There also were many "waterholes" with lots of water. The dogs loved that. Much of the roadbed is sand and it makes for difficult walking. You pass some nice meadows and a grave with a beautiful cross. We wondered who and what and how. Once we left the creek bed-road bed we began to climb slightly more northerly toward the Bagley Tank. Once we arrived we were quite amazed at all the work that had once gone into that water catch. Some of my photos show how big a catch basin it is and how the berms have been built up around it with inlet and outlet trenches. So this is a tank out here! Interesting.

The terrain up and back is quite beautiful and really quite different from the stark, jagged Superstition range nearby. Even the color is varied in the cliffs and surface rocks. We went beyond the Bagley tank a few hundred yards and had a great lunch in a canyon. Although a bit rocky in places this is a fairly easy hike (except for the sand sections like walking on a beach). It opened me up to the Goldfield Mountains. Now I've arranged to go see some of the arches in the area. Over 10 have been identified but all are off trail.

It was a good day. A bit windy, however the temperatures were great! There was 4 of us and 2 dogs. Great fun for me as I did not have the fear of heavy steep climbing. Now I've discovered a new area nearby my home with some interesting terrain.

Directions to Willow Trailhead: Apache trail Northeast from Idaho Road in Apache Junction. About 10 miles northeast to highway marker 204. Just before the marker turn left into parking area. A reference point is the Needle Vista viewpoint on the south of the highway. The trailhead is not marked but is a clear pulloff area just before the 204 sign.

And here is a little about the Goldfield mountains and Willow Springs Canyon (part of the featured hike is the same as the trail we'll be hiking)

As always we will start this hike at 5:15am tomorrow, so be there a few minutes early.  Call/Text or email me to let me know you're coming or with questions. 480-216-4327

National CHEESECAKE DAY?!?!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I seriously think I'm gonna start licking the computer screen if I stare at these pictures of cheesecake any longer..

NEW Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake
Friday is National Cheesecake Day. Cheesecake Factory has two different deals to enjoy your favorite slice of cheesecake.

Today, July 29, is Cheescake Factory’s Facebook Fan Preview Day. Just Like Cheesecake Factory on Facebook and get a printed invitation for $1.50 slice of cheesecake.

If today’s deal doesn’t satisfy your cheescake cravings, stop by Cheesecake Factory on Friday, July 30, and get any slice for half price. Yum!!

Tell them Big Mama sent you! (seriously, dont tell them that, they might restrict your cheesecake consumption on the premises and then where would you be? Up cheesecake creek without a coupon, that's where).

Haiku Wednesday

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Emptied cookie jar
Caloric siren song sung
Dang snickerdoodles

Girls Night Out: Pizzeria Bianco WOOT!

Yes, I know I do a lot of girls nights- I think I'm addicted. But this particular night I did not plan- My Highschool friend, Aundrea, came into town from Dallas and so all us HS girlfriends got together.  A few of us carpooled since the restaurant was far... we kind of drove in circles in Phoenix trying to find it and on one of the corners we saw this guy with insane pants. I whipped out my phone and shot a picture- the lady in the couple next to him on the corner started laughing and pointing to his pants. He looked up and smiled at me pointing the camera at him and I waved as we drove off.  ha ha!!

We finally got to where we were going:
Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix (proclaimed the best pizza in the country by Jimmy Kimmel, Rachael Ray, and Oprah alike).

  This place seats MAYBE 40 people.  It's so small and cute and the wait was 2.5 hours.  That's right, I said it. Two and a half blasted hours!  It's all good.  We girls have the gift of gab and the Pizzeria bar is right next door in an equally rustic, entirely seperate building, so we got drinks and talked about husbands and weddings and jobs and divorces and kids and boogers and throw up and makeup and housework and the list goes on and on... It is always to good to see my ladies and I had a blast! We got in and the conversation continued in the appetizingly aromatic bare brick room.  All the Pizzas, it turns out, only come in one size ~12 inches and are fired in the tiny wood burning pizza oven

I got the Margharita Pizza with Fennel Sausage. (this is not my pizza- just picture sausage cut lengthwise instead of the red onion)
"No matter which pie you order, the standout of the pizza is the crust. Every pizza is prepared individually by owner/chef Chris Bianco. The pizza crust is incredibly delicious. A slight crunch on the crust gives way to a chewy center. Char marks freckle the ring of crust at the circumference as well as the bottom of the pizza." -Some random food reviewer on the internet (sorry random guy, I didn't copy your name before I closed the window.)

Anyway, we had a blast and Nikki posted pics on FB, so here they are, copied and pasted...

HA! I love how animated everyone is when we get together.
I look like a laughing pig in between these two LOL
not cool. I turned around so quick I think my eyes are
looking in two different directions LOL
Isn't Jamie so cute?
Tanja and Teresa you girls crack me up

Aundrea! we were so happy you could go out with us while you were here!

Tanja, Aundrea, Kayla, Nikki, Jamie, Me, Teresa (missing Brianne, Amanda, Tami, Vanessa, and Courtney! We miss you guys!)
Can't wait until our next outing in a month! (am I right???)

Haiku Wednesday

Heya chicky monkies. I reeeally should've done this last week, but oh well, I can mess up from time to time and it dont much matter. yes, I just said that. move on. ;) I figured that since I haven't posted all my other haikus I've written on my blog, I'd post them today, Haiku Wednesday, for you all to read and appreciate or not.  Here you go- please comment and tell me which one you like the best and why :)  Thanks peopolas! or peopolos. Me=Dork.

(A mother's haiku)
In a quiet place
Breathing deep, I find repose
Chilly toilet seat

Such a simple thing
Makes me smile and say ahhhhh
Air conditioning

Empty inside now
Looking to fill myself up
Pass me the icecream

Why do we cry so?
Dont' we know it will be fine?
Smile- time will fly

Metaphors are nice
Turning People into things
Sadness into art

Music lifts my soul
Notes and chords to fill my whole
Sends thoughts heavenward

Sparkly things bring smiles
To my lips and eyes and heart
how shallow am i?

Pen and paper joined
Are man's most precious asset
Where are yours, my friend?

All these pictures, gold
Dont show blemish or worry
Look young and feel old

I'm a child again
Spirit rediscovered new
Scraped knees, mud on face

So much to distract
from all in life that matters
like what to write next

Old things ripped and cut
Beauty from the forgotten
Broke fashion design

Superstition Mountains- Hieroglyphics Canyon

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Heya peeps! Our hike this morning was sooo perfect! The weather was nice, we started at the best time, the trail was an endurance test rather than strength training, there were a lot of animals about, and the canyon was beautiful!

We set out at 5:15am - the trail was rocky and there was a good steady incline. We were in the shadow of the mountain until the last 15 minutes of the return trip so our timing was perfect.  We encountered a lot of animals on our hike including rabbits, snakes, and lizards. Once we got to the spring we spent about 45 minutes checking out the pools full of mating frogs, petroglyphs, mortar holes in a rock, and a huge rock shelter. We didn't see anyone else on the trail until the last 20 minutes and they were wishing they had set out earlier.  I had so much fun hiking with my peeps! Enjoy the Pics! (Thanks, Brittney, for taking the pictures!)

Three Amigos: Brittney W, Josefina W, and Me W.

umm- I'm a dork.
just before sunrise!
The springs- not so springy, but hey, in the desert water is water
(I guess water is water everywhere else, but we appreciate it more here :)
There were more petroglyphs- these were just the
first we saw so we got all excited and took pictures :)
TONS of mating froggies in the pools- they just swam around attached like that- I wonder how long they stay that way.  They were also REALLY loud.
ummm yeaaaahhh.....
(that was for you, Brit.Lawl) interesting
Cool Large Rock Shelter

On our way back down
Mortar holes in the rock- where the natives ground their corn, flour, etc..
What a great morning!  Goodbye Mountains!

If anyone wants to hike next saturday I'll let you know where we'll be going by Thursday. Let me know!

Hikety Hike

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hey y'all!  I thought I'd post this in case anyone is looking for a hiking group :) Every Saturday morning i try and find a hike to do. We start at 5:15am, so you'd need to leave home eeearrrrly to get there and be ready to hike since that's the time we start walkin', not the time we park our cars :) . This Saturday we'll be hiking Heiroglyphics trail .  Let me know if you're coming by commenting on this post-leave your email or cell # please :)  Or you can just call or email  me 480-216-4327 :)

UPDATE:  Here and here are posts about two of the many different times we've done this hike- both have pics- one during mating season, apparently.

Haiku Wednesday

Old things ripped and cut
Beauty from the forgotten
Broke fashion design

DATE NIGHT, Episode 1

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Episode 1: Liberty Market NOM X 50 bazillion & Geek Empire woot!

Heya people!
I'm starting a Date Night Series and this is numero uno!

Aaron and I went on an A W E S O M E date on Friday.

(Dont ask me about my popeye arm- I have no
idea why it looks so big- lol)

First we went to Liberty Market for Dinner... [click for review  1  2  3 ] . This place was AMAZING! if you follow me on twitter you got a few tweets about it as I was melting from the sheer awesomeness of the tasty food. (the restaurant even RT'd my tweet to all their followers: [RT @demanieshs OMG That G stands for great googly gobbstopping gundersnatch. i just partook of the best food i've ever eaten. Liberty Market, marry me!]  ha ha)

I got the Picnic Sandwich, pressed, and fresh fruit
It has roasted turkey, caramelized pecans, green apple, bleu cheese spread, mixed greens, and roasted poblano pepper aioli. O.M.Gundersnatch!!  It was amazing!  I took that first bite and my eyes rolled back in my head and a moan escaped from my salivating mouth. NOT EVEN KIDDING. sooo funny.

looks like a normal sandwich, right? WRONG! A-MA-ZING!

Aaron did the same. He had the Maiden Lane sandwich, pressed, and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad (w/diced sweet potatos, cranberries, and carmelized pecans)
The Maiden had roasted turkey, brie, red cabbage slaw, cranberry, horseradish aioli  Wowza. it was sooo savory.

Aaron's not a sweet potato fan, but he said that this salad was really tasty-
he made me try it and I was surprised at how good it was.
not a looker, though. definitely not a looker.

For dessert we had the tastiest bread pudding. not dense or soggy. it was perfect. They make it out of their cinnamon rolls. Yumm-o! Get this- in the morning, they make french toast out of the night before's bread pudding- does it get any better than that? seriously!!

(Whoops! SHOOT! It was too good- I forgot to take a picture of it before we dove in...
well, not really, I thought about it but didn't want to stop to get the camera out.
You'll just have to see it for yourselves when you visit.
Cause..... let's face it, you ARE going to visit because you trust my opinion :) 

To top it off, we got to speak to the owners and they are the nicest people and totally deserve every bit of success they achieve. The restaurant is hip and the food is divine. Oh and GetOut wrote an article about their bathrooms a year ago. Check out the tour. LOL
Oh- and one more thing- they have good ice. Like Sonic and all the Banner hospitals. I think I might've died and gone to heaven for one night. :)

If any of you have the foursquare app on your iphones you'll like this next part- Aaron checked in at Liberty Market on foursquare and there was another guy currently checked in (his picture comes up with his name)- so we played where's waldo in the restaurant.  I won! I found "dave" and asked if it was him. He looked a little confused and I told him that we just checked in on foursquare and had fun trying to pick him out. He thought it was hilarious. We sat by him and his date and chatted for a while. hee hee We are such dorks (but we have fun so what the hay)

Then we headed over to what used to be Big Fish Pub and is now Smokey's Bar and Grill on Gilbert and Main Street. (Bit of History: My high school boyfriend played with his band there once and meanwhile I filled his truck bed with balloons to ask him to the winter formal dance- hee hee so juvenile)

We went to see our friend, Bryce Dopp, play bass there with two of his bands, Geek Empire, and The Undercovers (cover band). I'm not going to review them as thoroughly as I did the food, but I've got to say they were ROCKIN!  And very entertaining to watch. They have so much fun playing up there and tell appropriately cheesy jokes. Dallas goes crazy and has to jump at least once in every song and the guitarist, Clark, can shred some serious guitar. I also really liked his green shoes, which I made sure to get a picture of- I need that pic to put up here, BD! I was really impressed with one song that Bryce wrote- you go, dude!  He wanted his wife, (also my good friend since highschool) Nikki Dopp, to take pictures with his camera which she wasn't too excited about so I ended up taking them the entire time. 
I really need a new camera- thanks for trusting me with the fancy shmancy equipment, Bryce! I had a lot of fun with it :)

(Nikki and Me... yes, we called eachother beforehand to coordinate. Conversation went something like this:
Nikki: Hey Steph, are you gonna wear your red shirt tonight, cause I really don't think it'll go with the teal shirt I'm wearing.
Stephanie: Eh, it's ok, it's dirty anyway and I don't wash anything until the following month. I have a system.  I DO have that one green hulk tshirt that I was thinking of wearing
Nikki: Nah, you should try looking like a girl and not a comicon nerd.
Stephanie: oh. ok. how about that stripey shirt with the teal trim?
Nikki: sounds great!
Stephanie: yay!

Green Shoe Ammendment!  What a cool cat.

All in all it was a very very very fun date!! I can't wait for our next outing (which I'm sure you will hear all about in Date Night, Episode 2)!
Woot woot!