Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Christmas Present to Me

The best present I could give myself is a healthy start to next year.  In September, after months and years of failed diets, and on the suggestion of my doctor, I went to his physician assistant for help in losing weight.  He told me that my last blood test reveled that my sugar levels were high as well as my blood pressure.  My liver counts were off, and my weight showed I was in the obese range.  He was concerned that I was eventually going to be diabetic with high blood pressure and cholesterol.  He wanted me to lose weight because he felt that it could be the root of all my health issues.  I tried every thing possible to get the weight off, but only lost 3 lbs.  He suggested going to his physician assistant who can offer a strict weight lost plans that works.  I was desperate and ready to get going on my healthier life and made the appointment to get started.

Me at my heaviest.

On the first day, I weighed in at 169 lbs, with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar counts which put me in the obese range on my 5'4" frame.  He gave me the sheet with what I could eat and what I could not eat.  Basically it was NO Honeybaked Ham, beets, carrots, corn products, fruit, sugar, sugarless gum, dairy, margarine, rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, wheat, and can veggies.  Holy crap, what can I eat?  On the Can Eat list was: beef, pork, chicken, fish, raw and frozen veggies, lemons, Splenda, Sweet & Low, Equal, Lemonade or tea (unsweetened), real butter, real cheese, real cream, Chicharrones or Pork Rinds, sugar free jello, and eggs.

This certainly was a challenge, but one I was willing to try.  I lost 6 pounds in one week and in two months, 20 lbs.  I stuck to this strict diet even though all the temptations, and there were many.  I got an exercise bike for my 55th birthday, and between that and walking, the weight melted off.  Now, after over three months, I am only 4 lbs. from the 30 pound goal he set for me.  He gave me another blood test and I am delighted to say that all my readings were low and I am in the healthy weight range.  I have not been in this weight range in over 20 years.  I not only feel so much better, I am wearing a size in clothes I haven't worn in such a long time.  I love clothes shopping now.  For the first time in a long time, weight loss is not on my "To Do List" for the new year.

Next year, it's toning the flab from the weight loss and getting a breast reduction.  Sadly, my girls didn't get as small as I was hoping.  Even though I can go back to eating everything on my NO list, I don't think I will eat some of the items, and the rest in moderation.

Me 30 lbs. lighter.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tucked in the Red Rocks

The view of Sedona from the church.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross, a well known and familiar sight tucked inside the red rocks. This Roman Catholic cathedral was built in 1956 and took only 18 months to complete. It offers spectacular views of Sedona and all its famous rock formations from its chapel’s large windows. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

The View From Snow Bowl

There was no skiing going on when we visited the Snow Bowl in Flagstaff on Thanksgiving.  It was chilly but the view was breathtaking.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Northern AZ: Haunted Historic Hotels


The Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, AZ, opened its doors on New Year's Day in 1927.  Many famous people have spent time in this glorious place.  After many years of being neglected, the hotel got a total makeover. Today, the hotel has been renovated back to its former glory and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  This hotel is a mecca of many ghost sightings.  A ghostly bellboy has been reported knocking on room's doors and quickly disappearing when the guest answers it.  Employees and guests have see an apparition of a woman wandering the halls, a bank robber from the 1970's who died in the lounge, and a resident who lived in the hotel many years ago.  He can be heard clearing his throat and coughing.


In 1889, John W. Weatherford built his brick building in downtown Flagstaff, and named it the Weatherford Hotel.  The two-story structure had a general store on the bottom, while the Weatherford family lived upstairs.  In March of 1899, he added a brick third floor and celebrated the opening on New Year's Day, 1900.  The third floor was used as a ballroom for dances and parties.  It was named the Zane Grey Ballroom after the author who wrote the novel, "The Call of the Canyon".  It was told that he wrote the famous novel in that very room.  He wasn't the only famous person who laid their tired bones at the hotel, many others did as well.  The hotel was the most well-known and famous hotel in Flagstaff of the times.  From the view of the three-sided balcony, you could see all of downtown Flagstaff.  In 1929, a fire damaged the balcony and it was removed.

The hotel went through many changes throughout the years.  It once housed a theater, restaurant, billiard hall, and even a radio station.  In 1975, Henry Taylor bought the hotel because he did not want to see the place destroyed and bulldozed.  The historic downtown of Flagstaff was in extremely poor conditions with many abandoned and deteriorating buildings being torn down.  Henry and his wife, Pamela, started renovating the hotel, dreaming of returning the place to its initial luster.  In 1997, the third floor ballroom was finished and reopened.  By 1997, the wrap-around porches were restored, with the rest of the renovations closely behind.

Today, some of the employees have reports of strange activity throughout the hotel.  An employee staying in one of the rooms woke up in the middle of the night and saw a bride and groom sitting at the foot of the bed. A woman's apparition has been seen moving back and forth in the halls.  She has been seen in the ballroom as well.  There are claims of disembodied voices and whispers being heard in the lounge when no one was in there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wupatki Ruins

East of Flagstaff, near Sunset Crater Volcano, are the ruins of the farming community of Wupatki (wuh-POT-kee).  Built sometime between 400 to 1700, this unique settlement was able to thrive even with the scarce water supply and harsh weather.  Wupatki was self sustaining with a mix of Sinagua, Chohonina, and Kayenta Anasazi cultures trading and working together to built a successful community.

The homes were constructed with sandstone, limestone blocks, and chunks of basalt set with a clay-based mortar.  They ranged from single-story one family dwellings to multi-level high rises with over 100 rooms in each.  These sturdy structures have withstood the test of time throughout all the vandalism and unpredictable weather for over 700 years.  Surrounding the homes are a couple of circular formations.  One of the structures was a community room where the people gathered from time to time.  The other circular structure was a ceremonial ball court.  Many believe this also served as a watering hole when their water supply had become scarce. Wupatki was full of life until the surrounding lands made it impossible to survive.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lava Under the Snow

History says that the volcanic activity happened sometime between 1040 and 1100, creating over 600 volcanic mountains in the San Francisco Peak area.  All the habitat was wiped out when the lava blanketed the land.  The first eruption lasted almost a year and had two lava flows which eat everything in their paths leaving an amazing display of harden lava formations.  A 1,000 foot-high volcano was formed and erupted many times shooting debris in the air covering around 800 square miles of norther Arizona with ash.

I have been to the Sunset Crater Volcano Park near Flagstaff a couple of times, summer and winter.  I must say seeing the lava covered with snow is breathtaking.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday The 13th Post

Friday the 13th is typically not a bad day for me.  Sharon and I will be getting tattoos today.  Actually, she is getting hers refreshed and I am getting one on my back (tramp stamp) as a tribute to my parents. It will resemble the picture below.  They square danced for many years and loved every minute of it.  When my Dad wasn't able to keep up anymore, they had to stop.  I remember going with them to many square dancing events when I was a little girl.  I have so many fond memories.

Mom & Dad

**Update: No tattoo today. They are only doing Friday the 13th tattoos.  I will have to wait until next year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Another Arizona Historic Site

Approximately 35 miles east of Flagstaff, AZ, and just past Two Guns, sits an enormous 50,000 year old hole in the ground.  The Meteor Crater is around 700 feet deep and three-quarters of a mile wide.  The impact is compared to hurricane-force winds blowing in all directions tossing 175 million tons of rock in the air.  The crater only took 10 seconds to form taking out all vegetation in the surrounding area.

My family and I revisited this large historic site the day before Thanksgiving.  It still takes my breath away seeing the devastation the meteor has caused.  It is an awesome site for all to visit.

The bottom of the crater.

A framed view of the San Francisco Peaks from the Meteor Crater.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Perfect Flagstaff Rental


For Thanksgiving this year, my husband and I wanted to do something different with the family.  So for the entire week we rented a wonderful 4 bedroom house/cabin in Flagstaff, AZ.  For the reasonable price, you get a large kitchen, dining, living, fireplace, and master bedroom suite.  Along with the 3 car garage, there is 3 other bedrooms, a loft space, and 2 1/4 bathrooms.  We were so lucky because it snowed the week before we were there and was treated to a blanket of fresh white snow.  From the huge front window, the views of the mountains are breathtaking.

The house is located on the outskirts of Flagstaff and near the historic district.  You are within driving distance of the Meteor Crater, Lava Park, Snow Bowl, Grand Canyon, and many other historic sites.  I would recommend this place for you and a group of your friends for a northern Arizona getaway.

Here is there website if you are interested in renting the place:  http://www.vrbo.com/471412