Saturday, September 15, 2012

I'm Okay To Go

Heading out in less than 24 hours, and feeling like I am ready as I'll ever be. The last seven weeks have been peacefully re-affirming for me, mixed with serious bouts of stress, confusion, anxiety, sorrow, and remorse. But no regrets. Coming back to Castle Valley has been magical. This place is even more precious and wonderful than ever. I never want to leave, but I feel I have taken it in and absorbed it to the fullest every day I have been here. Each time I watch the sun rise from the table next to the window over looking Porcupine Ridge, I take in even more. 

My focus must turn back to Bikram, to my soul, to my self. I want this experience to launch me in to a place where I am manifesting what I really want out of life. Learning, travel, love, communication. I need to remember that a lot of the reason I chose to be a teacher, the reason I love practicing Bikram is that it is self-induced self-love. To quote my sister in law Kathy "I don't know when the last time was that I paid that much attention to myself for an hour and a half." 

My neighbor Adele read my astrological chart a few months back, and noticed that I had "Natal Mars Squares Jupiter" in my reading. She told me to go home and research this aspect to find out what it means and that it was prominent and unusual. Here is what I found:

MARSMars Glyph SQUARESquare Glyph JUPITERJupiter Glyph - Mars and Jupiter in a square aspect generate abundant physical and mental energy. Of itself, this energy is undisciplined and uncontrolled, but you will learn through experience how to channel it into productive activities. You have a desire to achieve great things, and you have the capacity and determination to do so, but you would do well to examine your own motives to ensure that they are based on some philosophical ideal or guiding principle. It is only in this way that you can use this aspect to its full potential and achieve eventual success. If your purpose is simply for the glorification of your own ego, an equally possible manifestation of this aspect, then you are bound to run into serious problems.
You have a tendency to overdo things, in your desire to get ahead you are prepared to work long and gruelling hours at the expense of the needs of your physical body, and also of your domestic life. You need to learn when to rest if you wish to avoid nervous exhaustion, and to say hello to your family occasionally, if only to let them know that you are still aware of their existence.

I feel that Bikram yoga has helped me to balance this aspect of my life. Bikram requires that you drink more water, to eat healthier, to make exercise more than just a priority - it's a way of life. My list of reasons for doing Bikram could go on and on, and I will dedicate a post to this while at BYTT. The point is, I have a tendency to overdo things at the expense of my own physical body. Some people see Bikram yoga as an extreme thing, but to me, it is more extreme to go throughout life without having something to remind you to breathe, slow down, be in the moment, drink your water, and just be. 

I'm about to do that for nine weeks, and it is my hope that I will stay in that frame of mind, not get caught up in any drama, and stay true to myself. 

I'm okay to go...

Slight Change in Plans

I made it to Williams last night, and am staying at the sweetest little B&B called the Grand Canyon Bed and Breakfast. Sheri and Del are super sweet and kind, and have a lovely place here. If you are visiting the Williams area, I highly recommend staying here.

I dropped my phone last night while checking in here, and the screen shattered into 100 pieces. :( Wah! Because of this, I found the nearest Apple store, which is in Palm Desert, CA - just outside of Palm Springs, so I will be heading that way instead of Joshua Tree and staying there tonight at the Inn at Deep Canyon. Updated Travel plans below:

View Larger Map

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On the Road Again

My route to LA:

  1. Castle Valley to Williams, AZ (by way of the Grand Canyon)
  2. Williams to Joshua Tree, CA (by way of Lake Havasu)
  3. JT to Cabazon (To see the dinosaurs from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, duh!)
  4. Cabazon to LA!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Words of Wisdom

Before I left Salt Lake, Niki took the time to read me this week's CW Horoscope. I love when stellar advice comes to you in the form of your best friend reading it from the local independent paper...

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)“Disappointments should be cremated, not embalmed,” said the aphorist Henry S. Haskins. That’s good advice for you right now, Libra. It’s an auspicious moment for you to set fire to your defeats, letdowns, and discouragements -- and let them burn into tiny piles of ashes. I mean all of them, stretching back for years, not simply the recent ones. There’s no need to treat them like precious treasures you have an obligation to lug with you into the future. The time is right for you to deepen your mastery of the art of liberation.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Seven Days

SPOILER ALERT! This post contains a Sting song.

In just seven days, I will be at the Radisson LAX practicing my first of many, many, many Bikram classes with 450+ other people. I have been following the BYTT Fall 2012 Facebook group very closely and am taking comfort in the fact that we are all equally freaked out, equally relatively oblivious to what we are getting ourselves into, and equally ready to help each other through it. There are many very encouraging posts from instructors, posture clinic teachers, and people who have been through the training. Some of my favorite quotes so far:

"You will all soon join the ranks of other TT grads who smile knowingly at the following phrases..."You have NO idea", "He was my best friend", "I hate lazy people", "Check, check, 1-2-3-4", "Hi, Guys!", "♪ ♫ I'm so lonely...♫ ♪", "Let's start the movie", "Is my English clear, yes or no?", plus so many more."

"Its just 90 minutes of breathing interrupted 26 times."

"Think bigger picture. And learn your dialogue."

"We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It’s not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist." ~Vince McConnell

Let the soul journey begin!

Of course, I had to include a song to go with this post.. even if it is Sting. If you can think of a better, more appropriate song with a "seven day" theme, let me know.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Life Milestones

Noteworthy Achievement deserving of blog post: I currently have two major movie star crushes who are both younger than me. I will not cry, I will accept this with grace, as I have a feeling I had better get used to this happening. I also have two crushes who are much, much older than me, so I've got that going for me.

My current crushes in no particular order:




Of course, there is the original crush, one which never went and never will go away:

While I am at it, my Paul Newman crush grew three times last week when watching this piece from CBS Sunday Morning. I dare you to watch this without a hanky. As if I needed another reason to fall in love all over again, ladies and gentlemen I give you Paul Newman... be still my beating heart.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In My Soul

It has been a while since my last blog post, and even my most recent ones have not given too much insight in to what is happening in my world. Today, that changes. ;)

It has nearly been 9 months since I moved to Castle Valley, and in just a few short days, I will be leaving for what could be the last time. Before I go in to my feelings about leaving, let me give some background info to catch us up.

In April, Patrick and I called off the wedding. There are several reasons for this, none of which I will go into here. Suffice to say it was the right thing to do. Once this was done, not unlike the rest of my time here in CV, I was forced to take an even closer look at myself and start making alternate plans. My view lead me to finally stop talking about doing the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training, and actually do it. Since my first Bikram class, I have been compelled to take my practice to the next level, and to take this soul journey. Now here I am two years later, just days away from my departure, and my heart is full.

Packing to leave the place which I now call home is bitter-sweet. This town has broken me down, built me up, crushed my soul, and awakened my spirit. Without it, I would never have been able to make the breakthroughs, discoveries, decisions or changes I am making now. On this "State Holiday" aka Mormon Independence Day, I want to celebrate South Eastern Utah, especially Moab, Castle Valley, Green River, Bluff, and all the sweet spots in between.

I woke up this morning with Rod Stewart's words in my mind. I couldn't have said it better myself. This one goes out to you babe...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lavender Lemon Scones --&-&-@

It's 5:30pm on a sunny summer Sunday, and I have spent most of the day in the kitchen. Normally, this would mean that I was cleaning, washing dishes, organizing, etc. but today I was baking! Last week I picked up some beautiful lavender from the Day Star Academy Farm that is next door to us. Just look at that juicy, crystal-y lavender!

Since they are Seventh Day Adventists - which means they are vegan, and grow organic produce only, I figured their lavender must be safe to eat, so I decided to try and bake something I have sorely been missing since moving to Castle Valley: Scones!

After letting the lavender dry out for a couple of days, and seeing as how today it was going to be 78 degrees and not 100 degrees, I figured it would be a good day to crank up the oven to 400 and get my bake on. I have never attempted baking scones before, as is the case for most of the recipes I have tried since moving out here. Necessity is the mother of all awesome baked goods, as they say. These were easy as pie, and oh-so delicious! Here's how it's done:

Lavender Lemon Scones (non-vegan, non-low fat ;)

If you are lucky enough to have a full-size food processor, you can use it to mix the entire recipe. 

Zest from 2 lemons
2 Tbsp lavender
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter - cold and sliced
2 large eggs - separate the yolk from one egg
1 cup buttermilk or heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Add lemon zest, lavender and sugar into your food processor. (I use a 2-cup Cuisinart. If you do not have a small food processor, grind your lavender in a coffee grinder or mash it with a mortar and pestle first to start releasing the oils.) Blend until mixed well.

In a medium sized bowl, or in your full-size food processor, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add sugar mixture. Add butter slices and combine (either with the pulse function, or using a pie crust mixer as shown) until the mixture resembles corn meal.

Whisk your egg whites, egg yolk, and cream (reserving egg white from the 2nd egg for your egg wash later) and add to the sugar/flour mixture. Pulse/chop to combine.

Divide your dough in to two balls. Lightly flour a clean surface and shape one of the dough balls into a circle 1 inch thick. Using a pizza slicer, cut out triangle shapes for your scones.

Place the scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with the reserved egg white, sprinkle with your granulated sugar, and pop in the oven for about 14 minutes - or until they are a light golden brown. Serve with your favorite tea, coffee, or other delicious beverage. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fast Fresh Tomato Salsa

I picked up 5 lbs of "over ripe" heirloom tomatoes from the Daystar Academy the other day and tossed 'em in a blender to make this yummy salsa! It was SO easy that I wanted to save my recipe and share with you!

Fast Fresh Tomato Salsa (makes about 3 quarts)

  • 5 lbs. tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 serrano chile, finely chopped
  • 1 habenero finely chopped
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes juice
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop up about half of the tomatoes, and put the rest in the blender along with the chiles. Combine remaining ingredients with blended and chopped tomatoes and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Moroccan Green Bean Stew with Couscous, Homemade Harissa and Greek Yogurt

One of my favorite iPhone aps is Stitcher which allows you to listen to just about any podcast that is in existence whenever you like. It's great to be able to pause and pick back up the podcast on the go, especially when you want to write down one of the mouth-watering on-the-fly recipes that Ms. Lynne Rossetto Kasper gives to her callers each week during The Splendid Table, like this one she gave to the reluctant vegan from the Herb Society of America last week. Let me tell you, it is SO freaking good!

This dish is good warm or at room temperature, and it's the sort of thing that begs to be topped with fresh herbs. Thanks to Stitcher, I was able to pause, rewind, transcribe the recipe, and re-check it as I cooked. This turned out to be one of the best things I have made in a while.

Moroccan Green Bean Stew with Couscous, Homemade Harissa and Yogurt (Serves 4)

Here's what you need:

1 1/2 lbs. trimmed Green Beans
1 lg onion chopped
Lots of garlic (which in my book is 5-6 cloves)
1 basket cherry tomatoes smashed
1 can chickpeas (optional) or 1/2 lb carrot sticks or any other vegetable of your liking
1 bottle white wine

Fresh Herbs:
Basil, Thyme, Mint, Cilantro

1 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp. Allspice

Several Cloves
1 tsp Nutmeg
Lots of Black Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Sweet Paprika

Take a big skillet, film it with olive oil and cook the green beans and onion until they are starting to brown. Add chopped garlic, and then add chopped fresh Thyme and Basil. Blend all the spices in a coffee grinder or crush with mortar and pestle and add to the pot.

Let this cook for 2-3 minutes, and then add 1 cup white wine (or veg broth)

Let the wine cook down, and then again add 1 cup white wine (or veg broth)

Add tomatoes, chickpeas, carrots etc and then cover beans with liquid of your choice (more wine or veg broth) and cook until beans are almost melting, and liquid has cooked down to create a stew.

Serve over couscous along with a side of Greek Yogurt and Homemade Harissa (recipe follows) and you have a feast fit for the Queen of Morocco!

Homemade Harissa Recipe:

I made this in a pinch the other day as I cannot find Harissa in the markets here little old Moab. It is my new favorite condiment!

You will need:

  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 dried ancho chile, or fresh jalapeno, whatever chili you have on hand
Blend in a food processor and enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cantaloupe Soup Recipe FAIL

It's 100 degrees today in Castle Valley, and I need something sweet and something cold to keep me from melting. Luckily, I stumbled on to this recipe today while listening to The Splendid Table. Let's see how it turns out...
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • fresh mint

set aside a few chunks of cantaloupe for serving, and add puree the first four ingredients. add reserved chunks of cantaloupe, garnish with mint and enjoy!

you can also drink this soup with a shot of vodka and ice. YUM!


This recipe did not go over so well in our house. Maybe try it with watermellon instead? Either that, or this type of thing demands to be prepared with a Vitamix. It tasted like a pulpy cold pile of savory-sweet strangeness. Maybe it's an acquired taste? I may never know...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

KZMU Playlist: 420 Edition

Depeche Mode - Flexible - MP3
The Cure - Lullabye - CD
Beach Boys - When I Grow Up To Be A Man - MP3
Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up - MP3
Belle & Sebastian - CD
the Jets - Crush On You - LP
Panda Bear - Bros - LP
John Prine - Illegal Smile - CD
Ray Charles - Let's Go Get Stoned - CD
Rick James - Mary Jane - MP3
Sonic Youth - Diamond Sea - CD
Elvis Costello - Brilliant Mistake - LP
Love & Rockets - Cassette
Bob Marley - Adam and Eve - CD
Alan Toussaint - Southern Nights - MP3
Gene Vincent - Be Bop A Lula - MP3
The Band - Ophelia - CD <3
Moby Grape - Aint That A Shame - LP
Ace of Cups - Music - MP3
Stevie Wonder - Lately - LP
Chris Bell - I Am The Cosmos - LP
The Smith's - Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want - LP
George Harrison - Beware The Darkness - LP
Radiohead - Knives Out - 12"
Santo & Johnny - Sleepwalk - MP3
Bjork - Undo - CD
Bill Haley & His Comets - See You Later Alligator - MP3

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Delicate Arch Hijinx

Our friend (and best man) James came to visit this week. We had a lovely time cooking, drinking some delicious IPAs and Dickel, eating rocky mountain oysters, and star gazing.We took James to Delicate Arch and the skies were filled with overcast white, which made for some surreal shots that day.


Is this the arch?

When we arrived at Delicate Arch, it was real crowded (as is normally the case) so we decided to hike further over to view the arch from the south side. You typically see shots taken from the North as shown above, with the La Sal's in the distance. 

Can you find James?

No sun = no shadows = looks fake

Delicate Arch from the side

Can you find James?

Best Buds

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

My 2nd KZMU Playlist :D

I had my 2nd show on KZMU today, and it was a great success if I do say so myself...

Otis Redding - Love Man
Roy Orbison - Workin for the Man
Helen Banks - Hazy Day
Brian Eno - St. Elmos Fire
Morrissey - Suedehead
Dum Dum Girls - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Billy Joel - Vienna
Why? - Darla (whoops, there was an F bomb thrown in there. Shh, don't tell!)
John Prine - Dear Abbey
Dwight Twilley - Sincerely
De Barge - I like It
Carlo - Ghost Man
Nick Lowe - So It Goes
Big Brother and the Holding Company - Easy Rider
Ray Charles - Night and Day
George Harrison - Isn't It A Pitty
Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah

*~*~*Astrology Report *~*~*

Pretenders - Don't Get Me Wrong
Grateful Dead - Til the Morning Comes
The Princess + The Warrior Soundtrack (f'k up - played this instead of the turntable, but it worked out)
Husky Rescue - Sweet Little Kitten
Will Oldham - (Some song whose name I can't remember)
Them - Would You, Could You
Graham Nash - I Used to Be A King
Gerry Rafferty - Right Down the Line
Led Zeppelin - Goin to California
Townes Van Zandt - Poncho and Lefty
Moody Blues - Go Now

Leapin Lizards!!

Spring has arrived here in Castle Valley and we have finally started to let the cats out during the day. This has been great for the most part except that it turns out Sabrina is quite the hunter. For those of you who've never had a cat, let me explain something. When cats kill things like mice (yay) or birds (boo) they like to bring them back to you as a gift or an offering of some sort. There are several theories as to why they do this, my favorite being they are trying to teach us how to hunt. (Aw how sweet!)

I used to find these giant Silence-of-the-Lambs-sized moths and the occasional Katydid in my old apartment. There was also the time when Prince brought in a half-alive baby bird which I had to put out of it's misery (traumatizing.)

However, Sabrina has taken this to a whole new level of gross.

It started when we woke to find a few tail-less, motionless baby lizards on the porch (poor things.) Then we found one in the living room a few mornings later. Soon, this progressed to the day I went outside to find two dead lizards and Sabrina laying next to them with a lizard-arm hanging from her lip. EEEW!!

But it doesn't stop there. In the last week I have found two live lizards in the house with their tails chewed off (don’t worry, they grow back right?) Yesterday she killed one that was probably 5-6 inches long. Sabrina is a little gal so this lizard was almost half her body length. Haha! The latest in the lizard killing spree was just this morning when she brought another 5-6 inch lizard into the house... alive. I was screaming and jumping on the futon quicker than you can say "LEAPIN LIZARDS!"

Next thing you know she will be killing iguanas or something. Or she would if there were any here to kill. I hope she’s not effecting the ecosystem of this place too much. Man!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My First KZMU Playlist!

I hosted my first KZMU show on Friday, and boy was it exciting! Patrick came along and helped out. We were real nervous, but we got through it, and managed to play lots of good vinyl. The studio recently acquired a 2nd turntable so that they can have all-vinyl shows which I am hoping to do some day. However, the 2nd turntable was not hooked up yet on Friday, so we had to improvise here and there. Here is our playlist:

Lindsey Buckingham - Someone's Gotta Change
The Egyptian Lover - I Cry (night after night)
Head East - Never Been Any Reason
CCR - Bayou
Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs - Stay
Nick Lowe - (I love) The Sound of Breaking Glass
Nunzio Fattini - Cousin
Spacemen 3 - I Love You
Paul Newman - Cool Hand Luke - Plastic Jesus
ELO - One Summer Dream
F.R. David - Music
Celebration - Holiday
Sebastien Tellier - Roche
Astrology Report
Bjork - Charlene
Riz Ortolani - Oh My Love
The Chromatics - Tick of the Clock
Thompson Twins - If You Were Here
The Cars - You Are the Girl
Robert Palmer - Johnny and Mary
Melanie -
Harry Nilsson - Jump Into the Fire

We had such a great time and can't wait to do it again! You can catch our next show on Friday, March 9. I'll post more info about it here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

February Photo A Day Challenge: Catching Up

Ok, I haven't been slacking on taking these photos each day, just slacking on posting them here. Let's take a look at the last week...

Day 10: Self Portrait. This is me standing in the bathroom, and that's my favorite towel  behind me.
Day 11: Makes You Happy. These guys only come by once every few days, so it's always a treat.

Day 12: The Inside Of Your Closet. I couldn't bare to take a photo of my clothes closet, so here's a pic of the pantry. 

Day 13: Blue. My favorite shirt in the dirt.
Day 14: Heart. Lots of 'em.
Day 15: Phone. I keep this thing on hand in hopes that I will someday fix it up and use it. In the meantime, I find it very soothing just turning the rotary dial. It's a weird OCD thing I have.

Day 16: Something New. Christy and Adelle, my brand new friends in town. These ladies are the real deal.
Day 17: Time. Found these beautiful lichens while on a shed hunt the other day. Lichens can  be preserved on rock faces for up to 10,000 years according to Wikipedia. I wonder how long these beauties have been here.

Day 18: Drink. Morning coffee brought to you by the French Press. I prefer Melitta myself, but the press works in a pinch. #coffeesnob

Day 19: Something You Hate To Do. I am still trying to come up with this one.

Say Aaah... Say Aaah...

A night at Willie's from Patrick Munger on Vimeo.

Here's a video made by Patrick two years ago featuring a luscious track from Sebastien Tellier. The photos follow us through a night of karaoke at Willie's. Such sweet memories Note to self to make more of these videos happen soon.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

DIY Awesome Light Fixture for the Kitchen

Last summer our vegetable garden was a great success. We planted 14 or so tomato plants, and all but two were productive. Needless to say, we had a lot of tomatoes, which lead to my first attempt at canning. Now, six months in to the post-canning season, we have a dozens of empty canning jars taking up space in the kitchen.

We've been using the pint jars in place of proper drinking glasses, and using the quart jars for dry food storage, sprouting, homemade sauce/leftover storage. Even with all these alternate uses, the ever-growing emptied canning jars have still managed to take over the cupboards... until this morning when I had a sudden burst of motivation to do something about it. .

We had kept a string of white Christmas lights in the space above the cupboards to use as a night light, so this was already in place. From here, I placed the tops and lids on the bottles, and placed them lid-side-down on the cupboard in front of the Christmas light string. Placing them lid-side down will allow the light to escape through the tops of the jars, letting the light glow and bounce off the ceiling.

So, my canning dilemma turned from irritating to awesome with minimal effort. Word up.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kane Creek Blvd and Moonflower Canyon

Went on a lovely little hike yesterday up Moonflower Canyon. I drove up Kane Creek Blvd a few weeks ago while exploring around town. I was so pleased to find that not only did the road continue outside of the subrubs of Moab, but it went up several miles and contained all kinds of surprises including camping, cave houses, petroglyphs, a log climb, and several hiking/biking/4x4 trails. Oh how I love this place.

To get to Moonflower Canyon, locate the McDonald's at the south end of Moab on the comer of Main Street and Kane Creek Blvd. Follow Kane Creek Blvd west for 3.1 miles to Moonflower Campground (N38° 33' 14", W109° 35' 15") located on the east (left) side of the road. There are Petroglyphs and a log climb located behind the split rail fence on the south side of the parking area, but we decided to do the log climb another time since the sun was going down and it was getting cold.

The hike starts with a massive tree right near the parking lot. You can walk underneath the huge branches that reach to the ground.

We followed the creek up the canyon, which was frozen in many parts. 

Frosty Leaf
Frosty Cactus

More frosty leaves

Once past the frozen part of the creek, the canyon turned from red sand to grassy/mossy marsh.  

Patrick wandered off and found a little cove with icicles melting in to the creek. The dripping water made the most wonderful echoing sounds in the empty canyon.
At the end of the canyon is a large pond surrounded by boulders for climbing. There was a teenage couple making out, so we decided to give them some privacy and didn't explore much in this area. 
View from a boulder into the pond below. Purdy!
Can't wait to come back in the spring/summer and see what all of this looks like. Maybe we'll even see some Moonflowers. 

Make out couple's sweet 'stang
The drive further up the road reveals what appears to be a community of modern day cave dwellers as there are several trailer homes parked out in front of man-made caves in the rock. How effing cool is that?! Living in a cave home has become one of my dreams ever since we visited Hole 'N the Rock back in December. 

Here is one of the finished homes sans trailer outside and a full-fledged front door and window set up.