Trails that are very close to home

Living in Flagstaff has its perks.  A huge perk of our new house is just how close to trail we are now. How close is close?  Watch the video and see me go from our driveway to a short steep technical downhill in 40 seconds of riding on the road.

The video is three clips, the middle clip is a very nearby dirt jump at the bottom of the Shultz Pass/ Rocky Ridge area. The last clip shows another trail that is less than two minutes away from the house.

My career as bamboo

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Today I visited my old office at Coconino Community Services. This was my first real job, in terms of being a full time employee. I loved it there and was pretty upset when the recession started in 2008 and I fell into the trap of last hired, first let go. Luckily my new job has me back in Flagstaff, working with my old office as a community partner. It feels like I am right where I should be and that the crazy route that got me here somehow makes sense. When I visited today, Sherri reminded me that when I left 4 years ago, I gave her my bamboo plant. Sherri has nurtured that plant and now it reaches above the window frame! It feels like a symbol of the growth that I have undergone in the last 4 years.

Zen and the Art of Dusting

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AmeriCorps member Rachel dusting at Riordan Mansion

 

One of the great things about my current position as an AmeriCorps program coordinator is that I can more effectively do my job by being an active community member.  Last weekend I was able to see two AmeriCorps members in action when I volunteered at the Rug Auction.  This week I stopped by Riordan Mansion on Tuesday and helped with their cleaning day.  Our AmeriCorps member Rachel showed me the art of dusting and we teamed up to dust the west wing of the house.  Dusting is a lot like pulling invasive weeds.  At first it seems like a chore, but then you get into it and you are in this moment of zen, making the world a better place.  By the end you are just obsessed, not able to put down your tools until every last speck of dust has been cleared.  Also, like weeding, dusting allows you a chance to chat and catch up with other volunteers.  Now if it was only that interesting to dust my own house!

A Favorite Recipe : Fettucine with Swordfish

Fettucine with swordfish (photo from Martha Stewart website)

Tonight I had the opportunity to make one of my favorite recipes, Fettucine with Swordfish.  I discovered this southern Italian comfort food on the Everyday Food website a couple of years ago.  Craving this meal for a couple of weeks now, Jay called around to all the local grocery stores in Flagstaff looking for swordfish.  No luck.  Since we ended up coming to Phoenix, we saw our chance and were able to go to Whole Foods to get all the best ingredients.  Mmmm…..

Check out the recipe and a great instructional video on how to make it, HERE.

Navajo Rug Auction

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This afternoon, as snow started falling throughout Flagstaff, Jay and I were volunteering inside, at the Coconino Center for the Arts.  Once a year they host a rug auction of authentic Navajo handcrafted rugs.  There were 250 rugs, varying from small rugs the size of a large book to large area rugs that required three men to hold them up for show.  Our job was to be Vanna White, parading the beautiful rugs in front of the audience as the auctioneer rattled off details and pressure to buy.  It was an interesting experience.  I definitely gained a new appreciation for these well crafted weavings.

Squirrel!

Abert Squirrel at the park near our house

After surviving Super Storm Sandy in northern Virginia and leaving the east when it was 40 degrees and raining, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Flagstaff was experiencing beautiful fall weather.  High 60’s and low 70’s with plenty of sun.  We got back into the Flagstaff groove by going for a hike in our own neighborhood.  I’m always amazed at how you can get on to a narrow trail in the woods only minutes from your house.  Pictured is one of our favorite woodland creatures that we spotted near Buffalo Park.  This squirrel is unique to our area.  There is a great children’s book written about him called Rascal – The Tassel-Eared Squirrel.

Bike Commuting in the Cold

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Brr! When we first got home from Virginia it was 11 degrees overnight in Flagstaff. I am determined to keep bike commuting all year long, so I am learning how to layer up and handle the cold.

Any suggestions for bike commuting in winter?