Zion National Park

We’ve spent the last two days exploring Zion National Park. This is the first national park we’’re visiting this week. Tomorrow we’ll head to Bryce Canyon for our second park of the tour. Zion absolutely lived up to our expectations. We will be back. When we return, we’re going to complete the Narrows and Angel’s Landing hikes. We were unable to complete the Narrows today due to weather and the risk of flash flooding.

Before you go, here are some things to consider.

  • The busy season run from April to Early October. And it is busy, plan to get there early in the morning if you’re not staying in the park.
  • Buy the Interagency America the Beautiful pass. For $80 ($20 for seniors, free for military,) it gives you access to all of the National Parks.
  • The Zion National Park newspaper is a good resource for planning your visit.
  • Watch the weather carefully. The weather will impact your ability to complete certain hikes (like the Narrows) safely.
  • Get the right gear! You’ll need good hiking shoes and socks, ponchos, jackets, walking sticks, hats, sunglasses, charger for your cell phone, lots of water and snacks. We also brought bear spray, sunscreen and bug spray
  • Prepare to be flexible. Your planned hikes may need to change depending on the weather conditions. We were scheduled to do the Narrows today, but couldn’t due to the rain and possibility of flash flooding.

Some of our favorite hikes:

  • Emerald Pools is a moderate hike that feature three uniquely colored pools and waterfall. It’s a busy hike, so get their early.
  • The Watchman trail is a 3.3 miles moderate trail up to a beautiful viewpoint of the Towers of the Virgin, Lower Zion Canyon and the town of Springdale. This was my personal favorite.
  • Riverside walk is 2.2 miles and leads to the beginning of the Narrows. It is an easy, mostly paved hike. We got to the end of the Riverside walk and decided to do the beginning of the Narrows.
  • Kayenta Trail is a 2 mile moderate trail that connects the Grotto trail to the Emerald Pools trail.

Animals you may see while visiting Zion (not an exhaustive list):

  • Desert pronghorn sheep
  • Mule deer
  • North American rock squirrel
  • California condor
  • Gray fox
  • Coyote
  • Bobcats
  • Cougars

The park has a beautiful visitor centers and numerous nice restroom facilities throughout the park. There is a shuttle system that is quite efficient that takes guests up and down the canyon to the different trailheads. If you’ve never been to Zion National Park, I’d recommend adding it to your list of places to visit.

What’s your #1 priority tomorrow?

My number one priority tomorrow is getting us safely to Bryce Canyon. We’re leaving Zion and heading to our second National Park of the trip. I’m a bit nervous as Bryce has gotten some snow over the last couple of days. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see what Bryce and the surrounding area have to offer.

Frosting fail

Write about your most epic baking or cooking fail.

Today’s prompt is about my most epic baking fail. While I’ve had several, but if I were to pick my most recent one it would be a frosting fail. A couple of weekends ago I decided to make homemade toaster strudel. This was a part of my prednisone-fueled baking fest. I also baked an apple tart, kouign-amann, and short ribs that weekend. It’s no wonder that prednisone makes you gain weight.

The recipe was super simple and easy to make. Yet, I managed to royally screw up the frosting. I mixed everything together and it looked super clumpy. As an aside, frosting should never look like pastry dough. Since it looked so odd, I decided to taste it. It was then I realized I had accidentally grabbed flour instead of powdered sugar. Whoops! So if I may give one piece of advice, label ziplock bags when you put flour or sugar in them.

Another baking fail, and I swear it wasn’t my fault, was when I baked lasagna after Goalielocks’ graduation. My parents were staying with a few weeks, so I decided to make lasagna as it is always a crowd-pleaser. Everything was going well and I put it in the oven. When I checked on it thirty minutes into the baking time, I noticed it wasn’t cooking. That was a fun and expensive puzzle to solve! Ultimately, I was able to cook it in our bottom oven, which was thankfully still operational. Eventually, I got a new oven and I absolutely love it.

I think all bakers and cooks have failed in the kitchen. Often times the failure leads to laughs and second attempts. Some recipes take a lot more practice and refining than others. I, however, find it rewarding to finally master a more difficult bake. It should come as no surprise that I love watching the Great British Bake-off. I often end up baking items I’ve seen on the show. It’s a fun journey that connects me to my mom, my grandma, and all the bakers in my family.

Better Day

It’s been a better day. Probably because I had a better night. My first night’s sleep after stopping the prednisone was a huge success. Not only did I fall asleep pretty easily, but I managed to stay asleep and get some deep sleep. The past month falling asleep and quality of sleep have been a major issue, so last night was a gift. I’m hoping tonight will be similarly successful. Of course, it helps that I’m not a Jets fan because losing your expensive future HOFer QB in game 1 sucks royally.

Work has been better too, albeit it slow. I did get my workout over lunch and it went well. I’m contemplating writing a proposal letter to move my schedule, but I really like getting off at 5:00 pm. Especially since I know the craziness of AEP is right around the corner. I guess I’ll stick out the slow mornings and count my blessings. Hopefully, AEP, which is our busiest time of year, is absolutely banging.

Yesterday’s workout was an absolute gong show, so I wasn’t sure how today would go. Fortunately, as hard as yesterday’s workout was, today’s came with relative ease. I definitely wasn’t working on an exit strategy today like I was from the beginning of yesterday’s workout. Today’s workout was hills and speed pushes ranging from moderate to all out. The interval work is really elevating my running game.

What personality trait in people raises a red flag with you?

The biggest red flag for me is someone who always, no matter what, sees the glass as half empty. To be clear, I’m not looking to hangout with Pollyanna and her perpetual positivity either. My experience however, with folks that only see the glass half empty is they can never get themselves out of the negative feedback loop. They can never move forward or upward in life because something bad may happen. And quite frankly, the overarching negativity may be a symptom of a greater mental health issue I’m not equipped to navigate.


It’s midweek, which while better than Monday it isn’t Friday. Nevertheless, the majority of the work week is now behind me. I shouldn’t complain too loudly since I can work from wherever I want. This week I’m working out of my parents house in Minny. My schedule is 8-5 est, which leads me plenty of time in the evenings to workout, visit folks or just be lazy.

Last night we went to Panino’s for dinner. Panino’s was one of my favorite restaurants before we moved to Florida. I was happy to see that the restaurant hasn’t lost its sparkle. The food, I had the chicken fajita panino, was very good. In fact, it my leftovers were the perfect stay to feed my face post run. The restaurant was a lot less busy than it used to be, but there are a lot more dining options now available in the area.

After dinner, I headed over to visit my friend Matt who I haven’t seen since before the pandemic. It was really nice to see him and reconnect after all these years. Honestly, it feels like all of us were just in high school yesterday. That feeling is definitely at odds with the fact all three of my boys have left the nest. It was the great day and a great night. The only thing missing was my adorable puppies and their excited wiggles when they see me.

Speaking of my empty nest, all three boys are doing well. The Mayor reached out looking for some protein powder and bio freeze. Apparently, they must be working him pretty hard in Ft Myers’s. Goalielocks started classes and volleyball practice this week, which are both going well. Jake and I are working on the logistics of our Mighty Five Adventure.

What motivates you?

My boys have always been a big source of motivation. I can hardly ask them to work towards becoming the best version of themselves if I’m not setting example. Speaking of motivated, I’m on a three day streak of running outside. Unfortunately, I’ll have to go back to running on the treadmill once back home due to the heat. I am, however, really enjoying running on the track.


I survived my doozy of a Monday. It took forever to end as falling asleep was damn near impossible. In fact, I didn’t fall asleep until well after midnight. The good news is that once I finally fell asleep, I slept really well. In fact, I even got up in time for work today. What a feat! Actually, I got up early enough to go grab my own coffee before starting my work day.

Monday may have been an absolute drag, but the weekend was pretty fantastic. Friday night we ordered Sushi Yama for Goalielocks last dinner before heading back to school. As always, it was amazing. We really enjoy their crispy rice appetizer. The rice is so good and the tuna it’s topped with is delish. Naturally, the boys also enjoyed their usual helping of fried rice and chicken katsu. We ended out night by watching Messi and InterMiami.

Naturally, Goalielocks was packing most of Friday night and Saturday before leaving Saturday afternoon. Of course, he left the loft looking like a bomb of water bottles and text books had gone off, so that was nice. Hubby ended up cleaning up his mess Sunday while the Mayor and I ran errands. After Goalielocks left, we headed to our friends for a hockey family BBQ. It was hot as hell, but thankfully they had a gorgeous pool with some nice shade.

The BBQ was a last hurrah for our boys before they all head their separate ways for hockey. The Mayor is moving to Ft Myers to play junior. His Goalie is staying local, but also making the leap of juniors. R is heading north to Canada for a hockey academy. While B is heading to New Hampshire for some AAA U16 action. It’s crazy to see their youth hockey careers coming to an end. The Mayor was a mite for what at least a decade and now he’s playing juniors. It’s all just a bit overwhelming.

Sunday the Mayor and I went suit shopping. The Eels where suits to and from their games, so he needed to pick up some more dress clothes. Jos A. Bank had an amazing sale going, so I got him two new suits for $300. Prior to suit shopping, we also ventured into WalMart, while I charged the rental. I enjoyed driving the Polestar in Boston once it was reconfigured, so I wanted to see how the Hubby liked it. This time Hertz included a guide outlining the difference in using an EV versus traditional car, which makes renting an EV much less of a pain.

What brings you peace?

My dogs bring me peace. There’s something so innocent and pure in the way our dogs love us and our families. Their loving kindness brings me peace even during life’s toughest hours. Working out is an activity that brings me peace. It’s also acrucial part to staying both physically and mentally healthy.

She’s Home

She’s home. Yesterday Goalielocks picked up Athena’s remains from the funeral home. They did a beautiful job on her package just as they did on Maya’s package. Now Athena will join her sister in our bookshelf next to her sister. They’ll both be watching over us while we’re hanging out watching television or eating. Additionally, I’m buying a memorial stone for each puppy to put out front in the garden. I’m also going to add some orchids and a fountain, so it will be a beautiful peaceful space.

Last night we had a great dinner with my brothers’ families, less my younger bro who got stuck at work, in a Boca. It was an adventure getting out the door per usual. Three of us are ready to go waiting on Goalielocks. He then comes out the door flounces out the door angrily as if we had kept him waiting. As for the restaurant, this place has the best nachos in the world. Honestly, I don’t know why I order anything else because the nachos are so good. Of course, the company was just as good as the nachos. I realized this morning, however, that much to my mother’s chagrin, we neglected to get a picture of all of us together. Whoops! Hopefully, we’ll be able to see them again before they head North and Goalielocks heads to college.

We ate in Boca, so we ran into a people we knew. We saw the Berner’s from hockey, which was a nice treat. Additionally, the boys saw one of their favorite teachers from middle school. Consequently, the ride home was full over funny stories about that particular teacher, middle school and all of our school experiences. It was a really enjoyable ride home.

I started running again this week and boy am I tired. Fortunately, today was a cycling day, which is a much easier workout. Well, it may be an easier workouts but it’s not easy. Bakari, one of my favorite Apple fitness instructors, legit kicked my butt with his long as intervals today. While I was cycling over lunch, the hubby was enjoying a beautiful view of the water including two nice sized sharks. It’s a beautiful and overwhelming experience to see sharks live and in the wild. They’re such majestic animals that I would not want to share the water with.

Great Weekend

I had a great, albeit busy weekend. In fact, I left the house three days in a row, which has got to be a record. Friday night I went to dinner with our PanCan Affiliate chair Joelle, PanCan regional manager Kathleen, Rita (one of our amazing survivors), and her daughter Marni. Unfortunately, Addie, who is our community relationship manager from PanCan got sick and was unable to make it. We definitely missed Addie, who is a big reason for our affiliate’s success and a big reason I jumped on board. Dinner was fantastic. The company was great and a good time was had by all.

Saturday morning we got ready for our affiliate social event at Barrel Of Monks Brewery in Boca Raton. The brewery generously donated the space for our event. I love that the brewery is back in the middle of an industrial/office park. South Florida has a lot of hidden gems like this brewery. Despite its non-traditional location, the brewery was super easy to find and free parking was abundant. After breaking the bank on parking in Boston, I have a real appreciation for free and ample parking.

The event itself was great. We spent about an hour decorating the space before folks arrived, so it looked really nice for folks. I built a candy bar because they look pretty and I like candy. Thankfully, we had a really good turnout for the event. It was nice to see so many new faces come out to support the affiliate and celebrate our successes with them. Moreover, our affiliate is full of wonderful people that love and support each other. I’m sure you can see from the pictures that this group is extraordinary. It’s nice to have an added layer of support as one navigates the grief pancreatic cancer has caused.

Unfortunately, Addie wasn’t able to make the social on Saturday either. We missed her dearly. Despite being terribly sick, she still sent her boss with a beautiful gift for me. Let me tell you, Addie is so thoughtful and kind. She gifted me a framed tribute to Athena. It’s so special. Joelle, our amazing affiliate chair, also gifted me a beautiful orchid in remembrance of Athena. Their kindness and thoughtfulness meant so much at the end of a very difficult week for me. Both items now grace my desk where they won’t gather any dust.

After the event, I chilled at home and we watched a movie. Sunday morning was relaxing as well. I baked bread and ran in the morning. At night, the Mayor had a Wolf Pack 4 vs. 4 tournament that we went to watch. We’ve done countless 4 v 4 tournaments over the years. Most of them are pure shit. One team, usually the tournament organizer’s favorites, blows out everyone else. It’s just not fun. In contrast, South Florida Wolfpack does a great job of creating teams with parity in mind. Literally, any team could win and every game could go either way. Consequently, I think it’s a better experience for both players and parents.

Running Up That Hill

I’m back to running up that hill. And by hill, I simply mean I’m back to running again. I’ve been itching to run for quite a while, so I thought why not give it a try. Originally, I had planned to start running again in June, but I hurt my left knee. Fortunately, it healed pretty well. Unfortunately, the outside of my left knee still likes to lock up while running. Hopefully, I can alleviate that pain by stretching my IT band. I really do enjoy the treadmill workouts on Apple Fitness Plus. It’s much better doing the treadmill workout than a normal run,

This weekend went pretty fast since I worked Saturday. It wasn’t the busiest day from a lead perspective, but I was able to make it a productive day. While I worked, Anakin and Athena kept me company. I’m sure going to miss spending my work days with Athena. She’s been my constant companion since I started working from home. Truly, she’s been one hell of a sales assistant. Since she was small, she had brought nothing but joy to our family. If I could collect dogs like Athena, I absolutely would do it.

We made the appointment with the vet tomorrow afternoon. It’s going to be so hard to say goodbye, but it’s been hard to see her fading away. She’s still eating and drinking, which is good. Those days, however, are numbered. We’re going to give her one hell of a last supper tonight, so she can go out having enjoyed all of her favorite things one last time. I’m going to bring Anakin’s duck with us to the appointment, so she can smell his presence and feel less alone. We’re all going, so she’ll have her favorite humans with her. She loves her brother dearly, so having a piece of him with her should bring her comfort.

Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill


I’ve had enough of the heat and humidity. I can’t wait for the temperature to cool down a bit. If it cools just a bit, it will be a barn burner. This is less oppressive than that hot as hades weather we’ve been experiencing. In fact, it’s been so hot that the water temperature off our shore has hit the century mark. This is a major problem for our corals. We literally need the water and the air to take a chill pill.

If I’m being honest, I’ve also had enough work for the week. I have to say I loved last week’s three-day workweek. I’m all about that life. This feeling is abundant this week since I volunteered to work Saturday. After all, I did miss a few days and would love to get caught up with some additional sales. Most Saturdays I spend in the kitchen baking things I shouldn’t eat while binge-watching Parks and Rec. Now I’ll just sell dental and vision insurance as I binge my favorite Saturday show.

One of the things I enjoyed most in Boston was the old architecture. I loved the gardens at Peacefield with the wrought iron fence. For the love of all things holy, my other work monitor just stopped working. Sweet mother of good this shit gets old. Now I’ll get to spend another day working with IT to get my laptop and peripherals working again. Fortunately, I watched IT Crowd, so I fixed it by turning it off and on again. Thank God it started working again.

What strategies do you use to maintain your health and well-being?

I loved today’s prompt because it’s super important to find health and wellness strategies that work for you. I’ve had to be very flexible with my expectations for myself post-Graves’ disease diagnosis. What was once possible doesn’t seem to be so possible anymore. This is to say, I have to be a lot more pragmatic and strategic in managing my wellness strategies.

The first of which is drinking enough water every day. I love drinking sparkling water, so this is a goal I never miss. Secondly, I practice good sleep hygiene. I follow the same routine every night and every morning. The consistency has helped tremendously. I also read nightly as part of my wind-down strategy. Third, I try to eat as naturally and seasonally as possible. In fact, I gave up all artificial sweeteners last year. In terms of eating seasonally, I try to eat fruits and vegetables when they’d naturally be in season. This, of course, is how I grew up eating. You couldn’t get blueberries and strawberries year-round then.

My exercise strategy shifts depending on where my Graves is at. I was running daily, but I ended up with shingles in January after a run. Consequently, I decided to mix up the routine and do something less taxing on my body. Since February, I’ve been spinning for 5-6 days as well. Apple Fitness + has great forty-five-minute cycling classes that are perfect for my lunch break. In addition to spin class, I’ve been doing Sweat’s HIIT workouts to build strength. Lastly, I’ve been doing Pilates or yoga six times a week. So far this workout strategy has been working really well. I’m going to add in some treadmill workouts though because I’m itching to run.

And lastly, here’s a brief Athena update. Unfortunately, she continues to deteriorate and difficult decisions have been made. We booked an appointment with the vet Tuesday to put her to sleep. This was the soonest they had available and it is important to us that our vet puts her to sleep. We don’t want to take her to a stranger or strange place. She loves the vet and will be comfortable and feel loved. Athena continues to eat and drink, which have always been two of her favorite hobbies. She enjoys eating chicken parm, donuts, and cheese.

Ready to Go

We’re packed up and ready to go. This morning the Mayor went out and picked up Athena’s favorite donuts from Publix, so she’ll have plenty to munch on while we’ll we’re gone. I’m hopeful our flight will be on time today and Sunday. The airports in the northeast have been an absolute disaster this summer. We get in pretty late, which is an absolute bummer since he plays tomorrow morning at 7:00 am. Tomorrow morning is going to be an early start.

While in Boston, I’ll try to post as often as I can. Hopefully, the weather will hold out, so we can go whale watching. I saw a whale when I was in Puerto Vallarta, but it was from a great distance. I would love to see one up close. Albeit, not too close. I’m looking forward to taking time to explore the city with my Mayor. Additionally, it will just be nice to hang out with him since he’s moving out next month. Needless to say, I’m excited to see how he does at the next level of hockey. We’re ready to go, so stay tuned.