Trying Korean Corn Dogs in Arizona because of British 8th Graders

One day while mindlessly scrolling through YouTube latest suggestions I landed on a video who’s title alone sucked me in immediately. “British 8th Graders try Korean Corndogs for the first time”. Intrigued, I had to find out what made a corn dog Korean.

I am desert born and raised. I live in Gold Canyon Arizona. Tucson is known for a Sonoran Dog but that’s an entirely different meal altogether and it definitely wouldn’t stay on a stick very well. I’m very familiar with Hot Dog on a Stick, the 1980s style mall food famous for young pretty girls in goofy uniforms doing crazy pogo like moves while making buckets of fresh lemonade. They made really yummy fresh coated, fresh fried corndogs I would dip into half ketchup half mustard. They also made “cheese on a stick” but rarely, if ever, did I eat one. I don’t tend to go to the fair but on those occasions that I have I didn’t enjoy the oversized over coated over priced semi warm ones I bought.

As I watched the video I could tell immediately the coating on these Korean corn dogs came with a really nice crunch. Being a big fan of fried foods, they had me at that irresistible crunchy sound. The British boys with their cute manners giggled realizing these magic corn dogs were covered in sugar! Personally my brain exploded at the thought that someone finally heard my prayers and put salt and fried and sweet and meat and hot sweet dipping sauces all on a stick! Hallelujah sugar coated corndogs!!! Genius!

I grew jealous as I watched the boys devour their corndogs with delight. My last corndog from Sonic was so awful and misshapen from what looked like they put it in a panini press I didn’t eat it. I refuse to buy the frozen ones. There is no Weinerschnitzle around here and they don’t put sugar on their corndogs anyways. No, these special sugary hotdog on a stick treats were something I needed to try!

Maybe it’s an American thing, I don’t know , but my brain was pretty confident that even though I was in the middle of one of the hottest deserts on the planet, no where even remotely near Korea, I would be able to find a legit Korean Corndog if I Googled it.

In Mesa!

I might be in Arizona but yes of course the Valley of the Sun has Korean Corndogs in multiple locations! We chose Mesa for our first try.

We stood at the outdoor sign for a minute trying to decide but figured let’s just go inside and look around.

Dipping Combos

Cheese Mustard. I can say it over and over but it still doesn’t seem to make sense. Cheese Mustard.

I tend to chat with whoever is helping me either at the counter or the server who takes the order when it’s my first time and I’m really not sure what to get. I want to enjoy my experience. Sometimes just hearing what is or isn’t on an item helps me decide. The young lady that helped us was great. Obviously it was our first time by our gawking at the menu but she didn’t call us out on it! I truly hate staff that condescendingly ask “is this your first time?” No, I eat daily. I am at fault for being too preoccupied with corndogs and fillings to catch her name so please excuse the random ways I’m referring to such a sweet girl. She aimed us at the ones that were half cheese half hotdog, one original, one with potatoes on the outside, so we could get a sample of quite a few varieties and dipping choices. A great way to get started! We chose bottled water as our drink. Keep the liquid simple so all the new flavors could shine.

Where to start first ?

I decided to try my first bite with no sauces. Hot gooey cheese comes stretching out of the crispy sugary coating nothing like a standard corn dog coating at all. My mouth is at first confused then wants to smile. Textures and flavors seem to go together when they shouldn’t? The Siracha and Mayo dipping sauce made the most sense to me so I went for it. Sugar, Siracha, Cheese, Salt, Crunchy , Chewy Cheese… eyes close.

I yank the stick out and flip my sugar coated wonder over to get to the hot dog side.

Next up was the corndog with the potatoes and sugar on the outside. I really liked the potatoes and hotdog combo. The stretchy cheese becomes too much for me but I also didn’t have a beer. That might be the game changer for me and the cheese.

One Korean corndog was more than enough to fill me up. The prices were very affordable. Would I go back to Myungrang? Absolutely. The staff were friendly, the place was clean, the food was fun and yummy at a price you can afford. Next door a new dessert place is going in! That’s reason enough to make a trip back over to Mesa.

Entertainment while you wait for your corndogs!
Yummmmmmm

Hey All Arizona Birds! Look Out! PHX Home and Garden “Suggests” We Should “Avoid the Temptation to Poison You!!”

This actually should read Never Poison Birds because you are unhappy. ALL wildlife is desirable 🌵💚 Find a better solution not search for poison!

Before I launch into my thoughts I am going to post a series of pictures I’ve taken of just some of the local Arizona birds who swing by my seeds or water. I have no way of telling certain birds they are not welcomed due to color ( that’s really what it is all about isn’t it Home and Garden? Being “desirable” A pigeon is a no. Is a Dove is ok? Or only the White Winged ones Stevie Nicks sings about? Maybe just the white ones sent off for a wedding?What about a Quail?)

I’ve already started, I’m too irritated not too. To print that Poisoning Birds was ever an alternative at all was quite irresponsible. Our state has protected species.

Can Mrs. Nosy Neighbor identify these baby birds? No Nancy these aren’t baby Pigeons. Are they Desirable now ????
Not a pigeon. Hey Oriole! Don’t eat the poison that’s just for the Pigeons !
Don’t Eat The Poison Pigeon Food!
Is there poison in the juice ?
There’s poison in the food?
I’ll watch
I’ll wait…

Disappointing on such a huge level that a publication like Phoenix Home and Garden didn’t take the time or effort to give better advice than to not contemplate killing an animal that bothers you .

Irresponsible also on an enormous level to suggest certain birds are desired and others should die. Based on what PHG? Is that how the affluent do it? Your neighbors idea of what a “good bird” is decides what lives or dies? To flippantly say that sure, you probably can’t find such a product on the shelf smacks of your entitlement as if you or anyone should be able to buy products that kill our local wildlife!!!!

If any wild animal becomes a problem there are resources to help. Not bothering to mention any of the help Arizona has available besides death or an evil HOA is again, completely irresponsible for such a large publication!

Phoenix Home and Garden, you didn’t bother to edit this piece with any sensitivity. You chose to mock those who love birds and who watch them and you are a GARDEN magazine!! The Audubon must be something you aren’t familiar with or Global Big Day where we, the whole world counts the birds!

So I am going to suggest everyone avoid the urge to buy a Phoenix Home and Garden magazine even from Bookmans until they can support the wildlife here in Phoenix and all of AZ.

Emotionally What It’s Like to See a Rattlesnake

youtube.com/watch

https://youtu.be/ZWjbsEIARTs

I would love it if you popped over to my YouTube channel Oh So Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance for this video and more. I started making videos to work on my public speaking at first but started to enjoy it more and more. The education I can share for free and in my own style with no editing feels liberating! My channel has over 400 videos now. Some are of me sharing my desert love and safety tips, but most are of the wildlife living here in Gold Canyon Arizona. https://youtu.be/ZWjbsEIARTs

Where am I? What did I come here for?

I step inside the door, away from the intense Arizona heat, to the freezing sensation of cold air being blown at me. I stop. It takes my body a minute to adjust and not faint. The long walk across the huge parking lot in triple digit heat has me dripping sweat through to my bra. The cold air has turned my sweat into wet and I am shivering. Take off my sunglasses and toss them into my purse. I squint as the lights inside are too bright, not sunlight bright, fluorescent bright and now I am questioning whether I should put my glasses back on or let my eyes water and adjust.

Popular music from the 1980’s is playing loudly. I don’t mind it. The songs bring me back to high school and are surprisingly not the typical, overplayed top forty. I sing along as I go. There are very few people around me so I feel less awkward and self conscious being alone, blurry eyed and still so sweaty .

I turn the corner and see all the seats at the bar are full. Puzzled, I grab my phone to check the time. It couldn’t be after noon already? No, it was still 11:30 am or so. I hadn’t lost time. It was still fairly early and during the middle of the week. Out of curiosity I look over to see what everyone is drinking. Mostly beers and wines.

At this point in my life I am not much of a drinker at all. I am a stoner. Drinking beer, any time of the day, is really not appealing to me. Morning or night, the flavor is kind of gross. I will drink one with sushi or chips and salsa but I really can’t seem to drink more than a few sips of beer before I feel really full and have to pee. I can not imagine drinking wine that early in the morning either. I can and do imagine myself smoking a bowl that early, so no judgements here.

Years ago an intoxicated girlfriend once told me her stellar wine drinking philosophy which I actually stand by to this day.

Her: “You don’t drink wine so I’ll show you. It’s three sips! It’s the three sip rule! Ok so the first sip you take is like ugh what am I drinking? The second sip is like ok this isn’t thaaaat bad. Then by the third sip you’re like hey?!? this shits good! And there you have it! You’re drinking wine!”

This handy yet somewhat slurred advice got me through my first glass of red wine at a formal business party with out me making a complete ass of myself and is how I have judged “good” wine ever since. If I do not need to take “three sips” before I am smiling and claiming “this shits good!” please go buy another bottle!

I am now staring at the bar and realize if I don’t stop day dreaming I am never going to get out of this Grocery Store and finish my errands.

Yes, I am at the grocery store!

This mammoth sized freezing cold building I have entered contains everything from Starbucks to patio furniture to clothing to flowers to a Pharmacy. I can easily get my 10,000 steps in here anytime I come without a shopping list. Complete with blaring 80s music and a wine/ beer bar if you need a drink for the strength or courage to finish “filling the house with food so you can eat this week” grocery shopping!

I am NOT in Walmart. That, to me, is the funny part. I expect Walmart to be huge and carry every item imaginable. I expect Walmart to be a somewhat crazy, disorienting experience with music in the parking lot that is not the same music playing inside the store. If I dress badly or oddly enough, I could and probably should end up online as one of their infamous shoppers! A Walmart excursion at this point in my life requires a day to mentally prepare that I am going, then a two day rest period after to recover. Walmart doesn’t have a bar.

But I guess my local grocery stores need to compete with Walmart and Target so, step right up ! Beer and Wine is now being served! Take the edge off that inflated food bill! One more round you wont care how much ground beef is per pound!

The Bar at Fry’s

I am standing with my empty cart next to self serve donuts. There is Sushi, a deli and a bakery on my left with a bar serving drinks to my right. Up ahead of me is frozen fish. Rock the Kasbah is playing loudly in the middle.

It’s almost Noon and I probably should have eaten before coming. I have no idea what I am supposed to be shopping for anymore and have left my list at home. My brain wanders to what it must be like to be the bartender at the grocery store.

Do grocery store bartenders get hit on like the ones in a club? Do random grocery shoppers ask the bartender to send a drink to an attractive stranger at the end of the bar? Omg does the grocery store bartender really get to watch two random grocery shoppers start drinking then hook up? How far is the bathroom from the bar? The mental images and questions flood in.

My experience with bartenders is from back in the days when I was much younger and would go party on the weekends with friends after work. Taking shots of whatever liquor was sent to the table, my happy place was out on the dance floor. I have never told a bartender my life story but I have been cut off from being served, kicked out, and once, in Vegas, had a bartender grab my entire right arm and wildly tape a glass to my hand because I accidently dropped my last drink into the part of a slot machine where your coins come out!

My brain drifts off again…Do grocery store drinkers get rowdy? Does it become a party in here after 5? I can’t be trusted around an open olive bar after a glass of wine!!!

The lady behind the bakery counter is now staring at me. I’ve hovered around the cookies and sliced cakes with an empty cart this entire time staring at the bar. We make eye contact. She cocks her head to the side as asks “Can I help you?” in a tone more or less suggesting I was mentally unstable rather than was I looking for a tart. I laugh and say “no I’m good.” I cut her slack mostly because I have never had to work all day around delicious sugary treats I can not eat and stare at a bar I can not drink at. The frustration seems real. And yes, I am sure I looked weird at this point. Time for me to finish shopping, or start and get out of there.

I wind up buying maybe half of what I actually needed. The distractions in the store beat me this time. I will have to return, with a list.

1 dead peacock, 2 rattlesnake encounters, 3 bearded dragons and more. A look back at my strange 2021.

1 dead peacock, 2 rattlesnake encounters, 3 bearded dragons and more. A look back at my strange 2021.

https://adesertviewwstace.com/2021/12/17/1-dead-peacock-2-rattlesnake-encounters-3-bearded-dragons-and-more-a-look-back-at-my-strange-2021/
— Read on adesertviewwstace.com/2021/12/17/1-dead-peacock-2-rattlesnake-encounters-3-bearded-dragons-and-more-a-look-back-at-my-strange-2021/

Is there Something in the Water? The Rise of the Full Bellied Man

If you ask anyone currently living on this planet “whose body has had the most influence on women?” before you could finish your sentence, answers starting with a K would come flying at you! And I would argue rightfully so. Whether it is Kim or Kylie, Kendall, Khloe or Kravis (🖤) they all can easily be identified as influential bodies. Tiny waists, full curves. Magazine cover worthy bathing suit bodies that women across the globe envy and pursue at all costs.

But when it comes to men, who would you say has their attention? What male form is thrust at the young men of Instagram or Tic Tock destroying their self esteem? Who has the body men are starting to emulate en masse?

Real Store Mannequins

Shape wear for women is nothing new. Pain is part of beauty right? Corsets to shrink your waist, push up bras, padding here and there, women have been amateur contortionist since the dawn of time . Foot binding anyone?

Foot Binding. Remember this photo always ladies. Never. Again.

All for one main purpose of attracting attention, sexual attention. To be considered wanted, desired, the ultimate female. Modern science has given us ways to make our boobs bigger or smaller, bubble that butt, suck out fat and move it else where, insert, lift, tuck , you name it ladies, if you got the cash or are willing to travel, we can get it done! Bathing suit worthy body baby !!Just in time for summer! If you are especially brave enough to order a K bathing suit made with the sheerest fabric ever, god love ya 👑👍 I’m sticking with more industrial strength supportive material! I ride water slides, I don’t wear heels to the pool.

Pool worthy 🖤👑 me

Most of us women come no where near K level of air brushed photo enhanced hotness but we try. Look around and you will find no shortage of fake eye lashes, excessively long dagger nails, high heels or overly lined lips in the general Walmart shopping female population. No matter the height weight age color, ladies are giving us looks👑

But men have gone a different direction it seems. No shape wear brand flooding the male market. No sir! Men have gone aggressively the opposite direction from fit and fabulous!! Stretched t shirts, bellies hanging over the belt, flip flops with toes that can climb a tree. We won’t call this latest look “grunge” , no that was an actual style , attitude and music all it’s own. I’m not sure who is leading this latest sloppy, pregnant looking male effort.

I guarantee it’s not Chris Hemsworth nor was it his name who you shouted out!

Though Chris ( can I call you Chris ?) is obviously putting in the same amount of effort and dietary restrictions any K does in making his body as close to perfection as he can, he is not being emulated anywhere near to the same degree by his fellow man . Why not boys? His body is million dollar Hollywood budget movie star worthy. Find a flaw. Go ahead, let’s all scan his photo for the next 5 minutes and see what we find!

Lately when I go anywhere, more often than not, there is an abundance of men with what appears to be a pregnant style belly! The complete opposite of what Chris has! So if he or his body is NOT what the average male is striving for, who’s body is it? Shouldn’t this full bellied leader be out and proud and have the same spotlight and scrutiny any K has? Is he some hidden secret? Where are his magazine covers? When did he start making this kind of influence on the male form? The Dad Bod was no longer good enough??? Apparently a fuller male belly is now the trend.

Sorry bro your Dad bod is no longer cool

Maybe I don’t have a large enough social circle, but none of my girls or guys who enjoy guy, have told me they think a flat butt combined with a hard, round, hair covered, protruding belly so big they can’t see if his penis is hard, is sexy as hell and quite the turn on. Haven’t had that conversation yet.

I can remember growing up watching TV and seeing “Rerun” Fred Berry and his suspenders on What’s Happening. He was the “big one” on the show. When I rewatch Rerun now he doesn’t seem so large at all. He also danced!!!! A lot! And had a fun personality that people wanted to be around.

Nowadays when I see one of these full bellied bros out in public they are proud and they are angry. No dance moves here. Just outwardly trying to antagonize anyone with an ill fitting slogan shirt of the flag or even by decorating their vehicles. Having the full tight belly is not enough. Are the suspenders making a comeback?

Look, if a T body is what you want your body to look like, I say go for it! By all means you don’t have to hide your want! Us women fully understand wanting KKs body! If you, as a man, want to choose a T body with extra belly button lint then I think you have every right to do so! If covering that shape with red white and blue makes you less angry then by all means please flag it up! Shorten that life span! No one is stopping that.

Thick

Being perceived as having an “attitude” comes with the focus on your looks. Women get accused all the time of being superficial, snotty, petty etc. She’s a bitch. She doesn’t smile. If you are too nice as a pretty female it’s taken as flirting. Too serious you are bitchy. “Emotional female” is the favorite slur of a certain brand of over due men.

As a man, why hide the fact you think the 70 something year old T man has a great body and you are actively pursuing one of your own? It’s ok to have a crush. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. If you enjoy a T body in a pair of shorts and no shirt plus a stiff, dumb, never been in style red hat, have at it. I say order up a supersized fast food meal with extra ketchup and a side of blue pills, Diet Coke. Grease is the word ….

There are plenty of hard bodied men on the big screen that could and should be used as the every man’s goal to the delight of women and gay men everywhere! But our American men seem to have said NO to that idea all together.

Yes please

In the original movie Top Gun, Val and Tom play beach volleyball shirtless to the delight of millions. For the most recent Top Gun remake, they also included a beach volleyball scene that most of the men stayed on a strict diet to film. For the Baywatch remake, Zac Effron showed us a spectacular washboard. Magic Mike has amazing male dancers… No one got an award, just saying. On the flip side, if a man gains a tremendous amount of weight or muscles ( Matthew , Christian?) or loses a ton for a “serious” role he is up for awards by the film academy.

ALL of these male actors have openly spoke about what it takes, what they could not eat, what is does to their bodies , how hard they work out in order to be on screen, cheat days and huge amounts they eat afterwards. Yet there is zero written about what these men are doing is as bad an influence as any K. Men manipulate their bodies or not and still expect to be considered award winning leading men. Of course us women should find them attractive no matter what! Money fixes all male shortcomings right?

K lost weight to fit into a dress and got the full attack from the press , the internet, the pope. How dare she get that waist any smaller! How dare she look good wet! Jealousy is a bitch.

I find it odd that men with such large bellies believe so strongly in their superiority over women .

Across the board, any subject, the man belly holds all wisdom. Born that way I guess. Otherwise I have no clue where this supposed man only be best knowledge comes from. Silly mansplainer, our phones are light years smarter than you and un like your small penis, in a woman’s hand constantly. Realize I can out run you! I’m in great shape! One hundred percent know I will use you and your belly to hide behind as needed in the event one of your friends starts shooting up the place.

Sure boss, anything you say….

What? Am I not allowed to say I don’t find men who should use suspenders to hold up their pants attractive? Sorry, I don’t. I find it gross. You can take one look at me and go throw up in a trash can if that’s how you feel. Write about it. It’s a free country, for now.

Review: The Wigwam One Night Only?

My name is Stacy and I am a freelance writer and photographer. I am not paid by any resort or travel company to write positive things. I write about my experiences and use my own photos. I do not tell anyone or a place when I am planning on writing about them so guest/customer service, food quality etc. stays what it normally would be and not influenced.

I was born in Las Vegas and raised in the deserts of Southern California. Like a lot of desert kids, once I was old enough to drive, I ran to the beach and stayed there. Living and working in Redondo, San Pedro and Newport where I met my husband then a few years later moved to Mesa AZ in 2004. By 2014 the kids were out of the house so we traveled across the country and back, enjoying life and some of the best fresh shrimp around on the South Carolina coast for awhile before ultimately heading back to the West. We now live in Gold Canyon, Arizona tucked next to the Superstition Mountains.

I enjoy being able to tell you honestly and in good faith about places to visit here in AZ. with no filter, no agenda, just an honest summary of what I experienced. Arizona has so many unique things to do that get overlooked. I plan on exploring as much of it as I can.

The Drive

Our one hour trip across the Valley to stay at the Wigwam was unscheduled and unplanned. My husband and I spontaneously decided to get away locally, truly just needing a break from too much work from home. I was not planning on doing a review on anything or anywhere, especially over a holiday weekend. I really was just dying to get into a pool or tub and simply relax.

With Monday being the 4th of July, we stayed one night (Sunday) only. We have animals to consider when leaving for any extended period of time. Though I do believe the Wigwam resort allows them, our dogs were not invited.

For this review of the Wigwam, I will be breaking down my honest impressions into categories. This was my first time at the Wigwam Resort. My husband has played golf there but no overnight stays for either of us.

What, Where and a Bit of History

The Wigwam Resort, originally opened back in the 1920’s, is located in Litchfield Park on the west side of the Valley of the Sun near Phoenix Arizona. Purchased out of bankruptcy in 2008 by former Suns and Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo and returned to its glory, this bungalow-style resort has a relaxed western design with nods everywhere to its rich AZ history yet somehow feels like you could be in an old school Palm Springs resort as well. Maybe it’s the huge palm trees that line the property or the tucked away feel the Wigwam has.

The Lobby

The Wigwam Lobby is decorated beautifully. The ladies at the front desk were professional in both appearance and manners, nice and helpful. We arrived about noon, 4 hours before check -in, in the hopes of going to the pool while we waited for our room to be ready. We got lucky! Our room was ready so no need for me to change into my swimsuit in the lobby bathroom!

The relaxed, outdoor pathway, bungalow-style layout of the Wigwam resort suits my personality far more than having to take an elevator to my floor then walk down a long, poorly lit, oddly quiet, hallway to my room.

The Room

As we stepped inside our room, leaving behind the intense sun and AZ heat that had already climbed to 100 degrees, a fabulous chilly blast of air hit us. The air-conditioning was set at 73! A temperature my AZ home only sees in the winter! It made me giggle and shiver. Instead of being a hot sweaty mess I now felt cool and crisp and clean. The room was surprisingly large with open floor space around the king sized bed. I had to stop myself from running and doing a full belly flop onto those crisp white sheets so I could take photos of the room!

The Bathroom

The bathroom was fairly plain, yet clean and happily included a very large soaking tub and shower. Though excited to see it, I got nowhere near the tub for my much craved soak because, well, I guess I also have a hard time filling that much water into a tub for me to sit alone in for no more than a half hour. AZ is in a drought. My soul wanted the bubbles and the soothing warm water but with one night only to enjoy as much as I could, I opted for the jacuzzi by the pool instead.

The Patios

Our room’s private patio facing the Tennis Courts was large enough to host a party. We could see the stars and even saw an owl sitting on one of the light poles. Though the resort was busy we barely heard anyone walking to theirs rooms. We watched carts go by with workers taking care of the property, but overall our area was quiet.

The Pool and the Slides and the Vibe: Looking at our map, to us it seemed like a closer walk to the Wigwam’s Tower Pool (family pool) than the Oasis Pool (adults) so it was the Tower Pool for us. Time of day and length of walking anywhere in 100 degree desert heat should always be taken into consideration, even for desert locals like me.

The Wigwam’s Tower Family Pool is a sprawling pool with tons of areas to sit in and around the edges. Two, tube-style water slides command your attention as you enter and grab towels. Lounge chairs and cabanas surround the pool with a bar and bridge located in the center. Inside the pool are water spouts that shoot up and out like you are in a magic fountain or a carwash!

During our few hours there, the pool was comfortably filled with families, some babies, children, teens, you name it were there. The vibe was easy and fun, obviously a holiday weekend noticeable by some of the sparkling red, white and blue attire.

The Water Slides.

As an adult of 53 years who just told you she came to this resort to relax and stop working for a half a second, repeatedly jumping out of a pool and running to the wet stairs of two water slides at a four star resort was probably not what you expected me to tell you I did during my stay but that’s exactly what happened!

After watching only maybe 3 or 4 kids shoot out of the tubes directly into the pool, then leap out of the water immediately running back to the waterslide stairs, I was convinced this was a good time I had to try myself! Think about it, when do you EVER run back in line? When something is just that much fun!

On my way up the stairs a young teen boy, possibly with extra needs, struck up a conversation with me about the two slides, their speeds and levels of scary. He was a pure joy to talk to and convinced me to go on the tube on the left that was open air, not a complete covered tube like the one on the right . Personally, I would rather go down an enclosed, fast moving water tube in the dark than hit a wet curve in the sunshine and feel like I am going to fly off the slide! But I took his advice anyways and tried the “slower one” first. Not sure about of his definition of “slow” because I went sailing down and took the curve kind of high on the side causing me to see daylight and have that moment of terror before ending my ride awkwardly hitting the pool sideways nose first, taking in a full gallon or so of water! Fast, scary and fun. That was enough to convince me I had simply taken the wrong slide.

Here I am, 53 years old, dripping wet running up stairs to “Go again!” Because now I needed to know if the other slide , the covered one, was just as silly and fun as the first one. The covered tube, for me, was a blast! The ride was long enough to be fun yet short enough to make you want to run back in line. My body easily slid down its dark winding curves at top speed and I could decide my entry into the water in enough time not to drink the pool!

Some things will literally take years off your life and stress off your face. The Wigwams Tower Pool and Slides are one of them.

The Tower Pool Staff were all friendly and attentive.

If I had any complaint it would be, had we chosen to go to the “adults pool”, it would have been a long walk from our room or weird and wet car ride back . I am not sure if there is any answer to the logistics of this due to the layout of the resort or if a cart ride is available.

Towels were gone by the evening which was only a mildly silly inconvenience as it’s 100 degrees at night in July in AZ. But if you get out of the pool wet, you do shiver! Possibly the worst feeling for a born and raised lizard like me is wearing a wet bathing suit and walking into a freezing cold hotel room !

Food and Drinks:

A very yummy Pina Colada with Mango Puree, that I couldn’t drink fast enough in the 100 degree heat without freezing my brain before I ran back to the slide!

Wigwam Street Tacos
Wings

Bummer

It is in the W bar and grill where we have the first let down of our stay. Our waiter brought us the flattest Coke I’ve ever seen. Absolutely zero bubbles, it looked like we had ordered a glass of syrup . We sat, not touching our drink for sometime before flagging down another waiter who seemed unbothered by us having been served a tall glass of non drinkable brown liquid and simply walked away with it. He did not offer us a new one, gave a sort of apology (?) only checking later that we did just want it off of our bill. It’s disappointing to sit directly across from the bar and watch as no discussion happens to the bartender who might not be aware her carbonation is out. Just continue serving the same flat soda to the next table.

Yum

Our food was good and the prices were reasonable. My tacos were overstuffed with soft shredded pork, far too big and delicious to just call street tacos. Yum! I ate every last bite. After having recently spent $30 at Chipotle for 2 really awful steak and chicken burritos, chips and a soda, the Wigwam’s Tacos and Wings with an awful soda won for the same price. At no point in eating my tacos did I take wads of meat out of my mouth that I couldn’t chew. Sorry Chipotle but I have no clue how you are still in business.

While we waited for our check I noticed a group of 6 full-bellied gentleman in the corner receiving much better service by both staff and bartender than most if not all of the other guests . All resorts have regular guests and VIP, those who spend tons of cash. No surprise. But to have it be so obvious that the W staff were capable of giving good customer service, but not providing it for all of the Wigwam guests, was disappointing.

We, along with the table next to us, needed to flag down a waiter for the bill. No offer of dessert but at that point it was a no anyways. Wigwam ! Your staff can do much better than this and did in other areas!

Honorable mentions to the entire pool , slide and bar staff both in the water and out and especially those sitting by the gates and towels! Nothing but smiles and friendly service. Also to the somewhat crazy but welcoming and friendly lady in the little market “we got this!”

None of your guests at your 4 Star Resort should feel anything less than welcomed and taken care of. Spending 90% of my own work life around people and catering to their needs. I come armed with a big smile, I am patient and understanding of short staffing and wrong orders etc.

Where I won’t cut the Wigwam Resort and it’s 4 stars any slack is customer service/personal attention training for your newer staff, especially those who work in one of your sit down bars or restaurants. A simple “ is everything ok?” “ was there something else we could get you?” “I’m sorry that weird brown liquid tasted flat can I get you something else?” Easy things the staff could and should be doing like looking at all tables even if you aren’t the server to see if all is well. With a bar the size and shape of a hallway, not a convention hall, but a hallway, I’m saying is if I could see all around, easily your staff can as well.

We opted for a late snack of cured meats, fruit and nuts in our room instead of an evening of “fine dining “ at Litchfields. Maybe next time?

There are quite a few things the Wigwam Resort has to offer that we did not get to experience. A longer stay is needed to truly take in all the Wigwam has to offer and before I will either fully endorse or tell my readers to avoid going there all together. But for this short visit I would say sure head over to the Wigwam. Try things we did not. Let me know how it goes.

We hope to get back (maybe ?) during the off season to enjoy a few rounds of Golfing, Tennis, work out in the Fitness Center, get a facial or massage at the Aveda Spa and Salon, spend the evening at Litchfield’s Fine Dining or the Adult Pool, and play Boce or even Cornhole on the lawn. We saw multiple areas that would be wonderful for weddings or celebrations.

Cost When all was said and done for our one night Wigwam stay our total came to right around $350. We left early in the morning in search of a better cup of coffee( Bosas Donuts right down the road). Again it is in beverages where the Wigwam let us down in a huge way. A beautiful patio early in the morning with a cup of coffee that didn’t taste like mud was all we needed. Next time?

Return Visit?

We live across the street from Gold Canyon Golf Resort yet drove the hour across the valley for my getaway at the Wigwam. That’s how much I currently like GCGR’s pool situation or food. I’m willing to drive about an hour anywhere in my radius of this entire Valley of the Sun for what I call a “staycation” solely for feeling like I really “got away”. A drive longer than 2 hours requires a stay longer than a night and in my eyes is an actual vacation. Countless other hotels and resorts are available here in the Valley with much shorter drives than an hour and as of yet I haven’t stayed in them all. Some I never will.

One night at the Wigwam was like being set up on a semi good blind date with an older guy you have some chemistry with but not lust. Hes not bad looking but had vanilla moments. You enjoyed the hell out of the entertainment and food. But let’s be honest, it will probably take some sweet talk, flowers, candy and most definitely a bottle of wine to convince you to go on a date again.

That’s Not Entertainment When “Bad Girls“ Go Hiking; Why I think it’s time Arizona creates a “Stupid Hiker Law”

Yesterday 11 members of a group known as “Bad Girls Gone God” needed to be rescued off of Camelback Mountain here in Phoenix Arizona. According to local news sources these women were not prepared for a hike this strenuous. They also claimed they had done no homework or research about Camelback. They were however, being filmed for a reality series.

Let that sink in. Helicopter, rescue crews, middle of the day intense triple digit heat heat, some of the best AZ men and women had to go rescue this group of god fearing (?) women or shall we call them as we see them? fame seeking women, off a mountain, being filmed for “entertainment”. This nonsense should not get air time and if it does, it’s proceeds and the actors salaries can pay Arizona for the helicopter rides, fire trucks, ambulance rides and give bonuses to all the rescue teams that went up to help you “Bad Girls” get down safely. 🌵💚👑 The lack of respect you showed is appalling. This is why I say YOU deserve to be charged with a newly created “AZ Stupid Hikers Law. “

Our high temperature yesterday in and around PhX was 110. You read that correctly, triple digit heat Arizona is known for, was right on schedule and being warned about daily by our local news and weather. Local Radio DJs on every station mention staying indoors, don’t hike, they talk about drinking tons of water and heat safety in general. It’s an everyday thing when you live in the desert.

Photo from my video about 44 hikers who needed rescue from Flat Iron in August. For the full video go to YouTube Oh So Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance

Born and raised desert, I’ve dedicated my life and recently became a nonprofit , the Desert Nature Alliance, to help protect the desert and to speak out about safety in while you are in the desert especially on the trails. There is NO shortage of desert kids like me who make videos, write and constantly talk about staying safe on our 2 very deadly mountains, Camelback and The Superstition.

So, for you bad girls, camera crews trailing along, to come here as visitors and claim to have neglected to do any research or homework about where you are going is bullshit and I’m calling you out on it. Arizona being ridiculously hot in the summer is not some well kept secret . All it takes to realize it’s too hot in Arizona to hike is to step outside. No homework needed when you open your front door and your face feels like you are checking on a cake baking in the oven!

You girls are telling me you are on a reality show or at the very least, being videoed for one and not one of you used your phone to Google about where you were going? Again I call bullshit. If you are fame hungry enough to be on a reality show you are glued to your phone. More than one person in your group knew absolutely 100 percent where you were headed and the drama it could cause. Period.

I do believe you probably didn’t check the weather or watch any news or read any reports. Why should you? You ignored trail signs that say stay off the trails , you failed to bring any of the gear needed ( uh but somehow a crew was there to film you?) you had little to no water with you and cannot deny you are not in the physical shape required to hike that mountain or maybe you have NEVER hiked up a mountain style trail at all!? Have you spent time in the desert on the trails or was this your first time ? You headed up a trail in the hottest part of the day to all but collapse or worse , die from your ignorance and quest for fame, oh I mean “ to get closer to God”. I’m sorry You dragged God into this, I’m not going to.

But by all means please argue with me that no matter your size or weight or whatever you did or didn’t eat or drink that morning, or what you do or don’t normally do , but for some reason, miraculously you thought you were in the physical shape to hike up Camelback in extreme heat because maybe you prayed or you did some working out or went to the gym twice where you live. Go ahead I’ll wait. I’d love to hear your logic.

We as locals also have a responsibility to keep friends, guests and even strangers safe on our trails by being honest about the dangers and not putting them in harms way. A young woman died last year coming out to AZ from the East Coast to visit a man she met online. He took her up Camelback to supposedly take pictures. With no water. She started having trouble and turned to head back down , alone. She never made it. She died. Her story breaks our hearts. Again I made a video shouting to the world please be careful out here and we get it, trust is a hard thing when you first meet someone.

Now before you get mad at the word stupid, or that I’m saying we need “a Stupid Hikers Law, “ Arizona has a current law called “the Stupid Motorist” that states any motorists who intentionally go around barriers from flooded areas and get their cars stuck can be charged for the cost of their rescue. Way too many folks ignored the signs and found themselves stuck and needing serious rescue. When you go out of your way to do exactly what you’ve been explicitly told not to, well there’s a price. I’m suggesting that we do the same for our trails. The hikers who do the right things, wear gear, bring water etc yet have accidents on the trails deserve to have rescue crews available to them.

I live on a hill tucked right up into the Superstition Mtn where I can see Flat Iron out of our windows. The Mountain is famous for Weavers Needle and the story of the Lost Dutchman and Peraltas Gold. Apache claimed this Mountain Range for a time. The stories are legendary like the Massacre Trail and Peraltas men coming under attack. The Superstition holds a unique energy that draws adventure seekers and gold hunters to this day. But that energy is strong and dangerous just like the terrain.

The desert is known to zap all of your moisture leaving you delirious or it simply kills you. I made videos you can see on my YouTube channel where I take a normal piece of sliced white bread, soft, straight from the packaging, and set it outside in our heat. Within minutes that soft bread sounds like sandpaper. Given the full day you have toast or a crouton. Dried tf out.

It’s 102 the day I made this video. That piece of bread turned stiff enough to stand on its own

The less respect you have for it the quicker it takes you out. The death toll on this mountain is unknown for certain. To this day hikers fall off Flat Iron losing their lives for a selfie and the chance for Instagram Fame.

Some people head out on a trail and are never found. Others barely make it back. Then you have those magical creatures like Flat Iron Jim who goes up and down it daily ( in the proper gear and weather of course!) Simply amazing that his body can do it. I have friends who have climbed up and over and all around. My husband has walked from our house, with a buddy, up the Hieroglyphs Trail to the actual top of the Superstition Mountain, a 9 hour hike. I would flop over and die if I tried that. They are both Marines and hike regularly. The heat and what it does to an individual is just that, it’s how YOU and your body responds. It doesn’t matter if someone else can hike it or climb it if you cannot with losing your life. Know and respect yourself enough to know when it’s time to call it and head to the pool.

Simple google searches will give you tons of information about hikers needing help on our trails . 44 people hiking in August was a tough story to have sympathy for.

In August 2019 , 44 Visitors from Kansas had to be rescued from Flat Iron. August. In Arizona. Could it be any hotter? Only in Death Valley or Hell. The amazing part was locally it barely made a blip on the news. Most folks, myself including didn’t hear about it until later. So absurd was this story I went over to the rangers station so I could ask them myself if this was true or blown up for a good story on the evening news.

The rangers were more than happy to tell me all about it as one of the women I spoke with was there that day and she herself had warned this group . The group had arrived much too late in the day to go all the way up the trail and was warned not to do so multiple times. Supposedly only the bus driver took this information and failed to fully relay it to the group. They proceeded anyways being under the impression that it was not that hard of a hike. Where they got that information from I have no idea. Being in front of that part of the Superstition in full August heat you took one look and said “yup easy”???? No one will tell you Siphon Draw or Flat Iron is easy or should be attempted in the heat. NO ONE.

I brought my video camera and a gallon of water plus a squirt bottle and hat and told the rangers I wanted to make a short video about the incident but definitely not go as far as even the Draw, they were fine with that, but I also was well aware they had zero plans of coming to check on me. It’s not how it works. This is a wilderness. The Superstition Wilderness. You go basically on your own in terms of there being no water fountains or lifeguard towers out on the trails. You’re walking into a Mountain Range. Good Luck👍

I’m pointing to Flat Iron on the top of the Superstition Mountain.

I head out there sweating like a beast and I hadn’t even made it to what I’d call the trail head! You can watch this video on my YouTube channel Oh So Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance. The heat was so intense and brutal I felt like my skin was melting! I’m born and raised desert . I made 2 videos while out there and you can see just how awful it is! I can’t fully remember details. I’m winded and I truly hadn’t walked even remotely close to Siphon Draw let alone Flat Iron. I felt every bit of the Sun kicking my ass for the shear stupidity of going out there in the middle of the day. The ground radiates heat at you burning your shins even through pants ! Summer in AZ is full blown rattlesnake season so in addition to the heat you have to be mindful of where you rest or set your bottle down. Jumping Cholla are randomly on the trails and getting one stuck in you will ruin your moment for sure.

I ask the group through my videos “Was there not at least one of you? You didn’t have a solid gay? No one who would say Aaaaahhh HELL NO gurl this is NOT happening today ?!?” You didn’t have one me who would have pitched a fit for trying to drag my ass up a mountain in triple digit heat instead of being by the pool?!? Wtf? That’s not a group you should ever travel with period.

Drones take some of the most incredible shots of this planet you will see. You are not going to take a selfie at this point in 2022 that is so amazing that you need to risk your life going up a desert trail like Flat Iron. At night it’s far too dangerous and a young man recently lost his life this way. Please spare your loved ones the pain. Stop with the selfies on a ledge .

There is no shortage of news about the tragedies on our mountains. A simple Google search will tell you more than you need to know.

A network will, however, happily send eager wanna be stars up any mountain then off a cliff if it makes them money. Bad Girls Gone God this time, another sub group next.

So, are you entertained yet?

The Inflatable Escape

No Relief in Sight

The sun had not officially come up yet and it was already too hot. Out on the patio trying to wake up, hoping for a gentle breeze to help cool me down, my coffee tastes lukewarm compared to the 90 degree morning start. Our heat wave has backed off for now but our local news promises the triple digits will return. Sleeping has been rough. At night I wake up, neck sweaty from hot flashes. The only sleep I get lately comes when I lay next to a fan blowing directly at my face.

Mindlessly I scroll through ads on my phone. Ads for pools. Above ground pools. Escape from the heat I could order now and have delivered to my door or I could pickup in a few hours.

I close my eyes. I picture me, three inches taller, two sizes smaller, my butt is firmer, my skin is flawless and golden. I look amazing in my tiny swim suit, huge sunglasses and hat, effortlessly gliding on clear tropical water. A palm tree swaying nearby. Big blue sky. The smell of coconuts in the air. Instagram Perfection.

I open my eyes and squint.

Obviously weeks of Arizona’s triple digit heat has brought on hallucinations of grandeur. There is no water anywhere in sight. No pool. No palm trees. Just sweaty me in cut off shorts, sticking to my chair on a hot patio with morning sun rays now piercing through my eyes.

There is a saying “Crazy from the heat.” I believe it is true. I just might go nutty if I don’t cool down soon.

I see it. The ad I’ve been hoping for. A 7ft. White and blue inflatable pool with two seats, head rests and cup holders! I am only 5 foot 6 so that leaves plenty of room for my feet. On sale now at Big 5 marked down from $50 for $29.99! My heart raced! I knew if I could get my husband to agree, I was positive I could create a relaxing vacation type environment somewhere on the side of our house and it would not cost very much at all.

But it wasn’t going to be as simple as buy it , inflate it, flop it down and grab a hose. I was going to need his help to make this happen. I head inside and walk over to Jay’s desk and slide my phone to him. He looked at the advertisement then looks up at me and smiles. The answer is yes. Let’s go get you a pool.

Deal Breakers

Our house is old and small. According to the paperwork at least some part of it was built in the 1940s. It sits on 3 acres including a hill, giving us incredible views of the Superstition Mountains and the surrounding valley. However,6 years ago when we first came to view this well priced, one bedroom home we were informed it had no tub, shower only and no pool to go along with all the other quirks old, privately built homes come with. Due to the type of solid granite like ground, putting in a pool would be costly. The home uses its own well for water. A built in pool would require truckloads of water to be brought in and steep $$ to initially get set up. A full bathroom remodel would need to take place for me to have a tub.

In my mind, as someone who was born and raised in the desert, you need to have water nearby not only to cool off but for the mental health it provides. No pool or tub to soak in had always been a major deal breaker when it came to where I could live happily. So there I was, faced with the real possibility of owning an adorable little old home, on a hill with a million dollar view, in an area I should not be able to afford to live in, only if I was willing to live without a pool or tub. To ease this minor setback I bargained with Jay. He would need to keep me semi sane during the very real heat of AZ by taking me away semi regularly to a hotel to be able to fulfill my strong desire to simply float in water. He could go golf or hang with me or do whatever he wanted to but just let me float in a pool. He agreed. It seemed very doable at the time. I signed the papers.

Reality set in fast as our work schedules, pets, timing, bills, etc. life in general kept getting in the way of my pool getaway.

The Cost of Doing Business

A hotel stay is expensive. Period. Room fees, fees for pets, food and drinks, entertainment, tips, it all adds up. Oh I’m sure if you are fan of a particular large fancy hotel chain you would argue that there are plenty of perks and free vouchers that make the cost seem minimal. Convince me. I’m a freelance writer. I call it as I see it and experience it. I would love to write all about how I got spoiled rotten by your hotel for free.

But going to a hotel also requires getting there in the first place. Freeway driving comes with stress free of charge. Gas prices, even for a local staycation, can now cost well over $50 in your tank and forget about driving for hours to stay overnight somewhere. Consider the wear on your vehicle, and what road/travel stress does to your mind body and soul. By the time you unpack and truly relax it’s time to turn around and head back home.

Flying? The “cost” of todays flying experience can’t truly be measured in dollars alone. From arriving at the airport and either trying to find parking in a maze or getting dropped off without getting run over by a bus, to your full body cavity and luggage search, to sitting snuggly on your plane next to a snoring stranger, to actually safely landing at your destination unharmed by a fellow passenger or flight attendant to navigating a city style transportation drop off system to search for your luggage on rotating carousels could only be described somewhere between terrifying and laughable and in an entirely different article I can write about later.

In Jays defense he would randomly offer to take us away somewhere but I would shut him down giving this list of practical reasons why we shouldn’t even though I’m the one who really wants to go cool off in a pool in the first place.

Down Time

In 2020 the plague hit. COVID stopped the world in its tracks. No longer was it even a question of when we could get away from this intense desert heat, travel everywhere was restricted. The entire nation now ordered to stay home . For some, being “stuck at home” or even working full time from home isn’t too awful. For others it was their worst nightmare coming true. At first I felt the isolation. Working from home I had no one to talk to besides my husband and I didn’t want to drive him nuts. For a long time in my life I would have said I was very social, a “people person” . However, given the forced time away from “it all”, it didn’t take long for my creative brain to enjoy quiet.

My wants and desires started to change too. Oh I still daydreamed of a pool but now I wanted less people around it. Now that I can hear it, silence is lovely. The idea of going to a hotel for a loud pool party with DJs pumping dance tracks , lined with hot girls in high heels and bros spilling drinks seemed exhausting. Privacy and the sounds of birds in nature has moved up higher on my list.

That’s Not Hot?

There has always been this weird stigma about an above ground pool or an inflatable pool, not being a hip thing to have. I’m not exactly sure why. There are actually quite a few practical reasons for owning one.

-The Cost.

-What if the ground you have available is unsuitable for digging into?

-Not everyone can or wants to make long term commitments like a built in pool, that require long term maintenance, on their property for a few months of “fun in the sun”.

-Some folks don’t own the property they live on so making permanent decisions like digging out a pool isn’t an option.

-Unlike a built in pool, if you move you can take it with you.

-You can easily incorporate an above ground or inflatable pool into your yard with a deck or patio furniture if image is an issue.

Still, above ground pools get little respect. It will take Internet Influence to switch the image around to Instagram Worthy.

Dose of Reality

To be honest, I had no understanding or care what a few thousand gallons of water looked like, how it arrived somewhere or what it costs until I owned a home with a water tank containing all the water my home would use. As a young adult I had always lived with city water and the supply seemed endless. Now, not as young , owned a home with a built in pool and sold that home, I know a bit more. Selling a home with an older pool can be a struggle. Everything seems to focus on the surface of the pool and its equipment and zero focus on the actual house. Luckily our pool was still in good shape but the deck would need repair. I now know better about all of it now. Water is a valuable resource we here in Arizona and other nearby states are running out of. Water Conservation in the desert is crucial.

A real life rumbling tanker truck comes to fill the water tank for our small house. How often he comes depends on our usage. When my husband explained to me that some of the metal sided above ground pools I had been looking at would require multiple trips from our tanker truck driver I felt my chest tighten. Size does matter. Simply affording the initial lower cost of an above ground pool wasn’t the only thing to consider. Just because the pool is above ground doesn’t mean the water wouldn’t need a filter or chemicals. Where I wanted to put a pool mattered as well not only in terms of convenience but also safety. A large above ground pool holding thousands of gallons of water, if punctured, would certainly destroy parts our hillside.

I asked myself the honest question “What did you really want or believe you needed out of a pool to make you happy? Is it to cool off? To tan? Swimming? To float? To relax? Use it for exercise? What would this pool need to give my soul peace?”

My answers:

-100 percent it was for my mental health. A pool helps me to relax.

-Not having the ability to go soak in a hot tub for awhile when your body parts ache sucks.

-I want to just lay there. Do nothing. That’s all.

-In enough space to not feel silly.

-Bigger than a standard tub.

-Long enough my toes couldn’t reach the side.

-Large enough for water to cover me.

-Privacy.

-A pool to myself. No need to question “is there pee in the pool?” The answer is NO

-Low to no maintenance.

-Inexpensive but built to withstand this intense AZ sun.

– Cheap enough to replace if a wild animal destroyed it.

-Bathing suit optional.

Blow Time

Once we got back from Big 5 we still needed to go get sand from the local fire department. You can shovel sand bags to your hearts delight over there for free. We didn’t need much so we figured 5 sand bags worth would do the trick. To set up our pool we cleared the rocks down to the hard ground and then put sand. The biggest hurdle we now faced was how to blow it up. We used a small air compressor, a hand pump and our mouths. It wasn’t the fastest way but still we got it done. Threw the hose in, turned on the water and before we knew it our pool was ready for action! Grabbed two bright beach towels, a couple of chairs and small table from the patio, and a grass pad we had from our daughters recent baby shower and VOILA!

I slid into the warmish water and let out a sigh. Then I giggled. My husband slid in next to me. He sighed. Then we both giggled. What took us so long?!? This inflatable pool literally was doing everything we needed it to do and more! For $30 and a days worth of work, we had what felt like the impossible, the perfect place to soak.

Thank You Bestway and Big 5. So far our pool has held up a solid week in this intense AZ sun. We have used it daily if not more than twice a day. Every time I climb in, I still let out a huge exhale, and a giggle.

1 dead peacock, 2 rattlesnake encounters, 3 bearded dragons and more. A look back at my strange 2021.

Long ago a friend told me that how you spend your New Years Day is a reflection of, or sets the tone for how your year will be. True or not, I have spent most of my adult life actively avoiding being painfully hung over or in jail, just incase. This year, 2021 was no exception. I stayed home for New Years Eve, got to bed early, woke up feeling perfectly fine. Until I checked my Facebook…

2020 and 2021 have been 2 hard years on all of us to say the least. 2 years of a world wide pandemic consuming entire countries, forcing us to separate from everyone and everything. We quarantined away while we lost family and friends. We grieved alone. Jobs shifted to working from home or ended entirely. Socializing moved completely to online. Masks. Vaccines. Climate Change. The Election. Schools. Guns. Racism. All of our pain shoved to the top of the never ending Breaking News cycle. 2 Years of an entire planet feeling stressed, scared, confused, angry, hurt, isolated and filled with an overall sense of dread literally forced some of us into our very own cocoons to completely melt and come out entirely new beings.

I emerged at the end of last year from my cocoon as a nonprofit. With my love of nature and animals as strong as ever, I dedicated my unemployed self to supporting desert inspired, nature based education and safety. I named my new non profit the Desert Nature Alliance or simply the DNA.

Spending so much time alone and bored turned into going on long walks or hikes through the open desert around my home. On almost every trip I would find bones, parts of skulls or even entire animal remains. I started collecting them turning it into a small museum. I knew there was too much value and education in what I was finding and was positive it had become my calling. I started making videos of me on a hike or showing my “audience” the parts, pieces and even live animals I was finding and then posting online. This led to creating a Youtube channel “oh so Stace and the Desert Nature Alliance”.

What I had not anticipated was how my friends, family and those who followed me online would now see the newly hatched me, or more specifically, how they would treat me. Un like Instagram, Facebook calls everyone your “friend”. Instagram gives you “followers” which has always sounded like a cult to me. Youtube scares away half of your audience by using the term “subscribers” even though no one pays for a subscription. Social media has thrived through the pandemic and turned into the primary way of staying in the loop. Facebook Messenger set the tone for my 2021.

So lets go over some of the highlights of my 2021 shall we?

1 Dead Peacock: January 1 2021 one of my “friends” messaged me with hands down the most jarring statement I’ve read in sometime “Our Peacock died last night because of all of the fireworks. Do you want him for your collection otherwise I will just get rid of him.”

I sat stunned. I re read the text. A dead pet peacock? Did I want it?

Immediately my eyes filled with tears. I barely knew this friend, I’d call more of an acquaintance. Don’t get me wrong, I like this person but I am not close to her at all, just follow each other on FB. The reason I even know her is a weird story in and of itself. A few years ago I assisted her in purchasing a very large amount of glassware (50 crates worth) from a family member of mine who committed suicide last year. Odd circumstances for sure.

Now she is offering me her deceased bird? a Peacock?? New Years Day. She lives a good hour away.

Do I want it?

That is a unique question with very hard answers.

I cried. Then I walked over to my husband and cried some more. Crying because I was scared. How do I even start to tell him our plans for the day had now drastically changed. I knew in my heart I wouldn’t say no. The opportunity to have such a glorious bird on display in my tiny museum as an actual example of how bad fireworks can be was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Yet my skills in taxidermy are no where near peacock level. I mostly stay in the land of skeletons and articulation. What if I messed up? What if all the feathers fell out? This meant handling a very large dead bird. Where was I going to work on it? Why did she think of ME when this happened?

My brain was swimming through the tears.

My 2021 had started with someone else’s dead peacock. What kind of tone was THAT setting for my year to come?

An accurate one.

So much random craziness happened to me this year that I am only going to cover what I would consider the events worth reading about.

May and June became the two worst months I’ve probably ever had in my 53 years of life. Hardly a day went by without something significant or extremely scary happened to me.

Almost Drowned: On a trip floating down the Salt River my tube got caught in the strong current and pinned me into a tree branch, trapping me, beating me against trees and rocks seriously banging me up. If not for my husbands strength and ability to fling me forward I most assuredly would have drowned. My knee to this day still has issues. Terrified by almost drowning, then hearing on the local news of actual drownings in the Salt River right after, I haven’t been back tubing the river nor plan to.

Trash Talkers: At our only local grocery store one early morning during a holiday weekend I got the privilege of over hearing two clerks (male and female both older than me) who were simply standing around, openly talking massive amounts of shit about the customers that morning who had dared to complain that only self check was open. I decided to not hold my tongue. I turned around and looked the female dead in the eyes and said point blank “are you really standing here right next to me talking shit about all of us customers while we self check our own shit?” to which she promptly walked away to a register and opened up! I refuse to go back. I drive 15 minutes over to Apache Junction now and go to the Frys there.

A Bad Neighbor and Heat Stroke: During one of my solo hiking/bone collecting trips on an extremely hot Arizona day I encountered a man who I hope I never encounter again. Most everyone worries that some wild animal or a rattlesnake might hurt me. I have always said I carry my stick for protection against men. I guess folks think I am just kidding. I am not. I personally have dealt with too many of the same type of man who seems to think I enjoy their awful banter (old, angry, inappropriate white men with bellies that looks about 6 months pregnant who want to flirt with me) and I have had my fill. So there I am alone in a local wash where I tend to find parts and pieces and often see coyote and javelina when I hear a mans voice say “hello!”. I cringe and turn to see an elderly white man. I tense up. As soon as he starts talking my senses go into overdrive and I want to get away. I want nothing to do with him or his conversation that I’m positive I wont be agreeing with. Sure enough, within mere moments of meeting, his topics of choice turn quickly from the local wildlife to racist political nonsense. He informed me multiple times he was a gun owner. He used the N word. Most of what came out of his mouth I am not going to type out. I refuse. Lets just say I was NOT the female he had hoped for. My head started spinning because of the heat and now I was feeling very un easy about the situation I was in. He reached a point in his verbal vomiting I could no longer take and I wound up exploding, cussing him out like no other being in his life ever has. I know this by the look on his face when I unleashed on him. You can thank all of the men I worked with at the golf course doing maintenance for my creative cussing ability. I stomped away in my steel toe boots still cussing fully aware he just might shoot me as I told the entire planet he was a complete waste of skin.

By the time I made it home I was very close to severe heat stoke and spent a few hours vomiting and shaking. I wont go back to that area alone and now take my husband (a Marine) and the dogs (no real protection what so ever just barkers) with me.

Intruder Alert: The triple digit heat in Arizona is legendary. Summer nights can be brutal even with air-conditioning. I made the mistake of letting my guard down, thinking it was reasonably safe to prop my bedroom sliding door open with an old half screen, trying to get cooler night air to help me sleep. Menopause hot flashes seriously suck during an AZ summer.

One night I’m laying in bed and hear something hit the screen. I wear contacts and have horrible vision so I couldn’t just look over and see what was there. Again I hear the screen being pushed then I hear the grunt. It’s a Javelina at my door trying to figure out how to get in!!!! Now if you are not sure what a Javelina is ( pronounced Ha vuh leen a ) its a collard peccary. It sort of looks like a pig but not and has wiry hair and very sharp teeth. I jump up to close the door and that startles the Javi causing it to run off. I no longer prop my door open and bought 2 extra fans to keep me cool.

Rattled: Our heat brings out the snakes for a good part of the year. It is part of living in Arizona. Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes are common here along with around 12 or so other species of rattlesnakes, the most species in any state. A few are even protected. We live on 3 acres of desert so seeing a snake from time to time is normal but still scary and must be handled properly. My first encounter ever with a rattler I did everything wrong, called 911 and had them send me the fire department! I have since learned more, seen a lot more and even have grabbers to move a snake if needed. But that doesn’t mean encountering a rattler no longer frightens me. They are deadly and deserve respect.

It wasn’t too long after my encounter with the old man in the wash that I had back to back encounters with rattlesnakes.

One afternoon a monsoon was heading our way with winds sending the patio furniture flying. I ran barefoot outside to grab the cushions and chairs. As I ran around the side of the house I ran straight at a WDR ( Western Diamondback Rattlesnake) trying to make its escape from the storm. We both reared back as I had equally startled the snake. I ran back inside the house to grab shoes and my phone but only managed to watch the rattler cruise down our back hillside.

The next night I slept on the couch trying to get closer to the air-conditioning. Around 4 am the dogs woke me up to go outside to pee. Instead of grabbing my glasses I simply wandered over to the back sliding door and in the pitch dark opened the door to the immediate sound of a rattle! In the dark, can’t see, obvious rattlesnake somewhere by my feet, I stood frozen in terror. The first noise to come out of me was a half scream half groan. I managed to scream for my husband who tumbled his way out of bed as I screamed “turn on the lights!” Sure as shit there was a medium sized WDR coiled on the outside of the sliding track, probably had camped out there because the metal track was cool. Once I could breathe again I got dressed and went out side and moved the snake with my grabbers.

Shock set in the next day. I was now a jumpy mess. It had all been way too much on my system in such a short period of time.

Stress, hormones, life and family took a toll on me this year. Menopause is no joke. Mood swings range from teary to hostile. I haven’t spoken to my son now in a few years. We don’t get along at all. My sister tried to contact me via FB Messenger after 20 years of silence. I told her to continue staying away. I dropped “friends” I no longer relate to. I watched my social world collapse into a pile of dust. Once outgoing and busy I now find myself alone and not that mad at it. I am hopeful new, fun loving energy comes my way but not running to find it.

3 Bearded Dragons: Online I seem to “know” more people than what my day to day life would reflect. I’ve kept in touch with lots of people I used to work with or met along the way. About 5 years ago, while volunteering at a local museum, I met Kimberly and David. Both about 10 years my senior, David was a volunteer at the train station and I worked in the barn. Kimberly didn’t volunteer but she popped by often. Nice couple. At the beginning of this year Kimberly reached out to me asking if I would do a photo shoot for them for their anniversary. I only use my phone for my pictures so I was flattered by the request and told her yes but considering I am not a professional and use an iPhone, no charge, it would be my pleasure. So in August when I got a call from Kimberly, I picked up thinking it was about the photo shoot. It was not. She was frazzled and spoke super fast. Seems things had drastically changed in their world and they were selling their home and moving back to the south to be by family. David wanted me and ONLY me to have his beloved pet bearded dragons. I went numb as she talked. Did she just say “dragons” as in plural? I had no idea they even owned bearded dragons let alone I was the God Mother to them! She continued on talking as though of course I would happily take 3 adult bearded dragons each with 75 gallon tanks! Oh and we needed to pick them up soon as the house was being shown to buyers. I got off the phone in shock, confused and totally afraid of telling my husband that not only did he need to help me with moving 3 very large tanks but that I/we were now their owners! I had no real reason for not yelling HELL NO !!! at her and simply saying it was not my problem except my heart couldn’t do that. We asked another friend for help and went and loaded up Atticus, Cate and Dino, requiring me to completely redo my living room to accommodate such large tanks with stands. In our one bedroom house we already have 2 dogs, a fish tank with a gold fish and snail, a tarantula, a gopher snake and a cat . We needed 3 bearded dragons like we need holes in our heads but they are cool and interesting enough that they quickly became family.

This is where this story takes a very sad turn. In November Kimberly’s daughter posted on Facebook that her mother had an accident at home and sadly passed away. We were simply meant to have those 3 dragons.

Though it sounds like nothing but negative happened for me in 2021 that isn’t the case at all. One afternoon we saw a gorgeous bobcat on our patio! So inspired, a bobcat study started and I was able to go volunteer with bobcats for a short time. We created pamplets for the DNA about desert safety and gave advice about the whats and wheres out here. I made tons of educational videos for my YouTube channel. My nonprofit kept me focused on what really is important to me. I love sharing my little corner of the desert with the world online or wherever. I love being outside, with all the wildlife around me. Our planet needs help. Our creatures need protection. Our friends and family need to be able to come visit my desert safely and get back home.

This year again saw visitors to our Arizona trails that died while out there or needed serious assistance to get back down safely. I made a series of videos talking about drinking enough water, the heat, hiking and when to not go. My mission remains clear. I am a voice and presence out here in Gold Canyon Arizona. I may not have known I was already influencing others and making an impact as I tumbled my way through 2021 but looking back it becomes very clear that I am. The animals needed me. I guess so did some of my friends.

My final project for the year was designing a beautiful calendar for 2022 featuring my adopted/rescued desert tortoise Sherman, the mascot of the DNA. AZGF have over 100 tortoise that need homes. Part of our mission is to let the public know they can help. The peacock turned out really well and is on permanent display in my museum. Right now visiting is by invitation only but as my DNA grows so too will my workspace.

Do I have plans for New Years this year? So far no. I just wont be checking Facebook Messenger until Jan 2 2022.

Love Celebrated

To my younger ones in love, I want to share something with you.  Something that I want to help preserve. Something that I don’t want you to miss.

Traditionally friends and family would throw rice at a newly married couple as a symbol,  “showering” them with blessings of love and support as the couple started their journey together.

Styles change. Ideas change.

Rice, deemed no longer a safe option to wildlife, was replaced by confetti. Glitter and plastics created colorful and magical visual effects rice could not compete with.

But soon it was realized this type of “shower” was hard to clean up, a hassle, destructive to nature. No longer seen as a symbol of spreading blessings, confetti became banned at many places. No longer necessary as part of any celebration.

Now  everyone is  told to simply use digital celebration instead! It’s easier! It’s quicker! An emoji. A heart or two. A horn. No mess. The warmth is simply not there. Real. Tangible feelings.

LOVE is an energy. It is so powerful it has demanded that those of us who do know, remember and understand what it feels like and looks like to actually “shower love” with rice or flowers or leaves, find a way to celebrate it properly and responsibly once again.

Love is a gift. Love is shared. Love radiates.

Seek it. Cherish it. Emit it. Flow in it. Spread it. Speak it.

There is nothing wrong with feeling so wonderful in someone else presence that you are simply happy they were ever born!

YES! Celebrate the love that’s bursting out of you! Live in that moment that feels like forever! Throw flowers in the air and yell I love you! Stare into the eyes that meet your soul and don’t question it!

It is THAT feeling I can’t imagine we let slip away. Feeling so full of love and joy for another that we would toss flowers in the air!

Why is that pure emotion being suppressed ? Another rule, another limitation, another stipulation to what defines love? Give up on creating or finding that better way? Never.

I’m too rebellious to tolerate watching something  pure and good get sucked away into the land of it doesn’t matter anymore.

I saw an abundance around me and knew it was there for a reason. I felt it in my soul that this gift was not a blessing if not shared.

Celebrate love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Blame the Jetsons

In 1962 we met George Jetson… Jane his wife…his boy Elroy…daughter Judy… We watched George fly from his skypad apartments off to his job at Spacely Space Spockets. His maid was a robot. The family of the future as seen through the eyes of Hanna-Barbera.

We wanted it.

The generation that knows these cartoons and can sing the opening song is now living it. But Hanna- Barbera gave us the cartoon version.The reality isn’t as fun.

I don’t recall George crashing his flying car/saucer drunk, wrong way or even purposely driving into a group of people because he could, though in one episode they did clone him.

I don’t remember his daughter Judy glued to a device that  incouraged her to ignore her family, take a million pictures of herself, distract her driving or told her it was time to walk.

I don’t remember  floating trash or pollution in the air.

The robot maid Rosie was close.

I volunteer at a school. I see kids with computers, phones and head phones, all the latest technology. I see what 8 to 10 plus hours a day on a computer or phone or internet is doing to our kids.

Its not the Jetsons thats for sure.Image result for the jetsons

I see less and less motivation. I see kids who don’t want to read further than a sentence before they scroll let alone pick up a book. I see less and less interaction between the kids. Less laughing. Less playing outside. Just more time staring at a screen. I see boredom. I see and hear how little they truly care. I see numb.

For all that this technology has brought in terms of good and advancement, it has brought bad.

Did the Jetsons have to know someone or even see them in person to say something horrible? OUR computers allow it so it must be ok.

The Jetsons world was sterile. Pure air, clean everything. Touch a button and its yours.

Elroy didn’t have active shooter training.

What was Jane doing? She had a robot maid. She was pretty? I don’t remember anything else.

We all assumed that given advanced technology our society would become smarter. Yet I see more and more kids born into a world with technology everywhere. Covered in it, smothered in it , consumed by technology and yet struggle to achieve.

Constant advertising. Consume Consume Consume. Sit there longer. Play more games. Eat more processed snacks for the next few hours. Talk to others online only and have no empathy or concern unless they entertain you. Watch images of death and horror as long as you can stomach live by helicopter. Ride in a self driving car and let it run someone over. Fake Fake Fake. Lies lies lies. Do whatever it takes to get yourself on that screen so everyone can see… even if that means taking a life. Fame is now more important.

So, Jetsons of 1962, let me introduce you to The Jetsons  2018.  What does the Jetsons of 2074 look like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You need down time…”  Simple Life Suggestions from Momma Stace

 

When was the last time you went a few days completely without your phone or any internet… on purpose?

Yes, I just said “days” and “on purpose”. For me it was a few weeks ago. This particularly shitty Saturday at my job pushed me to the point where I simply handed my phone to my husband and said, “Do not give me this back until Tuesday.” then walked away.

The expectation that you should always be attached to a phone, available and ready to respond immediately is now the norm. Society is on permanent heightened alert.  Stay tuned.

My advice as Momma Stace? I say a person needs “down time”. A break. No, not a weekend on the couch with endless video games or binge watching the latest. No, when I say down time I mean real time to rest, gather thoughts, find balance, perspective, replenish etc. Shake off the dust. Step off life’s spinning wheel for a few. Get back to the real you.

Down Time.

Giving yourself permission to take the necessary time to make real decisions and not respond based solely on emotions. Allowing yourself the needed space before internal and external pressures mount into a full eruption.

It seems as though having that real, heart to heart, gut wrenching debate with yourself of, “Should I?” as a concept and basic lifestyle rule, has been obliterated on the information superhighway. No soul searching! No stopping to pause!

You are to Answer NOW! Respond NOW! Why don’t you have your phone?!?!

Our gadgets hum. The roads hum. Our refrigerators hum. Never-ending humming of useless information coming at us from radios, tvs, computers. So much humming we are becoming numb.

Uncomfortably numb to the hum.

Selective hearing engaged at all times. Multi-task or die. Keep on keepin’ on. Long term this can’t possibly be good for our species. We already see the harsh effects…streamed continuously online.

So why does the mere thought of walking away from your phone cause anxiety? Reasons, excuses really, running rampant through your mind…

See kids, back in Momma Stace’s day, no one had this problem because everyone left the house without a phone. We did it all the time. Moms yelled when it was time to come inside. We walked or rode bikes sometimes miles to find out if a friend could hang out much less hear any gossip. Yet somehow, we managed and lived to tell the tale.

I say this to you as Momma Stace. I’m not that old but having lived life in both the worlds before and after Apple Computer, technology has come with blessings and curses my loves.

Please explain to me how these phones are not a corporation inspired, greed driven, mass produced addiction. Now, all photos and music and memories are controlled and stored. Conversations have become shortened into terse texts messages. Someone else’s lame words and phrases repeated so many mind-numbing times, stuffed into your subliminal memorization you have no choice but to sing along. Line after line of repetitive, unwanted, throbbing, beating into that dizzy, smoke filled bar being passed off as your brain. The room spins as it gets smaller and smaller. It’s out of control!Somebody open the door and let some fresh air in here!

Momma Stace’s advice is to step away from it. Shut everything off. Get you some down time. You will be able to actually FEEL the silence. I promise, quickly, you will realize you are still able to sustain life without your T-Mobile sized appendage.

There is enormous power in shutting everything off.

In a world like ours where visions of every horror imaginable can be found at lightening speed, in vivid color and sound, where literally every human on earth of any level of intelligence can comment on any subject with no regards for the truth, decency or respect to any set of universally recognizable morals, yet behave as if every single one of those thoughts, desires or demands matter, the off switch is an act of pure sweet rebellion.

Turn the control switch off.

Somewhere in the silence is the answer, your answer. Find it in the down time. You need some down time.