Tag Archives: Spring Training

The Time I Went To A Séance in Sedona

Although it’s been two weeks since my weekend trip to Sedona, I never posted about it. And since I’m a little bored right now I figure now is as good a time as any.

In all my years of annual Arizona trips, I had never made the less-than-two-hours-north-of-Phoenix trip to Sedona.

My Aunty Debbie and Cousin Jenna (who both live in the valley) are regular visitors, and my Aunty Delta (a snowbird) have all made frequent visits. They were all so excited to introduce me to the area.

Bell Rock

When we arrived, it was 30-degrees and snowing!

Snowing in Sedona

Snowing in Sedona

Not what you call typical Arizona weather. In fact, it had been in the 80’s in Phoenix just the day before! Needless to say I was ill prepared for this weather and wore every piece of warm clothing my aunt had in her trunk.

Upon our initial arrival we drove straight to Bell Rock.

Fog and snow at Bell Rock

Fog and snow at Bell Rock

I was a little disappointed because it was so foggy. I’m sure the initial views would have been stunning.

We took a few photos, contemplated hiking up the trail, which we quickly nixed when the snow started turning to rain.

At foggy Bell Rock

At foggy Bell Rock

Tlaquepaque

Instead, we decided to get some lunch and shop at Tlaquepaque.

We ate at a great little cafe called The Secret Garden. Then, while my aunts wandered through the galleries, Jenna and I went a little nuts posing with statues.

Fun at Tlaquepaque

Fun at Tlaquepaque

What can I say, we crack each other up.

The Séance

That evening we went to a medium. I didn’t know what that was until it was explained to me that it was a séance.

Oh.

I can’t say I was that excited about it. All I could think of was the move “Ghost”; you know where the spirits take over Whoopi Goldberg?

Umm, yeah.

It was at the Sedona Center for Creative Living. We were instructed to arrive by 7:15 pm. The séance started at 7:30 pm and late arrivals were not allowed entry.

The chairs in the room were set-up in 2 circles. We sat in the outer circle. The séance started with an explanation of what to expect, then we had to go around the circles and say our first names. I thought I could be a silent observer, but apparently everyone received “a message.” We also learned about a third of the group were regulars.

When the séance started the lights were turned off and some intro music was played. Then we were led in a short meditation session before the psychic began to go around the room to deliver each person’s message from “the spirits.”

This is where I admit that I thought the whole thing was hokey. All I could think about was how uncomfortable my seat was because my feet didn’t touch the ground. And how the only illumination in the room was the Exit sign over the door that I naturally fixated on.

About an hour into the session the psychic finally came around to me.

Psychic: “Naomi, may I come to you?”

Me: “Yes.” (I contemplated saying “no” but I didn’t want to cause a scene or disrespect the others in the room who were having a serious moment.)

While her messages to the others were pretty generic, (or at least it appeared that way), she was a little specific to me.

She said that there was something that I experienced when I was 10 yrs old that has had a profound impact on my life. And as a result, it’s holding me back from achieving my full potential. She asked me if I meditated, and if I could recall what could have happened. I said no, so she recommended I try hypnosis to recall my memory.

At first I had no idea what could have happened to me when I was 10. I barely remember being 10 yrs old; those years are all kind of jumbled together in my memory. Aunty Delta said that was when she left for college and I was probably devastated by her departure and missed her so much that I never recovered from it. Haha.

So, okay so this is where I admit some irony.

One thing that I didn’t include in my March goals was that I wanted to (and have started) meditating. It’s something that I’ve never done before. Jenna meditates often and its something we discussed a lot during my trip (prior to the séance).

After the séance was over, another woman in the group came up to me and told me about Deepak Chopra’s 21-day Meditation Challenge (sponsored by Oprah) was starting the following Monday.

I guess the séance wasn’t so hokey after all.

I still stand by the fact that I don’t think this psychic had any ability to receive “messages” on my behalf. I compare the experience to reading your horoscope – take it with a grain of salt. But I do appreciate the woman from the group telling me about the 21-day Meditation Challenge. I’m in the midst of participating in it. It’s been an uplifting and gratifying experience so far. I look forward to sharing my experience when the challenge concludes.

Red Rock Crossing

The next day the weather cleared up so we headed out to Red Rock Crossing.

Shaka Shadows

Shaka Shadows

<3 my family!

<3 my family!

Red Rock Crossing sits right under Cathedral Rock.

Under Cathedral Rock

Under Cathedral Rock

There is a river that runs through it, and the bank along the river is Buddha’s Beach.

Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing

Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing

The area is littered with vortexes made of rocks left behind by visitors.

Vortexes at Red Rock Crossing

Vortexes at Red Rock Crossing

Vortex Garden at Red Rock Crossing

Vortex Garden at Red Rock Crossing

We made one for our family.

Our family's vortex

Our family’s vortex

Then we had fun trying to be “human vortexes.”

Vortex heads

Vortex heads

We made a final stop at Bell Rock for last minute photos before heading back to Phoenix.

Sedona

Sedona

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock

What a difference 24-hrs makes.

Bell Rock

Bell Rock

Hiking Pinnacle Peak Park

In all the years I’ve been going to Arizona, I never once went hiking. Our trips were always all about baseball. Oh and that one year we went to the dog races. But that story is for another day.

This was my first trip to Arizona with the Pacific Northwest relatives, who are avid hikers. I am not a hiker but I wanted to try it! So my Aunty Delta and I scoured a list of popular hikes and settled on Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale.

Now one of my biggest fears is being stuck in the middle of nowhere on a ledge with no one else around. But my aunt had hiked this trail before and promised me that it wasn’t a difficult hike, and it was well populated.

We drove to North Scottsdale and could see Pinnacle Peak from the freeway. While my aunt had hiked it before, she didn’t quite remember the exact way to get to the trailhead so we used Google Maps. Sadly Google Maps failed and led us to a gated community at the base of the mountain. We drove around for about 20-min until we found the road that took us to the start of the trail.

{Note: If you’re planning on hiking this trail, from Pima Rd, drive up Dynamite Blvd toward the mountain. You’ll eventually see signs that will direct you to the parking lot where the trail begins.}

Just before the parking lot, a mini “ghost town” of shops and cafes greeted us.

Just before the parking lot, a mini “ghost town” of shops and cafes greeted us.

When we finally arrived, I looked up and felt a little overwhelmed. We were about to climb to the top!

Pinnacle Peak Park

As we started, I noticed how really well cared for the trail was. The dirt was smooth and very runner-friendly. I assumed it was a popular running trail when I saw this sign:

Pinnacle Peak Park

So we ran off and on in the beginning of the hike:

Pinnacle Peak Park

I can't believe I got a photo of BOTH of my aunt's feet OFF the ground!

I can’t believe I got a photo of BOTH of my aunt’s feet OFF the ground!

As we climbed, we were treated to stunning views of the valley…

View from Pinnacle Peak

View from Pinnacle Peak

…and the trail became less runnable (for me) …

Pinnacle Peak Park

…although there was one girl who passed us THREE times running at full speed. She was my hero that day.

Once we reached the summit…

Pinnacle Peak

…we headed back down on the other side of the mountain. It was longer and more challenging with more steps and turns.

We reached the end of the trail in a little under an hour. Not bad considering we took our time and stopped for water/shade breaks and photo ops along the way.

The end of Pinnacle Peak trail

Now that I knew what the entire trail was like, I wasn’t looking forward to heading back and doing it all over again. But the views and foliage were stunning and worth it!

A cactus garden!

A cactus garden!

By now it was later in the day and the sun was out in full force. I could feel the rays beating down on me. We took a lot more water breaks and this time, celebrated when we reached the summit again!

We finished the 3.57-mile hike in 1 hr and 49 min. I wore my Garmin so I could see what the elevation was like and to get a snapshot of the trail

Garmin map of Pinnacle Peak Park hike

Garmin map of Pinnacle Peak Park hike

Garmin data of Pinnacle Peak Park elevation

Garmin data of Pinnacle Peak Park elevation

I was so glad we picked this hike. It is a very doable hike for just about anyone. The trail is well cared for, and populated enough where I never felt isolated. There is also an office at the start of the trailhead with restrooms and water fountains. I plan on hiking this again on future visits!

So now that I’m into hiking (it’s such a great cross-training activity!), any favorite hikes to recommend?

Five Days in Arizona

I’ve been to 16 of the last 19 years of Spring Training, and this year is the longest trip of all – 10 days.

I normally make the annual pilgrimage to the Cactus League with my Bay Area cousins (and fellow SF Giants fans) but they weren’t able to make it this year. So instead, I’m visiting my Pacific Northwest cousin Jenna…

My cousin Jenna at the Great Wall in China

My cousin Jenna at the Great Wall in China

…who now lives here. Her Mom (my aunt) also flew down from the PNW. I also have another aunt who lives here, as well as my sister so it’s been somewhat of a Girls Trip.

I’m five days into my trip, and the time has flown by; I can hardly believe it’s already Friday. Technically today is my last “vacation day”, as I’m actually back to work on Monday even though I’m staying in AZ through next Wednesday.

I’ve spent the past five days…

…Going to Spring Training Baseball Games

+ SFG’s vs. White Sox at Camelback Ranch

This was my first trip to this ballpark. The White Sox share it with the Dodgers so I really didn’t have any interest to visit, but since the G’s were playing here I decided it was as good of a time as any to make my (likely) once-and-only visit.

The park itself is really nice. Parking was free and the lawn area was really nice and spacious. And I was able to get a seat with this view at the last minute.

SF Giants vs CHI White Sox at Camelback Ranch

SF Giants vs CHI White Sox at Camelback Ranch

+ SFG’s vs. Indians at Scottsdale Stadium

Welcome to Scottsdale Stadium!

Welcome to Scottsdale Stadium!

My seat wasn’t as good at Scottsdale Stadium…

The view at Scottsdale Stadium from Section 315.

The view at Scottsdale Stadium from Section 315.

Ever since the G’s won the World Series in 2010 it is hard to get a ticket to a Spring Training game. Back in the day we used to be able to walk up to the ticket office and get lawn seats for $5. These days, you really have to purchase them in advance.

But the seat that I had was fine, and it was right next to my favorite food in the park.

It was fun to be among “my people.” SFG fans are passionate – even in a Spring Training game.

…Eating

+ Ballpark Food

Speaking of ballpark food, the food at Camelback Ranch was so boring and uninteresting. All they had were hotdogs and pizza. There weren’t any healthy options.

However, it’s a whole different story at Scottsdale Stadium. Like AT&T Park, there’s the traditional boring stuff like at Camelback Ranch, but there’s also BBQ, Jamba Juice, etc. My personal favorite is:

Island Noodles Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables

Island Noodles Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables

I didn’t think I’d be able to have this now that I’m eating gluten-free, but they offered to make a batch of noodle-free veggies for me so I could still have it. It was just as good as I remembered; I savored every bite.

However, I do have a confession. As much as I’ve stayed committed to eating gluten-free, I faltered on my “no refined sugar” goal. I gave in to temptation and had this:

Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream with Peanut Toppings

Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream with Peanut Toppings

What can I say? The weather was hot, ice cream is my weakness, and it looked good. And it was SO GOOD. But as soon as I was done eating it I felt eaters’ remorse. I also paid for it dearly. My lactose intolerant stomach ached for two days and I had the worst headache ever. I’d like to say that it was enough suffering for me never to have ice cream again…however, the Kona Coffee Ice Cream Sundae at The Yardhouse is calling my name…I can hear it…

…And working out

+ Running

I’ve run three times on this trip. Scenes from the run:

Run #1, 30-min

Run #1, 30-min

Run #2, 35-min along the Grand Canal (see how big the "canal" is?)

Run #2, 35-min along the Grand Canal (see how big the “canal” is?)

Run #3, 35-min - on the grass around the Great Lawns

Run #3, 35-min – on the grass around the Great Lawns

While all three runs went well; i.e., the muscle strain wasn’t an issue, they were all hard. I always struggle working out on vacation and it took every ounce of motivation for me to get the minimal miles in. The Arizona heat didn’t help either. But at least there it was overcast on this morning’s run.

I’ve also…

…done a little swimming…

…been to a hot yoga class (blog post coming soon)…

…and went hiking!

Hiked Pinnacle Peak!

Hiked Pinnacle Peak!


(blog post on the hike is also in the works!)

We’re heading to Sedona this weekend for more hiking and adventures. I’ve never been to Sedona before and I’m really excited to see what it has to offer!