Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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I had the pleasure of meeting Dyna Chin in Tumacacori, AZ last weekend. Her hilltop shop, Stone Dragon Studio, commands an impressive view of the Santa Cruz Valley. The leather workshop is situated near her home, a property she has recently acquired. The work she does with leather is artful and made with extreme care and craftsmanship. She crafts custom pieces, such as the story belts, for customers who want a special personal wearable art. She also designs and makes a variety of utilitarian bags, purses, vests, belts, and wallets which are available full time to customers who want to indulge a wild west fancy in a glamorous way. Her fashions are distinct and classy, as well as highly functional. I highly recommend a visit to see this art in person.
She had prepared a lavish buffet for guests to enjoy during her open house. Her second passion is food, which was easy to taste in the quince tart and mesquite flour cookie I sampled. She does catering for some local people and has plans in the works to begin serving brunch on the weekends on her beautiful hill overlooking Tumacacori. Dyna adds a distinct new artful flair to this already diverse and deeply interesting part of the world.
2016 is a special year for the National Park Service in the US. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the service the American people are being gifted extra free admission days to discover our parks. I am the lucky owner of a senior pass, which I purchased last year for $10. It entitles me and a car full of my guests to visit the National Parks gratis for as long as I live. This is, by far, my favorite benefit of being an American senior citizen. The value of a visit to any of our majestic National Parks is incalculable.
The theme for this birthday year is Find Your Park. My friend Eric treated me to a visit to Joshua Tree National Park last September. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed the exotic scenery very much. It was still hot a blazes up there, so our photo shoots consisted of running quickly back and forth to and from the car to snap some of the landscape for posterity. One can easily see why it is known to rock climbers all over the world who flock to it as soon as the temperatures allow outside recreation without frying to a crisp. It must be a fabulous place to hike, especially in the spring. If you have a chance to discover this amazing gem of a park I highly recommend it. I plan to return to discover more of the dramatic beauty of this place.
Very near our home in Tucson is a special park dedicated to history, Tumacacori National Historic Park. I love to go there for any reason, but their educational programs are exceptional. We attended a full moon lecture last fall at the mission park that was taught by a ranger. She told us in great detail about Padre Kino and the history of the area and native peoples. She was knowledgable about the never ending restoration work done to preserve the original structures. We all learned new things about the history and culture of this region while taking a candle lantern tour around the grounds and inside the church.
The Centennial of the Park Service is indeed something in which we can take pride. I hope all of the gentle readers will have a chance to find your park in 2016. There is a very cool way to share your experience and those of others at findyourpark.com. The extra free admission days around the country take place during the last two weeks of August, 2016. If you are in vacation planning mode please consider taking advantage of this generous offer to Find Your Park. Bon Voyage.
No visit to Santa Cruz County, Arizona would be complete without a stop at the Santa Cruz Chile and Spice Company. In the old days the products were more limited to the local chile powder and paste. Now that hot sauce and chile in general is a huge trend the store stocks hot sauce and spices from around the world. The selection includes jellies, sauces and a large number of dried spices. I had always used the old fashioned red chile paste from this company to make my enchiladas. Now they make several kinds of chile paste. I picked up a jar of green chile and garlic paste for our holiday enchiladas this season. The sample was delicious and who doesn’t need to shake things up with tried and true recipes like sour cream enchiladas? The chile makes all the difference.
Outside the store there are displays of many of the old pieces of equipment used in the past to process chiles. Even those who don’t care for spicy food will enjoy a visit to this tasty and tasteful historic business.