Exploring Red Rock Canyon


It is true that I live in a big city for the first time in my life, and I’m NOT a city girl. Luckily we’re only minutes from a really cool place, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.


It offers a fascinating desert landscape. It’s an amazing place to explore now, during fall/winter. I’m thrilled that I am able to do that. The desert offers both solitude, and an excitement that is hard to match.


My daughter found an open, sandy spot that she declared was perfect for a dance party. So we danced. Without music. In the middle of the desert. By ourselves. Laughing our hearts out.





To me, the fact that she initiated this, is a victory. I love how her brain works. I pray she’ll stay this free spirited.




She is not my little girl anymore. She is her own person, and I am so proud of her.


Red Rock Canyon is amazing, and I’ve only just scratch on the surface. I’m looking forward to do a lot more exploring.



My dog thoroughly enjoyed some off leash time. When we got closer to the trail head I attached the leash again, and worked through some obedience sequences we do several times a day. To keep her tuned in.


While I was doing that, my daughter borrowed my camera and took tons of pictures. I kind of liked this one, that she took of Gretchen and me.

We saw signs of horses and burros, lots of poop, and hoofprints, but no animals. Hopefully we’ll see some next time. I love watching wild horses play. It’s one of my favorite things. From a distance, of course.

I hope your new week is awesome.


Ms Zen


Sagittarius Viking – New Blog Title – New Home State – Same Great Coffee ! !


My upcoming move out of northern California, down to southern Nevada, motivates a name change of the blog (NorCal Zen.) I don’t want to start all over with a new blog. I’d like to keep seeing all my friends here. I enjoy it very much, and I don’t want to risk loosing any of you. I’ve been thinking about the name for a while. I named my art gallery; Sagittarius Viking, a couple years ago. That name sort of describes who I am, which will never change, no matter where I live.

A Sagittarius loves to travel, have an open mind and, and a philosophical view (me-check.) It motivates them to wander around the world in search of the meaning of life (done – check.) Sagittarius is extrovert (hmm..to some degree – check,) optimistic (YES,) and enthusiastic (YES,) and likes changes (sometimes, they certainly spice things up from time to time- check.) A lot of that perfectly describes me. The fact that my ancestors, on both parents sides, were vikings, doesn’t exactly lessen my desire to explore. It’s in my DNA, even if it’s a slightly more mindful exploring, compared to the average viking. My blog, and my photography is a results of my (inner and outer) explorations. It made it a rather easy choice, to choose the same name for my blog, that I already use for my photography – Sagittarius Viking. I should of picked that name when I started blogging 8 years ago, and just sticked with it. Better late than never 🙂 

You can still use the old web address, it’s linked to the new name, but if you want the new address for this blog it is https://sagittariusviking.com. 

Now this blog turned into “country girl facing big city life” for the first time. I’m mostly excited, and very curious about how this is going to play out. I hope that you’ll drop in for coffee as usual. It’s still the best coffee you can get.

I started to use the pseudonym Ms Zen in the blogging world, when I started this blog, and the blog title was NorCal Zen. I am always striving towards finding that zen in my life. Being in balance with everything. I think I’ll just stick with that name for a while. My friends call me Maria. You’re free to use either or.


Ms Zen