Friday, February 21, 2014

Is Carol's Writing Mojo Back?


 
It has been 2 years and 1 day since my last post!  It's certainly not because I have been still.  A lot has happened in the last 2 years.  I turned 60 and I have put about 40,000 miles on my car.  

Most of those miles were traveling between Washington and Arizona and Missouri and places in between, including a beautiful day at Mt. Rushmore. 

Mostly, I travel alone... to a specific destination.  I spent a lot of time in Northwest Missouri with a friend and enjoyed getting to see some of the midwest. And, I have spent quite a bit of time with Max's sister, Connie, and her husband in Arizona.

Even though I've done a lot of traveling to very interesting places, I haven't written because I lost my writing mojo.  After Max died my writing inspiration failed me.  No matter how much I wanted to sit down and write, the words couldn't, wouldn't, didn't come to me.

I am praying my writing inspiration is returning because I want to share and save my thoughts and memories.  I have started  writing some real estate articles as a freelance writer.  I'm looking forward to doing more of that.  I currently have two clients... one real estate agent in Washington and one real estate company with offices in California, Washington and Idaho.  So far the response from my clients has been encouraging: "I love it", "Great", "Awesome".  Can I keep up the pace?  I can certainly try.

Stay tuned...
Carol

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sedona - Final Day


My last 1/2 day in Sedona started with a jeep tour with our A Day in the West tour guide. He took us into some of the back country "behind" Sedona. It was absolutely beautiful and informational.

He told us all kinds of stuff about the history of the area, the plants and their healing qualities, and the animal life.




The above picture isn't of the actual jeep we took. It's a picture from the wall mural on the outside of their building. Pretty cute. Their jeeps are actually yellow. :-)






Here is a link to all my public albums at this time: http://picasaweb.google.com/home

Stay tuned...
Carol


Sedona - Two more days


Thursday - Friday:
After only one half day in Sedona, I knew staying at least one extra day made absolute sense since I was already there. I made arrangements with the hotel and was off on more adventures.

On Thursday I went on a Pink Jeep Tour into the area of ancient ruins. Not only is the surrounding scenery beautiful, getting to and from the ruins, but to actually visualize the peoples who inhabited these cliff dwellings is humbling. Click on the link to see some pics from their website. Here is a link to all of MY pictures from that trek. These are all organic and not yet edited:

My Friday tour was postponed until Saturday so I had a Free day. I took the time to head up to the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross, a famous Catholic church built right on top of the rocks, blending beautifully into the scenery.

I stayed up there quite a while, trying to capture the changing colors as the sun moved across the valley.





The picture on the right is taken standing at the church facing the hillside.

The lower left picture is taken standing beside the church looking down into the valley. It's a little hazy in the distance due to a fire somewhere in the northern area.




Stay tuned...
Carol


Here is a link to all my public albums as of today:

Sedona - First Half Day



January 11, 2012 (Wednesday):
I left Connie and Bill's mid morning with the plan to spend a couple days in Sedona and return on Friday. Immediately after arriving, I scoped out a visitor center and booked a couple jeep tours for the next two days, found a hotel, then headed up town to wander around and get my bearings.

Sedona is a beautiful and fascinating place. Sedona's official website sums it up be

st: Often called "Red Rock Country" Sedona is a four seasons playground for everyone -whether you're into history and archaeology, arts and culture, shopping, outdoor sports; or the spiritual and metaphysical, imagine doing all this in a backdrop of some of the most spectacular scenery in the world".

The weather was absolutely lovely, making it difficult to remember it was still early January. My luck was amazing!

First order of business was to have a leisurely lunch. After lunch I wandered around town with camera in hand. I've turned into a photographer who takes a picture of everything.


Sometimes people look at me funny when I take pictures of odd things (like my food) but... hey... you never know when you might capture a unique photo worthy of submitting to a stock photography site.


I was particularly fascinated by the vast array of life sized scuptures displayed around town.

The sun wasn't exactly in the right position for pictures, but I did the best I could (and have not edited). One of my favorites was an authentically garbed w
estern couple (mounted on a wagon wheel), swirling and dancing to whatever music was in their bronze heads.





Another favorite was a cowboy painter, with a smaller statue of a little girl taking a picture of him as he worked on his (fake) canvas creation.








And... a scupture of a life sized horse, with all the detail of what a cowboy would carry including
the gun and holster, saddle bags, etc. Totally amazing!

Stay tuned...
Carol



Saturday, January 14, 2012

219 / 388 / 284 / 46


The numbers in the title are the number of pictures I took each day I was in Sedona this week (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). That totals 937 in four days. Actually it was two 1/2 days and 2 full days.

Those numbers do not include the mere 288 additional pictures I took since leaving home on December 18th. I have done some purging but need to do a LOT more.

We photo bugs take a lot of pictures in hopes of getting that one or two outstanding shots... which are greatly subject to lighting conditions and weather.... and whether the photo bug was smart enough to remember her tri-pod (which I was not). :-(

In the case of Sedona, a little moisture on the rocks would have helped bring out the color, but it was beautiful anyway.

I will make additional posts, with additional commentary on each day of my Sedona adventure.

For those of you with nothing more meaningful to do, below is a link to ALL of my public photo albums. There are 42 total albums with, literally thousands and thousands of pictures. You won't want to look at them all.
https://picasaweb.google.com/114732250621064799297

The first 7 albums are the ones from this current trip. The album titled Max Jr. & Janice is actually their album. I did not take those pictures.

Stay tuned...
Carol

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Daily Grind

The weather continues to be beautiful in Arizona. Even the locals seem to think it's unusually warm for January. I love it !


January 5 - 7:

Thursday was 30,000 mile car maintenance day. Since I plan to keep my car for a long time, and do some road traveling, I want to keep her running at tip top performance.


My car is nearly 4 years and just recently turned over 30,000 miles. Low miles so far, but that will likely change now that I'm trying to fill the lonely void in my life with visiting family and friends... and using my camera as a travel companion.


After my excursion to the car dealership, Connie and I went for lunch at a Mexican place called Macayos. It has large portions of, colorfully presented, good food and a fun decor conducive to taking interior pictures.

Friday: Even on vacation, a person has to do chores, so I did some laundry and general clean-up in my room.

After getting back from her Dr. appointment, Connie and I went to the Sun City West library which was totally awesome. I like libraries. They have a sense of peace and reverence to them. I was so impressed with the organization of the library, with separate rooms for various categories: Media (music and videos), Newspapers, Investments, etc. They even had a room full of computers for people to use. Very cool.

Saturday was a totally lazy day for me. I set up my tri-pod and took pictures of some paintings Connie wants to sell. Other than that, though, I spent time reading, laying in the sun, napping and doing Words with Friends (my new online scrabble addiction).

Today is a new day. Other than church at 1:00 I have no idea what the rest of the day will hold. I hope for a little time in the sun !

Stay tuned...
Carol





Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Desert Botanical Garden / Phoenix


The plan to go on an excursion with Connie today fell through because she took Bill to the ear doctor and it took longer than expected.

Instead, I headed out to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix by myself. It was a warm, sunny day and I made the mistake of only wearing a sleeveless top.

As a result, I didn't spend as much time at the garden as I would have liked... in the interest of saving my skin from turning direct from white to red. I'm working on getting a tan, not turning into a lobster.

Anyway, I did take a lot of pictures. Here is a link to the complete album. Some good, some not so good due to the direction of the sun The picture above is actually glass art, not real plants.

https://picasaweb.google.com/114732250621064799297/DesertBotanicalGardenPhoenix

Click on a photo to enlarge, then scroll left or right with the arrows. Enjoy !

In spite of all the traffic down here, I don't mind driving around. Even though it gets jammed at times, for the most part traffic moves along pretty good due to an abundance of lanes. There are up to 7 lanes going each way on the freeways... and almost always 4 - 6 depending on the location. You still have to watch for the crazies who zip in and out of traffic in a hazardous way, but you get that anywhere I guess.

Tomorrow is a scheduled oil change and 30,000 mile check-up for my trusty traveling companion.

Stay tuned...
Carol

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Journaling


One of my resolutions for the new year is to write a journal... not necessarily EVERY day, but often.

January 2, 2012:
A relaxing day mostly hanging out at Connie & Bill's. I went out to get gas in my car before it leaves me stranded somewhere scrambling for my AAA card in need of rescue service.

Then went to Barnes and Noble to catch up on a few current edition magazines. I'm always amazed at how many different magazines are published on every possible subject.

It's good for me to get out at least once a day and go somewhere. The roads around here are a bit confusing. Sun City West is designed in a circular pattern and, unless you actually look at a map, it's hard to get your bearings.

I like all the choices for shopping around here! I don't do that much shopping but I like having choices when the mood strikes. I like some of the stores we don't have available in Wenatchee, like a BIG bookstore. It's one of my favorite places to go hang out when I have nothing else to do (or don't want to do anything else). I also like Panda Express and Dunkin Donuts, Long John Silvers, and many of the little strip mall cafes.

After my gas-getting outing I went back to the house, played Connie 3 games of Yahtzee then went to take a late nap. All that effort being a good sport while losing makes me tired. I must have been really tired because I slept right through dinner in spite of Connie calling me. Oh well, won't hurt me to miss a meal or three... or more!

January 3, 2012:
I got out in the front courtyard for a little sun before the overcast skies sneaked in. Still a pleasant 68ish degrees in spite of the cloud cover.

I called to make a Thursday appointment with the Ford dealership for an oil change and 30,000 mile check up. Hopefully, nothing will need to be done and I can get out of there without blowing my budget.

Connie and I have a massage scheduled for 12:45 this afternoon so I'm anxiously watching the clock.

Stay tuned...
Carol

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reading Frenzy


I've been on a reading binge since leaving home on December 17th when I headed south for a few weeks.

The first book doesn't really count as "reading". It was actually listening... 15 hours of listening to an audio book entitled "Family Ties". Good entertainment for the trip from Wenatchee to Spokane, Spokane to Salt Lake City, and somewhere beyond Salt Lake City it was finished.





The books I have actually "read" since are:
Wild Montana Sky by Deborah Holland
Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson
In Too Deep by Kathryn Shay
Dream House by E. Jean Beres (a novella)

Now I'm reading a book called Elvis Has Not Left the Building. It's a story about Elvis having faked his own death, had major reconstructive surgery to be unrecognizable and living in obscurity as a private investigator, specializing in finding missing persons.

Other books in progress:
Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
The Litigators by John Grisham
True Believer by Nicolas Sparks

More books are in the Que... along with a number of Bible based books to help me with guidance as I wander into the unknown. LOL

I'm also going to start getting out for some one or two day road trips around the Phoenix area. Want to enjoy the beautiful Arizona sun, fresh air and give my camera a work-out.

Onward...
Carol

Ringing In The New Year


I am having trouble embracing the New Year of 2012. I want to hold on to my past with Max instead of moving forward without him.

I know he is with me always and everywhere and yet I, somehow, feel like I'm leaving him behind by embracing the New Year.

Beyond that I know 2012 is a critical election year for our country. I pray we can move in the right direction to recapture the principles this country was founded upon and regain world respect.

Best wishes to all !
Carol

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cactus In The Yard





I like just wandering around Connie & Bill's yard taking pictures of the cool cactus.

I particularly enjoy taking close-ups but they are constantly telling me "don't get too close" because they will, literally, jump out and stick you even if you don't touch them. So far I haven't had that happen, and I don't really want to prove them right and have them say "I told you so"!

Stay Tuned...
Carol



Lisa & Alan in Sun City West


Lisa & Alan flew in to Phoenix on Wednesday to attend a wedding in Scottsdale.

Connie rode with me to pick them up at the airport. Our timing was perfect. We were one minute away when Lisa called and said they were standing outside baggage claim ready for their chauffeured limo to pick them up.





We went back to Connie and Bill's for an afternoon visit on the 70 degree patio. Perfect!




Lisa & Alan have never seen Connie & Bill's place in Sun City West. We were happy to see them but were disappointed to discover Alan didn't bring any of his famous peanut brittle. T
oo much demand and not enough supply! So Sad. Maybe next year!



We just sat around on the patio and talked for a couple hours, then Connie and I took them out to their hotel in Scottsdale to attend all the long week-end wedding related festivities.

They're going to be sad when it's time to go back home to winter in Spokane. But, a short respite from the cold is better than no respite at all.


Stay tuned...

Carol

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day 2011


Christmas day with Connie and Bill included a relaxing morning lounging around and then opening presents.

After opening my awesome presents (and I got some really cool stuff) we got dressed up to go to the special music presentation at church.

Connie made a deal with me that if I did the turkey she would prepare the rest of the meal. I jumped at that offer. I prepared the turkey and had it in the oven before leaving for church.
After church, Connie went to work on preparing the rest of the meal. Things were going well until the turkey took longer to cook than I planned, so her part was ready before the turkey! Normally I am preparing the whole meal and schedule it all out, but I guess I'm not so good at the ala carte thing. LOL

While Connie worked on the rest of the dinner I sat around and read and felt guilty. I did offer to help some but she seemed to have a plan so I let her be.

The dinner was scrumptious and we enjoyed leftovers today, and will be for a few more days. Always a favorite bonus of Christmas dinner.

All is well,
Carol


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Road trip December 2011

I'm spending the holidays in Arizona with Connie and Bill. I miss Max, of course, but figure it would be good for me to spend time with family during the holidays.

I took the long way to Arizona in order to make a stop in Spokane to see Lisa & Alan and then a stop in Salt Lake City to spend some time with Lana.

I originally planned to leave home on the 14th but thought better of that as I watched the weather reports. I decided leaving a couple days later should give me smooth sailing for the whole trip. My planned worked!

I drove to Spokane on Friday the
16th. It was foggy during my time there but we had a good time. We went out to dinner, and hung out with their friends. Lisa introduced me to her addiction to "Words With Friends", an online
form of scrabble. I have cursed her ever since because, not only do I play too much... I lose a lot!

Alan gave me a peanut brittle making lesson which was fun. He's a master!



I left Spokane on Sunday morning, headed to Salt Lake City. I stayed in Mountain Home, Idaho Sunday night then made it to SLC late Monday afternoon.

Lana took me down to Temple Square that night to enjoy the holiday decorations. We spent a little time walking around the Grande Hotel, then to Temple Square, then back to the Grand Hotel for a light dinner.

On Tuesday I took Lana (she drove) for a birthday pedicure and manicure. Lana's birthday is December 22nd and always gets cheated
because it's so close to Christmas.

Anyway, that was fun. Then we met her friend Diana, at Mimi' for lunch. I enjoyed spending time with Diana and getting to know here a little better.



On Wednesday morning I warmed up the car and pointed it toward Connie & Bill's (in Sun City West, Arizona). I made it as far as Las Vegas that day. I wanted to take a few pictures around town but made the mistake of laying down on my hotel bed and fell asleep until 11:30 p.m. I wasn't going trotting about Las Vegas by myself at that time of night. I wasn't so worried about me, but I surely didn't want anything happening to my precious camera! LOL

I arrived at Connie & Bill's late Thursday afternoon and have been settling in ever since. I have my own room and bathroom and wireless internet... so what more could a girl ask for? I may never leave... that is until I know the weather at home has warmed up!

Connie & Bill are both doing well. Connie is still recovering from her back surgery. All is good except she struggles with muscle spasms. I think ongoing muscle therapy would help. It sure did for me!

Bill seems to be responding well to his chemotherapy and blood transfusion. He's in good spirits and more active than I've seen him in a long time!

Today is Christmas Eve, so I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Stay tuned for more adventures...
Carol

Road trip December 2011


I'm spending the holidays in Arizona with Connie and Bill. I miss Max, of course, but figure it would be good for me to spend time with family during the holidays.

I took the long way to Arizona in order to make a stop in Spokane to see Lisa & Alan and then a stop in Salt Lake City to spend some time with Lana.

I originally planned to leave home on the 14th but thought better of that as I watched the weather reports. I decided leaving a couple days later should give me smooth sailing for the whole trip. My planned worked!

I drove to Spokane on Friday the
16th. It was foggy during my time there but we had a good time. We went out to dinner, and hung out with their friends. Lisa introduced me to her addiction to "Words With Friends", an online
form of scrabble. I have cursed her ever since because, not only do I play too much... I lose a lot!

Alan gave me a peanut brittle making lesson which was fun. He's a master!



I left Spokane on Sunday morning, headed to Salt Lake City. I stayed in Mountain Home, Idaho Sunday night then made it to SLC late Monday afternoon.

Lana took me down to Temple Square that night to enjoy the holiday decorations. We spent a little time walking around the Grande Hotel, then to Temple Square, then back to the Grand Hotel for a light dinner.

On Tuesday I took Lana (she drove) for a birthday pedicure and manicure. Lana's birthday is December 22nd and always gets cheated
because it's so close to Christmas.

Anyway, that was fun. Then we met her friend Diana, at Mimi' for lunch. I enjoyed spending time with Diana and getting to know here a little better.


On Wednesday morning I warmed up the car and pointed it toward Connie & Bill's (in Sun City West, Arizona). I made it as far as Las Vegas that day. I wanted to take a few pictures around town but made the mistake of laying down on my hotel bed and fell asleep until 11:30 p.m. I wasn't going trotting about Las Vegas by myself at that time of night. I wasn't so worried about me, but I surely didn't want anything happening to my precious camera! LOL

I arrived at Connie & Bill's late Thursday afternoon and have been settling in ever since. I have my own room and bathroom and wireless internet... so what more could a girl ask for? I may never leave... that is until I know the weather at home has warmed up!

Connie & Bill are both doing well. Connie is still recovering from her back surgery. All is good except she struggles with muscle spasms. I think ongoing muscle therapy would help. It sure did for me!

Bill seems to be responding well to his chemotherapy and blood transfusion. He's in good spirits and more active than I've seen him in a long time!

Today is Christmas Eve, so I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Stay tuned for more adventures...
Carol

Sunday, December 4, 2011

When Does It Get Better?

It's been over 6 months since Max passed away and I'm still trying to get motivated. It's not that I don't have anything to do! I just can't get motivated to do much of anything.

I MAKE myself get out of the house and go "somewhere" (anywhere) at least once a day. Sometimes it's just to the store, or something to eat. Sometimes I go for an aimless drive.

I have a lot of photographic magazines to read and educational CDs I want to watch but, instead I just waste time watching TV, napping and not doing much of anything.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dear Max


My Dear Maximilliano,
I'm sure you already know how much I miss you. I miss your sweet spirit and your shy, dry sense of humor. I miss kissing you good morning and goodnight and all the times in between. I miss everything about you.

I am so grateful we weren't shy about expressing our love and appreciation for each other. I felt total unconditional love and contentment with you. There must be other couples who were devoted to each other like we were/are... but it is hard for me to imagine. I just think we were so special and I am glad we had so many years together.

We had a pretty amazing life together, didn't we?

I will always treasure our time together and the memories we share. I know you are free and happy now in the loving care of our Lord and Savior. I am praying for guidance until we can be together again.

Love always,
Your Sta. Carolina


Adjusting


The Bee Gees song "How D0 You Mend a Broken Heart" keeps playing in my head.

How does a person "adjust" to life when the focus of life for the last 30 years is gone?

I am struggling to find a new identify, purpose, passion since Max's death. He can never be replaced, of course. I must treasure the time we had together and see if I can move on in search for something that can give me even a small percentage of the happiness I felt with him. I felt totally content with Max... even in the last several months when he was bedridden.

As I move on, I am trying to keep busy at home and doing some traveling to occupy my mind and pursue my interest in photography. I'd like to figure out how to make a little extra money with my pictures.

I spent a long Thanksgiving week end at Lincoln City, Oregon with my cousin Shirley and her friend Richard. The weather was surprisingly good, considering the forecast.

Lincoln City is located on the beautiful Oregon coast at the 45th parallel. I had a bit of a challenge getting there because of a storm that came in the day before I arrived. Hwy 18 was closed due to fallen trees across the road so I took a detour that was only an extra 1/2 hour or so of travel time.




I spent a week on Maui, Hawaii with a friend in late October, thanks to the purchase of a condo at a charity auction. We did tours via land, sea and air. Maui is an amazingly diverse island, with rainfall ranging from 395 inches per year on the Hana side of the island down to 10 inches on the Kihei side (where we stayed). I like staying on the dry side and visiting the wet side! :-)

The trip was bittersweet and, although I enjoyed the trip very much, I can't shake the feeling of loneliness without Max.

I know grieving is a very individual and personal journey. I acknowledge how truly blessed my life is, having had a marriage to the love of my life... and, now, a good support group to help me through.

I joined a widow grief group in Wenatchee, but will be heading to Arizona to spend Christmas with Max's sister and brother-in-law. Not sure how long I'll be gone, so I'll miss a lot of our weekly meetings. I'm not sure if I will try to locate a group in Arizona or just take up when I return.

Stay tuned...
Carol

Adjusting




The Bee Gees song "How D0 You Mend a Broken Heart" keeps playing in my head.

How does a person "adjust" to life when the focus of life for the last 30 years is gone?

I am struggling to find a new identify, purpose, passion since Max's death. He can never be replaced. I will merely treasure the time we had together and see if I can move on in search for something that can give me even a small percentage of the happiness I felt with him. I felt totally content with Max... even in the last several months when he was bedridden.

As I move on, I am trying to keep busy at home and doing some traveling to occupy my mind and pursue my interest in photography. I'd like to figure out how to make a little extra money with my pictures.

I spent a long Thanksgiving
week-end at Lincoln City, Oregon with my cousin Shirley and her friend Richard. The weather was surprisingly good, considering the forecast.







I spent a week on Maui, Hawaii with a friend in late October, thanks to the purchase of a condo at a charity auction. We did tours via land, sea and air.

I know grieving is a very individual and personal journey. I acknowledge how truly blessed my life still is and yet I can't shake the depression and loneliness, in spite of a good support group of family and friends.

I joined a widow grief group in Wenatchee, but I will be heading to Arizona to spend Christmas with Max's sister and brother-in-law. Not sure how long I'll be gone, so I'll miss a lot of our weekly meetings so I'm not sure if I will try to locate a group in Arizona or just take up when I return.

Stay tuned...
Carol

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hawaii October 23-30, 2011









I enjoyed a week-long trip to Maui in October. I thought about Max a lot and how he would have enjoyed the beautiful scenery and warm climate.

A 1-hour ride in a helicopter was a great visual on the am
azing diversity of the eco systems on this volcanic island.
Here is a link to info about the volcano of Maui.

On the Kihei side of the island, where I stayed, there are about 10 inches of rain annually. On the Hana side of the island, there are about 390 inches of rain annually. Talk about diverse!