28 Jan

Full Circle and Then Some

I spent the holiday season in Arizona, and along with the weather, it was a very different celebration. In 2012, three months after my mother had died, my sister moved to Arizona, and five months later, I moved to Germany. Since we suffered a terrible loss, my sister and I needed to start a new life, hers happened to be 5,535 miles away from me. We met for a weekend in the summer of 2013 to pack and ship the rest of our personal items, and we said our goodbyes not knowing when we’d see each other.

Well, I received an email from my dad last summer inviting my husband and me to fly out to Arizona for a few weeks at his expense. I hadn’t seen my dad in many, many years, and whatever happened years ago or what I might had felt, diminished over time. The time was now, so I accepted.

It turned out to be a great holiday. Not only did my dad and I start a new relationship, but I also had the opportunity to spend the holidays with my sister, niece, and nephew. Everything about the adventure was a surprise. So I thought I’d share some of the things we saw during our awesome visit.

Here’s a little music to keep you company while you browse the pictures.

We flew out from Amsterdam, so we spent the evening taking in some of the sights. They had a “Light Festival” on the canals. Thank goodness for Google because we couldn’t find our car. Amsterdam has so many canals that we didn’t know which one we parked by but somehow Google knew where we parked. Scary, yet helpful.

In Amsterdam at an Irish pub

In Amsterdam at an Irish pub

Light Festival in Amsterdam

Light Festival in Amsterdam

Light Festival in Amsterdam

Light Festival in Amsterdam

Light Festival in Amsterdam

Light Festival in Amsterdam

We arrived safely in Arizona. The next day, after lunch with my dad, we walked around the area and took some “Christmas” pictures.

Let the Sun Shine!

Let the Sun Shine!

Merry Cacti!

Merry Cacti!

This is a picture of my dad’s Christmas gift, which my sister bought for him. I told my dad that he should name her after a character in an opera, since he loves opera, so he named her Carmen. She’s a Chiweenie—Chihuahua and a Dachshund. She’s adorable!

A small Christmas Gift

A small Christmas Gift

The day after Christmas we went to Papago Park, which featured many trails and “The Hole in the Rock.”

Papago Park

Papago Park

Papago Park - Hole in the Rock

Papago Park – Hole in the Rock

Papago Park - Hole in the Rock

Papago Park – Hole in the Rock

After that, we passed Tucson and went straight to Tombstone. This is the town where Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury were killed on the streets, known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. If you don’t know who they are or about the gunfight, which I didn’t, you can read about them here.

Entertainer in Tombstone

Entertainer in Tombstone

Reenactment at Tombstone

Reenactment at Tombstone

Clanton and McLaury Boys

Clanton and McLaury Boys

Love this saying

Love this saying

Another day, we took a train ride through the mountains near Clarksdale.

Clarkdale Train Ride

Clarkdale Train Ride

Riding the Train

Riding the Train

Clarksdale Train Ride

Clarksdale Train Ride

We couldn’t go to Arizona without seeing one of the Natural Wonders of the World—The Grand Canyon. It was January, so it snowed by the South Rim and it was gorgeous. Truly, awe-inspiring, I’d advise anyone to go when there is snow. The snow made it more magical, and the pictures turned out great.

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

A 7th Wonder of the World - Grand Canyon

A 7th Wonder of the World – Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Our last big trip was to Montezuma Castle and Sedona. The Red Rock is beautiful. It’s worth a day of picture taking and browsing around the stores.

Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle

On the way to Sedona

On the way to Sedona

On the way to Sedona

On the way to Sedona

On the way to Sedona

On the way to Sedona

On the way to Sedona

On the way to Sedona

Sedona

Sedona

Sedona

Sedona

And that is how we did Arizona. The below picture was taken flying over Chicago on our way back to Amsterdam.

Soldier Field from the Sky

Soldier Field from the Sky

Did you do any traveling over the holidays? Any exciting gifts from Santa?

Holiday, Travels, and Pictures,
Baer Necessities

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21 Jan

Dimmed Stars – Fate or Choices we make

dimmed starsWe’ve all experienced those curveballs in life. Some are traumatic while some just leave us scratching our butts or cursing. Such as when we plan to head out of town for the weekend, but the boss makes weekend work mandatory. Or even small simple things like grabbing a cup of coffee before work only to realize we never put the water in the pot. These curveballs or ‘oh shit moments’ disappear as the days or weeks progress. We can laugh about them hours later.

These minor curveballs are the ones I’d like to have in my life. It’s the big ones that knock us off our axis. They manipulate our emotions, nip at our nerves, and beat the hell out of our psyche. And these larger-than-life curveballs always seem to happen to good people. We never hear of a gang banger getting cancer. Or a serial killer found dead of a heart attack. But we hear of children, teenagers, struggling with terminal illnesses.

This brings us to the real topic. Over the weekend, I Googled famous quotes for some reason or another, and came across this quote on Goodreads, “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” I love this line. By the end of the line, it’s overflowing with truth, and it made me smile. My eyes shifted to see it was from the book, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Hello? This is so last season (more like 2012).” I know, I’m a little behind. Not that my behind is little, because it’s not, but in my defense… I really don’t have much of a defense. I just don’t keep up on anything these days: celebrities, best dressed on the red carpet, #1 movie, who is sleeping with who, and #1 bestseller. Twitter makes me crazy, and the other social networks make me want to run screaming because I just don’t care about most of the things circulating. You may close your mouth now because I’m sure there are a few others not in their 90s who feel the same way as I do.

Anyways, I liked the quote, moved on from Goodreads, and did some more work. Later that evening, I was looking for a movie to watch. Surprise! Even though I hadn’t read the book, I decided to watch The Fault in Our Stars. Of course, it was sad, I cried while petting my dog, Shakespeare, not this Shakespeare shakespeare, but this Shakespeare, my shakespeare, and talked to him afterwards about the movie. Interesting enough, the title of the book and movie is a variation from a quote in Shakespeare’s play shakespeare, Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” I can’t quite remember the play, but I can assume what the quote means, although there’s no guarantee my assumption is correct.

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” The quote here means it wasn’t fate’s fault, but Brutus and the other character’s choices. They are inferior due to their own weaknesses. The title of the book, The Fault in Our Stars, means it wasn’t Hazel and Augustus’s fault (main characters) that they have cancer. Cancer knows no bounds. It can infiltrate anyone, so Hazel and Augustus’s weaknesses, choices in life, had nothing to do with the cancer. The fault is in their Stars.

Have you read the book or seen the movie? What does the Shakespeare quote and book title mean to you?

Books, Quotes and Movies,
Baer Necessities

P.S. If you get a chance, check out John Green’s website. It’s cool.

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14 Jan

Happy 2015!

Welcome to my new blog!

If you followed my old blog, Skipping Stone Memories, thanks for your continued support. If you are new, I appreciate and enjoy new followers. For those who don’t know me, I’m an author, wife, mother of a furry one, and thankful for all the blessings in my life. Last year, I started this imprint, Baer Books Press for creative services and publication. If you get a chance, hop on over to my Author Website to read about my books.

This blog will be a mixture of writing, food, travels, funny mishaps, and more writing. To kick off my new blog, I thought I’d start with some freebies! Even though Christmas is over, it doesn’t mean we still can’t get gifts. So if you’re interested in a free eBook of my dark, psychological novel, Net Switch, or my women’s fiction, chick lit, Fogged Up Fairy Tale, just do one of the below to enter the raffle.

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Good Luck and I wish you all a wonderful year!

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