Category Archives: summer 2015

Arizona, Arizona … alles klar in Arizona

When we were in Germany my uncle kept playing a German country song that praised the state where my house and family still reside.   I’ve been ‘home’ for almost three weeks now and cherishing every second of it.  In some ways it’s odd to be back because it feels like I never left, but of course I have and there’s another life added to my layers.

I need to apologize to many of my Arizona friends for not making plans to meet up.  It’s not that I didn’t want to see any of you.  I had just a few weeks and really wanted to spend as much time with Joe and the kids as I could, and I’m so glad I did.  Joe I’ll see again during Christmas break, but the kids won’t see me again until July 2016, so this trip was all about doing the little family things we love to do.  Next summer, however, I’ll be home for all of my vacation, so I promise to make some time then to meet up with more friends.

Plus, next summer is a big one since Joe and I will finally tie the knot, and then he will join me in Abu Dhabi February/March 2017.  The kids have been helping me plan for it, and it’s pretty darn priceless googling wedding dresses with my 20-something sons, who actually have good taste when it comes to lace.  who knew?

But for now, we’re living our Arizona/Abu Dhabi lives and that’s good too.  We’re all happy moving along our own little paths while staying connected the way we do.

I fly back on Thursday, which will be hard, but I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with my UAE buds and students.  Besides, Winter break will be here before I know it.

Until then, though, here are some photos of my lovely home state:  Arizona.

thumb_DSC08445_1024 DSC08421  life after forest fires… and those poor free-range cattle are living the life, until, um, they aren’t.

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DSC_0435 Ah the things you see on a hiking trip in the northern rim area of the Grand Canyon.

thumb_DSC08467_1024  my kids in the kitchen.. 2015-08-06 05.11.10-1 sitting on a park bench in Prescott … and totally loving the breeze!

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our favorite saloon in Jerome, Arizona

DSC08388 best baked beans ever (eaten in Sedona), which, of course, came with a sloppy rack of ribs.

DSC08332 DSC08342 DSC08358 the only copper mug at our favorite saloon for the yummiest Moscow Mule.  Perfect thing to sip while listening to a guitar player sing the blues and watching a thunder storm outside.

I’d post more pics, but it seems I’m out of free space.  I deleted a bunch of old pictures from my media file, which sadly also deleted them from older posts — oh well.  I’ll upgrade after my next paycheck…

Family and Friends…

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I’m a lousy blogger in that when I had down time I didn’t spend it writing about my wonderful vacation.  I did, however, use that time to sleep, shower, and thank the powers that be for the people in my life.

The last time I posted we had just arrived in Rothenburg om der Taube (or something like that), and oh what an adorable little town that was.  At night we walked the wall that surrounds it. Call us Game of Thrones freaks, but we kept chiming “You Know Nothing Jon Snow.”   Then we cruised on to Herrenberg to spend time with my niece and her beautiful family.  Her girls are just way too adorable, and she should be proud of the love that obviously surrounds her and her little ones.  We also got to spend the night in a tiny, tiny town where the church bells became hells bells for us during the 6 a.m. ring-forever chime.  After that it was on to Cologne where we had a lovely hotel room, which felt like an apartment and where we enjoyed way too much German hospitality — thanks to the best waitress on earth.  Cologne (Koln) is such a beautiful city, and my advice is to not miss it if you ever get to tour Germany.

Berlin after that, which was also a great time — with more food and drink (see a pattern here).  And, then, finally on to my family in Wedel, near Hamburg.  I’m a lucky girl who gets to travel all over the place, but nothing feeds the soul more than hanging with family.  And, I get to do it again when I visit in December.  I am sooo, soooo grateful for this.

I’m also lucky to have friends who’ve also become family, so seriously just go ahead and hate me now because yeah I’m that lucky.  I know I should tell you some of our stories — we have plenty of them — but I’m now back in Phoenix waiting for my daughter to wake up, so that we can go out to breakfast.  So, instead I’ll just blast you with some of our photos, which are all about family and friends.

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My cousin Yvonne and her two balls of energy.  I had so much fun playing with these two.

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Charles, her husband, made us some braziian drinks — let’s just call it happy hour for now.

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Lilly, my cousin Nicole’s, lil princess.

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My aunt Birget, Lilly and Nicole.  we don’t look related at all, do we…. (why do I have the potato head?)

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My uncle Michael and Ericka.

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Shannan and me eating our gazzionth wurst on this trip

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Birget serving my favorite German dish, Rolladen!  Jana’s boyfriend cooked us Polish ghoulash, Michelle’s fiance cooked us a roast pork with dumplings, Yvonne and hubby cooked us the German version of collard greens and ham, and oh my goodness were we fed and fed and fed by my family.  It all tasted so darned good.

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Michael in his man cave

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bike riding in Berlin

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Pimp daddy Derek!

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Warning sign on tour bus in Cologne

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My niece Jana and her oldest

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Good God that’s just too much cuteness to handle

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the wall by day

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the wall with night walkers — before I took this pic with flash we couldn’t see them hiding there.  Almost gave me a heart attack.

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Schmetterling!  hahahaha that and WonderBra!  became our chant.

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we did a lot of this …. A LOT

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My cousin Michelle is a tattoo artist.  I’m not a tattoo person, but I couldn’t resist being her canvas. Me before tattoo — really, really nervous about it.

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And very, very happy about it later. It’s a beautiful piece of work, and I will treasure it always.

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And, Kaylene is awake!!!  Time to go get some grub.  I’ll try to do a better job of posting something or other while I’m in Phoenix, but of course I am also so very happy to be home with my kiddoes, man and dogs again.

Choo choo chooing our way across borders

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Catching the train to Munich was easy.  We even got to sit in our own little train room to watch one farming village after another blur on by.  So far it’s been a pretty stress-free trip.

But, wait, there was a bit of stress thanks to a lil Swiss, retired history lecturer our guide to Neuschwanstein Castle.

He demanded that we ask questions. After a few folks got shot down with long, harsh responses.  Ericka pipes up with an easy “Where do you come from?”

“Not your concern.  It’s not important.  I don’t ask you personal questions, you don’t ask me.”  Insert Colonel Clink voice and you’ve got a good impression of our man. (although through our sleuthing abilities we learned where he was from and what he did for a living — ha! we won the tour bet that he was a history teacher)

On the two-hour train ride to the castle, we (along with the other passengers who were not part of the tour) learn that we will be eating at an “Ala Fast” place not “Ala Carte,” which he explained rather harshly is a restaurant and it would take too long, so wurst only for the poor souls who paid the price of this tour (although it was very good wurst).  After getting verbally abused (use your brain, so you think Ludwig had a wife? I’m not going to do all the telling for you) we learn that crazy King Ludwig had 18 “men lovers,” that he was not truly a king because his alleged father had syphillis and an Italian had to step in to impregnate the queen (while I shit you not Sheffano thrust his fist into the air for emphasis) “twice!”

“You vill not hear ding, dong fairly tale stories from me.  I vill tell you the truth and you vill not like it!”

Best of all is he really didn’t tell us much — other than exactly how many minutes we had to walk each section, or else!  My favorite is when we came upon a musician, and our guide asked him to sing a folk song about Ludwig’s death.  “I will translate for you.”  Song over, and our guide gets up, after enjoying the serenade, and says okay, we go to entrance now, never telling us the story.  Priceless.

DSC_0412 DSC_0418 DSC_0420 so you see the sun hat with the sun visor on top of it, below our bard, that’s the head of our guide…

Luckily, the castle and its town were beautiful, as was everything else in Munich.  I absolutely loved the park where you can sit at a small canal and dip your toes into frigid water, walk a bit more and you can jump into the water and float rapidly to your next spot, or bring your surfboard and ride the wake under a bridge.  OR, you can just watch it all and be entertained by others fighting the current.

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There’s also plenty of beer and carbs to put some more poundage on my ever-sagging frame, but my tastebuds are loving every bit of it.

Today, we spent most of the day hopping trains to get to our adorable lil place in an old, walled town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber.  We just got here, and I’m antsy to get out there and walk its cobblestones, so time for me to sign off, but I’ll try to post this and pics before going to bed tonight.  Auf Wiedersehen!

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