Beautiful – Wintry- #Sedona, Arizona

Bell rock Sedona

 

What a crazy weather week it’s been here in Arizona. El Nino has been playing some nasty tricks on much of the Southwest. Southern California is flooding with the multiple storms throughout this whole past week, leaving Arizona with remnants of torrential rains, snowstorms in the north mountains (Sedona), and big drops in temperatures.

I went from wearing short sleeves last weekend, to layers of sweatshirt, sweater, winter coat in Sedona (an hour and 45 minutes north of Scottsdale), back to long sleeves and a jacket until Saturday. I actually laughed at the sight of the few bathing suits I brought with me in hopes of getting a little suntan. But perhaps February will level out to the mid 70s where the temps should be, providing El Nino doesn’t keep striking.

Uptown Sedona
Uptown Sedona

 

Our guests (step-daughter and son-in-law), left Saturday, after a fun-filled week of adventure and weather mania. We went downtown to Old Scottsdale a few times, up to Sedona for 2 days, walked around Kierland Commons outdoor shopping area on another day, and finally succumbed to indoor mall browsing, and visiting a casino nearby where we could take shelter from the torrential rains. It was an action-packed week.

Arizona
Finally the sun came back. Outside my condo.

 

The sun came back to visit us in Scottsdale on Saturday, and although the temps stayed around 57 degrees instead of the usual 70, it once again began to feel like we were in Arizona.

 

Boynton Canyon Sedona
Boynton Canyon after it snowed

 

We were treated to a wonderful one night stay in Boynton Canyon in Sedona by our guests. We drove up to Sedona on Tuesday, which was supposedly the best weather day of the week of storms that were to hit Arizona all week. Typically Sedona is about 15 degrees cooler up in the mountains than it is in the valley where we are. It’s about an hour and 40 minutes drive north.

Cactus Alley
Cactus galore along Highway 17 North to Sedona

 

The scenic view is beautiful as you drive up Highway 17, and although the temps began to drop to the mid 40s, we hadn’t yet encountered any precipitation other than grey and overcast skies.

Bell Rock Vortex
Bell Rock Vortex

 

We walked around uptown Sedona and visited many shops. We then went visiting Bell Rock Vortex, which we couldn’t get close enough to for me to feel the energy that emits from the vortexes.

3 Nuns Sedona Holy Cross
3 Nuns and The Mother Mary with Baby Jesus

 

Then we drove up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross where we marveled at the rock structures known as The 3 Nuns (aptly named, rock formations) and the little chapel that was built up on the mountain beside it.

Holy Cross Chapel Sedona
The Holy Cross Chapel

 

As the weather was beginning to feel a bit colder and it was nearing 4pm, we decided we should head up to the resort and check in before nightfall. We had these beautiful rooms that were in little adobe buildings sprawled out over 70 acres of property. Every room had a view of the Red Rock mountains. It was spectacular.

Misty mountains Sedona
Mountains misting with fog

 

In order to get to the main building where the restaurants were, we dialed the valet who came to pick us up by golf cart to drive us back and forth on the winding sidewalk paths from our rooms to the restaurant or where our car was parked. It was a 3 minute drive, but pretty darned frosty by 930 pm when we were driven back to our rooms after dinner. I stared out the window for quite some time as I am always mesmerized by the beauty of the mountains. This was a view from our balcony:

Balcony view at Boynton Canyon, Enchantment Resort

 

The next morning, I jumped out of bed and opened the curtains. I was stunned by the new view. Our balcony had almost a foot of snow on it, the big mountain was spectacular with it’s blanket of snow, and the branches on the trees were weighted with heavy snow.

Sedona snow balcony
Morning view

 

When we got picked up to go for breakfast by the golf cart, I noticed that the wheels had chains threaded around them, to enable traction while driving around what became, ice and snow-laden paths. We huddled into the cart as we shivered to the main building.

snow chain tires
Snow tires, lol

 

golf cart transportation
Golf cart transportation

 

The snow continued to fall, so after breakfast, with a snow-covered beautiful restaurant view, we decided to pack up and head back to Scottsdale before the roads became harder to drive through the canyon.

snowy restaurant view
Restaurant view with the reflection of indoor lights through the glass

 

Airport Rd Vortex, Sedona
Airport Vortex,

 

We did manage to stop at Airport Road where there’s a beautiful scenic view at that Vortex (when it’s not foggy). My hub and I had visited it last year at sunset hour for spectacular views and photos. It was cold and grey this day, but we parked and walked up to the edge of the canyon. I was thrilled to be able to feel the energy vibrate throughout my body.

Leaving Sedona
Leaving Sedona

 

We then headed back to Scottsdale. Within a half an hour out of Sedona, we lost the snow. We still never saw much sun, even when we returned home, but at least it was back in the high 50’s, back to lighter jackets.

Next month, my husband’s brother and wife will be coming to visit us for 2 weeks. They can’t wait to see Sedona, and we can’t wait to go back there when the temps will be closer to 60 degrees. Then I will take new photos of the beautiful scenery, only difference will be the sun’s rays shining on the mountains to enhance the beauty and colour.

Here are a few neat photos I took:

Life is short
Life’s too short, found in a storefront window in Sedona, Arizona

 

artist statue
A statue of a cowboy painting with a little girl and a camera

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Sedona. I can’t wait to take more beautiful photos when I go back and hopefully there will be no snow or fog in Sedona.

 

DGKaye©2016

Travel Day -Day 1 Arizona Here I Come

 

plane

 

 

The limo was to pick us up at 630 am. I thought this would give us plenty of time to get through the travel ritual and rigamarole one has to endure to get where they’re going to via airplane these days.

 

After playing switcheroo for a few days, by adding, subtracting, and switching items in my 4 full-sized suitcases, and 3 severely overweight carryon bags, in efforts to get ready for the trip to Arizona, I was ready.  I had been high dosing on homeopathic remedies for a few days to help heal my injured hip and gratefully I had regained more than half the ability back in ease of movement for travel day. Lord knows I needed mobility to lug the lot of bags through airports, customs, on and off carousels, and on and off a shuttle bus from Phoenix airport to the car rental building.

 

Have Bags Will Travel

We waited for the limo driver to buzz us to inform us he’d arrived, and when the clock ticked 640 am, we began to worry they may have forgotten us, and we’d be getting into morning traffic to and at the airport being that we were flying on New Year’s Eve day. Hub decided to go down to the lobby and check, and sure enough, there he was sitting in the limo, apparently there for half an hour waiting for us. Thanks to our great ‘security’ at the gate of our building (NOT), the driver was told we were coming downstairs, only nobody told the gate such a thing, and so he waited patiently instead of buzzing up to confirm for himself.

 

I digress, this little incident reminded me of a conversation I had with the management office in my building when we first agreed to move there and I questioned them on the extent of security. Yes, there’s a security guard who opens the gate through the entrance when guests pull in – quite nice, but really irrelevant when they don’t ask where you’re going, or write down a licence and proceed to let anyone in. And yes, our building has a security guard at the desk in the lobby, who is rarely sitting there when anyone who comes to visit me makes their way up to my apartment door without having to buzz up for me to let them up. So when I was concerned about the underground parking and the safety, the management office told me it’s very safe. I pointed out that I didn’t see any cameras and she assured me that anyone would have to come through the security gate to get to the underground. That was not reassuring, so I said, “Ok, let me get this straight, the security at the gate entrance is supposed to make me feel safe? So after something happens to me and I’m left for dead it’s ok because they got a licence number?” How reassuring.”

 

Anyhoo, after getting to the airport and worrying about huge lines, which didn’t turn out to be too bad, but getting grilled by a grizzly US customs officer about the sandwich I brought to eat on the plane that was considered food that I didn’t check off on the customs form which gave me a choice to tick off of ‘are you bringing into the country … a multiple choice question of , from a farm, dairy, poultry, eg. ‘(there was no tick box for egg salad on a flaxseed wrap). He finally let me pass. Then we whizzed through security after undressing and redressing and proceeded to the gate. The plane was an hour delayed in leaving due to some mysterious unknown reason.

 

After getting settled in my seat on the aircraft, I once again began to feel as though I was contained in a metal can in a cess pool of germs. The plane was full, with at least 200 and some odd passengers and the heavy-set woman who whooped her cough didn’t let up for longer than 3 minute intervals with her hyena-like coughing fits. Where was she sitting? Need you really ask? Right behind me!

 

My hub and I rolled our eyes at one another and bitched back and forth how people who are sick were allowed to fly and spread their germs without at least wearing a mask. We huddled our heads into our jackets as long as we could endure, hoping to stave off her ominous germs. My hub became quite snarly by the time we’d had an hour of whooping woman. He turned to me and asked me how on earth is it possible that every time we travel, we get the sickos behind or beside us. I mean really, what are the bloody odds?

I’ve always been the 1% girl when it comes to the odds of something happening to someone. So once again, I replied to him, “We’re bound to win a lottery one day. Surely all the 1% situations we encounter can’t only be negative ones? We’re gearing up for a big win!

 

Four and a half hours later, we landed in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. The stunning view of the mountains from the airplane window was like winning a lottery for me. We deplaned and headed through the airport on a very long walk to the luggage carousel. By this time toting my heavy and large overstuffed purse and carryon bag, while my hub toted the other carryon and another overstuffed computer bag, we proceeded to the luggage carousel. We loaded a cart that could barely hold 7 pieces of luggage and proceeded to push that through baggage claim to the outside through a busy walkway to the shuttle bus we had to catch, which took us to the car rental.

 

Once again we off-lifted the bags to lift them back onto the shuttle, only to have to lift them off once again at the car rental. We were grateful for a man who generously offered to lift our bags back onto a cart. I’m sure he could see my hub was worn right out and I was walking with a slow limp. We had only to sign in for the car and load the bags into the car, which became a mathematical puzzle we managed to accomplish.

arggg

We were worn out and feeling pretty broken in the back department when we finally arrived at our rented accommodations and discovered our condo was on the second floor with 2 flights of winding cement stairs. We only had to lift those cases one more time; each of 4 bags weighing nearly 50lbs and the smaller ones at 30 lbs. We both held an end of each bag and with our last ounces of energy managed to get them all up to our floor.

 

We got inside and saw this beautiful condo we’d be living in for two months, which we could barely appreciate from our worn out state of exhaustion and realized it was already nearing 430 pm, New Year’s Eve, and had to run and buy groceries before the stores closed until Saturday. The last thing we felt like doing was go grocery shopping and carry more bags up those stairs, but we did.

 

We got back, dragging our asses and bags up a few trips from the carpark up the stairs and putting the groceries away, it was nearing 630 pm when my phone rang and it was our good friends Larry and Lois who live in Scottsdale, informing us that they’d be over to pick us up at 745 pm to go out for dinner.

 

This was the first New Year’s Eve I can remember ever getting ready to go out in 20 minutes. The food was great, the company was great. We got home by 11pm. I barely got my face washed and creamed, hit the mattress, never saw the ball drop at midnight, and couldn’t think of anything better I’d rather be doing at midnight than sleeping.

 

Stay tuned for more adventures as they happen!

 

DGKaye©2016

Happy New Year to All of You

new year card

Another year has come to a close. I’ve heard so many questioning, ‘Where did this year go?’ I ask myself the same question as I reflect on my hurdles and accomplishments. And although I can account for all that has transpired, I’m still in disbelief of how the clock has ticked in such haste.

 

The winter escape I took last February seems like a distant memory when I look back at all that came after. The first 5 months of the year, I spent visiting my dying aunt intermittently between finishing my latest book, Have Bags, Will Travel. The summer and fall were spent dealing with government income tax issues and digging up 6 years of audit receipts, while revising and preparing to publish Have Bags. And as if every week didn’t bring another challenge into my life these past few months, that darned rascal ‘Murphy’, (yes that’s right, I’m on a first name basis with Mr. Murphy’s Law), had to give me a few more jabs two days before I leave.

My hip went out once again, which makes it very difficult to run around here and pack up while wrapped up in my trusted heat bands like a mummy. This shall present a few challenges as we set off to travel to Arizona with 4 large suitcases and 3 carry on bags, (have you read my latest book?). And my friggin’ laptop crashed for the 3rd time in 18 months, 2 days ago. I’m fit to be tied…literally. As the 2 year warranty expires, conveniently in 2 weeks, I dropped it off at the geeks once again today and told them they can hold it for 2 months. I can’t wait to have to start from scratch once again reloading programs and files when I return…Said Nobody Ever! Thankfully Santa brought this new 12″ Windows Surface Pro for an early Christmas gift 2 months ago, which I’m typing on now.

 

Now with all that crap said, I was also fortunate enough to have to prepare for several interviews I was invited to do with various authors and bloggers. Before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving, and nearing Christmas. And now it’s time for me to go to Arizona – the one good thought that kept me going all year as I muddled through some hurdles. I’ll be going for 2 glorious months.

plane

Oh, no worries, I’ll still be writing and grinding, but at least I’ll be surrounded by mountains, desert and beautiful sunsets. I hope to be writing for my next 2 books, but I do know I’m going to be taking some real time out to take in some living and exploring.

 

We’ll be having some guests off and on, and I have plans to meet up with a few of my new author friends who reside in the Phoenix area. Oh, and my hub is looking forward to spending some real time with his wife too.

share

I’ve always tried hard to keep up with everything: write, blog, visit blogs, and social media, despite whatever life was throwing at me. And I always felt that if I missed a day or two doing so, I’d fall so far behind that the catch up would be overwhelming. But I’ve learned from some friends here that everyone needs a time out, a time to regroup and take in some real life living, and so I’m surrendering to that. If some of my avid blogging friends can do it, then certainly I can too. Now this doesn’t mean I won’t be around, but possibly, not as much as you may be used to seeing my ‘likes’ or avatar and comments as often for awhile. And I may miss a few posts here and there, but I’m not going to beat myself up struggling to catch up for hours while I have some desert living to do.

 

I will still be posting, and it may take a little longer for me to respond to your comments, which I always welcome, but do know that I’m not abandoning ship here – just taking some well needed pauses. What you will see though, will be lots of beautiful pictures and snippets of my adventures.

 

I’m looking forward to meeting up with a few new friends I’ve made here who just happen to live in that neck of the woods. And I will be endeavoring into doing some author-ly things there too.

 

One thing I have planned already is meeting up with my friend Heather. Some of you may recall the interview I did on audio last winter with Heather Debreceni, the divorce coach who seeked me out on the web after finding my book Conflicted Hearts. The interview was about children of divorce. The day Heather and I did that interview, we had formed an instant friendship and have been gabbing on Facebook ever since.

 

 I’m extremely excited that Heather, my soon to be PODCAST partner, will be coming to visit me all the way from Colorado so we can put together our new weekly video show we’ve been working on, for Empowering Women, which will begin in April!

 

 It’s truly amazing the friendships we make here. As writers and readers, we spend most of our waking hours on the web. We meet people and their personalities exude through the internet with mere words.

 

I feel so blessed to have made so many wonderful friends here, especially in this last year alone. It’s been a tough year around here, but as long as my optimism and determination prevail, I keep on going. And I’d like to thank all of you for being such wonderful, supportive friends here.

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I’d like to take a moment here to remind all of you to take a moment in reflection and look at your challenges of this past year, but don’t dwell on them. Now look at your accomplishments, and focus on the good bits of your years. Life will always be throwing us curve balls, we just have to find the mitt that fits best to catch.

 

Let us all remember kindness and compassion, and remember that everyone has obstacles in their lives, don’t always let the smiles fool you, nobody’s life is perfect. But life is about paying it forward and being grateful for all that we do have. The universe tells us, what we give out, we receive. So let’s all keep that at the back of our minds and let the goodness and positivity in all of us shine through.

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I wish you all a happy, healthy new year, and may we all find peace in the year to come.

 

(My next weekend post will be a helpful reblog on How to Move Your WordPress.com to Your Own Self-Hosted WordPress.org site.)

 

See you next post, live from Arizona!

DGKaye©2015

Lost #Vegas

 

DSC01870

 

While sitting in a café on our last evening in Las Vegas, I reaffirmed to myself that this trip to what was once my favorite getaway spot for decades, was no longer fulfilling my passion.

Much has changed about that once mysterious, intriguing little spot in the desert since I first went there over thirty years ago. (Am I giving my age away?)

The grand allure Vegas held for me in the past had vanished, along with much of its old charm. Gone are the days of ‘beautiful people’ dressed in their finery just to enter a casino at night. Gone are the days of $1.99 buffets, free comp tickets given out to select patrons by pit bosses as a thanks for leaving a donation, or just because they liked you.

 

The hotel rooms were once all so elegant, with marbled bathrooms and comfortable beds. Many hotels still have their marbled bathrooms, only now, they seem to be in need of an overhaul. The hotel I stayed in, although the room was fairly nice and could have used updating, most definitely had the original mattresses. Mine was so soft and worn, it put my hip out, and still hasn’t healed. Room comfort is not a huge priority there. And I wasn’t impressed by the $32 a night, plus tax, ‘resort fee’ they began charging over a year ago. I questioned the girl at the front desk as to what ‘this fee’ is for. She smiled with her response as she told me I would have ‘free’ (wasn’t I just now paying for it?) internet, parking and use of the gym. I replied, “I don’t have a car, or a computer here, and the last thing I came to Vegas for was to go to the gym.” Then I proceeded to try to persuade her to knock off the bogus $212.62 U.S. charge (That’s $260. Canadian dollars!) For ZIP!—to no avail.

In older decades, the nightclubs featured icons like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., et al. It wasn’t uncommon to find any one of those stars pass through a casino in between sets or during the day. The Strip, Las Vegas Boulevard, was merely a dusty road that led from McCarran airport to the strip of iconic hotels that housed all the excitement of the town. The short five minute drive offered a view of merely vast desert patches of cacti, interspersed with the infamous hotels of yesteryear.

And there wasn’t a child in sight.

I’ve been to Vegas over thirty times through the decades. I’ve watched, in sadness, some of those beloved, iconic hotels get blown up to smithereens, in order for the bigger and better ones to take their places. But bigger wasn’t better; at least not for those like me who loved the adult wonderland that it once was.

Vegas has become too big, too crowded, and certainly one jumbo commercialized enterprise. The streets are crowded by the new younger generation, baby carriages, and people hounding you to ‘ultimately’ buy time shares, see hot girls, and once I was even offered ‘free money’ if I partook in some seminar. Ya, trust me, nothing is free, especially in Vegas. Heck, you can’t even take a picture of a costumed character on a street corner without them charging you for the photo.

The entertainment is mostly geared towards the younger crowd; pool parties, DJ’ed nightclubs, and other assorted themed parties. Sure, there are still comedy shows and various Cirque de Soleil shows, which can run you $300 to $400 dollars for two tickets.

The casinos don’t seem to be as full anymore. The city earns its revenues from the entertainment avenues they now provide. This leaves me wondering, where do these young folks get this money to spend there? Another distant thing of the past is the constant ringing of jackpot bells from slot machines. I don’t recall hearing the chiming of ‘Ding, ding, ding’ in any casino I walked through.

 

Drinks are still free in the casinos, but step outside to anywhere, and you’ll pay large for a cocktail, and even for water. I was blown away when my hub and I ate dinner in a moderately priced restaurant and the glass of (inexpensive) wine I ordered was $12 U.S. dollars! Sheesh! They sold that same bottle of wine in the Dollar store there for eight bucks!

 

I still don’t get why people want to take their children and particularly babies to a place like that. Smoking is only permitted in casinos there now, but most hotels you must walk through the open-air casinos which adjoin the lobbies. Kids aren’t allowed, supposedly in the casinos, but that didn’t stop so many of them from running around the slot machines, nor did it prompt any pit bosses to alert a player to this rule who continued to play blackjack with her baby carriage parked right beside the table!

Texting has also become the main form of communication there. Hundreds of zombie-like people pave the streets, aimlessly, looking down at their phones. Even the restaurants, which many of them seem to be hosted by very young girls, can leave one waiting in long lines until the next table becomes available, because the hostesses are busy chatting and texting, instead of noticing the empty tables that have yet to be cleaned and reset.

What has happened to my beloved Vegas? As I continued to watch the crowded sidewalks, and the constant line-ups of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the now very busy, eight lane Las Vegas Boulevard, where the taxi meters chug away at lightning speed, I had to wonder where did all the boomers go?

Sure, there were boomers there, but not nearly as many as the younger generation. We were certainly a minority. My husband and I shook our heads at what has become of a place we both once adored, and decided the people of yesteryear must have already moved on to places such as Reno or maybe Tahoe. We both said that we wouldn’t go back to Vegas for a very long time; if ever.

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But my love for the desert hasn’t faltered. And as many of you know, my newest passion is for Arizona. Lots of open space, so much to see and do, and the warm, inviting desert climate will become our new winter home, starting this coming winter.

 

DGKaye ©July 2015