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Posts tagged ‘travel’

hummingbird heaven

Long before Junebug discovered and befriended the great blue herons that frequent nearby Bubbling Ponds and enlisted them as unwitting participants in a long-running, one-sided game of tag, she got really into with hummingbirds. The Anna’s hummingbird — a gregarious species whose males flash brilliant pink feathers on their heads and necks — quickly became a particular favorite, pink being Junebug’s favorite color.

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petrified wood and painted deserts

The summer heat, not to mention Arizona’s lackluster coronavirus response, has soured S somewhat on Sedona as a retirement destination. Even so, we are continuing to enjoy our temporary residence in the Grand Canyon state. To escape the heat, we have been exploring the northern ponderosa pine forests around Flagstaff, hiking in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness and birdwatching at the Kachina Wetlands. Last week, taking advantage of D’s mini work break, we ventured a bit farther afield, visiting the Petrified Forest National Park.

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one hot mess

Arizona, which we have come to love over the last few months of living here, is a real hot mess right now, and we’re not talking about the prolonged stretch of hundred-degree days, which have left us feeling dazed with heat. By nearly all available metrics, Arizona has become one of the country’s leading coronavirus hotspots and, given the state’s current trajectory, things are liable to get significantly worse before they get any better.

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taking stock

Several years have elapsed since we last revised our bucket list. Our recent hot air balloon ride prompted us to take another look. The first few years after we had penned this list on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we updated it regularly, ticking off completed adventures and adding new life goals. We slowed down considerably after having kids. The last time we updated the list we were still a family of three. A lot of water under the bridge, and yet not a lot has changed in the intervening years.

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tough choices

It is commonly said that all good things come to an end, as indeed all things must. Some come to an end a bit more painfully than others. After spending nearly four weeks with us, S’s mom began her long return journey to Maine yesterday, but it wasn’t her departure in and of itself that left our daughter inconsolable. Rather, Junebug spent a good part of the day in tears because S’s mom took our beloved dog with her.

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flying high

For S’s birthday this year, D sought to borrow a page out of our friends’ playbook by organizing a surprise get-together with a few of S’s close friends in Siem Reap. That plan clearly did not pan out, as the pandemic forced us to cancel the trip. S did not get much of a birthday present at all this year, at least not on her birthday, which fell during Arizona’s stay-at-home lockdown, shortly after our departure from Manila. Instead, we celebrated belatedly, taking advantage of S’s mom’s visit to cross off an item that had long been on our bucket list.

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when nana comes to town

Our sudden return to the States a couple of months ago set off a fierce family debate about visitation in the midst of the pandemic.

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the frigid North

In the beginning, we were thrilled simply to be able to set foot outside and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Our daughter, not yet three and clearly traumatized by the experience of being personally told by a stern security guard that she was not allowed to go outside in Manila, would remind us first thing each morning that “in Sedona we go hiking every day.” First came the red rock hikes, then the nearby state parks. Having spent a few months in Sedona, we are now beginning to feel like locals, frequenting off-the-beaten-path creek spots and swimming holes and venturing up north to explore the starkly different scenery around Flagstaff.

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the game changer

Our serious interest in and passion for photography notwithstanding, we are and will always remain amateur photographers. We both have taken photography classes and understand the basic mechanics of manual photography, but frequently default to the automatic settings on our cameras and deploy only a small fraction of their sophisticated features. Similarly, D does some light post-processing – cropping mainly – when he sorts our photos, but he barely knows Photoshop basics and has never opened Lightroom or any of the dozen other photo editing programs that enable pros to correct and enhance their raw images.

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the end of the migration

The mulberry trees have been picked barren and the cottonwoods long ago shed the fluff that drove S’s allergies into overdrive when we first arrived in Sedona. A recent streak of hundred-degree days leaves little doubt that the summer is in full swing in Arizona.


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