Sunday, October 30, 2011

Things I Love...Sunday.

I haven't done this in so long but have found so many amazing things online, and am therefore doing this early (late?).

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I am loving Kaelah's "Honest to Blog" feature, but especially her latest post on ulterior blogging motives.

Some awesome tree takeovers.

Leigh-Ann created this awesome hand-stitching DIY tutorial...this seems easy enough even for me to try it!

17 Things You Might Not Know about "The Lion King."

The 50 Creepiest Pieces of Romantic Advice Ever Published.  This made me laugh out loud soo you should check it out.

I watch this video every Halloween...and you should too. Seriously, go do it now.

I really want to try this recipe to make your own tomato soup!

Will anyone else watch this along with me on Monday?

Love this Stress Free Manifesto...thanks Nova!

Oh lord, these costumes...I die! My favorite is the Goblin King (I have secret dreams of making Rob go as the Goblin King with our baby dressed as Toby).

Great pumpkin carving art.  These are amazing!

A dog's seeing eye dog.  This warmed my heart quite a bit, I won't lie to you.

This story about a marine who notifies families of fallen loved ones turned me into an absolute mess...but it's an absolutely lovely story if you can get through it.

I bought these Christmas cards to send out this year! Aren't they adorable?  Anyone want to do a Christmas/Holiday card exchange?

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Have a great rest of the weekend, lovely readers!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Progress

So this last week and a half or so was pretty rough emotionally.  I won't get into it but I had another trust-related anxiety attack related to being gone, and not being able to spend time with my angel of a husband. It happens a lot when we're separated, unfortunately.  I'm just consumed with this fear that if I'm gone he'll find someone else and abandon me.

But this time I had 3-4 months of therapy on my side.  When I felt myself slipping into negative, all-consuming thoughts I printed off an Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) worksheet and filled out the whole thing.   It allowed me to stop and examine each of my thoughts for rationality (surprise, they were all irrational), and replace them with rational ones.  I was still feeling a little iffy and anxious, so I reread this post that I wrote in July (and your amazing comments) and felt a lot better.  I was able to talk to Rob a lot more coherently and didn't feel nearly the same level of anxiety. My baseline is around a 3 or 4 so I was doing pretty well.

THEN the situation that was "activating" these anxious thoughts changed and I won't lie, I came completely undone. My anxiety level was at a 7 or 8, I was shaking and completely depersonalizing. But simultaneously my mind was questioning itself and asking why on earth I was feeling so awful at something so trivial--and trivial it was.  I had this bizarre emotional dichotomy going on in my mind and I was quickly vacillating between emotions. I felt like I was going totally insane. I printed off the REBT worksheet and filled it out.  Then I printed off another and filled it out again.  I talked through all my feelings with Rob, and the next day with my therapist over instant message.  I felt so much more grounded, and when something happened that normally would've sent me into an anxious frenzy I barely gave it another thought.  And though this panic attack was worse than it had been before, it felt like growing pains rather than a step backward.  Does that make sense?

So it was a bumpy little side road I took, but I made it to the other side instead of crashing into a ditch.  Pardon the tortured metaphor.  Personally I call this progress and, at the risk of sounding silly, I was pretty damn proud of myself for this small accomplishment.  It also reminded me that these anxious thoughts and fear will likely never totally disappear and that it really takes work to get rid of them.  It's a lot easier to disconnect, to disengage, and to feel sorry for myself. With all the support I have, I think that I am finally willing and able to do what it takes to get myself into a healthy emotional place.

Have you been stressing about anything lately?  Have you ever tried Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy?

Also, my sister is here, and we're spending Saturday at the Grand Canyon.  Again.  Yep, that's right...I will have officially been to the Grand Canyon twice.  You can contact me for autographs.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October Sponsors!

Check out some of the loveliest ladies this side of the interwebs!


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Sara Bell of The TravelingPhoBlogWriPher is a 20-something newlywed who works with special needs children and teaches dance. She and her husband Ryan recently purchased and moved into a 1973 Winnebago Brave with big plans to travel the US and see all 50 states. They live in Arizona until the big trip begins summer 2012! Sara blogs about traveling (or Arizona for now), gluten free cooking, books, all things outdoors, and a new special cause each month. 10% of the proceeds from all of her photography jobs, as well as extra donations, go towards helping out a new family every month.

Blog


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Hi there! My name is Melissa and I’m a 20-something year old girl living in Montreal, Canada. Above everything, my passion is music and I hope to one day work in the industry. I currently write for a music magazine called CONFRONT and I blog daily about books, music, world travels, my 101 goals and my crazy adventures with friends. I’m always looking for new websites to be inspired by, so come and say hello!



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hello there, i'm kate and i blog over at let's go. i'm from a little town in rural virginia, and i live with a menagerie of a dog, cat, two fish, and a bird. i blog about my travels, things i love, and things you might love!



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My name is Justine and I'm a photographer who sees the beauty in the unplanned. I mostly photograph weddings but I just love photographing people in general -- engagements, maternity, new babies, family portraits, senior portraits, boudoir, you name it. I'm based in Maine but I travel regularly (and gladly!) all over New England, and am available for destination weddings all over the world! Get in touch! :)

Website // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Flickr


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When I married my husband, he retired me into the housewife industry. I'm still a housewife, but I'm also the owner of my very own Etsy shop with hand stamped cards, tags, and goodies! I believe in writing real letters and notes, on real paper, and sending it through the real mail. Nothing is more pleasant than opening your mailbox to something besides a bill!

Elizabeth is offering a 15% discount with the coupon code MAKELOVESTAY!

Shop // Blog // Facebook


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Hi! I'm Deanna and a 27 year old stay at home mom of two wild little boys. I like big earrings and even bigger sunglasses. And I collect gnomes. (I have 187.) While my days are filled with building tents and changing dirty diapers, my nights are busy with crafting, baking and blogging. I'm a vagabond at heart, and a daydreamer throughout my soul. If you have an appreciation for sarcasm and witty humor, be sure to stop by and say hello. Just try it. You'll like it.



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My name is Danielle, my guy's name is Wil and we're getting married on November 11th-my birthday. We dance salsa. We laugh at nothing. We eat (a lot). We have tons of fun, go on lots of adventures, take a billion pictures and share them all on Danfredo Rivera.



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My name's Alice and I live at the bottom of the world in Wellington, New Zealand. Niceties is my personal blog where I post about my life, upload my photographs and artwork, share my ideas and opinions, and interview young artists who inspire me.


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Hi, My name is Lindsey :) When I'm not chasing around my newly-crawling little girl, Selah, I am making silhouettes! I feel honored to create each portrait, and get a special sense of satisfaction knowing that will be treasured for years to come.I adore the way silhouettes perfectly showcase each and every person. Creating them has truly made me appreciate beauty in a new way. I feel like I get a sneak peak at God’s creation as I outline perfectly crafted features: the little double-chins, perfect button noses, stately foreheads, or gorgeous curls. The pieces I create have a modern flair to them, but are timelessly classy.

I write about my home(making) and silhouette creating on my blog: http://outofalabaster.blogspot.com



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I'm Ashley, owner of the shop and blog After Nine To Five. My blog shows my journey through life with self-employment, photography, crafts, and food. It's a whole lot of quirky mixed in with some humor and occasional seriousness. During September, October, and November I'm celebrating my one year of being an entrepreneur, one year of having a blog, and six months of marriage so be sure to stop by to check out the giveaways, tutorials, guest posts, and product launches!

Blog // Shop // Twitter // Facebook


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Stories about a wife, mother of twin boys, traveler, dreamer, creator and owner of an all natural modern soap and solid body care company. You'll find an endless supply of not only my ramblings, but recipes, giveaways, reviews, information about my company, photography, food, wine, restaurants and more!



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a ballerina, magician's assistant, black belt, and former model finds true love. A sweet little baby falls from the stars. A tale of gypsies, dinosaurs, and high seas adventure. A chronicle of everything we do, everywhere we go, and all the days we felt alive.

Blog // Shop // Instagram: @easilydunn


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I'm Liz from Yellow Finch Designs Blog and I'm a stay at home mom to three amazing children. I love food, wine, pictures, words, art, running and my family and I talk about these interests over on my blog. Make sure to stop and say hello.

Everything in Liz's jewelry shop but is 50% off AND items in her vintage shop are 35% off with code autumnsale!

 Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Jewelry Shop // Vintage Shop


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Lindy spends her days exploring the small coastal community where she lives with her family in downeast Maine. It's a constant amazement to her that she is surrounded by so much natural beauty. She loves knitting, sewing, and craftiness. She has a tendency to neglect household chores and the state of her kitchen is sometimes atrocious. Her blog is the space she uses to reflect on the simple pleasures in her life.

Blog // Shop

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Giveaway: The Young Retiree, Stamped!

I met Elizabeth last month when I was calling for October sponsors.  Turns out I am the first blog she has sponsored with her adorable Etsy shop, The Young Retiree, Stamped!

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Elizabeth left the working world when she got married to a military man.  Now she hand-stamps lovely greeting cards, gift tags, and note cards and sells them in her Etsy shop.  She has cards and tags for Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, military families, new babies, just about anything you can think of.  She also has a lovely blog which you should probably check out.

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Today Elizabeth is giving away a $10 credit to one lucky winner!  Her prices are very affordable so this $10 will go quite a long way.  And with the holiday season coming up, what a great time to win some fancy gift tags and holiday cards!

To Enter (required):

Visit Elizabeth's shop and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite item in the shop is. Please leave me your email address so that I may contact you!

Other Entries (optional):

Like Elizabeth's Facebook page
Follow Elizabeth on Twitter


I will draw a random winner next Thursday, November 3rd...the day before I go home to Maine!

Good luck everyone!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bits & Pieces from the Weekend

Yet another bits and pieces post.

1. I decided that after one of the more stressful weeks I've had in awhile I deserved a massage, dammit.  I'd never gotten a massage before so this was a completely new experience.  Sadly I couldn't let go of my worries (what if she recoils at my gross feet? My skin is so dry, it has to be disgusting! etc. etc.) but regardless, I felt pretty amazing afterward.  My only complaint is that all the massage oils weren't totally rubbed in, and I walked away feeling pretty oily and had to take a shower.  Plus my massage therapist was a heavy mouth breather which wasn't particularly conducive to relaxation.

2. For dinner I met up once again with Adie and her boyfriend Addison.  We had dinner at the Raven Cafe and afterward they took me around Prescott and told me a little bit of the history.  I don't know about you but history is absolutely fascinating to me, especially when it's history I've never learned about before.    There's a bar here called the Palace that still has the original wooden swinging saloon doors (Addison let me walk out first so I could swing them, totally legit wild west style) and the original bar from the early 1800s.  In 1900 a fire destroyed downtown Prescott, but the bar owners/patrons carried out the bar, set up shop far away from the fire and watched the town burn while they drank.  Pretty neat, eh?  You could even see the doors leading to the call girls' rooms.  So different from history in the Northeast, let me tell you.  Anyway we had a great time and I came back to the room after feeling a little bit gluten-y.  The Raven Cafe is yummy but this is the second time that their "gluten-free" food has made me feel bloated and sick.

3.  I have my Mac up and running finally and it is, as my dad would say, "quite slick."  I'm still getting used to the navigation differences, but hey, I teach people how to navigate software for a living so it shouldn't be too difficult right?   I was a little annoyed that I had to buy another Photoshop license, but what can I say, I really like Photoshop and I wanted to take advantage of still having Rob's educational discount.

4. I don't normally talk about work, but I'm really proud of the work we're doing here in Arizona.  A few people actually emailed some of the higher-up people in IT saying that we were doing a great job and that our training sessions were really helpful.  That always makes me feel good and I think makes me want to train even better.

5. On Sunday I went to the zoo here in Prescott! I love zoos and animal sanctuaries.  A tiger bared its teeth at me, so you know, it was pretty dangerous.  And I was pretty brave.

6. On Thursday I walked into my hotel to find a surprise bouquet of flowers from my darling husband, along with an amazing 30 Rock-inspired note.  I'm a very lucky lady.


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I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a great start to your week.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Call for November Sponsors!

Well, October is nearing its end, and that means another call for sponsors!

I'll be keeping up the same program--$5 for a 150x150 ad, rotating ad space, and a group post at the end of the month.

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Check out my Sponsor page for updated stats and such. 

And if you're interested go ahead and send me an email at tomakelovestay[at]gmail[dot]com!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lady in Waiting

Thank you all again for being so patient with my posts.  It bugs me that I used to post daily and now post only every few days or so.  Training is finally dying down though, and I'm down to my last two weeks in Arizona.  My mind is fried after hours of talking about databases so if this post is incoherent, I apologize.

I've been thinking a lot about remaining present in the moment and trying my best to enjoy my time here.  When Rob was in the Army, either at garrison in Alaska or in Iraq, I was always counting down to the next time we saw each other.  I was basically living my life always in waiting.  I turned down invitations to events, didn't attend meetings, and mostly just sat in my room watching episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  I think I assumed that life without Rob wasn't really worth my time, and that if I just put my head down and toughed it out I'd eventually see him and life would be bright again.

As you can imagine this is hardly a way to live.

Fast forward to today and I find myself reverting to this same behavior when I'm on projects.  I was in Cleveland for 9 months with some amazing people, and rather than venturing out and finding new restaurants and new sights I was usually the one pushing Chipotle dinners and early nights.  Hiding in my room felt safe and it felt right.  

I was discussing this with my therapist, telling her that I like hiding out in my "den" (usually a hotel room), watching 30 Rock or Family Guy or some other show that doesn't require me to think or to be anxious.  I also started to tell her a few stories from my various travels and realized that (insert gasp) I can create memories and life experiences even when I am not with Rob.  I have grown somewhat emotionally dependent on Rob over the years given my insecurity and his unfailing strength (the man is seriously a rock) and I think in a lot of cases, I've looked to him to give meaning to my life and my experiences.

She told me this was a common trait among patients with PTSD, the search for a "rescuer."  Essentially you put all your focus and hopes and dreams and insecurity on this one person hoping they'll save you from the instability of your own self.  It wasn't something I would've imagined myself doing because it seemed rather...I don't know, weak I suppose.  I realized how fortunate I was to find someone who didn't seek to exploit my weakness or manipulate me.  

To avoid the "den" line of thinking, my therapist asked me to come up with a list of "To Dos" while I was in Arizona for the month.

Though I've made a point to venture out and see new things (I've already been to the three places everyone told me to go) I still find myself slipping into my old ways.  Last weekend all I wanted to do was to huddle in my bed, read blogs, and watch 30 Rock episodes until it was time to sleep...but I didn't.  I got up early and drove to Jerome.  I walked around, I took pictures, and I walked into places that seem interesting to me.  I flew in a goddamn helicopter in Sedona, admiring the beautiful rock formations and brilliant colors.  

And you know what? I had a great time, even if Robbie wasn't by my side.  Sure, it would've been even better had he been there and sure, I'd rather be home with him than out and about any day of the week.  But that doesn't mean I should shortchange myself and become a hermit until we come together again.  I only have one life to live and realistically, Rob cannot be surgically sewed to my side for the entirety of it (as horrifyingly awesome as that would be).  Right now I'm in one of the prettiest places in the country expense-free and dammit, I should appreciate that experience.  I only hope that I'm doing it justice.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Thank you once again for putting up with my anxiety-ridden ramblings...you are all just amazing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I (Honestly) Wore Wednesday

So I am linking up once again with Maryam from Pamplemousse on our new link-up party, "What I (Honestly) Wore Wednesday."

I want to apologize for not participating last week...as I mentioned in my previous post it was a pretty insane week all around and I felt like I could barely function let along blog.  I'm sure you all missed seeing my awesome outfits.

Basically the goal of the link-up party is to show what we are honestly wearing on a Wednesday.  I typically work from home so usually I'm doing well to wear pants on a given day.  This week, however, I'm on a client site, which means I have look somewhat decent (boo).

So, behold, the outfit I wore to work today:


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I know, I know...this outfit is actually halfway decent and not akin to pajamas.  However, I promise you that this still counts as an honest post for the following honest reasons:

1. I hate ironing.  Even though it takes a total of about 10 minutes it drives me absolutely insane.  As a result I have a nice stock of clothes that don't generally require ironing, such as this sweater, and I generally just keep recycling those outfits over and over.  This is outfit one of three that I do this with.  I have two other shirts and another pair of pants, but they all have required ironing and I just can't get up the energy to do so.

2. The undershirt I'm wearing has doubled my pajama tank top for the last few days.

3. My fly was totally unzipped for this mini-photo sesh.

4. I was straight out of the shower with no makeup or spectacles.

5. My camera is dead so you get a grainy cell phone photo.  What's lazier than that?

So see? I'm still the same old lazy Caitlin.

You should go link up at Maryam's blog!  She hasn't seen as much participation as she would've liked and I'd love to see this keep going :)


Monday, October 17, 2011

Bits & Pieces from the last Few Weeks

I know I've posted huge posts about my various Arizona adventures, but truthfully I miss writing posts about what I'm thinking and feeling, especially because I've been having some pretty strong emotions lately and have been doing some little fun things here and there that don't really require a whole post.  So here are a few bits and pieces from my last week to give a bit of an update:

1. Last week I went out to eat with Michelle and her husband Chad. I've been reading Michelle's blog for awhile so I was pretty excited to meet both her and Chad.  In addition, we decided to do a giveaway from their shop, Funk Off!, so I'm trying out some of their products in preparation (spoiler alert: I love them so far!)!  I was nervous about meeting them because, as you all probably could have predicted, I imagined that they would find me as awkward and obnoxious as I find myself.  I had a great time though and I really hope we can hang out again before I leave in November!

2. So last week was rough. And I mean rough. I was running around all day long trying to figure out schedules, trainers, preparation, security, and databases and by the end of the day I felt like I was 100 years old.  I seriously fell asleep every night at around 9.  I was working 12-13 hours every day and it doesn't look like that will change any time soon.  I didn't feel like myself all week long; I felt completely exhausted--physically, emotionally, and mentally.  Combine that with the fact that Rob doesn't communicate particularly well over the phone and you have a pretty stressed-out Caitlin.  Plus there was another frustrating bit of news that I won't go into here that just caused me to feel really off.  My counselor is awesome and agreed to do a counseling session over IM which helped a lot. We talked about my tendency to micromanage and how I need to learn how to give up control of other peoples' actions.  All I can do is the best job I can, control my own actions, and hope for the best.

3. I was quite proud of myself last week when I was having a particularly bad panic attack and managed to calm myself down all on my own.  I woke up at 3 a.m. stressing out, and asked myself, "Is this an appropriate level of anxiety for the worst case scenario?" I knew the answer was no, so I again asked myself what situation the anxiety would be appropriate for.  Since my only answer to that was death or natural disaster my mind calmed slightly and I was able to get another 12 minutes of sleep until my alarm went off.  Yay, progress!

4. I bit the bullet and bought a Macbook Pro.  My PC that I use for work literally FELL APART last week and for a bit was not even booting up, so I knew it was time for a new computer.  I've been aching for a Mac and have only hesitated because the software I use for my work doesn't operate on Macs.  I figured this was a stupid reason given the availability of Boot Camp and the like so I went for it.  And I am extremely excited.  I even had it sent to me here in Arizona so I didn't have to delay.  Now I just need to build my savings back up...

I wish you all a wonderful week.  An thanks, as always, for reading.  Your comments always make me so happy even if I don't always (okay never) get to reply to them.  If you attach your email to your account so I can reply by email I'll be much better, I promise. <3

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sedona & Jerome (Photo Heavy!)

First of all, I want to apologize for being a positively abysmal commenter of late.  Work last week was hell on steroids and my Bloglovin' feed quickly spiraled out of control.  Currently I'm at 426 unread posts...eek!  After long days of training, preparing, and dealing with unprepared trainers the idea of writing a post was just unthinkable.  Hence why my Grand Canyon post was so boring.

But now it's the weekend and I finally have some time.  Aren't you all excited?

So when I first came to Arizona everyone I met (and I mean everyone) would tell me, "You have to see Jerome, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon."  It was completely universal.  Most of you have probably heard of Sedona.  Jerome is a small former mining town that is built into a mountainside.  Rumor has it that it's haunted both by its many inhabitants that died in the various fires and mining accidents as well as the patients in the mental asylum (now turned hotel). 

Anyway I woke up early on Saturday morning and headed to Sedona by way of Jerome.  The road you take to Jerome from Prescott goes up the mountain meaning I was dealing with switchback curves at around 20 mph and l o n g drops down.  If I looked over the side I had mini-panic attacks.  I actually laughed out loud, though, when Bruce Springsteen came on my iPod singing "I'm goin' down, down, down, down..."

I managed to stop at a few places and take some photos of the scenery, the drop, and the curves:

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I eventually made it into Jerome though it wasn't easy given the narrow streets.  I parked and walked around a bit, admiring the original buidings and the gorgeous view.  I was a bit surprised that Arizona hasn't done more to preserve the buildings--many had either been purchased as private residences or were completely rotting.  I watched a history video in the old silent movie theater which was quite interesting.  I won't go into Jerome's history but you can read more about it here.

Also, the building below with the Nelly Bly sign used to be a brothel, which was the third iteration of the building after the first two burned down.  Fun, huh?

After walking around for a bit I ate a delicious lunch of taco salad and the most amazing margarita ever at a restaurant called Quince (yes, a margarita at noon, don't judge).  They were one of the very few restaurants I've found in Arizona that had knowledge of gluten-free diets.

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After Jerome it was on to the positively gorgeous town of Sedona. Just like other places in Arizona, I audibly gasped when I caught sight of the huge red rocks and gorgeous silhouettes. I don't think it will ever cease to amaze me. I decided to go on a helicopter tour, since my brother- and sister-in-law really enjoyed the one they went on. Before actually leaving I had some time, so I visited some of the scenic view points and even hiked a little up a trail. It was pretty perfect for pictures.

While on the helicopter tour (which was amazing, I totally recommend it if you're in the area) my camera died. I've never had an issue with this camera so I was pretty bummed. However, I decided to take it as a reminder that I will still have the memories despite not having a camera to capture them and just enjoyed the scenery with my eyes. I did get a few good pictures though, which I have shown below:

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If you want to see all of my pictures please check out my Flickr.

All in all I am really enjoying my time in Arizona.  I have flashes of homesickness (like when I walked into Walmart and it was set up almost exactly like our own Walmart) but I know that this really is a great opportunity and I should be thankful for it.  Sadly no matter how hard I try, the bright red of the rock just isn't as brilliant without my Robbie by my side.  He's like a pair of 3D glasses.

I hope you all aren't getting tired of these photography posts.  I wouldn't worry too much if you are, however, since...you know, my camera is dead.

Have a great weekend, all!

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Pretty Grand Indeed

So here it comes, my post on the Grand Canyon.

On Saturday Rob's brother, Nick and his wife Jessi came to visit me all the way from Maine. Once they got here we more or less went to bed (damn jet lag) and woke up early the next morning to head to ye olde Grand Canyon.

The drive was around two and a half hours and very scenic.  I'm amazed at just how different Arizona is from my own home state (and indeed any part of the US I've been), and also at how many climates and cultures exist within the United States.

Anyway we got to the park and immediately (and excitedly) made our way to the first viewing spot.

And oh. my. god.  You guys.

The Grand Canyon is everything I imagined and then some.  We couldn't say anything aside from "holy shit!" and "Ohhh my gooood" and "Whaaaat?"  The people around us were mostly from other countries but I'm pretty sure they were all saying the same thing.  

After we checked out the visitor's center we drove along Desert View Drive, stopping at every single point to take picture upon picture upon picture.

All told, I took close to 500 pictures but not one of them came even close to capturing the beauty and the absolute magnitude of the Grand Canyon.  The pictures below are my fruitless attempt to do so, but really, you just need to go there.  Right now, seriously.  I'll wait.

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