A trip to the Canyon Lake

It's been a wonderful weather to drive around and see places. So last Monday we were looking online where to go and decided to drive to the Canyon Lake which is an hour away from where we live. I think these are my first pictures of Arizona since we moved here. My family is wondering where we live, what we eat, how is it to be outside during a summer and is it a true desert?..
Well what we saw was a real pleasure for our eyes:) After the drive on a winding road we saw the most beautiful and peaceful panorama of a lake, mountains and cactuses. And I thought to myself: indeed Arizona is a fascinating place!

The water is so clean and people go fishing and swimming there. I found out that you can catch a "black crappie" fish in that lake (have no idea what fish is that but the name is pretty funny:)

I was amazed by the reflection on the water:) And it was changing colors all the time! With the sun coming down all the colors became so rich and deep.. I could have taken hundreds of pictures but we did not stay long..

Here I am: enjoying a moment of beauty, peace and incredible silence by the water:) If I were an artist I would spend days drawing, composing music, writing novels by that lake..

On our way back we made a stop at the Tortilla Flat place. This is a very old place, once opened as a Dutchman's Gold mine. That tree is actually a dead cactus

Dutchman's Gold mine

An old carriage

They have a saloon/gift shop there and visitors usually leave 1 dollar bills with their names, phone numbers, ads, notes.. :) Quite an unusual wallpaper :)

I saw several toilet rings hanging outside and inside all over that place. I guess it was a part of decoration during those times in Arizona..

On our way home

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"If" by Kipling

I have never been a big poem reader. Only Russian and Ukrainian poets attracted me somehow. Well some English too:) But my mom told me about Kipling's poems the other day. What a pleasant discovery that was! I enjoyed every poem I read in the book and especially Kipling's famous IF. I'd like to share it with you too:


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

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Simon's Cat

This is hilarious! All true! My cat does like that, and my mom's cat does like that too, and my grandma's cat, and my brother's cat... all of them! Enjoy!
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These are our cute red bikes. Lev always wanted a vintage bike and when we moved to Tempe he decided that he would bike to ASU. We bought his bike on the first day we came here and guess what.. he biked to ASU on the first day of classes! You say: so what? Imagine: he started school in August with 110 F during a day! He came home terribly exhausted after his first day of school and the bike was left on the patio until it cools down.. People kept saying that it was going to cool down at the end of September. Never happened! well it did cool down, like to 100 F, and only now (by the end of October) we are enjoying very nice weather.
In Provo we would bike to the Provo Canyon and spend some time there (Oh, I miss those times!). And we thought since there is no winter here we should get a bike for me too and bike everywhere:) I started looking online several weeks ago and found a very cute red bike on craigslist. It said "ladies vintage bike". I almost begged Lev to go and look at that bike because it was like 25 miles drive to Mesa! The guy who was selling the bike appeared to be LDS and he cut the price - 25% off! I was so excited about the discount and proud of myself too: I found it and we got a discount:) It did worth driving 25 miles!
We brought my bike home and you would not believe - our bikes matched! Only Lev's was a men's bike and mine was a ladies bike! There were no limits to my excitement!
The first trip we made to the Kiwanis park - a very nice park with a pond, ducks, green grass and trees - perfect for picnics! The second trip we made to the neighborhood apartment complex with lots of grape-fruit trees! We've got about 30 of them and I made a delicious grape-fruit juice.
Lev and I are planning to go to California and bring our bikes with us so we could bike along the coast for many many miles..

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A book, a movie, too much talking and thinking

Such a long title:)) Well last week I was taking care of an elderly lady, Pauline, and of her husband, Nathan. They both are in the their 80th and she's been very sick for the last several months.. very sad. But they are trying to be positive and hope for the better (in fact, he, Nathan, bought an RV and they are planning to go on different trips..). I was amazed - they have been married for 64 years and still kiss each other and say 'darling' and 'honey' all the time. It was so touching to hear their conversation on Friday, when Nathan said that he was not going to take his pills any more, he said to Pauline that he was feeling okay and his blood pressure was fine. He said that he was not afraid to die.. But Pauline answered: "But I do not want you to die!" Then Nathan replied: "I wish we could die in one day". And then he continued and said that he wanted her to get well soon and he started talking about trips that they were planning to make.. I almost cried!
Pauline sleeps most of the day so Nathan and I had a chance to talk (he is a big talker and I am a good listener:). He told me about the war between the US and Japan. He said that he was in every major battle in that war and they lost more people in the 'Palau' battle than in the whole war in Afgan and Iraq.. He described American nation as an 'arrogant' nation, saying: 'Look, we shot almost every 4th president in our country, we are in every war, we are a very arrogant and dangerous nation. Imagine, we could have helped the whole Africa continent with the money that we spent on all the wars in the world!' I am not trying to prove anything.. It just made me sad. I was reading a book about the war between Hutus and Tutsi in Rwanda ('Left to tell') in 1994. A girl told her story, how she survived genocide. This is am amazing book how she developed love and forgave those who killed her family. She lived in a tiny bathroom with other 7 girls for 91 days! They could not talk, eat normally, they slept sitting on the floor. She said she'd lost 40 pounds, before genocide started she weighted 115.. People were killing others and the world had done nothing! Only in two months or so French came to rescue poor Tutsi tribe...
Last Friday we watched Under the bombs movie. A movie about the war (2006) that broke down between Israel and Lebanon. It was filmed right after the war, in the summer of 2006. Almost all the people are refugees in that movie. There are only two actors in it.. Horrible and awful war. Pain, struggles, death, blood, children who lost their parents and mothers who lost their children.. Lives that are not worth anything. You know I wish there will be no war at all, no, I pray for it. Can you imagine - 2006? It is so close to 2009. And Iran.. How many people have died this year only? Why do we have to fight? What for? I've been thinking about hundreds of thousands Ukrainians who died in the WWII.. I wish my children and their children and so on and on.. will never ever see the red eyes of a bloody war.
Yes, as you can see I did think to much. It just never occurred to me that the war is actually very close, wherever we are - because we live on the same planet..
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