Tag Archives: Family

Zagreb – Ancient Modern City

Zagreb, a city of ancient buildings whose windows proclaim more modern pursuits, such as HM, Pandora, Guess: ATMs located on the sides of buildings whose structure might be 400 years old. New buildings squeezed between old, although the definition of new here might mean the building is only 100 years old. A city of steep streets leading to hidden alleyways with more architectural treasures.

           

             

 

I loved the feel and energy of Zagreb. While it is a bustling city, there are parks and trees all over. It’s a city that invites you to stay a while, to explore its secrets and meet its people.

 

We strolled through the open market, full of homegrown fruits and vegetables, fresh caught fish, and homemade crafts, such as crochet tablecloths and scarves, tatted lace blouses, and so much more.

Bartering for tomatoes

YUM! homegrown & fresh

All of the outside stalls have the same umbrella pattern, it was explained to us that each city has its own pattern. These umbrellas proudly displayed Zagreb’s pattern.

Zagreb’s Pattern

The indoor market offered fresh fish, meats and more. The delicious scent of homemade bread drew us in, the homemade olive oil encouraged us to eat a bit more than we should.

Indoor Market

Leaving the market, we headed up the hill towards Zagreb’s Cathedral. Croats are primarily Roman Catholic and there are many beautiful churches and shrines to visit. The Cathedral is the tallest building in Croatia, majestically towering over trees and buildings

Tallest building in Croatia

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is Gothic in style, breathtakingly beautiful.

 

Entryway

Entrance Statues

Window at the altar

There are many different styles of tile on the floor. The patterns represent different cities.  I don’t know if I took a picture of Zagreb’s pattern or not.

Outside in the cathedral’s square is a gold stature of the Blessed Virgin surrounded by Archangels at the base.

Entombed at the altar in a glass coffin is the body of Cardinal Stepinac. I felt it was disrespectful to take pictures inside the cathedral without prior permission, so I limited myself to the few you see here. You can learn more about this beautiful church here.

We also visited  the Church of St. Catherine, although it was not open for visitors.

There are numerous cafes and coffee shops, most offer outdoor seating with an open invitation to sit and visit for a bit. No rush here.

Art Cafe

This particular cafe feature art by local artists.

 

After a bit of refreshment we continued our journey through the city of Zagreb…

 

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Plitvices Lakes National Park

Rarely do things make me speechless, although I do tear up with joy frequently. Plitvices evoked both of these. It’s beauty is difficult to put into words, therefore, this blog will be written with pictures and only a few words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around every corner there is yet another awe-inspiring sight. Trails are clearly marked and you are not to leave the trail. One of the reasons for this ruling, other than the destruction of delicate flora and fauna, is the possibility of landmines from the Croatian War for Independence.

No this picture is not upside down!

The travertine walls of the park create the beautiful turquoise water. Every where you walk the energy is uplifting.

 

The park is filled with animals of all sorts, birds were singing, but most chose to avoid the public.

This guy made a brief appearance, much to the delight of his photographers.

I don’t know that my pictures do justice to Plitvices’ beauty.

The color contrasts of the park are spectacular!

A small rain storm brought the fish to the surface

and a lone duck out for a swim.

Through the leaves of the trees you can just catch a glimpse of the boat ride. I’ll bet the views from the boat are stunning.

Can you see now why I am at a loss for words?  Plitvices Lakes National Park is breathtaking.

Next: Touring Zagreb

 

 

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Croatia – Vrlo Lijepo!

Croatia – Day 1

Recently, I was blessed with the chance to visit Croatia. I am so glad I did!
Croatia is a beautiful country, a country of contrast and a country of friendly, helpful people.

       

Leaving Denver on a non-stop to Frankfurt, I was grateful it was a Lufthansa overnight flight, I could sleep.  The crew was great and the flight smooth. I was also lucky in my seat mate. He was a friendly but not overly talkative gentleman. We knew some of the same people in Denver which helped to pass the time. From Frankfurt, I flew Croatia Airlines to Zagreb. Another friendly crew and easy quick flight.

I met my daughter in Zagreb and off we went to our AirBnB. I can highly recommend our apartment here. Great location and walking distance to City Center. Our host was lovely and helpful.

After setting our luggage down, we set out to explore a bit before crashing from jet lag. Zagreb’s City Center is awesome, filled with open cafes, comfortable seating and every type of food you can imagine.  We opted for sparkling water, fresh caught fish and homemade bread with olive oil. Our meal was ukusno, delicious. We dined on Bogovićeva street, coming across Davor Preis’ sculpture of the Sun during our after dinner stroll. Preis’ has installed a scale model of the solar system throughout Zagreb.

 

 

The rest of our evening was spent walking through the City Center enjoying the sights and sounds. We returned to our apartment early to sleep off our jet lag, tomorrow we’re off to Plitvices Lakes National Park! I can’t wait!

 

Next: Plitvices Lake National Park

 

 

 

 

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Count Your Blessings

“Count your blessings instead of sheep”  – Rosemary Clooney sang this Irving Berlin song in the movie White Christmas. In the hustle and bustle and yes, stress of the holiday season, this is great advice.

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So often we lay in bed worrying about packages arriving, money spent, who should sit next to who at Christmas dinner and whether Great Aunt Betty will forget to add the sugar to her cookies again.

Wouldn’t counting your blessings be a better routine after you crawl into bed?

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1)Thank you for the giggles I shared with my daughter today.

2) Thank you for Taco Tuesday with family.

3) Thank you for the cookies I received at this year’s cookie exchange.  (I’ll have something to replace Great Aunt Betty’s cookies without the extra work.)
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4) Thank you for my warm home and comfy bed.
You get my point. Soon all problems both real and imagined disappear. It’s wonderful
to drift off into sleep with positive thoughts and a smile on your lips. Your dreams will be
brighter helping you to wake up refreshed. 
 
Embrace this positive practice. Uplift yourself and you’ll lift up those around you.
Wishing you many blessings this holiday season,
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MaryBeth & Sherry 🎄

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Root Beer!

The holiday season is traditionally a time for gatherings with family and friends, this year was no exception in my home, (MB). My brother and sister-in-law provided our Thanksgiving meal at their home leaving me free to do something new on the Friday after.

Root Beer has always been a family favorite, to the point where some family members feel they can name the root beer brand with just a taste. In addition, we had a week-end guest who loved root beer.

The perfect combination to put together a root beer tasting party!

My criteria for root beer to make the cut was simple. It had to be in a glass bottle. While some would be old favorites, A&W, Dad’s, IBC; the rest would be unknown to me. I couldn’t be sure what my connoisseur had tried, so I simply picked up every brand I found.

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A couple of the root beers came from the traditional grocery stores, in addition, I stopped in at  our local ice cream and sweets shop for lesser know brands, Scrumptious, (if you ever have a chance to try their home-made ice cream, DO!), I explained what I was doing so along with the brands they had in the cooler, they found a new arrival in back. He also had 2 different types of root beer candy for my centerpiece. Thank you for your efforts on our behalf!  World Market had a good selection of lesser known brands too.

I was unable to find A&W in glass bottles but it wouldn’t be a true root beer tasting without that fan favorite, so I settled for the plastic bottle. Barq’s was the only root beer that I could not find anywhere. In total, I ended up with 12 different brands of root beer.

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I then began searching for small root beer mugs, something in the shot glass range. I found them at Party City. These I put in the freezer, root beer must be served in a frosted mug, right?

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The actual tasting would be done in 3 flights of 4 each. I covered the labels, this would be a blind taste test.

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Next, I put together a score sheet, covering 4 aspects, Effervescence, Sweetness, Zest, & Bouquet, along with their overall score for each one.

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We did a 4th flight with the favorites from the previous flights to determine our winner.

I started the party with 2 songs about Root Beer to set the mood.

George Jones – Root Beer video by hankgwe

Who knew the Beach Boys sang about root beer? video by fatgator46

I made a point of opening the bottles out of sight of my testers. The A&W plastic bottle would be a dead give-away along with the possibility they might see and recognize a bottle cap.

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Tasters were allowed to take as much time as they needed with each root beer. Some made their decisions quickly, others were very deliberate.

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Comments from the tasters varied on every one.

“Strong Maple flavor”

“This one tastes like black licorice.”

“Definitely cinnamon”

“This one is so bland, now that I’ve tasted the others.”

The five root beers chosen for the final flight based on tester scores; although unknown to the tasters at the time; were: A&W, Dad’s, Dang!, IBC & Bulldog. One taster preferred  Virgil’s over the rest but the others felt its anise flavoring was too strong, so Virgil’s did not make the cut.

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Who’s #1 on our list? A&W was the hands down winner.

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The Root Beers we tasted in addition to the above, were:

ZuberFizz, Sky Valley, Boylan, Olde Brooklyn, Rocky Mountain, Abita,

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We had so much fun with this, we may try a cream soda taste test next!

What’s your favorite root beer? and why?

Here’s to a sweet life!

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MaryBeth & Sherry

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Olde Town

We found the perfect fall day to visit one of our old haunts.

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Olde Town Arvada is about to experience a big changes due to the light rail station.  The increase in foot traffic will be great for the businesses. Parking has always been an issue in Olde Town, so the city has opened a new lot near the movie theaters and offers a shuttle to bring you downtown.

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We stopped first at a newer pub, Homegrown. They have a nice patio right on main street, it’s a bit noisy with traffic in the afternoon, so we were seated inside near a window.  The decor is somewhat industrial with a touch of antlers.  It was quite comfortable, the servers were friendly and efficient.

homegrown homegrown-ski-lift antlers

If you want to try a truly delicious appetizer, have the brussel sprouts. They were amazing. We ate every bite, down to the last crumb. Then it was time for a stroll to see what had changed in Olde Town, turns out, quite a bit.

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There were a few of the long-time businesses, such as the Arvada Tavern. We’ve eaten here a few times, it’s always good. They did have a Rockabilly group upstairs once in a while, not sure if they still do.  As always the Rheinlander Bakery smelled delicious, they are celebrating their 53rd year. We hurried on by as our taste buds were yearning to go inside, but our waistlines said no!

We strolled on down to  Arvada Bead Connection, a local favorite where the proprietor is very friendly. Sadly, he is having a going out of business sale. With the changing demographic, the rents are being raised and parking removed which doesn’t appeal to his clientele. MB made sure to scoop up several seed bead tubes for future crafting. We wished him the best and moved on.

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Fuzzy’s Tacos across the street is said to be good, we haven’t tried it yet.

There are a growing number of new coffee shops, which we are sure will appeal to early morning commuters. If you want to make your commute really good, drop into the Rheinlander. Hey, you’ll be walking to the light rail, so it’s all good!

Our next stop was Third Eye Gifts, upon entering you feel the warmth of positive energy. The proprietor has several Himalayan Salt Lamps lit and producing negative ions. The negative ones are positive! The smell of incense was not overwhelming, just an added touch.

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We asked about the singing bowls and the owner took quite a bit of time to demonstrate them and teach us how they work.  We were definitely rookies when he had us try them. I think we’ll be back to purchase one soon. This may be a new favorite shop.

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For as chilly as it was, there were still kids in the water park! Located in the center of Old Town, they offer movies here in the summer. During the day, it’s a spot for kids to play while the adults relax on the nearby benches and visit. Near the holidays, a Christmas Tree and other decorations are added. You can also take an old-fashion carriage ride through downtown. We have to admit, this is an improvement on the parking lot that used to sit here.

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Schoolhouse Kitchen & Libations is aptly named as it is in the old Arvada School.  We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this place. We happy to see them re-purposing the old buildings rather than tear them down. It helps to maintain the ambiance.

A local favorite with children of all ages is Scrumptious Ice Cream and their cement pig mascot.

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He’s a Superhero today, just a few months ago, he was a hippie, but he’s always good for a kids photo-op. The shop itself offers some unusual and delicious home-made ice cream flavors, dark cherry and bourbon flavors are favorites. Everyday they have something different. On one side of the shop is the ice cream parlor, on the other is an old-fashioned candy store with bottled soda. On a hot evening, this place is packed. Right across the street from the light rail station, they’ll be busy all year-round.

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We ran out of time to further explore, and there are so many new shops and restaurants to visit.

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Penzeys Spices and Silver Vines Winery are first on the list for our next downtown stroll. Can you imagine how wonderful Penzeys Spices must smell?

If you are in our neck of the woods, be sure to stop by Olde Town Arvada.

 

Here’s to a Happy Life!

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🍁MaryBeth & Sherry 🍂

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Forward

Recently, in our lives there have been many things to grieve, divorce, death, relationships, world problems and the current state of America.

We aren’t going to offer an opinion on the world’s problems or America; politics or otherwise. We’ll leave it to the media and the internet to misinform you.

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It seems as we age that sorrow comes into our lives more often. We shed more tears, reminisce more often, sit alone in silence. It may seem odd to find joy in grief, but it is usually there nonetheless.

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Both Sherry and I have lost both parents; we both took care of our aging parents at one point. If at first this seemed somewhat of a burden, in the end in it was a blessing. It allowed them to stay in their homes surrounded by the things and people they loved, letting them be at peace.

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For us, the gift was the ability to move forward in our relationships with them, seeing them not so much as a parent but as a friend. I’ve always felt that it helped me to repay the years that they devoted to me even though they did not expect any payment.

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In divorce, after grieving your loss, there is a sense of freedom, a re-bonding with yourself and friends that may have been neglected along the way.  Your bond with your children changes as they see you in a different light.

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There is pain in loss and we are all entitled to experience it. Feel, bemoan, embrace your grief and when you are ready actively seek out the joy that your loved one, your ex-spouse, or ex-friend left in you. Rejoice in your memories and get out there and make more!

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Here’s to a happy life! 🍾

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MaryBeth & Sherry

 

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