last blog

I am writing to let you know this will be my last BLOG for a while. My mantra has always been “women can have it all, they just can’t have it all at once.” The first part of my adult life was the military, now I am in the motherhood phase. I hope the next phase is when I will be a writer, or at least someone who writes.

I thought I could get a bit of a head start this year on the writing now that my son is in kindergarten. He only goes half day (3 hours) and one day a week is early release (2 hours). I started the school year with a good plan (that did not include a blog) and everything worked great until life got busy. There is a lot going on this time of year, camping trips, birthdays and all those lovely holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

At first I thought I would just miss a week or two on the blog while we celebrate my son’s 6th birthday, go on a 5-day camping trip and finish up our healthy eating experiment. But after thinking about my priorities I realized this blog wasn’t part of them. Writing this blog takes more time than I thought. My son needs lots of me right now. I want to spend our afternoons together doing homework and playing games and going hiking in the cooler weather. I miss working on my ‘shitty first draft’ of a novel.

Next year, when he is in school full day I will make another plan and maybe it will include re-starting this blog and maybe it won’t. Time will tell.

Government shutdown

I am finding this whole government shutdown thing quite irksome. I consider myself to be pretty much apolitical. But recent events actually caused me to send a letter to our Congressmen. I felt silly after I sent it and learned from my husband that only the president can be impeached, congressmen get recalled. Oh well. I still got to vent.
My husband was designated as essential personnel and has been faithfully going to work with no idea if he is going to get paid or not. We find out Friday. I told my husband I have no plan for if he doesn’t get paid, we may have to “shutdown the house”. No laundry, no cooking, cleaning. I thought it was pretty clever.
Busy getting ready for my son’s 6th birthday and eating uber-healthy for 30 days. More about that in my next post.
Here is the letter I sent:

Dear Members of Congress,
I have not written sooner because I honestly don’t know where to start. I am quite certain I am not the only person in this country who is thinking impeachment for all of Congress. What you are doing may not be technically illegal, but it certainly is criminal. In the real world people who fail to do their jobs get fired. And they get fired right away. I highly encourage you to forget partisan politics, stop quibbling and DO YOUR JOB. You can do all the finger pointing you like but the bottom line is YOU have created this mess. YOU are still getting a paycheck; YOU don’t have to worry about what to do in a few weeks if still no money is coming in.
My husband and I are both retired from the military. Currently my husband is a GS employee for the Air Force. I am a stay at home Mom. We know we are one of the lucky ones. We can survive a short-term financial nightmare though it will have long term impacts on our retirement plans.
But why do we have to deal with the stress and negative financial impact because of your incompetence? I was quite horrified when Congress went on break without truly resolving the issue. The fact that you have shut down a huge part of the entire government is unbelievable, compounded by the fact that it is over a bill that has already been enacted!
I’ll say it again, DO YOUR JOB. Pass a budget, deal with the debt ceiling and put healthcare on the back burner for now. You have wasted months and are now endangering the welfare of an entire country. Enough is enough.

Where is Autumn?

Autumn is the hardest time of year for me here in the desert southwest. September is hard because it is still quite hot during the day but cooling off at night. This means the pool cools off and swim season comes to an end before we can start going outside during the day and not melting.  (Next year we are getting a solar blanket for the pool to hopefully extend the season.)

With school starting in early August I am more than ready for it to feel like autumn sometime in September. But it seems like the autumn temps I am used to don’t happen until January around here.

By October I am depressed from the heat and the blazing sun. This is my 3rd autumn here and I decided it was time for me to learn some coping skills, see what I can do to create my own autumn and focus on the small, positive changes in the weather here in Tucson.

Cooking: I have gone ahead and started cooking like it is cool like fall should be. I have made turkey cutlets with an apple- rosemary glaze, butternut squash and pork tenderloin. We are lucky to be sort of near (1 ½ hour drive) a farm where we can go and pick fruit and veggies all summer and pumpkins in October (I can’t wait!) We picked lots of apples in August and early September. I made crazy yummy apple turnovers and froze an apple pie for around Halloween.

Best soup I ever made                                                             apple pie for freezer

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Maple sugar leaf cookies from last year

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Decorating: There may not be any signs of leaf color outside, but it is busting out inside. Last year I taped silk leaves all over the walls but I didn’t love the look. This year I used my leaf garlands in different places and am much happier. Now I have to figure out where to put all those silk leaves. Maybe in a bowl or two somewhere? I also have some apple pie scented wax I melt and sometimes I add a little pumpkin fragrance oil.  Definitely feels and smells like autumn inside.

Last year:

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This year:

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Traveling to Autumn: One positive of living here is we can camp year round. We don’t need to winterize our trailer, though if we have a rare below freezing cold snap we do run the heater and try and drain everything we can and keep our fingers crossed.  Last year we went to Oak Creek Canyon (near Sedona) in October and Chiricahua National Monument (near Willcox) in November.  We got to wear long sleeves and do lots of hiking and eat hearty soups. At Chiricahua it was down right cold in the mornings and one very damp foggy day we even saw some snow flurries. I was one happy camper!

This year we are going to Dead Horse Ranch State Park (near Cottonwood) in October.  It probably won’t be quite as cool as I would like but we are hoping to see some good leaf color. We are going to ride the Verde Valley Railroad and I am pretty excited about that.  No camping plans for November yet.  We have tickets to a University of Arizona football game the week before Thanksgiving.  I’d like to go back to Chiricahua for Veteran’s Day weekend but I need to check our schedule.  The negative of Chiricahua is they don’t take reservations and the campground is small.

I have one more place to find autumn: Mt Lemmon.  We are very lucky to have a nearby mountain with a very nice road to a small village at the top.  There are hiking trails, a couple of small restaurants, a gift shop and a ski resort! Crazy I know.  And in October the leaves change color up there!  Aspens, a few maples, lots of deciduous trees.  It is usually about 10 degrees cooler in Mt. Lemmon than Tucson, so once we hit 80’s here I will be going up to ~8000’ to enjoy the 70’s and gather leaves.

Last Year:

Oak Creek Canyon

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Chiricahua Nat’l Monument

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Mt Lemmon

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Closer to home: While the sun is still blazing down during the day I can see the difference in the evening and morning light.  I like the way the sun slants in my office window in the afternoon.  Sherlock and I have resumed our post-dinner strolls.  While it is hardly sweater weather, or even long pants weather the evenings now are pleasant.  I like walking as the shadows lengthen and a hint of nighttime cool emerges.  Soon there will be Halloween Decorations to admire in addition to the real bats swooping around and owls hooting.

Last year, leaves from Mt Lemmon scattered in our yard (so doing this again this year!)

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I may not have my ideal autumn, but I have made peace in my heart with where I am and found contentment with this new version of fall.