Epiphany

Epiphany – a sudden striking of understanding something

As I get older I do indeed feel like I am getting wiser, I keep having epiphanies. Having an epiphany sounds smart as opposed to admitting to having a “Duh” moment.  I have decided to be kinder to myself so we are going with epiphanies, okay?

So I have been working on being a healthier self and I was looking through my kitchen cabinets and realized “man, we really have a lot of food”.   Many different flavors of syrup and salad dressing and different kinds of chips.  Boxes of granola bars and cereal and cans of soups and pastas for my son.

How did this happen?  Well, I know how.  When small child started school in addition to making him a lunch he needed a mid-morning snack and then an after school snack.  And the morning snack needed to be something that would withstand the desert heat and a small boy being responsible for it. And for some reason I thought he needed a different snack each day.  Plus different stuff to put in his lunch or for after school.  That explains the cereal, granola bars and chips.

The syrups happened because every time we went to Apple Annie’s I felt like we needed a seasonal flavor of syrup.  I wanted apple in the fall and peach in the summer and strawberry at the beginning of summer.  Ooh, mixed berry, that sounds yummy. But we really don’t eat that much syrup and the stockpile began.

And honestly I do not know what is going on with the rest of the condiments.

So now we come to today and my quest to stop snacking and eat healthier. And that is when I had my epiphany:  I need to shop differently!  Since I do 99.5% of the grocery shopping it is up to me what comes into the house.  Duh! 🙂

After some thought I realized what I had to do.  First, say nothing.  Second, shop smarter.  And third just continue serving all the normal junk until it is gone.  And then gradually and secretly change small child’s eating habits along with my own.  Not completely for him.  There will still be cereal in the cupboard and one type of healthier granola bars.  After school snacks will be fruit or carrots or yogurt and a homemade cookie or two.  He probably won’t even notice the change.

I am looking forward to some empty cupboard space and less temptation in the house. A person only has so much willpower. It’s true, we only have so much.  I read a book about it.  Made total sense.

Completely unrelated pictures:

The largest of three scorpions I scooped out of the pool.
I don’t know if this is poisonous but it looks evil.

The scary thing is I fished these all out of the pool the same morning.  Honestly I was a little scared to get in and kept peering around to see if I missed anything.  Desert life is not for the faint of heart.

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Whole30 Week 3

Day 15

I am halfway done but it feels like I still have a long way to go.  Sigh.

I was going to go to the commissary today but with the eclipse I decide to wait until tomorrow. I look through the fridge to make sure I have enough compliant food to get me through the day.  Should be okay.  I am feeling quite lackluster about food these days anyway.

Day 16

I am so not in the mood to deal with grocery shopping.  All that temptation but it has to be done. I am tired and crabby and the return of triple digit heat is not helping.  On my drive to the commissary I have a little talk with myself. (Hopefully the other drivers just think I am on a hands free phone.)  I remind myself that it is just hormones going crazy and hopefully in a few days I will be back to feeling “normal”.  The only really critical task that has to be done today is shopping.  Dinner can be leftovers with a bag of salad and there are some Trader Joe’s meatballs in the freezer if something more is needed.

Lunch, I felt sort of snackie: snow peas and guac, hb egg, macadamia nuts and cold soup.

I give myself permission to take the rest of the day off.  I can color or work on the puzzle, watch a movie, take a nap.  The sky is the limit!

Day 17

Food prep day.  Happily I am feeling a bit better so the task doesn’t feel so onerous. I make the quiche of the week.  I use the kale and ground pork already prepared from the freezer.  I add a grated carrot for color and extra nutrients.  I found a half a bag of already cooked shrimp in the freezer and made a simple shrimp salad: finely chopped onion and celery, a bit of mayo and some dill.  I am looking forward to having something different for lunch.  I feel like I have eaten a ton of meat lately.  This reminds me to thaw some chicken for later this week.

Day 18

No “tiger’s blood” for me these days.  I didn’t really think healthy eating would be able to trump crazy peri-menopausal hormones.  I remind myself of my goals:  stop snacking, less sugar. I am accomplishing both these days.  I do wonder if I am still losing weight though.  I decide to add more vegetables to my meals and less sweet potatoes and yams.

B: quiche, four olives and a banana

L: shrimp salad, snow peas and an apple

D: leftover pot roast, the last spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes and roasted cauliflower

Day 19

I made myself a batch of “Melissa’s Chicken Hash”  for lunch today and found myself wondering if I would eat this if I wasn’t on the Whole30.  Hmmm.  Aside from limiting snacking and desserts (I have a plan!) I haven’t given much thought  about how I want my meals to look post Whole30.  I want to eliminate processed foods for the most part.  But I think I am okay with eating just about anything if I make it myself.  I started buying heritage flour that is grown and minimally processed locally.  I am adding more organic items to our diet all the time.  As long as I continue to incorporate more veggies into my meals I will consider it all good.

Day 20

B:  quiche and roasted cauliflower

L: 1/2 can of tuna in olive oil with 1/2 an avocado, last 4 oven fries, snow peas, an apple and some cashews

D: grilled salmon, grilled asparagus, homemade coleslaw

Took my photography class today, hardly thought about the Whole30 at all.

Day 21

I had my first cheat today. I chewed 1/2 a piece of sugar free gum during bowling.  I just needed it. Banish me from the Whole30 Hall of Fame.


This picture is from my photography class. My instructor called this “Chipotle Art”.  Where you take a picture of something ordinary and make it black and white and voila, art. 🙂  I was working on depth of field with this one.

The class left me very excited about taking photos. I know there is a lot more to learn but at least I know enough to be able to use full manual mode and have a better shot at getting what I want to see to appear on the end product. (Did you get the pun?  “Better shot”, haha!)

Onto to week 4 with a decidedly diminished lack of enthusiasm for food.

Looking for Autumn in All the Wrong Places

I am impatient for autumn.  I am always impatient for autumn. Hands down it is my favorite season.  Even with Christmas looming I always feel a bit of a pang when I take all those colorful leaves down and pack up the pumpkins.

I also feel a bit off kilter this time of year. It is August, it is hot, it is very much still summer.  But school has been in session a few weeks now.  That is supposed to mean autumn is peeking around the corner.  There should be a hint of frost in the early morning air, a crispness.  But it will remain shorts weather well into October and some years even November.  My poor brain has a hard time coping with this.

I seem to be doing a fair amount of on-line shopping lately.  A replacement for snacking? (I hope not!)  I look at my purchases and realize I am looking for autumn. I am excited to be getting ready for my son’s birthday and the upcoming holidays.  And by holidays I mean Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I have bought pajamas for my son for both holidays.  It can be hard to find Thanksgiving jammies which baffles me.  What are you supposed to wear while watching the parade and eating pancakes?

Found them!

I have been buying fun Halloween candy, Ghost Poofs, how cool! A Halloween game and Halloween stampers for prizes at school.  Okay, yes I also bought a set of stamps for my son and I to share.

I have also been buying sweaters and long sleeve shirts. What? I know it is crazy. My logic is I am looking for lightweight sweaters/shirts more suited to our pretend winter.  And I have been stuck on the color gray for some reason. Six gray shirts I have bought this year. Two are for my sports teams, Miami Heat and the Denver Broncos.  Now I am ready for January!  My favorite find?  A lightweight sweater with birds on it from The Vermont Country Store. Perfect fit, feel, super cute and on clearance!  I can’t wait to wear it.

Still Life: Gray shirts.

I know it is illogical but I am hoping for an actual cold winter this year.  We had the hottest June and wettest July, is the snowiest January that farfetched?  At the very least I want to be able to wear long sleeves (without sweating).  I have to add that because I could be one of those people who ignore the actual temperature and dress according to the calendar. Honestly I fear that may happen to me this year.

I keep telling myself to be patient.  Autumn is still almost a month away according to the calendar.  Soon I will be bringing in the autumn totes and decorating away. Soon.  I give myself permission to start working with my son to figure out his Halloween costume. (Maybe an elevator, how fun is that!?) And maybe I take a peek at my Gooseberry Autumn cookbook.  And paint my toenails orange.  It feels the perfect color to transition from late summer to almost autumn.  Plan an apple picking trip for Labor Day weekend, yes please.  And we have our first U of A football game 2 Sept.  Maybe autumn isn’t as far away as it seems.

 

A creepy Halloweenish photo.

 

Happy Almost Fall!

Everything Else

While it feels like all Whole30 all the time I do still have a life outside of eating healthy. (Not much of one, but still.)

Swimming is on hiatus due to a slightly green murky pool now full of chemicals.  High heat combined with just enough rain make it hard to keep the pool clear. The spouse is trying but the pool just isn’t appealing these days.

New carpet!  Yeah!  It was an item on the to do list that I have longed for yet been avoiding because of having to move so much stuff!  So for about 10 days I will be spending time each day moving stacks of book, knickknacks and eventually smaller items of furniture either downstairs or into my office, making my office unusable for a while.  😦  I don’t even want to think about it.

Photography class.  Remember when I signed up for that class in June that was unexpectedly cancelled?  I am signed up for it again this Saturday.  Let’s hope it happens this time.  In pretend preparation I am reading an Ansel Adam’s biography and enjoying it immensely.

I came up with a great solution to stop myself from mindlessly checking my phone for e-mail when it is lying on the kitchen counter.  I hung it up on the wall!  I put a little hook on the back (an IGripz) and then a hook on the wall.  Voila…

Conveniently located right next to an outlet for easy charging.

This would also work well for people always losing their phones in the house.

And finally my ob/gyn appointment.  I really liked the Doctor.  We had a good discussion about all my peri-menopausal symptoms and options. My uterine fibroids are cherry and blueberry sized (fruit makes such a good visual for size) and apparently 70% of all women have some.  The location is not problematic so for now they stay.

I did have my IUD removed. It wasn’t actually necessary but may help ease the heaviness of my periods. If my periods remain crazy long, frequent and/or heavy then I am thinking about taking some progesterone.  But for now I am going to give it two or three months and see what happens with my body.  I am not surprised that so far I am sticking with my original thought that menopause is a natural phase of life and it is best to let it run it’s course on it’s own.  Either way I feel better having a doctor that listens and provides multiple options.

My latest finished coloring project. Makes me happy 🙂 I would love to have that blue door on my house but it would kill the HOA board members.

I think that about wraps things up.  The next two weeks will remain devoted to the Whole30 and prepping for carpet installation.  But that’s okay because after that football season starts and camping and hiking return.  And Halloween…whoooo!  Let’s hear it for autumn…rah rah rah!

Whole30 Week 2

(I thought the spider web picture was cool!)

My Whole30 adventure successfully continues….

Day 8

I have a desire to weigh myself but move the scale into my husband’s closet.

B: Banana, three scrambled eggs, 2 slices of bacon and one small potato.  It doesn’t seem very healthy and I vow to eat more veggies the rest of the day.

Today is food prep day.  I clean a bunch of carrots, bake two yams for tomorrow and make the quiche of the week. Quiche of the week includes leftover taco meat, sautéed spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Quiche of the week.

I also decide to clean up one of the shelves in the kitchen pantry that has become a bit of a mess. It is full of “contraband items” but sorting the food doesn’t bother me.  Oddly the only thing I have really had a hankering for is cheese and crackers (Wheat Thin type).  Whatever.

Day 9:

Experiencing a bit of um, gastric distress.  Hoping this means my stomach will be flatter in a day or two.

Also spouse’s birthday.  I send him and my son off for pizza and I stay home and watch “Rear Window” while eating my tasty yam, chicken, apple mixture.  I had my son do most of the work on the cake so I wouldn’t be tempted to lick my fingers. I just put the cake pans in and out of the oven and got the cakes out of the pan. We froze one layer and E frosted the other for tonight. He did a great job!

It’s a baseball cake!

Day 10:

I have my doctors appointment today to get my IUD removed and chat about my uterine fibroids.  Since my appointment is at 11:10a  I prepare egg salad so my lunch is ready before I go.

I am really not hungry enough for dinner but I want to eat a little something when I take my calcium and magnesium pills.  Plus I don’t want to wake up hungry in the middle of the night.  I settle on an apple and a handful of cashews.  I sleep through the night without any problems.  But I am having weird food dreams. I wake up sure I had eaten some of my son’s pretzels. But I know  I didn’t.  Is there such a thing as sleep eating?

Day 11:

My stomach is flatter!  Not completely flat (yet) but decidedly flatter for sure.

Yesterday and today are the days most likely for people to quit according to the Whole30 timeline.  I can see that. It would have been very nice to eat lunch out either yesterday or today while running errands. That’s okay though my egg salad was pretty tasty.  Why don’t I make it more often?

B: leftover yam, chicken, apple mixture and 1/2 grapefruit

L:  leftover egg salad, 6 olives, 2 carrots, a small handful of macadamia nuts and blackberries

D:  pot roast (cooked in the crockpot, the smell permeating the house all day), mashed sweet potatoes (ghee, not butter) and steamed broccoli

I am pretty proud of how few snacks I have eaten so far. I am doing a much better job of incorporating fruit and nuts into my regular meals.

Day 12:

I wake up and I am feeling out of sorts.  What?  I had been feeling so happy.  I look at the calendar. Hormones dammit. I am not sure what to do.  Are my typical PMS cravings going to run me over?  Or will my decreased sugar intake lessen the impact?  I have a Mango-Pineapple Rx bar at the ready.  I spend the morning keeping busy cleaning the house a bit. Then decide getting out of the house for awhile would be good.  I have to drop off cupcakes at church for the men’s shelter dinner anyway.

I know, crazy.  I realize I probably haven’t been doing myself any favors these first two weeks with the temptations:  making peanut butter cookies for small child’s after school snack the first week of school(the first week of myWhole30), birthday cake, and now cupcakes.  My son mixed up the batter and I spooned into the tins and baked them. But yes, I had to icing them, without licking my fingers once!  No wonder why I feel a bit crabby.

Day 13:

My son and I had a wonderfully lovely day together.  We went to the mall, not a favorite or typical trip for us but he wanted a few more polo shirts for school so we went to JC Penney’s and found enough choices on the clearance racks  plus we had a $10 off coupon.  And then we browsed (for a full hour!) around The Container Store, a place we both love.  We found a few items and then he was hungry so we headed to the food court. I had an Rx Bar with me because I didn’t think there would be any thing I could have there but to my surprise there was a Chipotle’s.  And we both happily ordered salad bowls from there.

For dinner at home I made oven fries and we grilled burgers that were so tasty.  Hit the spot and for one meal at least I didn’t feel like I was on the Whole30.

Day 14:

I have to confess this healthy eating is starting to feel a bit boring.  Need to put some thought into the meal plan for next week.  I am still feeling a bit grumpy too which isn’t helping matters.

Onto week three….

Whole30: Week One

I decided to do another Whole30 as a kick-off to implementing “My Healthy Life Manifesto“.  The main goal of this Whole30 is to stop snacking and eating when not hungry.  I know I have a tendency to eat when bored or tired and the habit has gotten completely out of control. I will also admit I am hoping to lose a few pounds as well. I looked at the calendar and decided to start the same week school started. I am hoping this will give me some extra time for all that food prep plus no big holidays or major travel plans to make things more difficult.

 

Here is a summary of the first week:

Day 1:  Totally not prepared this Monday morning.  The thing is, school doesn’t start until Thursday. My bad.  So I eat a banana with some cashew butter and a carrot for breakfast and then get to work on some food prep.  I make hard-boiled eggs and clean a bag of carrots. And then I make my favorite quiche:

5 eggs

5 ounces of canned coconut milk

1/2 lb cooked seasoned ground pork (garlic powder, sage, fennel, s&p)

sautéed kale

Mix it all together.

I grease a 9″ pie pan with coconut oil and bake at 425° for ~ 20 minutes

The best thing about this recipe is you can mix up what you add and eat it everyday on the Whole30 if you wish. Some suggestions:  mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, cooked grated yam or sweet potato, ground beef, spinach, thinly sliced Trader Joe’s sausages.  Really anything compliant that you like.  This is so much easier than breakfast “muffins” and I think a bit tastier than a straight egg bake.

I eat a piece for lunch (along with a sliced tomato) and now I have breakfast ready for the rest of the week.  I also cook enough pork and kale for a second quiche and stash it in the freezer.

Day 2:  I have a solid meal plan for the day so it seems easy.

B: quiche, 1/2 grapefruit, one small potato.  I microwave the potato, let it cool a bit, dice it, then crisp it up in a little olive oil.

L: salad with 1/2 can of tuna in olive oil, 1 HB egg, cherry tomatoes and avocado

Snack: cut up peaches we picked ourselves and that need to be eaten

D: grilled steak, homemade oven fries and green beans

I am the only person in the house doing the Whole30 so many nights there will be separate dinners but tonight’s worked for everyone. Yeah!

Day 3:

I am not going to write every single meal down because that would be boring.  I am feeling rather tired today. I expected it but it was still a bummer.  See the Whole30 timeline.

Day 4:

 Note to self: be careful what you read and watch during these crucial first days of eliminating cravings.  “Howard’s End”, not a good movie to watch, in terms of food anyway.  Seems they were always having tea and cake.  Reading “Endurance” by Alfred Lansing was a good choice.  This book is about Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica.  While there is a fair amount of talk about food it is items like seal steaks and penguin hearts that are mentioned.  And for a treat?  Fish paste.  No triggering of cravings here!

Day 5:

I seem to have skipped right over the “kill all things” phase and now “I need a nap” and “Why are my pants tighter” phase seem to be overlapping. Geez.

Day 6:

Grocery shopping day.  Halloween candy already?  (No more grocery shopping until after this is over!)  I eat a good breakfast but we have a bunch of errands to run.  By the time we get to the base I am getting rather hungry.  I get my son a sandwich at Subway in the food court and then scan my options.  Nothing.  So I eat my apple cinnamon Rx bar.  By the time we get home I am pretty hungry.  I nosh on sugar snap peas with a single serving size of guacamole while getting the groceries put away.

Now it is 3:00p and I am not sure what to do.  Do I eat lunch or try and tough it out until dinner?  I decide to eat a hard-boiled egg and make dinner an hour early.  It is taco salads so husband and son can re-heat the meat and make their own salads when they are ready.

Taco Salad: ground beef with homemade taco seasoning, a mix of lettuces, cherry tomatoes, 1/2 an avocado and salsa.  So yummy!

Day 7:

Today is one of those days that really are tough on the Whole30.  We are going up to Phoenix to watch the Cubs play the D’Backs.  We are supposed to leave at 9:00a for a 1:00p game because of the crowd expected.  Spouse gets out of work late (he is working extra hours for an exercise) so we don’t leave until 10:30a but it all works out surprisingly well.

B: banana, quiche, potato

L:  Eaten in the truck on the trip up is chicken salad (diced grilled chicken breast, dried cherries, walnuts and mayo), snap peas and a few cherries. As we walk from the truck to the stadium (about 12:30p) I drink a bottle of Zupa Noma soup. I bought a six pack to try out because they are Whole30 approved. I have the Beet-Orange-Basil flavor.  I finish it but I don’t think I would buy this flavor again, too basily for me.

Snack:  For inside the park I have dry roasted pistachios (in the shell) from Trader Joe’s and an Rx bar.  The game is exciting and I am not hungry until the seventh inning. I eat a few pistachios, but probably half or maybe even a third of what I would have normally eaten. That’s it.

D: We stop at a Five Guys on the way home.  I was prepared bringing a little container of my own mayo.  I get the lettuce wrap with two burgers, tomato and raw onion. No pickles because they are out of pickles.  What??  (They got a bad batch from their supplier and were waiting on a replacement shipment. Just my luck.)  But with the addition of the mayo I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything.

In Conclusion:

So the Cubs and I both win!  The week wasn’t bad at all and I am very happy that I have not been snacking on dried fruit or raisins like in Whole30s in the past.  I survived a busy day running around and a road trip.  A successful week one is in the books.

My Healthy Life Manifesto

Manifesto – a public declaration of intentions

I decided I needed to write down some healthy eating guidelines for myself.  That led me to thinking about how big a role stress and lack of sleep play in my eating habits and I decided what I really wanted was a healthy life. So I expanded my manifesto just a bit.

The last few months I have been reading a lot of books about diet, nutrition and eating habits.  Many of them left me feeling like I needed to have an MD (or play a doctor on tv or sleep in a Holiday Inn Express at least) to know how valid the logic/research/argument was. I was left to rely on my own common sense. And Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules”.  I love this beautifully illustrated little book of 82 rules.  I understand them, they make sense to me and they are easily followed.  By that I mean anyone can do them with a little time and effort.  No special pills or equipment needed. I plan on glancing through this book daily to give myself reminders of how I want to eat.

What I like about this manifesto is that it is set up for me.  Yes, you can borrow it as a starting point for your own but you really need to devise a manifesto that will fit your own life. Every person is unique with an individual set of circumstances that make up your own needs.

My Healthy Life Manifesto

  • Manage Stress
    • Recognize symptoms and alleviate
    • Schedule appropriately
  • Exercise
    • Change with the seasons/weather as needed
    • Swimming
    • Qigong or Tai Chi
    • Yoga
    • 10k steps and hand weights
  • Sleep
    • Nap if needed
  • Cultivate Better Eating Habits
    • Learn to eat only when hungry
      • Stop snacking
    • Change the way you shop
      • Farmer’s market
      • Less stocking up
      • Keep meals simple
    • Replace processed foods with fruits and veggies
    • Rx Bars for hormonal emergencies and travel
  • Intermittent fasting
    • Make sure you have broth on hand
  • Make everything from scratch
  • Eat at local restaurants
  • No guilt over being an introvert
An example of managing stress, I felt very peaceful when I worked on it. And I finished it!

So there it is, my Healthy Life Manifesto. I am not sure about the fasting.  It seems better suited to people who are obese and trying to lose weight but I have decided to keep it in my hip pocket as a back up plan if I am not doing well with controlling my snacking or the middle age weight gain continues.

My Healthy Life Manifesto.

I printed out two copies, made them all pretty and put one in the kitchen and one in my office.  I’ll be reading them everyday for now.  I am ready to feel not just better but good, really good!

 

Estate Piovoso Continues

We are finishing up the last full week of summer vacation from school.  Woo-Hoo! (That would be the introvert in me woo-hooing, the parenting side is of course not looking forward to the battles about to be embarked on.)  And of course vacation may be over but summer will continue for many weeks.

Further analysis revealed four hours of computer time was three hours too many so we revised the Computer Use Guidelines. And now I am responsible for more entertainment of small child. So I have been doing exciting things like:

  • Visiting the Legoland Discovery Center in Tempe, Az
    • Not nearly as bad as I feared.  Two large groups were there but really not nearly as crowded as I had imagined.  I had about an hour where E was playing in the climbing gym and I got to read my book.  We had lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe beforehand and just missed the worst of a monsoon storm on the drive home.
  • Golf ‘n Stuff
    • A Groupon deal helped make this more affordable.  We played 18 holes of Putt Putt Golf ( hole in one’s:  son – 3,  mom-0, sad) and then spent some time in the arcade.  I am a sucker for skeeball and played (really badly)  some pinball as well.
  • Apple Annie’s in Willcox
    • Apple and peach picking which led to making peach jam.  Again, avoided the rain and enjoyed the cooler temperatures.
Peach jam with the ever present afternoon clouds in the background.
  • Sabino Canyon (not)
    • On Sunday night we were all feeling rather blah from the humidity.  We knew there had been a lot of rain in the mountains and thought we’d walk over and check out the creek.  But the park was closed.  We found out the next day there were 35 people stranded on the other side of the creek and shortly after we were turned away they started rescuing them by helicopter.  In my defense I never had any intention of crossing the creek. We came home and went swimming in our pool.

Photo courtesy of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department  Normally there is no water running across the road, there is a tram that uses this road multiple times a day, except when it rains like crazy!

  • The Carpet Store
    • Yes, that really is the name.  We have the brand and type selected, now we have to pick a color. We had it narrowed down to two but the sun was shining for a few moments one day and we could actually see the colors so now it is narrowed down to three.  They are coming to measure on Friday afternoon and I swear I will have a color picked by then.  Getting new carpet for the upstairs is one of my 2017 Ambitions.
  • “Captain Underpants” – the movie
    • This is on deck for later this week. I am looking forward to popcorn and hearing my son laugh.
  • Bug Spring Trail
    • Hoping to do this hike in the Santa Catalina Mountains Saturday morning, weather permitting. About 4 1/2 miles long we will take two vehicles so we only have to hike one way.  Hoping to get an early start and beat the heat/rain.  Planning on taking a breakfast picnic:  deviled eggs, muffins and fruit.
Rain drenched oranges.

It is official, wettest July in Tucson ever.  This after the hottest June in Tucson ever. Sigh.