Happy 4th of July!

The last few days of the red, white and blue decorations.  Then I switch to a beach theme!

Teeny bird houses.

 

Leading the parade.

 

All kinds of flags.                                                                                       

I would like to thank our founding fathers for all their wisdom, patience and effort in establishing our wonderful country.  Have a wonderful (and safe) 4th of July everyone!

Like Yourself Day

Today you just need to be yourself and be happy about it. (No more being Tigger if that’s not you!) Celebrate being exactly who you are.

Well, that was easy. Guess I’ll put some photos in all this blank space. Because that is who I am, a woman who enjoys taking photos even though I haven’t yet mastered details like f-stop and shutter speed. Taking photos makes me happy and I like that about myself.

Saguaro cactus buds.

 

The flowers open one to three at a time and only last a day or two.

 

Our mandarine orange tree is heavy with fruit.

 

First swim of the season.  This is me being “artistic”. 

 

My birthday heirloom flower seeds mix are growing like weeds (I crack myself up!) but where are the flowers?

Line Dry Your Laundry Day

Note the rack in the lower left corner.

I have written about this before and I am still a fan of drying laundry outdoors. Here in the desert sun clothes dry faster outdoors than they do in the dryer.

Not only do I like that this is good for the environment but I have to confess I rather enjoy it. Every week I get to channel my Ma Ingalls admiration through laundry. I am doing a task like she would have done it! (But how happy am I to have a washing machine and not have to use a washboard, whew.)

And you don’t even need a clothesline.  For you apartment dwellers get a folding rack. No balcony, no problem.  Just sit the rack in front of a window and let the sun and breeze work it’s magic. (No window?  Then I really feel for you because that is sad.)

And for the record I almost made today “Love Your Lawnmower Day”.  If you really aren’t feeling the laundry then feel free to clean up the lawnmower. Maybe change the oil and the spark plugs.  It’s okay. My feelings won’t be hurt.

Enjoy Your Calendar Day

That would be enjoy the picture on the calendar hanging on the wall. If you are like me you spent quite a bit of time looking through all the calendars at the kiosk at the mall last December.  Agonizing over picking just the right one for the kitchen.  Why does there always have to be one month where the picture is just not pleasing?  One month that makes you hesitate and then look through all the calendars again.  Of course you get the first one anyway telling yourself it will have to do.

And of course it does do because you never really look at the pictures again.  Except for today.  Today you will look at the pictures and be glad you took such care in picking out this particular calendar. You will enjoy the colors and the composition and the feeling of joy such a wonderful picture brings.

Here are my April calendar pictures:

My office calendar and my favorite of the three. A local artist, Zinnia Sky Studio, I bought it at an arts and crafts festival last Thanksgiving. 

 

My bedroom calendar. I like something inspirational and peaceful.

 

The kitchen calendar. I like something that reflects the seasons. This would be my least favorite month on this calendar!

 

You are welcome.

 

Winter Part I: Slug Mode

I had been thinking I have nothing to write about.  I am deep in menopausal winter.  Okay okay, peri-menopausal winter. Whatever.  All I really want to do is sit on the couch, eat just about anything and watch television.  Here is a list of what I have been watching:

  1. “Victoria” on PBS.   A pain to record.  I set it up as a series but realized I missed the second episode for some reason (the naming perhaps?) so now I have to check each week to see if I need to add it manually.  Luckily I caught a rerun of the second episode.
  2. “The Great British Bake-off”  on PBS.  Also set up to record as a series from the last time it was on.  Since I missed some episodes the first time around  I am just watching them all again.
  3. “This is Us”.  I seldom watch network series but I kept hearing about it so I started watching the past episodes on-line and now I am hooked.  And only two more episodes until I am caught up.
  4.  Miami Heat basketball.  Eight wins in a row, woo-hoo! I broke down and ordered NBA league pass.  I am totally worth it.
  5. University of Arizona Wildcat basketball!  The team is on a roll.
  6. The usual assortment of classic movies DVR’d off of TCM.

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Tune in tomorrow for Winter Part II.  One does not stay in slug mode all the time.

That’s enough typing and walking on the treadmill, back to the couch!

2017 Ambitions

Ambition: desire to achieve a particular end (Merriam-Webster)

The first three weeks of this year have been busy and exhausting,  leaving me with little resources to work on a list of goals. Months ago I started jotting down ideas and actually thinking about how I want this year to look. (I may not be getting smarter with age but I do seem to be using my brain more!)

I have been waiting for a block of quiet time to go through my notes and solidify which direction I want to go in 2017.  This week is perfect for contemplation and just in time for the Chinese New Year, the 28th of January.  The year of the rooster in case you were wondering.

This year I am shooting for contentment at home and on the health side menopause survival with minimal long term damage.

Starting with ambitions for my home life:

Last year I had 12 areas to clean and it worked pretty well.  I only got ten done so cleaning out the file cabinet and shredding the discards have carried over to this year.  I didn’t shoot for a specific number this year but made a list of areas/things that bother me and ways to improve them.

Home Ambitions:

  1. In the kitchen I want to sort out the pantry (again) with more of an eye to getting rid of things we don’t use.  (And most likely discovering things I forgot we had.)  Ditto with our lazy-susan corner cupboard.
  2. New, larger memory box for my son, and repurpose the current bankers box into a memory box for me (of things he has made for me).  I have file folders for each school year and I put select papers, drawings, awards etc into it.  I am finding it is not quite large enough plus I like the idea of using a plastic tote to provide a bit more protection from the elements.  Not that there are currently any elements going on in the closet but in case of a leak or something.
  3. Replace the stairwell, hallway, upstairs carpeting.  A big project that I don’t want to think about (or pay for for) but that really needs to be done.
  4. Sort through my clothes and shoes (again) trying to keep only the things that I really love, that fit well and make me feel good,  and freeing up some space to buy a few new items.
  5. Now that I am the big 5-0 I need to take a look at my investment portfolio and see if I need to make any adjustments. (By this I mean call the broker dude and see what he thinks.)
  6. Okay and the file cabinet and subsequent shred is back on the list. Sigh.

I am excited about getting some of these items done and out of my brain where they have been bugging me for some time!

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My son gave me this little decorated pot for Mother’s Day in first grade. He made it at school and there were some unidentified seeds planted in it.  It has been growing oh so slowly and poorly these last one and a half years but I can’t bear to pull the plants out.
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This week  both stems have developed little tiny buds.  Be still my heart.

Health Ambitions

  1. Reduce my sugar intake to no more than 25 grams per day.  That’s added sugar only, not natural sugar like found in fruit.
  2. Work on my strength training with push ups and tai chi.
  3. Eat more like the French which means more fruit and veggies and single helpings on a regular basis.  Eat more mindfully, stop and ask myself why I am eating.  But nothing is off limits in moderation and for special occasions.
  4. I really want to get back in my weight window.  I have been about three pounds over for months now and I don’t want to continue the weight gain trend.
  5. Do yoga once a week.
  6. Continue with my coloring meditation, a minimum of ten minutes a day.
  7. Spend 10 to 30 minutes a day doing some sort of inspirational reading.
  8. Continue with my 10k steps a day. (I am actually pretty good with this during the week, it’s the weekends that get me off track.)

Some of these items may end up being too ambitious  but I am not planning on starting them all at once.  I want to add one good habit at a time and maybe some won’t work out.  But I at least want to give them all an honest try.  I can already tell you the sugar one is going to be really tough.  I was also wondering how long it would take to do all these good habits everyday.  Does anyone have enough time to be this healthy?

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My current coloring meditation project.

 

Happy 2017 Ambitions to All!

 

Epiphany

Today is the last day of Christmas for my family. Tomorrow the tree comes down and we start packing up all the decorations. I thought I would feel sad but instead I feel a great contentment.  I spent time this morning sitting on the couch drinking a mug of tea while looking at the Christmas tree and nativity scene.  One last respite before the hustle and bustle of real life returns tomorrow.

My son’s second full week of winter break has been busy and satisfying.  I relished all the time we spent together even if it has left me feeling exhausted.  While I will not mind when peace and quiet descends on Monday that doesn’t stop me from embracing our one last outing today.

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Cool wisps of clouds!

In honor of the Wisemen’s journey to Bethlehem my son and I took our own hike.  We  went across the street to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area and meandered around for two hours.  The weather: absolutely perfect.  I think the pictures say it all.

 

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Our own “forest” of cacti.

 

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Sabino Creek really flowing with snow melt.

 

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Sabino Dam

Cheers to the end of a Delightful holiday season!

 

Thanksgiving Movies

Let’s face it, at some point this loooong Thanksgiving weekend you will need to collapse on the couch and watch a movie.  That’s just the way it is.  Here are my two movie selections for the long week-end:

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“Rudy” is the story of living your dream no matter how crazy it seems to everybody else.  This autobiographical sports film is an entertaining movie that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy for the rest of the day.  And because it involves football even the guys will watch.

 

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The original “Miracle on 34th Street”.  The perfect first Christmas movie of the season as it starts on Thanksgiving.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

 

 

October Happiness

Still in the mind numbing 90’s here ( ten degrees above “average”). But I am finding ways to cope, still making my own autumn and finding bits of happiness:

  • All things pumpkin at Trader Joe’s, round two. Especially loving the pumpkin spice popcorn for Cub games. Go Cubs Go!

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  • Creating this cute bat pumpkin with my son.  (So much easier than carving!)

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  • Lunch at Panera Bread which included a turkey cranberry flatbread sandwich and a caramel apple scone.
  • Gathering leaves up in the mountains.  (I spread them on the path to the front door on Halloween so kids get the fun of kicking through leaves.  It is my favorite Halloween decoration and I love having the leaves blowing around the yard for a few days after.)  I found true autumn at 8000′!  It was a glorious 61° with clouds and a few drops of rain.  The maples were red and gold and we found  golden aspen leaves too.  It was a wonderful few hours of fleece wearing, leaf scuffing, picture taking autumn heaven.

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  • The silliness of our cookie haunted house.

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  • After dinner walks to look at Halloween lights.  Though there seems to be fewer decorated houses this year.
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This is part of our yard. I love how the ghost in front seems scared of the ghosts behind him.
  • Tears of joy when the Cubs advanced to the World Series. Go Cubs Go!
  • Halloween boxer shorts to sleep in.  (Since it is way too warm for my Halloween jammies.)
  • Working on the November sketch for my friend Joe’s sketchbook.  It involves drawing and coloring  fall leaves. (No picture so I don’t ruin the surprise for him.)
  • Just finished reading “After You” by Jojo Moyes.  Next up is  “Trick or Deadly Treat” with “Before I go to Sleep” on deck.
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Boo!

The DVR

I love my DVR (Digital Video Recorder). It makes watching sports so much easier. First you can watch the games when you want to. Football game starting during church? Not a problem. College football game on late? Watch the first half, go to bed and watch the second half in the morning.  Basketball game on bowling night, no biggie.

And not only can you fast forward through commercials but also pitching changes, free throws and overly long play reviews.  When it comes to sports DVR is the way to go.

And then there is Turner Classic Movies (TCM).  Great old movies on all day and all night.  Once a week I sit down and study the TCM Magazine and set up the DVR.  Sometimes (many times) there are just too many good movies on.  My list grows and grows.  And then I feel weighed down by this very long movie to do list.

I don’t have the time or inclination to watch that much tv.  So once the list gets so long I take an afternoon and try and make a dent in it.  Usually I can find two or three movies to just delete and start another one or two and realize, meh and delete them.

Right now I have  twenty-seven movies on my list.  Since I already have some for halloween:  “Dracula” and “Young Frankenstein” and “Misery” (DVR’d from a different channel) I have decided to make a bold move.

I WILL NOT DVR ANY MOVIES ON TCM THE MONTH OF OCTOBER.

There it is in big bold letters. The decree has been issued.

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My work table all Autumned Up! Love the bronze mums.