Mostly Pictures, Few Words

Outside, Autumn won’t arrive here for awhile yet.  But inside….

 

Sign I hung on my office door.

 

The scarecrow head says “hello”.

 

Yes, my inside fall does make me happy.

 

I hung this on the kitchen pantry door this year.

Picture I colored to put in my son’s lunch on Friday.

There is plenty more autumn in my home but you get the idea. (If you want to see a few more pictures check out the Pretending it is Autumn post.)

WELCOME AUTUMN!

 

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Pretending it is Autumn

Still triple digit heat here which is rather depressing. But there is no doubt a change to the angle of the sun and shorter days. And the calendar does say September!
My new carpet installation triggered a bout of spring cleaning that will most likely last into next week. It was an excellent excuse to put away summer decorations and that means I got to decorate for fall a few days earlier than normal.

This is where Halloween Town will go in a few weeks.

So here is how I pretended on Monday that it really is autumnal around these parts:

  • I made Fiesta Turkey Casserole for dinner, a recipe from my Gooseberry Patch “Autumn with Family & Friends” cookbook. A little spicy and warming without being too heavy, perfect for Monday Night Football.
  • I walked the dog at dusk.  The sky was a mass of gray clouds and bats were flitting around.  It looked autumnal even if the still in the 90’s temperature said otherwise.
  • My beloved Denver Bronco’s were on Monday Night Football (with a nail biter of a win over the Chargers!).  During halftime I enjoyed a piece of homemade apple crumb pie.  Made with apples we picked ourselves a week ago.
  • I “lit” the fireplace and had to snuggle under my Bronco’s fleece as the a/c kicked down to it’s nighttime setting.

Ah, nothing like the soothing light of a fire. 🙂

I was sitting right in the path of a vent so it really did feel a bit chilly when the a/c was running.

Tuesday morning autumn continued:

  • I started a loaf of bread in my bread machine.  Nothing smells better than baking bread except for….
  • I put apples in the crockpot with a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to make a batch of spiced applesauce. That smells wonderful too.
  • I washed my fall quilt and hung it outside on the line to dry.

You know, it doesn’t feel like pretend autumn at all for it is autumn in my head and my heart and my home, all the places that matter!

 

A Taste of Minimalism

We are finally getting our upstairs carpet replaced as I write this.   Ever have flooring done while you are living in a home? It’s a huge pain and a big disruption and a lot of work.

Ten days prior to the install date I started moving books, pictures and knickknacks. So I had a few days of an empty-ish bedroom. All the furniture was still in it but the shelves and tops were bare. It felt weird.

Then on Sunday we moved out all the smaller furniture and I got a taste of what my bedroom would be like with only a bed and a nightstand.  I thought I might like it.  My room is pretty small (10’x11′ I think) so I thought having some empty space would feel nice. Turns out I didn’t love it.  I felt like I was in a very small hotel room or a hospital room.  Bare isn’t for me.

I like having stuff.  My dream for my forever home is to have one full wall of shelves filled with books and a few knickknacks.  I like having a decent pile of clothes to choose from. I don’t want to wear a “uniform” and frankly I don’t find it hard to get dressed in the morning.

My hang up with stuff (specifically with spouse and small child) is that it has to have a “home”.  A place where it needs to be when not in use.  Apparently I am the only one of us three that knows how to put things away when I am done. Clutter just lying around drives me nuts. My son leaves his library books everywhere: on couches, chairs, the floor etc. Other than the book I am actually reading my library books are on a specific shelf in the living room bookcase. I always know where to find them and never have to spend time running around looking for books that have come due.

I don’t like it when there are too many things for a space.  And I agree with getting rid of things you don’t use or like or need. But I think there is too much extremism going on right now. The choice doesn’t have to be a 4000′ mansion or a 400′ tiny house.  You don’t have to limit your clothes to 33 items or having a closet so stuffed you can’t get things out.

Me?  I am shooting for a forever home that is probably around 800′ to 1200′ depending on the layout. I want to be surrounded by my books and mementos from my travels. I want a kitchen that I can cook and bake in with all the pans and bowls I need. I want a front porch and space for a few flowers, maybe a tomato plant and a spot to grow a pumpkin.  Nothing teeny and nothing humongous.  I want a life that is sized just right for me.

* The picture is of the Redwoods in California. I don’t think you can have too many trees or that they can be too big.  🙂

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.

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!

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!