Happy Summer

I have decided to take a blogging break. I am letting you know because I hate it when bloggers just disappear.  (The photos are from my hike last week.)

I love seeing  cloud shadows.

This is the last full week of school and then we are going away for two  weeks. After that we will have two full months of no schedules and no alarms. I am going to strive for the right balance of doing things with my son and letting him have his own space.

I think the flowers look like sun bonnets on the saguaro arms.

My own personal focus will be on being healthy.  Physically and mentally.  Cook from scratch, shop the farmer’s market. Let myself enjoy some down time, try a few new things, let days unfold.  I have to admit I am kind of excited about this! I have this odd feeling of impending change or growth.  I have a feeling if I sit quietly I am going to discover something new about myself.

No rain but I enjoyed the shade the clouds provided.
I didn’t see many critters which in the desert is a good thing!  Mostly ants and butterflies and this one snake.

I hope you are making wonderful plans for this next season and are able to enjoy something delightful each day.

At the top of the Babad Do’ag trail.  TTFN!  (That’s “ta-ta for now” for those that don’t speak Tigger)  🙂 

Muddling through Menopause

I have been feeling anti-computer these days.  Not sure why but in reflection I don’t think that is a bad thing.

My dream life right now? Solitude in a mountain cabin. I would take long walks along a stream or around a lake. I would sit on the porch with a mug of tea and listen to the rain. I would end the day in front of the fireplace with a warm bowl of soup and some homemade bread with butter. For a project I would take a picture of the same thing once a  day, at different times and in all sorts of weather. Maybe a tree or a spot on the lake or a flowering shrub. Whatever took my fancy.

The last six weeks have been tough physically and mentally. I have had no energy and no focus. Allergy season is at it’s peak. I have been sleeping poorly.  I had a twenty-one day period. I appear to be on the same rollercoaster as the weather! Last week we had our first 100° day, actually two of them and I took my first swim of the season. It was quite lovely until a gusty wind began and a few drops of rain fell.  Then the pool was a mess of pollen and debris.  The beginning of this week we were in the 70’s with some rain so I am back on the treadmill.  Hopefully the solar cover will keep enough heat in the pool so when the temperature boomerangs back to the upper 90’s at the end of the week we’ll be able to start swimming in earnest.

I took this picture this morning, how cool is it to have a bird of prey on your pool cover? I am thinking maybe a Hawk?

I have retreated into what I think of as survival mode. I have ditched the habit tracker and the routine. I am taking each day as it comes. You would think I would be a big slug right now but a surprising thing happened. I started doing random tasks. I have cleaned out one whole drawer of the file cabinet. I tackled the memory box project that was one of my cleaning goals for the year.  (One and two are done with a good start on six.) My son and I spent 10 minutes each night after dinner picking up his room. I am so happy to be able to walk in there again without twisting an ankle!

The missed sunset.

Sunday night we took a family walk over to Sabino Canyon hoping to get up high enough to see the sunset. Turned out it was too cloudy and we left a few minutes too late to get a really good view but it was a very pleasant walk anyway and nice to do something out of our ordinary routine.  Ditching my habit tracker and to do list has been good.

Rain to the East during our walk.

Yesterday I took a four mile hike, something I promised myself I would do at least once when the school year started. The hike merits it’s own post so stay tuned.

Today I am feeling better. I have slept well the last two nights. The hot flashes and night sweats are on vacation. I don’t know if it is hormones or the cooler weather but I will take it.  My allergies are not as bad.  I like to think the wind blew the pollen to New Mexico and the rain washed what was left out of the air.

I find I am actually looking forward to today. I will wash my car and paint my toenails lilac while watching one of the many movies I have on my DVR. And popcorn, I deserve popcorn!

I hope you have a wonderful day too!


Happy May Day!

No I did not make this holiday up!  May Day is a real holiday that my son and I celebrate by leaving small bouquets of flowers on our neighbors’ doorsteps.  This year our list expanded to eight:  four neighbors, two teachers, our dentist and our church office.


Eight little bundles of joy.

Flowers are bursting out everywhere:

Both my chrysanthemums are getting one last flowering in before the real heat starts.



Baby lemon!  Not a flower but still makes me happy.
I have a few rose buds on my bush.








The seeds I planted in February are flowering!  A rare gardening success. 
No I do not know any names, I am just enjoying their beauty.


I will be taking the rest of the week off from the computer.  While I really enjoyed the A to Z blogging challenge I am not used to spending so much time on-line and I am feeling a tad burned out.  See you next week!



Celebrate a Small Victory

Today you keep a promise to yourself. Today take that first step towards something, anything. Do a few pushups, write one page of a novel, set up an art studio in a corner of your home. Eat a salad for lunch, whatever. Take one small step towards a goal TODAY. And when you go to bed tonight reflect on it, feel happy about it, maybe even make a plan for tomorrow. All goals are met one small step at a time. Today celebrate taking that first step. Hopefully the first step of many.

Cantaloupe plants!

My son always wants to try and grow vegetables or fruits. I explain how hard it is here in the desert weather, in our small yard,  blah blah blah.  This year I let him pick out some seeds and we put them in a pot.  Will they survive the heat to actually produce fruit? Maybe, maybe not. But we took the first step and my son is happy.  And I am happy too. Who knows, maybe we will be eating cantaloupe in a few months!

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.

Parker Canyon Lake

My son had a four day weekend so we did what we always do:  we went camping.  I think it was one of our best trips.  It was simply one of those right time, right place, right weather kind of trips. I found the whole long weekend very restful.

Yup the sky was that blue.

It felt like Spring.  Cold air, warm sun and a bit of a blustery breeze.  We hiked, we sat around the campfire, we went to bed early.  We read.  We didn’t do much of anything except relax into the moment.

We hiked all the way around the lake, about 4.5 miles.


We hiked over to a small creek and explored.

The campground is called Lakeview but for the RV section it should be called “Lakenear” Campground.  Tenters have a nice lake view though.



Parker Canyon Lake is at 5400′.  That helped explain the cooler air even though we went South from Tucson.  The lake is about 30 miles south of Sonoita, AZ just a few miles from the Mexican border.


Even the dog was happy.


Headed back to the campsite after following the dirt road that turned into a weedy two-track and  then into a wash.

Pure bliss.


I was thrilled when we moved into our house six 1/2 years ago to find we had both a lemon and an orange tree that bear an abundance of pretty tasty fruit.  There is only one teensy problem.  While I like oranges I seldom eat them.  I have always preferred clementines (or tangerines as they were called for most of my life).  I finally realized it isn’t the taste but how hard oranges are to peel.

Yesterday I had an epiphany, why not eat oranges like grapefruit?  For an after school snack I cut an orange in half and segmented it like a grapefruit.  Easy-peasy.  My son ate half and I ate half and then we went and picked another orange and shared that one too.  And we shared another one with breakfast this morning.

So much quicker and less messy than trying to peel our thick rinded oranges.  Is this one of those secret tips that everyone knew about but me?


Now I love the idea of going out to the yard and picking a piece of fruit to eat right then!


Fabulous February

Fabulous February?  I have been battling a ferocious head cold these past few days but I am trying to not let it keep me down. I pick my projects for the day wisely, enough to feel productive but not so much as to overdo it. I give myself permission to take breaks as needed, drink lots of fluids and know when to say enough and go to bed early.

So in my attempts to dwell on the positive and ignore my alternately stuffy and drippy nose here is a joy list for, yes,  Fabulous February:

  1. My last batch of rose blooms have been marvelous. So large and velvety.
  2. Weather.  We have actually had a nice variety.  A few windy days and a few rainy days interspersed with the typical sunshine.  Even had a ripping thunderstorm one evening.
  3. AFRIN  before bed allowing me to get some badly needed decent sleep.
  4. Using the lemons off my very own lemon tree –  yummy.
  5. I am addicted to “The Great British Baking Show”.  I allow myself one episode a day and now that a season is being rerun that I hadn’t seen before (on my local PBS station) I am getting quite good at picking  the ‘Star Baker’ and who is going home. (Yes, that would be before they are announced!)
  6. I rearranged my small bedroom to see if I could make it feel less cramped.  I think it is better.
  7. Making progress on my quilted dresser scarf.  Do I dare hope I may finish it this year?
  8. How much progress I have made this month on doing tasks mindfully and staying focused on one thing at a time.  This has made me feel so much more at peace.


Sunshine and Lemons!                                                                                                                                                                                          It may take a minute but look for something Fabulous in your February life!                                                                                                                                                           

Winter Part III: Snow

In my world you can’t have winter without a little snow. Three weeks ago the mountains got dumped on big time.  In less than an hour I can be at 10,000′.  Unless the road is closed.

On Sunday the 22nd we tried to go up the road to Mt. Lemmon to play in the snow but the road was still closed.  On Sunday the 29th we thought about trying again but due to heavy congestion the road was being monitored and not everyone was allowed to go up.


I was not to be deterred.  On Monday’s my son gets out of school early. (I have no idea why this is but it is convenient for scheduling dentist appointments, going to the library and running some errands.)  So this Monday was our snow day!  The road was open and dry with snow appearing around 6000′.  For a Monday afternoon there was a lot of traffic. We decided to stop at ~7500′ at Rose Canyon Lake as the snow there was plentiful enough. Yes it was over 50° but with all the snow it felt cold enough to be winter.

We built a tiny snowmen wearing a pinecone hat.


We threw snowballs at a pine tree.


My son did a little sledding on a plastic lid we found. (We left his sled in the truck by mistake.)


When we came home it was still over 70° but we had hot cocoa anyway.  And lasagna for dinner, pretending we needed a warming hearty meal after a good romp in the snow. Winter desert style, we take what we can get.



Winter Part II: Desert Style

For someone who is in slug mode I am actually getting a lot done.  All the basics are being kept up with, laundry, cooking, bill paying etc.  But this past weekend we made it all about wintery fun, desert style.

Friday night we had a family movie night.  We got the movie “E.T.” from the library, pizza from Papa John’s and Reese’s Pieces from my earlier commissary trip.  I suppose this isn’t unique to the desert but it felt like such a cold winter night thing to do.

Saturday night we went to see our local minor league hockey team play (The Roadrunners, meep meep).  It was cold in the arena, there was ice flying and guys skating really fast. Felt like winter to me.

On Sunday we decided to venture outdoors.  Sure it is winter but we decided to brave the crowds and take a hike at Sabino Canyon.  We didn’t have to brave the elements as it was 70° without a cloud in the sky.  Well, we did need sunscreen.  It was too crowded for my tastes but it was nice to see the creek really flowing with snow melt from up in the mountains.  The sky was a gorgeous blue and there was a bit of a Santa Ana breeze.  It was really nice just being outdoors.

I suppose we could have hiked to the snow if we had started crazy early in the morning.


The creek was really flowing with snow melt, right over the road. (Only used by the tram and official vehicles.)


Sabino Dam dressed in it’s winter finest.                                                                                  

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of my three part Winter series. 🙂