Photo Friday

The theme for this week is up close and personal. (I was playing around with a macro adapter lens.)  Back to apparently my current favorite subject: the lemon tree! To be fair I did check out the recently trimmed back orange tree.  Not a blossom to be seen but lots of new baby leaves.

When the buds open up the flower only lasts about 24 hours. I keep checking the tree hoping to see a whole mass of flowers at one time.  With our warmer weather now I wonder if there is a chance that could happen?

One of the few flowers on the tree right now, but we’ve got buds everywhere!

That could be a lot of lemons! 

Four newborn lemons. I suspect only the strongest will survive, knocking it’s tinier siblings to the ground.


Keep Your Focus!


The Week in Review 3/14/18

Waiting -Dr’s appointment:  My left shoulder has been bothering me for a few weeks now and I finally went to see my doctor.  She is thinking rotator cuff and I went to get x-rays the same day.  (She wanted to do an MRI but insurance dictates that I get an x-ray first.) Should get word in a day or two what the x-rays show and she already gave me a referral to orthopedics. So now I just wait. And try not to use my left arm in ways that cause pain!

The wait is over – about school:  Last year we started to be very unhappy with my son’s school and this year the feeling has increased.  We have been looking for different options for quite some time now and in January we finally found a private school we really liked and applied. I have no experience with private schools.  When I was growing up you went to the school you were assigned to. Period. This school has a hard cap of 28 kids total to be admitted for fifth grade (two classes of only 14 each!). Fifth grade is where the school starts so all the slots are available.  I don’t know how many applicants they have but a committee makes the decision sometime in March. No specific date and the wait is starting to wear on me a bit.   I feel like I am holding my breath and getting ready to pass out but I can’t take that breath yet.  Two more weeks.  You guys need to write some distracting posts for me.  And maybe say a little prayer?  Thank you!

UPDATE:  My son got in!  Found out late Tuesday night.  Whew, so happy to take a deep breath.

Something I changed:  I decided to jump the gun a bit with spring because frankly my front door “winter” wreath looks pretty silly when it is 80° outside and having a snowman on the mantle was comical. So I swapped out my seasonal decorations a little early.  I constantly have to look for a happy medium to live by as the weather doesn’t match the calendar as far as the seasons go, at least what I think of as “normal” seasons.


Paint Chip Poetry:  In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I picked out five green paint chips (words in italics).

Everyone has their own version of the Garden of Eden:

For my Grandmother a trip to the Emerald Isle                                                                                                                 sipping a pint in a low ceilinged pub in front of a peat fire.

My Uncle- sitting behind left field in Fenway Park                                                                                 glove at the ready for a long, high fly ball.

For my sister trapped in the wrong era                                                                                                            a ring of vintage turquoise large enough to choke a baby.

For myself an alpine forest backing up to a mountain cabin                                                                    near a crystal clear snow melt lake.


Something I noticed:  My lemon blossoms smell just like honeysuckle, delightful!



So how was your week?

Photo Friday

Three evenings worth of sunsets.  An old mining town tourist attraction is what is barely visible in front of the setting sun.  The above photo is the Superstition Mountains reflecting the sunset. (FYI, I did no retouching of these photos, in case you were wondering.)

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

This one makes me think of the ocean.

Keep your focus!


The Week in Review 2/21/18

Most of this week was spent preparing to go camping, camping and now post camping recovery (ie. loads and loads and loads of laundry!)

Camping: We went camping at Lost Dutchman State Park in the Superstition Mountains.  The weather was decent and I got in a lovely solo hike Saturday afternoon and took lots of pictures.  We also had three fabulous sunsets which I am sure will be showing up on Photo Friday.

Favorite camping meal: While I enjoy roasting a hot dog over the fire my favorite meal was a taco salad.  I browned ground turkey at home and added some homemade taco seasoning.  At the campsite I heated up the meat and served it over lettuce with cherry tomatoes, salsa, shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream.  De-lish.

Weather:  I discounted winter too soon.  We had  two days of fairly steady,  though light, rain last week and more on Monday night.  We were lucky Friday morning there was no rain as we loaded the trailer but it started up again around lunch time and rained halfway to Apache Junction.  This week looks to be marvelously cool (50°s) with more rain possible.

I was trying for a blurred background effect to highlight the rain droplets on the branch.  I almost succeeded!

Something that brought me joy:  Seeing a hummingbird having breakfast at my lemon tree.  They are excellent pollinators and maybe I’ll get more than four lemons this year.

Something I watched:  “Green Dolphin Street”.  It was odd seeing Lana Turner and Donna Reed in the same movie but it worked.

Just for fun I snapped some pics as the kids were blowing bubbles, love this one.

And how was your week?


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.)



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!


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!

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.

Estate Piovoso

I have decided that “summer part II” shall be officially named “Estate Piovoso” which is Italian for rainy summer, because everything sounds better in Italian!

And boy has it been raining!  We had 14 consecutive afternoons/evening with rain.  And not just a sprinkle or quick downpour but hours of showers. I believe at my house we have had more rain this summer then in the previous six summers combined. Crazy!

I have not been spending much time on-line these days.  Just not in the mood I guess.  Instead I have been working on this in my sketchbook:

Listening to “The Island” by Elin Hilderbrand while working on my latest needlepoint project:

Getting close to finishing the ice cream puzzle:

Watching 50 years of Alfred Hitchcock on TCM Wednesday and Friday nights in July.

I took a trunk full of items to Goodwill and mailed off a bag of clothes to Thred Up.

And I tried to take a picture of the back of my hair to show how humid it is here in the desert.  Not easy to do and then I was quite shocked at all the gray!  And here I thought I just had a few strands in front.

On that note I am off to make popcorn and my son and I are going to watch  “House on Haunted Hill”.  (His choice, not mine!)

Instead of my hair here is a picture of our Cat’s Claw blooming which only happens after a lot of rain.

 Felice Estate Piovoso!!

*I hope I got that translation right!


Two Summers

“You don’t need to have the life you want to enjoy the life you have.” *

This has been my motto the last few months. I am still missing my four seasons life terribly but I am learning to make the best of the life I have now.  As one can imagine summers in the desert southwest feel incredibly long but as the monsoon rains started I had an epiphany.  We actually have two summers here.

Summer Part One I like to think of as “normal” summer.  It lasts from sometime in May until sometime in July. The weather is hot and dry and sunny. The pool is warm and it is too hot to do much outdoors other than swim.  So we spend a lot of time in the pool. We usually have at least one camping trip and/or our big vacation during this time. It feels like a normal summer.

Then sometime in July the weather changes.  The monsoon part of summer starts. More clouds, less heat. It usually takes a few weeks after the initial appearance of clouds until we get rain at my house (except for this year) but late afternoon and evening thunder still keep us out of the pool. The temperature drops but the humidity rises. It feels like it has been summer forever, because it has.  Summer Part One, “normal” summer is over.  This is the start of Summer Part Two.

I actually pulled over to take this photo. How cool it is to see rain falling.

In addition to monsoon weather Summer Part Two includes getting ready to go back to school.  My son resumes school the second week of August so the end of July has us buying supplies and new clothes.  It always felt weird doing this in the middle of summer but this year we are doing it in Part II of summer.  A completely different season from Part I of summer!

Amazing how the mind can adapt.  If it takes me creating a whole new season to survive desert life so be it.  I do think I need to come up with a more creative name for Summer Part II, keeping Summer Part I as just “Summer”.  Any suggestions?


*  The quote is from “Julia Child Rules,  Lessons on Savoring Life”  by Karen Karbo.