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!
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?
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.
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.
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:
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 and peach picking which led to making peach jam. Again, avoided the rain and enjoyed the cooler temperatures.
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.
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.
It is official, wettest July in Tucson ever. This after the hottest June in Tucson ever. Sigh.
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:
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!)
“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.
With all the rain and tropical systems and storms you may not realize it but we are having weather in the southwest too.
It is no secret that I am not a fan of living in the southwest but I have been trying to make the best of things. This week I was a bit dubious of the crazy hot temperatures forecasted but it turns out crazy hot was the correct forecast. And then I had one of my mini-epiphanies: this is extreme weather. This is my blizzard or hurricane!
So I acted accordingly. I made sure we were well supplied with toilet paper and popsicles. I made a rough plan for my son and I. We would each have the morning to do our own things. Computer time for him, laundry, housework and blogging for me. After lunch we would do some sort of cleaning project, work on a puzzle, play games, watch movies. We would hunker down and wait out the storm, er hot air.
Whadda you know, the forecasters were right! We topped out at 114° between 3:30 and 5:00pm
On Monday I swam from 8:00am to 8:45am taking advantage of the still shaded pool. I had all the laundry on the line by 9:00am and in the house by 11:15am. At 11:15 it was already over 100°! It was time to hunker down.
After lunch my son and I completed our project for the day, sorting out his bookshelf. We came up with 3 bags to take to Bookman’s next week after this spell of ferocious weather passes. Then we worked on this puzzle:
Followed by watching what has to be one of the worst sea creature movies ever, “The Creature From the Haunted Sea“. The creature had ping pong balls for eyes and regular swim flippers for feet. The plot line suited such a bad creature. The movies most redeeming feature was the fact that it was just over an hour long. Whew. Maybe it would have helped if I knew it was supposed to be both a comedy and a thriller? (Probably not.)
Then we put together dinner. I decided that in the event of extreme weather (as long as one has power) comfort food is called for. We went with meatloaf, mashed potatoes and broccoli.
And then the pool beckoned for my son and his neighbor friends. And after the neighbor kids left I got in the pool and paddled around watching the day end.
Day 2: The Summer Solstice
Pretty much a repeat of Day 1 but with clouds. Odd clouds. It never felt like rain and it is unusual to have clouds in the morning. During the summer you may see a few puffy white clouds floating around in the morning but monsoon rain clouds don’t roll in until late afternoon or evening.
But today we had flat whitish gray clouds pretty much covering the whole sky most of the day. But it didn’t affect the heat, still 102° at 11:00am when I brought in the laundry. We topped out again at 114°, but by 4:00pm it felt like storms might be edging in. The air went from dead calm to breezy and the temperature plummeted to 110°!
I am probably one of few people in North America who is celebrating that the days will now be getting shorter. Less sunshine, yeah! To celebrate I decided ice cream sundaes for dinner and to make them extra special I baked a pan of brownies. For dessert we had leftover pizza.
Then we waited for the winds to die down a bit, peering anxiously out the windows to evaluate the clouds and look for rain or lightening. We didn’t see either so then we took our traditional Summer Solstice night swim. When we exited the pool at 8:45pm (full dark here, no gloaming time in the southwest) it was 100° and we could see stars.
Day 3: Officially Summer
9:00am: pool temperature 92°, air temperature 98°
Found in the bottom of the pool:
Seen above the pool: seven F-16’s from the Air National Guard unit. Obviously trying to get the day’s training sorties in early. (Sorry I didn’t get a picture but I was, you know, in the pool.)
Noon: Air temperature, 109.5°. Despite the morning and evening excursions outside to the pool I was starting to feel a bit cabin feverish. And I really wanted a bagel. Did I dare make a run to the grocery store down the street? I dared.
Hey, what were all these people doing out and about? Didn’t they know they were supposed to be hunkered down? I hoped they all weren’t craving bagels too! Whew, scored one sesame seed and one blueberry bagel. Home safe again.
2:00pm: Movie of the day: “The Karate Kid”. How awesome and totally 80’s! My son, “This is just like ‘Rocky’ “. Good catch son!
5:00pm: Games played: Kerplunk and three months of Payday.
6:00pm: For dinner I decided on brats and corn on the cob cooked on the grill. Air temperature had dropped to 104° with monsoon looking clouds and wind. That is okay because my husband does all the grilling. I stayed inside and set the table.
Day Four: The Last Day
Sure there are three more days of pretty darn hot still ahead but who am I kidding? That is how the whole summer is. But this is the last day of our heat wave saga.
8:00am: air temperature 91°, water temperature 92°. I drag myself into the pool and do a few low energy laps. I need a break.
listening to the cicadas play their ode to heat
birds exchanging morning gossip.
High above F-16’s roar west
eager to escape the rising sun.
2:00pm: Movie of the day: “Young Frankenstein” . I laughed a lot and small child frequently looked puzzled, especially at the end. You’ll get it when you’re older kid.
4:30pm: Looks like we are topping out at a windy (but no clouds) 108° today. The Heat Wave is over! To show solidarity with my southeast rain soaked brethren I have decided to make coconut shrimp (Trader Joe’s), oven fries and cole slaw for dinner. We really need key lime pie for dessert. Do I dare venture out? Nah, I’ll enjoy my last hours of hunkering down!
There you have it, how I survived ‘The Great Heat Wave of 2017″!!!
Here in the United States today is Flag Day. Thank you Betsy Ross!
Sadly a walk around the block revealed we are the only house flying our flag today:
I am going to go out on a limb and say we are also the only house where peanut butter cookies were baked and decorated with red, white and blue sprinkles. “The colors red, white, and blue did not have meanings for The Stars and Stripes when it was adopted in 1777.” I read somewhere that Betsy Ross just used whatever scraps of fabric she had lying around.
And I may be the only person wearing a flag shirt at my doctor’s appointment this afternoon:
And for dinner we are having Patriot’s Day pancakes from Katherine Hall Page’s book “The Body in the Bog”. All red, white and blue all day today, despite the fact that flag colors weren’t really planned out!
I have a solid four to six weeks of nothing but sun and heat ahead of me. I know there are people who would love that. Not me. I am a four seasons girl and I love all types of weather. It is hard to truly enjoy sunshine if you never get any rain. This is what I have to look forward to:
HIGH / LOW
NW 10 mph
NNW 10 mph
NW 11 mph
WNW 11 mph
WNW 10 mph
NW 10 mph
NNE 9 mph
NNW 12 mph
NNW 13 mph
NW 13 mph
NW 13 mph
N 12 mph
W 11 mph
W 13 mph
WSW 12 mph
Those are Fahrenheit temperatures, for all my Celsius friends just trust me, it is going to be hot!
(In all fairness I believe this is a bit extreme even for us. I would also like to add that once you get over 104° or 105° all that hot feels the same to me.)
I miss watching the Weather Channel. Oh, I still check in from time to time but I no longer have a need to watch it. Even when the monsoons start there is no way to accurately predict when they are actually going to hit your neighborhood until maybe ten minutes before they do and by then you have figured it out yourself. Tucson and Pima County are too large and sprawled to get any accurate information for somewhere as specific as my house. I find watching the Weather Channel just makes me homesick or roll my eyes a lot. Really, 90° is a heat wave? Ha! That’s a cool down for us. Plus the southwest is seldom on the weather channel until after we get weather. Not enough population and too unpredictable. Once Jim Cantore was across the street from me at Sabino Canyon Rec Area reporting on all this monsoonal rain we were supposed to get. Not a drop fell here in the foothills! It all fell to the south which is pretty typical.
For those in more well rounded climates think of this as my version of mid-January, weeks of horrid weather staring me in the face. But up North one usually catches a break for a day or two. Snow can be fun and with the cold I can enjoy curling up next to the fire with hot cocoa and a book. There is nothing fun about the heat. But I am trying my best to endure. (I have yet to find a bright side to summers here so endure with grace is the best I can do.)
My attempts to make the best of things include swimming early in the morning and late in the day to avoid the worst of the heat and sun. (I could not believe it either the first time I said “It’s too hot to swim right now.”) My son and I took advantage of today’s “cooler” temperature to stock up on ice cream and popsicles. I have a stack of library books and many options DVR’d. All of our ceiling fans work. As of right now I have nothing on the calendar that will force me to leave the air-conditioned comfort of home next week. That is the best I can do.
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.)
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.
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.
I hope you are making wonderful plans for this next season and are able to enjoy something delightful each day.