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!

 

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?

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!

Use Something You have Been Saving for a Rainy Day – Day

Or maybe something you have been saving for a special occasion. Today is it, it is raining and special! Use that bubble bath, drink that bottle of wine, wear that white skirt.

Not to be a downer but you could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Live for today! In the movie “Housewife, 49” set during WWII the couple are in their Morrison shelter in their home as bombs fall nearby.  The wife says “I never opened those tin pears.”  Today: eat the pears!

Do something for your self that will make you really happy. Take that rainy day fund and book that longed for trip to Paris. Treat yourself to a nice meal at a restaurant you have been longing to try. Take a nap.  Stop and smell the roses. (I mean this literally!)

Do it. No really, DO IT. No regrets. I promise.

It doesn’t have to be something big. Sometimes the smallest treats are the best. Today I am giving myself a break. I am ignoring the housework and endless to-do list. I will sit in my office and enjoy my flowers, a hoarded piece of Easter candy and begin coloring a new picture.

Saved treats for me.

 

I have been saving this picture because I really like it and am afraid of messing up. But not today. Today I am going for it.

How are you going to treat yourself today?

Scurvy Prevention Day

This is the holiday that started the whole A to Z made up holidays theme. I don’t think scurvy is around much anymore though I did see a case of it on “Doc Martin“.

Scurvy from Wikipedia:

Scurvy is a disease resulting from a lack of vitamin C.[1] Early symptoms include weakness, feeling tired, curly hair, and sore arms and legs.[1][2] Without treatment, decreased red blood cells, gum disease, and bleeding from the skin may occur.[1] As scurvy worsens there can be poor wound healing, personality changes, and finally death from infection or bleeding.[2]

Scurvy is caused by not enough vitamin C in the diet.[1] It typically takes at least a month of little to no vitamin C before symptoms occur.[1][2] In modern times, it occurs most commonly in people with mental disorders, unusual eating habits, alcoholism, and old people who live alone.

 

Curly hair??? Really?  That has got to be the strangest symptom of a disease I have ever seen. It is probably best to get a perm if you really want curly hair.

So today make sure you get your vitamin C. Shouldn’t be too hard, it is in a lot of foods.  Besides your citrus family strawberries, peppers, kale and broccoli are high in vitamin C.

Let us know what you ate to prevent scurvy today. I think I will go for some strawberries!  Tis the season.

Hello!

Men and Menopause

I once read a novel by Anne Tyler. In it a man wrote how to books and he wanted to do one to help men deal with their spouse’s menopause. Everyone thought it was a stupid idea.  I think it is a great idea!

I am in the throes of menopause (okay, okay it is actually peri-menopause but you know what I mean!) and it sucks.  And while every woman has a different combination of symptoms and cures the vast majority suffer in one way or another.  And everyone I know agrees, men do not help. They can’t begin to comprehend the frustration and helplessness women feel during this phase of life.  Really it is just like being a teenager again with a lot of weight gain in bad places added in.

So this “made up holiday” is for men to educate themselves about menopause.  Read a website or two. Google “husband doesn’t understand menopause“.  Bring home or make dinner.  Be sure to understand where in the cycle your woman is.  Is this a salad and chocolate cake kind of day?  Burgers and fries?  Grilled fish and steamed veggies?  Make sure you know because you don’t want to screw it up!

She may be ranting and raving about nothing but listen to it.  You may glean a thing or two that  you can do to help her out. Turn the a/c or heat up or down.  Try extra hard not to wake her up, ever.  (Sleep is such a big deal.)  Do some little task that needs to be done and do it her way, just this once. Or maybe just give her some space.

Once the hormones settle down and she is officially in menopause she will remember all the little things you tried to do.  And she will be grateful. Really.

Too Many Books?

Can there be such a thing? Sort of,  when one doesn’t plan their library requests very well. I already had five books checked out from the library when I got an e-mail letting me know that five more books that I have been waiting for were now ready for pick-up. Oops. But being the trooper that I am I see no problem. (I even picked up another book when I picked up the five that were ready!)

Luckily it is very easy to renew books on-line and you can renew up to three times as long as no one else has requested the book.  So far no one is waiting for any of my books, whew!

So here is what is currently on my designated “books from the library shelf”:

Just finished “A Rule Against Murder” by Louise Penny.  Love this series.  It was the perfect book to read during our recent premature heat wave (90s already!) since it was set during a late June heat wave.

Currently reading “Murphy’s Law” by Rhys Bowen.  This is the first in a series.  I read one in the middle of the series that was set at Christmas at Christmas and really liked it.  So now I am starting from the beginning.

“A Family of Poems”  gathered by Caroline Kennedy with lovely art work by Jon J. Muth.  I have always wanted to be a person who reads poetry but alas I have a hard time getting into it.  I saw this book in the children’s section and thought it would be a perfect way to give poetry another chance.

My large on-deck pile:

“The Quality of Silence” Rosamund Lupton

— I am a sucker for any book set in Alaska.  I think reading about all that snow makes me feel cooler here in the desert.

“The Sound and the Fury”  William Faulkner

— No promises though I have read if you can get past the first chapter it gets easier to read. I thought it was time to try and work a classic or two into my reading life.

“Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure” Nancy Atherton

—  Another series I have been reading.  Light but I love the settings and can totally picture myself living in the little cottage in Finch.

“The Photographer’s Wife”  Suzanne Joinson

— I love it when I can learn history from entertaining fiction.  This book is set in Palestine between World Wars I and II, a place and time which I know nothing about.

“Legacy of the Dead”  Charles Todd

— Another series I am reading.  This book is near the beginning of the series (#4, published in 2000) and yet there always seems to be a waiting list at the library for these books.  Post World War I England, a murder to be solved and tea to be enjoyed.  No better combination.

“American Sniper”  Chris Kyle

— I have been wanting to see the movie since it came out but still  haven’t gotten around to it.  Now I am on the wait list for the DVD from the library but decided I want to read the book first. Typically a book provides a lot more detail than the movie.

“Die Like an Eagle” Donna Andrews

— Another “fun murder” series set in Virginia with lots of crazy people.  The kind of family I love reading about and so happy I don’t belong to.

“Yours Truly” Heather Vogel Frederick

— A children’s mystery.   I stumbled on the first book “Absolutely Truly” while waiting in the children’s section for my son to pick out some books. I read it and liked it enough to check and see what else the author had written and saw that a second “Truly” book was on order.  So I put my name on the list and the book came in much quicker than I expected.  I like the New Hampshire setting and the fact that it is a military family and a bookstore is involved.  I sort of wish they could adopt me.

“Black and Blue”  Anna Quindlen

— I have read several of her other novels and “Every Last One” still haunts me.  So I thought I would try this one.

 

So there you go, a variety of reading suggestions from “Yours Truly”.  HA HA, I should close all my posts with a book title!

 

The Ides of March

Nothing to beware of though, everything is going along swimmingly. This is my promised mid-month mini update post.

I have written every day but one and my word count is a bit behind but not alarmingly so. It was a little bit tough getting started but I have to admit I am pretty proud of myself for not being totally de-railed by distractions beyond my control.  (I have two parent teacher conferences scheduled for this week and I keep practicing the tactful and calm logic I am going to present as to why collaborative learning in core subjects is not in my son’s best interest. And a second distraction has to do with dealing with my poor body’s tramp toward menopause. Sigh.) I have remembered to be kind to myself though and it is really paying off.  The writing itself has been a joy.  My stories have taken a surprising turn and I love how I started down one path and then found a whole different plot line developing.

I took some pictures to cheer up, well the whole rest of the country which seems to be experiencing extreme cold, sleet, snow and blizzards.  What perfect writing weather! 🙂

(If you look on the left side of the first photo above, the featured photo, you can see the start of two teeny green oranges!)

Buds on my lemon tree.

 

 

My son gave me a packet of mixed heirloom flower seeds for my birthday last September. I unbelieveably remembered to plant them mid-February and it looks like a lot have come up.  Now I hope they can survive this unusually early heat long enough to actually bloom.

 

The weather has turned from winter to spring to summer in the last two weeks.  Temps are now reaching the low 90’s and the smell of citrus blossoms are perfuming the air.

We picked all the oranges off the tree before they started to rot in the heat.  I think I will add fresh squeezed orange juice to our St. Paddy’s day menu!

Back to my writing!  See you in April!

The Month of March

I have always liked the idea of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) held in November. The goal is to write 50,000 words, typically the first draft of a novel. But November doesn’t work for me. My mind is filled with Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping. My son has two holiday breaks, Veteran’s Day and five days at Thanksgiving. We typically have at least two football games to attend and well, you get the idea.

But March is a nice quiet month. So I am doing my own NaNoWriMo.  I am not going to work on a novel but rather an interconnected short story idea that has been floating around my brain for some time now.  I have pages of notes and ideas to get me started and we will just have to see how it goes.

I am also borrowing Anne Butera’s (of My Giant Strawberry ) idea of a creative retreat. She always has the best ideas!  I am hoping taking a bit of a blogging/internet break will help me focus on my writing.

So my goals for March are to write eight short stories and stay off the internet except for the  bare minimal household essential tasks like paying bills and reading e-mails from my son’s school.

I will write one short post around mid-month and let you know how I am succeeding.  (Not even going to think about failing.)

In the meantime enjoy the approach of Spring!

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I miss seeing the tulips peek up through the snow but this small vase of pink cheered me right up.