Quiet Time

I have been thinking of this week end as the calm before the holiday storm begins.  Even with all my planning and lists and trying to keep social outings to a minimum things will get hectic.  Tis the season after all.

Having embraced my introvertedness I realized I wanted to do something to carve out a little pocket of quiet time each day.  A few moments to breath and sit in peaceful solitude are essential to my happiness.  And to ensure this happens I devised a project.

Each day I will sit down and color one picture for my son.  A Christmas countdown.  Starting on December 1st he will get a picture colored by me counting down the days to Christmas.  He might get it in his lunch or find it in the bathroom when he gets up or in his room after school. I selected 24 pictures from a couple of old holiday coloring books we have.  Some will be easy to color, others may take a bit more time. I’ll add the date and remaining number of days until Christmas.

I have to confess I have already colored a few.  For all my good intentions I know there will be some days when activities and travel won’t permit me to sit down and color. But they will be the minority.  And riding the Polar Express?  Totally worth missing a day of coloring!

I find this project very soothing and akin to meditation.  I don’t find it a chore, one more thing on my to do list but rather a chance to pause my day. I find my mind slows down and empties out.  My focus is on what shade of green to use, or finding what colors I can use besides red and green.  Afterwards I am relaxed and recharged, ready to tackle the next item on my to-do list.

Take time to enjoy the peace of this holiday season.  Remember, it is a whole season, not just one day.

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Bet you thought I forgot about trying this Hodgepodge thing.  Nope, here it is.  (And it was harder than I thought!)

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1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your summer so far? Why?
(1=eh and 10=best summer ever)  

I would say an 8.  It has been good except I missed doing our mountain camping trip much more than I thought I would.  Swimming has been really good this summer.

2. July 26th is National Aunts and Uncles Day. Did you have many aunts and uncles growing up? Were you especially close to any one or maybe all of them? Are you an aunt? (or uncle for the men who join here on Wednesdays) Share a favorite memory relating to one of your own aunts or uncles or relating to a niece or nephew who call you Aunt (or Uncle).

Ten Aunts and Uncles total and we all lived in the same city but seldom saw each other, once or twice a year typically.  While we were never a close knit family I do remember my Uncle Bob playing tag with all us cousins at a playground and taking us on hikes during a one time multi-family camping trip.

3. What’s your favorite food dipped in chocolate? What’s your favorite food dipped in cheese?

Almonds or coconut dipped in dark chocolate.  Dipped in cheese?  Hmm, not sure I have one.

4. When were you last astonished by something? Explain.

I fished a dead mouse out of the pool Monday morning and not only did I not blink an eye,  I didn’t think twice about getting in the pool right after for a swim. I am terrified of live mice, but apparently okay with drowned ones.

5. Surf board, paddle board, ironing board, Pinterest board, score board, clip board, bulletin board…which board have you most recently encountered?

Ironing board, when I made some more progress on my first attempt at quilting. I am making a  dresser scarf.  “All” I have left to do is the binding!  I am hoping to start work on the binding when school starts again in a few weeks.

6. What’s your favorite story from scripture? Why that story?

Luke 2:8-18   A baby, angels, shepherds, peace on Earth, what more could one want?

7. If you were to travel from the east coast to the west coast in your own country, which five cities would you most want to see?

I would take route fifty from Ocean City, Md  all the way to Sacramento, Ca and enjoy every little town along the way.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It is too hot for thinking today.  I’ll stick with iced tea and a good book inside the air-conditioning. Just starting “Everyone Brave is Forgiven” by Chris Cleave. I loved his novel “Gold” and found “Incendiary” disturbing to read but not in a really bad way, more in a this story could be all  too real kind of way.

Here is the link to the Hodgepodge lady!

 

Z is for Zero

Z is for zero posts missed in the A to Z Blogging Challenge!

Z is for zero posts left to do for the A to Z Blogging Challenge!

My favorite post to write was “F is for Fiction from Fact” (and great alliteration in the title).

What looked to be my most popular post was “I is for Introvert”.

The post that I hoped would have the most impact was “L is for Lumpy Breasts”. I was hoping the catchy title would lure a few more readers. Hopefully it led at least one person to do a self-exam.

After a short vacation (say a week to ten days) we will return to our regular posting schedule.

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Y is for….

Youtube – where you can learn to do a multitude of things. My personal examples include treadmill belt replacement, how to do the ladder stitch and how to darn a sock.

Yawning – which thanks to my allergies I seem to be doing a lot of lately. Along with blinking due to very itchy eyes.

Yellow Carnations – a small treat for myself since I have been doing so well on the Whole30 and conquering the A to Z Blogging Challenge!

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Sometimes I like to pretend Richard Gere sent the flowers 🙂

H is for How

As in how I am tackling this blogging challenge. Not easily. I feel like I have been behind the power curve all week.

I wrote my first two posts ahead of time knowing I was going to be away all of last week. (I thought I had ‘A’ scheduled to publish but I did something wrong. I think I know what and will test it out Saturday to see if now I know what I am doing.  No betting please.)

Anyway, when I decided to do the challenge in mid-March I printed out a calendar for April, labelled it with the letter for each day and then jotted down topic ideas as they occurred. Some boxes are overflowing, some remain stubbornly blank. I have a few (okay, three, no four!) drafts for various letters written but much of the alphabet is left to be done.

The plan was to write each post the day before it was due.  On the day of,  I would review, edit and publish before beginning work on the next day’s post.  Only I didn’t write the post I planned on writing  Sunday and hence have been playing catch up all week.

The plan is to once again use Sunday to get a head start on the week. Especially this next week as I have three blank letters staring at me. Thank goodness I have the emergency back up plan. I fear I am going to need it!

Tears of Joy

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It is embarrassing to admit but I have a tendency to tear up over sporting events. When I attend in person I almost always have to blink a bit during the National Anthem. I know how lucky I am to live in such a great country but really listening to the words of “The Star Spangled Banner” reminds me of how hard we have had to fight to keep it free.

 

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Photo by  Casey Sapio of USA Today Sports

Often I feel a lot of reaction to great plays in sports.  I think it is weird but I can’t seem to do anything about it.  I know it is just happy emotions spilling out my eyes.  This weekend? University of Arizona basketball.  Senior Day.   Gabe York firing four threes in a row?  Three of them in 54 seconds?  The celebrating joy of the entire Wildcat team?  Visiting the “A” center court as he left his home court floor for the final time? I had to grab a tissue.

 

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Today Peyton Manning is announcing his retirement. Has there been a better professional athlete?  What if all athletes with Peyton’s level of talent also exhibited his other attributes: work ethic, sportsmanship, charity, devotion to team, gratitude? It is hard to stop listing all of the positive things Peyton Manning exemplifies.  Can you imagine a NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Nascar completely populated with players like Peyton Manning?  Yes, there are some other great players out there, Stephen Curry comes to mind.  But there are too many players who are only playing for their paycheck.  Too many who don’t appreciate that raw talent isn’t enough and so they squander it.

It can be a challenge to find good role models for my son.  I hope whoever takes over for Peyton Manning realizes it is not just about what you do on the field, but how you do it.  That with the big paycheck comes a responsibility off the field as well.

I am hoping to watch Peyton Manning’s press conference.  Will I cry?  Maybe.  But they will be happy tears for a career well played and a life well lived.

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Photo from:  http://www.biography.com/people/peyton-manning-37880#related-video-gallery

Thank You Peyton Manning!!

Changes (Part III)

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I cannot believe how the snow has lingered on the Catalina Mountains!

In my continuing quest to make 2016 a really good year I decided I need to take better care of myself. I have my list of habits to work on and I am becoming more aware of just how much of an impact my thyroid issue has on my life.  I came up with the crazy idea to set aside more time just for me.  From 8:30a to 2:00p, Tuesday through Friday to be specific.

It seems a huge amount of time, 22 hours to be exact, but as a mom there are no weekends or holidays or even time in the evenings to relax.  I have become crabby and frustrated and bored with life.  I considered going back to work but that is not what I really want to do.  I want to be here for my son after school and on holidays.  I don’t want to even think about trying to juggle three schedules while planning vacations and camping trips.

But I need a change.  I am tired of cleaning up after my husband and son who are both slobs. I don’t mind the dusting and vacuuming but the unending piles of stuff left everywhere should not be just my problem.   I am also doing all the cooking and laundry and after meal clean up. I have felt like because I am home all day I have to do all the household stuff.  Enough is enough though.  So I am going to try something different.  I will still cook and clean and pay the bills, but I won’t be doing everything alone. I suspect it will take a fair amount of time to make running this home more of a family event,  but having them see all that I do will be a good start.  The idea is that I will feel happier having taken care of myself and I will be able to gently and nicely ask for help with small tasks.

This is another reason I wanted to move my office back upstairs into a room with a door.  I can retreat into my cocoon and work on projects, meditate, read and write.  I will have time to exercise or go for longer walks. I will need to learn to ignore all the things that need to be done around the house, at least for a few hours.

Honestly, I have no idea how this is going to work.   I have to admit I am  excited about the idea though.  I keep thinking of new projects I want to do. Will I be able to place my needs ahead of the household for a that many hours a week?  All I can do is try and see what happens. I might need you to send me a bit courage and perseverance for this one!

Changes (Part I)

I have been doing a lot of contemplating about my life of late. Who I am, who I want to be, how I want to spend my time etc.  Specifically I have been thinking about how I want my days to look in 2016 and how I want to feel at the end of each day. There is much going on in my head and I am not sure how much I am going to share here, we’ll just have to see how it goes.

I think Changes will be a three part blog post, but as the author I reserve the right to change my mind at any given point in time. But here is Part I: This Blog.

Mid-January I will have completed a full year of writing this blog. I have written on a fairly regular basis. Mission accomplished! I know to be a “successful” blogger I need to narrow my focus and work on increasing readers, blah, blah blah. But my definition of success is writing on a regular basis.  I am doing that so I won’t be making any changes. Maybe later this year I will change the background or the format a bit. Maybe I will find my blog does naturally narrow down in scope. Or maybe not. Maybe ‘monkey mind’ will continue to rule. Time will tell. The bottom line is, no changes to this blog for now.

Jammie Time!

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Hummingbird made out of Legos!

Yesterday for dinner I ate: 3 gingerbread cookies, a banana with peanut butter and a vanilla cream chocolate. I haven’t walked the dog since before Christmas. No matter how many loads of laundry I do the piles never seem to grow any smaller. (Once you fall behind doing laundry you are doomed.) I made the mistake of starting a to-do list in my bullet journal for today and tomorrow, the first since Christmas.  When I hit the thirteenth item I got rather disgusted with myself.  Enough already!

Part of me is ready to get back to my normal routine and habits.  Yes, I love sleeping in a bit and all of me loves the extra time with my son. Monday we went to the Tucson Botanical Gardens to see the special Lego exhibit.  Today we did some running around, but tomorrow?  Tomorrow we have a jammie day (or at least morning) planned. We will have cocoa and oatmeal on the floor by the tree, play some games, read books and have a simple, unhurried time together.

Simple and unhurried are two words not heard or practiced very often during the holidays. Right this moment I feel tired. We have been typically busy celebrating just like everyone else.  It has been a struggle to find time to just sit and enjoy the season, by evening I am more than ready for a long winter’s nap.  Right now I am loving the idea of spending extra time in my pj’s and not feeling the push to get a million things done or even do anything in particular.  I want to spend time with my son just being with him.  The other night we snuggled on the couch together and discussed how good our lives are.  It was the best moment of the holiday.  A simple and unhurried jammie morning sounds like another best moment.

 

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In the butterfly room at the Tucson Botanical Gardens