Soup Weather

My favorite souvenir from the September trip to Disneyland.


Yesterday there was a high of 82 degrees and we had rain off and on all day. We also had sun off and on all day and sometimes rain and sun at the same time. That would be life in the desert. Since this is the closest we have been to autumn like weather here in Tucson I decided it was a soup for dinner kinda night. Plus I had the remains of a whole roasted chicken in the fridge and decided to boil it up.

I had to stop and laugh as I was listening to the rain and stirring the soup. What was the  temperature? Eighty-two degrees. Um, that would be a typical summer day in Western New York.  Sigh.

Today is much rainier and only in the sixties!  Pumpkin chili in the crockpot is making me very happy.



So much easier than carving.

Don’t hate me but it is time to talk about…

goals for next year. (Ha! You thought I was going to say Christmas didn’t you?)
I don’t make New Year’s’ resolutions perse, instead I like to set goals for the whole year. But lately I have been thinking about habits. Specifically my habits, ones I want to adopt and ones I want to resume.

The reason I am thinking about this two months early is because now is a good time to make plans, before the chaos of the holidays kick in. I have read Leo Babauta’s book  “Zen Habits” and it makes sense.  You have a better chance of success establishing habits if you make one change at a time and do it slowly.  So that is my plan.

In addition to deciding what habits I want to add to my life I need to prioritize them and make sure I understand my reasons for wanting to add them to my days.  All this is going to take a bit of thinking and I want to make some observations about the behaviors I want to change.  For instance I am going to write down all the sugar and grains I eat for the next week to see exactly what my intake is.  I am also going to wear my pedometer and see how many steps I average in a typical day.

I have five different habits I am thinking about so far.  The plan is to have a strategy mapped out by Thanksgiving so stay tuned!

And a couple of completely unrelated to the post photos, but I am all giddy about autumn these days!


Yams with a maple cranberry sauce.


Our Trader Joe’s haunted house. It may be all autumn in my head but it is still in the mid-80s here so the icing got a little drippy. We decided after that we liked it better that way!


The back door.  It looks kind of like a face.



Good-bye Books

I drove all the way to Mesa BY MYSELF last week.  My first solo road trip in years.  I had six boxes of books that I was ready to divest myself of. I took a few to our local used bookstore for store credit but still had more than one hundred books that I needed to find a home for.

A filled car trunk

After much debate with myself over the merits and work of trying to sell on ebay or craigslist and exploring selling to Powell’s on-line I stopped and had a think.  The goal was to clear out the house a bit, not make money.  Of course a little extra cash right before Christmas is always nice too.  But I really didn’t want to spend the next six weeks trying to sell books.

In the end I decided to take my books to Half Price Books in Mesa.  I knew they would take everything and I probably wouldn’t make much money but the books would be gone and I would get a little cash.  My hope was to get between $100 and $150 dollars.  Plus I would have the added bonus of a little me time in the car.

Mesa is about a 2 hour drive.  I figured I would leave about 9:00a, about an hour to sell the books, have lunch somewhere and maybe stop at the new outlet mall on the way home.  Everything pretty much went according to plan.

I found the store with only one u-turn.  (In my world road trips always include at least one u-turn.)  Half Price Books bought almost every book with just a few slated for the recycle pile.  I was very excited to see that and was starting to think more money.  Especially when the woman apologized for it taking so long because I had so many good books.  But alas the total was only $90.  I felt a bit disappointed but reminded myself of my goals and hoped others would find pleasure in reading these books I was no longer interested in.

Starting the drive home I felt sort of hollow inside.  Had I just made a huge mistake?  I had expected to feel exuberant, thrilled with my “konmari”  progress, happy for some “found” money.  I left the radio off for awhile and puzzled over my feelings.  Maybe I was just sad to be letting go of some of my past?  Irritated at the thought that I would never have gotten rid of any books if I  still lived in Montana in a house with several  huge built-in floor to ceiling bookshelves?  Anxious about the step I had just taken toward my future small dream home?

I never had an aha that’s the answer moment.  Most likely my feelings are some combination of all of the above.  I decided to stop at Cracker Barrel for a late lunch.  I love browsing the store and thought it would cheer me up.  I had the fish special and afterwards took my time looking at everything in the store but I wasn’t tempted to buy anything.  I skipped the outlet mall too.  I am not really much of a shopper anyway and I felt exhausted.  I went to bed early still puzzled by my post book selling reaction.

I feel better today but  disappointed that I didn’t have a more euphoric experience.  My reaction to life is so strange sometimes.

A Day “Off”

Found autumn color on the Mogollon Rim

In my bullet journal I had written in Wed, Oct 21st as my day off. In ink. Coming back from our marvelous camping trip I didn’t quite feel the need for a day off anymore but it was in my bullet journal. In ink. So I took the day off.

Here is what I did:

  • three loads of laundry
  • watched ‘Gilmore Girls’ and ‘Home Fires’
  • made a batch of reese’s pieces oatmeal cookie dough (my absolute favorite autumn cookie!)
  • finished reading my library book and started my next Miss Marple novel
  • I ate a croissant for breakfast while it was raining and had a slice of homemade dutch apple pie (made the day prior) with my son after school, while it was raining
  • for dinner I made pumpkin sausage penne (interestingly good)


Pumpkin-Sausage Penne.  Creamy, tasty lusciousness! 

I don’t think I needed a day off so much as I needed a day at home.  I wore comfy pants and enjoyed the rain, my house all decorated for fall and now Halloween, good smells and the freedom to do what I wanted.  I ended up getting quite a few bits of my imaginary Monday!

It was hard coming back to Tucson after five marvelous days of autumn up in the mountains.  The air was crisp and I got to wear long sleeves.  We did some hiking and a lot of sitting around the camp fire.  I was even blessed with a bit of solitude while my husband and son kayaked and rode bikes.  The best part was I slept ten solid hours every night.  It was glorious. I didn’t take a lot of pictures, I mostly just soaked everything in.


For a moment I thought we had wandered off the path into Wonderland.


Only a sprinkle of rain but we still got a rainbow!

Monday Monday

Pretend Monday

Here is how the imaginary Monday played out in my head:  I wake up to a cool, gray rainy day. I spend a leisurely 20 or 30 minutes updating my bullet journal, planning my day while sipping a mug of hot tea. I watch PBS dramas while folding warm, clean laundry. At some point the house is scented by an apple pie baking in the oven and a hearty stew bubbling in the crockpot. At 3:00p there is a ferocious thunderstorm and my son and I have cocoa and chocolate croissants while playing UNO. We each win an equal amount of hands.  I start the next Miss Marple novel and fall asleep to the sound of a gentle rain with a deliciously refreshing breeze coming in the window and sleep a solid ten hours.

Real Monday

I had a dentist appointment at 8:20a and then spent the next three hours with the left side of my mouth numb.  And the left side of my nose.  After the dentist I have to call the vet and take my dog in because he was attacked by a neighbor’s dog Sunday night and wasn’t putting any weight at all on one of his back legs.  While waiting for the 10:15a appointment I throw some laundry in and try and comfort the dog.  Back from the vets I anxiously watch my heavily doped up dog, continue the laundry and start watching the U of A football game I DVR’d on Saturday.  (His leg was badly swollen and he was in a lot of pain but luckily it wasn’t broken.) I get my son from school and we make a quick trip to the library.  We return and I give in and turn the a/c back on, the house was up to 85 degrees and the dog was not happy.  I spend the entire day worrying about confronting the neighbor about our $360 vet bill. (They paid without complaint, whew.)  I climb into bed and toss and turn and have weird dreams when I finally do fall asleep.  Sigh.


New Floors and a New Season

The new flooring with a border in the kitchen.


Living room near front door.


So you can see all the colors in the floor, plus my autumnal toes!


A quick blog post to cover a couple of topics. As I suspected life has been crazy busy. Now that the flooring is done (and looks fabulous!) I am playing catch up with chores while trying to get the house put back to rights. On top of that we have lots of fun activities going on right now. So while the floor was finished Friday we didn’t get much done over the weekend because of bowling, baseball and pumpkin picking.  So here is what else has been going on:


Search for Solitude

I am a persons who needs her alone time.  The last three weeks (and next week as well) have given me little opportunity for quiet time to call my own.  Without  solitude my batteries don’t get recharged.  I am feeling very stressed. So much to do it feels like there is not time to simply sit and breathe.  My insomnia has kicked in with a vengeance.  At least now I am smart enough to recognize the signs but my options for a cure have been limited of late.  I need to hold on for another week.  I have a multitude of things that have to be done, that can’t be pushed off.  But next week at this time I will be camping in the mountains, near a lake, where it will truly be fall. Crisp air, changing leaves, the smell of woodsmoke. It will be worth all the work I have to do beforehand.



Now that the flooring is done, the furniture back in place and everything has been cleaned it is time to start carting all the books back downstairs.  Seeing all those books stacked in the hallway gave me pause though. I decided to do one more book purge, this time using the KonMari method.  When I read the book “the life changing magic of tidying up” I knew there was no way I would ever cart all those books into one place.  And yet, pretty much all my books are now in one area!  With everything going on I knew I couldn’t do the whole bunch at once so I divvied them up into categories:  cookbooks, Library of America, International Collector’s Library, holiday books etc.  I am trying to do one category a day, at a time when I can really focus on the task at hand.  I am being thoughtful about my choices.  I am thinking about who I am now, letting go of past dreams and setting future goals.  I’ll let you know how this turns out.


Taste of Autumn

I have been able to turn the a/c off for now!  I wore jeans one day.  We have had rain, small hail and cloudy days.  The relief from the heat is so welcome.  Too bad it isn’t going to last.

Inside my house it is starting to look like autumn.  I have put red and orange leaves up everywhere; the irony that I put up leaves while elsewhere they are falling! I have autumn scents in the wax warmers and am eating apples everyday. I bought pumpkin everything at Trader Joe’s and while it is still too warm to drink hot tea at least my iced tea is in a fall themed glass.


Loving my leaf glass

And I have begun making more autumn- ish meals.  One night we had cranberried pork chops , glazed acorn squash and yams.  Saturday I am throwing an autumn beef stew into the crock pot for after the football game.  Of course after sitting under the broiling sun for four hours with temps in the 90s we may not want a hot meal, but dammit after football in October that is what you are supposed to eat!  I told my husband we will just have to crank the a/c back up.

After school today we are putting up the outside Halloween decorations. There is a lovely breeze blowing outside along with some clouds blowing around helping to add to the autumn feel.  This weekend I have a U of A football game to look forward to and my son’s 8th birthday.  But right now I have more books to sort and shelve.

Happy Fall Y’all!

These lights are actually orange and I love how they look with the leaf garland.  My favorite “autumn spot” in the house.