Observation – Desert Weather

We don’t get much weather here in the desert. It is pretty boring, hot and sunny day after day. But every once in awhile things get interesting. Last night during my drive to bowling, I experienced a rainbow, thunder, lightening, heavy downpour, sunset and patches of blue sky….ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  I kid you not.

Here are some pictures to prove it.  They aren’t very good as I only had the phone on my camera with me and I only took quick snaps while stopped at red lights.  Safety first!


The rainbow. I missed it at it's peak intensity.
The rainbow to the east. I missed it at it’s peak intensity.  Stupid green lights.


The sunset to the west.
The sunset to the west.


Driving south.
Driving south in the rain while looking at blue sky.


Looking back to the north from the bowling alley parking lot.
Looking back to the north from the bowling alley parking lot.


There is a road under that small pond next to the bowling alley parking lot.


There you have it, a weeks worth of weather in a 30 minute drive 🙂 !

Happy Friday!


I love my DVR (Digital Video Recorder). It makes watching sports so much easier. First you can watch the games when you want to. Football game starting during church? Not a problem. College football game on late? Watch the first half, go to bed and watch the second half in the morning.  Basketball game on bowling night, no biggie.

And not only can you fast forward through commercials but also pitching changes, free throws and overly long play reviews.  When it comes to sports DVR is the way to go.

And then there is Turner Classic Movies (TCM).  Great old movies on all day and all night.  Once a week I sit down and study the TCM Magazine and set up the DVR.  Sometimes (many times) there are just too many good movies on.  My list grows and grows.  And then I feel weighed down by this very long movie to do list.

I don’t have the time or inclination to watch that much tv.  So once the list gets so long I take an afternoon and try and make a dent in it.  Usually I can find two or three movies to just delete and start another one or two and realize, meh and delete them.

Right now I have  twenty-seven movies on my list.  Since I already have some for halloween:  “Dracula” and “Young Frankenstein” and “Misery” (DVR’d from a different channel) I have decided to make a bold move.


There it is in big bold letters. The decree has been issued.

My work table all Autumned Up! Love the bronze mums.


Desert Autumn Joy List

Normally this time of year I get very homesick for a Northeast fall.  This year I am focusing on what I do have as opposed to what I don’t. Though the temperature is still well into the 90’s during the day I have been able to make it feel like autumn (at least inside my head).

  • There is a hint of coolness in the morning and evenings, enough so that I have resumed taking the dog on longer walks. This has led me to find some autumn color, desert style.


These bushes are everywhere!
Beautiful reds, oranges and yellows!
My new chrysanthemum.
Look at this brave flower squeezing out from under a cactus.
  • The inside of my house all decorated for autumn.
I put leaves like this all over the house, hanging in front of windows and from light fixtures etc. I love how they flutter when the a/c kicks on.
Watching football with a leaf garland and pumpkins in my line of sight!









  • Football season! College marching bands at halftime are the best!
On Sept. 17th the University of Arizona did a tribute for the USS Arizona and had one of the six remaining survivors to the game as well as other WWII veterans. It was very touching. (Sorry the battleship is upside down but our seats are opposite the press box so the band is always upside down to us.)
That is a one big flag. (Again upside down to us.)
  • Pumpkin chili and  pumpkin beef stew made in the crockpot.  The pumpkin adds a wonderful creamy thick texture.
  • Taking pumpkin oatmeal spice bars to bowling.
  • Using wax scents to make my house smell like autumn despite the a/c still being on.
  • Cooking a pork roast in the crockpot also makes a home smell autumnal.
  • Some promising new cookie recipes that will be on the healthy side but still taste of fall.
  • Working on the outlining of  my autumn needlepoint tissue box cover.
  • Adding a Trader Joe’s harvest tea bag to my pitcher of iced tea.
  • Trader Joe’s pumpkin soup crackers, with a bit of cream cheese, crazy yummy!
  • Starting to wear my “fall wardrobe”. Not flannel and sweaters alas,  but capris and cropped jeans and autumn colors. I got two new pairs of LL Bean cropped jeans in pale spruce and vintage blue….love them!


Happy First Day of Autumn!!


Birthday Joy List

Today is my 50th birthday!!  I have to admit I am pretty darn happy I have lived this long! So here is my joy list from the past few weeks:

  • Getting a bunch of small, lingering tasks done.
  • The public library (this would be on every joy list of mine!)
    • Some recent books from the library:
      • “Rebecca” (Daphne Du Maurier)
      • “A Fall of Marigolds” (Susan Meissner)
      • “Dead Wake.  The last crossing of the Lusitania” (Erik Larson)
      • “A Walk in the Woods”  (Bill Bryson)
      • “The Hiding Place” (Corrie Ten Boom)
  • Sitting on my swing at dusk watching the bats swoop around and knowing they are eating all those pesky mosquitos.
  • Two (in my lifetime) inventions that I find really useful:
    • the debit card
    • the DVR
  • Our local classical public radio station
  • Rain helping my rosebush bloom
  • The start of football season (Go Wildcats!  Go Broncos!)
Some people put on their game face, I put on my game shoes.
  • My son getting to play outside more with the cooler weather in the evenings and the neighborhood bully moving away.
  • Cake for dessert tonight!  Specifically  Coconut Pecan Upside Down Cake (which my son and I are making together after school today)


Happy Birthday to me! And to YOU whenever your birthday is!

Last Year’s Birthday dessert at Disneyland.

Oh, Santa

My almost nine year old son is pretty mature for his age. But every once in awhile I will be reminded of just how young he really is.

This time of year he starts making the Birthday/Christmas list. And this year everything on it was a bit pricey. An IPad, IPod, a computer and several large lego sets. I pointed out that he had a lot of big ticket items on the list. “Don’t worry mom” he said, “it won’t cost you anything, I’m going to ask Santa for this stuff.”

Oh, Santa, right.

A few weeks later…

During the Olympics my son decided he would root for Canada as well as the USA. (Because he was born in Montana and considers Canada a neighbor. Cute!) Then he decided to add combined USA/Canadian bedding to his Christmas list.  He described what he wanted in great detail.  Um, I’m not sure that exists I tell him.  “That’s okay mom, if you can’t make it I”ll ask Santa to.”

Oh, Santa.

Oh brother.   I have already figured out what I am going to say when he starts asking if Santa is real. I am going to tell him that everyone is Santa.  That we all give gifts to each other.  Point out the toys we donate every year.  We already celebrate St. Nicholas’  birthday so I will start with the real person who started the gift giving tradition and go from there. But I have nothing to say if Santa doesn’t bring him anything he really wants. (Maybe you should have made your bed once in awhile doesn’t seem an appropriate message for Christmas morning.)

He is eight and he still believes in Santa.  I want to him to feel that wonderful joy when you unwrap an item you really really  wanted (but didn’t expect to get) on Christmas morning.  I want to give him that this December.  But how?

Usually his list changes over the months.  They get lost or I hide them to see what items he repeats on the new list.   As he gets older it is harder to find that one gift that really makes his eyes light up when he unwraps it.  His current interest is all things computer.  But I am still fighting the screen time battle and am not ready to give him more machines.  (I believe a Kindle and a Chromebook are more than enough for an almost nine year old.)  So for now I have to wait and have faith.  Faith that a subsequent list will reveal some sort of inspiration.  Faith that my son will get the message that Christmas isn’t just about the gifts, and most especially not just the gifts you receive.  But still…Faith that under the tree this Christmas there will be that one gift that makes his eyes light up with happiness.

Afterall, Christmas is the season of miracles.

Weird but True

So here are three things that happened while I was on hiatus:

1. I got bit by a black widow spider. On my big toe.  And didn’t feel it when it happened.  If it happened while I was sleeping that means we have a spider lurking in the house somewhere. Hopefully I was bit while taking off the pool cover.  Luckily I didn’t have  much of a reaction and didn’t need to go to the hospital.

A textbook black widow bite. Except that is not a picture from a textbook but my actual toe.

2. My husband left the spa heater on which raised the pool temperature to 98°.  For the first time ever I found the pool too warm for swimming.

3. I have an odd shoe problem. The left side (inside) of my right shoes gets dirty. A black streak of dirt on all my shoes. It has been driving me nuts and I have no idea what causes it. Did I walk or sit in some way to attract the dirt? I have been googling the problem for years and may have finally found the solution! The brake and/or clutch pedal on my car! I cleaned them with Clorox wipes and they were black. I scrubbed a pair of my newer shoes clean and we’ll see if they stay that way.

So there you have it, a glimpse of my wild and crazy life.

Happy Thoughts!

Whole 30 – Day 15

I was making zero progress on losing five pounds or eliminating grains and dairy to see if that helped with the joint pain. My snacking was completely out of control. As in I would eat breakfast and then grab a cookie for dessert. I was eating junk food all day long. Pathetic.

I had to make a decision: give up or do the Whole30 again, sigh.  Bowling is starting and that really hurts my hands.  And I decided I was too young to just go ahead and let the weight creep up.  So Whole30 it was.

Then I dithered about the start date.  And then my husband announced they were doing the Whole30 again at work starting right after Labor Day.  Wait, that would overlap my 50th birthday and there was no way I wasn’t eating cake on the big day!  Looking at the calendar I realized I needed to start right away to be done before starting my next year of life.

With no real planning or grocery shopping I jumped in.  Having done the Whole30 before I knew what to expect. I needed to survive the first seven to ten days. I didn’t worry about how many yams or sweet potatoes I ate. And I didn’t sweat the snacking.  As long as I only ate compliant foods I was going to consider the first week a success. I would deal with snacking the second week.

I  also made a vow to be very kind to myself.  My biggest side effect the first week was fatigue.  I slept more and several afternoons found me on the couch watching a movie.  I kept my to do lists short.  I didn’t even attempt to tackle anything I knew would be frustrating.

Here are my non-food rewards for that difficult first week:

Flowers from Trader Joe’s.  (Instead of the dark chocolate covered almonds I really wanted.)

A new bottle of nailpolish. Revlon’s ‘Dreamer’, a pretty sky blue,  completely new shade for me.

Rereading the book “Rebecca”.  Scariest non-scary book ever!  Mrs. Danvers gives me the heebie jeebies.  I feel bad for my fellow introvert, the second Mrs. De Winter who I have decided is named Jane.  What do you think her first name is?

Watching my favorite summer movie: “Rear Window”.  Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter and Alfred Hitchcock, the best combo ever!  Plus I like to be reminded that other places get hot in the summer too, and poor Jimmy not only doesn’t have a pool or a/c but a cast on his leg. Talk about summer misery!

Non-food Whole30 rewards!

So I survived the first fifteen days.  Of course it is easy to be cavalier about it with it now in the rear view mirror. I am keeping my eye on the goal now, not so much the weight but eliminating snacking and seeing how my hands feel after bowling this week. I am pretty sure the joint pain is caused by a lack of estrogen from going into menopause so I don’t know if diet can help in anyway but either way it will be good to know.

Snacking hasn’t been too bad.  The first week I twice ate a mid-morning banana before running errands that I knew would end close to lunchtime.  Most days I ate an after school snack with my son:  celery w/cashew butter, an Rx Bar, a few olives.  I munched a few celery sticks while preparing dinner if I am starving.  Nothing too horrendous.  But the last few days I haven’t snacked at all. Yeah!

And now I am halfway done. I am already thinking about the reintroduction phase which I have failed so miserably in the past.  I am hoping the fact that my birthday is Day 31 won’t completely derail my reintroduction. After my birthday eating Whole30 between reintroduction days won’t be that big a deal as my husband wants to stay Whole30 until his doctor’s appointment the first week of October anyway.

Hopefully what will be a big deal is how good I feel!

Hello Again!



One good thing about living in the southwest is chrysanthemums can survive year round. I just keep it in the shade in the summer.

So I am back from my hiatus. Do I look different? Because I feel different. So how do you like the new format? I like most of it. I am not thrilled with the long list of menu items all in a row at the end. I would prefer two columns but not sure if I can make that happen though I will be looking into it.

Otherwise there was only one teensy problem with the theme conversion. The featured image. Because my last post didn’t have thumbnails  I have had to manually set one for each post. So I am doing ten a day until they are all done. Not difficult but time consuming and rather boring.

Over my break I spent some time thinking about my wants and needs.  I decided to drop all those things I feel like I should be doing.  I am better at listening to myself.  I dropped my all or nothing thinking.  Taking care of myself is not just about the physical side but the mental side.  Somedays I just need to do something that brings me joy.  I am getting better about finding balance in my life.

The funny thing is these changes have made everything easier.  I am again enjoying doing laundry, my daily swim and walking the dog.  I didn’t even mind dusting this week.  I am finding everything gets done (eventually).

I am thinking there will be more changes to this blog soon.  Less complaining and more joy lists. And starting a new feature, a weekly “Observations” post. Till then….

Happy Thoughts!


Sabino Canyon, AZ October 2012

Autumn is coming and that brings me joy!