Winter Part I: Slug Mode

I had been thinking I have nothing to write about.  I am deep in menopausal winter.  Okay okay, peri-menopausal winter. Whatever.  All I really want to do is sit on the couch, eat just about anything and watch television.  Here is a list of what I have been watching:

  1. “Victoria” on PBS.   A pain to record.  I set it up as a series but realized I missed the second episode for some reason (the naming perhaps?) so now I have to check each week to see if I need to add it manually.  Luckily I caught a rerun of the second episode.
  2. “The Great British Bake-off”  on PBS.  Also set up to record as a series from the last time it was on.  Since I missed some episodes the first time around  I am just watching them all again.
  3. “This is Us”.  I seldom watch network series but I kept hearing about it so I started watching the past episodes on-line and now I am hooked.  And only two more episodes until I am caught up.
  4.  Miami Heat basketball.  Eight wins in a row, woo-hoo! I broke down and ordered NBA league pass.  I am totally worth it.
  5. University of Arizona Wildcat basketball!  The team is on a roll.
  6. The usual assortment of classic movies DVR’d off of TCM.


Tune in tomorrow for Winter Part II.  One does not stay in slug mode all the time.

That’s enough typing and walking on the treadmill, back to the couch!

2017 Ambitions

Ambition: desire to achieve a particular end (Merriam-Webster)

The first three weeks of this year have been busy and exhausting,  leaving me with little resources to work on a list of goals. Months ago I started jotting down ideas and actually thinking about how I want this year to look. (I may not be getting smarter with age but I do seem to be using my brain more!)

I have been waiting for a block of quiet time to go through my notes and solidify which direction I want to go in 2017.  This week is perfect for contemplation and just in time for the Chinese New Year, the 28th of January.  The year of the rooster in case you were wondering.

This year I am shooting for contentment at home and on the health side menopause survival with minimal long term damage.

Starting with ambitions for my home life:

Last year I had 12 areas to clean and it worked pretty well.  I only got ten done so cleaning out the file cabinet and shredding the discards have carried over to this year.  I didn’t shoot for a specific number this year but made a list of areas/things that bother me and ways to improve them.

Home Ambitions:

  1. In the kitchen I want to sort out the pantry (again) with more of an eye to getting rid of things we don’t use.  (And most likely discovering things I forgot we had.)  Ditto with our lazy-susan corner cupboard.
  2. New, larger memory box for my son, and repurpose the current bankers box into a memory box for me (of things he has made for me).  I have file folders for each school year and I put select papers, drawings, awards etc into it.  I am finding it is not quite large enough plus I like the idea of using a plastic tote to provide a bit more protection from the elements.  Not that there are currently any elements going on in the closet but in case of a leak or something.
  3. Replace the stairwell, hallway, upstairs carpeting.  A big project that I don’t want to think about (or pay for for) but that really needs to be done.
  4. Sort through my clothes and shoes (again) trying to keep only the things that I really love, that fit well and make me feel good,  and freeing up some space to buy a few new items.
  5. Now that I am the big 5-0 I need to take a look at my investment portfolio and see if I need to make any adjustments. (By this I mean call the broker dude and see what he thinks.)
  6. Okay and the file cabinet and subsequent shred is back on the list. Sigh.

I am excited about getting some of these items done and out of my brain where they have been bugging me for some time!

My son gave me this little decorated pot for Mother’s Day in first grade. He made it at school and there were some unidentified seeds planted in it.  It has been growing oh so slowly and poorly these last one and a half years but I can’t bear to pull the plants out.
This week  both stems have developed little tiny buds.  Be still my heart.

Health Ambitions

  1. Reduce my sugar intake to no more than 25 grams per day.  That’s added sugar only, not natural sugar like found in fruit.
  2. Work on my strength training with push ups and tai chi.
  3. Eat more like the French which means more fruit and veggies and single helpings on a regular basis.  Eat more mindfully, stop and ask myself why I am eating.  But nothing is off limits in moderation and for special occasions.
  4. I really want to get back in my weight window.  I have been about three pounds over for months now and I don’t want to continue the weight gain trend.
  5. Do yoga once a week.
  6. Continue with my coloring meditation, a minimum of ten minutes a day.
  7. Spend 10 to 30 minutes a day doing some sort of inspirational reading.
  8. Continue with my 10k steps a day. (I am actually pretty good with this during the week, it’s the weekends that get me off track.)

Some of these items may end up being too ambitious  but I am not planning on starting them all at once.  I want to add one good habit at a time and maybe some won’t work out.  But I at least want to give them all an honest try.  I can already tell you the sugar one is going to be really tough.  I was also wondering how long it would take to do all these good habits everyday.  Does anyone have enough time to be this healthy?

My current coloring meditation project.


Happy 2017 Ambitions to All!


Chiricahua National Monument

More from our three day MLK weekend camping trip.

We almost went home Sunday morning. But small child wanted to stay so after the traditional rainy day lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup we opted to brave the elements and go for a hike. Turned out to be a great idea.  It was delightful being out in some winter weather.  Normally I would have taken very few pictures because of the cold but I found the above nifty gloves/mittens in the trailer and they worked great! And since I bundled up I was surprisingly comfortable and didn’t mind the damp and cold at all.

Our hike started around 7000′ and we walked the 3.3 mile Echo Canyon loop that went past the Grotto and down into Echo Canyon.  The weather changes as we descended and rose were quite marked.

Snow at the start of our hike.

We started out in the clouds with a stiff breeze and some light snain (rain/snow mix).

In the clouds.

Soon we descended below the clouds, were sheltered from the wind and the precipitation stopped.

A fairly dry section of trail.


We bundled up pretty good, it was 32° at the start of our hike, cold for us desert dwellers.


At one point we seemed to be looking down on the clouds.


We could barely see the rock formations for much of the hike.




Creepy tree.


One last shot.

When we returned to the truck the weather was the same as when we left:  windy, damp and gray.  We were happy to return to our home on wheels and mugs of hot cocoa.  Nothing like cocoa on a wintry day, such a rare and wonderful desert treat!

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Sort of. It was certainly dark but the storminess, not yet.

The second night of our three night stay at Bonita Campground in the Chirachua’s found me tired and cold.  Taking advantage of the heater in the trailer I got ready for bed early and felt quite settled and cozy in my sleeping bag.  I had a lantern, my book and my pillows set just right.  Husband and small child had decided to build a fire despite the impending weather.  I savored this time alone, the quiet.  Just as they took out the s’mores items the rain began.  Undeterred they managed to scarf down a third of a bag of marshmallows and two chocolate bars.  Fifteen minutes later my peace was destroyed as I waited patiently while they let all the heat out and brought all the wet items in.

Finally everyone was settled but now I was wide awake.  And way too warm.  I tossed and turned awhile as my husband snored away and small child fidgeted and whispered in the bunk above.  Too much sugar and over-tired I knew he would be awake for hours.  I tried to unzip my sleeping bag but it was all twisted and I couldn’t find the zipper.

What I really wanted to do was open the window. I wanted to hear the distant thunder better and the wind in the trees.  I sat up and slowly cranked open the tiny window next to small child’s bunk.  He was instantly alert and I told him to be quiet and listen for the thunder.  The incoming breeze was perfect, not frigid but refreshing. A gentle stream of cooling air.  I straightened out my sleeping bag and unzipped it part way.

I laid there a long time listening to distant thunder and the trees rustling in the breeze.  The wind picked up indicating more rain was coming but the sound of thunder remained soft.  I fell asleep.

An undetermined amount of time later the carbon monoxide detector went off.  (This happens when the dog sleeps next to it.)  I fumbled with my sleeping bag, then fumbled for my slippers, fumbled with the flashlight and fumbled for the mute button on the alarm.

My husband relocated the dog onto the bed (where he normally sleeps so he doesn’t set off the alarm) and I opened the door to let some air in.  That is when I realized it was raining, so softly it hadn’t awakened me, so softly I hadn’t heard it on the trailer roof.

I breathed in the damp fragrant air and thought how odd it was to be glad to be awakened in the middle of the night.

Feeling Crabby

My introverted self is screaming for some quiet time. The last few weeks of non-stop busyness have caught up with me. It will be another 10 days before I can really get back to my normal routine but today I am giving myself a time out.

What’s whirling through my head right now?

  1. Last night I got ready for bed at 6:30p!  I am feeling way too tired these days.  Stress, menopause, thyroid, allergies or some combination thereof?  Whatever the reason I can feel my coping skills slipping away.
  2. My son is unhappy at school.  I am starting to feel unhappy with the school.  We have talked about home schooling a few times and the pro list is gaining on the con list.  I am pretty sure I would suck at home schooling but I am starting to believe that my son’s current public school may not be the best fit for him.  So I find myself trying to imagine what our days would be like and would he be able to get what he needs academically here at home?  Or would we drive each other crazy and turn into big couch potatoes watching endless hours of tv?
  3. I got my haircut yesterday and I am so happy.  I always put off haircuts because in six years I still haven’t found the right stylist but the search is over (I hope).  The only down side was she wanted to dry it straight (they all want to do that for some reason) so I let her.  After she started she realized my hair wasn’t going to lie the way she wanted to and she had to change tactics.


I immediately thought of Sally Field’s in “Steel Magnolias” and “just make it look like a brown football helmet” hair.


What my hair looks like today after I washed it. (Sorry about the no makeup.)

4.  I am reading this very interesting book, “Secrets From the Eating Lab” by Traci Mann.  I keep thinking I need to lose 5 to 10 pounds but now I am thinking maybe not.  Maybe this is the “new- older” me.

5.  My house is a mess.  Christmas is packed up but there are still some totes that need toting to the garage and a thorough vacuuming, dusting, mopping is sorely needed. So do I clean this afternoon or do I sit down with my lunch and watch the Miami Heat game I recorded last night?  What would my husband do?  Ha ha, basketball it is!

Well, I have hit my ten thousand steps so after doing a few pushups maybe I will tote those totes out to the garage before finding some potato chips and putting the game on.  It’s not even lunch time yet anyway.  Maybe I will research Montessori schools too.  Or maybe I will just sit in the sun with a cup of tea and let that crabbiness scurry away!

A hopefully happier me will be back next week.  We are going camping over the three day holiday weekend and I am very excited about it!!  I’ll try and take good pictures.


Today is the last day of Christmas for my family. Tomorrow the tree comes down and we start packing up all the decorations. I thought I would feel sad but instead I feel a great contentment.  I spent time this morning sitting on the couch drinking a mug of tea while looking at the Christmas tree and nativity scene.  One last respite before the hustle and bustle of real life returns tomorrow.

My son’s second full week of winter break has been busy and satisfying.  I relished all the time we spent together even if it has left me feeling exhausted.  While I will not mind when peace and quiet descends on Monday that doesn’t stop me from embracing our one last outing today.

Cool wisps of clouds!

In honor of the Wisemen’s journey to Bethlehem my son and I took our own hike.  We  went across the street to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area and meandered around for two hours.  The weather: absolutely perfect.  I think the pictures say it all.


Our own “forest” of cacti.


Sabino Creek really flowing with snow melt.


Sabino Dam

Cheers to the end of a Delightful holiday season!


December Delights – Out Takes

Lest you think all of December was nothing but joy and lightness I feel it only fair to share some of those fun menopausal family moments too. There were a few times where I had to work to find something delightful about the day, but you know, I did truly find good about each day.  I found myself focusing on the happy, positive items which made my life seem better and which made me feel happier. The experiment was a success!  My absolute favorite part of the month?  Coloring the countdown to Christmas pictures,  I am so doing that again next year.

Onto real life moments that may very well make you feel better about your own month!  Or at least give you a laugh.

Christmas Eve 2016

In no particular order:

  • E yelling over and over again “I’m bored, I’m bored, I’m bored” at the hotel in Flagstaff.  I had left the afternoon open to play in the snow or take a hike.  There was no snow and it was too cold and windy to want to hike. I didn’t have a plan B.  We ended up having an early dinner and watching “Christmas Vacation” in the hotel room.  I seriously thought we should skip the trip next year but was soundly voted down by both child and husband which kind of surprised me.  I thought I was the only one who really wanted to spend time in Flagstaff but apparently I was wrong.
  • My son forgot to give two of his teacher’s their Christmas presents, even though every single morning for the entire week we talked about it right before he left for school.  So Friday afternoon when he came home with two undelivered gifts we headed right back to the school (the school is a 5 min walk from our house).  Luckily we found both teachers still in their classrooms, whew.
  • As we were walking out the door for “The Nutcracker” I looked at the tickets and realized the show was at the Tucson Music Hall not Centennial Hall as I thought.  We knew where Centennial Hall was and where to park for that.  No clue for the Music Hall.  A quick google told us it was near the Tucson Convention Center which we sort of knew the location of.  We only had to make one U turn and got there in plenty of time but it was a near miss.
  • Another almost disaster?  I came perilously close to dropping the yule log cake while trying to re-box it after taking a photo for the blog.
  • The very first words out of my son’s mouth Christmas Eve morning?  “Can I open a present?” (NO!!!)
  • I had to meet with my son’s teacher because of two separate incidents.  One involved “the swear word, the F—word”  used on the computer.  Yes I swear in front of my son but I thought I had made it clear that I was an adult and he was a kid and he couldn’t.  Very embarrassing.
  • We had a terrible wind and rain storm on Christmas Eve.  I compare it to the one in “Rudolph”. It knocked all our outside decorations hither and yon and even knocked over my swing (aka my front porch).  We were so distracted by the weather that dinner was a bit late and we had to rush to make it to church on time. So we didn’t have time for the yule log cake that I was so happy about finding and then not dropping. (We had it Christmas Day instead.)
Yes, it was some wind!
  • Our Christmas tree was a bit shorter than normal this year and my husband didn’t trim the branches from the bottom to help it look bigger.  Yes it looked great but for the person who had to put water in the tree stand twice a day (that would be me) it was a pain.


So there you have it, delight tempered by reality.