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!

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

Parker Canyon Lake

My son had a four day weekend so we did what we always do:  we went camping.  I think it was one of our best trips.  It was simply one of those right time, right place, right weather kind of trips. I found the whole long weekend very restful.

Yup the sky was that blue.

It felt like Spring.  Cold air, warm sun and a bit of a blustery breeze.  We hiked, we sat around the campfire, we went to bed early.  We read.  We didn’t do much of anything except relax into the moment.

We hiked all the way around the lake, about 4.5 miles.


We hiked over to a small creek and explored.

The campground is called Lakeview but for the RV section it should be called “Lakenear” Campground.  Tenters have a nice lake view though.



Parker Canyon Lake is at 5400′.  That helped explain the cooler air even though we went South from Tucson.  The lake is about 30 miles south of Sonoita, AZ just a few miles from the Mexican border.


Even the dog was happy.


Headed back to the campsite after following the dirt road that turned into a weedy two-track and  then into a wash.

Pure bliss.


I was thrilled when we moved into our house six 1/2 years ago to find we had both a lemon and an orange tree that bear an abundance of pretty tasty fruit.  There is only one teensy problem.  While I like oranges I seldom eat them.  I have always preferred clementines (or tangerines as they were called for most of my life).  I finally realized it isn’t the taste but how hard oranges are to peel.

Yesterday I had an epiphany, why not eat oranges like grapefruit?  For an after school snack I cut an orange in half and segmented it like a grapefruit.  Easy-peasy.  My son ate half and I ate half and then we went and picked another orange and shared that one too.  And we shared another one with breakfast this morning.

So much quicker and less messy than trying to peel our thick rinded oranges.  Is this one of those secret tips that everyone knew about but me?


Now I love the idea of going out to the yard and picking a piece of fruit to eat right then!


Fabulous February

Fabulous February?  I have been battling a ferocious head cold these past few days but I am trying to not let it keep me down. I pick my projects for the day wisely, enough to feel productive but not so much as to overdo it. I give myself permission to take breaks as needed, drink lots of fluids and know when to say enough and go to bed early.

So in my attempts to dwell on the positive and ignore my alternately stuffy and drippy nose here is a joy list for, yes,  Fabulous February:

  1. My last batch of rose blooms have been marvelous. So large and velvety.
  2. Weather.  We have actually had a nice variety.  A few windy days and a few rainy days interspersed with the typical sunshine.  Even had a ripping thunderstorm one evening.
  3. AFRIN  before bed allowing me to get some badly needed decent sleep.
  4. Using the lemons off my very own lemon tree –  yummy.
  5. I am addicted to “The Great British Baking Show”.  I allow myself one episode a day and now that a season is being rerun that I hadn’t seen before (on my local PBS station) I am getting quite good at picking  the ‘Star Baker’ and who is going home. (Yes, that would be before they are announced!)
  6. I rearranged my small bedroom to see if I could make it feel less cramped.  I think it is better.
  7. Making progress on my quilted dresser scarf.  Do I dare hope I may finish it this year?
  8. How much progress I have made this month on doing tasks mindfully and staying focused on one thing at a time.  This has made me feel so much more at peace.


Sunshine and Lemons!                                                                                                                                                                                          It may take a minute but look for something Fabulous in your February life!                                                                                                                                                           

Giving In

January was not a good month for me physically. My period lasted 21 days and hot flashes started up again. At the same time I was usually freezing cold from my thyroid. The same thing happened last January.  I was all ready for the final stage of peri-menopause to begin. Only it didn’t. I guess it was just a preview or a coming attraction because in February 2016 my body went back to normal.

So now we are in February a year later and I don’t know what to expect. No clue at all. I’ve read menopause is a pretty individual phase for women. Different symptoms, different things work to alleviate or lessen the symptoms. It is trial and error for each individual.

I think the hardest part is not knowing. Is this it? Will the end be soon?  Or am I looking at years of crazy periods, sleepless nights and uncontrollable eating?  Understandably I am feeling a bit depressed these days.  Friends ask me what my doctor says.  Doctor?  I didn’t go to the doctor, I’m not sick.  This is all normal for my stage of life.  If my doctor could write me a prescription to go stay in the Adirondacks at a rest cure place I would be all over it.  Breakfast in bed, a stroll around the lawns before lunch, a small craft project before a nap, a light dinner and a movie or reading before bed.  No cooking, cleaning, laundry or shopping.  No unlimited access to junk food. Just quiet occupations and fresh air until I pass into full blown menopause. That is the way to get through peri-menopause!

Alas, such places do not exist in this day and age and income bracket for a mother of a nine year old boy.  But I did find a way to give myself a break.  I gave into the depression, sort of.  I took five whole days off from my normal routine.  Yes I still cooked and parented and did things I had already committed to but the remaining time was all mine.

I let the days stretch before me with no plans or to-do lists. I simply asked myself what I wanted to do and I did it.  Some of the highlights:

Day 1:  I went back to bed for an hour to read and think after I got my son off to school.  Before lunch I sat outside on my porch swing under a lap quilt with my journal. I enjoyed the cool, cloudy day and wrote down some of the many things I have to be grateful for.  I planted some flower seeds my son gave me for my birthday last fall.

Day 2:  I had to attend a Guild meeting I really couldn’t miss (I am the Secretary) but afterwards I stopped by Target and had a leisurely browse while picking up a few items for Valentine’s Day.  After dinner I watched a cheesy Hallmark Valentine movie and ate some peach sorbet.  It just felt right.

Day 3:  I woke feeling rather exhilarated at the thought of the whole day in front of me.  To my surprise I did my yoga and walked on the treadmill while e-mailing a friend.  I watched “This is Us” and then thought I would sort through my paper organizer in my office. But on my way to my office I passed my bedroom and the sun and breeze coming in the open window looked rather inviting and the next thing I knew I was taking a nap.  Until the dog barking at the UPS truck woke me up.

Day 4:  After spending the morning helping out at my son’s school I felt wiped out.  I came home, changed into some sweats and watched some basketball I had DVR’d.  After the Heat win (Go Team Go!) I started in on the U of A basketball game.  By halftime I realized I wasn’t really watching and crawled into bed to sleep until my son came home.  Then I came downstairs and watched the rest of the basketball game while he had his snack and did his homework.  Then I went back to bed and read until the house got quiet and I fell back asleep.

Day 5:  As much as I wanted to ignore reality the truth was there were many things that had to be done.  So I did them.

What did I learn during my five day break (that was really only four days)?  1. Sometimes I really need a chance to catch up on my sleep.  2. Even just an hour or two of quiet time may be enough to recharge my battery.  3. I really need to get outside more, I always seem to forget how much I enjoy my swing.

And on this Monday a week later?  I feel good, ready to get back into the swing of things and not just sit on my porch swing.  The break was a success.


I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day tomorrow!

I helped my son make shortbread cookies for his Grandparents. A little tip from me to you:  don’t put the candy google eyes on until after you bake them!  Seen here with mostly replacement eyes. 🙂 



Winter Part III: Snow

In my world you can’t have winter without a little snow. Three weeks ago the mountains got dumped on big time.  In less than an hour I can be at 10,000′.  Unless the road is closed.

On Sunday the 22nd we tried to go up the road to Mt. Lemmon to play in the snow but the road was still closed.  On Sunday the 29th we thought about trying again but due to heavy congestion the road was being monitored and not everyone was allowed to go up.


I was not to be deterred.  On Monday’s my son gets out of school early. (I have no idea why this is but it is convenient for scheduling dentist appointments, going to the library and running some errands.)  So this Monday was our snow day!  The road was open and dry with snow appearing around 6000′.  For a Monday afternoon there was a lot of traffic. We decided to stop at ~7500′ at Rose Canyon Lake as the snow there was plentiful enough. Yes it was over 50° but with all the snow it felt cold enough to be winter.

We built a tiny snowmen wearing a pinecone hat.


We threw snowballs at a pine tree.


My son did a little sledding on a plastic lid we found. (We left his sled in the truck by mistake.)


When we came home it was still over 70° but we had hot cocoa anyway.  And lasagna for dinner, pretending we needed a warming hearty meal after a good romp in the snow. Winter desert style, we take what we can get.



Winter Part II: Desert Style

For someone who is in slug mode I am actually getting a lot done.  All the basics are being kept up with, laundry, cooking, bill paying etc.  But this past weekend we made it all about wintery fun, desert style.

Friday night we had a family movie night.  We got the movie “E.T.” from the library, pizza from Papa John’s and Reese’s Pieces from my earlier commissary trip.  I suppose this isn’t unique to the desert but it felt like such a cold winter night thing to do.

Saturday night we went to see our local minor league hockey team play (The Roadrunners, meep meep).  It was cold in the arena, there was ice flying and guys skating really fast. Felt like winter to me.

On Sunday we decided to venture outdoors.  Sure it is winter but we decided to brave the crowds and take a hike at Sabino Canyon.  We didn’t have to brave the elements as it was 70° without a cloud in the sky.  Well, we did need sunscreen.  It was too crowded for my tastes but it was nice to see the creek really flowing with snow melt from up in the mountains.  The sky was a gorgeous blue and there was a bit of a Santa Ana breeze.  It was really nice just being outdoors.

I suppose we could have hiked to the snow if we had started crazy early in the morning.


The creek was really flowing with snow melt, right over the road. (Only used by the tram and official vehicles.)


Sabino Dam dressed in it’s winter finest.                                                                                  

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of my three part Winter series. 🙂