The Week in Review 2/28/18

Something I did right: This year I remembered to cut back my rose bush in January and give it some fertilizer.  With all the warm weather the new growth exploded.  Now I have to hope it survives our brief cold snap. I moved it against the house and under the awning and while we got close to freezing I don’t think we dipped below 32°.

What I read: “A Boy in Winter” by Racheal Seiffert. I enjoy WWII historical fiction and this book covered a facet I hadn’t read or even really thought about before. The story takes place in the Ukraine in November 1941. It covers three days and the stories of a few different people when the Germans show up. I have to confess I never thought about what it must have been like for Russians/Ukrainians when their country changed sides in the middle of the war.  The book was a bit disturbing to read not because it was too graphic but because much of the atrocities of WWII are difficult to think about.  I am glad I read this book though. It is one of those stories that haunts you after you have finished.

Something I am glad is over:  I finished the bin of shred! My “take care of a nagging task” is completed.  Ten minutes a day was the perfect amount of time, the waste basket filled up but the shredder didn’t overheat. Now I suppose I should clean out the second file drawer.  Maybe in April or May.

Four days off:  Normally when my son has a school break we go camping but that didn’t work out for the four day February break which was a bummer.  (My son wasn’t off school for President’s day when we did go camping, he missed a day of school because in our world President’s Day is a holiday.  Here in Tucson they celebrate rodeo break later that week instead of President’s Day.) My husband had to work and I knew my son would want to spend every available moment on the computer.  I considered feigning illness (known as malingering in the military) and hiding in bed the whole four days but instead I made a plan. And yes my son and I fought about computer time but we also ran errands and worked on math and made rice krispie treats. We had to use chocolate marshmallows because Trader Joe’s was out of regular ones (for shame TJ’s!) and it turns out trying to shape the sticky treats in a timely fashion is not easy. (Yes, I remembered to butter our hands.) We did our best and they still tasted good.

I used a cookie cutter to help shape this butterfly.
We did a mix of cookie cutter and  freeform designs.  Can you identify a snowman, snake, happy face (2), dog bone(2) and cowboy hat?  And of course some are just abstract designs.


New High Score in Scrabble:  I have a new record score: 458!  With the seven letter word, “Canyons” and I got more than my fair share of “the good letters.”  Take that you cheatin’ computer!


So how was your week?

Photo Friday

Three evenings worth of sunsets.  An old mining town tourist attraction is what is barely visible in front of the setting sun.  The above photo is the Superstition Mountains reflecting the sunset. (FYI, I did no retouching of these photos, in case you were wondering.)

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

This one makes me think of the ocean.

Keep your focus!


The Week in Review 2/21/18

Most of this week was spent preparing to go camping, camping and now post camping recovery (ie. loads and loads and loads of laundry!)

Camping: We went camping at Lost Dutchman State Park in the Superstition Mountains.  The weather was decent and I got in a lovely solo hike Saturday afternoon and took lots of pictures.  We also had three fabulous sunsets which I am sure will be showing up on Photo Friday.

Favorite camping meal: While I enjoy roasting a hot dog over the fire my favorite meal was a taco salad.  I browned ground turkey at home and added some homemade taco seasoning.  At the campsite I heated up the meat and served it over lettuce with cherry tomatoes, salsa, shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream.  De-lish.

Weather:  I discounted winter too soon.  We had  two days of fairly steady,  though light, rain last week and more on Monday night.  We were lucky Friday morning there was no rain as we loaded the trailer but it started up again around lunch time and rained halfway to Apache Junction.  This week looks to be marvelously cool (50°s) with more rain possible.

I was trying for a blurred background effect to highlight the rain droplets on the branch.  I almost succeeded!

Something that brought me joy:  Seeing a hummingbird having breakfast at my lemon tree.  They are excellent pollinators and maybe I’ll get more than four lemons this year.

Something I watched:  “Green Dolphin Street”.  It was odd seeing Lana Turner and Donna Reed in the same movie but it worked.

Just for fun I snapped some pics as the kids were blowing bubbles, love this one.

And how was your week?


The Week in Review 2/14/18

Favorite meal of the week:  Lasagna. Ever since I started using ground sausage in the sauce it has been crazy yummy.  I don’t know why I only make it once or twice a year but I suppose that keeps it special.

The orange tree (part 1):  We have one very prolific orange tree and it had become rather overgrown.  This year we picked all the oranges at once so my husband could trim the tree back (hopefully in time for it to make blossoms for oranges next year).  We wondered what to do with our bounty and learned we could donate it to a food bank.  I took 64 pounds of oranges to the Inter Faith Community food bank.  Made me very happy they didn’t go to waste!

The orange tree (part 2): I noticed a dove building a nest on the top of our fence sheltered by the overgrown branches of the orange tree. I was hoping to get it trimmed before they got too far along with their building but we were too late.  A completed nest with two eggs appeared over night. So most of the tree got trimmed back but we left a few sheltering branches for the mama bird.

Something I enjoyed:  Making Valentines.  I just made a few to keep my son company while he filled out his class valentines.  I loved choosing stickers and putting together a few cute little cards.

Something that made me happy:  My spouse fixed the cover over my “front porch” swing. The sun is already warm here and I appreciate the shade.


I love this quote, reminds me I can do anything through hard work:

“Genius, that power which dazzles mortal eyes,

Is oft but perseverance in disguise.”   — Henry Willard Austin

The Week in Review 2/7/18

(Above is a lizard I found clinging to the vacuum hose in our pool.  The water is pretty cold right now and after I took his picture I fished him out.)

About four inches long, it took him awhile to warm up and go on his way.

Something I am reading:  Actually I finished “The Baker’s Secret” by Stephen Kiernan. I loved this book and hated to see it end. I would love to read about what happens next and a prequel of what happened before, would have made a good trilogy I think.  If you liked “The Nightingale” or “All the Light We Cannot See” you will like this book too!

Something that brought me joy:  The Eagles beating the Patriots, Nick Foles catching a TD pass and the Eagles Defense finally shutting Chris Collinsworth up about all of Brady’s past exploits.

The weather:  Apparently we are not having much in the way of  winter monsoon rains this year which is a bad thing. But less flowers means less pollen and that is good for my allergies.

Something I accomplished: I cleaned off the top of the computer desk.  This desk is used by my husband and son but I have a direct view of it from the kitchen and the clutter was driving me nuts.

Paint Chip Poetry: (It’s a real thing. I got it for Christmas.)  The six words I pulled are in italics.

                          In the mountain town folks drank champagne from antique rose colored glasses and feted the survival of another winter.   A small girl sat on the cliff’s edge playing with her sand dollar and dreamt of the ocean in summer while overhead a starship sped by unaware of  any season at all.

I enjoyed writing the poem though I don’t see myself becoming a poet.  Not enough imagination I fear.  But it will be fun to do this once in awhile.

How was your week?


2018 Aspirations Summary: January

I knew January was going to be a transition month. I wasn’t expecting to start out perfect and just continue on. Actually I wanted to start out slow and make gradual but permanent changes. Well, it certainly has started out slow.  The first week we were still celebrating the holidays and the second week we were adjusting back to the day to day schedule and there was a lot of holiday food still around.  It took me until the end of the month to start to wrap my head around what I needed to do to meet my goals.

Be Healthier

Surprisingly I did a really good job with my food tracking.  The pages I selected to use in a Bullet Journal work perfectly.  The good news is towards the end of the month I started to do a decent job with not snacking. The bad news is I ate 25 cookies over the course of the month. All but five were homemade,  but still.  And eight chocolate covered pretzels from Trader Joe’s (full size, not minis). And there were a few mentions of chocolates and ice cream.  Yikes!  Moving on…

I am very pleased with how much yoga I did.  It helps that it felt really good.  I did yoga 14 days and one day of Qigong.

Eating out at only local restaurants was an epic fail.  Will have to try harder and plan better in February.

Be Happier

I am not going to lie, this was a tough month.  Exhaustion and moodiness seemed to dominate. I am hoping it is just the peri-menopause spiral.  At fifty-one I have to be getting close to full on menopause even though I haven’t even started the twelve month count down yet.   I can imagine my body trying to crank out hormones and flooding my system with who knows what and making me feel like shit. Hoping it is not my thyroid though I do wonder how one affects the other. Bottom line, not very happy this month.

But I did do a lot of thinking about what I can change, what I can let go of and what I can add to help myself through this period.  I went to bed earlier,  napped once in awhile and holed up in my office or bedroom when I needed my space. I decided to simplify dinners, get more help around the house and accept that somedays it is best just to say f*%$ it and retreat to bed with a book and a mug of tea and let everyone else fend for themselves.  Yes, I actually did that one Sunday.

I am re-reading Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” one month at a time.  I don’t want to do it all but be selective as to what fits with my goals. (Look at me being smartly flexible!) For January’s theme of “Boost Energy”  I opted to tackle just one goal  and address “a nagging task”.  I have been doing ten minutes of shred, six days a week.  I do feel a sense of relief at making progress on this long overdue project and that does make me feel happier.

I don’t know if this falls under Healthier or Happier (maybe both?) but just out of curiosity I decided to track my television viewing habits.  I don’t feel like I watch too much tv but then I grew up in the 70’s when watching tv was what everybody did, at least at night during the winter.  Over the course of the month I watched ten movies, six football games, eight basketball games and six shows (multiple episodes of “This is Us” and “The Kid’s Baking Championship).  Two days I didn’t watch anything at all.  What does this tell me?  I have no idea.  Any thoughts?

Over and over again I remind myself that this phase of life doesn’t last forever.  Everything I have read says most women feel a lot better once in menopause.  Energy returns, brain fog lifts, emotions settle and I am hoping for less joint pain.  Fingers crossed.

And this concludes the January once in a blue moon month in review.