The Week in Review 4/25/18

This past weekend I gave myself an early Mother’s Day present, a weekend away. I drove to Laughlin, Nevada for a bowling tournament.

Something that surprised me:  I had no idea that there was anyplace left in the U.S. where you could smoke indoors.  When I went into the casino/hotel where I was staying I thought I had walked back in time to the 70’s or 80’s peering through a haze of smoke looking for the registration desk.

Something else that surprised me: My car has this funny quirk where sometimes the radio won’t work. Once I turn off the car and start it back up again it resumes working and it only happens once in a great while.  Of course it happened on the trip after a stop for gas.  I didn’t realize it had happened until I was back on the interstate so I decided to sing for myself.  Turns out the only songs I know the words to are Christmas Carols.  Really?  Really.  I tried Springsteen, Tom Petty, John Cougar Mellencamp, Elton John etc.  I had nothing but a few lines here and there.  So I sang Christmas songs for awhile and I did okay with a few (okay two: “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch”) television theme songs from the 70’s.  Crazy.

Something I enjoyed:  An early morning walk along the Colorado River.  The river was so clear and just beautiful.

The Colorado River, my hotel is on the right. 

A surprise place to visit in Arizona:  On my way home I went through Lake Havasu City to see THE London Bridge.  So cool!  I I had a very nice breakfast in the shadow of the bridge at a little cafe.

Yup, THE London Bridge, it just seems so bizarre that it is here in Arizona!

Something I am grateful for:  That I bowled decent, nothing spectacular but I didn’t embarrass myself.  And that I had a safe trip, always a little worried driving across the desert in the heat (though it wasn’t too hot thankfully).

 

And how was your week?

 

Photo Friday

This week’s theme is “for the birds”. As I was sitting in my newly arranged patio area I noticed a number of colorful little birds in the trees. Of course every time I grabbed my camera they disappeared but with patience I was able to get a few shots.

This one sat still for quite awhile (in bird time anyway) and I was able to get a few photos.

Here is one getting a drink from our dripping irrigation pipes. (We have a container underneath to catch the drips and we dump the water into our potted plants.)

And finally a little red number, very pretty.

 

Keep Your Focus!

The Week in Review 4/18/2018

Labor of love: Sometimes I like to color pictures to put in my son’s lunch and was trying to think of something fun to color now that we are getting near the end of the school year (only 25 lunches left to make, yeah!).  Duh, he is into all things Minecraft so I printed out a few pictures I found on-line.  Above is the picture of a “creeper”.  I believe he is bad but my son said I did a good job adding the squares and making it look “real”.

Something making me unhappy: Menopausal hormonal craziness aka MHC. I think it should be an official disease with an acronym.  My body has gone haywire and getting anything accomplished seems monumental, even writing this blog.  I have a strong desire to do absolutely nothing.

My favorite time of day:  The gloaming which means twilight or dusk.  I first learned the word gloaming from a Joyce Carol Oates short story.  I like to watch the color change on the mountains to the north from my swing or from my office window facing south (not having a good westerly view of any sort).  I do miss those long lingering twilights up north in July. Sigh.

 Taken a few minutes after sunset.

Something that made me happy:  (Well, as happy as one can get with MHC.) We cleaned up the backyard and rearranged the furniture and potted plants.  We do this every year in the hope of finding some magical combination that makes the area more appealing.  This year I feel a flicker of hope we may have hit the nail on the head.  I ate breakfast out there Monday morning and lunch on Tuesday and it all felt rather continental.

Paint Chip Poetry:  As part of my self imposed MHC therapy I chose 3 blue chips for sadness, one red chip for craziness and one yellow chip as a ray of hope.  (Paint chip words are in italics.)

The blues surround my heart

reflected by the lapis lazuli of an afternoon sky

And yet

As I drink lemonade in the shade of the old barn

I feel my blues drifting up

to become part of the indigo glow of the evening sky.

 

And how was your week?

Photo Friday

If you are only planning on going to the Grand Canyon once in your life I would not recommend 2018 be the year to do it. There is a lot of road construction going on. A LOT. This led to crazy crowded buses.  Like so crowded you couldn’t even get on.  We did a lot of walking which we were okay with.  There have also been water issues off and on since last fall. Apparently pipes keep breaking and the park is in various levels of conservation mode at any given time. When we first got there it was dry camping only but when we left a few days later water was restored. Consider yourself warned.

During all my picture taking I found the word “chiaroscuro” bouncing around my head.  I was hoping to get some shots of cloud shadows in the Canyon but it wasn’t meant to be. Still,  I took ~150 photos but don’t worry I am only putting a few in this post.

It was rather hazy most of the time we were there.

The Colorado River.

Every time I see the canyon walls I wish I could knit a sweater capturing the layered shades of red, cream and green. I think it would be cool if they sold yarn in these colors at the GC.

Keep Your Focus!

The Week in Review 4/11/18

I thought bad things happened in threes:  I have had to deal with two situations where there was no water:  the Grand Canyon and the bowling alley. Sort of worried about where it could happen next!

Something I am watching:  Repeats of “Grantchester” and I can’t wait for the new season. I never thought I would fall for a vicar but he is hunky!

 

Something new I learned: The secret to making yummy crispy nachos.  Bake your tortilla chips at 350° for 15 minutes.  Then top with grated cheese and cooked ground beef flavored with taco seasoning and pop back in the oven for ~5 minutes.  I then put the chips on plates and let everyone add their own toppings:  olives, salsa, jalapeños, tomatoes, sour cream, whatever you like.  I have this odd feeling I am the last cook to learn how to avoid soggy nachos.

Something that is making me happy:  The Miami Heat making it to the playoffs.  Their play has been so uneven this year I am a little surprised but thrilled to have at least a few more games to watch.

Goran Dragic is still my favorite player though I am loving the drive and versatility of Josh Richardson.

Something else that made me happy:  I found a new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)!  I love the idea of getting a selection of fresh, local produce every week and tried it a few years ago but it didn’t work out.  The pick up time and location was very inconvenient and it was year around.  This meant in the winter we got a lot of onions and dried beans and dried chilis. It just wasn’t for us.  But this Sunday I went to the Farmer’s Market and found a new CSA that looks quite promising so we are going to give it a try. I  looked at the planned crop list and it all looks tasty.  It starts early May and will go for 16 weeks.  The pickup is Sunday morning at the Farmer’s Market, much closer to my house than the other CSA.  And I can get my local eggs and any other items at the same time.  So excited!

How was your week?

 

2018 Aspirations Summary: March

This was a good month as far as learning about my eating habits.  I am feeling a tiny bit hopeful that I am going to be able to make the forever changes that I need to be healthy. But I have to admit to an epic fail for going 30 days without added sugar.  I made it two weeks and then the raging hormones kicked in.  Damn I wish menopause would just come on already!  On to some specifics.

Be Healthier

I have been wrestling with myself about how healthy is healthy enough.  I am trying to ditch the all or nothing mentality I seem to have about everything in life.  The reality is there are going to be days or situations that will make sticking to a plan impossible.  The trick is not to let one bad meal ruin a day or one bad day ruin a whole week.  And I can control just how “bad” a meal is to some degree.

The first half of the month I tracked when I ate and how I felt before and after as far as hunger went.  The second half of the month I tracked how much I enjoyed what I ate.  I learned meals aren’t my problem.  I seldom overeat and for the most part enjoy what I make at home.  When I did mindlessly snack I really didn’t enjoy it.  The problem is eating when I am not really hungry.  This happens on weekends when we are doing family things and stop to eat because everyone else is hungry.  Dinner time can also be difficult, I cooked it, everyone else is eating so it feels weird to skip dinner with the family (though I do eat smaller portions).  Listening to my own needs will continue to be a work in progress.

I used a number for how hungry/full I felt and a letter for why I ate for the first half of the month. The second half I used a 1-5 scale as to how much I enjoyed what I ate.

This month I did a much better job eating at local restaurants when we ate out.  It was easier to make healthier choices and I enjoyed the food more.  I have noticed that fast food and most junk food doesn’t have the same appeal as I eat better tasting, healthier food more often.

For April I am going to concentrate on really focusing on my food when I eat. This is a huge change that I am having difficulty with but I am going to persevere.  In my re-reading of “Food Rules an Eater’s Manual”  by Michael Pollan I am into the section about how to eat.  Perfect timing to reinforce all those things I know I should be doing.

Feet to the fire:  Weight on 1 March – 147.8.  Weight on 2 April – 144.0! I did yoga 19 times which with my shoulder I thought was pretty good.  Still doing an excellent job keeping my food log, really unhappy about all the red circles (candy or sweets) though. Can’t seem to win against the hormones.

Be Happier

I decided it was time to do a family activity that I got to choose  so we went to a photo exhibition down at the U of A Center for Creative Photography.  They have the archives for Ansel Adams and display a selection of photos.  It is a small gallery with no admittance fee so after lunch (and after my son’s bowling league on Saturday morning) we went to check it out.  I enjoyed it and my son tolerated it.  Since it was a small display we were there less than an hour and afterwards we took advantage of a cool cloudy day to walk around the campus and explore a bit.  My only regret is I didn’t take my camera, there were some lovely sights on the campus.  Next time.

I have been feeling a little guilty about the time I “waste” coloring.  The above picture of buttons is one I have been working on quite awhile interspersed with coloring pictures for Easter and Spring.  I have found when I don’t take those moments to sit and color I really miss it.  It is my form of meditation and I find the day goes much smoother when I take the time in the morning to sit quietly for a few minutes and empty my mind.  I had to remind myself it is not a “waste” of time but a good way to start and end the day.

Still fighting the hormones and depression.  Nothing seems to work these days so I keep slogging away reminding myself that it will get better, to be patient and take it one day, one hour at a time. And that it is perfectly okay to take a nap in the afternoon, no prescription needed!  Much better than eating a bunch of junk food that I don’t really want. Of course I was able to find a loophole, ha ha!

Food Rule #45  “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”    – Michael Pollan

Hello turtle brownies stashed in the freezer 🙂

Photo Friday

As I mentioned in this week’s earlier “Week in Review” post apparently I have not used any pictures from our many trips to the Grand Canyon in this blog.  This week (while I am actually at the Grand Canyon!) I thought I would do a theme showing my son and I over the years with the Grand Canyon as the backdrop.  I like being able to see how my son has changed over time.

 

March 2016 (age 8)

April 2014, the snowy year! He looks so much older than six!

April 2013

April 2012, age four was a very cute year!

Keep Your Focus!

The Week in Review 4/4/2018

You are reading this post through the wonders of technology because at this moment I am actually totally unplugged up at the Grand Canyon. So this is not a review of the whole week but an abbreviated post. I’ll answer any comments once I am back in civilization.

The Family Easter Basket:  When my son was born I started the tradition of having one family Easter basket.  Somehow I thought that if we had just one easter basket to share there would be less candy.  And the last few years I have bought a number of non-candy items for Easter like a badminton set or bubbles or little toys.  But looking at the bag of stuff for this year I realized that I would probably buy the same amount of candy to make three separate baskets.  Sigh. The good news is with one “shared” basket my husband pretty much plows through all the candy on Easter  so at least I eat less candy.  And my son gets his own bunny and some gummies so hopefully he won’t notice Dad eating all the jelly beans.

Favorite family game of the moment: Sagrada.  We got it for Christmas but didn’t play it much over the holiday. Now I find the more we play it the better I like it.

Something that is making me happy:  My shoulder is on the mend.  The cortisone shot helped with the pain and slowly my range of motion is coming back.  I have daily exercises that I am doing that actually feel pretty good.  I am feeling confident that I will be as good as new in a few weeks.

Something that surprised me:  Apparently I have never used any of my Grand Canyon pictures in this blog!  I couldn’t find any in my media library.  Strange.

From our last trip in March 2016.

And how was your week?