Woman: “Oh look dear they have eggnog! Do you want some?”
Man: “Well, tis the season.”
Me: “No it’s not! (Said with true horror.) That eggnog is totally going to clash with your Halloween candy.”
Woman and man both look at me and kind of laugh, and then she reaches for the eggnog and I turn back to the eggs. Oops.
I worry about Thanksgiving. That one day it will be totally lost as the world jumps straight from Halloween to Christmas. If I had to pick a favorite holiday it would be Thanksgiving. The whole weekend. Football and food. The Macy’s parade. A neighborhood stroll after dinner and before dessert. Autumn leaves and the smell of roasting turkey. The movie “Rudy” and the traditional Territorial Cup game between U of A and ASU. Leftover turkey sandwiches on good bread with mayo and cranberry sauce. The annual craft fair at Reid Park and buying my locally made calendar for next year. Playing FEAST bingo and other board games. Napping. It is my ideal weekend, a nice mix of staying home and getting out, cooking and then not having to cook. A well-balanced weekend.
DON’T SKIP THANKSGIVING!!
My hat rather turned out a “fright”, just not exactly the way I thought it would.
I went inside the Dollar store to look for some “bling” to add to my Witch hat and froze with fear when faced with aisles of Christmas items! Talk about a Halloween scare! Luckily I found the one remaining aisle of Halloween stuff and a few items to jazz up my hat.
Last weekend we went camping at Chiricahua National Monument near Willcox, AZ. Pure bliss!
On the way down we stopped at Apple Annie’s and picked pumpkins and did the corn maze. A very muddy corn maze but we enjoyed it anyway.
We found some fall color on our hike to Far Away Ranch. The weather was perfect, not hot, not too chilly.
Far Away Ranch has a great history filled with strong women. The fireplace was made from stones taken from a monument to President Garfield that was falling down. The names were chiseled by Buffalo Soldiers stationed there before Far Away Ranch became Far Away Ranch.
We had a wonderful tour of the house led by Ranger Anne.
In the afternoon we hiked to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. This is an old fire lookout tower and proof that we went all the way to the top.
At one point we actually hiked through the mountain!
I would have thought it was too cold for the snakes to be out, especially in the shade, but apparently not. This is a black tailed rattlesnake I believe, right near the beginning of the trail. Luckily other hikers gave us a heads up preventing any heart attacks.
Still there on the trip back, we had marked his spot with a small rock cairn so as to not get caught unawares.
There are no fire pits at Bonita Canyon Campground so we brought our own, perfectly legal. The rangers will let you have a small fire in the grill (if there are no fire restrictions of course!) This was much nicer and we cooked hot dogs and s’mores the first night. It was perfect sitting around the fire weather.
Okay, while seeing the snake on the hike and a skunk (which I did not take pictures of) one night near our campsite (when I was sitting alone by the fire!) did not exactly bring me joy it was still cool (you know, afterwards). But this guy brought a smile to my face:
The mom had already crossed the road and then I came along and the fawn stopped and I stopped and I told him to go ahead. I could see the mama deer anxiously looking back and after a moments hesitation the baby deer bounded across the road and caught up to his mama. We saw a lot of deer, they know they are safe in the National Park area during hunting season.
The weather is in the 70’s here! 70’s!!!! And rain. I think this is my first October rain since moving here. In the eight years I have lived here we have mostly still been in the 90’s this time of year, I cannot articulate how happy I am! Okay, actually I am going to try and find my words and share my joy of all things autumn.
Clothes: I know wearing long pants shouldn’t be such a big deal but it is. There are people here who dress seasonally no matter the actual weather. And they look stupid wearing boots and down vests and turtleneck sweaters when the high is 92°. And some people wear shorts and flip-flops year around and they look stupid shivering in the 50° morning temps.
Me? I compromise and dress for the actual temperature but wear seasonal colors. And this year I am actually wearing 3/4 or long sleeve shirts in October. Not heavy ones but t-shirts in oranges and browns and reds. And did I mention long pants! Not just capris but all the way to the floor pants.
Movies: I am ready to watch “Hocus Pocus”, a “Good Witch” marathon and “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” (On TCM the 27th!).
Books: I just finished “Royal Blood” by Rhys Bowen and now I am rereading “The Diva Haunts the House” by Krista Davis. After that I have some Stephen King short stories and I need to resume reading “Dracula” which I started last October but didn’t finish.
Cartoons: “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” of course and my favorite “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” with Bing Crosby. It is a Disney version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, scary and funny.
My current work in progress that I hope I really do turn into a pillow when it is done:
I just have the background left to fill in.
Jigsaw puzzles and coloring pictures with autumn themes. Often times the smallest things make me the happiest.
In the kitchen I am loving using these new plates:
This week we enjoyed pumpkin spice pudding and Tasty Kakes pumpkin spice mini donuts and spiced apple cider. And hot cinnamon apple spiced tea, yum!
Autumn smells: Vanilla pumpkin candle from Trader Joe’s and Autumn Leaves wax scent from Michael’s.
My latest ‘thing’ is to light the candle in the jar while I do the dinner dishes. Why is candlelight so homey?
So there you have it, the sights, smells and tastes of autumn!
My 5 year old chrysanthemum blooming at the perfect time!
My five year old chrysanthemum blooming at just the right time!
Even hormonal craziness can’t keep me from doing cartwheels over this lovely autumn weather we are having: 70’s and rain over the weekend, now lovely cool air and that angular autumn sunshine. It is a huge relief to open the windows since the house has been closed up since April!
At the last U of A football game we went to I noticed three things:
Oddest item I have seen to date (now that we have to use clear plastic totes): a woman had a pack of post-it notes. Still can’t figure out why you would need post-its at a football game.
Two rows in front of us a middle-aged woman’s shorts split from waist to hem, a really big tear, at the beginning of the game. Fortunately she was wearing “granny panties” and we didn’t have to see more than that and she did try and keep her t-shirt tugged down. Still, kind of odd having to look at that the whole game. (Of course I tried not to look but it was like a car wreck, you just couldn’t help yourself.) Luckily she didn’t stand up too much.
I saw a woman with a clipboard and she had pictures you color on it. But she didn’t color them, just kept adding details with a black pen. At first I thought she was designing pages for people to color but as she put in more and more details I sort of doubted it. And the first picture she detailed said “Have a nice day bitches”. Seemed a strange thing to do at a football game but to each his own. And it was a nice night to sit outside and color. Or not color in her case but add doodles to a picture.
When it rains it pours.
Getting rain where I live in the desert southwest is a rare and wondrous thing. I love rainy days but I love them best when I can enjoy them from inside the house. I don’t like to drive in the rain here as it can be quite hazardous. Because of the terrain there is usually a lot of ponding on the roads and some actually turn into washes when it rains hardish. Plus most people here suck at driving in rain. They don’t slow down or allow extra stopping distance or avoid that huge puddle which has now blinded the driver in the next lane. And yes they will tailgate you if you slow down.
That being said now that I have the Subaru I don’t drive my Saab in the rain. My Saab is not replaceable and I really love that car. Plus the Subaru has more ground clearance and all wheel drive so it just makes sense to drive it in the rain. Unless of course your husband’s truck won’t start.
It was pouring rain (rare) and an equally rare Saturday where we had to be in two different places. So I told my husband to take the Subaru and I would take the Saab. Only one problem, the truck is in the driveway behind the Saab in the garage. So in the pouring rain we had to push the truck out into the street. Ever tried to steer a truck without the power steering? I ended up pushing because it was easier! At least we had a tiny slope to work with.
And then when my husband got back he tried to start the truck again that afternoon and it started. He left it parked on the street as I was still out in the Saab. That night he was going up to Phoenix to a hockey game and I told him to take the Subaru just in case. And when he got home he went to move the truck back into the driveway, no of course it didn’t start. So we called AAA on Sunday who confirmed it wasn’t the battery (my original diagnosis was the starter, we’ll see if I am right) and we got it towed to the shop up the street where the Saab was already scheduled to get a new tire (slow leak that has been driving me nuts, they already tried to fix it once) on Monday.
So now I am worried, things happen in threes so I take that to mean something should go wrong with the Subaru. At least that car is under warranty. And my husband will be driving it until the truck is fixed so hopefully if something does go wrong he is the one that will be stranded. Wow, that was mean but really who wants to be stuck on the side of the road?
I tried to write this post last week but it just wasn’t happening. I had an unusually busy week and felt rather depressed. Truth? September was a sucky month, especially after how great I felt the second half of August. I got a normal period in September and found myself back on the hormonal roller coaster. It was devastating because I really thought I was entering the 12 month countdown to menopause. Why did I think this? Apparently I just really, really wanted it to be so.
With the advent of cooler temperatures I am regaining some perspective. Getting into menopause is quite the marathon.
Allergies started back up which totally did not help anything. My insomnia returned for a spell making life just that much harder. For most of September I felt tired and foggy.
I have given up the low carb strategy for now. I really think low carb is the long term answer for me and plan on getting back on the wagon either in January or once the hormones subside. It has been the one eating strategy that really killed the mindless cravings and had me eating less.
Swimming ended for the season, my last swim was the 30th, much later than in the past. I have to say swimming really felt good this year and I am looking forward to an early start next year. But I was more than ready to adopt an “autumn lifestyle” and return to walking, mostly on the treadmill as I waited for cooler temps. I have found a mix that works well for my treadmill walks: 20 minutes reading, 20 minutes playing a game of Scrabble against the computer and 20 minutes of doing a virtual walk through autumn scenery.
I am ignoring the scale for now. Not sure how this is going to work but I am eating pretty much whatever I want. I got tired of all the stress and guilt. I know why I want pumpkin everything: to give myself the delusion of autumn. This is the hardest time of year for me, I am seriously craving cool weather and sweaters and long pants and pretty leaves. Well I can’t have those for a few more months but I can have pumpkin chili and pumpkin muffins and color pictures with autumn leaves. So far all my clothes still fit so I will stick with making autumn happen the only ways I can.
I switched from bowling on Thursday nights to Tuesday mornings and it is working out really well. Two person teams so the bowling goes quickly and then I run to the commissary and shop for just one week at a time. When I get home I usually feel rather wiped out and I take a break and watch “The Halloween Baking Championship”.
I finished my writing class and am now working on my story outline. I really learned a lot and will sign up for a second class in January which I am already looking forward to.
Meditation. I must admit I think it is making a difference. I am more aware of what I am thinking and feeling and getting better at stopping and asking why I am thinking/feeling something. And that helps. My new mantra is “if that is the worst thing that happens to me today my life is pretty good”. Really helps to keep things in perspective (yes I am talking about you after school car line chaos).
Sometimes I feel like I have made so little progress this year but then I think about the many aha moments I have experienced and see all the data I am collecting. I am looking forward to sitting down and writing my findings out for myself.
The biggest thing I have found is hope. I know once I actually get into menopause I will feel so much better physically and that will spill over into feeling better mentally. The scariest thing is learning that I could have to continue living with this misery for several more years. Yes, years more of sleeplessness, uncontrollable eating, weeping at everything, ballooning breasts, brain fog and apathy. And now I wonder if I should look into hormonal therapy. I keep telling myself just see what happens next month and I have a few good weeks like in August and think, phew I made it but then the next month comes and I feel like crap again.
It is a tough decision and one that I know only I can make. I am at the point where I feel like I need to see the doctor and get more information and mull that over for awhile, secretly hoping all the time that I will just go into menopause and be relieved from making the decision. My biggest worry with hormone therapy is that any relief I find from current symptoms will be offset by different side effects. But I won’t know until I try. What is a grown woman to do? That is the question.