I know I have posted photos of the rose garden at Reid Park before, but the bushes are just so beautiful I always take more photos every visit. Thanksgiving weekend was the annual arts and crafts festival. The festival was a bit of a disappointment as the two vendors we specifically went there for were not there this year! But we caught the tail end of a blooming cycle in the rose garden so it was worth the trip. Enjoy!
I always feel a little off balance this time of year. Thanksgiving weekend is over but I am not ready to jump into Christmas. I prefer to wait until 1 December to go all holiday.
It is hard for me to let go of autumn, it is my favorite season. I love the angle of the light and the smells and the leaves.
Christmas is a lot of work, a marathon of busyness. I am already looking at what I can cut from the to-do list, scaling back the baking list and thinking about where I can trim back on the decorating. I look at the calendar and make sure I schedule downtime, movie time, early bedtime.
For this week I am deep breathing and sitting and contemplating. I am focusing on how I want to feel over the next month, not what I want/need to accomplish. I remind myself that I need to enjoy the process. There is no sense in baking/wrapping/decorating if I am hating doing it. I need to keep things manageable.
I need to take care of myself. You need to take care of yourself too. Take some time this week to remember what is important to you. And keep that in your thoughts as you shop, cook, wrap and decorate.
Happy last week of November everyone!
This is what I am thankful for this week:
- Cleaning the house as a family Sunday afternoon.
- A big ol’ turkey.
- My simple outdoor decorations for this holiday.
- Cooler weather (especially for Thursday, roasting a turkey in 85° weather is not fun).
- My son and I doing food prep together Wednesday.
- Watching the Macy’s parade in my Thanksgiving jammies. (I really don’t know why everybody doesn’t have a pair of Thanksgiving pj’s!)
- Looking forward to so many things this weekend: a hike, a bowling turkey shoot, the last U of A football game and visiting an arts and crafts festival.
I hope you have a great Thanksgiving weekend!
I know when you hear “Veteran’s Day” you expect photos of flags, parades or Veterans. But we celebrate Veteran’s Day by going hiking at Madera Canyon. Since my husband and I are both veterans we feel we can celebrate however we want. And for me the freedom to go find a taste of autumn is what makes me happy. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t remember the sacrifices so many have made for me to have the freedoms that I do. My heart is filled with all those who served, voluntarily and involuntarily over the course of the years. A hike may not be a traditional way to honor those who served but it is my way.
We hiked the Carrie Nation trail. Only three miles but a steep, rocky climb. We got to scuff through leaves!
Nice and chilly and we found some beautiful color.
Another part of the tradition is hot cocoa and cookies at the end of our hike. Always the same cookie, oatmeal with reese’s pieces, more fall color!
Okay, here is a picture of a veteran! I am always curious as to what bloggers look like and if they have a picture how current it is…so here I am! (Photo taken by my guy down below.)
Blue painters tape, a countdown to Christmas activity calendar and a Singer typewriter. What do these three things have in common? Absolutely nothing except this blog post.
Blue Painters Tape: A little tip from me to you, keep a roll in your kitchen junk drawer. I use it for two main things, labeling containers going in the freezer and putting up decorations. No sticky residue on plastic lids, easy to write on with a Sharpie and no damage to walls or decorations. See that turkey above? Blue tape making him fly on the mantle. I love this stuff!
Advent Countdown Activity Book: Actually I am not sure what to call it but I saw it at Target and thought it looked fun but I knew my eleven year old would never bother with it. Then I looked at all the coloring and I thought, who loves to color? Me! So I bought it for myself. It will provide a little pocket of peace each day during the hectic holiday preparations.
Singer Typewriter: Early this year I got it into my head that I wanted a little manual typewriter. Do I need a typewriter? No. But I wanted one. I kept picturing myself sitting outside at my little table under the umbrella typing letters and making notes for some sort of writing work in process. Last week I took a spontaneous two hour drive to the Mesa Typewriter Exchange and bought this little beauty.
It was sold under the Singer name (sewing machines) but was really made by Royal.
It was actually a pretty crazy thing to do and I was lucky Bill had any for sale, he mostly does repair work. I had four options though and tried them all out. This one felt the best and was a cool color. Double bonus, it was the cheapest of them (pretty rare as I usually pick the most expensive) and came with a smashingly smart case (pictured behind the typewriter above) stamped “Made In Holland”. My first Dutch item!
As I write these posts each month I find that my current situation colors what I remember about the previous month. I try and jot down a few notes about topics I want to address but my feelings tend to be lost to the nether regions of time. So for this month I am going to try and write the post as the month goes on.
October 10th: After such a poetic opening paragraph I now find myself drawing a blank! The weather has cooled down and we even got some rare October rain. I can feel myself fighting to be happy, I want to be happy but my insomnia has returned and being tired all the time is a drag.
Physically my breasts are killing me by the end of the day. I bought some bra extenders which help a little. I have had a little spotting here and there and lots of weepy feelings over odd things.
All I want to do is cocoon at home with books and movies and pumpkin treats but the first week of October was filled with errands and simple chores that my heart wasn’t in. I struggled through and was happy to climb into bed with my book each night. I just started “Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams” by Susan Branch. I kind of hate her because she is living the life I want!
I did get my mammogram done and then promptly forgot all about it. I was surprised to get the results today, just the normal very dense tissue and lots of cysts report. Since I get a mammogram every year they have lots of comparison images so I feel good about the interpretation of the lumps. (My mother died of breast cancer at the age of 33 so I am extra vigilant but at this stage I think my odds are the same as everyone else’s for getting breast cancer.)
I have been thinking about getting my hair dyed. I have some “silver”, not too much but enough that I wonder if I would look younger without it. And then today the woman who cleans my bathrooms gave me the best compliment (totally out of the blue!), she said I look younger every time she sees me! We discussed the gray situation and I am still dithering but wow her comment really gave a nice boost to my ego.
October 17th: The tedium and minutia of day to day life is killing me. I barely have the energy to keep up with the basics like laundry and cooking. My apathy is scaring me. Why am I convinced it is so wrong to just sit for a spell and wait for this phase to pass?
Physically I feel like I am getting my period, bloated breasts, the need to eat junk when I am not the least bit hungry, weepiness, backache and low cramps. And let’s not forget a return of insomnia and leg/foot cramps. But not a speck of bleeding. I tell myself this is a good sign but what do I know?
October 26th: Still feel like my body is trying to have a period, mostly with the backache and fatigue these days. I have had a little bit of spotting but no real period. Emotionally I have been up and down. I wake up and do my yoga and shower and find myself thinking I feel pretty good and looking forward to the day. By 3:00p I am starting to drag, by 6:00p I am longing for bed and at 8:00p I crawl into bed with my book feeling quite apathetic. I have been extra busy these days, just one of those stretches filled with long to-do lists and many outside activities. I try and get a little extra sleep but it just isn’t happening.
I have the illogical feeling that if I can muddle through to the end of the year that January will find me feeling much better physically and mentally. I know this isn’t logical. I wonder if it is just what I need to tell myself to get through this two and a half month long marathon holiday fest?
November 3rd: Well I got my period and now I feel much better. Just a normal period which was a relief (I was afraid it was going to be one of those that last 3 weeks). My skin is oily these days with a few tiny bumps on my chin, not really seen but I can feel them. Acne at my age and with all these crazy feelings makes total sense. Why not add as much as possible to the pot of misery?
I did a really good job with exercising, yoga and meditation this month and despite all my hormonal craziness I feel like I survived with a modicum of grace.
I figured out that night sweats were causing my insomnia. I was just getting warm, not really hot (maybe due to the cooler weather?) but it was enough to wake me up.
On the eating front I was pretty surprised to find that I held steady at 145lbs despite eating whatever I wanted. (Until I stepped on the scale this morning but since it is now November we won’t go there, damn Halloween!) I really do want to go low to moderately- low carb and I am thinking about the best way to do this in a way that can be permanent. There needs to be some flexibility but also some firm rules. (Does that make sense?) I am going to read “Better Than Before” by Gretchen Ruben and I am also looking at ways to use my bullet journal to keep me on track. The Goal is to have a plan/system in place for January 7th. Fingers crossed.
So how would I sum up October? I learned time isn’t my problem, energy is as regards getting things done and my mood. This includes eating healthy which takes more energy than grabbing junk. After my two weeks of bliss in August I also feel pretty confident that once I get into actual menopause life will be better. Fingers still crossed.
I decided to enter a 99 word Flash Fiction Challenge at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community just for fun!
This is the November First challenge: Write a story about a festival of lights. Here is my go at it:
Every December the family went to the huge light display in Winterhaven. Mom complained about the crowds, the kids complained about the cold and Dad complained about the cost. But it was a family tradition. This year Mom said she just couldn’t face it and Dad didn’t want to pay so they didn’t go.
On Christmas Eve, once it got dark, Mom said, “Everyone get your coats on, we have a hole in our holiday that needs to be filled”. They walked through their still, silent neighborhood, savoring all the small light displays, happy to continue their family tradition.
My favorite outside Halloween decoration is to gather leaves and scatter them by the front door and along the walkway for the kids to scuff through. I always get a few comments about the leaves. Most people are baffled about where they came from in a yard filled with nothing but cacti!
This year I gathered them up at Mt. Lemmon the week before Halloween and was lucky enough to catch the trees in a golden glory. No words necessary.
And finally, floating candles that looked very cool in the dark.