Less Horrendous New Year: Day 7

I did my third hike of Christmas today and while I tried not to trip over rocks I mulled over what I was thankful for. I realized my good health and good health insurance were pretty important. Obviously if I wasn’t in good health long hikes would be impossible. And having health insurance brings peace of mind and allows one to hike without worrying so much about getting hurt.

Health and health insurance are two of those things I don’t think about because I have them. But if I didn’t have them how horrible life would be. So today I am grateful for my health and my health insurance.

In keeping with my realistic expectations for 2021 I would like to wish everyone a Less Horrendous New Year!

I hiked to “Seven Falls” which has no water at all so I am changing the name to “Seven Unfalls”.
It was a lovely day for a hike, cool, a bit cloudy. You can see part of the trail in the lower third of the pic.

Merry Christmas: Day 6

The halfway point of our holiday gratitude finds me longing for a bit of rest. Today I am grateful to make time to work on my Christmas puzzle while drinking a mug of cocoa and then watching “The Family Stone”. The perfect quiet, lazy afternoon!

This was me watching the gag reel!

Merry Christmas: Day 5

Today I am thankful I found out that military retirees, in addition to active duty members, have free access to National Parks. Apparently this started on Veteran’s Day of this year and will continue until further notice.

My second hike was this morning at Saguaro National Park. All this beauty for free!

Clouds and my favorite….shadows on the mountains!
This is called a cacti forest!

Merry Christmas: Day 4

Today I am grateful for productivity. I got everything on my to-do list done. I started taking another supplement and find myself in a better mood and more energetic. Or maybe it is from all the Christmas chocolate I have been eating? Whatever.

One of my tasks today was to sort out some clothes. I filled two totes with clothes that I seldom wear but am not ready to part with. (Mostly heavier items like sweaters and sweatshirts.) I filled a third tote with autumn clothes. I also filled a bag with items to donate. I swear I heard my closet sigh with happiness at acquiring a little breathing room.

I also cleared out some space in my office. Always happy to keep things organized in the space I spend the most time in.

Merry Christmas: Day 3

Today I am grateful for keeping a promise to myself. My gift to myself for the 12 days of Christmas is to do six hikes interspersed with more lazy activities the other days. I have been walking quite regularly over at Sabino Canyon and I thought it would be a nice gift to explore some new places. Today I did my first Christmas hike. I knew most places would be rather crowded with it being a holiday weekend and temps in the 70’s so I chose a hike accordingly.

I did Babad Do’ag trail off the Catalina Highway. I tried this hike once a few years ago but didn’t get to the end. A little over four miles, an out and back, with an elevation gain around 1200′. So pretty steep going out, easier coming back downhill. Not too crowded, beautiful scenery, some wispy clouds. A lovely morning.

Happy Christmas: Day 2

In some countries, most notably England, today is Boxing Day. This was the day the poor and the servants had their holiday celebrations. It is called Boxing Day for two reasons from days of yore. One, this is the day the churches opened the poor ‘boxes’ (after being filled on Christmas Day by the more well off) and distributed the alms. Two, this was the day the servants in the big manor houses got their Christmas ‘boxes’ and their holiday time off. Being an anglophile I have been celebrating Boxing Day for years.

Today I am grateful I get to use my dining room as a dining room for the second time this year. (The first was Thanksgiving.) Christmas dinner is a low key affair in my house, homemade turkey potpie eaten in the kitchen. But today we have the fancy dinner, beef wrapped in pastry, cauliflower au gratin, apple salad, all eaten in the dining room with candles on the table and Christmas Crackers next to each plate. I will spend the day talking in an awful faux British accent and saying things like “Cheerio my good chap” and use British swear words like “bloody” and “wanker”. And I will enjoy every minute of it. Time to make myself a cuppa.


Merry Christmas! Day One

Not everyone realizes that 25 December is the FIRST day of Christmas. The twelve days continue through 5 January (“Twelfth Night”, Shakespeare anyone?). I have impulsively decided to write at least one thing I am grateful for each of the 12 days of Christmas. Here we go…

Today I am thankful for rain. We didn’t get a lot but this year has been so hot and dry every little bit feels wondrous. To wake up this morning to the patter of rain drops felt like a Christmas miracle!

Photo Friday: Holiday Decorating

I have been in my current home nine years now and still don’t have a set Christmas decorating plan down. Maybe I am destined to change things up every year. Overall I am pretty happy with the way things turned out this year. Except for the dining room light. I have already decided to go look at the clearance stuff after Christmas and see if I get any ideas. Here are a few of my new favorite spots this year.

I almost left these garlands in the garage because I didn’t like them on the upstairs railing last year. But I hauled them in “just in case”. Turns out I love them on the picture frames!
My Agatha Christies all gussied up for Christmas.
I had no idea what to do with this garland (and couldn’t even remember where I had it last year) until I thought to put it above the stairwell. And I like it.
My village scene keeps growing and now has been divvied up into three different locations. These are the hodge-podge pieces and work nicely in this narrow (height wise) space.
The nativity portion in now on the bookcase in the upstairs hallway. (Nice and peaceful there for the Holy Family)
And finally our Lego village in the dining room. We added the gingerbread house at the far end this year and I wish I could live there!

One last photo. I found this sweater in the grocery store of all places!

I couldn’t pass this up, it is too perfect to wear to “The Nutcracker” ballet later this month!

Here’s to a wonderful holiday season!

Flash Fiction: Gnomes

The prompt for this week from Carrot Ranch is to write about a gnome. I am drowning in Christmas right now: cards, baking, potlucks wrapping… I opted to go with the flow and not fight it. I figure if I could tie Key Lime Pie to the holidays how hard could a gnome be? 🙂 A little research revealed some interesting bits and pieces about gnomes so maybe this letter could be considered historical fiction!

Dear Santa,

         My name is Terrence and I am a gnome working as a guard in a diamond mine.  While I know this work is important it is not my true passion.  What I really love to do is make toys and ornaments. I love glitter!

         I have heard there are gnomes who make sleigh bells and I would be happy to do that if there was an opening available.

         I believe I can be an asset to your North Pole operation and will be ready for pickup on Christmas Eve if you will have me.


Terrence Sparkle