Common Sense in Uncommon Times

I know I have said this before and used the same picture* but I really feel it can’t be said enough these days, COMMON SENSE people! It is taking me a few days to wrap my head around this new “normal”. I find myself feeling rather anxious which is atypical for me. I am trying to puzzle out why.

Maybe because I have the responsibility for a child? Part of me is happy he is home safe with me and part of me worries that we will be screaming at each other before the week is out. Putting a woman at the tail end of menopause with a boy on the cusp of puberty seems like way too many hormones in a confined space.

Since we are both on a bowling hiatus I figured we could do some Wii bowling. He kicked my butt all three games!

I think the more likely cause of my anxiety is simply the unknown. How long will this last? Will we get locked-down? How many people will actually get sick? Will anyone I know get sick? Will I be able to buy toilet paper (or whatever it is I run out of first) when the time comes? How long will the repercussions last?

Ah, how long will all this last? Will school resume? When will shelves get re-stocked? Stores re-open?

Will this end up changing our lives permanently in any way? Think about how things have changed since 9/11. All the changes to security. Will the impacts from COVID-19 eventually lead to major changes concerning health issues?

As you can see I don’t have any answers, only questions. In time all these questions will be answered. And in the meantime the answer to dealing with my anxiety was staring me right in the face:

My word for the year is “EMBRACE TODAY”. Duh, I need to stop worrying about a tomorrow I can’t control and enjoy what I have today:

  • no sick family members
  • sloppy joes, french fries and peas planned for dinner
  • books to read (I just started “Olive Kitteridge”!)
  • internet access to all my blog and Facebook friends
  • lovely weather
  • a freshly washed dog
  • Netflix, TCM and “Poirot” to watch
  • a clean, comfortable bed to sleep in

My list could go on and on but you get the idea. Stay safe and encourage:

Common Sense in Uncommon Times

*Picture is from an e-mail from the Vermont Country Store

Photo Friday: Spring

So I had this great idea to go over to Sabino Canyon on the first day of spring and look for flowers in bloom. When I woke up it was raining. So I thought, I’ll just go this afternoon. And then afternoon came and what I really wanted to do was sit on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie.

But I did take some pictures around my backyard earlier in the day when the weather was still looking iffy. And there is a very good chance I’ll have time in the next week to go on the hunt in the wild for spring blooms.

No buds on the chrysanthemum yet but we’ll get one more bloom before the heat sets in.
Clouds are moving east.
I finished coloring this so apt picture.
This is from an e-mail the Vermont Country Store sent out. I have adopted this as my motto for the pandemic.

Keep your focus!

Hey There

UPDATE:

3/18 2:00P MOUNTAIN TIME

Just got the word, Census is shut down until further notice. Sigh. *********************************************************************

I just wanted to say I won’t be around much for the next 3 weeks as I am working for the census once again. My job has been modified slightly so I don’t have any contact with people. (We are leaving questionnaires on doors in areas where there is an issue with the mailing addresses.)

I confess I haven’t paid much attention to what is going on with the virus until recently. I was bummed when they cancelled basketball but still unconcerned. I was shocked to discover empty shelves at the commissary. But when they closed the libraries? That really brought it home.

I find it ironic that me, the stay at home girl, is now out and about while everyone else hunkers down. But it is just a few weeks.

How appropriate is this? I started coloring it before things got crazy.

Hello There!

I feel like I haven’t written a real blog post in forever! What has been going on? Well, my son’s First Lego League team went to the State tournament so as the Parent- Mentor I was busy getting them ready. For the first time they won an award, “Most Innovative Solution”. My son has been in the league three years and has gone to the state level every year but this was the first time they won an award at either the regional or state level, so kind of a big deal.

Then I got sick, of course, after spending so much time around germ carrying kids. So no photo Fridays as I haven’t felt much like hiking.

We got the exterior of the house painted and had gutters and rain barrels installed. No, I didn’t have to do the work myself but I had to make decisions and pick colors and write checks and deal with the workers.

Then my son had bowling and he entered the city tournament which means he had to bowl three games on Saturday in the team event and six games on Sunday for singles and doubles. He bowled decent but probably not good enough to advance to the next level. After bowling each day we went out to eat and ran some errands.

And then there was my own bowling drama. I agreed to be the Vice-President because they usually don’t have to do anything. Ha! The President ended up hurting her leg and having surgery and while she was out we had a league member quit without notice and behind in her fees so guess who had to deal with that? Yeah, fun stuff.

On the positive side I have been hard at work on the A to Z challenge in April. I have all my posts written and am now finding photos and setting up the posts in WordPress.

I also surprised myself by finishing digitally organizing all my photos from 2019. One evening while watching the Heat game (basketball for those unfamiliar) I decided to do a month or two and poof, I finished.

Next week we are going camping over rodeo break. Rodeo break is a local thing and we love having a few days off to get out of town even though we could care less about a rodeo, you know because we are city slickers (currently living in a city, a large city at that, so yeah we think rodeo break is weird). But hello Pacific Ocean!

So I suppose I haven’t written much because I have been too busy living my life. Yeah for me!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Now I am off to bake a chocolate oatmeal cake. (Oatmeal because then I can eat the leftovers for breakfast without any guilt 🙂 ).

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!

Modern Love

“Is it possible for it to be the right decision and still be a mistake?”

I have been watching and enjoying the Amazon Prime series called “Modern Love” though I am a bit disappointed that some of it is fictionalized. I feel bad for the people whose stories were changed. I always wonder what exact part of their story wasn’t good enough or interesting enough or didn’t translate to thirty minutes of television.

I suppose I am living my own version of “Modern Love”. I may have mentioned a time or two how much I dislike where I am living. Have you ever wondered why I don’t move? Well, let me tell you…

The father (K) of my son (E) and I are married and we live in the same house, but we are not a couple anymore. We function as a family but we have separate bedrooms and do not do any couple activities. If not for our son there is no doubt we would have divorced long ago. But I want to do what is in my son’s best interest and I won’t lie, it is really hard to know what that is.

I feel like I should write a little bit of background but I don’t want to turn this into a rant about all the things wrong with K. First, K is not abusive or an alcoholic or hiding a gambling problem. He has a good job. He doesn’t like drama, to the extent that he acts like nothing is ever wrong. He simply ignores anything he doesn’t want to deal with. Nothing is his fault or his responsibility. He has never apologized for anything in the 14 years I have known him.

On the parenting side he has two grown children he hasn’t seen in more than ten years. One avoids him and the other is an alcoholic with mental health issues that he avoids. He also has three grandchildren he has never met. (Neither of his kids have ever married.) Enough said.

And yet I still feel like my son deserves to have both his parents in his life full time. In theory we could do that several different ways but I think this is the best situation, at least for now. (I won’t go into specifics but lets just say K is a very lazy, or maybe indifferent is more accurate, parent and I wouldn’t be comfortable leaving E with him for more than a day or two.) I know the situation isn’t ideal and worry about the messages E is getting about marriage. But we don’t fight and seldom even argue. At worst sometimes days go by without much interaction between us.

So yes, I worry all the time that I am making the right decision. If we split up would there be a big custody battle? Maybe. Maybe not, as my husband avoids confrontation at all costs. Arizona is big on paternal rights though and would I be able to take E out of state? How would my son feel if his father couldn’t be bothered to fight for him? It is a lose-lose situation for sure.

So I have decided the best option is for me to come out the loser, at least until E graduates from high school. We have had a few conversations about our somewhat unconventional family situation and as E gets older we will talk more. I don’t want him thinking this is what marriage is supposed to be like and while I wish I could be living a good example for him that just can’t happen right now.

I love my son more than anything and at the end of the day his father being around on a full-time basis seems to be the most important thing. So that is what I am going with. Modern Love.

“Is it possible for it to be the right decision and still be a mistake?” *

This is the thought I live with.

* I heard this line on the Australian television show “Heart Guy” and thought, yup, this is what I keep thinking.

October

I realized with a start that I haven’t written a post in awhile. I have been too busy living my life! Does this mean my blogging days are done? Probably not but I wouldn’t be surprised to find my blog changing again.

No flash fiction because Carrot Ranch is running contests this month. I have entered two of them so far and they don’t want us to publish our entries until late November after the winners are announced. My goal is to finish in the top ten so I can get a critique from Charli who will be practicing on the top ten for her writing class.

This month I have made it a goal to clean or de-clutter one area in my home six days a week. I am picking areas that don’t get cleaned on a regular basis so I am doing odd drawers and nooks and crannies. I have done both refrigerators and I have to say every time I look in the kitchen fridge now I feel nothing but joy. I can’t believe how many expired and almost empty condiments I had!

I am also practicing some self-care and doing a 21 day on-line retreat called “Magical Mindfulness” created by Jools Sinclair. There have been some interesting bits and I am curating a few practices that will hopefully turn long term.

Finally there was the big autumn camping trip. I did a photo Friday of it but sadly it wasn’t that great of a trip because I was sick. 😞 I had been looking forward to this trip for months and the weather was beautiful but all I wanted to do was nap! I had been sick for two weeks and thought for sure I was going to get better.

After we got back I went to the doctor and found out that I have a virus, most likely two different one’s back-to-back considering how long I have been sick. For seven days I have to eat a bland, light diet to give my gut a chance to heal and drink emergence-C everyday to help the virus go on it’s way. Hopefully all will be well by Halloween.

Time for some cleaning…or maybe a nap 🙂 .

Creating Autumn

It’s finally, officially, autumn. My season. Ahhh. In September I typically feel a sense of relief of having survived another desert summer. But let me start this by saying we are still having days in the high 90’s here. So I am not sure I can say with certainty that I have survived it yet!

I changed up the kitchen sink window this year, bought new “curtains” (two napkins and towel), used a different garland and added a little bird. Makes me very happy.

I am doing my best to be excited about creating my own version of fall. I hung nine, yes nine, leaf garlands around the house. It looked like autumn outside (even if it was 92° during the day) as beautiful blue-gray clouds built to the south and moved north to the mountains. We had a marvelous storm while I decided where to put a few strings of orange lights. Thunder, heavy rain, wind and small hail. A dark and stormy afternoon, perfect for autumn decorating!

I have switched over to my “autumn” wardrobe: summer weight but in fall colors. As I write I am wearing oatmeal colored linen capris with a heather pine green (or is it forest green?) 3/4 sleeve shirt. I wear lots of orange and burgundy and browns. I bought two new “Life is Good” t-shirts with autumn themes. They are both short sleeve and oddly, dark blue. I also bought two long-sleeve shirts (one beige and one purple), of which I wore the beige “Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice) to the movies on Friday. (I figured correctly it would be cold enough inside the mall for long sleeves.)

Something else I have been doing is searching for books set in autumn. I found this website and requested a few books from the library. Mentally I will be amidst colorful leaves, brisk breezes and sweaters.

On the eating front we are not ready for soups, stews and chili but I am making pumpkin-cheesecake muffins for bowling tomorrow. And we are starting to eat more pork and turkey (cutlets and tenderloins, not roasting whole turkeys, that would be crazy in this heat!) and the first batch of homemade applesauce from the freezer. I have found adding a few dried cranberries to salad, granola, a baked yam or pretty much anything “autumns it up”. 🙂

We have our trip to the corn maze/pumpkin patch and more apple picking scheduled. My son has the last Monday in September off from school so my husband took it off from work too. We like to go when it is less crowded and in the past we have found weekends in October to be rather nuts.

We also have our camping trip planned for mid-October, I can’t wait. We will definitely be taking chili and soup on the trip. Even if the days are warm the nights should still be cool up at 7000′.

I am still walking on the treadmill most days (like right now while I type) but more often I watch Youtube videos of autumn walks. I turn my high velocity fan on creating an autumnal breeze and keep myself cool at the same time.

I have been enjoying making this banner for fall:

Sorry it didn’t photograph so great.

And taking my list from this post and making it into a pretty bucket list:

One last project. I decided to participate in the Brooklyn Art Library Pen Pal Painting Exchange. I love it because really no talent is required 🙂 . Here is my 4 x 4 painting:

I wish now I had only done one leaf outline. Live and learn.

So there you have it, how to create autumn in the desert 101. I think I’ll go have some cranberry juice in my new mug.

HAPPY FALL Y’ALL!

May Madness: Minimalism

Recently I did some deep cleaning around the house. You know, actually taking all the books off the shelves and getting all the dust, cleaning the carpets, purging and rearranging just a little in my office.

I have read a lot of articles and books about minimalism, I have Kon-Mari’d some and there are aspects of minimalism that I like. I believe every object should have a home to reside in when not in use. I put things away when I am done with them. I try to get rid of things I don’t love or find to be useful. But I do like having stuff. I have no interest in owning only x number of clothes or getting rid of certain books because I have already read them. I still love them and want to keep them.

My shelves and closets are full but organized. Not crammed with clutter. (Okay maybe a little clutter but I am making an effort.)

In the midst of this bout of cleaning I have realized I wish spouse and small child were minimalists though. To put it bluntly they are both slobs. If they see a flat surface they think it should be filled with stuff. They are both allergic to throwing things away.

I try and compromise. I leave their own rooms alone and in the shared spaces I try to be fair and open minded. There are a few spots where I have allowed stuff to pile up. (Mostly because I have been too busy battling my hormones to engage in another battle.) But here I am trying to clean. I have discovered I don’t mind dusting and doing the floors, the actual cleaning part. But I feel ill used looking at the piles of stuff on the desks. I am tempted to simply throw it all in a garbage bag and be done with it.

Am I the only one like this? What do tidy people do when forced to co-exist with untidy people? Do they spend all their time cleaning? The thing is, while I like a clean house I don’t actually like to clean all that much. It is enough work to put my own stuff away. And don’t tell me to ignore their stuff. Not possible, though I wish it was.

Til tomorrow…