Photo Friday: It Felt Like September

My son is now going to a private school that observes Jewish, Christian and the traditional secular holidays so he was off on Monday for Rosh Hashanah.  In fact the entire month of September he has one day off each week!  With new computer time rules (which are working!) I find it is best to “help” him find things to do if he has a lot of free time.  On Labor Day we went fruit picking at Apple Annie’s.  This Monday we went hiking up at Mt. Lemmon.

IMG_8094Some early fall color starting.

We began with lunch at Viv’s Cafe because it is good to start a hike with a full stomach.  Then up, up, up the mountain we went.  The temperature dropped from 100° to a delicious 72°.

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We decided to try a new trail and I was hoping to do a loop but after a long time of climbing uphill and unsure of exactly how much further we still had to go we decided to simply turn around.  The hike back down was sheer perfection.  Blue skies, a few clouds and oddly, some rumbles of thunder in the distance made the perfect autumnal hiking ambience.  The path was shaded with dappled patches which I absolutely love!

IMG_8101The rain cloud.

IMG_8100A stop at a scenic overlook on the way home. I believe that is the San Pedro Valley.

Driving back down the mountain we could smell rain and observed some wet stretches of road way but no rain fell on us.  We decided to stop at DQ for ice cream which ended up being our dinner and came home to collapse on the couch and watch “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.

IMG_8105Dinner!

IMG_8097A dried up plant that screams autumn to me.

Best Monday in a really long time.

Keep Your Focus!

Meteorological Autumn is Here!

Wow we had a busy Labor Day weekend but it was all good.  It is no secret that autumn is far and away my favorite season but I do my best to enjoy each season and holiday in it’s own time.  This weekend we managed to combine the best of summer: swimming and grilling out, with the best of autumn: apple picking and college football.

We started out with an after dinner swim on Friday night which was marvelous.  It is dark here by 7:30p and it feels so different swimming under a night sky.

On Saturday morning  I had my first bowling of the season with my once a month league and Saturday evening it was time for Wildcat Football.  Yes they lost but the marching band still rocked it!

 

Sunday we had a quiet at home day planned so we could recover from the late night. (Will the Pac-12 ever see reason and schedule for the convenience of the team and the fans?)  I did some laundry and watched the Cubs win and then we all went for a swim.  Luckily we grilled our burgers early as a rumbly thunderstorm dropped in.  So after dinner we played Sagrada and then retreated to our separate spaces to read , listen to the rain and in my case watch “Bridget Jone’s Diary”.  We got a nice amount of rain overnight, always appreciated here.

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The pie and ice cream smile!

On Monday we drove to Willcox and Apple Annie’s to pick apples, pears and peaches.  We shared some pie (apple crumb and pecan) and ice cream and enjoyed the very blue sky and a refreshing breeze.  We came home for one last swim joking about how the pool would be closed the next day.  (That idea completely confused my son.) We played with my son’s waterproof camera taking all kinds of crazy pictures and movies and had a blast.

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No autumn temps here for at least two more months, maybe longer, but mentally I am already switching gears. I washed my fall quilt today (same weight as my summer quilt just a different design) and pulled out my new orange ‘Life is Good’ t-shirt decorated with leaves that I have been saving.  The weather channel announced it is now meteorological  autumn and that is good enough for me!  Over the next two weeks I am sure I will be slowly sneaking bits of autumn into my life.

DSCN0585Yes, this is one of the silly pictures of me.

Good Bye Summer!

Photo Friday

This week’s theme is Around the Yard:

IMG_8063Yes, that is 104° F at 4:30p in the afternoon (the clock is off, the hour hand is stuck).

IMG_8065Spiderweb.  It seems our spiders are getting ready for Halloween a tad early as the yard is festooned. This is one on my lemon tree.

IMG_8068Can you see all the oranges?  Of course not, they are still green.

IMG_8070Five lemons in one shot, not bad.

IMG_8064And one from the pool.  This is the 5th mouse we’ve pulled out this month.  Seems we have the world’s largest mouse trap, ew.

Keep Your Focus!

Photo Friday

Monsoon season is in full swing here in the desert southwest.  We haven’t been getting much rain but lots of clouds and rumbles of thunder.  This week I tried to find interesting cloud formations.

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I don’t ever remember seeing clouds with holes before moving here.

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You can see the rain in the clouds.

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Sunset storm clouds.

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A little rainbow playing hide and seek.

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I took this on the way home from school pickup. Just a massive cloud slowly sailing along.

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I thought a black and white would be interesting for a change.  Almost looks like the cactus is giving the sky ‘the finger’ (probably because no rain is falling :)).

Keep Your Focus!

The Week in Review 6/27/2018

Summer Solstice:  We went all out celebrating the Solstice.  First we had a picnic lunch in our yard.  We ate the Peanuts Thanksgiving meal:  popcorn, pretzel sticks, jelly beans and toast. After dinner we took a long swim staying in the pool until dark.  Which is only ~8:15p here.  We got ready for bed and then came outside and looked at the stars and the moon and the creepy shadows until 10:00p.  I laid in the hammock and my son had the swing. I thought about sleeping out all night but as it was still 90° at 9:00p we decided to pass.  Plus there is the whole bobcat, scorpion, rattlesnake fears.  We used the lanterns we made earlier this summer (pictured above).  We decorated jars with glitter glue and put in fairy lights.  In the dark it looks like a jar of fireflies, so cool.

A Mild Annoyance:  I switched to a school year planner a few years ago finding it worked better for me.  This year I ordered a planner on-line and didn’t realize it started in August and my current planner ends in June.  Oops. I don’t think I will be ordering a planner on-line again.  I don’t love the one I got dates aside.  It is a little too busy for me.

Something Worrisome:   The cashier at the commissary had a very odd moment.  In the middle of checking out my groceries she paused.  There were bananas sitting on the scale and I thought she was trying to remember the PLU number.  Then she asked ” did you hand me five-oh-nine or five-eighteen?”  I thought she was asking me what the PLU number was and responded with a “huh”?  There was clearly a sticker with the number right on top of the bananas.  Then she asked if I just handed her some money.  What? She looked blank a moment then rang up something that came to $40.11 which she then voided.  She looked at the bananas again and then said something about taking some allergy medicine which had made her sleepy. She finished ringing up the rest of my groceries and as I was driving home I began to wonder if she had had a small stroke or something.  I felt like I should have said something to the manager who had to come over because of the void.  I have been worried about that poor woman ever since.

Throwback Reading:  I think I may have invented the term but I know I am not the only one re-reading favorite childhood books.  I just indulged myself with the purchase of the whole “Ramona” series by Beverly Cleary.  My son and I have read them together (checked out from the library) over the last few years but I decided I really wanted to read them in order over the summer to myself.  So I splurged on buying a set and am so happy I did.  I got a paperback version in a cardboard case and they have wonderful drawings scattered throughout.  Bonus, my son decided to re-read them also.

CSA:  I have been loving my CSA (community supported agriculture) pickup every Sunday.  One less thing I have to think about and to my surprise I am even enjoying the beets.  I made Harvard Beets with the first batch and roasted the second with olive oil and fresh thyme from my one and only herb plant. And I found the easiest squash recipe ever from Susan Branch:  slice squash very thin (you can do yellow or zucchini), heat up some Italian salad dressing and pour over.  I let it sit on the counter 20 to 30 minutes and then popped it in the fridge.  I took it out about 30 minutes before dinner, it was cool and refreshing.  Very tasty in the hot weather.

Our one day of rain from Hurricane Bud led our cat’s claw to bloom.  So nice to see some color.

How are you enjoying summer?

Photo Friday

We decided to take advantage of one of the last double digit temperature days and visit the Sonoran Desert Museum. This place has a very diverse range of exhibits and a nice mix of indoor and outdoor displays. There was a decent amount of shade over the outdoor walking areas, critical under the desert sun.

It was siesta time and lots of the animals were sleeping in shady nooks and crannies.  Here is a bobcat snoozing away.

These three Bighorn Sheep were awake.

There is a hummingbird aviary.

Even an aquarium!  Here are some garden eels, kinda creepy.

Keep Your Focus!

(No post next week as I will be on vacation!)

The Week in Review: Summer Plan

We are now one week into summer vacation and “The Plan” is working out quite well which is a huge relief.

THE PLAN: I spent time really thinking about how to make this summer a good one.  Left to his own devices my son would spend every available moment on the computer.  I lean towards a more balanced use of time.  So I made THE PLAN.  No computer use until after lunch.  And no he cannot eat lunch at 10:00am.  And yes, he will try and push lunch earlier and earlier.

Instead we will spend the morning doing chores and errands, going on adventures, playing board games and three specific tasks:  the 15 min room project, schoolwork and summer journaling.

It has to be done: I want my son to help with cleaning.  I don’t want him growing up thinking things happen by magic or with no idea of the time and energy it takes to maintain a house.  A few months ago I started with him doing one or two small tasks after school each day (dusting, emptying the dishwasher, picking up etc) and will build on those this summer.  The truth is my son is a slob and I do not want any future partner hating me for not “raising him right”.  I know I won’t change him but I hope to at least make him aware of his own messes.

Three tasks:  Our three tasks will take less than an hour each day but I hope we accomplish a lot by the end of summer.  One: The room project is simply giving his room a good clearing out 15 minutes at a time.  He has a small room and a lot of stuff.  A good purge is needed and a semblance of order brought to the current chaos.  Two: Schoolwork will be focused mainly on practicing his math skills and work on his writing skills.  Three:  We are each going to keep a journal of the summer.  It is a sneaky way to practice writing skills and creativity.  We each bought a little journal and some stickers and some new gel pens to share.  This is a task he is actually excited about now that he knows it won’t be just writing but drawing and stickers and whatever we want to use to document the summer.

I made a habit tracker for our three tasks. Working on thinking up some small rewards for meeting our goals.  Any ideas?  

Not all work:  We also have two vacations planned, one to Toronto Canada and a camping trip up in the mountains.

Bucket List:  I made a summer bucket list so when the heat or being housebound has fried my brain I can pluck something off the list. I mainly have activities that we can do at home because I have learned that most likely we will not want to go places in the heat or during torrential monsoon rains.  That is just the way it is here.  Our July is like other places February.

Not fancy but it works for us.

No post next week, we will be off on our big summer vacation trip!

 

Here’s to everyone having a great summer!

 

The Week in Review 5/9/2018

Something I accomplished: I cleaned up my office.  I started with just wanting to declutter the shelves a bit and ended up doing a lot more. I threw away two bags of garbage, 2 bags of recycle and have one box of donate/sell stuff. Now when I walk into the room I smile.

Something I changed:  So maybe this is a little weird but I changed my deodorant and I love my new one so much.  It is not supposed to leave those yellow stains on white shirts plus it seems to just work better.  Kind of a big deal here in the desert heat. Speaking of which…

Summer is here: The heat seemed to roar in overnight, poof 100° days.  The good news is I had my first swim of the season over the weekend.  The water felt wonderful.  The bad news is allergy season is still at its peak and I woke the next day with bloodshot, weepy crusty eyes.  Not good.

A fun project: The end of school is fast approaching so I wanted to make some little notes for my son’s lunch to count down the last 10 days. Found some cute numbers to print out and color and put them on summer scrapbooking paper.

 

Paint Chip Poetry: I felt like writing a bad poem this week so here it is. (I am re-reading “If You Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland so blame her.)  I chose three yellow and one orange (for the heat) and one green (because it is still spring).  Paint chip words are in italics.

My zest for life was wilting

under the

habanero hot blazing sun

at 8:00 a.m. no less.

Summer had settled in for good,

startling me with its ferocity.

I pick a spring of mint

for my morning iced tea

and retreat indoors

not emerging again until the

lightning and thunder

of the afternoon monsoons arrive –

three months hence.

And how was your week?

 

Photo Friday

(Above photo, ooh sparkly rock with fern.)

This week I actually went out on an expedition to take pictures. And to keep small child busy since he was out of school for six days with the Arizona teacher walkout. Yikes!  It is always lovely to go up to 8000′ and feel the crisp air and smell the pine.  Added bonus was getting away from the pollen which my sinuses really appreciated.

We didn’t walk far but it was a scenic, if rocky, stroll.

One of the reasons we didn’t stay very long was there was a lot of tree cutting going on by the Forest Service.  We kinda felt like we shouldn’t be in the area though there were no signs or anything forbidding it.

Bridge photos are always good.

Looking up is good too. It was such a beautiful day.

There is a stream here (this is the view off the bridge), not much water which is bad, there should still be some snow melt flowing this time of year. This is more how it looks in early July before the monsoons start.  Hope we get some rain this year.

Keep your focus!

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!