One of my new things is to ask myself in the morning, “what would make me happy today?” and then try and do it. One overcast day last week I really wanted to go take some photos at Sabino Canyon. So after dropping small child off at school I ate my low carb breakfast and went for a walk. I cannot tell you how good it felt to do something simply because it made me happy.
We got more than a foot of snow in the nearby mountains the first week of January and as luck would have it our 11th day of Christmas tag read: “go find some snow.” So on January 4th I took my son and his friend up the mountain. I knew it would be crazy crowded and told them the first parking spot we saw above the snow line we were taking. We ended up at around 6000′ with a good 8″ of snow on the ground.
My son and his friend went sledding, made a snowman and had a snowball fight. We took a break for hot chocolate and cookies and once I heard complaints of cold feet we headed home. We got really lucky going when we did as at the bottom of the mountain the Sheriff’s Dept was stopping cars from going up until more cars came down as they had run out of parking! I read the wait was up to 25 minutes.
Keep your focus!
In a highly unusual turn of weather we have been getting snow here in Tucson. And not just in the mountains but here “in the valley” as they say. And not just once but twice already! And yet the pollen count is still high. This place really is crazy. These photos are from New Year’s Day.
And then on Wed (the 2nd) it started snowing around 9:30 a.m. Little teeny tiny flakes. It was too warm and wet for them to stick but they came down for more than 2 hours! My son and I went for a long walk and it was wonderful!
Keep Your Focus!
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!
Keep Your Focus!
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.
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?
But life is good, cooler weather is here!
…leaf garlands does it take to make a house look autumnal in the desert southwest?
Let’s start with the kitchen, one above each window and two under the cabinets.
Two in the family room.
One in the dining room.
One at the top of my bedroom closet.
And two in the upstairs hallway overlooking the living/dining room.
And one in front of my south facing office window that would be really hard to take a picture of. That makes a grand total of eleven. So the answer is it takes eleven leaf garlands to bring autumn to the southwest.
Keep Your Focus!
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.
Some 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°.
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!
The rain cloud.
A 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”.
A dried up plant that screams autumn to me.
Best Monday in a really long time.
Keep Your Focus!
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.
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.
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.
Yes, this is one of the silly pictures of me.
Good Bye Summer!
This week’s theme is Around the Yard:
Yes, that is 104° F at 4:30p in the afternoon (the clock is off, the hour hand is stuck).
Spiderweb. It seems our spiders are getting ready for Halloween a tad early as the yard is festooned. This is one on my lemon tree.
Can you see all the oranges? Of course not, they are still green.
Five lemons in one shot, not bad.
And 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.