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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
You are reading this post through the wonders of technology because at this moment I am actually totally unplugged up at the Grand Canyon. So this is not a review of the whole week but an abbreviated post. I’ll answer any comments once I am back in civilization.
The Family Easter Basket: When my son was born I started the tradition of having one family Easter basket. Somehow I thought that if we had just one easter basket to share there would be less candy. And the last few years I have bought a number of non-candy items for Easter like a badminton set or bubbles or little toys. But looking at the bag of stuff for this year I realized that I would probably buy the same amount of candy to make three separate baskets. Sigh. The good news is with one “shared” basket my husband pretty much plows through all the candy on Easter so at least I eat less candy. And my son gets his own bunny and some gummies so hopefully he won’t notice Dad eating all the jelly beans.
Favorite family game of the moment: Sagrada. We got it for Christmas but didn’t play it much over the holiday. Now I find the more we play it the better I like it.
Something that is making me happy: My shoulder is on the mend. The cortisone shot helped with the pain and slowly my range of motion is coming back. I have daily exercises that I am doing that actually feel pretty good. I am feeling confident that I will be as good as new in a few weeks.
Something that surprised me: Apparently I have never used any of my Grand Canyon pictures in this blog! I couldn’t find any in my media library. Strange.
I really wanted to go up into the Catalina Mountains this month but all the pain and mobility issues with my shoulder have been keeping me close to home. I am thinking I need a much more interesting back yard if I have to keep using it for my Photo Fridays. I do have two trips planned for April, both of which should give me some excellent photo ops.
The sky has been so blue lately.
My trimmed back orange tree did blossom!
My son gave me these seeds for Mother’s Day last year and we planted them in the fall. We are surprised at how the flowers just keep on popping up!
Spring Weather: I often complain about the lack of weather and seasons here in the desert southwest but this year I realized we sort of are having a Spring. Our temperatures are fluctuating between 60’s and 80’s and we have had clouds and even a little rain. Rain is a big deal here and any amount is welcome. (Well, unless we get bad flash flooding monsoon rains.) Gentle spring showers are thrilling.
First rose bud of the season!
Spring training: Every year we go to a game up in Phoenix. This year we saw the Cubs play the Royals (the Royals won 11-9). It was a lovely afternoon in the 60’s, Canadiens in front of us reveling in the “warm” weather while I was glad for my warm sweater once the shade creeped over us.
The cold shoulder: Actually I have a “frozen shoulder”, ironic here in the desert. Not uncommon for people “of a certain age” with hypothyroidism/diabetes. The doctor gave me a cortisone shot and I start PT next week after the inflammation goes down. Pain relief should happen in 2 to 3 days. I am glad it wasn’t anything more serious.
Why is it: Why does Netflix says “oops there was a problem” 75% of the first time I go to watch something from my list? After a few reloads I can usually get to my show but there is never a problem with the previews running. Strange. And annoying.
New word I learned: “Chiaroscuro” – the contrast between light and dark, their juxtaposition. I found the word in “A Trick of the Light”, an Inspector Gamache novel by Louise Penny. Man I love these books. I will be very sad when I get caught up in the series.
The theme for this week is up close and personal. (I was playing around with a macro adapter lens.) Back to apparently my current favorite subject: the lemon tree! To be fair I did check out the recently trimmed back orange tree. Not a blossom to be seen but lots of new baby leaves.
When the buds open up the flower only lasts about 24 hours. I keep checking the tree hoping to see a whole mass of flowers at one time. With our warmer weather now I wonder if there is a chance that could happen?
One of the few flowers on the tree right now, but we’ve got buds everywhere!
That could be a lot of lemons!
Four newborn lemons. I suspect only the strongest will survive, knocking it’s tinier siblings to the ground.