And So it Goes

We are at the end of our second full week of being home. If I had to pick one word I would pick miserable. How can staying home make one so unhappy? Part of the problem is the time of the month, or more accurately the phase of the moon. In another week the moon will be on the wane and my coping skills returning. But in the meantime…

Home schooling is a nightmare. Screen time has been a battle for years and now to have to deal with my son being on the computer ALL DAY? Just shoot me now. The first day I set him up at the dining room table. He strategically chose a seat where I couldn’t easily see the screen. He put his headphones on. I assumed he was goofing off some but at the end of the week when I checked google classroom he had done nothing except History. And you know why he did History? Because one day I sat at the table with him to finish our taxes so he knew he needed to do real work. Apparently he spent most of the week researching a new gaming mouse and mousepad and watching youtube videos (and not the one’s from his math teacher).

So for week two I had him sitting in a different chair, banished the headphones and we went over google classroom before and after school each day. I sat at the table with him for at least part of each day and made sure I frequently checked his screen. I hated it. He hated it. I just want him to be responsible, show some integrity and give a shit about his own future. He’s only 12 so I am not sure if I am allowed to just let him fail or do I have to wait until he is older and has a better grasp of the consequences?

I am taking an on-line class on the science of well-being taught at Yale. (Auditing so it is free.) My son and I both took a test showing us our 24 strengths, from greatest to weakest. My number one: honesty. His number twenty-four: honesty. I think I see the problem. What I don’t see is how week three is going to unfold. Moving on…

I watched Collection 6 of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. Not my favorite, too many weird challenges and way too much crying. And what was up with all the handshakes? Once Dave and Jon left I found myself wondering why I was still watching.

Frustrated with my lack of Census work. I was supposed to be done mid-April. I am afraid that by the time we resume it will be screaming hot. Please, just go on-line and do the darn thing!

Why am I the only person in the house who can refill the water pitcher?

Every day I get up around the same time, do my yoga, shower and get dressed. I have a small whiteboard where I list my tasks for the day. On Friday (today) I walked down to the ATM to get money and then ducked in the grocery store for some fresh produce. A little over two miles roundtrip. I came home and paid bills and mopped the kitchen floor. At 3:00p I found myself wondering if I could go back to bed. Well of course I could, but should I? It was tempting. But I have decided to try and hold out until dark (say 7:00p). I’ll finish this post, work on a needlepoint project or color. Watch something maybe.

I miss baseball.

Take care and stay safe!

Photo Friday: Desert Blooms

Flowers are just starting to bloom around here. The other day I started seeing spots of color in the beige desert landscape so yesterday I took a walk with camera in hand. I found all these along the side of a busy road (though a little less busy these days).

This post is for all those stuck inside or stuck in winter. I hope you enjoy.

I have no idea of plant names so I will call them by color!

Pink. I think this is my favorite.
Dark purple.
No flowers on the cacti yet but this south facing plant has cool looking buds. I do believe this is a barrel cactus.

Keep your Focus!

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!

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: Boxing Day

Boxing Day is the 26th of December but not really a holiday here in the U.S. More of a Canada and England thing but I like to celebrate it anyway. We eat something British-y and have Christmas Crackers and pretend it really is a holiday.

This year we had a very yummy shepherd’s pie which I put together in the morning so I could take a nice hike in the late afternoon. Yes, more Sabino Canyon photos but I explored some places I hadn’t been to in awhile and looked for interesting angles.

Quite the triangle!
Water in the creek is always nice.
Why do I love stair shots?
We don’t get our fall color until December or January. It is pretty no matter what month it happens in.
A little atmospheric black and white.
And me practicing blurring the water. Sadly everything else blurred a bit too, must use tripod next time.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

WELCOME 2020!

Photo Friday: Green Friday and Small Business Saturday

You may have heard about a movement to change Black Friday to Green Friday. To change the focus from consumerism to getting out in nature. Here in the desert southwest it was more of a Gray Friday. Rain, wind and dropping temperatures made me want to stay indoors. I boiled up the turkey frame re-filling the house with that Thanksgiving turkey smell. After I got three containers of soup base into the freezer I noticed the weather was clearing up so after lunch my son and I went to Sabino Canyon and fulfilled our Green Friday hiking goal.

Yup, snow on the mountain tops!
Water roaring over the dam.
Some macro lens action. This is a “teddy bear” cactus. From a distance it looks fuzzy, not spiky.
I don’t know what type of cactus this is, first time I noticed it. Very cool looking though.

After more rain early Saturday morning the sun was shining again by the afternoon. We went to the Reid Park Arts and Crafts festival for a little Christmas shopping. After we were done we took time to stop and smell the roses. They were a bit battered but still fragrant and beautiful.

So you can get an idea of how many blooms there were.
Another macro shot, such a beautiful color.
And we’ll end with a Christmasy looking rose.

Keep your focus!

*Top photo is an orange on my tree, close to being ripe. Maybe we’ll have fresh orange juice for Christmas morning!

Photo Friday: Outdoors

Yup, still in the 90’s here but that is not keeping me from pretending it feels like autumn. Last week I escaped up the mountain and found some cool air!

The clouds were flying across the sky.
The mix of clouds and sun lent to the autumnal feel.
My view while enjoying a picnic lunch.

This week we headed to Willcox, AZ to do the corn maze and pick pumpkins and apples. The sun was pretty warm but the air felt cool and there was a breeze making it feel quite lovely in the shade.

Apples but no leaves, how weird is that?
Now that it is October how about a “spooky” flowers photo?

Keep your focus!

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!

Good Things Thursday: Autumn

If one can be homesick for a season then I am homesick for autumn. I know it isn’t “officially” here yet but I even miss the anticipation of fall. There is little for me to love about living here in the desert southwest but this is by far the worst time of the year for me. In the next week or so I’ll break out my leaf garlands and pumpkin decorations and do my best to create autumn inside my home.

But I can’t change the triple digit heat outside. I can’t make it really feel like autumn. I can’t create that crisp, fragrant air or conjure up a maple tree with flaming red leaves outside my window. I can’t wear long sleeves. And that makes me sad.

So today I am going to create autumn in my head and heart. This is a spontaneously generated list of all the things I love about autumn:

  1. chilly air
  2. the low angle of the sun
  3. watching football
  4. pumpkin chili
  5. chocolate chip pumpkin muffins
  6. colorful leaves
  7. the sound of the breeze in the trees
  8. hot tea on a cold morning
  9. the smell of apples and cinnamon
  10. picking apples
  11. meandering in a corn maze
  12. making pies and applesauce
  13. candles flickering in drafts
  14. apple cider
  15. wearing long sleeves
  16. cardigan sweaters
  17. cold, gray, rainy days
  18. tomato soup and grilled cheese
  19. that special shade of blue the sky is in October
  20. reading a good book under an afghan
  21. Movies set in autumn (like “Step-Mom” and “You’ve Got Mail” and “Hocus Pocus”)
  22. Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday!)

Looking at the list I realize I can actually experience most of these. And I bought two new short sleeve autumn themed shirts from Life is Good so I can wear “autumn” shirts. I have a camping trip planned in October which should give me a taste of cool air, colorful leaves and the joy of evening campfires and hot tea in the morning. Not a perfect solution but better than nothing.

Did I need this mug? No. But I bought it anyway. For now I am drinking iced tea out of it.

Just like that I feel better. 😊