I thought bad things happened in threes: I have had to deal with two situations where there was no water: the Grand Canyon and the bowling alley. Sort of worried about where it could happen next!
Something I am watching: Repeats of “Grantchester” and I can’t wait for the new season. I never thought I would fall for a vicar but he is hunky!
Something new I learned: The secret to making yummy crispy nachos. Bake your tortilla chips at 350° for 15 minutes. Then top with grated cheese and cooked ground beef flavored with taco seasoning and pop back in the oven for ~5 minutes. I then put the chips on plates and let everyone add their own toppings: olives, salsa, jalapeños, tomatoes, sour cream, whatever you like. I have this odd feeling I am the last cook to learn how to avoid soggy nachos.
Something that is making me happy: The Miami Heat making it to the playoffs. Their play has been so uneven this year I am a little surprised but thrilled to have at least a few more games to watch.
Goran Dragic is still my favorite player though I am loving the drive and versatility of Josh Richardson.
Something else that made me happy: I found a new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)! I love the idea of getting a selection of fresh, local produce every week and tried it a few years ago but it didn’t work out. The pick up time and location was very inconvenient and it was year around. This meant in the winter we got a lot of onions and dried beans and dried chilis. It just wasn’t for us. But this Sunday I went to the Farmer’s Market and found a new CSA that looks quite promising so we are going to give it a try. I looked at the planned crop list and it all looks tasty. It starts early May and will go for 16 weeks. The pickup is Sunday morning at the Farmer’s Market, much closer to my house than the other CSA. And I can get my local eggs and any other items at the same time. So excited!
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.
Something that made me happy: I stopped buying cut flowers because it seemed an extravagant waste of money. But at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t resist this little $4 bundle of joy (photo is above). I made three small vases out of these Chamomile beauties that smell wonderful. One vase for the kitchen, one for my office and one for my bedroom. Because you know, I am worth it, at least once in awhile.
Something making me sad: I am not enjoying walking the dog these days, but don’t tell him! He is part beagle and getting older and he sniffs everything. It used to be I could just slow down or pause but now it is full stop. And wait and sometimes another ‘and wait’. I don’t think his sniffer is as sensitive as it used to be. He doesn’t want to walk as far either and the nearby neighborhoods are getting pretty boring. So what used to be a pleasure is now a chore (that I can’t imagine not doing!) and that makes me sad.
Something weird: Remember the word “chiaroscuro”? A word I don’t think I had ever seen before I read “A Trick of the Light”? Guess what word was in the very next book I read? Yup, chiaroscuro was used in “Little Girl Gone” by Gerry Schmitt. Crazy right?
What I have been watching: “The Spring Baking Championship”. I “may” have binge watched an entire season in three nights.
At a crossroads: By beloved 2001 Saab needs some major work. Like a week in the shop and two grand type of work. My first thought was no problem. But then I started to wonder. Yes I love my car but I also love reliable transportation. With a car this old I am wondering what could go bad next and how soon. I decided I should look around and see if there is another car I could love just as much. The problems are 1) I love a car that looks a little different from all the rest and not some ultra popular type that I will have trouble finding amongst 20 similar cars in a parking lot. 2) I have owned this car for 15 years and I am really attached.
At red lights I find myself checking out the cars around me. One day soon I am just going to have to bite the bullet and go to some dealerships and look around. I hate all the high pressure salesmen but looking on-line doesn’t cut it. The only car I have noticed driving around that intrigued me is a Honda Crosstour but they stopped making them in 2016 (and the Tesla, just a little out of my budget!).
No matter what I suspect this is going to be a stressful situation.
My first baby! This car predates spouse, dog and child. Yes I took this photo but I think it does rather look like a car ad.
Something I am glad is over: I finished our taxes and e-filed. I refuse to think about them again for another year.
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.
Waiting -Dr’s appointment: My left shoulder has been bothering me for a few weeks now and I finally went to see my doctor. She is thinking rotator cuff and I went to get x-rays the same day. (She wanted to do an MRI but insurance dictates that I get an x-ray first.) Should get word in a day or two what the x-rays show and she already gave me a referral to orthopedics. So now I just wait. And try not to use my left arm in ways that cause pain!
The wait is over – about school: Last year we started to be very unhappy with my son’s school and this year the feeling has increased. We have been looking for different options for quite some time now and in January we finally found a private school we really liked and applied. I have no experience with private schools. When I was growing up you went to the school you were assigned to. Period. This school has a hard cap of 28 kids total to be admitted for fifth grade (two classes of only 14 each!). Fifth grade is where the school starts so all the slots are available. I don’t know how many applicants they have but a committee makes the decision sometime in March. No specific date and the wait is starting to wear on me a bit. I feel like I am holding my breath and getting ready to pass out but I can’t take that breath yet. Two more weeks. You guys need to write some distracting posts for me. And maybe say a little prayer? Thank you!
UPDATE: My son got in! Found out late Tuesday night. Whew, so happy to take a deep breath.
Something I changed: I decided to jump the gun a bit with spring because frankly my front door “winter” wreath looks pretty silly when it is 80° outside and having a snowman on the mantle was comical. So I swapped out my seasonal decorations a little early. I constantly have to look for a happy medium to live by as the weather doesn’t match the calendar as far as the seasons go, at least what I think of as “normal” seasons.
Paint Chip Poetry: In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I picked out five green paint chips (words in italics).
Everyone has their own version of the Garden of Eden:
For my Grandmother a trip to the Emerald Isle sipping a pint in a low ceilinged pub in front of a peat fire.
My Uncle- sitting behind left field in Fenway Park glove at the ready for a long, high fly ball.
For my sister trapped in the wrong era a ring of vintage turquoise large enough to choke a baby.
For myself an alpine forest backing up to a mountain cabin near a crystal clear snow melt lake.
Something I noticed: My lemon blossoms smell just like honeysuckle, delightful!
Weather: March came in like a lamb, all warm and sunny. But February ended with a vengeance. We woke to a cold rain that briefly switched to hail. Luckily the hail was small but it will take some time to see how my lemon tree blossoms survived. (Those are not decorative white rocks in the plant above but hail.)
Something that makes me happy: All my medical information is available on-line to me which I love. I like being able to see the actual test result numbers and not just get a “everything is normal” from my doctor. This week I learned they had upgraded the website and now I can make appointments on-line! So much easier and quicker than calling.
Something I am learning: My son is having a terrible time in math these days so I am spending my afternoons learning how to add, subtract and multiple fractions. I suppose I am actually re-learning because at some point in my young life I must of had to pass a few tests on this stuff. I know I deal with fractions when I am baking but obviously not enough for fourth grade math!
Something I watched: “Before Sunrise”, the first in a series of three movies. I loved it! I found out about this trilogy from wanderlustywriter. As luck would have it my library had the first two movies in a set (“Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset”) and the third, “Before Midnight” is on Netflix. I plan on watching the second movie this weekend. I love having something to look forward to.
From the movie “Before Sunrise”.
The Irony of Bowling: I bowl in two leagues, a regular “normal “one on Thursday nights and the other is a once a month league with the Tucson 500 club. We bowl on the first Saturday of the month and it is a 9 pin “no-tap” league. (That means if you get 9 pins on your first ball it gets scored as a strike.) So much fun, all women and I like that we raise money for Special Olympics and Breast Cancer research. On Thursday nights I frequently get a fair number of 9’s on my first ball but last Thursday I actually got some strikes and bowled a 225! (My average is around 150.) And on Saturday, my no-tap league? My high game was a 192 for the day. It’s a good thing I have a sense of humor.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss
Something I did right: This year I remembered to cut back my rose bush in January and give it some fertilizer. With all the warm weather the new growth exploded. Now I have to hope it survives our brief cold snap. I moved it against the house and under the awning and while we got close to freezing I don’t think we dipped below 32°.
What I read:“A Boy in Winter” by Racheal Seiffert. I enjoy WWII historical fiction and this book covered a facet I hadn’t read or even really thought about before. The story takes place in the Ukraine in November 1941. It covers three days and the stories of a few different people when the Germans show up. I have to confess I never thought about what it must have been like for Russians/Ukrainians when their country changed sides in the middle of the war. The book was a bit disturbing to read not because it was too graphic but because much of the atrocities of WWII are difficult to think about. I am glad I read this book though. It is one of those stories that haunts you after you have finished.
Something I am glad is over: I finished the bin of shred! My “take care of a nagging task” is completed. Ten minutes a day was the perfect amount of time, the waste basket filled up but the shredder didn’t overheat. Now I suppose I should clean out the second file drawer. Maybe in April or May.
Four days off: Normally when my son has a school break we go camping but that didn’t work out for the four day February break which was a bummer. (My son wasn’t off school for President’s day when we did go camping, he missed a day of school because in our world President’s Day is a holiday. Here in Tucson they celebrate rodeo break later that week instead of President’s Day.) My husband had to work and I knew my son would want to spend every available moment on the computer. I considered feigning illness (known as malingering in the military) and hiding in bed the whole four days but instead I made a plan. And yes my son and I fought about computer time but we also ran errands and worked on math and made rice krispie treats. We had to use chocolate marshmallows because Trader Joe’s was out of regular ones (for shame TJ’s!) and it turns out trying to shape the sticky treats in a timely fashion is not easy. (Yes, I remembered to butter our hands.) We did our best and they still tasted good.
New High Score in Scrabble: I have a new record score: 458! With the seven letter word, “Canyons” and I got more than my fair share of “the good letters.” Take that you cheatin’ computer!
Most of this week was spent preparing to go camping, camping and now post camping recovery (ie. loads and loads and loads of laundry!)
Camping: We went camping at Lost Dutchman State Park in the Superstition Mountains. The weather was decent and I got in a lovely solo hike Saturday afternoon and took lots of pictures. We also had three fabulous sunsets which I am sure will be showing up on Photo Friday.
Favorite camping meal: While I enjoy roasting a hot dog over the fire my favorite meal was a taco salad. I browned ground turkey at home and added some homemade taco seasoning. At the campsite I heated up the meat and served it over lettuce with cherry tomatoes, salsa, shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream. De-lish.
Weather: I discounted winter too soon. We had two days of fairly steady, though light, rain last week and more on Monday night. We were lucky Friday morning there was no rain as we loaded the trailer but it started up again around lunch time and rained halfway to Apache Junction. This week looks to be marvelously cool (50°s) with more rain possible.
I was trying for a blurred background effect to highlight the rain droplets on the branch. I almost succeeded!
Something that brought me joy: Seeing a hummingbird having breakfast at my lemon tree. They are excellent pollinators and maybe I’ll get more than four lemons this year.
Something I watched: “Green Dolphin Street”. It was odd seeing Lana Turner and Donna Reed in the same movie but it worked.
Just for fun I snapped some pics as the kids were blowing bubbles, love this one.
Favorite meal of the week: Lasagna. Ever since I started using ground sausage in the sauce it has been crazy yummy. I don’t know why I only make it once or twice a year but I suppose that keeps it special.
The orange tree (part 1): We have one very prolific orange tree and it had become rather overgrown. This year we picked all the oranges at once so my husband could trim the tree back (hopefully in time for it to make blossoms for oranges next year). We wondered what to do with our bounty and learned we could donate it to a food bank. I took 64 pounds of oranges to the Inter Faith Community food bank. Made me very happy they didn’t go to waste!
The orange tree (part 2): I noticed a dove building a nest on the top of our fence sheltered by the overgrown branches of the orange tree. I was hoping to get it trimmed before they got too far along with their building but we were too late. A completed nest with two eggs appeared over night. So most of the tree got trimmed back but we left a few sheltering branches for the mama bird.
Something I enjoyed: Making Valentines. I just made a few to keep my son company while he filled out his class valentines. I loved choosing stickers and putting together a few cute little cards.
Something that made me happy: My spouse fixed the cover over my “front porch” swing. The sun is already warm here and I appreciate the shade.
I love this quote, reminds me I can do anything through hard work:
“Genius, that power which dazzles mortal eyes,
Is oft but perseverance in disguise.” — Henry Willard Austin
(Above is a lizard I found clinging to the vacuum hose in our pool. The water is pretty cold right now and after I took his picture I fished him out.)
About four inches long, it took him awhile to warm up and go on his way.
Something I am reading: Actually I finished “The Baker’s Secret” by Stephen Kiernan. I loved this book and hated to see it end. I would love to read about what happens next and a prequel of what happened before, would have made a good trilogy I think. If you liked “The Nightingale” or “All the Light We Cannot See” you will like this book too!
Something that brought me joy: The Eagles beating the Patriots, Nick Foles catching a TD pass and the Eagles Defense finally shutting Chris Collinsworth up about all of Brady’s past exploits.
The weather: Apparently we are not having much in the way of winter monsoon rains this year which is a bad thing. But less flowers means less pollen and that is good for my allergies.
Something I accomplished: I cleaned off the top of the computer desk. This desk is used by my husband and son but I have a direct view of it from the kitchen and the clutter was driving me nuts.
Paint Chip Poetry: (It’s a real thing. I got it for Christmas.) The six words I pulled are in italics.
In the mountain town folks drank champagne from antique rose colored glasses and feted the survival of another winter. A small girl sat on the cliff’s edge playing with her sand dollar and dreamt of the ocean in summer while overhead a starship sped by unaware of any season at all.
I enjoyed writing the poem though I don’t see myself becoming a poet. Not enough imagination I fear. But it will be fun to do this once in awhile.