Flash Fiction: By Design

The prompt this week from Carrot Ranch is “By Design”. My goal was to paint as vivid a picture as I could of “real” winter. Not the sort of chilly, once in awhile gray winter weather we get here in the desert southwest. So how did I do?

“Painting a Picture”

 The landscape was encased in ice, trees frozen in mid-motion. Snow gleamed pure white, too cold even for the stars to twinkle.  The cold poked and prodded, looking for a way into the snug cottage.  All was still.

Inside the fire crackled and popped from the newly added pine log before settling down to give a steady heat.  The flames danced to a happy song only they could hear.

I breathed in slow and deep, holding for a beat at the top.  By design peace flowed through me.  By Mother Nature’s design sleep settled over the great wintry outdoors.

Santa Fe (Photo Friday)

For Spring Break most people go looking for warmth after a long, cold winter. Not me of course. I go looking for one last blast of cool before settling into a desert summer. This year we went to Santa Fe and it was chilly and sometimes sunny and sometimes spritzy with rain. I loved it.

I don’t think a giant metal dog needs any words!

Veteran’s cemetery.
if you looked in the other direction there was blue sky
During our hike slightly up in the mountains we had thunder, sunshine and light snow, at one point all at the same time! Crazy wonderful.

It was a very laid back vacation with not much planned but we did go see Meow-Wolf. I have to say it was quite the unique experience and despite the crowds I am glad we went.

From the much hyped Meow-Wolf
Meow – Wolf
Meow -Wolf

Keep your focus!

Snow at Sabino Canyon (Photo Friday)

I promised pictures of desert snow and I have some. Because it was snowing so much I took my little point and shoot camera. Sadly I had battery issues so the video I took didn’t save. But I did get some pictures. (And yes, I ordered a new battery this week.)

Is it just me or do these cacti seem to be trying to huddle together?
The mountains were hidden all day.
Poor shivery cactus!

Sabino Canyon looked so wonderfully different in the snow.
It was like walking in a snowglobe when we headed out.  Big, wet flakes.

I have to confess I was really surprised at how much snow we got and how long it lasted. And it was wonderful. (Of course it is easy for me to say that since it is now in the 70’s!)

Keep your focus!

Paint Chip Poetry (Grays and Blues)

I didn’t participate in this week’s 99 word flash fiction challenge at Carrot Ranch. The topic didn’t grab me. But I still felt like writing something and realized I hadn’t done a paint chip poem in awhile. I chose grays and a touch of blue in honor of actually having winter this year. Rain today and tomorrow, maybe even a little snow mixed in, how exciting!

Without further ado here is my poem. The paint chip words are bolded:

No blue suede shoes today

I thought looking out the window 

The wild blue yonder

 hidden by a steely gray mass of 

cumulonimbus clouds  

I was loath to leave my cozy castle

for the harsh outside world

 but bills must be paid 

 I headed to my skyscraper office

happy to not see the scary gargoyle on the corner 

hidden from view 

by the torrents of rain falling from the sky

With no warning

the icy rain

changed to snow 

and the whole outlook of my day changed

I lingered on the sidewalk glad to be caught out in the

floating feathers of snowflakes

Photo Friday: More Snow

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.

While the kids played in the snow I walked around taking random photos.

No re-touching, that is how blue the sky was.

We only had one saucer but another family loaned one of their’s and pointed out the sled run they had packed down.  So nice of them!

Such a fun day!

Keep your focus!

Photo Friday

Not Christmas exactly but the days leading up to which are really the most exciting!

Apparently Santa was staying at the historic Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff.

No snow while we were in Flagstaff but we found some leftovers in the shady areas.

The North Pole, really!  We went through the magic tunnel to get there!

Not our actual train.  This one is retired and just does photo shoots for the Grand Canyon Railway.  🙂

Cookies for Santa.  I love the single eye on the tree.

The Elf’s last hangout spot before heading home.

Keep your focus!

The Week in Review 1/17/18

I read a few blogs that have questions for other bloggers to answer and use on their blogs on a monthly or weekly basis. I don’t use them because most of the time there is at least one question that doesn’t interest me or apply to me. Then I realized, duh, I can make my own questions!
So I am starting a new feature for my blog: The Week in Review! I am shooting for every Wednesday and (so far) I have a list of 15 questions of which I will pick around five every week to answer. We will see how it goes and tweak as necessary.


The desert southwest version of snow.  Also the dessert version of snow! (Yes that would be sunshine falling across the table.  I added that for all those who have not seen the sun in awhile.)

What I am reading:  “A Cold Treachery” by Charles Todd.  I love this post WWI series set in England and I have a bit of a crush on Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge.  I am also re-reading “Alone” by Admiral Byrd.  I read this just before sleep, a little bit at a time.

A sidenote:  my two favorite books from 2017 were “The Martian” by Andy Weir and “Bury Your Dead” by Louise Penny.  I loved the story behind how “The Martian” got written and as for those who said it was too technical, that was a small part of the book and easy enough to read without worrying about completely understanding it.  I know I still can’t make water but do appreciate that it can be done. As for “Bury Your Dead” I am completely loving the Inspector Gamache series and trying to make it last as long as possible.  Each book in the series is better than the last.

A television show or movie I watched:  In the past I have been a jinx for NFL playoff teams.  Whoever I root for loses (bye-bye Bills), but this past week end I was cheering for both the Eagles and the Vikings and both teams won!  And that Vikings game, man the most exciting finish ever! Now I have to figure out who to root for between the Vikings (under the radar all year) and the Eagles (Nick Foles at QB, University of Arizona guy).  I am thinking Vikings because I believe they have a better shot at beating the Patriots even though I am seriously rooting for the Jaguars to take the Pats out of the Super Bowl picture altogether.

My current project: While I can knit (and purl) I am hopeless at following all but the simplest patterns.  I want to make my friend an afghan but dread lugging around a big pile of work.  So instead I am going to make a bunch of scarves and join them together. Sounds like a plan. A two year plan but so be it.

Highlight of the week:  A rare celebrity sighting.  I saw Kevin Ray who does the pre/post game analysis for the Phoenix Suns at my son’s First Lego League State Tournament.  He didn’t do any announcing though.

Something that brought me joy:  We have to make our own snow here in Tucson so my son and I made paper snowflakes and snowflake and snowmen sugar cookies. Fun stuff!

One of my son’s paper snowflakes.

Sugar cookie snowflake.










And this concludes the very first “Week in Review”!


Winter Part III: Snow

In my world you can’t have winter without a little snow. Three weeks ago the mountains got dumped on big time.  In less than an hour I can be at 10,000′.  Unless the road is closed.

On Sunday the 22nd we tried to go up the road to Mt. Lemmon to play in the snow but the road was still closed.  On Sunday the 29th we thought about trying again but due to heavy congestion the road was being monitored and not everyone was allowed to go up.


I was not to be deterred.  On Monday’s my son gets out of school early. (I have no idea why this is but it is convenient for scheduling dentist appointments, going to the library and running some errands.)  So this Monday was our snow day!  The road was open and dry with snow appearing around 6000′.  For a Monday afternoon there was a lot of traffic. We decided to stop at ~7500′ at Rose Canyon Lake as the snow there was plentiful enough. Yes it was over 50° but with all the snow it felt cold enough to be winter.

We built a tiny snowmen wearing a pinecone hat.


We threw snowballs at a pine tree.


My son did a little sledding on a plastic lid we found. (We left his sled in the truck by mistake.)


When we came home it was still over 70° but we had hot cocoa anyway.  And lasagna for dinner, pretending we needed a warming hearty meal after a good romp in the snow. Winter desert style, we take what we can get.



December Delights 16, 17 and 18

We spent the weekend “up North” and got our winter on. Friday we stayed in Williams, AZ and rode the Polar Express to the North Pole. Saturday morning we headed to Flagstaff where we spent the night before returning home late Sunday morning. I took few pictures to my regret. But the scene is now set so on to the delights.

December 16th

The sky as we headed up I-10 towards Phoenix.

Today I was thankful for faith and hope.  The forecast was for rain, all day, all locations. It spritzed a little through Phoenix and in Flagstaff was a steady cold shower.  I enjoyed hot cocoa with my lunch and watched the rain puddle up.  When we got to Williams the rain stopped and started and stopped again and the wind was brutal.  But I did not give up on my hope for snow. It was so cold I was sure that at some point the rain would have to turn to snow.

When I woke up at 5:30a and looked out the window….snow, falling ever so lightly.  Just enough to give the ground a good dusting.  And yes, technically I did not get my snow until the 17th, but the hope of snow made all the rain on the 16th more bearable.



December 17th

Today I was thankful for traditions.  It was wonderful to do the same small things we do every December trip to Flagstaff.  We went to the not too big not too small not too crowded mall.  My son visited Santa and got his picture taken.  I visited the calendar kiosk to get ready for next year.  I bought some seasonal hand soap at Bath and Body Works.  We had a snack at the food court. Then we went to the tree lot to get our Christmas tree.  This year we went to the same guy but in his second location as the the downtown location we used to frequent now has a hotel being built on it 😦

But after picking out our tree we went to downtown Flagstaff and visited the candy store and looked in store windows and noticed which businesses were gone.  No more candle store 😦 But another candy store bringing the total to three!

Normally we would go to the park and play in the snow, but the snow was gone so we sat by the huge fireplace in the hotel and watched the wind sway the pine trees out the windows.

We decided it was too cold to go for a hike. (It was 83° in Tucson on Thursday so windy temps in the 20s felt really cold to us.) Instead we went to an early dinner at Sizzler and then curled up on the beds to watch “Christmas Vacation” before calling it an early night.

I realized the traditions themselves were nice, but the important part was the family time we spent together.

Nothing says Christmas like it being cold enough to sit by a fire.


December 18th

Today I was delighted to take an inadvertant nap. Though I slept surprisingly well on our trip apparently I was tired. Somewhere on the north side of Phoenix I dozed off (don’t worry my husband was driving) and woke up about 30 minutes later. I had missed a big chunk of our audiobook but felt really good.


Happy December!!

The traditional mother-son photo at the mall.