It’s a stretch

Olive posing on the casita sofa.

I feel like there is more I need to do for me. A popular term for it is “self care.”

I try to eat right. I take vitamins. I walk seven days a week. I swim. I pray.

But I feel like I’m missing something. Why am I so tired all the time? Why do my knees, hands and feet hurt? Yes I’m getting older. That’s probably why. Arthritis is settling in my joints.

Something else dawned on me. Somewhere along the line, I forgot about stretching.

I used to be religious about my morning stretches and crunches. Then for some unknown reason, I stopped.

I used to take a stretch class followed by ballet. I incorporated the stretches and crunches into my daily life for decades. I think I stopped because I get busy wanting to start my day after my morning walk. Also, it’s harder to get down on the floor than it was years ago!

I need to start stretching again. Visiting my mother and seeing her in skilled nursing because her body is giving out on her has motivated me to “Use it and not lose it.”

Do you have any healthy habits you want to incorporate into your life? What are things you start and stop for no significant reason?

Walking through the weekend

More trash on our trash walk

We saw this styrofoam on our walk. This is on the other side of the road from where we cleaned up last week.

As I wrote last week, we decided to have a quiet weekend without cooking, cleaning and entertaining.

It was lovely. We’ve been entertaining and going out with friends more than introvert me prefers. I don’t know why our neighborhood is so darn social. Maybe it’s the years of being shut down. The newcomers — like us — who moved during the pandemic were looking to end isolation and make new friends.

Anyhow, a weekend alone was much needed and appreciated.

Some of the highlights were our morning and afternoon walks. We decided to double up on walking and although my feet and knees hurt, I think it may be good for me?

Last week, we noticed trash on the side of the road and sidewalk. We picked up several bags and felt good about our good deed. I wrote about that HERE. After this weekend, we are up to eight bags of trash. The side of the road we started on looks wonderful. But then one day we ventured to the other side of the road — and it’s a mess!

As we were headed back to our garbage cans at our house with our stuffed bags and my husband holding random pieces of styrofoam too big for the bags, we ran into neighbors. They said they thought about doing the same thing. The wife asked her husband to take a photo of us holding our trash! She said, “You can put it in the newsletter and maybe it will encourage others to do the same.”

“That’s a great idea,” the husband said snapping our picture. “We’ll put you guys in the newsletter.”

I laughed along with the wife. He obviously didn’t know that I’m the one who writes and lays out the newsletter.

After they left my husband said, “Over my dead body.”

He explained that he likes to pick up trash because it makes the desert cleaner and it gives him a sense of satisfaction. He doesn’t want any recognition or attaboys for it. Thankfully, he doesn’t read my blog!

Another highlight of our afternoon walks, besides listening to the birds, who I can now identify by their calls and songs — thanks to Bird Buddy — was when a neighbor drove up the road and unrolled her window.

“Down across the street is a big bobcat,” she said.

We thanked her and I wanted to turn around. My husband pushed on. “They are afraid of us,” he said.

We walked to the end of the block and a few feet from us was a bobcat — who is much stockier and filled out than the skinny one we see in our yard. He walked nonchalantly across the road. He was in no rush and didn’t give us a glance. My husband tried to snap his picture — for the newsletter of course — but he quickly disappeared in the brush on the other side of the road.

Bobcat in the yard

This is our skinny bobcat on our patio. She passes through for a bird snack from time to time.

Saturday night we watched football. But in two different rooms. I’m a big Utah Utes fan. My husband is rooting for USC and both games were on Saturday night.

USC is already headed to the PAC 12 champs, regardless of what happened Saturday.

Utah had a few hurdles:

They had to beat CO — done 63-21

Oregon State had to beat Oregon — done 38-34

UCLA had to beat CAL — done 35 – 28

Washington had to beat Washington State — done 51 – 33

All the dominoes fell into place. Can you believe it? Our next game is Utah vs. USC for the conference title. I have a feeling we’ll be watching in separate rooms again.

What are some of the simple pleasures you enjoyed this past weekend?

Counting down the days and words

 pomegranate
We have pomegranates in our yard. I’m not sure if they’re ornamental or good to eat.

The month will soon be over. November is National Novel Writing Month known as NaNoWriMo. The challenge is to write 50,000 words this month. I am at a little over 42,000 words and I’m counting down to the wire.

I like my story premise, I’m pleased that I’m alternating points of view each chapter between several characters. A lot of back story and details about the characters’ lives emerged. My prior draft from last year was from one character’s point of view and it was limiting.

Six days and 8,000 words to go. My goal is 1,500 words a day until it’s done. It is a challenge. I usually edit and revise as I write. But this is an exercise in getting the story out and fixing it later. It’s difficult for me to write without wanting to rewrite and edit.

Once the rough draft is done, I’ll set it aside before I take a good hard look at what I’ve done. Then the real work will begin.

Do you edit as you write? Or do you write a free flowing first draft and edit it later?

Thanksgiving birds

Here are some bird photos from my Bird Buddy Gallery. The Bird Buddy is an AI bird feeder that my son was involved with bringing to market.

The first three photos are Gila Woodpeckers.

Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Gila Woodpecker

The Bird Buddy arrived last week and I’ve been having a blast with it. I am learning about the species of birds who hang out in our backyard. The app on my phone IDs the birds, gives me information about them and has recordings of the their songs and calls.

I decided not to cook this Thanksgiving, but we will go out for a simple meal. We’ve hosted Thanksgiving for most of the past 30 years and I don’t feel like doing the shopping, the prep, the cooking, inviting guests and cleaning up.

So instead of turkey, I’m sharing my Thanksgiving birds in my yard with my fellow bloggers and friends.

Gambel's quail
Mourning dove

Mourning Dove

Albert's Towhee

Albert’s Towhee

Cactus Wren
Eurasian Collared Dove

Happy Thanksgiving! What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

What’s up with trash?

This is the sidewalk outside our development where we walked.

On Saturday, my husband and I walked outside our neighborhood development on a sidewalk that took us two miles to the end of the road. It’s not a very busy road and across the street is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve with 130 miles of hiking trails. It’s a beautiful view looking out across the pristine desert.

But we noticed it wasn’t so pristine. We kept spotting trash. Beer bottles, coke cans, styrofoam cups and eventually a plastic grocery bag. My husband picked up the bag and began to fill it with trash as we walked.

Soon, the trash bag was full. On the way back home, I spotted a full grocery bag on the side of the road. Somebody had picked up trash but left the bag on the ground. I picked that one up and we took the trash back to our garbage can.

The next day, we decided to take the same walk and pick up trash. I wore latex gloves and we each carried a trash bag. We filled up our bags and got most of the trash.

I want to know who litters like that? I’m sure it’s not coming from our neighborhood. Next door is a country club with huge homes. I’m pretty sure it’s not coming from there. The road is a hot spot for cyclists. I’m also convinced it’s not the cyclists tossing trash. Are the litterbugs people driving through or workers like gardeners, repairmen and construction workers? Or is it kids? Who does that?

Do you notice trash where you walk or live? Who do you think litters?

Lemon Lush

Lemon Lush I made Saturday.

We had friends over for dinner this weekend. My husband suggested I make lemon lush for dessert. I usually make it during Christmas week.

It’s an old recipe that I discovered in the 1980s when I worked in public relations for the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament. When the tournament was over, we’d have potluck in our meeting room for staff and volunteers. One of the wealthy lady volunteers brought in lemon lush and it was a huge hit. I asked her for the recipe. So many people asked for it that she used the copy machine and handed them to us.

I kept that recipe in my old Betty Crocker cookbook until it faded. There are tons of versions online. The one posted below is closest to the recipe that faded beyond recognition. (Tip: you can use pecans instead of walnuts.)

Our friends loved lemon lush and asked for the recipe. I’m embarrassed to share it because it’s a Jello Pudding and Cool Whip recipe. But it tastes so delicious. When I’ve shared the recipe before, people look disappointed. It’s verging on embarrassment to share this with my new Arizona friends! But it tastes so good — I won’t stop making it. Maybe I should throw in some fresh ingredients like lemon zest or fresh lemon juice?

I think it must be a recipe from the 1970s.

LEMON LUSH

Printed from COOKS.COMhttps://cooks.com/kb8i85fz


Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups ground walnuts
1 1/2 sticks of butter

Filling:

8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of Cool Whip

Topping:

2 small packages instant lemon pudding
3 cups cold milk

Crust:

Using a pastry cutter, combine ingredients for crust and pat into the bottom of 9×13 pan.

Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes. Let cool.

Filling:

Mix well and spread over cool baked crust. Refrigerate.

Topping:

Mix packages of lemon pudding with 3 cups of cold milk. Once mixture has thickened, pour over filling.

Top off with more Cool Whip and nuts, if desired.

https://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/prt/0,1613,129181-245195,00.html

What recipe do you have that is super easy but so delicious?

A Cloudy Day

A view of clouds during my morning walk Friday. I believe these clouds are called cirrocumulus.

A cloudy day is a welcome interruption from day after day of sunshine and blue skies.

If you want to learn about the different types of clouds, I found a great website for Cloud ID by JPL/NASA. Click HERE for a pdf chart.

We look forward to clouds for another reason:

SUNSET!!!

I will never get used to sunsets in Arizona.

What are your favorite days? Clear blue skies or clouds? Why?