Sunrise Sunset

We took a Thursday evening beach walk at sunset.

This morning we woke up to this.

We headed south of the border yesterday for a weekend of beach walks, seafood, and enjoying the Sea of Cortez. What a joy to arrive in time for a beach walk at sunset. I was stunned this morning to wake up and see this magnificent sunrise from our room.

Have a great weekend!

What highlights do you have planned for this weekend?

Do you like sunrises or sunsets more? Why?

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?

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?

I found a mission

Find a need and fill it. Find a hurt and heal it…

The Phoenix Dream Center

Screen shot from the Phoenix Dream Center.

Although I’m not the most social person, I said yes to attend a women’s group nearby with two of my neighbors. I’m saying yes to things like this to get to know more people in my community.

This women’s group selected one charity that fits their mission of helping women and children in need. The nonprofit they are helping is called The Phoenix Dream Center.

We’re on a mission to stop human trafficking, end childhood hunger and educate tomorrows leaders.” –Brian D. Steele, Executive Director, The Phoenix Dream Center

Stephanie Lang, MSW, Development Manager of the Phoenix Dream Center, gave an eye opening presentation about human trafficking. To be honest, it wasn’t a subject that I’ve thought much about. The Dream Center takes people off the streets who are being human trafficked. They have a four-year residential treatment center to help heal and get these people back on their feet — whether it’s back in school or in a career.

Some of the scary facts I learned:

Phoenix is a human trafficking hub. That’s because of the freeway system. Phoenix is an easy place to access from California, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, etc.

The average age of women who are trafficked is 13. For boys, it’s age 11.

They have 67 beds and said there is a need for hundreds more.

The people being trafficked are not illegals crossing the border. 90% of them are Arizona residents from all walks of life.

Human traffickers prey on vulnerable people who want to be loved.

Unlike someone trafficking drugs or guns — who have to find a new supply each time to make money — the human trafficker can sell their human being up to 16 or more times per day.

Yes, I’m joining this woman’s group. I believe in their mission.

In addition to raising funds for the Phoenix Dream Center, we will take a tour of the facility in January. They are also working ways to volunteer in person there.

Have you found a mission that you can get behind and support through volunteering or fundraising? What is it?

A few random thoughts

sunrise in the desert
Sunrise view from our backyard.

I turned off the ads.

Did you notice the difference? I turned off the ads on my blog. At one time, years ago, I thought I could make money blogging. So far that is not the case. Blogging is a creative release to express my personal thoughts and feelings. When I first turned on the ads, a blogger told me it interfered with her loading my blog. She said she enjoyed my writing but was no longer going to follow me because of ads.

That should have been my first clue to end the ads.

WordPress help is helpful! I entered a chat box because I couldn’t figure out where or how to control the ads. Within a minute I was given a link to make the change.

I get really upset when my kids get in a fight with me or my husband.

We’ve had a few unpleasant conversations with our kids lately. One was yesterday and it really tears me apart. I feel like a failure as a parent and everything I tried to instill in my kids is for naught. I was surprised to get a phone call this morning with an apology. I’m grateful for that.

It’s hard to go to the pool when the weather is cold.

I’m making myself go at least two days a week. But when it’s dropping to the low 40s it’s hard! I don’t want to get in my bathing suit let alone get in the pool. I do feel better when it’s over. I reward myself with a long hot shower!

I swam yesterday and I never warmed up. I was chilled. Usually the hardest part is getting in or out of the pool than after a few laps you feel warm. My face and arms felt cold the entire time I swam.

Do you have ads on your blog? Why or why not? Would you stop following a blog because of ads?