Category Archives: Attempts at mind expansion

Snap Snap

Recently Green sat me down and expressed his concern that I was getting all wrapped up in work again. I know, I packed ‘work’ in a year and a half ago, but somehow each week I was increasing the time spent, fitting work in not only while Fox naps, but late into the night, when I should be taking care of my health etc. My hobbies had gone by the way side. Free time was work time. After a fabulous meeting at work I sat down and thought about what I was actually being asked to do by my boss, and what Green had said. I didn’t have to be doing as much work as I was, the only person driving me to spend this time was me. So, I’m trying to step back and hopefully get back some time to spend on gardening, on taking photographs, on my health, on sewing etc.

However, I am a bit of a project person and I’ve had a project languishing for about two years in recesses of my brain. A year and a half ago I got a website, talked some friends into being guinea pigs and then did nothing. The website and a few photos have sat doing nothing, until now. During our little conversation Green encouraged me to pursue my interest in photography, and so armed with that encouragement I launched my project yesterday. I present to you Love Letters to Tucson. You can find it here on Facebook. I could have spent months fussing with technicalities which is what I was tempted to do, but frankly this is supposed to be a bit of fun, a little love letter to the community I live in so I pushed publish and it’s out there now. The website needs work, but I’ll do that if I have time. Until then, it’ll do.

Speaking of photos, this is one of my favorites from our recent trip to the Netherlands, Green was at a conference and we went Eurocamping again.


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Filed under Attempts at mind expansion, Blogging, photography

The Humanist does Lent

Yeah, yeah, I’m a humanist not a Christian, but I grew up with Lent. Shrove Tuesday rolls around and I’m all over the pancakes. Not those thick monstrosities that people love so here. No, I mean those sweet crepe like pieces of heaven that the rest of the English speaking world calls pancakes. Yesterday was Pancake Tuesday aka Shrove Tuesday. A chance to fill up on the beautiful lemon and sugar sprinkled flour, milk and egg delight. Then today, reflection. Ash Wednesday. Reflection for forty days, and effort to become more accountable in some manner.
Pancake Tuesday
I recently stumbled upon this forty bags in forty days project, I think via Pinterest. (Yeah, don’t hate me cos I pinterest occasionally. I find it useful.  A virtual pinboard with much more organization than our house.) So, I’m doing it. Yep, forty bags in forty days. Going to get rid of the junk and clutter- to goodwill, to friends, to the compost bin, to the recycle and to the trash can. I like the idea of using the time to clear our heads as well as our home of clutter. Anyway, it’s doctor’s orders. Seriously, I went to the doctor today as a follow up from the whole prediabetes thing and then more recently I’ve been having lots of heartburn and arm twinges. The doctor’s assessment:

1. Lose weight via exercise and diet (specifically lower the carbs)
2. Get a decent amount of sleep (but we have a 4 month old)
3. Cut out the citrus, peppermint, tomato, spices, caffeine aka chocolate and raw onion – he wants to take the joy out of life apparently)
4. Reduce my stress levels.

Stress levels? What stress levels. Honestly, while the past 10months have had some significant stressful and emotional times, both happy and sad, I don’t have a terribly stressful life. I mean wasn’t that part of the point of my little life change a year and a bit ago. Of course, ask my bowels if I’ve been good at managing stress and they might tell you a different story. I physically internalize all mental stress so that it exhibits in delightful ways in my body from my heart to weight gain, I do think that stress, or my lack of management of it, impacts my health. I asked him what he thought were the most effective ways to reduce stress levels. His response:

1. Sleep (yes, again sleep comes up as crucial to health)
2. Stop procrastination
3. Use meditation and/or prayer to relax and calm the mind

And, drum roll please

4. Be organized. Clear the physical clutter, it helps with the mental clutter.

He has obviously been my primary care physician too long. Or he has been talking with my dad or husband about some of my less attractive qualities?  So the doctor orders effort toward decluttering my mind on Ash Wednesday and I’m going to do as I was told.

Back at home I sat down and wrote out a list of areas to go through. I have more than forty days worth. Today was the top of the fridge. Check. Tomorrow the firebox. My goal tonight, to fall asleep before midnight. Which gives me approximately twenty minutes to get going. What reduces stress for you? How do you stay committed to that? Do you have a time of reflection and contemplation in your life? My commitment for the next forty days, to reflect on how material objects can clutter our minds. Doesn’t that sound high-faluting? How to live more simply.

Oh yeah, about those sugar lemon carb filled discs – I ate in moderation. A first when it comes to pancakes- one of my all time favorite foods.


Filed under Attempts at mind expansion

Valentine Girl

Bean turns Four

Whirlwind of events over in our neck of the woods. Our Valentine girl turned four. Yep, four!
How did she go from this:
Bean 2007

to this:

Climbing monkey

So quickly?

There was a party, of course. This year the party was much smaller from years past which, for sanity’s sake, was a good thing. A zip line was installed as a b’day gift and a reading nook arranged in her room. Both were a huge hit with the birthday girl.

Okay, I’m off to photography class. Wish me luck, I’m handing my first assignment in. Somethings never change, I was still up into the wee hours burning the CD, resizing images, and pondering what to include in my contact sheets.


Filed under Attempts at mind expansion, photography, Sweet Spot of Parenting


A particular friend urged me to sign up for a photography class.
Oh, you’ll be fine, she said to my protests that there wasn’t an artistic bone in my body. Don’t worry, everyone is a beginner. she said to my worries that I’d be hopeless. Eek! They aren’t all beginners in my class, and they’re all bloody art students. I feel like I’m way out of my depth. By Monday, I need to have approximately 60 pictures for a contact sheet. I have about 6 shots that I might put on a contact sheet right now. 54 to go. Oh, and I need to find the artistic bone. No dirty interpretations please.

On a not unrelated note: Melissa, you’re awesome. Thanks for talking me into something that really is a challenge and believing that I’m up for the task.

I’m supposed to do some shots that show fast motion stopped. Hopscotch count?



Filed under Attempts at mind expansion

One of the most important votes this election in AZ

Superintendent of Public Instruction.
I can’t believe anyone would consider voting for Huppenthal, but just in case:

You have a choice.
1. An individual who has dedicated her life to educating Arizona’s children and who by all accounts has been a strong and ardent voice for our children and our state for many years.

2. An individual who seeks to undermine the public education in Arizona and so further undermine our state economy. (You want higher paying jobs in AZ, invest in our children and their teachers);whose professional experience with schools is as a career politician.

Guess which one I’m voting for.


Filed under Arizona, Attempts at mind expansion, Politics

International Day of Peace

Today is the International Day of Peace. Did you know that? I didn’t. Maybe I did, but it isn’t on my radar like Labor Day or Memorial Day or some day that warranting a day off work. How wrong is that?

I haven’t followed up on last week’s post yet, because things are still settling out. Frankly, I don’t know some pieces of the puzzle yet. I hope to get some information today. Gosh, isn’t that cryptic? Lets just say that yesterday I made a huge, scary step for me and I believe I have made the right choice. I am excited by the level of support I have from my family so far. I still need to tell my in-laws, however they are always champions. I just shouldn’t post this, but I wanted to post it alongside a picture of this graffiti that a fabulous friend from work pointed out to me a few weeks ago. It is on our path into work.

Stay Positive

This message/inspiration graffiti is spotted on and around campus. Little gifts for people in the neighbourhood and campus. The same friend also had the following quote on her Facebook page recently, it seems fitting:

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost. ~Dalai Lama

Oh, and Green? He handled caffeine withdrawal like a champ. Not sure how it is going to work with the upcoming observatory schedule, but for now he is doing much better than I ever did trying to come off caffeine. Heck, I had to be in a coma for 3 or 4 days to kick my diet soda habit.


Filed under Attempts at mind expansion

Football, War and Another Type of Hero

Some things about me:
1. While attending my Pac-10 alma mater I went to exactly 1.5 football (American football) games.

2. Super Bowl party 2003 is the ‘official’ start of the relationship between Green and I. I didn’t watch the game, I was doing jello shots outside on the porch looking out over a great view of Tucson. We have held multiple Super Bowl parties since. I never watch the game.

3. I opposed the use of military force in Afghanistan and Iraq.

4. I do not believe that opposition to the war constitutes opposition to individuals who are part of the armed forces, nor is it somehow less patriotic than jingoistic rallying behind every military action.

With that said, or perhaps because of that, I’m going to go watch The Tillman Story as soon as it makes it to Tucson. It opened yesterday in LA and NY. It best bloody make it to Tucson.

This movie isn’t going to change my mind about American football, nor I expect about the ongoing war, but the initial description and reviews are giving my prejudices about football players a healthy kick up the ass. I’m ashamed to say that my prejudices about football players meant I just turned off as soon as talk about Pat Tillman was on the radio or in the papers. I remember when he joined up. I remember the news when he was reported killed and as with all deaths felt sorrow for his family. I remember when it was revealed that it was ‘friendly fire’. I hadn’t paid attention beyond that and I’m deeply ashamed of that.

Any Tucson folks up to coming to see it with me when it makes it here?


Filed under Attempts at mind expansion