Monday, July 30, 2012

It rained most of the afternoon

I just checked the local weather page and we're having a very good monsoon this year.  We are almost where we need to be (a little over 5.5 inches for the year) and twice what we were this time a year ago.  The storms seems to be coming in every three or five days and dropping the temperatures as well as resaturating the desert soil.  When we walked around our neighborhood last night, the dampness stuck to our skin but, because it was pleasantly cool, it was really a joyful experience.  Every cell of the desert earth seemed to have fragrance and, with the purple Texas Rangers still blooming (to which I am highly allergic), the lavendar-like scent swathed our senses.  Here's a link to some gorgeous pictures of the bush in bloom:

We can just begin to sense the shortening of days, too.  As August beckons its head around the corner, I am just about ready to buy sweet corn from the grocery store.  There is a clinging memory I have of eating corn in August in Illinois that keeps me from buying it in June and July.  We get the corn from Mexico so it can come early, but I wait.  And I usually limit my experience to one or two simple meals of boiled sweet corn and butter.  We have grilled it sometimes, too, but I like the "classic" taste of boiled sweet corn.  I can go exotic and twirl the ears in olive oil and not brush on butter but that's as far as my classic taste buds will go.

Are there certain flavors you favor this time of the year?  Are there signs you see that suggest the summer is winding down?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wisdom from the Dalai Lama

As part of my personal "happiness project", I have identified the Dalai Lama as my spiritual leader and am reading The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. I am almost finished with it and recommend it to my blog followers.  I like the book, in part, because, in addition to the words from the Dalai Lama, the other author, a psychologist, asks questions Western thinkers/seekers would ask and interprets many of the Buddhist principles through a Western mind-science lens.  In light of what happened in Colorado this Friday, it's important to take time to slow down and embrace the life we have, right now.

I just opened the book to a random page (p. 39) and so I will share this with you: "...for instance, in the case of everyday experiences, if there are experiences you do not desire, then the best method for ensuring that the event does not take place is to make sure that the casual conditions that normally give rise to the event no longer arise.  Similary, if you want a particular event or experience to occur, then the logical thing to do is to seek and accumulate the causes and conditions that give rise to it."

So, for this week, are you willing to think about the events you want to occur and how to cultivate the circumstances for them to happen?  And conversely, are you willing to weed out the conditions that cause things that happen which cause you stress or unhappiness?

For me, I am making a conscious choice to compliment a stranger each day:  today, at Starbucks, I told a woman I liked the color of her hair.  She smiled, surprised and I smiled back.  Also for today, with so much grey outside (ongoing rain showers) and inside (ongoing news of the Colorado shootings), I did not buy a NY Times and limited CNN time to right now: waiting to hear our President speak wise words to the nation.

The Dalai Lama believes that "the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness."  Do you share that belief, and if not (yet), can you be willing to act as if you do?  Not easy, but worth trying, I am learning.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

good news

Our 12 1/2 year old dog-daughter, Lia, finally is feeling relief from her aching joints and back to her happy self with walks to the neighborhood's pool area and common grassy knoll.  She and Mark take their morning stroll and then they stretch out on the grass and watch the cars go by.

Also, it's a change of seasons for us desert dwellers: monsoon clouds gather in the afternoon and present not only rain, if we are lucky, but also the most lovely sunsets. 

Yesterday, most of the city (not our neighborhood) had a mild to drenching rain and the whole valley was cooled off by 10 or more degrees.  We went downtown for Second Saturdays and joined a jolly crowd of families and older "dates" like us before the next 20-30 something's hour started with bands at 9 p.m.  You can check out my other blog to read what I wrote about our viewing of Hulot's Holiday at The Screening Room, a funny little French 1946 comedy.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

4th of July Americana painting

On last week's 4th of July mini-vaca in Phoenix, my hubby and I again visited the Phoenix Art Museum.  Now that we are members, we are enjoying the smaller exhibits we haven't seemed to have time for on "event" days.  Here is one painting by Phoenix artist and museum patron, Philip C. Curtis. Several of his have a whimsical touch that caught our eye and, of course with a 4th of July theme, this one we liked very much.  Sometimes the simple things make the best holiday memories.

Parrot tricks

We have a fun friend in Phoenix who has a parrot named Paulito.  She went to a Parrot Seminar recently and the main speaker was this young guy, famous, I guess on YouTube and some reality t.v. show.  Here's the link to a really cute video of him doing twenty parrot tricks in two minutes.  You will also find links to other parrot videos if you want to take the time to laugh a little.

I need more laughter in my life, so that's why I am posting this today---hoping the parrot tricks bring you some chuckles, too.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I have been trying (I guess, so far, unsuccessfully) to post a picture of me, taken last week, on Mt. Lemmon.  The angle of my hand makes it look a bit deformed, but I assure you, it's not.  I talk with my hands all the time (the Italian in me) and all limbs, including my ankle are working fine!


In today's NY Times, first section, there's a full page letter from Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO (and founder).  I read his book, Onward, last year about this time and it provided a lot of inspiration to me about how a real leader moves forward during tough economic times.

Now he/Starbucks is challenging us to find ways to highlight positive stories in our communities that demonstrate our (positive) American character.  While there are lots of negatives about Tucson, there are positives, too, and I have been trying to highlight them in my AnitaWrites blog as "brightspots"  .  Today, I think I switched over to Google+ and I hope this all works in a seamless fashion, because, if I can figure out how to tag this with #indivisible, Starbucks will, somehow, collect and amplify this post and my voice.  I believe in the possibilities of a united America #indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  And I hope, that as we fold into the summer of an election year, we don't discard these possibilities.

So, Happy Fourth of July!

Here's the link to the Letter #Indivisible by Howard Schultz
and a link to a Starbucks video for #Indivisible and East Liverpool, Ohio