Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Scenes

We are so glad to live near UA Campus Farms.  Today/Easter, we rode our bikes over there and Mark took these shots of the mamas and foals. 
And then, we bike home and I put together some tuna fish, celery, tomato, capers and lettuce on ciabatta (shared between us), blueberries and strawberry side, sit ourselves on the patio and smell the spring scent of orange blossoms. Look closely to see the newly opened five petaled blossom.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring and A Slow-Mindful Life

I read an article on mindfulness from yesterday's NY Times.  It reminded me of how I can walk and be mindful.  This week, on our almost daily Mountain Ave. walks, the wildflowers began to appear in the wash.

Then today/Palm Sunday, we went to San Xavier.  Some gorgeous pics that Mark took of the church and its restored art will appear on AnitaWrites ( ) later in the week, but from the Church garden, here's a starting-to-bloom barrel cactus.

It's interesting to see the different time of day reflected in the light.  In the Mountain Ave. photo, it is about 9:30 in the morning and the east side of the avenue, where we walk, is still in partial shade.  Whereas, we were at San Xavier at 2 p.m. and the March sun makes the blossoms glisten in the glare.  Fortunately, today was a mild 75 degrees, with a breeze.  Practicing mindfulness, I took several breaths and felt the air come in/go out of my lungs.  Peace. Shalom.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gray in the backyard

It's been three weeks since we parted from our dog, Lia, and welcomed in our cat, Gray.  In addition to being able to enjoy some inside time, Gray also now can move around in our backyard.  With warm evening weather, we have had several dinners outside and while we eat, Gray has picked a chair in the shade to get comfortable.  The chair is also next to one of our bird feeders to the birds have had to adjust their feeding schedule to times when Gray is not around. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tucson Book Festival and Habitat Booth

I don't think this weekend was a "slow" one--certainly, and gratefully, not like last weekend when I was laid down low with back spasms.  This weekend was all about the Tucson Book Festival and I enjoyed every minute of it.  For us veterans for the Festival, Saturday, cool and damp, had its own charm because the crowd was a bit smaller and so walking around on the Mall was easier.  In spite of the weather, almost all the sessions I attended were full.  I will be writing up my notes in summary form on my other blog but here's a photo, from Saturday, of our time as volunteers at the Habitat for Humanity Booth.  What was very popular were the tables where kids could make and paint their own bird houses.  So many birds, nesting this week, will find a "home sweet home."

Sunday, March 3, 2013

slowing down after a curve ball

Well, life certainly throws some curve balls our way.  On Friday, my birthday, I enjoyed a lovely lunch at Hacienda Del Sol where my son, their banquet son, took this picture.

Then, by the evening, the mild back ache I have had--on and off, since I did a major housecleaning on Sunday--de-evolved into significant back spasms and pain.  My muscle relaxant pills are out of date, from my ankle injury 3 years ago, so, although they may have a bit of punch, they, plus Aleve aren't doing too much to relieve my situation.  So, a major slow down this weekend with most of my time in a prone position on the couch or bed and "excercise" is limited to slow walks in the neighborhood. 

Gray, however, is a welcome presence of a healthy family member and here he is on the couch with me trying to be stoic) as I watch t.v. with a heated pad on my back.

And another, from yesterday morning, as he basks in the sun while we eat breakfast.
I guess his litter box has a touch of zen garden to it since he doesn't really use it often.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tucson Interfaith Community Services Forum

Thursday, upon the invitation from a friend who volunteers for this organization (, I attended this "Lunch and Learn" forum, held at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.  The title of the forum was "Out of the Blue:  Understanding Depression" and here are a few facts I learned:

1.  According to the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General:  25% of our population will deal with mental health and/or mental illness during their lifetime; 50% of the population is already affected by mental health and/or mental illness and, by 65 years of age, 50% of the population will have experienced mental illness or a mental health issue.

2.  The number of people whol will die from mental illness is similar to the number who will die from breast cancer and yet, because of the continuing stigma to mental illness, there is no similar formal or informal/community support for the disease of mental illness. 

3.  Starting in 2014, The Affordable Health Care Act, will include some elements of mental health coverage, but they are limited.  (For more info on the Affordable Health Care Act go to , The Kaiser Foundation).

4.  An important question we can all ask ourselves, as a form of mental health awareness and self-help is "How am I living my Day today?"  This means--am I getting enough (30 mins) exercise, eating wisely, taking in sunshine/Vitamin D?  Particularly for those of us in the desert, depression can spike up as the heat builds and we stay inside, isolate and lack Vit. D, so getting out and about in the morning, even having breakfast on the patio, while the temps are cool, is a good way to keep sadness and depression at bay.

El Rio Clinic is offering Mental Health First Aid Trainings (which I intend to look into at 520-318-6946 ) and the State Legislature just passed a bipartisan Mental Health First Aid bill, so, after the Newtown and NRA violence and gun issues have drawn public attention, and since "Silver Linings Playbook" was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar--a lot of attention is now shining on Mental Health.

So, just for today, enjoy the Spring Sunshine and Smile!