Monday, September 15, 2014

My life, currently...

These days I am:

Reading "Yoga Anatomy" and "The Bhagavad Gita." Deep.

Practicing yoga. Yoga. Yoga.

Feeling strong and sore and tired and energized. I think my body is a bit confused these days.

Thinking. Thinking. Always thinking. About yoga philosophies, yoga poses, and what needs to be done at work and home in the midst of my yoga commitments.

Looking forward to finishing my yoga teacher training at the end of this year but knowing I'll want more when this phase is complete.

Settling in to this new routine I've signed myself up for. This is week number six (of 19) and for whatever reason the adjustment period has been slow for me. I think I wasn't really prepared for the time commitment of yoga teacher training. And while I absolutely love it, it feels like every little bit of my daily life and routine has shifted.

Blogging differently these days. My blog has had to take a back seat on my list of priorities.

Trying to not feel guilty for my lack of participation in blog land. I just haven't had time for blog reading and commenting.

Missing Douglas. It's hunting season and he's been away a lot, but he's coming home today. Hooray!!!

Cooking hardly anything these days and buying lots of frozen meals for Doug to have on evenings when I'm at yoga class.

Taking hardly any photos - partly because I'm busy and partly because I'm a little bored with the same ol' stuff to photograph.

Sewing here and there and getting close to finishing September's square for Fiona's Friendship Quilt Exchange.

Listening to "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor. Over and over and over.

Being super happy even though this blog post sounds like I'm a bit worn out.

Happy new week, everyone!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Just a Quote for Friday

{Doug's photo}

"You are the sky. Everything else - it's just the weather."
~ Pema Chodron

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Crockpot Lasagna Soup

I have a really yummy recipe to share with you today!
Fall is coming and I couldn't be happier! I look forward to cooler weather and the opportunity to make hot meals for Doug and I. And also with fall comes the onset of hunting season which means that Doug needs meals to take in his ice chest - things that are hearty and easy to reheat when he returns to camp at the end of the day. I love being able to make some meals for him to take along.

Last weekend Doug was away scouting and I had yoga school to go to. I've been wanting to try this recipe for lasagna soup, so I loaded it up in the crockpot before I headed out that morning. I felt happy knowing that when Doug came home later that day (before me) the house would smell amazing. Coming home to the aroma of crockpot food is something that makes my hubby very happy.

I saw this recipe in a magazine a few years ago and typed it up - hard copy style. I can't remember the magazine I found it in, so if this is a recipe that you personally made up, please let me know and I will give you credit. In the meantime, I'm going to share the recipe with my modifications and the disclosure that the original was not my idea.

Lasagna Soup for the Crockpot

Combine the following ingredients in a crockpot:
1 onion, chopped
1 to 2 zucchinis, diced into small pieces
10 3/4 oz. tomato soup, canned, condensed
14.5 oz. tomatoes, canned, petite diced
15 oz. tomato sauce, canned
2 t. chicken bouillon granules
2 t. beef bouillon granules
4 c. water
1 1/2 t. oregano
1 1/2 t. basil
1 t. parsley
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
8 lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces, uncooked

Crumble over the top of the soup mixture:
1 lb. lean ground beef, raw
I broke the ground beef up in little pieces to resemble very small meatballs.
 Cover. Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.

8 oz. Ricotta cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
Now, the original recipe called for stirring in ricotta and mozzarella cheese 30 minutes before serving. The soup was just so pretty, and I knew the addition of the cheese would totally change the presentation. So instead of stirring it in, I saved the cheese and added a dollop of Ricotta and a sprinkling of mozzarella just before serving it.
* * * * * * * *
Oh my gosh this soup was delicious! Doug loved it too, and was spontaneously mmmmmm-ing as he took his first few bites. :o)

I packaged the leftovers into freezer bags with a good serving of the soup, and added a spoonful of ricotta cheese to the top before sealing it up. I figured the cheese mixed in won't hinder the presentation of the soup at camp, and if it does Doug won't mind.

This one's a keeper - the recipe, and Douglas.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Weather in Arizona

I don't say much about our Arizona weather here on my blog other than to complain about the heat from time to time, but today I have some photos of something out of the ordinary for us. You may have heard about the excessive rain we had yesterday in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

A very loud thunderstorm woke us in the early hours yesterday morning (around 2:30 a.m.) and kept us awake for a good part of the night - super loud thunder and a steady downpour of rain. We learned later that it was the end result of a hurricane that had formed in the Pacific ocean, dropping 3.29 inches of rain on us yesterday. Now that might not seem like a whole lot, but that's more rain than we typically get during the months of July, August and September combined! And since we live in a desert, we don't really have gutter systems to drain the water away and out of neighborhoods quickly. The photos above and below were taken from our driveway yesterday morning as we prepared to leave our house for work.

I was going to slant this blog post by saying it wasn't all that bad. The media really hypes up the news anytime we get even the slightest amount of rain. But the truth is that some parts of the valley retained more water than on our side of town. My brother, who lives on the west side of town, suffered serious damage to his car and tires while driving through a flooded intersection in the early hours of the day. Lots of roads were closed, including one of our major interstates. {You can watch a brief news report here.}

It made for an interesting drive to work yesterday morning, and some people were even forced to stay home for the day. But by time we drove home from work yesterday afternoon, things looked a bit like this, with outer lanes still flooded and sidewalk edges not visible:

And here's our street view when we got home:

A few of my blog readers reached out to me yesterday to make sure we were ok - so sweet of you guys! That prompted me sharing these photos today to let you know that the sun is shining in Arizona today, and I'll probably be complaining about the heat and humidity later this afternoon. Some parts of the valley still have standing water and some folks have some serious property damage to deal with, but we were very fortunate in our part of town.
To my far away friends: Thanks for thinking of us yesterday!
To my local friends: How did you weather the storm?

Monday, September 8, 2014

My weekend and Doug's photos

Good morning, blog friends.
I hope you all had lovely weekends! Mine was busy, busy, busy and yesterday afternoon I realized I hadn't taken any photos to use for my weekend recap. What to do...what to do...

And then Doug came home from a weekend in the wilderness and he had these photos on his point and shoot. Perfect!

Doug spent the weekend in Ashfork, Arizona, hunting for deer and scouting for elk. Unfortunately for Doug, and fortunately for the deer, nothing dead came home with him.

I have yoga teacher training every Thursday and Friday evening, and then the first Saturday and Sunday of the month. So this morning finds me fresh out of four straight days of yoga school - a little sore but a lot of happy and wishing for another day off to get some things done around my house.
Time to switch gears...
I hope happiness finds you this week, my friends.
And if it doesn't find you, go look for it yourselves!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Just a Quote for Friday

"And God said 'love your enemy,'
and I obeyed him and loved myself."
~ Khalil Gibran

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Magic of Snail Mail

When my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February 2011, I started sending her a piece of mail every week. I would send a notecard, a postcard, and sometimes a little trinket or food item. She was in California, and I'm in Arizona, so a little bit of snail mail every week helped bridge the gap in miles between us. That weekly mail meant so much to her.

And when I started sending mail to my mom, I included my grandma too. I could only imagine how hard it was for her to see her own daughter suffer, and since I was sending weekly mail to my mom it was easy enough to include an extra piece for Grandma.

Well, you know how this story unfolded; my mom lost her battle in October 2012, but I continued to send weekly mail to my grandma. I think she needed it more than ever after my mom was gone.

When we visited Grandma last weekend in California she had something to show me. She disappeared into her bedroom and came back with a bag perched on her walker. The bag contained dozens (and dozens) of envelopes and postcards - many of them from me, a few from my sweet Carrie, and others from some of my cousins. She saves them like they are valuable treasures, all of them so precious to her.

There's a space on our kitchen counter where I tuck little bits of mail that I want to save, and the stack has been growing over the past couple of months. This is partly thanks to Sian and her sweet idea to organize the Pile of Postcards Exchange over the summer, and partly due to the sweetness and generosity of my friends and family. Each of them represents a little piece of someone's time and thoughtfulness, and every one is special to me.

It seems that the art of a handwritten note is fading in a world of texting, emailing, Facebooking, and Tweeting. When is the last time you wrote a quick note, addressed it, and slapped a stamp on it? I'm encouraging you to do just that this month, just as Sian encouraged us over the summer.

Who can you reach out to via snail mail in the month of September?
Whose day will you brighten?
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