End Of Summer

Taking a Hike

Here we are at the end of August already.  My gosh, how time flies.  This summer, so far, I’ve done a lot of hiking.  Two of the best trips took place in Sedona, with one being at the beginning of this month.  Years of exploring Sedona and I never knew of these hidden gems.  The most recent hike had us traveling along the red rock which opened up into a swimming hole.  People jumped off the cliffs into the water.  It was a very hot day so the water proved to be very refreshing.  Athletica has also joined the same hiking group that I belong to.  Here is a picture of the swimming hole:

The Rules Have Changed (Apparently)

Athletica was asked out on date recently by someone in our hiking group.  According to her it wasn’t a date, but being the great friend I am it didn’t stop me from razzing her about it.  I texted her to ask her how her ‘date’ was.  She responded with, “It’s not a date!”

“Okay,” I texted back.  “How was your ‘it’s-not-a-date’ date?”  No response (lol).  She told me later that it couldn’t possibly be a date because he had used a Groupon to pay for dinner.  So that’s how it is determined these days.  Guess the rules really have changed in the past decade.  Who knew?

Motorcycle Summer

 This summer has been one of the funnest ones on record.  Outside of the crazy heat I will be sad to see the seasons change.  I went with Matteo about a month ago to a biker bar to see a band play.  Let me tell you I saw some crazy stuff that night!  Very fun though.  I got in at 3:30am!

Its been interesting hanging with Matteo.  Back in Boston in the 1970s bikers there were either stared at in awe or were feared.  We had a biker bar down the street and I remember my father discouraging me from looking at them as we drove by.  I remember being on the freeway in the family station wagon and peering out the window in the most casual manner my 10 year old self could muster, at the couple on the Harley passing us.  A thin tan blonde woman sat on the back of the bike.  She wore leather pants with matching bikini top.  Her long hair was woven into two braids.  I don’t quite recall what the man looked like but most then had long hair and bushy beards.     Riding with Matteo has fished these memories to the surface.  Sometimes I’ll hear his bike pull up to the driveway and I’ll peek out the slats of the kitchen shutters at him, dressed in his bike garb.  I swear I lose my breath for a second.  Maybe it’s just my rebellious Catholic school girl nature.  I don’t know.  But where there is this tall, dark handsome man standing in my driveway next to a Harley, I can’t help myself.  (I can still hear my sister’s voice from that day on the freeway back in the 1970s: “Dad told you not to look”).  I started wearing a bandana around my face when we ride because Matteo has taken the windshield off the bike.  He reminded me that I should probably remove it before we entered a liquor store this past weekend.  I guess I would have made a few folks a little nervous.

Speaking of Matteo, he is off to New Mexico for the weekend for his highschool reunion.   He has become a great friend and sometimes when I’m with him I realize how many great experiences I’ve had since I let go of the past.  I’ve come to realize that letting go, as hard as it is or as scary as it may seem, often opens the doors for new things.   With that being said though, there are still things that need to be let go of.

Matteo’s bike:

   Florida/Race Bound

In a few weeks I will be flying to Florida for another fun trip with my best friend, Quasimomma .  We did this last year and had a blast.  I will fly into the gulf side and we will drive over to my aunt’s condo the next day.  The Smokester will be kenneled at her vet.  Not sure how I’ll handle Abby yet.

We are running in a 5k the first Saturday there.  We have always wanted to do a 5k together so I’m really ecstatic that our dream is coming into fruition.

Letting Go

Yesterday was not a good day.  I’ve been fighting with my ex for pretty much a week now.  While I haven’t mentioned it before, I will say that he has an addiction problem that he refuses to see.  It’s very frustrating.  We are still in contact although he is living really far away.  Sometimes I will call because I need an answer to something and I can hear in his voice that he is not sober.  I wish sometimes I could record his voice and play it back for him so he could hear how stupid he sounds.  When I ask him if he is drunk he will often lie and tell me he was asleep and that’s why his voice sounds that way.  It hit me the other night that I really do need to let go.  It’s not worth getting angry over anymore.  I’ve had a lot of anxiety over this the past couple of days and he is also scheduled to come back to Phoenix for a visit starting tonight.  We need to get together to talk about a few things.  It hit me today that we have been separated for almost a year.  He’s got until January 1st to get himself straight.  If not, then it’s time for me to move on for good.

I call this one Ruben:

So. . .I pretty much fought with him over text messaging on my way to work yesterday (I have the voice activated option so was not texting while driving).  I got into work to find the Internet down.  I looked up the number to our service provider from my phone.  I called and received that stupid recorded prompt which only told me to go their website for technical support.  Luckily I found another number and a man there was able to reset the modem from wherever he was.  I logged into email and found a scathing response from a client I had left a voice mail message for last week.  She had multiple changes to a project we are working on and each time she placed a change request she would promise it was the last one.  I simply asked her to sit with her documentation and outline all the changes in one fell swoop rather than piece mailing it.  I didn’t think I came off as angry or anything, but by her response I could tell she was ticked.  I did call her and straighten it out; however, it did get me thinking.
Was she angry because she felt that I was trying to rush her?  Or did I come off as threatening without even realizing it?  I’d have to say that my rapport with most clients is great.  Still though, I wonder at times if I come off a little abrasive.  I need to chat with my boss about this.

Last night I didn’t sleep well.  It was just one of those days.  Before work though I dedicate at least 30 minutes to prayer and meditation.  I say these out loud and as the words left my lips this morning I could feel such a release of tension.  Just a total letting go.  Letting go of the fight with the ex, letting go of the work stuff.  I felt lighter.

Camp Bound

Saturday morning I will pack up the SUV and head north to camp for another Labor Day weekend.  I won’t have the camper this year because the ex has the truck with him that I would usually use to pull it.  I did look into renting a U-Haul pick up truck but the connector for the brakes and lights isn’t correct.  Another place has the perfect truck that is affordable but the deposit is almost as much as my mortgage.  I just can’t risk that.  Looks like me, the pooch and the weasel are tenting it.  I’ve been so spoiled.  Hope we do okay.

And finally, more hiking. . .

  I’ve joined yet another hiking group and did a night hike Monday night.  It was really great fun and in addition to meeting some new people, one lady from Boston, too, we got to see some of the wild life that comes out at night in the desert.  Here is one of those said critters (yes, it’s a rattle snake): 

There’s another night hike tonight.  We’ll see what this trip yields.  🙂

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American Potato Salad Recipe

After spending years purchasing the store-bought stuff I finally decided to make my own potato salad.  The women in my family have always made marvelous potato salads from scratch.  My grandmother made the best.  Afterall, her family had been potato farmers.  I recall that she won a ribbon at a fair for her potatoes.  I don’t know why I have been reluctant to learn to make this.  Maybe it has just been too easy to purchase a plastic bucket at the grocery store because I had a coupon.  I found this recipe on Martha Stewart’s website.  It was quite enjoyable, not to mention easy to prepare.

 Potato salad combines wonderful textures and tastes if done right.  There’s something about the tang of vinegar and mayo, the crunch of the celery and onion, and then the star of the show, the potato itself!

 

 

 

 

Ingredients: 

-4 lbs russet potatoes (about 8)

-1 tblsp, plus 2 tsps of salt

-3 tblsps cider vinegar

-3 large eggs

-1/2 cup plus 2 tblsp of mayo

-1/2 tsp celery seed

-1 tsp dry mustard

-1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

-3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice (3/4 cup)

-1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch dice (1/2 cup)

-1 medium onion, finely diced (1/2 cup)

-10 cornichons, cut into 1/4 inch dice (1/4 cup) -(these are actually mini gherkin pickles –I had to look these up online because I had no idea what a cornichon was!  Leave it to Martha.  😉  )

-3 scallions, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

-2 tblsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

-1 tsp paprika

1.)Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover by several inches.  Bring to a boil over high heat, add 1 tbsp of salt, and lower to a gently boil.  Cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes.  Drain into a colander.  Using paper towels or gloves to protect your hands, peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch dice while still hot.  Drizzle with vinegar; set aside. (I let the potatoes cool a bit and then ran them under cold water before handling –we don’t wear gloves in Arizona)

2.)Place eggs in a small pan with enough water to cover by 1 inch, and place over medium-high heat.  When water comes to a boil, turn off heat, cover, and let stand for 13 minutes.  Drain, and place in a bowl with cold water to cover.  When cold, peel eggs.  Chop 2 into 1/4-inch dice.  Slice the third egg into 1/4-inch thick rounds, and set aside for garnish.

3.)Combine diced eggs, mayo, celery seed, mustard, 2 tsps sale, and black pepper in a large bowl, and whisk to combine.  Add reserved potatoes to mayo mixture.  Add celery, red pepper, onion, cornichons (gherkins), scallions, and chopped parsley.  Stir to combine.  Chill for 30 minutes before serving.  Garnish with paprika and reserved hard-boiled egg rounds.

 

Serves 10 to 12.

Just as a note, I omitted the celery seed and the scallions and it still came out just fine.  Enjoy!