1–10 of 332 entries in the category: Arizona

The Productivity Trap

July 12th

I’ve been struggling a bit lately. This isn’t uncommon for me this time of year. We’re mid-July and really only starting our summer season. The weather’s already climbed over 110, and this shifts life. To be outside, where I’d rather be, you’ve got to get up before the sun.

None of this is new. You’d think after nearly 40 years of living in one place, I’d be adjusted. But no, as the temperatures rise and the days grow longer, I feel a heavy weight of seasonal depression wrap itself around me like a hungry snake.

Further, I’ve noticed a source of my sadness is that I’m not spending all the time doing all the hobbies. Pieces of a quilt waiting to be sewn are scattered on the dining room table. My knitting is on the couch, where it rests in a colorful heap waiting for me to have a moment at the end of the day. The tomato leaves have browned and curled in upon themselves, frustrated that my lack of time and love has left the garden looking rather apocalyptic.

I lived for so long alone, close to work. I had nearly every moment, outside of the 40 hours a week I was at a desk, to play. Today, in lieu of having a new recipe or quirky story to post on the blog, I’ve got a happy husband and three dogs on a leash pulling me around the block before I race across town to work.

I’ve hitched my happiness for too long on how much I could get done. How many crafts can I make? How many neighbors can I feed? How many XYZ can I do and write about and show the world that I’m busy and productive?

What a trap. In retrospect, this behavior is boastful smoke and mirrors. If you can’t be happy sitting still, are you really at peace?

Mindfully, I’m adjusting to this new schedule and trying instead to find moments of happiness in the routine. The way the dogs greet me at the door after a long day at work. The magic of an Instapot recipe that puts dinner on the table with minimal effort. The basil that grows under our Ficus tree and soldiers on regardless of the heat. The tiny bag of sock knitting I keep in my purse for conference calls at work, because the methodical movement is soothing and helps me focus on whatever I’m listening to on the phone.

This is where I am today, friends. No great photos to post. No funny conclusion to the story. Putting one foot in front of the other and pushing through another summer in the desert.

~K

Posted in
Arizona
Comments (5)

What a week

May 26th

PBS!

 

This week has been a whirlwind. On Tuesday, we hosted the neighborhood bookclub. This likely doesn’t sound like much, but it took a considerable effort to have 20 people over for dinner after a work day. That said, everyone sat shoulder to shoulder in our living room, holding tiny plates of shrimp and sandwiches. There was quite a bit of feedback on “Counting Coup,” which was both wonderful and always awkward to sit through.

It’s hard to hear critique of something you love without being defensive and a jerk in response. I’m learning. I’m trying. I’m far from perfect. (And neither is my writing.)

PBS!

On Thursday, I was interviewed on the local PBS station about “Counting Coup” and it went well. It was terrifying at first, but quickly became fun. The host, Ted Simons, was a doll. Personable, kind, and generous. I hope I get to be a guest again.

As far as writing goes, this has been the best week yet. Thank you for your constant support!

 

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Writing
Comments (1)

The February Garden

February 5th

February in the garden

February in the garden

February in the garden

February in the garden

February in the garden

February in the garden

We are enjoying this beautiful, temperate spring weather. Everything is blooming and happy. Even the avocado tree is sprouting new leaves and growing. The acacia trees, with their yellow pom poms of pollen are making the entire neighborhood smell heavenly.

Our raised bed garden, fondly referred to as the “dong garden” because of its vulgar shape, is not thriving. We need to pull everything out, turn the soil, add amendments and replant. I have to remind myself it took years for the garden in Tempe to take off. While this is year 3 in this garden space, it still isn’t quite right.

Gardening is a hobby for those who need help with patience. With a few free hours next weekend, we’ll have new tomato and squash transplants in the ground, and hopefully a booming garden come summer.

What are you planting?

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Domestic Art, Flora and Fauna
Comments (Comments are off for this post)

Horseshoe Bend

November 1st

Horseshoe Bend is near Page, Arizona — the tippy north center top of the state. It is free to see. You park in a gravel lot and hike about a quarter mile to an overlook.

When we were there last week, construction crews were working on the trail. It seems like the park service is going to make it handicap accessible, which it is not currently.

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

It is very pretty. I’d love to have the chance to go back when the water is high and take photos at sunrise and sunset.

It is hard to stand before land that has been carved by slow drips of water and not feel like the universe is huge, we are small, and it is all going to be okay.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Travel
Comments (1)

Antelope Canyon

October 31st

Last week, we visited the Grand Canyon on our annual pilgrimage. We have hiked in the canyon each year of our relationship, and my husband’s love affair runs deep. This year, we invited some friends from Indianapolis to join us, and my extended family came along—including my card shark 15-year-old niece.

The trip started in Antelope Canyon. If given the chance, you should see this. From the road, it looks like nothing other than a crowded parking lot and an odd array of tourists huddled together around guides. Within 100 yards of the parking lot is a set of steel stairs that descend into a deep slot crevice. One by one, we trickled into the canyon with our guide. The lighting was magical. The crowds were not.

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

Hi Dan and Lisa!

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

Hi crazy crowds! The selfie sticks alone were b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I had to focus on deep breathing in parts where the canyon was tight and there were streams of people in front and behind me.

 

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

But then, this happened. There were a group of monks visiting and I was able to snap this quick shot.

Antelope Canyon is worth the trip, especially if you can find a time when it isn’t busy!

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Travel
Comments (4)

Come on in!

July 30th

Nelson Mandela Fellowship dinner

This weekend, we hosted a handful of women from Africa for dinner. They are here studying with the Nelson Mandela fellowship at ASU for the summer. Hawanatu is a doctor from Sierra Leone. Sia is an accountant, also from Sierra Leone. Theresa works in human rights in Ghana. Tsige is a civil engineer from Ethiopia. They were learning as much about each other, and the 30-plus others in their group, as they were about America.

Nelson Mandela Scholar Dinners

I am thankful to have sat with them and listened as they talked about their country’s university systems, healthcare and what they expect as they return. I wish the program worked in reverse and I could go for six weeks to learn from them!

~K

Posted in
Africa, Arizona
Comments (3)

Into the Garden We Go

January 31st

January in Phoenix is an ideal time for gardening, believe it or not. I planted tomatoes from seed, which are popping up all over the beds, along with garlic and onions. The cruciferous plants are hanging in there, but not flourishing. The soil needs more work and it didn’t get cold enough this winter to set these vegetables.

However, the citrus are going crazy. The peppers continue to produce. The larger tomato plants are blossoming and the lettuce and rainbow chard is happy. The rosemary is perennial and the Thai basil is happy. Poinsettias and geraniums are blooming red.

Gardening in January www.africankelli.com January 2017 Mesa, Az

Gardening in January www.africankelli.com January 2017 Mesa, Az

Gardening in January www.africankelli.com January 2017 Mesa, Az

Gardening in January www.africankelli.com January 2017 Mesa, Az

Gardening in January www.africankelli.com January 2017 Mesa, Az

And for Christmas this year, Jason received an avocado tree. We planted it yesterday and I took a photo next to this planted cactus for size. She should grow to be 6-8 feet tall. We’ll have to work on a shade structure sooner than later to help her through her first of many hot Arizona summers.

Gardening in January www.africankelli.com January 2017 Mesa, Az

Now, if we could only figure out how to make those agave in the front yard magically transform into tequila…

-K

Posted in
Arizona, Flora and Fauna
Comments (Comments are off for this post)

A bit of time to relax

December 15th

Gigi

I am taking a few days off over the next three weeks. A couple days here. A couple days there. I plan on accomplishing the following:

 

  1. Driving to Winslow on a solo road trip to take photos and notes for the remaining chapters of Counting Coup. I need to do a bit of research too, including finding copies of Arizona Highways from the 1950s.
  2. Watching a lot of Gilmore Girls. I am new to this series. When it was on television, I remember thinking the dialog was too quick and seemed unnatural. Maybe I speak faster today, but I’m finding it very enjoyable. I do watch it (like all other TV) with the closed captioning on so I can be sure to pick up everything that is said. I’m in season 3, and at this point, I feel like I’m a little Paris, a little Emily, and a little Lane. I’d like to be more like Lorelai, or perhaps just have her ability to eat like a quarterback who magically stays a size 2.
  3. Oh, yes. And then there is my first Christmas as a married stepmama. Ha. I’m looking forward to this too. We’ll have lots of family around for pizza and board games and hands of Uno. With any luck, I’ll get my photo of us all in our Christmas jammies by the tree. Maybe I’ll even get a photo of Nelson with his antlers.

I hope you also get a chance to lounge around the house in comfy clothes, enjoy good company and great food and sleep without setting an alarm.

Wishing you the very best and brightest in 2017!

xo,

K

 

Posted in
Arizona, Celebrate!
Comments (1)

Book signing tomorrow!

December 8th

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Hey local friends! Just a gentle reminder tomorrow I will be talking about Basket Baby and signing copies at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. 7 pm! I’ll be wearing new boots, and old turquoise and a nervous but happy smile. Let’s awkward hug and talk about dreams realized.

xo,

K

 

 

 

Posted in
Arizona, Celebrate!
Comments (2)

Traveling to Sonoita and Patagonia, Arizona

November 21st

Southeastern Arizona has a burgeoning wine culture that is driving tourists to visit. We were among them last month when we visited the region for five days. With wineries and hikes in mind, we rented a home on AirBNB and headed the 2 hours and 45 minutes south from Phoenix. The house was beyond what we needed, and a deal at $100 a night:

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

What we should have done was stop in Tucson for a late lunch, or big dinner. While the vistas in this region do not disappoint, the lack of dining does. This is my only complaint. There is a decent steakhouse in Sonoita, and a pizzeria in Patagonia. Both are worth a visit. Otherwise, next time we’ll stock up on groceries and plan more meals at home.

I sat on this porch in the mornings, reading and sipping coffee, wrapped in a blanket. The home we stayed in was surrounded by others that had farm animals. So, there were chickens in one direction and a braying donkey down the road. It was so quiet, one morning I heard a large raven flying overhead and looked up to realize I was actually hearing the wind go through the bird’s wings. That kind of quiet.

 

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

We did make it to a couple of the wineries. My favorite was the Dos Cabeza’s rose, although I really enjoyed the Flying Leap rose too. Jason’s favorite was the Flying Leap sangiovese.

Other worthwhile adventures when visiting this region:

Kartchner Caverns — no photography is allowed, but the cave tour is a must. It is such a strange, magical place.

Bisbee: this artsy mining town is full of color and character. Jason had never been, so it was fun to play tour guide and wander together. Bisbee is great for thrift stores, art galleries, the mine tour and wandering. It is home to the 1000 steps climb each October and you’ll find lots of narrow stairways in town.

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

If you make it to Bisbee, visit Jimmy’s. It is a hot dog shop (if that wasn’t obvious) and is excellent. A family-owned restaurant with a ton of character and great food.

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

We also visited Tombstone, Sierra Vista, and Nogales. My favorite adventure was to the Empire Ranch. 

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona HoneymoonSouthern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

Southern Arizona Honeymoon

It is a great place for a long walk and wander. This former ranch has been preserved and the surrounding areas are being used by biologists for animal and plant conservation. Loved it!

~K

Posted in
Arizona
Comments (5)