Question about dog owners

Olive the cat
I’d be a dog owner if it wasn’t for Olive, who doesn’t like any dogs except for Angus, our yellow lab RIP.

I’m working on our neighborhood newsletter — the final one for 2022. At the annual meeting and quarterly board meeting, residents voiced their concerns. Can you guess what the number one issue was?

Dog poop.

Seriously, I walk our neighborhood streets every morning. There is more dog poop on the streets and sidewalks than when we moved here in 2020. One morning there was dog poop on our driveway.

It’s weird. Who doesn’t pick up after their pets? This is a nice neighborhood and people take care of their yards and homes. Neighbors are retired professionals, successful trades people with empty nests or younger working families with kids and dogs.

A neighbor, who has a well-behaved labradoodle who is being trained as a therapy dog, asked me to put something in the newsletter about dog poop. She told me that one of her friends in a nearby neighborhood addressed this by DNA testing every dog — and then testing poop. The guilty were slapped with a $500 fine.

DNA testing? The neighbor thought that was over the top, but said other ideas were having bags at the park and putting up cameras — plus fines.

The neighborhood isn’t big on cameras. It seems too Orweillian.

We do have lots of wildlife here. I looked up javelina and coyote poop. I read it looks similar to mid-sized dogs. Maybe it’s not bad dog owners but wild animals?

Walking through the neighborhood, we stop and pet dogs who are out with their owners. Both the dogs and the neighbors don’t seem like the type to leave pet droppings around.

On a brighter note, thank goodness our number one issue isn’t crime or homeless!

What suggestions do you have for our task force tackling dog poop?

Am I worth it?

Triple milled soap from Italy.

Our good friends, who live at the beach, returned from a trip to Italy right before our beach vacation.

I didn’t expect my friend to bring me something from Italy, but she did. She brought me hand soap that has a rich rose scent. I thought that was so thoughtful. I wouldn’t think to do that, especially trying to get gifts into my suitcase.

The soap has been sitting in it’s lovely wrapper for weeks on my bathroom counter.

I thought about putting it in the guest bathroom where guests could use it. My mom always had special soaps in our guest bathroom — carved little blue roses or scented soaps.

I thought to myself, wouldn’t my friend want me to enjoy it? My other thought was that it’s too nice to use at my own sink daily to wash my hands. It definitely belongs in the guest bath.

Also, I don’t have a soap dish to hold it. it’s a large block of soap.

A quick trip to Target solved that issue. Now I’m luxuriating in the wonderful feel and scent of rose soap imported from Italy and I think of my friend — every time I wash my hands.

Why do we have nice things for guests, but don’t feel like we should use them ourselves?

It’s NaNoWriMo Preptime!

NaNoWriMo winner's certificate
My certificate for writing 50,000 words of a novel in November for the writing challenge called NaNoWriMo 2021.

It’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month. I’m on their email list and they’ve begun a six-week NaNoWriMo prep.

Last year was my first attempt at writing a rough draft of a novel during November. I did it!

But what I didn’t do was back up my manuscript. How or why? In any case, my laptop had a hardware issue and most of my files disappeared including my 50,000 word novel!

I called Apple and they tried for days to recover my files on icloud and my hard drive. No luck.

I’ve begun rewriting my novel and changed the point of view from one character to four characters alternating their stories. I’m at about 25,000 words. It’s added depth to the characters rather than viewing them from one perspective.

The emails from NaNoWriMo have motivated me to finish the manuscript. I’ll use their prep weeks to improve what I’ve written so far.

NaNoWriMo is giving me a second chance with this idea! I’m starting today. I don’t have to begin with a new idea. It’s just the push I need to complete this rough draft — again.

Have you tried the NaNoWriMo challenge?

Would you consider doing it this year with me?

Brand Loyalty

brands our family is loyal too
A few of the brands we’ve been loyal to for generations.

Do you find yourself automatically buying brands that you grew up with? I do. My mom was a firm believer that Best Foods is the best mayo. My dad, a former dentist, trusted Crest.

This is called brand loyalty. More specifically generational transfer of brand loyalty.

When I got married I was appalled to discover my husband’s family and mine didn’t share the same brands. It was a battle I mostly won — with the exception of laundry and bath soap. I came from a Cheer family, my husband used Tide. I was raised to believe that “All Temp A Cheer” was a superior product. My husband has sensitive skin and can only tolerate Tide. Now we use Tide Free & Gentle.

Investopedia had some highlights about why brand loyalty is so vital to companies. Here’s an excerpt:

As Harvard Business Review (HBR) has reported, companies with high scores on two often-overlooked (and closely related) market research metrics—brand loyalty and customer loyalty—not only grow revenues 2.5 times faster than industry peers, but also deliver two to five times the returns to shareholders over 10-year time frames.1 The fact that brand loyalty—a long-term commitment to make repeat purchases of a particular brand—is not dependent on price makes this metric a particularly powerful driver of both profit and profitability (i.e., profit relative to expenses).

The primary reason that brand loyalty is so important to profitability is straightforward: 65% of revenue in most companies comes from repeat business with existing clients.2 Not only do existing customers loyal to brands purchase 90% more frequently than new customers, but maintaining the brand-loyal segment is also far less expensive than marketing to attract new customers.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brand-loyalty.asp

Here are some of the brands I grew up with that I still use today:

Best Foods

Heinz

Diet Coke

Crest

Cascade

Starbucks

Quaker Oats oatmeal

Lucerne Cottage Cheese

Here are products I’ve given up:

Wonder Bread

Cocoa Puffs

Campbell’s Soup

Chef Boyardee

Dial Soap

Cheer

Joy

What are some of your generational brands? What products or brands have you left?

Adding to my routine

City of Palm Springs Aquatic Center
I miss our beautiful Palm Springs city pool.

For one week, I’ve gotten in the pool each day to kick. Tuesday I went back to the Y for the first time in months and lap swam.

Why did I stop with the lap swimming? Mostly it was the weather. Summer in the Arizona desert is cloudy with daily thunderstorms and lightening. Not ideal outdoor swimming weather.

If it’s not storming it’s brilliant intense sunshine which I tend to avoid. Before I knew it, I was out of the lap swimming habit.

I’ve been following “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron for years. At least most of her routine of morning pages, prayer and daily walks. The thing I’ve been missing is the “artist’s date.”

My excuse before was COVID shutdowns.

Now I have no excuse. The artist date is to go out — alone — and experience something to feed your muse. Cameron’s suggestions are looking in antique and fabric stores, go anywhere that will fill your senses and spark your creativity.

I’m going to try a once-a-week date with myself. I’ve added two days of lap swimming, and three days of kicking — now an artist’s date. I think that’s quite enough for now!

What is your morning or daily routine? What would you like to add to it?

Kitty is done with us

Olive the cat in the suitcase.
Every time I pack, this happens. Olive is done with our vacations.

We had a tiring but fun weekend. I’ve decided that a six-hour drive on Friday, followed by six-hours on Sunday to get home, is too much for me.

I don’t mind the long drives like we took to Santa Barbara in August. That’s because we stayed for awhile. My body had time to relax and recover.

We arrived in San Diego Friday with one hour to rest and get read for a 30-minute drive to the wedding venue. What saved us on the drive was listening to “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham. It’s amazing how books on tape — or Audible — make the drives fly by.

I made the mistake of booking our hotel room in Santee, SC — instead of Santee, CA. Oops.

Who knew there was more than one Santee and they’d have hotels with the exact same name?

The highlight of our trip happened Saturday. We visited my husband’s aunt and uncle who live in Santee (hence the reason I booked a hotel there — or thought I did. Right town, wrong state.) His cousin surprised us and came too with her son from an hour away.

My husband’s uncle is 93 years old. The last time we saw him was August three years ago to celebrate his 90th birthday. Because of COVID and then moving we haven’t visited. I have to say he looks amazing. He’s full of energy. He drives, he shops, he cooks, he waits on his wife — my husband’s aunt. He makes the best Italian food I’ve ever eaten. Luciano (the uncle) came to the US from Italy when he was 30 years old after marrying my husband’s aunt. She met Luciano while she was the city planner of Rome.

After she graduated with a degree from Berkeley in the 1960s, she couldn’t get hired in the U.S. in her field because she was a woman. However, she did get hired in Italy, so she learned Italian and moved.

She’s a dynamo that I’ve always looked up to. Not only has she had an amazing career, she’s written and published at least 15 books. She’s a world traveler and had a series based on a travel agent/murder solver. If you’re interested, here’s a link to R. Ann Siracusa on Goodreads. My favorite book of hers is “Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears.”

If that’s not enough, she’s a grandmother who actively takes care of her grandchildren. And she quilts. She taught my daughter and I how to quilt.

Whew, I’m exhausted thinking about these inspiring relatives.

What relatives have motivated and inspired you? What’s your limit for drives on trips?

Why I deactivated facebook

Here I am at a wedding Friday with my new friend.

We drove five and a half hours to a wedding Friday. If it wasn’t for my dear friend’s daughter, I don’t think we would have made the trip after driving nine hours home from vacation the weekend before. But we did it. Yes! I’m tired!

I wore a bright print dress in blue, green and white. When we first walked into the wedding crowd, I spotted a woman wearing the same dress! I waved to her and she walked over and we laughed.

“You know it’s reversible,” she said.

I had never met this person before. She is related to the groom and I am friends with the bride’s family.

We were interrupted by our husbands who informed us it was time to take a seat for the ceremony.

The wedding was lovely. It was held outside near San Diego at Mt. Woodson’s Castle — a stone mansion built in the 1920s that’s now a wedding venue.

After the ceremony, I bolted to the bathroom and flipped my dress inside out. Now I was wearing black with white polkadots!

I saw my new friend and she said “You didn’t have to do that!” I asked my husband to take a picture of us. I wanted to share it with a high school friend who sold me the dress. I thought she’d get a kick out of how the reversible dress came to the rescue.

I posted the picture on Instagram and tagged her. It automatically posted on facebook.

One of my other high school friends commented on my pic in a very suggestive way. It was creepy. It made me want to take the photo down. Then I thought, I rarely use facebook, I’m reading all sorts of negative things about facebook in the news. Let’s be done with it!

That’s why I deactivated my account.

It’s not deleted. I can restart it any time. The only reason why I would do that is for the years and years of photos that are housed there. I may want to download them. Then delete it for good.

Do you use social media? Why or why not?