Early birds

sunrise in the desert
Sunrise view from our backyard.

I’ve decided to change my daily schedule. It’s time to set my alarm and get out of bed early. For the past months, I’ve been letting my body decide when to get up.

It’s getting hot and my morning walks will go by the wayside unless I get out earlier. Yesterday we walked at 7 a.m. and it was too hot. We decided 5:30 a.m. would be the ideal time to get outside in the neighborhood.

Another reason to get up early is pickleball at the YMCA. When school ends in a few weeks, the gym where we play pickleball will be used by the kids’ summer program. Us old folks will get to play pickleball from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. By walking at 5:30 a.m. for a few weeks, I’ll be ready for the early pickleball mornings.

I wrote about early birds get the worm a few years ago. It’s a story about how many people we define as successful get up each day at dawn. I’m talking Benjamin Franklin to Tim Cook. You can read it HERE.

Do you set an alarm in the morning or do you let your body decide when to get up? Are you an early bird or not?

sunrise
Another early morning sunrise.

Is it ok not to go?

swimming pool in Palm Springs
The 50-meter pool in Palm Springs that was one mile from our old house.

I have a reservation to swim in an hour. I don’t feel like going. I swam two days ago and I felt wonderful during and after my swim.

But today I’m weighing the idea that I don’t HAVE to go. If I decide to stay home and read a book in my back yard, I’m not any less of a person. But I’m torn. I feel guilty for not going. I know I should go. I remember I wrote about something similar years ago in a post “I don’t have to, I get to.” It was about appreciating what we have and that we are able to do things.

Every morning I walk, then I either play ping pong or pickleball a few times a week as well as swim. At my age is it okay to slow down and say no thanks, not today? Or should I say “I get to swim today” and just go?

What are your thoughts? What would you do?

It’s wild!

bobcat
I’ve spotted the bobcat at our house two days in a row. I watched him leap over our fence and also walk along our windows on our patio like he owns the place.

When the bobcat arrives our yard is deathly silent. Gone are the squawks of the quail and woodpecker. The bees stop buzzing and the beautiful song of a cardinal is nowhere to be heard.

Normally our backyard is alive with sounds. I’ve spotted baby quails when I’m walking around the neighborhood. I put out seed on the ground outside the casita this week. I was thrilled when a family of quail visited our yard! They are the tiniest, cutest little things. The babies follow mom and dad in a line.

Here’s a video of the quail family eating the birdseed.

Mom and dad with seven or eight babies.

Another joyful sight was a cardinal who is enjoying the seed I put out. He is so gorgeous and his song is beautiful, too.

Our beautiful scarlet cardinal.

I had stopped feeding the birds last year because a hawk flew into a window with a plump quail in its beak. The window was broken and it scared me to death. I got a bill for $600 to replace the double-paned window. The quail and hawk survived, though.

But I’m back to putting out seed a year later. I hope I don’t have a repeat of the hawk incident. I’m enjoying the bird and bobcat watching. It’s truly wild!

Do you enjoy bird watching where you live? What types of birds do you have?

What type of wildlife do you have?

Parents against smartphones

boogie boarding in Laguna
My daughter and friends boogie boarding before any had smart phones.

Fifty-three percent of American children have a smartphone of their own by age 11, according to a 2019 report by Common Sense Media. By the time they’re 16, 89 percent of kids have one. An earlier report by Common Sense Media found that 50 percent of teenagers felt addicted to their smartphones and that 59 percent of their parents thought that was the case. All of this has coincided with a startling increase in mental health challenges among adolescents, which some psychologists believe might be tied to the adverse effects of social media use.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2022/05/09/parents-kids-smartphones/

That quote came from an article in the Washington Post called “Meet the parents who refuse to give their kids smartphones” by Ellen McCarthy.

It was an interesting read to see how the children felt about not being allowed to have a smartphone. In some instances they were the only person in their school without one. The parents gave them a phone that didn’t have internet access but they could use to text and call. One child was so embarrassed with that type of phone, they never got it out at school.

One mother who refused to let her children have smartphones was a psychiatrist who treats high school and college students. She said her patients were on their smartphones nine hours a day or more — more than they sleep.

I agree with WHY the parents didn’t want their kids to have smartphones, but I’m not sure in today’s world if I could do it. My kids had childhoods without cell phones. My son didn’t get his iphone until high school graduation. My daughter got hers earlier and there was a lot of bullying going on. Also, I remember this thing on Instagram my daughter showed me where young girls were posting pictures of their thigh “gaps.” It was a body image competition that probably boosted anorexia.

By the end of eighth grade, Annalise Stacey was the only one in her class without a smartphone. And her mom’s spiels about how bad the devices are for kids’ brains didn’t make that much easier.

If her friends decided to hang out after school or on a weekend, they would make plans via group text. When she went to sleepovers, she often ended up watching other girls scroll on their phones. Annalise, who is now 15, sometimes didn’t know what her classmates were talking about because gossip had been exchanged over text or social media.

“I was frustrated just because I’m more of a shy person, so I felt like I was definitely getting left out of things and I didn’t really know how to get included.”

What are your thoughts? Would you be a parent against smartphones, even if your child felt left out? At what age did your kids get smartphones?

Issue number two

newsletter
My community newsletter

Issue number two for 2022 was put to bed today. YAY! It’s a satisfying feeling to finally get it approved and done.

I sent the newsletter to my co-editor to proof read and to make sure I made all the requested changes from the Board of Directors. Then weird stuff happened. I had made changes and they didn’t save. Also when I made a few corrections, photos disappeared and entire blocks of text disappeared. My layout skills haven’t kept up with the newest version of the program.

I held my breath when I hit send. It’s done. And I have a few months until it’s time to do it all over again.

It’s hard to remember back to when I wrote nine newsletters a month. That was way before internet and newsletters were a big thing. With social media, blogs, and email newsletters, not many are still printed and delivered via snail mail.

Without me stepping up to take over the newsletter, this one would have ended after 15 years of being published. I like the old fashioned printed newsletter. There’s something to be said for reading on paper.

I edited the newsletter for my kids swim team on a volunteer basis for years. We used to mail it out with the monthly billing. Eventually the billing went online — and my son started a website and posted the newsletter there. The newsletter was no longer printed. That was before the iphone got popular. We were using an Apple program that worked well for the new iphone, but not for the Blackberry. One of the board of directors wanted us to invest in software that was older so it would be compatible with Blackberry phones because he predicted the iphone would never amount to more than 10% of phones. Do they make Blackberries anymore?

Then one of the coaches told me she didn’t see a place for the newsletter anymore. She felt Twitter and FB would be more up to date. I was sad to see that newsletter go away.

What are your thoughts about newsletters? Do you see them very often or do you think they are going by the wayside?

A perfect mother’s day

We finally made it to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. It’s been on my list of places to explore since my daughter lived in AZ in 2019. My husband asked what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day. I discovered that moms got in for free on Sunday, so that seemed like the perfect day to go. Me and thousands of other moms agreed. Despite the crowd, we found ourselves enjoying the garden so much we became members.

The Desert Botanical Garden is 140 acres of beautiful trails, labeled desert plants and currently there is a Chihuly exhibit! If you haven’t heard of Chihuly, he’s a famous glass artist who creates in Western Washington, where I grew up.

Afterwards, we went to one of my favorite restaurant’s Lure Fish House where I had Kumomoto oysters (my favorite) on the half shell and ling cod.

My kids called several times and I loved talking to them.

Chihuly in the desert art installation at the Desert Botanical Garden
Chihuly in the Desert exhibit. I loved how the glass fit perfectly with nature.
A view from the garden.
Chihuly glass
More Chihuly.
Me.
Indoor display of Chihuly glass
Chihuly display in Phoenix.
Chihuly glass inside an air conditioned building.
Quote from William Blake
There were tons of wildflowers in blooms and butterflies.
Chihuly at the entrance to Desert Botanical Garden
Chihuly at the entrance to the Desert Botanical Garden.
painting by USCB college professor.
A painting my son gave me for Mother’s Day painted by his favorite college professor Caroline Allen.
Jolyn onsie.
My daughter got me this brightly colored Jolyn one-piece suit for lap swimming. This pic is from the Jolyn website and is definitely not me. I’m no longer a swim swim model. In fact, I never was one! Jolyn is a hugely popular brand for swimmers because the suits stay in place in the ocean or pool.
One of my favorite displays. I think it’s the color.

What is your idea of a perfect Mother’s Day? Did you do anything special?

Busy busy busy

Palm Springs swimming pool with clouds
Where I used to lap swim. My new pool has only three lanes.


Thursday I was stressing about whether I should go to coffee with the women’s coffee club or stay home and work on the newsletter. After all, I had lap swimming in a few hours. This is what I was thinking when I wrote about “saying no” earlier in the week. You can read that post HERE.

I decided to go to coffee after all. I needed to run some errands and the coffee shop we were meeting at was close to the Post Office, hardware and grocery stores.

I met a new person who made me laugh. She’s lived in our neighborhood for seven years, but I’ve never seen her before. She had never gone to coffee club. She didn’t know there was a book club, either.

This woman said she was going to Ireland with her running group to run trails along the coast of Ireland. I asked when.

“In two hours,” she said. “I have one hour until my Uber driver picks me up.”

I laughed out loud and said I was worried about going to coffee AND lap swimming in one day! I’m glad I didn’t wimp out. Now it’s time to squeeze in some work on the newsletter before my swim. FYI, next this new friend told me about her trip climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Would you have coffee with your neighbors before you left for a trip to Ireland? How about swimming and coffee? Why do you think some people only like to have one event scheduled per day and others can do many?