What changes your outlook?

Sonoran desert view in Arizona.
View from my backyard.

I can’t tell you why, but the past few days I feel better. I didn’t feel bad before, but my attitude has improved. I wake up with more energy and passion for the day.

What have I done to change my outlook?

First, I restarted the “Three Blessings” exercise. In the evening I write down three things that I’m grateful for that happened in my day. And why. According to Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, he’s used this exercise at U Penn on his students and patients and found it to be as effective as anti-depressants.

So, it could be that.

Or, another change I’ve made this week is getting more exercise. I take my morning walk of about 45 minutes. When my walk is over, I either jump in the backyard pool and swim or I hop on my bike for a 20 minutes bike ride. I mix it up according to what I want to do. Yesterday after swimming laps, I treated myself to climbing on the float from Costco feeling the breeze on my wet skin and staring at the sky. It was heavenly.

Today, I biked and enjoyed the breeze and felt good about how much better I did climbing the hill to our house. Yes, I could feel my heart rate rise, but it wasn’t a struggle like it was earlier in the week. Also, I managed to stand up for a few pedals, which I couldn’t do last week. Those are tiny things, but the improvement felt monumental. On the bike, which I haven’t ridden in years, I feel like a kid. I’m not listening to headphones, I’m listening to nature. I get a bit smile as I coast down a hill, trying not to squeeze the brakes, but let myself fly.

Maybe it’s the hard labor I’ve been doing to fix up our rental house before the new tenants come in. Or, the good book I’m reading.

Whatever the reason is, which is most likely a combination of all the above, I like the way I’m feeling today.

woodpecker on a saguaro
I saw this woodpecker on a saguaro as I left my front door.

What improves your attitude? Have you noticed changes in how you’re feeling lately?

Should parents monitor their kids social media?

blond brother and sister at Laguna Beach.
My children before there was a thing called social media.

Social media is not going away anytime soon. I’ve read articles where 95% of kids from age 12 to young adults use Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. Those are the preferred apps. In an article called Are you OK? | Teens and social media posted on KING TV5 in Seattle, there’s lots of good advice for parents .

By now we all know that social media can cause depression, anxiety in kids as well as adults. What’s really scary is not only cyber bullying but this shocking statistic: 90% of human trafficking begins on social media.

I discovered that in an article called Mesa-based company creates app to monitor children’s social media in simple format by Georgann Yara on the website AZCentral.

There’s an app developed by two men in Arizona that allows parents to monitor their kids social media sites. Here’s a bit of the article:

Years before they met and launched Cyber Dive, a social media monitoring tech company geared toward parents, Jeff Gottfurcht and Derek Jackson were well aware of social media’s powerful and dangerous side.

Gottfurcht is the first person in the world to summit Mt. Everest with Rheumatoid Arthritis. When he returned home from that trip in 2011, he saw a news story about a young girl who was humiliated and bullied on social media after word got out about her being sexually assaulted.

Around the same time, Jackson was across the globe in the Army 1st Special Forces Group, where he spent time in Kuwait, Jordan and Syria. He was an intelligence officer looking into how U.S. adversaries and radical insurgents used social media to recruit members to their cause and perpetuate propaganda.

In 2019, the two got together and formed Cyber Drive because of that story about the girl who was victimized on social media. They created an app to help parents get meaningful information about their kids online activity, while still allowing children independence.

Here’s how it works:

The software covers all platforms and the free membership option includes monitoring on indicators like recurring themes in language, dangerous or suspicious online activity and emotions indicated by analysis of their data. The $5 monthly premium membership allows greater access to features like friends lists, posts and Google searches. ‍

When parents sign up for either membership, they must enter their child’s email address. Then, their child receives a message explaining that someone will use Cyber Dive to monitor their accounts. Parents are encouraged to discuss this with their child before signing up, Gottfurcht said.

Parents use the app for different reasons. Some for safety concerns while others want to have a closer relationship with their children. You can visit Cyber Dive’s website HERE to find out more.

It sounds like a great idea to me. But do you think teens would figure out away around it? Do you think it’s a good idea to keep tabs on teens social media and why or why not?

Highlights of the week

Tonto Bar and Grill in Cave Creek

We tried out the Tonto Bar and Grill for lunch yesterday. It was located on a golf course and this is the entrance. The shrimp tacos were pretty good. I’m on a quest to find the best fish and chips and shrimp tacos.

bunny with light through the ears

I see dozens of bunnies whenever I walk. I spotted tiny babies a few weeks ago, but they are quickly getting bigger. I like how the ears are translucent in the morning sun.

bunny on the street
Painting of Robe cabin.

My Aunt gave me this beautiful painting of our cabin in Robe, Washington. It was painted by my grandmother. My parents built the cabin with their own two hands. It’s long gone. But we still own the land and have family reunions there. I had the painting framed and picked it up this week.

The cabin.

Here’s a photo of my cabin from the 1970s.

Bartlett Lake evening

My husband and I spent Thursday evening at the lake again. We had a new pop-up tent that didn’t blow away.

Carefree AZ slide in city center

When I went to the Farmer’s Market in Carefree, I ran across this slide in the park. If I were a kid, I’d be terrified of it. How about you?

cat on top of the sofa

I’m spending my afternoons reading in our casita. It’s a really good book called “Next Year in Havana” by Chanel Cleeton. Olive keeps me company by resting on the top of the sofa next to me.

How was your week? What were some of your highlights?

Look what we found up the road

Bartlett Lake in Arizona
We found a lake!

My husband was helping a friend who lives nearby with some errands. He kept seeing trucks pulling boats on our main street. I’ve noticed the boat traffic, too. I didn’t give it much thought where they were headed. They are going north from our house. They certainly aren’t taking boats to the Grand Canyon, are they?

“There’s a lake 15 miles up the road,” our friend said.

WHAT???

swimming at Bartlett Lake
We’re going for a swim today or tomorrow.

Water in the middle of the desert. Who would have known? And the good news: it’s super close to us. It was crowded on Memorial Weekend with lots of campers and boats, but it’s a short drive for us to check out mid week. We explored during the busy weekend for future visits. And we bought a map and marked all our destinations, so my husband was a happy camper.

campground at Bartlett Lake
A view of one of the campgrounds.

Our plan is to head up to the lake after my husband is done working. It’s in the Tonto National Forest and the drive is breathtaking. We’ll take a pop-up tent for shade, beach chairs and a cooler full of water and a picnic dinner. The only problem will be the heat, but maybe it won’t be so bad after getting wet. It will be a nice change to enjoy a lake instead of the pool.

I was excited to find out we live so close to water! The lake has several campgrounds, two restaurants and a marina that rents kayaks, jet skis, pontoon and speed boats and stand up and paddle boards. I’m finally going to try SUP.

“What’s the point?”

Statue outside a gallery in Old Town Scottsdale
Statue in Old Town Scottsdale

“What’s the point?” my husband asked yesterday morning. “I’m starting to lose my patience with this.”

“We are taking a walk, exploring Old Town,” I answered more than a little frustrated.

Sugar Bowl ice cream shoppe
The famed Sugar Bowl often seen in the comic “Family Circle.”

What a different approach we have. It was Memorial Day morning and we drove to Old Town Scottsdale to get our steps and take in some new scenery besides the saguaro cactus in our own neighborhood. I was content to walk through the streets without a destination. My husband, on the other hand, wanted to know where we were going. He cannot aimlessly wander.

I thought maybe he was getting hangry so I googled breakfast spots in Old Town on my iphone. I had a destination for us to walk to and he was a happy camper. Although in reality, we weren’t doing anything different than before. We were walking around town, looking in windows, stopping to take photos.

Outside the cafe we found for coffee and breakfast.
Schmooze sign Old Town Scottsdale
We stopped at Schmooze Cafe and all was good. It was around the corner from where we parked the car.
Cowboy sign in Old Town Scottsdale
Main Street in Old Town Scottsdale.

Do you need a destination for your walks and exploration — or can you aimlessly wander like me?

Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza Horse Statue
Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza

SEO Soup

cat harness for sale on amazon

I ordered this harness and leash for my kitty Olive. It arrives today. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but I’d love to let Olive experience the outdoors, safely. It took me 30 minutes to measure the cat with a tape measure to get her size, so I’m not expecting much success with this. Maybe we should stick to the catio idea — if only someone would reply to our calls build one. The problem is an outdoor enclosure for kitty isn’t a big enough job for someone to do. There is the DIY option, but my husband and I aren’t that handy.

So back to the SEO soup. I texted the screen shot above to my daughter. Olive was her cat until she took off for college and left the cat with me. Then she got Waffles the pug — and the two didn’t hit it off to put it mildly.

My daughter replied to my text with “I love how the product title is just SEO soup.”

“I don’t know what that means,” I said.

“SEO is search engine optimization. So to show up more in searches you use a ton of keywords and all possible alternate titles. So that product title isn’t just cat harness, it’s that paragraph looking thing,” she explained.

I get it now. I learned something new. SEO soup.

pug profile
Waffles on his first visit to our new home. Olive’s claw somehow got embedded in his face, but my daughter pulled it out.
cat sitting next to flowers
Olive outside at our old home. She spent 12 hours a day outside.

What new words and phrases have you learned lately? Do you pick up new words from your kids?

It’s a Carefree Kind of Day

Carefree Arizona fountain
A fountain in Carefree’s city center.

Today I went to the Farmer’s Market at the city center of Carefree, Ariz. Don’t you love that name? I do! The town is tiny and is literally a stone’s throw from our new home. I was surprised walking around the small market. Nobody was wearing masks! I didn’t see a single one anywhere. Not by the vendors, not by the shoppers. Two weeks ago I went to the Farmer’s Market and everyone was wearing masks.

I felt free. I could breathe. I was happy as I said hello to strangers and smiled and got smiles in return. Definitely a Carefree feeling.

Colorful art at Carefree Farmer's Market.
Colorful art at the Carefree Farmer’s Market.

Then I stopped at the grocery store to get a few things. I wore my mask inside because that’s been the rule. I asked the checker, who was wearing a mask, if masks were required in the store. I had noticed other shoppers weren’t wearing them. She said, “The signs came down a month ago. We’re required to wear them, but not you.”

I took off my mask and said, “Wonderful!”

She said, “Enjoy your oxygen! I’m jealous!”

The work of sculptor Arthur Norby, Stampede depicts a horse with a cowboy apparently trying to head off a herd of cattle. It was originally designed for Javelina Crossing in Indianapolis. It was installed in Carefree in March, 2008. It is bronze, listed as unique and 10 feet tall.l

What are the rules for wearing masks where you live? How does it make you feel?