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?

Creatures in my backyard

metal gecko on the fence
We have two geckos climbing our fence.

The people who built our house and lived here for 15 years prior to us buying it, took good care of the backyard. They filled it with landscaping, potted plants and creatures.

It was cool enough to be outside last night to barbecue. While the tri tip was grilling, I took photos of the critters the prior owners left.

Here are some of them:

statuary in back yard of birds
Not sure if these are owls or birds?
squirrel statue
Squirrel!
rabbit and raccoon statue
Cuties.

aligator statue
This gator guards the pool.
baby alligator statue
Baby alligator
stone frog
I like this frog.
roadrunner statue
Roadrunner.
metal roadrunner statue.
My favorite roadrunner.
metal javelina
Javelina.

I had a friend over to hike last spring. She commented “You sure have a lot going on in your backyard.”

She’s right. All the statue critters are not exactly my taste, but they are growing on me. I’m not going to get rid of them, but I doubt I’ll add to the collection. The cactus and succulents are growing on me, too.

boot planter
Here’s a boot with a cactus growing inside.
group of statues.
Coyotes with a steer’s head and metal aloe.

What are your thoughts about statuary in the yard? Are you a fan or not?

I was stunned!

desert yard with cactus and clouds
Back home in the desert after our beach vacation.

My first morning home. I am annoyed.

Not because I’m home, but because of what showed up in our huge stack of mail.

A letter from my husband’s employer that said we need to verify our marriage or I’d be dropped from health insurance.

I was stunned, I tell you, stunned.

We celebrated 37 years of marriage this summer. THIRTY SEVEN!

I spent a good hour gathering requested documents. Scanning and printing said documents. They want them faxed.

Requested documents included a certificate of marriage and tax returns, bank or mortgage statement.

What ticked me off is I am a former employee of this firm. They have everything about me. ALSO, we have a number of bank and investment accounts AND mortgages with this company.

When we filled out mortgage applications, we provided all the requested documents including tax returns and bank statements. They have our information.

How can I NOT be verified as a spouse?

Of course, I am providing all the information. I’m just annoyed that I have to do it. We live in a world where everything is compartmentalized and computerized. The personal touch is gone in much of our lives. We’re a number. Gone are the days of my childhood where we all knew each other.

I guess this is a reality check that my vacation is indeed over. Back to real life.

What has annoyed you this past week? Or have you had a great week without minor inconveniences?

Summer’s not complete without the Farmer’s Market

One of our highlights of visiting the beach in the summer is the Farmer’s Market. I discovered this year there are two –Thursdays in Caprinteria and Saturdays in Santa Barbara. That makes buying fruit and veggies more manageable. I don’t have to stock up only to have fruit get over ripe. I can buy just enough.

There is one stand with all sorts of peppers and tomatoes that we stop at. Farmer Fred is the owner. He’s friends with several of our Santa Barbara friends who gather at his stand to chat each weekend. It’s fun to join in and feel like a local.

By our house in Arizona, we have a tiny Farmer’s market. I call it a Farmer market because there is one veggie stand. There is local honey, jewelry, baked goods, chips and dip and trinkets.

It’s a joy to have an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies. We’re especially enjoying Flavor King plums, sweet corn and shishito peppers.

Santa Barbara Farmer's Market Rocking Chair Farm Markets fruit stand.
I bought white peaches and yellow nectarines here. They are so delicious, they are beyond words.
Bright red tomatoes at the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market.
Gorgeous tomatoes.
rainbow of colors of eggplants and peppers
The colors of peppers and eggplants are worth painting.
Avocado stand in the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market.
An abundance of avocados. I took them for granted in California. They are not so available in Arizona.
bright orange dragonfruit
My dear friend from Singapore introduced me to dragonfruit. I’ve never seen it in a market before.
The didgeridoo is a sacred Australian Aborigine instrument. Our friends say this woman has been playing at the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market for years.
The Farmers Market in Santa Barbara.

Do you have a farmer’s market near you? What are your favorite things about Farmer’s Markets? What do you like to buy?

Treasures from my week

hedgehog with bright red blooms
Hedgehog cactus in bloom in a pot in our backyard.

I was surprised to see cacti in bloom in our yard. I didn’t think August would be the time for such beauty in the desert. Maybe it’s the rain we’ve had? I’m learning that in the Sonoran Desert, plants bloom throughout the year.

white bloom on cactus
This blossom is right outside our front door. It’s the first thing I saw on my morning walk.
white flower on cactus
hill in the sun during a rainstorm
We walked extra early because a rainstorm was headed our way. I loved how the hillside was touched with sunlight. It did rain on the way home, but it felt great.

Yesterday, one of my neighbors went with me to a framing store. She’s a watercolor artist. One day when she was at our house, she said I needed to reframe a painting.

“But that’s the original frame,” I said.

“That’s okay. A new frame will brighten up the painting. Right now the frame cuts off the painting and makes it look dark.”

I invited her to accompany me to the framing store. She obviously has better knowledge in frames than me.

Lawrence Hinkley oil painting
This is the original frame. The painting is by Lawrence Hinkley, who was married to my husband’s great aunt.
Lawrence Hinkley painting.
Here is the same painting without the frame in the framing store. I can’t wait to get it back with its new look. It’s definitely brighter, don’t you think?

We received the painting from my husband’s grandfather before he passed away. I have treasured it and thought it would be sacrilegious to reframe it.

I did a google search of the artist Lawrence Hinckley and found out lots of interesting things. He was born in 1900 in Fillmore, California. He created a studio called “The Artists Barn” that attracted internationally renowned artists and visitors. Hinkley also worked in ceramics and made an elephant piggy bank named Fundo for a women’s Republican group in Santa Barbara.

From a news article I found online from the Fillmore Gazette:

As Mildred Hinckley in her book “The Artists Barn”, “The result was a cuddly little elephant about six inches long and half as high, with a tummy fat enough to hold a lot of dimes and quarters. His name was “Fundo”…On his white back was printed in red and blue, “Peace, Prosperity, and G.O.P.” Production of Fundo had just started then President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. The Club requested that Fundo be sent to the President in the hospital. Lawrence personally decorated on, adding the usual inscription “For Ike” and “Get Well Soon.” I wrapped Ike’s Fundo and mailed it to the hospital.

Mildred went on to write, “On the morning of November 11, Lawrence was downtown and stopped in a café for a cup of coffee….When he opened the Los Angeles Examiner and started reading the lead story under a double column headline he nearly spilled his drink. It read in part, ” …… all during his illness, it was revealed, [President Eisenhower] has been persuading visitors to his eighth-floor hospital room to put something into his personally sponsored kitty, an elephant made of crockery with a slot for the deposit of money…..”

http://www.fillmoregazette.com/front-page/meet-artist-lawrence-hinckley

My husband told me that Hinckley also worked for Disney and painted some of the backgrounds of the classic movies. During World War II, he worked for Douglas Aircraft on technical drawings and charts.

I feel like I’ve discovered treasures including the history of my husband’s artist relative and the blossoming cacti.

Have a great weekend!

What treasures or small pleasures have you enjoyed this week?

A few more issues

The latest issue of the HOA newsletter.

I thought with my new laptop I’d be through with computer issues. But an issue came up with the latest issue of the newsletter that I volunteer to do for our homeowner’s association.

If you didn’t read about my computer issues, I was losing files and realized that the “automatic backup” wasn’t backing up. You can read about that HERE.

My new laptop doesn’t have the fonts for the newsletter. I get missing font messages and the type reverts to Helvetica or Geneva which doesn’t look great. So, I asked my son — who created the layout and template for me — to help fix it. He told me to email him the newsletter and he’d convert it to a pdf on his laptop. (He has the fonts.)

After my son made the newsletter look pretty, I sent it off to my newsletter co-editor for proof reading — plus the board of directors for their input.

In the end I received 10 small corrections and tweaks last night. Instead of sending the newsletter to my son to make the corrections, I thought I’d try turning on the old laptop — which has the missing fonts. I thought I’d be able to update the newsletter all on my own. What I discovered is those fonts on my old laptop are missing. too!

So, even with a brand new laptop that’s working great, I still have issues to fix.

With different fonts, spacing is different which changes every page’s layout.

What a mess.

On our beach vacation, our kids are joining us and my son has promised to install the fonts and we won’t have to be emailing the newsletter back and forth in the future.

Do you work on any layouts besides your blogs? Do you enjoy it or find it tedious? What computer problems or glitches have you dealt with?

Needing some downtime

Pink flower
The simple beauty of nature.

It’s been a few weeks since our vacation to Utah and I’m already feeling the need to get away. There’s something about the heat of the desert, being stuck inside because of 100-plus degree temperatures that gets to people.

I remember in my former life in Palm Springs that controversy always bubbled up mid-July to early August. Especially with our swim team. You take a bunch of over-involved parents who are competitive about their kids — put them on a hot pool deck — and you have a recipe for a few outbursts.

Once the former president of our swim team told me “Take this team and shove it up your A**!”

Then he walked off the pool deck with his kids and started his own team, taking about 30 or 40 swimmers with him. I stood in shock. As a board member, I had been in the middle of a power struggle between our coach and him. He wanted to be the coach and was actively trying to discredit our current coach.

It was an ugly episode in my parenting years. We noticed every summer around the same time things began to boil.

I don’t thrive with conflict. I try to avoid unpleasantness in my life.

Last week, a club meeting rivaled the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

A woman who I consider a friend acted horribly out of anger. I don’t know where the anger came from. But what should have been a nice night of having dinner and friendship turned into a battleground. I feel especially bad for the woman who opened up her home, prepared dinner and dessert for the club.

Now I feel caught in the middle. It’s a bad place to be. I want to get along. I am willing to give people a second chance and the benefit of the doubt. Even when they lose their temper and act badly. We are all human and make mistakes.

I’m going to distance myself from all these clubs for awhile until my emotions settle down. I can’t wait to get out of the heat and out of town, which is in a couple weeks.

How do you handle conflict? Do you forgive people for bad behavior or write them off?