A Tip to Fall Asleep Quickly

A firestick plant at a neighbor’s house. They are beautiful but toxic succulents.

Lying in bed each night, Andy Buelow often finds himself thinking one thought over and over: How awesome it was to ride the ferry across Lake Michigan as a kid.

Mr. Buelow pictures himself back on the ship, imagining the whir of the engines, the smell of steam, the rushing water and the cold spray on his face.

“When I remember the feeling, I am asleep within minutes,” says Mr. Buelow, 61 years old, the chief executive of a symphony orchestra in Muskegon, Mich. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-happy-memory-can-help-you-fall-asleep-if-you-know-how-to-use-it-11674527348?mod=life_work_lead_pos4

That is the opening of a story from the Wall Street Journal by Elizabeth Bernstein called “A Happy Memory Can Help You Fall Asleep, If You Know How to Use It.”

According to the article, sleep researchers say what we think about before we fall asleep is as important as having a relaxing routine, turning off our screens, etc.

Here’s another excerpt:

They recommend that as we prepare to drift off, we practice something called savoring, which is imagining a positive experience we’ve had in great detail.

Savoring is well-studied as a strategy to improve our general well-being. A considerable body of research shows that it can boost mood and help reduce depression and anxiety. Now, psychologists believe it can help us fall asleep and have better sleep quality, and are starting to study its effectiveness.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-happy-memory-can-help-you-fall-asleep-if-you-know-how-to-use-it-11674527348?mod=life_work_lead_pos4

So here’s the question, if you choose to try “savoring” what memory will you be thinking about?

Feeling powerless

Gila woodpecker
A gila woodpecker loves the Bird Buddy.

I’ll keep this short. We have a planned power outage today for an upgrade to our electrical panel. It’s four to five hours without electricity. Who knows? That’s why I’m powerless today. I’m using my iphone as a hotspot to write this post. I want to conserve my iphone and laptop battery until the power is back on — so I won’t ramble on too much. FYI the upgrade has to do with solar panels.

As far as my Bird Buddy goes, I haven’t been posting any photos lately because a covey of quail jumped on it all at once and the bird feeder flew off the fence into the wash. The solar panel roof hit hard on the ground, popped off and the usb-c connection broke in half.

I contacted Bird Buddy to see if I could get a new cord, but they said I needed to order a new solar panel roof. They sent me a code for a discount, but the solar panel roof isn’t expected to ship until late February or early March. Also, we need to find a better place for the Bird Buddy so it’s stable and can’t be knocked over by wind or greedy feeding birds.

If your power is out, what’s do you miss using the most?

When you don’t have electricity, do you find yourself forgetting the power is out and try to use something like the microwave? I found myself hitting the lights in the dark bathroom.

It’s cold out there!

Teddy Bear Cholla

Teddy bear cholla down the street.

Monday we had snow. Tuesday it was 30 degrees when I got out of bed. I skipped golf on the snow day and I was feeling sluggish due to lack of exercise.

My husband and I bundled up Tuesday and took our usual walk around the neighborhood. Although it was so cold, it was bright and sunny and we didn’t die! In fact, I felt so much better after getting out and moving araound.

This is about the Teddy bear cholla or jumping cholla:

Teddy bear cholla, or jumping cholla (C. bigelovii), is native to northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States and is sometimes cultivated as a desert ornamental for its showy golden spines. 

https://www.britannica.com/plant/cactus

I guess they’re called Teddy Bear because they are fuzzy looking. But they are not cuddly. They are a hazard. They’re called jumping cholla because they throw off little bundles of spines. If you accidentally step on one or brush them with your shoe, they may go all the way through your shoe to your foot.

My husband spotted this teddy bear cholla in front of a neighbor’s house. He pointed it out to me because of this:

In the center of the cholla is a bird’s nest. What a perfect place to keep eggs and chicks safe!

What’s the weather like where you are? Is it colder than normal?

What do you think of birds choosing a cholla for their nest?

More good news

Sunrise
Sunrise in our backyard.

When I went to lunch last week with a ladies group I recently joined, I sat at table with three of my neighbors. One is a board member for the group and the other two are my friends and new members also.

This group is fundraising for The Phoenix Dream Center, which is a facility to rescue and help victims of human trafficking. I wrote about that HERE.

The board member/neighbor at our table said “You’re the one with a background in PR.”

I thought to myself, “Did I really need to share that on my membership application?”

She slipped a spreadsheet and a press release across the table to me. “Can you help me get out our press release?” It was for an upcoming fundraiser.

“Sure,” I said.

“I just need you to fill in the blanks on the spreadsheet. I haven’t been able to find the contact information for some publications.”

The next morning I googled the publications with missing contact info. I was able to find some of them and I either filled out online forms or sent emails to them with the press release.

Within 30 minutes I got a response from a magazine publisher who has high end magazines for high end neighborhoods.

“I’m sold. I love The Dream Center. Can you take a call in two hours?” his email said.

I quickly texted the board member/neighbor to ask if she’d take the call. I’ve been to two meetings in two months and don’t know much about this group — like how long it’s been around, how many members there are, if they have a budget to buy ads, etc.

“I’ll be at the dentist,” she texted.

“Okay. I can do it,” I replied.

Later I got a phone call from the president of the group who said she’d take the call. Whew!

Fast forward and the president called me back to say they had an excellent call and then had a meeting the next day. They are getting free advertising from now on each month! They are getting a VIP listing and perhaps a feature article.

I’m so thrilled I helped open the door. I’m also relieved I didn’t have to take the initial phone call. I was smiling the rest of the day.

What has made you smile recently?

Horrifying facts about February in Phoenix

Sonoran sunset
Sunset in the Sonoran Desert.

What’s going on in Phoenix this February?

Yesterday I went to a luncheon to learn about and raise money for victims of human trafficking.

The stats are truly horrifying. The presentation was by The Dream Center, a facility that rescues and rehabilitates young women and men who have been trafficked.

The speakers were Shauna Sexton, Human Trafficking Programs Director, and JoAnna Shipe, Corporate Initiatives Director. They gave us a powerful and gut wrenching presentation.

Did you know?

• That in Phoenix there is the Super Bowl and a major golf tournament going on in February? That five percent of the men attending will be buying sex? That equals more than 30,000 men looking for trafficked girls and boys.

• The number one prospects are boys from eight to 12 years old. 

• Human trafficking is the number two enterprise worldwide.

• In 2020, there was a 98% increase in online attempts by human traffickers. Why? Because of the COVID shutdowns, kids spent more time on their computers at home. Computers were no longer placed in the kitchen, but in their bedrooms. That was because parents were working from home and kids taking online classes.

• There was a 40% increase in human trafficking after COVID.

• Most kids are groomed into human trafficking over a six-month to two-year period. Often it’s online, on social media, by someone who is a friend of a friend.

• Traffickers hire good looking guys to befriend quiet, shy or vulnerable girls. They are usually 19 to 20 years old but look 14 or 15. 

• Less than 1% of trafficked kids are rescued.

• Girls and boys are trafficked an average of 10 to 12 times per day.

• The Dream Center in Phoenix has a 92% success rate of rehabilitating these kids and they transition into school or careers. They have 5,400 survivors since its inception in 2002. It’s the largest facility serving this community in the nation and the second largest in the world.

From the Dream Center website:

Our nonprofit (City Help Inc of Phoenix dba Phoenix Dream Center) was founded in 2002 as a Christ Centered Outreach Ministry.

We’re on a mission to stop human trafficking, end childhood hunger and educate tomorrows leaders. We do this through residential life recovery programs and community engagement outreach services. 

https://phoenixdreamcenter.org/story/

I wrote a story after my first meeting with this organization HERE.

Do these stats change how you view human trafficking? What organizations in your area provide services for human trafficking?

One year ago

Desert clouds and views
A view of the desert last January from the Sears-Kay Ruins.

What was I up to in the New Year of 2022? One of the things I like about blogging is being able to look back on what I was doing, thinking and feeling.

A year ago to the date, I was returning home from Berkeley after taking care of my son post surgery.

Imagine that!

AND my husband wasn’t answering the phone. I was worried about him. It turned out he was sick in bed with COVID. As sick as I have ever known him to be.

I took a Lyft home from the airport in Phoenix. The Lyft driver was not happy when he learned how far away I lived. I didn’t mean to be an inconvenience, you’d think drivers would want to pick up a long ride. But I think we are so far out, there’s not much of a chance for the driver to pick up any rides on the way back to Phoenix. Plus, he was going to be late picking his wife up after her work. I wondered why he accepted my ride in the first place?

In any case, I moved into our Casita and kept my husband isolated in our Master bedroom. (I heard master isn’t PC to use, but I really don’t care.)

I cooked him homemade chicken soup with onions, garlic and carrots. I carted it to the front porch and then called him to let him know food was waiting for him. This went on for several days.

When he was finally better, we went exploring and hiked the Sears-Kay Ruins. Then we went to hang out with friends who invited us over to watch football.

What were you up to a year ago? Do you find yourself doing many of the same things year after year?

This was last night in our backyard. We call them “Mulies” short for Mule Deer.

This was Olive, checking out the Mulies from the bar in our living room.

Gray day

wet roadway in Arizona.

The wet street outside our house.

It rained all night, but today the rain has stopped and we have a gray cloudy day. We’re supposed to get more rain for the next two days. I hope we do. I find rain in the desert to be exciting and exhilerating.

But the gray cloudy day fits my mood and makes me want to curl up on the sofa with a book and not do anything but read.

I came home from my kids’ homes a week ago and now I feel myself going through bouts of grief and sadness. I guess that’s normal that I’m home without being busy taking care of my kids, walking Waffles, watching movies with them, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning.

There isn’t that much to do here with my husband and me. We don’t eat much and the house, especially the kitchen stays surprisingly clean. I could start the taxes for 2022, but I’m not motivated today.

I think I’ll give into my blahs on this gray day and bury myself with a book. My mom would call a day like this a “mung” day. She would feel no guilt for staying in her nightgown and reading all day.

Does weather affect your mood? How do you feel on gray damp days?

Our front yard after a rainy night. The gravel is a weird color because the yard was sprayed for weeds.