What she thought about our new home

It was a relief. My daughter spent a few days with us in our new home. She likes it. She likes the area where we live — even though it’s not California. It’s in Arizona.

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Waffles, my daughter’s pug.

Her first job out of school was in Arizona and she has terrible memories. She took the job because the company flew her to Scottsdale from Utah. They put her up in a hotel, they took her out to dinner. She was swept off her feet. It was in her father’s field of investments So, it all seemed perfect to her. But it was far from it. It turns out taking a job to get your parent’s approval may not work out.

She lived in a house we purchased in a quiet family neighborhood. Not at all the best spot for a 22 year old — unless complete isolation and living next to boomers is your thing. Then her house got broken into and ransacked. The only good thing about that is they didn’t steal her pug. They locked him in the garage. Eventually she quit her job, got another one plus nannied in the early mornings for a single mom. She got hired for dream job in the Bay Area and moved up there. That worked out fine until COVID hit.

Fast forward to December 2020 and we moved to Arizona and she told us she would never come visit. She doesn’t have good memories of her one year here. I kept telling her although our address says Scottsdale, it really isn’t. I told we were out in the “sticks” as my hometown was called growing up. We’re far enough out of the metropolitan area to have a whole different feel.

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Our queen bee Olive.

She was surprised how far out of town we live. And she loves the nature. We watched a dozen javelina cross the street including babies at sunset. She enjoyed the bunnies and quails romping through our yard. She loves our house. She’s planning on another trip soon to visit.

The only snafu was Waffles. Olive was sleeping under our bed and Waffles decided to charge her at 4 a.m. We heard the kerfuffle and Waff flew out from under the bed. Olive stayed put.

The next day our daughter wiped a booger from Waffles’ snout. It turned out to be a claw embedded through his skin. There was no more trouble from Waffles and Olive after that.

Ancient saguaro cactus with a dozen arms
The nature trails across the street. I wonder how old this saguaro is?
saguaro growth chart

When Kids Talk Trash About Your Daughter and You’re in an Earthquake Kind of Mood


My daughter came home from school today and told me that one of her best friends overheard some friends talking trash about her in class. But, because we woke up to the news of an earthquake in Los Angeles, I’ll save the trash-talking story for another day!

Just last week, another swim parent and I said at the exact same time, “This feels like earthquake weather.”


If you don’t live in California, you might wonder what earthquake weather feels like. We locals just know. You can feel it. It might be gray instead of sunny. The air feels heavy. There’s a weirdness that you can feel. Here’s the California government website disputing all I just said and what we “feel in our bones.” And your animals might be doing extraordinary things.

olivetpThe other day when the swim parent and I said that it felt like earthquake weather there was a 6.9 earthquake in Northern California. The next day, an earthquake struck an hour away from my son’s college. Then this morning, the one in Los Angeles.

I have an alert set up to my phone from USGS that reports big ones to my phone, in real time. The USGS website is a great resource to see what’s going on around the world. This past week looks like a “ring of fire” around the Pacific.

So far, though, the big one hasn’t hit us here in Palm Springs — where we sit on the San Andreas fault. Knock on wood.

And the fact that a supposed friend is talking behind my daughter’s back really puts me in an earthquake kind of mood.


Here are three questions:

1. Do you believe in earthquake weather?

 2. What do you advise your kids to do when they hear someone is talking behind their backs?

3. What’s the largest earthquake you’ve experienced?

Alpha Moms and “The Cupcake Wars”

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If you’re an involved Mom — i.e., room mom, PTA vice president, Scrip mom, etc. you might find yourself ensnared in what I fondly remember as the “The Cupcake Wars.”icecreamcake

On any normal morning, I’d drop my young kids off at school, smothering them with last minute kisses. The coffee klatch moms, led by their queen bee, wore matching short skirts, strappy sandals, and perfect pedicures. I felt the heat of their stares as they gathered in a cluster. I used to be in the inner circle.  What happened?


What did I do to get ex-communicated from the Mom’s Clique? One morning, I woke up and realized I didn’t have one iota of strength to fight over centerpieces for fundraisers. I no longer cared who chaired which committee, or who sat with whom at which table. I flat out disagreed with a war against one mom’s joy of baking works-of-art cupcakes instead of the required chocolate chip cookies.  Not that these aren’t worthy and high goals, but I’ll leave cupcake massacres to the queen bee.

images-5We women are trained from childhood not to fight or be aggressive, and to be “nice.” We love to share secrets and confidences with our friends. But if a woman feels threatened, she may be afraid that her secrets will be revealed.  She could clobber you with her fists, but it’s more likely she’ll resort to indirect aggression, a skill we’ve honed through the ages. Or, she’ll attack some mom’s cupcakes! (I learned about this from my friend Susan Murphy, Ph.D.)  She says,”Catfights result when the power and self-esteem among women are not kept in balance–a violation of the Power Dead Even Rule.” (Read more about the Power Dead Even Rule in her book “In the Company of Women.”


Back story on “The Cupcake Wars”: At our kids’ school, you could earn your volunteer hours by baking for hot lunch. Chocolate chip cookies were the standard fare. A friend of mine bakes incredible cupcakes (see photos) — she should open a cupcake business — they are that good. But, the cute cupcakes so distraught the moms baking chocolate chip cookies that the school board banned the baking of cupcakes altogether! The board felt it caused too much turmoil in the lunch line because there weren’t enough to go around. So, rather than try to work out a solution, i.e. rotate the cupcakes each week to a different grade, or having them on a first-come, first-served basis — they said no more cupcakes. They left it up to me to tell my friend that she could no longer bring cupcakes to school! Which was totally wrong, since I strongly disagreed with their decision. My friend couldn’t understand why her fun, delicious cupcakes were banned — and why they didn’t inspire other moms to be creative — yet it was okay to drop off a box of Chips Ahoy. (So, then I campaigned for “Fresh Fruit Fridays” — a story for another day!)

3539053509_f64da7a86dAre there any rules at your school, either as a parent or way back when you were a kid that didn’t make sense?  If so, what are they? I’d like to know!