What a year!

It’s official. We left California for Arizona one year ago! I can’t believe how quickly our year flew by — and in some respects all long it seemed.

Here’s what I thought about moving one year ago today:

Moving van
The moving van arrived.

Friday was moving day. Our movers arrived at 9 a.m. and we thought it would be a couple hours and we’d hit the road. No, we were wrong. By 5 p.m. the movers realized their truck was full and we still had a bunch of stuff in the garage like bikes, a wheelbarrow and my daughter’s small desk. Plus the STORAGE UNIT where we’ve been squirreling away boxes and stuff for months.

Yikes! They had to rent a U-Haul and we gave them the keys to the storage unit. Of course there weren’t any in town and they had to drive to San Diego or some place to find a U-Haul. They said they’d come back the next morning and pick up the rest of our stuff in the garage when our housekeeper and dear friend Delia would be cleaning.

We drove on to Arizona and our new home, minus our stuff. We thankfully packed suitcases and bedding. Our fellow Piranha parents and close friends drove one of our cars packed to the hilt, plus their car complete with all the stuff from our freezer and fridge. Now, those are real friends who volunteer to drive an 8-hour round trip to make our move easier!

I have driving anxiety and panic attacks driving on freeways and couldn’t face the four-hour drive. Our daughter was going to fly down from SFO and drive one car and help us unpack. Then the state went into lockdown and she didn’t feel good about flying. So our friends volunteered to help us out and meanwhile her supposed flight was cancelled. It all worked out in the end.

moving boxes in house
Our new living room. So much work to do!

We got to our Arizona home at 10:30 p.m. Unpacked what we had and settled into bed around midnight exhausted beyond comprehension. Boy am I glad we decided to buy the casita furniture! If we hadn’t, we’d have slept on the floor.

The moving van and U-haul arrived at 2 p.m. the next day and we’ve worked a solid weekend to get the kitchen in order and our closet organized. Kitty is stressed and hiding under the bed in the casita, where we’ve been living.

pink skies at sunset in Arizona
My new backyard as the sun begins to set.

I don’t recommend moving after 28 years after living in one house on anyone. It’s an unusually hard task, mentally and physically. But, when we’re more settled the sunsets will make it all worthwhile.

Cactus Arizona sunset
Sunset and saguaros in the neighborhood.

What’s the longest you’ve lived in one place? How did you handle the packing and going through years of stuff? Have you thought of moving during the COVID shutdowns? A lot of people did move.

What a week!

I hit the halfway point of my writing challenge at the start of the week.

Actually, not much happened out of the ordinary. But compared to most of my weeks during the past year and a half COVID days, a lot did happen.

Here’s a quick rundown:

I hit my goals for NaNoWriMo this week.

I managed to fit in posting blogs and reading other bloggers worked around my novel writing.

I played lots of ping pong and I sense some improvement.

I went to the Podiatrist and found an In-N-Out only 30 minutes from our house.

I had my first meeting as the official newsletter editor for our HOA. I met three new people who will be working with me to get the newsletter written and produced.

I took Olive the cat to the vet for shots. I had to find a new vet, since she hasn’t been to one in Arizona. I am not a person who regularly takes the cat to the vet. First of all, Olive hates it. She cries incessantly in the car and then she shudders and shakes. She doesn’t need to go to the vet if she’s not sick. But I called the place we boarded her in August to make a reservation for a trip planned in December. They told me one of her shots had expired. We both survived the trip to the vet, barely.

I talked to several of my old friends on long phone conversations after reading the article I posted on the importance of friendships. You can read that HERE if you missed it.

I went to my first NFL game in person.

Today I’m headed to our farmer’s market to get treats for Thanksgiving-week guests and my dad.

cat on a patch of grass in the house
Olive cat on her patch of grass next to pots of cat grass.

Happy Friday!

Have you noticed your weeks getting busier? Is it because we’re leaving COVID behind us? What makes your weeks busier? Or did I just have a one-off week?

If I could only remember

Olive with her cat grass.

I’ve been struggling with the NaNo Prep 101 assignments. I can’t quite find my idea or nail down the characters for the writing challenge I signed up for in November where I’m going to write 50,000 words of a novel in 31 days. I’m weeks away and just not thrilled with anything I’ve come up with.

Here’s a description of the first assignment:

Some people struggle to come up with a novel idea that excites them! Some people are idea machines, but have a hard time committing to one. Tackle this week’s exercise to focus on finding inspiration… and then hone in on a few ideas that spark your creative passion.

https://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep-101#week1

Last week I completed the first assignment. I had some inspiration with my characters but struggled through the next week’s tasks:

Week 2: Create Complex, Believable Characters
(Strong enough to shoulder a novel and hold your interest)
Week 2 Exercise: Character Development and Questionnaires
Characters are the active drivers of your story, and a huge part of a first draft is getting to know the characters you’re creating. Get a head start with this exercise!

Last night I had a vivid dream where it was all laid out. I had five characters. I was filling out their backstories, their ages, appearances, mannerisms, pet peeves, desires. It was all coming together. I made progress on the plot and was so excited to write. I was sitting at my laptop, editing, making changes, completing the exercises.

Morning came. Olive the cat jumped on the bed and woke me up. I struggled in my morning pages trying to remember my characters. They floated away out of my mind’s reach. I wonder if they were any good? Or was it my mind working through the process?

Have you ever problem solved or figured out a creative solution in your dreams? Do you usually remember your dreams or not?

Hello Friday!

sunrise in Arizona
Sunrise out my bedroom window.

I had to share the beauty I saw this morning. I felt privileged to be included in the show. Our bedroom faces east and this is the delight we were blessed to see from bed.

Sunrise view in our backyard.

I had to walk outside and be part of it. The photos don’t do it justice. What a gorgeous way to start the day. I can’t wait to see what other beauty awaits as the day unfolds.

Even the kitty stood by the sliding glass door in staring in awe. At least she looked mesmerized.

Have a wonderful weekend!

It’s a jungle out there!

bobcat on the patio
This precious kitty was inches from my bedroom sliding glass door.

My husband called to me from the bedroom. “The bobcat is here!”

“Where?” I asked scanning my view past the fence in the backyard.

“Right here.”

Wow. The bobcat was lounging inches away from our sliding glass door. She looked hot with mouth open breathing. But instead of panting, she was scenting her next meal. My cat Olive used to do that when scouting for birds in our backyard — before we moved to the wilds of Arizona.

I called to my sister-in-law to come into our bedroom and we stood fascinated watching our very own “animal kingdom.”

The bobcat nonchalantly grabbed a bird midair and took it behind a potted plant to munch. She climbed a tree and came down with another snack of a baby bird. Another baby bird was hopping on the patio oblivious to the danger. That life ended quickly.

The bobcat moved into the shade and fell asleep on our patio, sated with an afternoon meal.

Climbing into a tree to fetch a baby bird snack.
Arizona desert bobcat
Acting casual before catching a snack.
She looks like she owns the place!

I’m a little nervous to go outside after dark. You don’t know what’s out in those trees or under our patio furniture. It’s literally a jungle out there!

Thanks to my sister-in-law for the amazing videos.

Olive cat the barfly
Here’s Olive our wild cat who is hanging out on the bar.

Happy Labor Day!

cat on a leash in the desert
Olive doesn’t look too happy, but she has been enjoying the smells, sounds and sights.

I don’t remember much about celebrating Labor Day as a kid — except It was the end of summer and school would start the next day. So, I probably did the usual things I did in the summer. I’d lie on my back on the lawn and stare at the clouds slowly passing. Ride my bike. Read. Watch TV. Labor Day was an ordinary day. Those ordinary days sound like sheer bliss.

Today I went for a walk with my husband. Then I had quiet time with kitty. She’s getting used to me putting on her harness and leash. The first two times I tried it she ran and hid from me for about 24 hours. Now, we sit outside for 15 to 20 minutes and listen and watch. She sits on my lap or I place her on a bench with a low wall where she can watch the quail and butterflies. When she was an outdoor cat in California, she would always prefer to sit along a wall. It kept her safe from the dive bombing mockingbirds.

I’m liking this quiet time, too. I makes me stop with the screens, books, etc. and just sit and reflect enjoying nature.

What do you like to do on Labor Day? Did you have any traditional celebrations or meals?

My head’s spinning

cactus in bloom

I can’t seem to get a grip on today. I arrived home yesterday afternoon from visiting my kids and taking care of my son. I felt exhausted from nonstop people, travel, and a sense of urgency in doing whatever I could to help out in my son’s household.

I slept soundly. I didn’t need to get up and trek to my son’s house in the early morning hours and cook his oatmeal. But today, I feel out of sorts. I have lots of pesky chores to do. Phone calls to make. Trying to get re-established in my normal routine.

I feel haphazard. I flit from one task to another, never quite completing what I had set out to do. It’s like my head is spinning, looking for that purpose I had during the past seven days, taking care of my son. Being mom. Spending time with my daughter.

The kitty welcomed me back and wanted lots of attention. My husband is thrilled to have me to talk to. But my body and soul don’t feel grounded today. I feel out of sorts and unable to feel ready for my normal routine. I think I’m still tired. I could use a day to laze around, reading a good book

Olive the cat sleeping on cat grass
Olive asleep on her cat grass doesn’t need me the way my kids did.

Have you ever felt out of sorts after traveling? Do you take time to recover from a tiring trip, or do you dive right in on your to do list? How do you best transition from travel to every day life?