Days gone by of golf and joyrides

A golf course in Palm Springs.

A neighbor asked me to go to a driving range. We set a date to go yesterday. When I woke up it was 33 degrees.

And look at this:

The weather on my first day back to golf.

I haven’t golfed in years. I think it was my ski accident and knee surgery that put golf off my radar. That was 2018. Of course the day I make plans to golf again we get snow?

I grew up in a golf family. At least my dad was an avid golfer, my mom wasn’t as serious. He started playing when he was a kid and still plays. He’ll be 91 this week.

My first golf tournament I was five or six years old. I’d stare at the beautiful first place trophy in the clubhouse after Dad signed me up. I just had to win.

It was a three-hole match. I tied for first place with another girl my age. We went on to sudden death. The fourth hole I scored 13 to her 12. The match was over and she took home the trophy.

I had one friend growing up who also golfed. Her older brother was friends with mine and they were on the high school golf team. They’d take us out on weekends to golf (not with them, but following them one hole behind.) At least they’d give us a ride to the golf course.

In high school, my friend and I asked to join the boys’ golf team. They didn’t have one for girls. They let us go to daily practice, but we never got to play in a tournament or match. I think we were as good as a few of the boys.

My friend and her brother got jobs at a local golf course. Once the patrons were gone, we’d grab the golf carts and joyride. Our brothers and a few other employees made a race track in the woods. My friend and I were stationed up high on a hill next to the woods. If we spotted the owner’s car coming, it was our job to yell to the golf cart racers.

One day it happened. The owner’s station wagon was driving up the long gravel drive. We yelled, then floored it back to the clubhouse. We got there before the station wagon was parked and tried to act nonchalant.

The owner said, “What’s up?” He pointed at the golf cart we were in.

We looked down at the engine and it was smoking. Oops.

Then we wondered what happened to our brothers. They didn’t make it out of the woods in time. I think they either flipped a golf cart, or got one stuck in the mud. I can’t quite remember.

In the end, my friend and her brother kept their jobs at the golf course, but that was the end of our joyrides.

What sports or activities did you do when you were young that you enjoy today? Or look back at with great memories?

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.

Just what I needed

Waffles the pug

My daughter’s pug Waffles.

I’m back home and I feel so much better mentally than when I left. I was wallowing in grief after my mom’s sudden death. I found myself aimlessly wandering through our house, alternating between tears and shock.

The six days with my kids was like a healing balm or salve that my heart needed.

What did we do? I was busy with my son, making his pour-over coffee, overnight oats, grocery shopping at my favorite Berkeley Bowl. I walked Waffles, played Scrabble, went to lunch and shopped with my daughter on Fourth Street, enjoyed time with my son’s fiancee and family. They lost their father several years ago and I felt their empathy and understanding.

The mushroom aisle at Berkeley Bowl, my favorite grocery store.

I was busy most of the time, I felt needed, and I felt my mom is in a better place.

We watched good movies including Metropolitan and Nausciaa of the Valley of the Wind. The voice of the Princess in Nausicaa was done by Alison Lohman, who is a local Palm Springs girl. She was in my ballet class more than 25 years ago. I’m always interested in watching her movies.

The food in the Bay Area is so much better than in Scottsdale. We ordered in most nights because of the storm. We had Japanese, Korean, Mexican and take out from Berkeley Bowl.

My son’s charcuterie with cheeses, salami, prosciutto, blackberries, grapes, crackers and comb honey.

If you find yourself in a funk — not necessarily grief like I’ve been experiencing — how do you get out of it?

What does qis mean?

alphabet board game bundle close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

While I was with my kids, my son asked me to drive to Target and buy a game of Scrabble. I’m not keen on driving in the Bay Area — really not driving anywhere. I’d walk everywhere if I could.

If you were watching the weather, a bomb of a storm was predicted. Fortunately, where we were in Berkeley — it wasn’t hard hit. There was a ton of rain and wind. Some houses were flooded, but we were fine.

Still. I wasn’t excited about driving. I walked to my daughter’s apartment, which is less than two miles from my son’s house. She asked me to walk Waffles the pug while she was at work. I asked if I could borrow her car to go to Target and the grocery store. The answer was “of course.” She left the car keys for me inside her apartment. She’s so close to her job, she doesn’t have to drive.

Scrabble wasn’t at the Target .2 miles from her house where I could walk. I had the choice of two Targets in other towns. I buckled in and found my way with little trouble except for dodging massive potholes — which must have cropped up from the storm. They were tire or car killing potholes. I avoided all but one and felt proud of myself.

Armed with Scrabble and groceries, I returned to my son’s house. He and his fiancee have been playing Scrabble online as of late. I haven’t touched the game since I was around 10 years old?

I played my son who was home alone (and doing very well after surgery FYI.) His first word he laid down was qis — notice there isn’t a u after the q. His word was placed at the center star where you get a gazillion extra points. I challenged the word.

“Look it up,” he said. “Google to see if it’s a word in Scrabble.”

I had my laptop handy and BINGO! Qis is a “yes” for Scrabble.

The next word he played was drat.

“That’s not acceptable. That’s slang!” I said.

“Slang is allowed.”

“Not in my day,” I argued.

Needless to say I lost by more than 100 points. This is not the Scrabble of my childhood.

We both broke out in fits of laughter when he built a new word and it resulted in a second built word “za.”

“You can challenge that if you want,” he said. “I’m not sure za is a word.”

“What do you think it means?” I asked.

He said it was short for pizza — but we were laughing and he admitted he had no clue what it meant or if it was a word.

I checked the laptop. Za is a yes for Scrabble. Short for pizza.

Do you remember slang words in Scrabble? What are your thoughts about what I believe are new rules for Scrabble? Is this the Scrabble of your childhood?

And now there’s weather

View from Indian Rock
View of San Francisco from Indian Rock park I enjoyed on an earlier visit to see my kids.

It’s my son’s surgery. I’m mentally preparing for the day ahead by visualizing what the day will bring. Go to the surgery center with my son. Buy him congee after surgery for a light easy-to-digest meal, buy ice, and help him get comfortable (FYI, I’m writing this on the morning of Jan. 4).

But then I got an email with friends who know I’m in the Bay area.

Here’s an excerpt from Yahoo News:

San Francisco is about to be hit with a ‘brutal’ storm so severe that a meteorologist says is ‘one of the most impactful’ he’s ever seen

The National Weather Service’s Bay Area office issued a frank and dire warning to citizens in a statement, saying the storm, which is currently forecast to begin peaking Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, could bring about flooding and the loss of life.

“To put it simply, this will likely be one of the most impactful systems on a widespread scale that this meteorologist has seen in a long while,” the warning read. “The impacts will include widespread flooding, roads washing out, hillside collapsing, trees down (potentially full groves), widespread power outages, immediate disruption to commerce, and the worst of all, likely loss of human life. This is truly a brutal system that we are looking at and needs to be taken seriously.”

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/san-francisco-hit-brutal-storm-155156145.html

Yep. This storm may make my caregiving duties more challenging than I was expecting. I’m hoping the news is over-hyping the storm and danger. But you never know.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I get through the next few days.

What is your weather like this week? Do you have storms headed your way?

Travel day

kids on a rock
Laguna Beach picture of my kids from around 2001.

After wandering around my house in shock for a couple days because of my mom’s sudden death, I headed to Berkeley to be with my kids. This was a preplanned trip which I think came at a remarkable time. My son is having foot surgery and he asked me to come up and take care of him for a few days.

I think this will help keep me busy and distracted. I think being with both my kids will be more helpful to me than I will be to them!

Of course the weather is supposed to be absolutely miserable with pouring down rain every day. I’m sitting at the airport in Phoenix with the blue skies surrounding me. I was worried about flying Southwest, but they seem to be back on schedule.

Here’s to my children and getting through my waves of grief. Here’s a link to my story about my mom.

If you lost someone in your life recently, what was most helpful for you to handle greiving?