An atmospheric river

Weather alert on iphone

I’m visiting my mom in the Pacific Northwest. This is what my phone blasted to me on my first morning when I woke up.

I’ve never seen a hydrologic outlook on my phone, nor an atmospheric river.

I’m staying with my BFF from college and I asked her what it meant.

She said, “Oh I hate this. It’s a huge amount of rain and flooding.”

I pictured the atmospheric river as a massive body of water running through the clouds above my head.

My friend also told me that she thinks the weather forecasters and meteorologists work too hard to find new terms for long-occurring events.

Here’s the rest of the alert I received:

Severe Weather Alert on iphone

I was pleasantly surprised to have cloudy skies with blue peeking through. It’s absolutely gorgeous here and such a contrast from the desert of Arizona. I love spending time with my mom, although she’s not doing as well as during my last visit. More on that after I have time to process my thoughts and emotions.

tree line lane in Redmond WA

The drive to my mom’s assisted living.

blue skies in WA in November

I loved the light in the leaves of this tree at my mom’s assisted living.

What strange weather alerts have you seen? Have you heard of hydrologic events or atmospheric rivers before?

A simple pleasure

mother daughter sailing
Sailing in Santa Barbara with my daughter on a friend’s boat.

Yesterday I got a pedicure. I last got one during our beach vacation in August. My daughter and I used to get pedicures together. It was a ritual that we loved, sitting side by side getting pampered. I’d read a book, she was on her phone. Although we weren’t talking much, I look back on those memories with tenderness.

Even when she went to college, we’d make time for pedicures when she’d be home for vacation. Or, if I was visiting her for a swim meet, we’d get pedicures together.

Then the pandemic hit and the nail salon by our house closed. Since I moved away, I’m not sure if it ever reopened. So many small businesses closed forever. I’ve had two pedicures since COVID hit.

Yesterday was a treat to be pampered. But it was bittersweet. I missed my daughter sitting by my side.

Do you have any simple pleasures with your loved ones? What do you like to do together?

On the way to the wedding

Taco station interior in Riverside.
We were looking for breakfast burritos and ran across the “Taco Station.” Yes, that’s a real car.

We had a seven-hour drive to get our friend’s children’s wedding in Temecula, Calif. We left Friday afternoon and drove to Riverside to sleep for the night. Saturday morning we took a walk while the temps were in the 60s. It felt wonderful. We stayed downtown in a hotel we often stayed at for CIF (California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body for California high school sports) for our son and daughter’s championship high school swim meets. It felt nostalgic. Memories surfaced about the hours spent in the hotel between prelims and finals. Our daughter would take ice baths after her morning swims and put her legs up against the wall while laying on her back. This was her way to recover and prepare for finals.

We were craving a breakfast burrito — probably because that was the staple breakfast at swim meets throughout Southern California — prepared by the hosting swim team.

We found one spot during our walk that was packed! So it had to be good. It’s called the Taco Station.

Taco Station fun interior based on filling stations.
Inside Taco Station in Riverside
The theme of Taco Station is a filling station. There was a ton of memorabilia from old filling stations.
We split this breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese, sausage, potatoes. Delicious! We bought two burritos, but I’m grateful we didn’t eat them both! They were huge. We’ll have something to munch on during the seven-hour drive home. I don’t know when we’ll be back to stay in Riverside. It’s not on our bucket list, but if we do, we’ll be back to Taco Station.

The food looked amazing.
Outside view of Taco Station.

What are some of the fun, off-the-wall diners or restaurants have you discovered? Where were they and what type of food did they serve?

Family time

We had a lovely visit with our daughter. We packed in as much as we could during her short trip. I especially loved our visit to the Desert Botanical Garden to show her the Chihuly Installation. Because it’s more than one hundred degrees outside, we opted to go for the last hour it’s open — from 7 to 8 p.m. It was gorgeous.

I’m so glad we became members because we are learning so much about desert plants like the many species of cacti, aloe and agave. There’s a butterfly garden, wildflower garden, bee garden and my favorite — a shade garden.

Tomorrow our son comes to visit. It’s wonderful to spend time with our kids, even if their trips are short! Just having them under our roof and hanging out together is blissful.

Here are a few pictures from the botanical garden:

Chihuly exhibit at Desert Botanical Garden.
My favorite Chihuly installation at the Desert Botanical Garden.
mountain view Desert Botanical Garden
A view of a nearby mountain.
bright pink wildflower
Wildflower
Chihuly at the Desert Botanical Garden.
More Chihuly. This one was too big to fit in one photo.
lavendar wildflower
More wildflowers.
Chihuly glass
bonsai elephant food.
Elephant food bonsai. We have a lot of these plants in our yard. I didn’t know the name before.

Chihuly at night.
Chihuly glass lit up at the entrance to the botanical garden.

What are your favorite things to do when your kids or friends and family visit?

Another life saved

my daughter and Waffles
Waffles the pug with my daughter during a beach vacation.

My kids like to call me when they’re walking. Yesterday, while my daughter was walking Waffles around her neighborhood I heard her say “Oh no!”

“What?”

She talked softly, “There’s someone laying on the sidewalk. Probably a homeless person.” My daughter explained that they look away from homeless people, that they don’t want to engage them. My kids live in the Bay Area where homelessness is a problem.

“He’s bleeding!” she said. It looked to her like he had slit his wrists. She ended her call with me. Minutes later she called me back and said he was conscious and was trying to get up. I suggested calling the police but she didn’t think they would help. She tried calling some mental health crisis centers, but nobody answered. Apparently crisis hotlines are staffed at night, not in the morning.

She called me again and said she asked if he wanted her to call someone or if should she call 911. He told her to call 911 because he couldn’t get up. She did and asked for the police and an ambulance. She waited with him until they came along with the fire department.

Another life saved by my daughter.

As a lifeguard she saved a drowning young boy. Then one evening in Laguna Beach, she and my husband went for a walk and a swim. She saw two people struggling in a rip tide. It was hours after the lifeguards were off duty. She swam out to them and told them what to do, to stay calm and helped them in. My husband swam out after her and they were able to get the people — who were drunk — safely onshore.

On her way back to the vacation cottage, she spotted the neighbors dog loose. She brought the dog back safely to its yard.

Yes I’m proud of my daughter to have empathy and to be able to help those in need. She said people were walking by ignoring the man. She was the only one who stopped to help.

What would you do if you saw someone who was probably homeless, bleeding on the sidewalk? Do you think you’d try to help? Or more likely walk away? Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do.

You’re only as happy as your least happy child…

I got a call from my daughter today who was extremely upset. It tears at my heart. I don’t think our kids truly understand how our hearts hurt when they they are suffering. The call reminded me that I wrote about this years ago when my son was close to finishing his college years and was going through a rough time.

Now it’s my daughter’s turn. I hope I was helpful on the phone. I hope she gets through this period of her life where she’s facing hurdles. All I can do is listen. Hopefully, it’s enough that she knows I love her.

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My kids not wanting me to take their pic.

This is what I wrote five years ago:

“You’re only as happy as your least happy child.” I heard a friend say this recently. I do believe it’s true. When you see your kids happy, you’re happy, too. When they are smiling and proud of their accomplishments or in love, we feel thrilled for them.

On the flip side, when they’re struggling, we have an ache in our hearts.

My son had a horrific last week of college, but managed to get through it alive. I got several phone calls where he wasn’t sure if he’d make it. He had five papers to write, plus finals, and I doubt he slept much.

I kept telling him using a swim race analogy, “You’re under the flags. Keep going. You can do it.”

I also received relieved phone calls as each hurdle was overcome. Today, he’s coming home for a brief stop before he starts his new life. I’m a worrier and I’m wondering how is he sleeping? How is he going to drive a U-Haul trailer with his worldly possessions up to his new life? How will he survive on his own?

IMG_1895
The city pool where my kids swam club and I swim masters.

My daughter was home for a week and it was a pure joy for me. She got me out of bed at 4:50 a.m. and drove me to swim practice. I loved the beauty of the early morning and the shifting lights in the water as the sun rose. By the time we were done, I felt elated. It wasn’t even 7 a.m. and I felt like I had accomplished so much. I hope to continue on with the early morning practices, although I must admit I’m back to my noon routine today. At least I’m going. Right?

Besides swimming, we hiked at the Tram, went shopping, got pedicures, went out to lunch and hung out together. The constant activity was different than my normal quiet writing days.

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Hiking on Mt.San Jacinto, PS Tramway.

I love having my kids home. But, I’m proud they have their own lives and are ready to take on the world without me.

P.S. On the last morning, my daughter, husband and I took a walk. We noticed we had company. Olive the cat followed quietly a few feet behind us. We’d stop to look at her and she’d look the other way. Finally, we stopped several blocks away to admire an apricot standard poodle. Olive decided that was enough. She stopped for good. When we returned home, several miles later, Olive was nowhere to be found. I retraced our steps and called “Here kitty, kitty.” She leaped out of the bushes across the street from where we saw the poodle. She was terrified and confused. She wouldn’t let me touch her but after one pitiful “meow” she followed me. When she finally recognized our neighborhood, her tail went up and she jetted all the way to our house leaving me behind.

IMG_2592
Olive the cat.

What are your thoughts about “You’re only as happy as your least happy child?” Do you think it’s true? Have you experienced sadness because your child is upset or unhappy?

The dog days of summer….

I was curious what I was up to a year ago — during day 139 of the COVID shutdown. I was reading a Julia Cameron book called “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again” trying to find motivation. I’m feeling lackadaisical just like I did last summer. Maybe it’s the prospect of more COVID mandates, getting back to my routine after being gone for a week — or maybe it’s just August. The dog days of summer.

pug staring out the car window
Waffles in the car with me when my daughter ran into my son’s house to retrieve my sweater.

What are the dog days of summer? I found this on Wikipedia:

The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius (known colloquially as the “Dog Star”), which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.

It is hot, humid, we’ve had thunder storms. I’m lethargic. I don’t have a fever, I don’t see any mad dogs and I’m not buying into the bad luck. But otherwise the phrase “dog days of summer” fits.

Okay. About that bad luck. My daughter just called me and said she fell in the dark on her stairs last night trying to get Waffles back in the house. She broke her foot. Now she’s on crutches and trying to get in for an MRI appointment without missing any work. This means she can’t exercise, walk Waffles and will be struggling for weeks to come. I feel like I should be up there to help her. I am thinking this is not good for her mental or physical health.

pug selfies
Selfies with Waffles while he’s intent on watching my daughter outside the car.

Are you feeling the dog days of summer? What are you doing to stay motivated?