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?

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?

Home safely

A photo I found online on Flipboard of Montecito, a small wealthy town next to Santa Barbara.

We picked up my friend at the airport, showed her our new house and the two little towns by us. Fortunately I had planned on a good dinner of grilled tri tip, corn on the cob, salad and mashed potatoes. I don’t normally cook that much, but I had found a tri tip on sale and the corn looked good!

She planned a good day to get stranded at the airport, since I was cooking. The next morning she had a flight and we dropped her off at Sky Harbor airport. She is home safely now.

We were busy last night looking at the news from Santa Barbara County. Montecito especially got hit hard and was entirely evacuated. It was five years to the day that 100 homes were destroyed and many lives lost. I remember my Physical Therapist telling me a doctor she used to work with had half his house swept away and he lost a child to a raging mud and rock slide.

This year, there were videos of Ellen and Harry and Meghan getting rained on. Five years ago, Oprah posted a video mucking around in her backyard.

I think about what a gorgeous town Montecito is, but also that it gets hard hit by floods and fires.

Another place, like my old home Palm Springs, that is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Where is a place you like to visit, but wouldn’t want to live there?

Montecito Creek image from Yahoo News.

Two more thoughts

Utah and UW friends

My BFF from the University of Washington and me during one of her visits to our home.

Without my friends I would have been lost.

I’m talking about my recent visit with my mom. In case you missed it, I wrote about it HERE. It was difficult to find my mom in skilled nursing and to see how drastically she’s aged since my last visit.

I stayed with my best friend from college who lives six miles from my mom’s assisted living. Lots of times I stay in a small hotel close by. It’s not that nice, but affordable. It was so much better to come back each day to my friends’ comfy house and not be alone.

My BFF’s husband loves to cook and he shopped and prepared my favorite foods. The first night he made steamed clams, garlic bread and a delicious salad. Last time I visited, we went to Pike Place Market and I bought clams, which he cooked. They remembered how much I enjoyed them which was touching. I suppose they didn’t forget after I kept asking if they wanted the clams on their plates! They surrendered them to me.

steamed clams from Pike Place Market

It was so comforting to not stay by myself and to be able to relax and talk with close friends each day and tell them about my mom. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

The power of music.

One day my mom was kind of out of it. When I walked into her room, she was asleep. She woke up and said “Who are you and what do you want?” I was standing over her bed. To be fair, she didn’t have her glasses on and was groggy.

I got her out of bed and helped her sit in a chair while I sat on her walker. I turned on the TV, but she wasn’t interested and stared down at her hands.

I remembered my brother told me that she perked up listening to music. Mom was a coloratura soprano opera singer. My brother played her Joan Sutherland, a famous coloratura soprano, on his phone and he said Mom sang along with her. I played her favorite songs from Don McClean including Vincent, American Pie, And I Love You So, and Castles in the Air on my phone. She owned every one of McClean’s albums and played them over and over when I was a child.

After a few minutes of listening, my mom began to sing along. The music moved her and made her more alert. She focused on getting out of her chair to walk to her old room. I was amazed at the power of music and the effect it had on her.

“And I Love You So”

And I love you so
The people ask me how
How I’ve lived till now
I tell them “I don’t know”

I guess they understand
How lonely life has been
But life began again
The day you took my hand

And yes I know how lonely life can be
The shadows follow me
And the night won’t set me free
But I don’t let the evening get me down
Now that you’re around me

And you love me too
Your thoughts are just for me
You set my spirit free
I’m happy that you do

The book of life is brief
And once a page is read
All but love is dead
This is my belief

And yes I know how loveless life can be
The shadows follow me
And the night won’t set me free
But I don’t let the evening bring me down
Now that you’re around me

And I love you so
The people ask me how
How I’ve lived till now
I tell them “I don’t know”

One of my mom’s all time favorite artists and songs.

What are your thoughts about the power of friendships and the power of music? Do you have any examples of how they’ve added to your life?

Finding the Pharisee

Pathway to Main Street, Park City.
The one-mile path to Main Street in Park City from our airbnb.

One of the highlights of visiting Utah is spending time with my husband’s best friend from fifth grade through their senior year of high school. Did they ever stop being best friends? It doesn’t seem like it when we reunite.

My husband’s friend Scott and his wife Sara started CenterPoint Church in Orem, UT which we attended Sunday. Afterward, we spent hours together alternating huge laughs and ruminating about our country’s problems.

In Scott’s sermons he teaches history, the Bible — and he has a talent to bring the Word alive and make it relevant today.

I know I’m not doing the sermon justice, but here are a few things I’m thinking about days later:

The Pharisees were a sect of ancient Jews who modern Christians view as hypocrites. They were judgmental of Jesus because he spent time with sinners and tax collectors.

Jesus did not operate or think like human beings. He did not care what people thought of him.

We are all sinners and we worry about what other people think of us. Like the Pharisees, we want to present a view to the world that hides our shortcomings and sins — and we can be judgmental of others.

We need to find the Pharisee in the mirror. We get stuck where we are in life because we fear looking deep inside ourselves.

We are created with a hole inside our hearts. Many try to fill that hole with material things, alcohol, drugs, etc. This may satisfy us but it’s temporary. We need to fill the hole with love and The Spirit to be free.

Quotes from the sermon:

“Jesus loves us where we are, but he loves us too much to leave us there.”

“Pride is not thinking too much of yourself. It is thinking about yourself too much.”

If you’re interested in listening to the sermon for yourself and not relying on my bullet points here is a LINK. The sermon starts at 26:12.

During a morning walk we were accompanied by a little buddy.

What friends from your childhood can you get together with after years after not seeing each other and feel like no time has passed?

What are your thoughts about moving forward in life by not worrying about what other people think?

Sights from home and beyond

After spending the weekend in Riverside, Calif. and going to a wedding at a winery in Temecula, we noticed a few cacti in our yard in full bloom. We had rain the night before we left Arizona and apparently the rain continued through the weekend. I think that’s why we were treated to gorgeous blooms

hedge hog cactus with red bloms.
A hedge hog cactus in bloom in one of our planters.

Palm Springs Wind farm on Interstate 10
The wind farm outside of Palm Springs.

We drove past our old stomping grounds of Palm Springs on the freeway. I thought I’d feel nostalgic or sadness after living there for 28 years. But no, I was thinking “Thank goodness we got out of here!” That was a surprise. I was even happier to get back to Arizona and home.

downtown Riverside.
We stayed downtown Riverside in a hotel we used to stay at with our kids for swim meets. This is a shady street that is blocked off to cars and filled with restaurants and shops.

Riverside County Courthouse
There are beautiful buildings in downtown Riverside. This is the County Courthouse.
Sculptures outside a taco restaurant that was closed when we walked by. I definitely would have stopped if it was open. It’s called Tio’s Tacos.

The wedding venue was beautiful with gorgeous views of vineyards, rolling hills and mountains. We enjoyed the surprise of being seated with our children’s former teammate, family and swim coach. It’s fun to get together with people we spent so much time with years ago when swimming was a major focus in our lives.

Villa de Amore Temecula wedding venue
Villa de Amore, the wedding venue at a winery in Temecula, California.
Shannon with Maureen's sisters
One of my favorite photos from before the wedding. One of our kids’ swim teammates is photographed with the mother of the bride’s sisters, who flew to the wedding from Singapore.
bride and groom at wedding
The bride and groom before the pastor announced “husband and wife.” The bride was one of my kids’ swim teammates, too.
wedding friends
Sitting with our old friends from the swim team. It felt like a reunion and we talked about having one in the future.

It was a fun, busy weekend with most of the time spent driving. But I was happy to get back home to Arizona and my cat Olive.

How do you feel when you return home from a trip? Are you relieved to be back to your own home, or do you long for more vacation?

Wedding bells are in the air

1950s bride and groom
A photo from my mom and dad’s wedding in the 1950s.

We are driving six hours to a wedding this weekend. I’m a little concerned because I think it’s outside at a winery and it will be around 100 degrees. Hopefully only the ceremony is outside and the reception will be inside. We will see.

During COVID shutdowns, weddings were postponed. Now we are getting a plethora of wedding invitations.

The last wedding we went to was in February 2020 — right before the shutdown. We learned after the wedding that the father of the groom was hospitalized and put on a ventilator with COVID. That was scary but thankfully he recovered. I felt sick a week later, but that was before tests were available. I may have had it — or not.

My daughter was a bridesmaid in Montana recently. The next weekend she was at a wedding in Utah. The third weekend was a bridal shower in Los Angeles. I thought that was a bit much, because the three brides were all on the college swim team together and friends. Many of their guests overlapped. That’s quite the wedding gauntlet.

My kids are at that age. Their friends are getting married. Their friends’ parents are our friends — so we are getting invitations, too.

According to Forbes Magazine “The U.S. Expects a Wedding Boom in 2022.” No kidding. Written by Tanya Klich, she shares the data on the boom:

There will be more weddings in the United States in 2022 than any other year since 1984, according to a new survey by The Knot. The wedding planning site estimates that some 2.6 million weddings will take place this year, a boom that follows a record number of cancellations, postponements, elopements–and lots of Zoom nuptials–during the past two years. 

“Weddings are, without a doubt, back to pre-pandemic levels,” says Hannah Nowack, Real Weddings editor at The Knot.

While some couples will certainly continue to host small, intimate micro-weddings and minimonies, wedding vendors, venues and planners note a return to traditional ceremonies with larger guest lists. In the second half of 2021, The Knot saw the average guest count climb up to 110. In 2022, the average number of guests is projected to be 129, which is in line with pre-pandemic numbers, when the average was 131. “After so many months of planning, and time spent away from loved ones, these couples are eager to reunite and celebrate with a blowout bash,” says Nowack.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaklich/2022/02/14/a-wedding-boom-is-expected-in-2022/?sh=68d0ec3b117c

I can’t imagine what a wedding would cost today with the increased prices of food, flowers, and supply chain issues. There’s something else I noticed….more and more wedding invitations are online with links to bridal registries. I haven’t received any thank you notes, either. Maybe it’s too soon.

Are you getting more wedding invitations lately? How many of your friends postponed weddings due to COVID?

Me and my hubby on our wedding day next to Aunt Ann and Uncle Luciano.