Creatures in my backyard

metal gecko on the fence
We have two geckos climbing our fence.

The people who built our house and lived here for 15 years prior to us buying it, took good care of the backyard. They filled it with landscaping, potted plants and creatures.

It was cool enough to be outside last night to barbecue. While the tri tip was grilling, I took photos of the critters the prior owners left.

Here are some of them:

statuary in back yard of birds
Not sure if these are owls or birds?
squirrel statue
Squirrel!
rabbit and raccoon statue
Cuties.

aligator statue
This gator guards the pool.
baby alligator statue
Baby alligator
stone frog
I like this frog.
roadrunner statue
Roadrunner.
metal roadrunner statue.
My favorite roadrunner.
metal javelina
Javelina.

I had a friend over to hike last spring. She commented “You sure have a lot going on in your backyard.”

She’s right. All the statue critters are not exactly my taste, but they are growing on me. I’m not going to get rid of them, but I doubt I’ll add to the collection. The cactus and succulents are growing on me, too.

boot planter
Here’s a boot with a cactus growing inside.
group of statues.
Coyotes with a steer’s head and metal aloe.

What are your thoughts about statuary in the yard? Are you a fan or not?

Looking for art

The top of the bar in our living room.

Today my husband and I went looking for art, stone or something for two 16 by 16 inch spaces at the top of our bar. We found a few things including glass, natural stone and geodes. But we have different ideas of what will work. I want a bright contrasting color like orange or red. He wants green or blue. I like green and blue, but I feel those colors will get lost.

I have a feeling those spaces will remain empty.

It was very hot and humid outside. We walked around our little town of Carefree and then Cave Creek going in and out of consignment stores and art galleries. When I got back home I felt dizzy with vertigo. I have gotten vertigo twice in the past year. Hopefully this time it goes away quickly without having to see the doctor or going on prednisone like the last two times.

I’m sitting in bed typing this and finishing my neighborhood’s newsletter — hoping I don’t fall off!

Have you had vertigo? What has worked for you to get over it? Happy August First!

What about that weather?

Sunset after a storm in the Arizona desert
Sunset last night after a huge storm.

I got back home from running errands right before the storm hit. My phone gave that loud alarm with a flash flood warning stating to shelter in place, that it was a matter of life and death. For hours the rain poured and the thunder was constant. It was exciting but the noise level was exhausting.

Sunset views.
When the rain began, while there was still visibility.
Sunset view
The view from our driveway after the storm passed.

After the storm, we had a beautiful sunset. Today the rain should be here at 11 a.m. and last until the sun goes down again. I guess this is the Monsoon season I’ve heard so much about.

Have a great weekend everyone!

What are your plans for the weekend? Are you having any unusual weather?

Do vacations motivate you?

When we moved in the closet was perfect.

Vacation motivated me to clean out my closet. Seriously, every time I come home from a trip I want to throw things out. It’s because I manage to live with very few things on vacation. I love the lack of clutter and stuff. I manage to pack just what I need and live quite well without anything extra.

I decided to make a promise to myself this week. One shelf or drawer per day. That’s it. It’s doable. Like my husband says, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

What happened on day one was I did two shelves — one shelf led to another. On day two I did the entire dresser. Today I am doing the hanging clothes. It will be done before the week is over. I’m surprised at some of the clothes I moved. I wonder why I didn’t throw more out at that point? I think it was because I got exhausted with all the decision making of moving from a house of 28 years.

I feel better. I feel more organized, lighter. However my husband said he can’t tell any difference. Thanks a lot.

What motivates you to clean closets? How do vacations motivate you?

Who cheats at Wordle — and why?

Wordle from 3/7/2022
Yesterday’s Wordle. I used my son’s three starter words. Then figured out the answer.

I saw a series of articles from different news sources — from NY Post to CNBC — that said cheating on Wordle is on the rise.

Why? What’s the point?

To be totally honest, I cheated once. I couldn’t figure out the word. I had four of the letters so I googled “Five letter words with R U P E….” rupee came up which I didn’t know was a currency from India — let along a word.

How did I feel after I cheated? Like there was no point in playing the game if I had to look up the answer. I haven’t done that again. I felt like a cheater. We had a t-shirt for our swim team that had this saying on the back: “Cheaters never win. Winners never cheat.”

In the NY Post there’s an article called “‘Everyone is cheating at Wordle’ and these are most guilty states: study” by Ben Cost.

Here’s an excerpt:

These are Wordle’s biggest cheaters.
recent study by data compiler Wordfinderx found that online answer searches increased 196% since the Times acquired the puzzle, in which players get five attempts to guess a new five-letter word each day.

“Cheating for the game is at an all-time high and only growing,” read the study.

Per the research, the US state that most frequently cheated was New Hampshire with the word “swill.” Coincidentally, the Granite State ranked third among US states with the most Wordle prowess, per a study last week by Wordtip.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/07/everyone-is-cheating-at-wordle-and-these-are-most-guilty-states-study/

CNBC’s article about Wordle cheaters by Mikaela Cohen was under the category “SUCCESS” and called “It seems like a lot of you are cheating at Wordle: Study.”

The jig is up — we know you’re cheating on your daily Wordle.

Or, at least, it would certainly appear that a growing number of people have been looking online for answers to the popular five-letter word guessing game — possibly to avoid putting a stop to a winning streak.

That’s according to a recent study by Wordfinderx, a reference website for word games like Wordle and Scrabble, which used Google Trends data to determine that Google searches for the answer to Wordle’s daily puzzle have nearly tripled ever since The New York Times acquired Wordle in January.

The study found that searches for Feb. 15′s “AROMA” and Feb. 19′s “SWILL” daily Wordle solutions reached a 100 out of 100 on Google’s search popularity scale, which compares search results on a topic and then rates them on a scale of 0 to 100 “based on a topic’s proportion to all searches on all topics,” according to Google.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/05/it-seems-like-a-lot-of-you-are-cheating-at-wordle-study.html

Why do you think more people are cheating at Wordle? One theory is that from the end of 2021 to today more people are playing, hence more cheating. But why does the cheating coincide with NY Times buying Wordle?

Have you cheated at Wordle or other games? Have you thought about cheating? Have you noticed a difference in Wordle since the NY Times took over? Do you have a strategy to play?

The world came crashing down

ping pong table in backyard
Right where the crash happened.

We played a lot of ping pong this past weekend. Perhaps too much. We also ran errands like going to Costco, looked at art galleries and planned a trip to the Musical Instrument Museum.

It was Sunday afternoon when we really got into ping pong and didn’t stop playing. We had completed three matches, where someone needs to win three out of five games. We were pretty much tied on each game and the matches went all five games.

So that was a total of `15 games played when we decided to play a fourth match. All of a sudden the world came crashing down and I was laying on the concrete.

It scared me so badly. My right hand and knee took the brunt of the fall. I literally was trying to return the ball to the right of me when I fell. I think what happened was my shoe got stuck in a space between concrete tiles. The patio is very bumpy and uneven.

Sitting on the sofa with my knee wrapped in a cold compress and my hand clutching a ziploc bag of ice, I was trembling.

If this is what getting old is going to be like, no thank you! I don’t want to be afraid of falling while playing a game of ping pong! I know I need to get back out there and play. But maybe be more aware of my feet or wear different shoes. Do they make ping pong shoes?

Have you ever had an experience where you got injured or fell unexpectantly? What happened? Did you feel unnerved?

One year ago we had a snow day!

coyote on wall

A year ago I posted these photos and video of our snow! It was so exciting and the coyotes frolicked around in the white wonderland. This year we have sunshine and chilly weather — but no forecasts for snow. Here’s what I wrote last year:

Just when I couldn’t get over the thunder, the wind, the hail — it started to snow. Snow was forecast for midnight and it was only 2 p.m. It not only snowed, it stuck! This is an area where snow is not common. It’s the Scottsdale area of Arizona, known for golf resorts and sunshine.

Next, I saw a creature race against our fence spiraling around the corner at rapid speed. I caught a quick look — it was a large coyote. Then I heard barking, barking and more barking out our front door. I stepped outside thinking it must be a neighbor’s dog who was threatened by the coyote. Maybe I could warn the neighbor? On the street in front of our house was the coyote barking with his mouth pointed up to the sky, all the while staring at me.

Although my video doesn’t capture the coyote, you can sure hear him:

While the coyote barked in the front yard, I went to get my husband so he could see him, too. We walked outside and there was no coyote.

We walked around to the backyard and there he was — on the wall. He stared and stared at us.

Sunday night, while watching football with my husband, the kitty jumped onto my lap and was terrified and trembling. Now I have a clue as to why. It could have been the javelina or the coyote — or both.

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at the table working on my laptop when I saw something scurry by the window. It looked like my big gray cat and I got a huge rush of adrenalin. I opened the door and called for kitty, but I was afraid to venture out. I don’t know how kitty could have gotten out, but my husband and I were in and out all day taking pictures of the snow and wildlife. Maybe she snuck out.

Since I had my doubts about going outside with a crazed coyote lurking by, I searched closets and under beds. Thankfully, I found kitty safe inside hiding. That creature who slinked by the window wasn’t my cat, so WHAT WAS IT?

Yesterday was truly a day like no other. At least we had our power, many people in the area lost theirs.

FYI, I figured out what the cat like creature what slinked by the window. It was our bobcat. I’ve seen it several times since.

What was an unusual day for you weather or animal wise?