It’s wild!

bobcat
I’ve spotted the bobcat at our house two days in a row. I watched him leap over our fence and also walk along our windows on our patio like he owns the place.

When the bobcat arrives our yard is deathly silent. Gone are the squawks of the quail and woodpecker. The bees stop buzzing and the beautiful song of a cardinal is nowhere to be heard.

Normally our backyard is alive with sounds. I’ve spotted baby quails when I’m walking around the neighborhood. I put out seed on the ground outside the casita this week. I was thrilled when a family of quail visited our yard! They are the tiniest, cutest little things. The babies follow mom and dad in a line.

Here’s a video of the quail family eating the birdseed.

Mom and dad with seven or eight babies.

Another joyful sight was a cardinal who is enjoying the seed I put out. He is so gorgeous and his song is beautiful, too.

Our beautiful scarlet cardinal.

I had stopped feeding the birds last year because a hawk flew into a window with a plump quail in its beak. The window was broken and it scared me to death. I got a bill for $600 to replace the double-paned window. The quail and hawk survived, though.

But I’m back to putting out seed a year later. I hope I don’t have a repeat of the hawk incident. I’m enjoying the bird and bobcat watching. It’s truly wild!

Do you enjoy bird watching where you live? What types of birds do you have?

What type of wildlife do you have?

Issue number two

newsletter
My community newsletter

Issue number two for 2022 was put to bed today. YAY! It’s a satisfying feeling to finally get it approved and done.

I sent the newsletter to my co-editor to proof read and to make sure I made all the requested changes from the Board of Directors. Then weird stuff happened. I had made changes and they didn’t save. Also when I made a few corrections, photos disappeared and entire blocks of text disappeared. My layout skills haven’t kept up with the newest version of the program.

I held my breath when I hit send. It’s done. And I have a few months until it’s time to do it all over again.

It’s hard to remember back to when I wrote nine newsletters a month. That was way before internet and newsletters were a big thing. With social media, blogs, and email newsletters, not many are still printed and delivered via snail mail.

Without me stepping up to take over the newsletter, this one would have ended after 15 years of being published. I like the old fashioned printed newsletter. There’s something to be said for reading on paper.

I edited the newsletter for my kids swim team on a volunteer basis for years. We used to mail it out with the monthly billing. Eventually the billing went online — and my son started a website and posted the newsletter there. The newsletter was no longer printed. That was before the iphone got popular. We were using an Apple program that worked well for the new iphone, but not for the Blackberry. One of the board of directors wanted us to invest in software that was older so it would be compatible with Blackberry phones because he predicted the iphone would never amount to more than 10% of phones. Do they make Blackberries anymore?

Then one of the coaches told me she didn’t see a place for the newsletter anymore. She felt Twitter and FB would be more up to date. I was sad to see that newsletter go away.

What are your thoughts about newsletters? Do you see them very often or do you think they are going by the wayside?

The Wordle Analogy

Wordle in two!
Texts to my son to share my good Wordles. Funny I don’t share the five or six tries.

My son introduced me to Wordle during one of my recent trips to take care of my adult children. My son had shoulder and foot surgery this year and my daughter had COVID. She needed me to grocery shop, go to the cleaners and take Waffles the pug to the vet when he was throwing up. My son needed help with everything.

Anyway, I first wrote about the game Wordle HERE. When I began playing, I found it really difficult and confusing. Then my son taught me his strategy of having starter words. Now, I never miss (knock on wood.) And sometimes, the starter word is so good that I get the answer in two, like yesterday morning. Woo Hoo!

Once, I decided against using the starter word. Big mistake! The Wordle WAS the starter word. That would have been a hole in one.

You see, my son gave me the Wordle golf analogy. Four is par. Three is birdie. Two is an Eagle. If you’re not a golfer, you may miss the correlation. If you don’t play Wordle — you probably don’t care.

Let me know if you are playing Wordle in the comments. Do you play every day? Did you stop Wordle? Did you move onto another game? If you’ve found another game, please share what it is. I may want to try it.

Just say no!

roadrunner in the back yard.
A roadrunner outside the casita window.

A headline caught my eye about saying no. ‘

Boost Your Mental Health by Saying ‘No’

If we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and meaningful, we need to prioritize. Declining requests is crucial.

This was in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, written by Elizabeth Bernstein.

Since we moved and things started opening up post COVID shutdowns, I find myself saying yes to everything. That’s because I lived through two years of doing nothing. As my life gets busier and busier, I long for quiet time alone to read or sit in the back yard listening to and watching the birds.

Recently, I said yes to writing the community’s newsletter. (I’m not sure that was a good idea.) I’ve said yes to book club and coffee club. I’ve said yes to neighbor’s invitations. I’ve joined the YMCA and go four times a week to swim and workout. We’ve had people over for wine and dinner. I can’t believe I’m missing the endless days of no plans. But I am.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“No” has never been an easy word to say, especially to the people we care about most. And after two years of pandemic life—with very few invites to decline—we may be even rustier than usual at delivering the bad news. et, many of us now are fielding more invites and requests than we have in years.

We’re eager to get back out there. We’re also burnt out on stress and schedules that often seem like all work and no fun. We know that if we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and more meaningful we need to prioritize. Learning to decline requests will be crucial to this effort.

Think of saying no as the ultimate self-care strategy.

“If we just agree to everything mindlessly, we are not going to be able to come up with the priorities to take us where we want to go,” says Vanessa Bohns, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.

We sometimes say yes simply because we’re uncomfortable saying no. We’re social beings—we want people to like us. We feel guilty if we let others down or hurt their feelings, especially our closest family and friends. They’re the ones who often want us to say yes the most—and who may experience our “no” as a rejection of them, rather than of the request.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-ultimate-self-care-strategy-saying-no-11651529315?mod=life_work_lead_story

Bernstein, the reporter, offers five tips for saying no which include not rushing, start with thank you and standing firm.

What are your thoughts about saying no? Does it come easy to you? Are you getting more invitations to do things outside the home? How do you feel about it?

Our resident cardinal I watch while Im writing in the casita.

WHAT?! How much for dinner?

Rack of lamb
Rack of lamb I made for Easter dinner. I think we’ll be eating in more and more.

This past weekend we took two couples out to dinner. They are friends as well as clients. I looked at the restaurant’s website to view the menu before we left. I always do that so I don’t take forever deciding what to order.

I was shocked! Prices have gone up since we last went out!!!

This restaurant is nice and known for their delicious food and impeccable service. It’s expensive but not ridiculously so — until now.

My favorite dish is their Dover Sole. Last time I was there, it was in the mid $30s. This past weekend I about lost it when I saw the hefty price tag of $55! I thought, I’ll skip an entree and go with the shrimp cocktail appetizer instead. Nope. $47!

I told my husband we needed to take out a loan to take a party of six out to dinner! Maybe get a HELOC. He said he’d ask his boss for the company credit card.

We were pleasantly surprised when both couples decided to split their entrees with their spouses. We did the same. Also, nobody ordered wine or drinks, but stuck to plain old tap water. Whew! I wonder if they were as shocked at the prices as us? Or, they felt sorry for us. In any case, what decent, kind people.

Also, I talked my husband into splitting the sole with me, so all was good!

What’s the biggest sticker shock you’ve seen since inflation has hit? Is it food, gas or ????

What, me worry?

saguaro in the Sonoran Desert
Saguaro in front of a neighbor’s yard.

It’s snake season. And I’m not happy about it.

I am terribly frightened of snakes. I saw one the other morning at our park while on our walk.

A neighbor texted to tell me that another neighbor found a rattlesnake in her garage. Her husband trapped it in a garbage can and released it five miles away. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving with a rattlesnake in my car — garbage can or not.

Then last week while we were walking, a neighbor warned us about a huge rattlesnake a few blocks away from where we were headed.

“I’m done!” I said and turned my back and walked back to the house.

Every time I step outside, I take a careful look around. No more walking while looking at my phone. My eyes are peeled. In fact, I’m not spending much time outside anymore.

I googled rattlesnake bites in AZ. This is what I found:

Joe Hymes at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in north Scottsdale said that with temperatures warming up, this is the time of year that they receive the most calls about snakes.

He told AZ Family, “Most of the time, they are just soaking up the sun, but if you give them space, they will leave you alone.”

Snakes generally hide in cool, damp places.

Hymes explained, “Anywhere [snakes] will not feel overly exposed. They’ll hide under things — bushes, flower pots, raised sheds in the backyard, behind A/C units, behind pool pumps where moisture might condense. Those are all prime rattlesnake hiding spots.”

https://www.iheart.com/content/2021-04-05-its-snake-season-in-arizona-heres-what-to-do-if-you-see-a-venomous-snake/

You know what? Reading that did not make me feel a bit better.

A childhood friend of mine lives in San Diego and was bitten while talking a walk on his lunch hour last week. He said the snake bit him in the calf from behind. He never saw it. He was hospitalized for four days and had one of the worst reactions to a rattlesnake bite the hospital had ever seen.

In Palm Springs, we had rattlesnakes but we saw them on the hiking trails in the surrounding hills, not downtown where we lived.

Do you think my worry about snakes is warranted? Do you have anything you’re afraid of? What the most dangerous thing in your area?

A bit of sadness

Century plant
I’ve been waiting to see this Century plant in bloom. This photo was taken two weeks ago.
Fast growing Century Plant.
Still waiting for the blossoms….Look how much it grew. This photo was taken a couple days ago. My husband said he thought he could watch it growing taller right before his eyes.

I’m enjoying the blossoms on cactus, but they are very short lived. One day there are furious blooms and the next day, they’ve expired.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the neighbor’s Century plant and wanted to make sure I wouldn’t miss the flowers.

blossoms on cactus
Look at the gorgeous blossoms on this hedgehog cactus. Tomorrow they’ll be gone.

You can imagine how sad we felt when we went on our morning walk today and saw this:

Fallen Century Plant before it bloomed
We will never get to enjoy the blooms. We felt like we lost a friend. It also reminded me of our saguaros we lost.