A perfect mother’s day

We finally made it to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. It’s been on my list of places to explore since my daughter lived in AZ in 2019. My husband asked what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day. I discovered that moms got in for free on Sunday, so that seemed like the perfect day to go. Me and thousands of other moms agreed. Despite the crowd, we found ourselves enjoying the garden so much we became members.

The Desert Botanical Garden is 140 acres of beautiful trails, labeled desert plants and currently there is a Chihuly exhibit! If you haven’t heard of Chihuly, he’s a famous glass artist who creates in Western Washington, where I grew up.

Afterwards, we went to one of my favorite restaurant’s Lure Fish House where I had Kumomoto oysters (my favorite) on the half shell and ling cod.

My kids called several times and I loved talking to them.

Chihuly in the desert art installation at the Desert Botanical Garden
Chihuly in the Desert exhibit. I loved how the glass fit perfectly with nature.
A view from the garden.
Chihuly glass
More Chihuly.
Me.
Indoor display of Chihuly glass
Chihuly display in Phoenix.
Chihuly glass inside an air conditioned building.
Quote from William Blake
There were tons of wildflowers in blooms and butterflies.
Chihuly at the entrance to Desert Botanical Garden
Chihuly at the entrance to the Desert Botanical Garden.
painting by USCB college professor.
A painting my son gave me for Mother’s Day painted by his favorite college professor Caroline Allen.
Jolyn onsie.
My daughter got me this brightly colored Jolyn one-piece suit for lap swimming. This pic is from the Jolyn website and is definitely not me. I’m no longer a swim swim model. In fact, I never was one! Jolyn is a hugely popular brand for swimmers because the suits stay in place in the ocean or pool.
One of my favorite displays. I think it’s the color.

What is your idea of a perfect Mother’s Day? Did you do anything special?

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.

My First Book Club

The Arctic Fury

Our neighborhood is opening up and getting back to normal. I was invited to join the book club by a neighbor.

Most of the women have been members for the length or our neighborhoods existence, which is 15 years. A couple of us are new and moved in during the shutdown.

The book I’m supposed to read is called “The Arctic Fury” by Greer MacAllister.

The copy on the back of the book says:

“Eccentric Lady Jane Franklin makes an outlandish offer to adventurer Virginia Reeve: take a dozen women, trek into the Arctic, and find her husband, Lord Franklin, and his lost expedition. Four parties have failed to find him, and Lady Franklin wants a radical new approach: put the women in charge.”

The book is based on a true story of Lady Jane Franklin’s tireless attempts to find her husband’s lost expedition.

Now here’s the problem. I have never been to book club before. I don’t know what to expect. I’m not getting into the book. I’m going to push through, but it’s not my cup of tea.

At least I know how to spell the word “Arctic.” Maybe it’s the title I don’t like, because when my son was in second grade he had to name the continents on a map. He didn’t get 100%. I talked to the teacher and wanted to know why she marked him wrong for “Artic.” Yes, I had him practice spelling the word wrong — and I argued with the teacher.

What do you do at book club exactly anyway?

Are you the member of a book club? How is it set up? Who selects the books? What do you do when you don’t like them?

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

USA Swimming Select Camp
My daughter at a Select Camp in Florida with USA Swimming. Yoga on the beach. 24 were selected from the US to attend via certain criteria. She’s on the left with long red hair looking down.

When my daughter was in high school she was bullied by a few girls on her swim team. It seemed to me the better she got, the worse these girls treated her.

Once, one of her friends overhead her teammates cursing and talking about my daughter in class. You can read more about that and earthquakes in “When Kids Talk Trash About Your Daughter and You’re in an Earthquake Kind of Mood.”

Should the close friend, who overheard this garbage, have shared it with my daughter? Maybe it would have been better for my daughter to not hear it.

Or, is it better for her to know the truth? Even if it hurts?

Were her friends being kind by telling her? Or were they just as mean as the one that originally said it?

Should the friend have kept her mouth shut?

And about those people who talk trash about others… If you’re tweeting, posting or saying something mean and unkind, it’s bullying. Knock it off. Find something useful to do. Remember the old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

What are your thoughts?

(FYI, I found this in my drafts folder from years ago. I still don’t have the answers to my questions.)

 

 

Sights and Sounds of Berkeley

Sunrise street view in Berkeley
The view walking from the airbnb to my son’s right before sunrise.

I’m in Berkeley staying a few blocks from my son’s house to take care of him post foot surgery. I hang out in the daytime with him, helping him do the things he can’t do himself.

fall leaves in Berkeley.
I love the color of fall leaves. We don’t see this in the Sonoran Desert.

I cook his oatmeal in the morning, walk to a local coffee shop to get a “pour over” coffee — whatever that is. I refill his water, make sure he’s comfortable and help him with whatever else he needs like hooking him up to his ice machine throughout the day.

His girlfriend and I go for coffee and breakfast for ourselves at a cafe my daughter and Waffles like best. We sit with them outside and chat in the morning sun. My daughter was exposed to COVID twice in the past two weeks. First time after her friend’s funeral, the test was negative. She doesn’t have the test results yet for the second exposure which happened at work. That’s why we meet outside and she sits at a table by herself where we talk and laugh and spend a tiny bit of time together.

Latte from Fellini's.
My latte is delicious and pretty.
Tree decorated with a face.
My son’s girlfriend and I noticed this decorated yard and tree on the way to coffee.

My airbnb is on the border of Oakland about six blocks from my son’s house. The first night, I was woken up to yelling, screaming, slamming doors and other frightening sounds between a man and a woman. The next night at 1 a.m., a car pulled up playing rap music so loud that it shook the bedroom window.

Angel's trumpets
Angel’s trumpets we saw on a morning walk.

The airbnb is spotless, somewhat spartan and has all I need. I’ve only been there in the dark to sleep. I arrive after dark and I leave in the morning before sunrise to walk to my son’s house. I’m left with a kind of creepy feel, since I haven’t been there in the daylight and I’m treated to mysterious sounds of the night. I’m sure broad daylight would erase that vibe.

yarn bombing, love on a stop sign.
I saw yarn bombing for the first time. “Why do they want to stop love?” my son’s girlfriend asked.
Waffles the Pug at a cafe in Berkeley.
Waffles at his favorite cafe. They know him by name and always give him a treat.

Have you been exposed to COVID or tested for COVID? Does it seem to you like more and more people are getting it? When you visit family and friends are you concerned about COVID and are there precautions you take?

On this trip, I wouldn’t have thought about COVID at all except for my daughter’s two recent exposures. Another strange thing was how busy the airport in Phoenix was. Seating was full at gates and groups of people were left standing or sitting on the floor.

I’m not feeling it

cactus with bird's nest
This cactus is fascinating to us. Right in the middle of it is a bird’s nest. How safe must they be!

Everyone is writing about their goals, their resolutions and how motivated they are for a new year. I’m not feeling it at all. I’m finding it difficult to get out of bed and to get outside for my daily walk. I’m feeling sad. This weekend I’m flying to help my son post his second surgery in six months. My daughter is angry with me. I said something to her that I wish I could take back, but I can’t. I can only apologize.

It’s not an auspicious beginning to a new year. Maybe I’m feeling a let down after our big Christmas vacation that we had planned for a year. Or, maybe it’s too cold outside. Maybe I’m still grieving the deaths of two friends. Or, maybe I worry too much about my kids. Neither my son or daughter is in a great place right now and it hurts my heart.

nest buried deep within a cactus.
Can you spot the nest in the cactus? I’d like a nest like that where everyone would leave me alone.

Sorry to be so negative. I’m mostly a glass half full person, but like I said — I’m not feeling it. I think I need to get out my gratitude journal and get to work.

What do you do when you feel blue? Are you able to snap out of it? Any helpful hints would be appreciated.