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?

Busy busy busy

Palm Springs swimming pool with clouds
Where I used to lap swim. My new pool has only three lanes.


Thursday I was stressing about whether I should go to coffee with the women’s coffee club or stay home and work on the newsletter. After all, I had lap swimming in a few hours. This is what I was thinking when I wrote about “saying no” earlier in the week. You can read that post HERE.

I decided to go to coffee after all. I needed to run some errands and the coffee shop we were meeting at was close to the Post Office, hardware and grocery stores.

I met a new person who made me laugh. She’s lived in our neighborhood for seven years, but I’ve never seen her before. She had never gone to coffee club. She didn’t know there was a book club, either.

This woman said she was going to Ireland with her running group to run trails along the coast of Ireland. I asked when.

“In two hours,” she said. “I have one hour until my Uber driver picks me up.”

I laughed out loud and said I was worried about going to coffee AND lap swimming in one day! I’m glad I didn’t wimp out. Now it’s time to squeeze in some work on the newsletter before my swim. FYI, next this new friend told me about her trip climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Would you have coffee with your neighbors before you left for a trip to Ireland? How about swimming and coffee? Why do you think some people only like to have one event scheduled per day and others can do many?

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.

Tips to catch typos

typos meme

Some of my most embarrassing moments have happened with typos. I’ve been writing professionally since college graduation. I won’t mention exactly how many years that is. But, it’s plenty. Plenty of time to make a few mistakes.

Here’s a rundown of three embarrassing typos:

ONE

SwimSwam parent tips. I left out a number on my tips and boy did I hear about it!

My process began with a small idea. Then I’d write a rough sloppy draft and hone it down into something tight and simple.  Along the way I cut out one tip that didn’t seem to fit. But, the story didn’t automatically renumber itself. Making a mistake like that on a busy forum like SwimSwam is decidedly embarrassing.

You can read that story here. 12 Parent Tips on How to Behave at Practice.

On the bright side, I got a RT by Natalie Coughlin. I was super excited about that, so the story still worked even if it was not perfect.

Natalie Coughlin
Natalie Coughlin

TWO

My second worst typo was in the 80s. I worked for a PR and advertising firm and I wrote eight newsletters a month, plus three or four press releases daily. It was a busy, intense job. I was in charge of a fundraiser for abused women which was held at a local country club. In my press release that ran just about everywhere — I mistakenly put in my own phone number instead of the club’s to RSVP! There was no taking that one back. I lived through it by hooking up an answering machine.

oops key on computer

I felt humiliated though, when my co-workers relentlessly teased me.

THREE

My all-time worst typo was when I had my own PR and advertising business. I had some super-duper clients including the hospital’s cancer center and a local branch of a major Wall Street firm. When the boss at the Wall Street branch was promoted to NYC to corporate headquarters, he still used me for all of his work. I was SO excited! Then I made a typo on a Power Point presentation. It was on the new logo he had me create for the Western Region of the United States of America. Ugh.

He was so angry with me, because I made him look bad. I’ll never forgive myself for that one.

street sign painted typo

The thing with typos is your brain can trick you into seeing what you intended to be there.

My tips to catch typos:

1. Read the piece from the bottom, sentence by sentence.

2. Read it out loud.

3. Put it away for a few days to get a fresh view.

4. Have other people proofread for you.

5. Don’t forget to proofread the title and headers. Numbers, too.

Do you have any tips to catch typos to add to my list? What typos have you made that you wish you could take back?

Thoughts on cancelling student debt

UC Santa Barbara lagoon
One of the most beautiful campuses ever. UC Santa Barbara where my son went to school.

I want to know what your thoughts are about cancelling student debt. The current administration is considering cancelling $10,000 per debt holder. Some are pushing for $50,000.

Personally, I believe a contract is a contract. If you cancel a loan for college, why stop there? Why not cancel mortgages, car loans and credit card debt? Of course, for those loans there is the option to file for bankruptcy. But not with student loans. Maybe that law should be overturned?

What does this say to those who chose to enlist in the military to help pay for their education? Or those who chose community college not to mention those who paid their loans? What about people who entered into trades like electricians, contractors, plumbers and hair dressers? Should they be paying for a doctor or teacher who has a ton of debt?

The point is the debt doesn’t magically go away. It gets passed on to the rest of us. Many universities have huge foundations. I’m not against the institutions forgiving debt. They could do it.

What do you think? If you disagree with me, please let me know what I’m missing. I truly want to know other points of view. What solutions do you suggest for overwhelming student loan debt?

Have you seen the hilarious autocorrects?

Example of an autocorrect taken from the internet.

My husband and I laugh over the many autocorrects on texts that are posted on the internet. Some are so funny!

But when autocorrect happens to me, it’s really annoying. It mostly happens when I type too fast.

I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal called “Autocorrect Explained: Why Your iPhone Adds Annoying Typos While Fixing Others.” Tpying truble? During the iPhone’s first 15 years, its keyboard software has evolved, but it still sometimes flubs your lines. Here’s how it works and what you can do about it, by Joanna Stern.

Here’s an excerpt:

I get it, complaining about autocorrect feels very 2000-and-late. Yet here in 2022, nearly 15 years since the iPhone’s debut, Apple’s AAPL -0.15%▼ smart typing software can still make us want to break the Guinness World Record for phone throwing. The system still introduces annoying—OK, sometimes hilarious—typos, misspellings and grammatical errors. Perhaps even more than ever before.

But before I git into thast, allow me to make a pont. Go itnto hour iPhone settings and turn off autocrrct. Yeaaasah. Good lyuck typig without it!

If you didn’t catch that, I turned off autocorrect for a day and barely lived to tell the tale. Within minutes, it was clear how much the software is saving us from ourselves.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/autocorrect-explained-why-your-iphone-adds-annoying-typos-while-fixing-others-11651051891?mod=wsjhp_columnists_pos2

The reporter explains what autocorrect is and how it works. That’s something I’ve never thought about. You would think about 15 years of iphones, the bugs would be worked out. If you have access to the Wall Street Journal, this is a very interesting article with lots of detail and information.

Here’s what Stern says about that:

Here’s what’s going on. When you type, the autocorrect algorithms are trying to figure out what you mean by looking at various things, including where your fingers landed on the keyboard and the other words in the sentences, while comparing your word fragment to the words in two unseen dictionaries:

• Static Dictionary: Built into iOS, this contains dictionary words and common proper nouns, such as product names or sports teams. There were over 70,000 words in this when the first iPhone launched and it’s gotten bigger since then.

• Dynamic Dictionary: Built over time as you use your phone, this consists of words that are unique to you. The system looks at your contacts, emails, messages, Safari pages—even the names of installed apps.

“The static dictionary and the dynamic dictionary would be in a little bit of a battle with each other,” Mr. Kocienda said. The software is designed to break the tie, he added, but it doesn’t always pick what you would pick.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/autocorrect-explained-why-your-iphone-adds-annoying-typos-while-fixing-others-11651051891?mod=wsjhp_columnists_pos2

Have you had problems with autocorrect? What is one of the funniest or worst autocorrects you’ve had? Do you read the hilarious autocorrect fails online?