It’s cold out there!

Teddy Bear Cholla

Teddy bear cholla down the street.

Monday we had snow. Tuesday it was 30 degrees when I got out of bed. I skipped golf on the snow day and I was feeling sluggish due to lack of exercise.

My husband and I bundled up Tuesday and took our usual walk around the neighborhood. Although it was so cold, it was bright and sunny and we didn’t die! In fact, I felt so much better after getting out and moving araound.

This is about the Teddy bear cholla or jumping cholla:

Teddy bear cholla, or jumping cholla (C. bigelovii), is native to northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States and is sometimes cultivated as a desert ornamental for its showy golden spines. 

https://www.britannica.com/plant/cactus

I guess they’re called Teddy Bear because they are fuzzy looking. But they are not cuddly. They are a hazard. They’re called jumping cholla because they throw off little bundles of spines. If you accidentally step on one or brush them with your shoe, they may go all the way through your shoe to your foot.

My husband spotted this teddy bear cholla in front of a neighbor’s house. He pointed it out to me because of this:

In the center of the cholla is a bird’s nest. What a perfect place to keep eggs and chicks safe!

What’s the weather like where you are? Is it colder than normal?

What do you think of birds choosing a cholla for their nest?

One year ago

Desert clouds and views
A view of the desert last January from the Sears-Kay Ruins.

What was I up to in the New Year of 2022? One of the things I like about blogging is being able to look back on what I was doing, thinking and feeling.

A year ago to the date, I was returning home from Berkeley after taking care of my son post surgery.

Imagine that!

AND my husband wasn’t answering the phone. I was worried about him. It turned out he was sick in bed with COVID. As sick as I have ever known him to be.

I took a Lyft home from the airport in Phoenix. The Lyft driver was not happy when he learned how far away I lived. I didn’t mean to be an inconvenience, you’d think drivers would want to pick up a long ride. But I think we are so far out, there’s not much of a chance for the driver to pick up any rides on the way back to Phoenix. Plus, he was going to be late picking his wife up after her work. I wondered why he accepted my ride in the first place?

In any case, I moved into our Casita and kept my husband isolated in our Master bedroom. (I heard master isn’t PC to use, but I really don’t care.)

I cooked him homemade chicken soup with onions, garlic and carrots. I carted it to the front porch and then called him to let him know food was waiting for him. This went on for several days.

When he was finally better, we went exploring and hiked the Sears-Kay Ruins. Then we went to hang out with friends who invited us over to watch football.

What were you up to a year ago? Do you find yourself doing many of the same things year after year?

This was last night in our backyard. We call them “Mulies” short for Mule Deer.

This was Olive, checking out the Mulies from the bar in our living room.

Gray day

wet roadway in Arizona.

The wet street outside our house.

It rained all night, but today the rain has stopped and we have a gray cloudy day. We’re supposed to get more rain for the next two days. I hope we do. I find rain in the desert to be exciting and exhilerating.

But the gray cloudy day fits my mood and makes me want to curl up on the sofa with a book and not do anything but read.

I came home from my kids’ homes a week ago and now I feel myself going through bouts of grief and sadness. I guess that’s normal that I’m home without being busy taking care of my kids, walking Waffles, watching movies with them, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning.

There isn’t that much to do here with my husband and me. We don’t eat much and the house, especially the kitchen stays surprisingly clean. I could start the taxes for 2022, but I’m not motivated today.

I think I’ll give into my blahs on this gray day and bury myself with a book. My mom would call a day like this a “mung” day. She would feel no guilt for staying in her nightgown and reading all day.

Does weather affect your mood? How do you feel on gray damp days?

Our front yard after a rainy night. The gravel is a weird color because the yard was sprayed for weeds.

Who are these people?

sunrise in Arizona

Sunrise view from our bedroom.

Yesterday I went to the post office to mail a package to my son. I waited in line between two people who were sending certified letters. I figured out they were sending their tax returns! On January 11.

What the heck? Who are these people? How can they have their taxes done already? I was mailing pillow cases to go with the sheets I gave my son (I forgot the pillow cases at home) and these other people are done with their taxes?

We don’t have a W-2 yet. I guess I can start organizing what I need. I may get started earlier this year. I usually get them to the CPA in March. I’ll shoot for February this year.

Are you an early tax filer? Or do you wait until the end?

Wait and see

My daughter with Waffles and our Santa Barbara friend’s golden in their back yard a couple summers ago.

I’m waiting to hear from a friend who has a layover at in the Phoenix airport. She is one of my Santa Barbara friends, and if you’ve kept up with the news, you’ll know that Santa Barbara got hit with a major storm.

She’s coming from the east coast, trying to get home. But her leg from Phoenix to Santa Barbara has been cancelled. There’s another one at night, but with the Santa Barbara airport closed all day yesterday and partially closed today — due to flooding and mud covered runways, I wonder if she’ll get that flight?

She can’t fly to Los Angeles and rent a car, because the 101 freeway has been closed due to flooding from Ventura almost to Carpinteria.

We told her to call us and we’ll pick her up to spend the night if she can’t get home tonight.

I’m on wait and see mode, doing some cleaning and cooking, just in case. It won’t hurt me to have a clean house or food on hand, if she does make it home and doesn’t stay with us. We already planned a dinner of grilled tri-tip, corn-on-the cob and mashed potatoes. Perfect meal for a drop in guest! Or us alone.

Isn’t it weird that five years to the date Montecito had the huge flood, lives were lost and one hundred home lost? And now it was evacuated? It’s one of the most gorgeous areas along the California coast that we’ve visited for 37 years, yet it’s hit with natural disasters frequently. Or maybe because it’s home to Harry and Meghan, Oprah and Ellen, we hear more about it?

We’ll wait and see if we have an overnight guest. We’re ready.

What are your thoughts about drop in guests? Are you ready to have them or do you need to prepare?

Intention for today: gratitude

Outside my window.

I was focused on my laptop at the small round table next to the window in the casita. I glanced up and to my surprise I saw three bobcats!

First was the mother, who has been a visitor for the two years we’ve lived here. Following her were two kittens (one is above.) They looked healthy yet somewhat gangly like preteens. Their coats were practically white while momma had a deeper tan with darker spots.

I finally reached for my phone and captured this one shot. The momma and other kitten had walked through our yard out of view from the casita.

“Bill! Bill! Bobcats!” I yelled for my husband as I ran down the hallway to our living room. He had left the kitchen door open with only the screen door closed. The bobcats scurried away when they heard my frantic voice.

It was such a sight! I wish I’d captured them on camera or that my husband could have seen them. Instead of yelling I should have been stealthy and quiet — we might have had them in our yard for an hour or two.

The word that came to mind this morning as I woke up was gratitude. I’m grateful for these wild creatures in my world.

What are you grateful for today?

What I missed

A neighbor’s Mexican Fence Post cactus with Santa hats to fight the freezing weather.

It’s been one week since I got a nasty cold with congestion and a cough. I tried really hard to get over it quickly so I went to bed for the weekend. I found once I got out of bed and resumed somewhat normal activities, I’d relapse a bit. I got tired quickly and I’d wake up in the middle of the night with major congestion.

Yesterday I was feeling much better. We went for our morning walk — even though it was in the low 30s! I realized I hadn’t walked in close to a week. That’s after walking practically every day for years!

I missed my morning walks so much while I was recovering from my cold. Normally, I’d push through and walk anyway, but I didn’t want to tire myself out this time.

We went on two walks yesterday and it was gorgeous outside if not cold. I bundled up in a ski parka, stocking cap and gloves. The air was bright and clear. I’m thrilled to be out and about and taking my daily walks. I think the fresh, cold air helped me feel better. I know the beauty did.

Have a great weekend! What are your plans for the last weekend before the holidays? Are you caught up with shopping, decorating, etc.?