Ready, Set, Go!

View of the fire in North Scottsdale from our backyard Tuesday night.

We came back from our swim Tuesday afternoon and I smelled smoke. An hour later plumes of smoke were in the air. It looked too close for comfort. Called the Diamond Fire, I was getting notifications on my iphone of a fire that started at 5:15 p.m. and roughly 1,000 people had been evacuated.

From what I could tell it was 20 miles away from us. We weren’t in any danger but I decided to pack things in case we were told to evacuate.

What did I pack? Paperwork like the title to our house, some cash, cat food, cat carrier, my flute, music, underwear, socks, tennis shoes and a few shorts and t-shirts. My husband hosed down our pergola, which is the wooden structure in our back yard over the pool bar.

As we texted neighbors, we discovered we weren’t in any danger, but I realized I do need to organize a “Go Kit” in case of emergency.

I saw this on Twitter from the Scottsdale Fire Department. It’s a good reminder:

Today, I’m going to scan our important documents, so I’ll have them on my laptop — and I’m going to back them up. Then I’m going to put together a more organized Go Kit than the one I threw together last evening.

Living in So Cal for decades, I had an earthquake kit. Now I need a “Go Kit” in case of fire or floods.

What type of preparedness plans or kits do you have? What type of emergencies affect your area?

That Darn Cat!

Olive who is also known as “The Pretty Kitty.”

I was talking to my dear friend on the phone in my backyard. I heard the door to the casita smash shut with a gust of wind. When I came back inside the house, I walked past the front door on the way to our bedroom.

I noticed that not only the front door was open, the screen door was open too. My heart stopped.

I’ve been told by neighbors when we moved here to keep my cat inside. That’s because of coyotes, bobcats, javelina, owls, snakes and huge hawks. My cat would last an hour, they said.

Shaking, I yelled at my husband. “You left the front door open!”

He insisted he was innocent. But I immediately jumped to blame him, because I knew I didn’t.

I got Olive’s favorite treat out, Lil’ Soup by Friskies.

“Kitty soup!” I yelled and repeated. She always comes running and answers “Meow oop.”

Nothing.

We checked under beds. Then went outside to call “Here kitty, kitty, kitty!”

I was crying. I haven’t been so worried since I lost my last cat who got outside at age 17 at our old house. The neighbor’s dog jumped their wall and killed my cat Sherman who was lounging in the driveway of the empty house next door to them.

Calling and callling, getting more and more frantic, I realized Olive went out our front courtyard and would turn right towards the wash, rather than head to the street. At the side of the house, with both of us calling, she appeared.

She nonchalantly sniffed the gravel, looked at me, then my husband — and ran for her dear life into our courtyard and waited for us to open the front door.

I don’t think she’s going out again soon. She spent the next 12 hours hiding under our bed. She must have smelled something that was threatening to her.

If you have pets, what close calls have you had with them?

This is Olive when I found her trapped inside our SUV. I wrote about her car misadventures HERE.

Views from the week

Ocotillo
Octotillo are turning green with red flowers.

I had a good week. Here are a few highlights:

I swam Tuesday and Thursday after not swimming for five or six months. Thursday I almost cancelled because it was a cool windy day and the pool was cold on Tuesday. I told myself that I had enough to do to get ready for guests. But I decided to go. If I was freezing, I could get out. I was thrilled to discover the pool was a perfect 81 degrees (at least perfect to me. That’s too hot for people who swim faster and harder than me.)

Another plus happened Sunday. I took my husband to the coffee shop where I met a longtime friend last week. I wrote about that HERE. Hubby and I went for lattes and breakfast. We never get lattes, that was a one off for us, but so delicious.

Carefree Coffee Roastery

They roast their own beans and I bought their House Blend for my pour over set-up the kids got me for my birthday in March. The coffee is smooth and delicious.

Speaking of delicious:

Avocado Smash with egg, goat cheese and pickled onions, tomato and capers.

This was my breakfast. It’s called Avocado Smash, and I added an egg. It has lettuce, tomato, goat cheese, capers, pickled onion and a vinaigrette — and avocado of course. YUM!

During the week, we drove to a Mexican restaurant my friend recommended. She’s lived here for 15 years. Her son went to culinary school and was a chef in Palm Springs. I take her recommendations about restaurants to heart. She told me about the Carefree Coffee Roastery, for example. Her Mexican restaurant suggestion was a hit. I wrote about my quest for Mexican food in Arizona last week HERE.

“It’s the closest thing in our area that is like the Original Las Casuelas,” she said referring to one of our staples a few blocks from our old house.

The restaurant she suggested is called Plaza Bonita. I finally found my huevos ranchero fix without having to drive 45 minutes to an hour!

Strange looking saguaro

I’m not sure what this is? Cellular tower? On our morning walk we pass several fake saguaros. This one is getting a face lift.

Cat on a desk looking out the window

Olive the cat is checking out my new workspace in my official office. I think she likes the view.

Another highlight this week was reading some amazing blog posts that really moved me — especially on The Heart of the Matter. The connections and similarities to my own life and other bloggers was comforting. I’m honored to be in this blogging community.

Cardinal with attitude

I loved having Bird Buddy up and running. I was thrilled to get Cardinal photos and videos. Here are two photos I got yesterday. I love this Cardinal’s attitude.

Cardinal with

Why does this shot remind me of Kramer from Seinfeld? Do you see it, too?

What are some of the highlights of your week? Have a happy weekend!

Covid recovery

Olive in bed
I’m hanging out with Olive in bed.

This morning I had two tasks. Take a shower and change the litter box.

I accomplished my tasks and I’m ready for bed. I feel like I scaled Mt. Everest. I had planned to write about a recent hack from Russia. That’s right, I got hacked by Russia.

But I’ll save that for next week when I have more energy.

Happy weekend! Do you have any exciting plans?

Have you been hacked? What have you done to protect your phone or computer?

Views from my trip

The house I grew up in from second grade on. No we didn’t have a blue garage! What were these people thinking!

I grabbed the front of the house photo from Redfin.

After my aunt and I left Robe Valley and my mother’s ashes, we drove to my hometown, Snohomish, Wash. During our journey we detoured up Lord’s Hill to my old house that I lived in from second grade until I left for college. My mom sold it after “the divorce.” It was too expensive for her to keep up on alimony payments.

First street Snohomish
First Street, the touristy part of my hometown.
Snohomish first street
Another view of First Street Snohomish.

We stopped for lunch at Andy’s Fish House. The Pacific Northwest has the best seafood. I had chowder, salad and a piece of cod. My aunt had fish and chips. It was delish!

Oto Sushi
While I’m posting about food, I had sushi with my BFF from college at Oto Sushi near my brother’s house. This was called “Skinny Girl Roll” because it didn’t have rice. It was so fresh and yummy.
View from my brother's patio.
View from my brother’s patio overlooking a small lake. It’s a gorgeous home and location. Notice they have one of my flamingos in the backyard!
Nephew playing piano

My nephew played Moonlight Sonata and Für Elise as a tribute to my mom. He used his Covid shutdown days to learn piano!

13 Coins Seatac
The counter at 13 Coins, one of my mom and dad’s favorite restaurants when I was growing up.

My aunt and I spent the night at SeaTac airport after our adventure in Robe Valley and Snohomish. Next door to our hotel was 13 Coins which was a favorite memory of mine with my mom. My aunt said it was a place she and her husband frequented in the 1970s. Sitting at the counter is more exciting than in the booths, because it’s where all the cooking takes place.

13 Coins Seatac
The line action at 13 Coins by the Seattle airport.
brother with two sisters
Mom, her older brother and my aunt who is 11 years younger than Mom.

My aunt shared a small scrapbook she made for my mom’s 70th birthday. This was a photo in it that I loved.

cat on a suitcase
Olive immediately attacked my suitcase when I came home. She made the suitcase her perch for hours.

Thanks for taking a look at my week in the Pacific Northwest.

A whirlwind week

Olive the cat getting out of my way as I clean house.

It’s a busy week or two. We returned from a trip to Mexico. I wrote about that HERE.

My son and his girlfriend are visiting from the Bay Area. We are gong to visit Taliesin West later today. It will be a first for all of us. That’s the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. We’ll be going on a self-guided tour. A coincidence is that a friend of mine from playgroup days in Palm Springs is a director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. What a small world! I found out from a friend in Palm Springs that our mutual friend had moved to Arizona a month or two before us. I wrote about coincidences recently HERE.

Next week, I fly to Seattle to visit my 90-year-old mom. I meant to visit for her birthday last March, but we were in the throws of Omicron. Both my daughter and husband got it. What weird days those were. I was taking care of my daughter — without being near her. We would wave at each other through her apartment window. I’d go to the laundromat and grocery store for her and leave things on her front steps.

When my husband had COVID, I moved into our Casita. It has a kitchen, so I cooked him chicken soup with lots of garlic and onions. I’d leave it outside the front door and text him. I was close if he needed me, but I wasn’t in physical contact.

I now have an aversion to flying. We have taken trips by car, which I’m comfortable with, but I haven’t wanted to get on an airplane. I can’t stand the wait at the airport, the crowds, being on the plane. COVID ruined flying for me.

Did COVID change your feelings about flying, too? Or did it affect you in other ways? Did you or your family get it?

More Views of Mexico

Fisherman sculpture at Puerto Penasco Rocky Point Sonora Mexico
A statue in the downtown marketplace of Puerto Peñasco. I couldn’t read the plaque.

I view Puerto Peñasco as three distinct parts. There’s Sandy Beach with all the condos and Americans. There is the downtown marketplace with shops, restaurants and pharmacies. There is a marina filled with fishing boats. There are probably more parts to Puerto Peñasco, but that’s what I’ve seen, so far.

shops in Puerto Penasco Rocky Point Sonora Mexico
This is a photo looking down one of the blocks of the marketplace.

Pelicano Jose restauarant view
We had huevos rancheros one morning in this small second story restaurant at Rocky Point.

View of sandy beach from Rocky Point
Here’s a view of Sandy Beach from the downtown marketplace. Sandy Beach is home to the condos.
Elizabeth's curios Rock Point
Here’s a shop with my name on it. The shops sell lots of sports logo goods — especially Arizona’s Cardinals.
maclecon in Rocky Point
This is the center of town, a block beyond the marketplace.

El Camaronero statue
El Camaronero The Shrimp Fisherman statue on the malecon at Puerto Penasco, Mexico.
View of Rocky Point from Sandy Beach
A view of the downtown market area in Rocky Point from Sandy Beach.
Rocky point shrimp in a cooler
Every few yards there are “fish markets” that are coolers of ice and shrimp.
Inside Pollo Lucas.
Pollo Lucas, the best char-grilled chicken I’ve ever had.

cat in the window at a restaurant.
The view out the window at Pollo Lucas.
Sunset at Sandy Beach.
Sunset at Sandy Beach.

The food was delicious and cheap! We had prime rib dinner with baked potato, clam chowder and asparagus for $15. It’s a Saturday night special. I had tons of shrimp at several restuarants. Plus Pollo Lucas. I can’t wait to go back for the beach, the views and the food!

What’s your favorite part of traveling? Is it seeing new sights or eating new food? Or both?