What I miss about my daughter

excited child at the beach
Kat at Carpinteria State Beach
close up of swimmer swimming butterfly
Kat swimming
precious baby kitten
Baby Olive
Kat in a dry suit at the beach with big brother Robert.
Kat in a dry suit at the beach with big brother Robert.
Kat making an entrance into the room.
Kat making an entrance into the room.

What are the little things you miss the most about your kids who have left home — or friends you no longer see very often?

Time keeps on slipping

July 14, 1985 in Laguna Beach. My hubby’s Aunt Ann and Uncle Luciano are next to us.

I am in disbelief that I’ve been married for 38 years. Where did the time go?

We were together for two years before marriage, so that makes it 40 years! Of course, you have to believe that I was a child bride to make this a possibility.

Thirty-eight years ago, we lived in a small apartment. Four units around a pool. My view out the kitchen window was an empty lot of dirt. No spectacular views. We’d see a shadow of the landlord walking by our drawn curtains at night, carrying a shot gun. She made her rounds each night.

We knew all our neighbors. I was asked to be a bridesmaid by the next door neighbor. She was a close friend at that time. Her fiancee left her at the altar and she eventually moved away. I haven’t seen or heard from her since.

It took us a few years to buy our first house. Then five more until we moved into the house that was home for 28 years. The first year we lived in our Palm Springs dream home, our son was born. Three years later, our daughter. Now they’re grown and we’re in Arizona — living our next adventure on our own.

It’s been a wonderful 38 years. I feel blessed.

I can’t help thinking of the song “Time Keeps on Slipping” by the Steve Miller Band.

Do you find that as you get older time goes by faster? Why do you think that is?

Bird Views

A return of a cardinal in our back yard.

Good news! The solar panel roof of my AI bird feeder with a camera arrived. I ordered it in January after a covey of quail leaped onto the bird feeder and it fell off the fence into the wash behind our house.

The tiny metal piece that plugged into the camera from the cord to the solar panel broke. It seemed like it would be an easy fix, but the Bird Buddy folks said my only option was to order a new solar panel roof and they’d give me a discount. I waited until June for it to arrive! In the meantime, I charged the camera every few days in the house.

I’ve been disappointed with my birds because two species are bullies and take over. White winged doves and mourning doves. They literally sit at the feeder and eat until it’s empty. So all my photos and videos for the past few weeks have been of big gray birds. I would get the occasional house sparrow which was a welcome treat.

Sunday morning I was shocked and thrilled to see a Cardinal! YAY! Here’s a video:

Video of a Northern Cardinal. It think he’s quite young.

I’m also enjoying a few families of quail, even though our nest of eggs never hatched.

Here’s a video of quail mom, dad and babies visiting our yard:

Quail family in our backyard.

Here’s a House Sparrow getting a turn at our Bird Buddy

What do you have planned this week to enjoy the world around you?

Are we happier as we age?

Me, my hubby and pug Waffles at a beach near Santa Barbara.

On one of our morning walks, my husband told me about a continuing education class he was taking.

The topic had to do with age and happiness. It discussed at what age we are the happiest.

I wish I had the charts and info from his studies, but once he completed the course, the info disappeared into a great gulf of technology wasteland.

I googled the topic and found articles that follow what my husband told me. When we are children we are very happy. But what happens as we age?

Here’s what I found from Psychology Today:

Are people happier at age 20 than they will be at age 70?

This was the focus of a new study published in the journal Psychological Science. The research suggests the likely answer is “yes,” but with some important caveats.

“A pervasive concern among many people across the world is that growing older and reaching senior status means leaving their best days behind,” state the researchers. “However, a fair bit of longitudinal and cross-sectional research has shown that levels of happiness remain relatively stable across the life span. Using representative cross-sections from 166 nations (more than 1.7 million respondents), […] we found only very small differences in life satisfaction.”


My husband said he learned that our happiness goes down from childhood through stressful years of college, finding a career, entering our thirties and forties. That’s when we have pressures of paying bills, raising a family and all the hectic busyness that goes along with that phase.

As we leave that life behind, we don’t worry so much about keeping up with the Joneses, or worrying what people think of us. We’re more relaxed and look for happiness in personal relationships and in small things in our day-to-day lives.

By the time we hit 60, we have time to smell the roses, so to speak. The happiness declines slightly well into our 70s and 80s — maybe when things start to hurt physically and we may be more isolated.

Here’s an excerpt from 2015 in an article in Scientific American called “With Age Comes Happiness: Here’s Why” by Marta Zaraska:

Get Happy

  • As people grow older, they tend to experience what psychologists call the age-related positivity effect—an increasing focus on positive events and happy feelings.
  • In imaging studies, elders who concentrate on joy have strong activity in circuits linking the amygdala, involved in emotion, and decision-making regions of the medial prefrontal cortex. Eye-gaze studies show that the older people look longer at upbeat images and away from upsetting ones.
  • Psychologists have found that when individuals of any age are reminded of life’s fragility, their priorities shift toward emotional goals such as feeling happy and seeking meaningful activities.

Of course these studies don’t take into account a lot of factors, like how stressful or chaotic our childhoods were or many of the hardships we may encounter on this journey called life. But I found it interesting.

What are your thoughts about age and happiness? Do you agree disagree that we are happiest in our childhood and then become happier again as get older?

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. 


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?

Going home

View of Ruth Hardy Park Palm Springs
Ruth Hardy Park, Palm Springs with Mt. San Jacinto in the background. The park I visited every day for 28 years.

My days of mothering my kids is over — at least for now. I opted for a one-way ticket from Oakland to my old home town Palm Springs where I was picked up by my husband. We had dinner with friends at our favorite restaurant Spencer’s and spent the night at my dad’s. We drove home together to Arizona today.

This is the first time I’ve returned since moving a year and two months ago. Looking out the plane window at Mt. San Jacinto, the landmark of Palm Springs, I felt emotional. I wasn’t expecting that.

We met dear friends for coffee, then my husband and I walked around the park that was blocks from our old home. Every morning for decades I walked around the park. I spent hours with the kids at the park when they were young. I thought I’d see some familiar faces, but they were all new.

Then we walked around our old neighborhood and our house.

hedge and palm trees outside Palm Springs.
The hedge outside our old home.
Tall pony tail palm.
Outside the hedge and backyard is our ponytail palm. That’s me next to it. We brought it with us two-feet high in a pot when we moved into this house close to 30 years ago.

I couldn’t believe our ponytail palm. It was two-feet tall when we moved into our old home. Think how many other things changed in our lives during that growth of that plant during the years there. We thought about moving it to Arizona with us, but thought better of it. It might not have liked the change or the trip in the moving van. It felt like leaving a part of the family behind. My husband had this palm before he met me. It sat in a pot in our first home and an apartment before that. When someone dug a ponytail palm out of our yard, we decided to let this guy free from its pot by the pool and planted it in the spot of the stolen one. In ten years it grew from two feet to 10 feet. Look at it now!

Pony Tail Palm
This was taken right before we moved a little over a year ago.

After visiting with friends, walking through my old haunts, I got through my emotions. It’s a beautiful neighborhood and town, but I can go back and visit anytime.

Have you returned to visit a place you lived or vacationed before? Have you been emotional about it or not?