Adding to my routine

City of Palm Springs Aquatic Center
I miss our beautiful Palm Springs city pool.

For one week, I’ve gotten in the pool each day to kick. Tuesday I went back to the Y for the first time in months and lap swam.

Why did I stop with the lap swimming? Mostly it was the weather. Summer in the Arizona desert is cloudy with daily thunderstorms and lightening. Not ideal outdoor swimming weather.

If it’s not storming it’s brilliant intense sunshine which I tend to avoid. Before I knew it, I was out of the lap swimming habit.

I’ve been following “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron for years. At least most of her routine of morning pages, prayer and daily walks. The thing I’ve been missing is the “artist’s date.”

My excuse before was COVID shutdowns.

Now I have no excuse. The artist date is to go out — alone — and experience something to feed your muse. Cameron’s suggestions are looking in antique and fabric stores, go anywhere that will fill your senses and spark your creativity.

I’m going to try a once-a-week date with myself. I’ve added two days of lap swimming, and three days of kicking — now an artist’s date. I think that’s quite enough for now!

What is your morning or daily routine? What would you like to add to it?

The routine

diving off the blocks at a college meet.
My daughter off the blocks at a college duel meet. She’s the one with the pointed toes.

My daughter had a job interview yesterday. She called me afterwards. She brought up a compelling point. They asked her how she handles stress or pressure on the job.

“I go to a private place, take a deep breath and shake it out. Then the anxiety leaves and I can prioritize what needs to be done,” she said.

She told me that was exactly what she did before the interview. She followed her pre-race routine. I’ve seen it a million times. She would stand behind the blocks, shake out her right arm, her left arm. Put her right leg on the blocks and stretch, repeat with the left leg.”

I remembered taking golf lessons when my kids were toddlers. My golf pro established a pre-hit routine for me. Each time I “addressed the ball” I would take two baseball swings with my golf club to loosen up. I’d take a deep breath and stand over the ball.

If you watch swimming, golf, or other sports — you’ll notice most athletes have a routine before they move. It frees their mind from thinking. It’s a signal to put their game face on and react physically, letting go of negative thoughts or any thoughts at all.

Six or seven years ago, I read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, former wife of Martin Scorsese. She preached about morning routines. I began morning pages back then and have stuck with the routine. When I wake up, I reach for a journal and write three pages of whatever is on my mind. It can be a to do list, about my dreams, my prior day or anything that jumps into my brain. It releases anxiety and clears my head for more creativity.

Also, my morning routine includes prayer and a walk.

I feel centered and grounded and ready to carry on for the rest of the day.

What routines do you have in your life? What benefits do you see?

Ocean view condos!

The condo development at the beach below our Vrbo has grown this year.

The past few years, we’ve been fascinated with a driftwood art installation at the beach. We first noticed it four or five years ago. I wrote about condos at the beach last summer HERE.

This summer, the person who is working on what we call the “beach condos” has added more people, creatures and signs. We’ve never seen anyone working on it. But it keeps growing and getting more interesting. I’d love to know who is creating this. I am picturing an aging hippie with long white hair.

Here are random photos I took yesterday morning:

driftwood character at the beach
One of the many driftwood people at the beach.
cartwheeling driftwood
Looks like he’s doing a cartwheel
Summerland beach club
Summerland Semi Social Club sign
driftwood dogs
Driftwood dogs.
driftwood person
Another character at the beach.
Please remove your shoes.
“Please remove your shoes” makes me laugh.The other sign reads” Please leave it as you found it.”
dancing driftwood
These guys look like they’re dancing.
driftwood person
The artist is obviously having fun.
pirate driftwood
Ahoy! A pirate.
Video overview of the beach condos.

Have you encountered anything like this at the beach or anywhere else? Which person or creature is your favorite?

Things are going swimmingly

Main Street Park City.

Things are going swimmingly except for a heat wave. It’s cooler than back home in our Arizona desert, but it’s too hot to hike in the afternoon.

We visited the same week of July in the summer of 2020. In the afternoons, when my husband was done working, we would hike on trails that wind through the ski slopes.

This year, we’re doing a morning walk to Main Street along a tree-lined path with a bubbling creek. We did the same walk in the 2020 mornings, too. This year, the morning walk is the highlight of my day, because the afternoons are too hot for the mountain hikes.

Poison Creek along the walk to Main Street.

Instead of sitting inside reading or watching TV, we’re hitting the pool to cool off.

Yesterday afternoon, the pool was filled with several groups of families and kids. I found a spot along one wall where I could swim. I watched two sisters in the deep end throwing a ring and diving after it. The older sister, a teen, got out when she saw me attempting to swim laps.

“Who am I going to play with?” little sister complained.

“That woman is swimming,” the teen explained.

I thought, “I’m swimming on one edge of the pool. They have most of the deep end to continue tossing the ring and diving.”

My husband decided to sit on the steps. I plowed on determined to get my exercise.

“Little sister” would do a backward somersault right in front of me every time I reached the deep end to turn. I had to swim around her. Next, a nine-year-old boy named Oscar would cut in front of me across the pool swimming as fast as he could. It seemed to be a game for him to push off across the pool and barely miss me.

“Why won’t you join me and swim?” I asked my husband.

“I don’t have the patience you have,” he explained. “I’d end up saying something and look like an asshole to the kids.”

I finally gave up after about 20 laps of dodging little sister and Oscar. We headed to the jacuzzi. Strangely, as soon as we got out of the pool, the kids did too. I guess I was their entertainment. They weren’t having much fun without harassing the middle-aged woman who was trying to swim laps.

I think if I was “little sister’s” mom, I would have asked her to swim and play away from the lap swimmer. The mom and dad were on chaise lounges relaxing. They didn’t say a word.

What would you have done if you were the parent? If you were trying to swim laps, would you have continued like me or not try like my husband and let the kids play?

A bit of sadness

Century plant
I’ve been waiting to see this Century plant in bloom. This photo was taken two weeks ago.
Fast growing Century Plant.
Still waiting for the blossoms….Look how much it grew. This photo was taken a couple days ago. My husband said he thought he could watch it growing taller right before his eyes.

I’m enjoying the blossoms on cactus, but they are very short lived. One day there are furious blooms and the next day, they’ve expired.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the neighbor’s Century plant and wanted to make sure I wouldn’t miss the flowers.

blossoms on cactus
Look at the gorgeous blossoms on this hedgehog cactus. Tomorrow they’ll be gone.

You can imagine how sad we felt when we went on our morning walk today and saw this:

Fallen Century Plant before it bloomed
We will never get to enjoy the blooms. We felt like we lost a friend. It also reminded me of our saguaros we lost.

Morning views from the neighborhood

Sunrise filtered through the branches of an Ironwood tree.
Sunrise view from the casita.

It takes a trip out of state to an entirely different environment for me to appreciate the beauty of my desert. I get used to it and lose some appreciation, but a trip away wakes up my senses. As I walked this morning around our neighborhood I was struck by the views of cactus, mountains and shrubbery. I like it out here. I’d like to see more some wildlife, too.

Mountain north of Scottsdale.
The mountain to the north. I think it’s called Black Mountain. I’m working on learning the names.
teddy bear cholla.
Teddy bear cholla with the sun peaking through clouds.
Cloudy sky in the desert.
Clouds. We should have an amazing sunset tonight.
saguaro with arms
A neighbor’s saguaro. We have lots of saguaro but only one has an arm.
A wash in the Sonoran Desert.
One of the things I love best about our neighborhood is all the open natural space.

What are some of the things you like best about where you live?

Life in the desert

The nature preserve across the street with 130 miles of trails

Here are a few photos from my morning walks this week. The weather is so much cooler. We went from too hot to walk to 48 degrees in the mornings. Unfortunately, my pool is too cold to use now. I was enjoying it until a week ago. I asked the pool man how to turn on the heater. He looked and couldn’t find a pool heater. Oh well. We didn’t heat our pool in Palm Springs, either, but we lived one mile from the city pool. I need to get in the car and drive 30 minutes to a pool to swim laps here. I’m spoiled and it’s tough to get motivated to drive that far to swim.

yucca flower stalk
This is the stalk of a yucca in a neighbor’s yard. It once had gorgeous flowers
Did you know that yuccas are in the lily family?
yucca plant
I thought this was another yucca. But after some research I think it’s called a sotol.
skeleton of saguaro
This is a skeleton of a saguaro cactus. Indians used them for building structures and tools.
 Silhouette of saguaro
A  silhouette of a saguaro cactus in the morning sun.

I mentioned that I was interviewed for a survey of American Families recently by writer Jennifer Graham. Here are links to two articles where I have a quote. Click on the headlines to read:

What worries families the most in 2021

Only about 1 in 10 Democrats worry about cultural issues, but there‚Äôs widespread concern about the costs of having a family By Jennifer Graham@grahamtoday  Oct 12, 2021, 12:01am MDT

Did the pandemic restore our faith in government?

Trust in institutions has been declining for years, but Americans generally give them high marks for their response to COVID-19 By Jennifer Graham@grahamtoday  Oct 12, 2021, 12:01am MDT

What do you think are some of the biggest problems facing families in 2021?

I answered: the cost to raise a family, too much social media and screen times leading to depression and anxiety — and political divides within families.