Sights from the weekend

cactus with scarlet blooms
I love the color of these cactus blooms. I’m surprised to see cacti blooming again.

We’ve had a busy weekend — post vacation. We picked up friends from the airport Thursday and they invited us over to their house for dinner the next day to repay us for our trouble. They lived a stone’s throw from us in Palm Springs and we both moved within a mile from each other in Arizona — without prior knowledge we were both doing that. Our kids went to school together from kindergarten through high school. Now our kids live near each other in the Bay Area.

Here’s a view from our friend’s place up the street from us.
woodpecker standing on a vertical wall.
Woodpecker standing on the wall. I don’t know how it does that. There’s nothing to hang onto.

We had neighbors over for appetizers, wine and games. We played my favorite card games, Demon and Texas Hold ‘Em. Our friends brought over a game they thought we’d enjoy. My husband and I laughed when we found out it was Catchphrase. That’s a game our kids played endlessly at swim meets with their teammates under the pop-up tent. We’d be at meets for at least four hours and they’d swim a few minutes. Downtime was spent playing cards or Catchphrase.

It’s been years since I’ve played games and it was a hoot. We laughed and had fun. it was a perfect thing to do with people we’ve only known for a few months.

For appetizers I made deviled eggs, stuffed shishitos with honey goat cheese and sweet Italian sausage chunks on toothpicks with honeycrisp apples. Also a veggie platter that was barely touched.

sunrise in Arizaona
Here’s the gorgeous sunrise Saturday morning.

I enjoyed watching the kitty watch birds and bunnies. The quail families are growing up!

What card games do you like to play? Did you play lots of games growing up? Do you think kids today play games or is everything on screens now?

We’re in trouble now!

The wall to the right is where we hide the trash bins.

We got a letter from the Homeowner’s Association. It was puzzling to say the least.

Make that damn irritating — not puzzling.

This letter is being written on behalf of the Community Association. In a continuing effort to maintain community enjoyment and high property values, it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to ensure the governing documents are enforced.

It was noted that you are storing your trash bin, visible from neighboring property. All trash bins should be stored as to not be visible from neighboring property, with the exception of placement for collection.

Yes. That was written in BOLD!

We have a block walled-off area where our storage bins are stored (see the photo above). I don’t think the neighbors can see through the block wall.

I looked at the date of the violation. It was the day we left for Mexico — Thursday. Trash pick up is on Friday. According to the rules, you can take your trash out the evening before. I took the trash bin to the curb before we left. It was several hours before evening. I asked a neighbor to drag the trash can back up the driveway Friday afternoon so we wouldn’t break any rules.

Little did I know that taking the trash out a few hours too early would result in a sternly worded letter! And a warning that if we didn’t fix the problem we’d be fined! I was only trying to save my neighbor the task of taking my trash out in the first place down our long driveway.

UGH!

So, who turned me in? This is the first time I’ve felt uncomfortable in my new digs.

Do you have HOA rules where you live? What are your thoughts about the warning letter? Do you think they should have waited before issuing a warning to see that the trash can was put away out of sight?

A few sights around the neighborhood

white blooms of a yucca
Yucca in bloom by our park.

I never grow tired of the desert sights. It’s such a different desert than the manicured lawns, hedges and golf courses of Palm Springs — yet it’s technically the same desert. The Sonoran Desert.

hatched quail eggs
My husband spotted these quail eggs in a planter under a bush. Talk about an effective nest. Now we know where the babies came from.

planter with quail eggs
This is the planter where the quail made a nest! It’s in the side yard right outside where the trash bins are stored.
I’ve been watching this century plant grow.
century plant ready to bloom.
A few weeks later. It’s grown so fast, you can stand still for a few minutes it seems like you can watch it grow.
I wonder if it will bloom?
Sunset in the Desert.
Sunset view with ocotillo.

Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by. What are your plans for the weekend?

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?

Second meeting of book club

Original cover of "The Old Man and the Sea."
The original cover of “The Old Man and the Sea.”

I joined our neighborhood book club. After my first meeting and being forced to read a book I couldn’t stand — I was assigned “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway.

I didn’t enjoy reading “The Old Man and the Sea” in high school at all. The days in the boat fighting to get the big fish dragged. I was considering dropping out of book club.

Surprisingly, decades later, I really enjoyed the book. I guess I have a better perspective with age. Maybe I identify with the old man.

I also learned a lot from the neighbor who chose the book and led the discussion. She was thoroughly prepared. She had pages of typed notes, went through Hemingway’s life and told us the book won the Pulitzer and Novel prizes, and that 5 million copies sold within 48 hours in 1951.

I asked my son’s girlfriend her interpretation of the symbolism of “The Old Man and the Sea.” She’s a Lit major and brilliant.

I’ve read about Christian allegories in the book such as two days and nights in the boat and returning home on the third day. This represents the resurrection of Christ. Other Christian metaphors were Santiago’s bloody hands to the stigmata and him carrying the mast, like Christ carried the cross. In the end, Santiago lies down and falls asleep with his arms out to and his knees off to the side.

This is what my son’s girlfriend sent me when I asked her about the metaphors:

Ernest Hemingway quote
Quote from Good Reads.

I shared the quote with the club and they had a good laugh and then went on to discuss more metaphors.

What are your thoughts on “The Old Man and the Sea?” Was is required reading in school? Did you enjoy it? Do you believe Hemingway DID use metaphors or not?

My First Book Club

The Arctic Fury

Our neighborhood is opening up and getting back to normal. I was invited to join the book club by a neighbor.

Most of the women have been members for the length or our neighborhoods existence, which is 15 years. A couple of us are new and moved in during the shutdown.

The book I’m supposed to read is called “The Arctic Fury” by Greer MacAllister.

The copy on the back of the book says:

“Eccentric Lady Jane Franklin makes an outlandish offer to adventurer Virginia Reeve: take a dozen women, trek into the Arctic, and find her husband, Lord Franklin, and his lost expedition. Four parties have failed to find him, and Lady Franklin wants a radical new approach: put the women in charge.”

The book is based on a true story of Lady Jane Franklin’s tireless attempts to find her husband’s lost expedition.

Now here’s the problem. I have never been to book club before. I don’t know what to expect. I’m not getting into the book. I’m going to push through, but it’s not my cup of tea.

At least I know how to spell the word “Arctic.” Maybe it’s the title I don’t like, because when my son was in second grade he had to name the continents on a map. He didn’t get 100%. I talked to the teacher and wanted to know why she marked him wrong for “Artic.” Yes, I had him practice spelling the word wrong — and I argued with the teacher.

What do you do at book club exactly anyway?

Are you the member of a book club? How is it set up? Who selects the books? What do you do when you don’t like them?

A wonderful day in the neighborhood

Crystal blue sky.

Things are opening up in our neighborhood. Finally. I got a call last night from a neighbor who said the social clubs are reopening and would I be interested in joining coffee club or wine club.

I’ve already said yes to book club. Our first meeting is in March and we have been assigned a book called “The Arctic Fury” by Greer MacAllister. Has anyone read it? What did you think? I haven’t heard of the book or the author. It’s historical fiction which I enjoy.

As for the other two clubs, I’ve decided to jump in and give them a try. Wine club is for couples, and since my husband sits in his office all day, I thought it might be good to get him out of the house, too. But, after accepting the invitations, I found out that wine club has NOT reopened. But I could be chairperson and open it if I wanted. Nope.

It was a bright sunny, clear day for our morning walk. And not too cold. It’s been in the low 40s and windy lately which is too cold for my blood. But today was spectacular. Just the right temperature. There’s a couple who lives around the corner and they have a white lab and a black lab. The dogs can’t wait to say hi to us. The owners are friendly too. Another neighbor stopped to chat. Normally, we walk and wave without talking.

People seem happier lately and eager to socialize. It’s kind of hard to get back in the groove of social interaction, but I’ve decided to put myself out there and see if I like the clubs or not.

Also, it’s warm enough for me to sit my zero gravity recliner with my new book and read!

I think it’s the webinar about what makes you happy that’s pushing me out of the house. If you missed it, I wrote about it HERE.

Have you noticed an improvement in people’s attitudes lately? What changes have you seen around your neighborhood?