What, me worry?

saguaro in the Sonoran Desert
Saguaro in front of a neighbor’s yard.

It’s snake season. And I’m not happy about it.

I am terribly frightened of snakes. I saw one the other morning at our park while on our walk.

A neighbor texted to tell me that another neighbor found a rattlesnake in her garage. Her husband trapped it in a garbage can and released it five miles away. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving with a rattlesnake in my car — garbage can or not.

Then last week while we were walking, a neighbor warned us about a huge rattlesnake a few blocks away from where we were headed.

“I’m done!” I said and turned my back and walked back to the house.

Every time I step outside, I take a careful look around. No more walking while looking at my phone. My eyes are peeled. In fact, I’m not spending much time outside anymore.

I googled rattlesnake bites in AZ. This is what I found:

Joe Hymes at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in north Scottsdale said that with temperatures warming up, this is the time of year that they receive the most calls about snakes.

He told AZ Family, “Most of the time, they are just soaking up the sun, but if you give them space, they will leave you alone.”

Snakes generally hide in cool, damp places.

Hymes explained, “Anywhere [snakes] will not feel overly exposed. They’ll hide under things — bushes, flower pots, raised sheds in the backyard, behind A/C units, behind pool pumps where moisture might condense. Those are all prime rattlesnake hiding spots.”

https://www.iheart.com/content/2021-04-05-its-snake-season-in-arizona-heres-what-to-do-if-you-see-a-venomous-snake/

You know what? Reading that did not make me feel a bit better.

A childhood friend of mine lives in San Diego and was bitten while talking a walk on his lunch hour last week. He said the snake bit him in the calf from behind. He never saw it. He was hospitalized for four days and had one of the worst reactions to a rattlesnake bite the hospital had ever seen.

In Palm Springs, we had rattlesnakes but we saw them on the hiking trails in the surrounding hills, not downtown where we lived.

Do you think my worry about snakes is warranted? Do you have anything you’re afraid of? What the most dangerous thing in your area?

My celebration

View of Cactus pool lanes
My new home pool.

Yesterday was my birthday and I celebrated in a few unique ways. First, I took a cold shower. Not on purpose, but the hot water was out. We had a plumber run a gas line from the laundry room into the kitchen the evening before. Tomorrow we are replacing the electric cook top with gas! We are so excited, but somehow the hot water got turned off so a cold shower it was. It sure woke me up!

Then I went to my first neighborhood club meeting. It was ladies coffee club with six other women from the neighborhood. It turns out the woman in charge of the coffee club lives right across the street from me. She and her husband stopped and introduced themselves when we first moved in but we haven’t seen them since. She apologized and said they were meaning to invite us over, but they forgot our names. I told her we had a concert and party and were going to invite them, also, but I couldn’t remember their names, either.

The big celebration for me was to drive 30 minutes to the pool and dive back in. I’ve been talking about doing this and haven’t made it there yet. We went from snow and freezing temps a little over a week ago to 80 degrees today, so I had no “it’s too cold” excuse. I set my birthday as my goal date to return to lap swimming. It was fabulous. I love the sensation of floating and gliding through the water. I met other nice swimmers who were so positive and friendly.

The downside to swimming was how out of shape and tired I got. Swimming is not a sport to drop for months at a time. Consistency is the key. My new goal is three days a week. It also makes me super hungry.

What special things do you do to celebrate yourself on your birthday or any day?

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?

Looking back to DAY ONE of Shelter in Place

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Views from my old neighborhood park.

Yesterday I went to my first NFL football game. Since I’ve learned you cannot bring a purse into a game unless it’s clear plastic, I decided to wear leggings with deep pockets for what I believed were my essentials: my cell phone with the digital ticket, my driver’s license, my vaccination card, a debit card and an N-95 mask.

I was surprised to find out that I didn’t need anything but the digital ticket. I saw only two people wearing masks in our section. Maybe in other areas of the stadium it was different? Walking in from the parking lot, I saw nobody wearing a mask. I ended up using my mask as a napkin, because my husband bought us hot dogs and fries and of course forgot napkins.

It was exciting to watch live football, but it was also overwhelming to be in a crowd. I haven’t been in one since it seems a lifetime — but in reality it was pre COVID. I was exhausted by the time we got home — but also thrilled to have the experience. What a contrast to March 2020 — plus the stark difference between Arizona and California, where I lived in 2020. I decided to look back on what I was feeling when we first found out about COVID and sheltered in place to flatten the curve.

Cardinals vs. Panthers football game.
View from my seat at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Here’s a look back on my post about DAY ONE of the three-week shut-down to flatten the curve:

I was pretty shaken up yesterday, but I’m pleased to report that I’m doing better today. I got my full walk around the park and neighborhood before the rain started. I saw a favorite neighbor and we chatted while standing six feet apart. He said, “We’ll get through this.”

I was assigned a couple magazine stories by an editor and I think that helped me the most. I have a tight deadline and had to get busy. That kept me from turning on the news, watching the DOW, and reading all the headlines on the web rather than writing.

Life is pretty much the same for me as it is most days. I walk and then work from home. It’s nice to know my daughter is in the guest room working from home, too, right down the hall. My son is in the Bay Area and he’s under the same orders to shelter in place but they started before us. He’s calling everyday to let me know he’s okay. I really appreciate that.

We will get through this. We have so many uncertainties ahead of us. That’s what gets me anxious. I try to think through all the possibilities of what COULD happen and it gets me scared. It’s much better to stay busy at home while we are “sheltering in place.”

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This cutie pie came home with my daughter. He and the cat are practicing social distancing.

What are your memories about the first day of shelter in place? How did you prepare, who were you with and did you think it would go on longer than three weeks?

I wrote you a letter….

Twice this year… It’s happened. We knew a friend was sick. One was 92 years old. The other was 57.

We wanted to tell them how much their friendship meant to us. But when they got sick, they didn’t want to see anyone. You have to respect that.

“I’ll call and talk to him on the phone,” my husband said about our 57-year-old friend. He never reached him by phone. 

Yesterday, we heard from his family that he was in hospice. My husband said, “I’ll write him a letter. I’ll tell him how much his friendship meant.” He immediately sat down and wrote it. The last time we wrote a letter like this was to our 92-year-old friend. Family members told us it arrived in the mail the day she died. She never had the opportunity to read it.

My husband ran this letter over to the family’s house. Literally. The brother said thank you. The brother thought it would make him feel good to read it. But, he said, he’s not seeing anyone outside of family.

My husband and I went for a walk. We walked and talked about our friend. This life thing is so fragile. We take it for granted sometimes. When I was 21 years old, I walked across a street and got hit by a truck. It made me realize how uncertain life is. A car almost hit us when we crossed the street last night. I screamed out loud. I can’t help it. It’s residue from my encounter with the pick up truck.

Life goes on. You get married, raise kids, drive kids to swim practice, sit on PTA boards, help with homework and have your own work to do. Pretty soon you can forget how fragile life is.

The end of the story. We finished our walk and returned to our house. The letter my husband wrote to his friend was stuck in our gate, unopened. It could only mean one thing.

Make sure you tell the ones you love — I love you while you have the chance.