Is there crime in your neighborhood? Do you feel it’s gotten worse or better through the years?
What have your neighbors done for you when you needed help? Do you play that role with any neighbors?
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?
I joined US Masters Swimming in 2015 after being on deck as a swim mom and parent volunteer for 14 years. It was the adult program with the team my children swam with from kindergarten through high school. My New Year’s Resolution that year — my first as an empty nester — was to join Masters and swim with a coach. It only took me until April to make good on my New Year’s resolution. But once I got in, I made slow, but steady progress.
My biggest issue with swimming is consistency. It’s something you have to do year round to get stronger. Not every day is a good day, although most of them are. The biggest challenge for me in the beginning was relaxing and getting a steady breathing pattern.
Lately my roadblock to consistency is weather. I do not like getting in or out of the pool when it’s cold. I quit for several months over the winter. Getting back into the pool this spring, I felt like I was starting over.
During the COVID years, our Palm Springs pool (above) was shut down. Then it opened to reservations for every other lane (social distancing). Our Masters team was not allowed to practice until about the time we moved to Arizona.
What I’ve discovered about swimming, rather than cheering on the sidelines, is that being in the water gives me a chance to reflect. It’s mostly a quiet time, where I get the best physical exercise, ever — plus peace and clarity in my day.
I’m still working on the breathing. When I do feel relaxed and smooth, I notice the following 10 things while I swim:
The way the water feels cool against my skin.
The bubbles my hands make entering the water.
Spirographs and kaleidoscopes of shadows and light on the bottom of the pool as the sun filters through the water.
The shadow of the flags as I get close to the wall.
Muffled sounds underwater. It’s like I’m listening to a foreign language.
The view of clouds, saguaro and desert when I stop to rest.
The slope of the pool with tiled, black lines curving to lower depths.
A clump of leaves that looks like a plant growing in a crack at the bottom of my lane.
Floating and swimming relaxed must be what flying would feel like.
Relief at the end of my 1,000-yards. I feel much stronger and smoother than during my first 100 yards.
As a swimmer, I appreciate with new understanding the hard work my kids and coaches have put in for years, every single day.
What activity do you enjoy that brings you peace and clarity in your day?
Olive in Palm Springs, hanging out by our pool, enjoying indoor/outdoor life.
Life is full of change. Look at Olive, our 11-year-old cat, who was able to roam free in Palm Springs since kittenhood and now is captive inside our house.
I was worried about how she would adjust. But with only two escapes outside in two-and-a-half years and frantic rushes back inside the house, I’d say she likes it inside. My daughter said that maybe she was always meant to be an indoor cat.
Olive’s baby picture when we first brought her home from the animal shelter.
I think Olive sensed danger when she escaped to our wild nature-filled yard.
This past weekend, I was taking out recycling. We have an enclosure for our trash and recycling bins with walls and a gate. When I opened the gate, I came eyeball to eyeball within inches of another cat who was standing on the wall.
I didn’t have my phone with me so no picture, but it was a teenage bobcat with blackish spots on a dark blonde coat. I turned and ran and glanced back to see the bobcat hightailing in the opposite direction. I looked at our video from the night before and found a few seconds of a bobcat walking by. But I’m afraid I’ve scared off the cat for the near future.
This is a photo taken by my SIL of our regular bobcat visitor. I think the one I saw a few days ago might be one of her kits.
“Change is the only constant in life.
Ones ability to adapt to those changes
will determine your success in life.”
Here’s a video of Olive’s new indoor life. She seems to enjoy it!
What are your thoughts about change and life? What major changes are you going through now or have in the past?
View from before sunrise during a morning walk. I love the pastel pink and blue skies.
The summer heat is here. Today it’s supposed to be 108 degrees. We’re at an elevation of 3,000 feet — rather than near sea level at our old home in Palm Springs. That makes it seven to 10 degrees cooler here.
But after our freezing cold wet winter, my body hasn’t adjusted to hot temperatures — even though the days are under 110 degrees. When I lived the Coachella Valley for 38 years, I would say it’s not hot until it’s over 110. Now, in Arizona, after two and half years, my tolerance is 100 degrees.
Our solution? Waking up early. Alarm is set for 4:30 a.m. We’re out the door by 5 a.m with a temperature of 78 degrees. Sunrise is almost half an hour later. Our goal is a one-hour walk through our neighborhood for three miles. We’ve upped our mileage and time from a 40-minute two-mile walk. We don’t see many people out, except for an occasional neighbor walking their dog.
I am getting somewhat adjusted to the new schedule. I’m very tired in the afternoon and I want to nap. But I’m not a napper. Also, I’m afraid if I do nap, I won’t be able to fall asleep at my new bedtime!
A benefit of the new schedule is I’m finding lots of time to read. I’m done with my reading and writing blogs and rewriting my manuscript hours earlier in the day. Plenty of time to settle on the sofa with a book. I’m also getting pesky chores done that I’ve managed to put off for months — or should I say years?
Here’s a photo of sunrise around 5:25 a.m.
What are your summer temperatures like?
What do you consider a perfect temperature or too hot?
What adjustments do you make to your summer schedule, if any?
I was looking through my bookshelves for something I may want to reread. I picked up Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing: Release the Creative Genius Within You. It’s a small paperback book. I opened the cover and on page one the autograph of the author and the date May 1996 stared me in the face.
That’s the first time I heard Ray Bradbury speak — and the first time I asked him to sign a book. My daughter was three months old, and my son was three years old. That’s a lot of years to have this book sitting on my bookshelf. It’s time for a reread.
His book of essays reminded me of how inspiring his talks were. I heard him speak at two writers’ conferences and at a small movie theater downtown Palm Springs. The first time I heard him speak, I saw him that same day in May 1996 at Las Casuelas the Original, a small Mexican restaurant. I introduced myself to him, as he ate alone, and said I couldn’t wait to hear his talk. He was happy I stopped by to say hello.
It was one of the first writer’s conferences I had attended, and I was kind of in a fog, having a newborn child and little sleep.
Ray Bradbury was amazing. He reminded me of a young child, finding wonder in the world. He had the ability to stay young at heart and observe the world as though seeing little things for the first time. I loved his story of how he wrote Fahrenheit 451 in the basement of the UCLA library at a rental typewriter paying 10 cents a half hour. He said he was literally a “dime novelist.” It gave me courage and the belief that we can do anything — if you want it badly enough.
“Garbage in, garbage out,” he said. He advised us to turn off the TV. Don’t watch the news. He said they were selling soap and there was little or no good news and it would rot our minds. Instead, “Read the Bible, a poem and an essay every day.”
How I’d wish I’d listened more carefully and followed that advice . How different would my life be today? The good news is, it’s not too late to start.
My all-time favorite Ray Bradbury book is Fahrenheit 451. My son loves this book, too. I took my son to meet Ray Bradbury during another local speaking engagement years later. My son now has a signed copy of Farenheit 451 that he treasures. Ray Bradbury was a very accessible and kind man, willing to share with all of us enjoying his gift and genius — and striving to be 1/100th the writer that he was.
“What do you love most in the world? The big and little things, I mean. A trolley car, a pair of tennis shoes? These, at one time when we were children, were invested with magic for us.” — from Zen and the Art of Writing
Who are your all-time favorite authors? What are your favorite books?