Gray day

wet roadway in Arizona.

The wet street outside our house.

It rained all night, but today the rain has stopped and we have a gray cloudy day. We’re supposed to get more rain for the next two days. I hope we do. I find rain in the desert to be exciting and exhilerating.

But the gray cloudy day fits my mood and makes me want to curl up on the sofa with a book and not do anything but read.

I came home from my kids’ homes a week ago and now I feel myself going through bouts of grief and sadness. I guess that’s normal that I’m home without being busy taking care of my kids, walking Waffles, watching movies with them, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning.

There isn’t that much to do here with my husband and me. We don’t eat much and the house, especially the kitchen stays surprisingly clean. I could start the taxes for 2022, but I’m not motivated today.

I think I’ll give into my blahs on this gray day and bury myself with a book. My mom would call a day like this a “mung” day. She would feel no guilt for staying in her nightgown and reading all day.

Does weather affect your mood? How do you feel on gray damp days?

Our front yard after a rainy night. The gravel is a weird color because the yard was sprayed for weeds.

A whirlwind week

Olive the cat getting out of my way as I clean house.

It’s a busy week or two. We returned from a trip to Mexico. I wrote about that HERE.

My son and his girlfriend are visiting from the Bay Area. We are gong to visit Taliesin West later today. It will be a first for all of us. That’s the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. We’ll be going on a self-guided tour. A coincidence is that a friend of mine from playgroup days in Palm Springs is a director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. What a small world! I found out from a friend in Palm Springs that our mutual friend had moved to Arizona a month or two before us. I wrote about coincidences recently HERE.

Next week, I fly to Seattle to visit my 90-year-old mom. I meant to visit for her birthday last March, but we were in the throws of Omicron. Both my daughter and husband got it. What weird days those were. I was taking care of my daughter — without being near her. We would wave at each other through her apartment window. I’d go to the laundromat and grocery store for her and leave things on her front steps.

When my husband had COVID, I moved into our Casita. It has a kitchen, so I cooked him chicken soup with lots of garlic and onions. I’d leave it outside the front door and text him. I was close if he needed me, but I wasn’t in physical contact.

I now have an aversion to flying. We have taken trips by car, which I’m comfortable with, but I haven’t wanted to get on an airplane. I can’t stand the wait at the airport, the crowds, being on the plane. COVID ruined flying for me.

Did COVID change your feelings about flying, too? Or did it affect you in other ways? Did you or your family get it?

Brouhaha

View of Cactus pool lanes
The city pool in Scottsdale — where I no longer swim because it’s a 40-minute drive.
I go to the YMCA that is five miles from home.

When I went lap swimming yesterday at the YMCA, a brouhaha broke out at the pool.

Definition of brouhaha

HUBBUBUPROAR

In order to swim, you have to make a reservation for a one-hour block.

The Y has three lanes — a very small pool. Two of the lanes can accommodate two swimmers. So there are five swimmers per hour. The center lane only has one swimmer so it’s the coveted lane. You don’t have to share if you’re there.

Yesterday there were seven swimmers. Then it became eight.

The lifeguards don’t like confrontations so they list the five reservations for each hour on a white board. I double checked to make sure I showed up at the correct time. I did.

Two of the swimmers, an old man and woman, were really upset. The old guy was standing in the center lane waiting for a woman swimming laps to stop and get out. I got in one of the shared lanes and began my laps.

There was a loud discussion about the woman swimming in the center lane. Apparently she came 30 minutes early and she had a reservation at the same time as me and the old man. There’s no rule against getting in an empty lane if it’s available. But the old man was furious.

“I wasted 10 minutes waiting for the center lane,” he yelled at the lifeguards. Another woman joined him and they stood in the pool arguing with lifeguards for a good 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, I swam back and forth, head down minding my own business.

Finally a lifeguard came out with the names of reservations on a clipboard and asked me what my name was.

One person got out. The upset older man and woman wasted most of their lap swimming time pondering over if it was legal to get in the pool in an empty lane before your allotted time.

If the lifeguards were more proactive the brouhaha could have been avoided. Check people in and mark them off on the white board.

Life is too short — and an hour is a short time to swim. Why waste it?

What are your thoughts about the man and woman who were upset and arguing with the lifeguards?

Family time

We had a lovely visit with our daughter. We packed in as much as we could during her short trip. I especially loved our visit to the Desert Botanical Garden to show her the Chihuly Installation. Because it’s more than one hundred degrees outside, we opted to go for the last hour it’s open — from 7 to 8 p.m. It was gorgeous.

I’m so glad we became members because we are learning so much about desert plants like the many species of cacti, aloe and agave. There’s a butterfly garden, wildflower garden, bee garden and my favorite — a shade garden.

Tomorrow our son comes to visit. It’s wonderful to spend time with our kids, even if their trips are short! Just having them under our roof and hanging out together is blissful.

Here are a few pictures from the botanical garden:

Chihuly exhibit at Desert Botanical Garden.
My favorite Chihuly installation at the Desert Botanical Garden.
mountain view Desert Botanical Garden
A view of a nearby mountain.
bright pink wildflower
Wildflower
Chihuly at the Desert Botanical Garden.
More Chihuly. This one was too big to fit in one photo.
lavendar wildflower
More wildflowers.
Chihuly glass
bonsai elephant food.
Elephant food bonsai. We have a lot of these plants in our yard. I didn’t know the name before.

Chihuly at night.
Chihuly glass lit up at the entrance to the botanical garden.

What are your favorite things to do when your kids or friends and family visit?

Views from my visitor’s eyes

I had so much fun showing off my new home to my guest this week. I had the company of my sister-in-law to visit thrift shops, consignment stores and an outdoor mall called Scottsdale Quarter. We went out to lunch, had fun sitting around talking until late in the night — (anything past 8 p.m. is late to me!) We hiked, walked and swam in the pool.

We took her to the lake last night. She loved it and said she’s coming back with her husband. They have a boat and spend summer days on a lake.

We watched sunsets and of course the wildlife with our bobcat as the highlight. It was interesting to view my home of nine months through the eyes of someone who has never been here before. It was like seeing it for the first time.

These are the photos she took with her Android. I have an iphone SE and my camera isn’t nearly as good!

Saguaro at Lake Bartlett
Bartlett Lake near our home. My sister-in-law loved the juxtaposition of mountains, saguaros and water.
Lake views in Tonto National Forest
The lake is in the Tonto National Forest. Weekdays hardly anyone is there. The weekends are packed.
Bartlett Lake Arizona
We had a lot of rain in August and the water level looks better.
Sunset view from Raven's View
We went to a wine bar for a light dinner called Raven’s View. This was the sunset view.
Arizona sunset
It was a gorgeous sunset.

What are your favorite things about having guests? Do they stay with you or nearby? Do you like to cook for them? If you do, what do you like to prepare? If not, where do you like to go out?

Talk about penny wise…

This is a post where I throw my husband under the bus. He wasn’t “pound foolish,” but rather flat out plain foolish. I know I wrote that I wasn’t going to complain about my husband ever again in this post, but that was so last week.

sunrise in the Sonoran desert reflected in swimming pool
Our first sunrise back at home.

We drove eight hours from Santa Barbara to our Arizona home on Saturday. The car hadn’t been driving as smoothly as it normally does. Anytime we got close to 80 mph it shook. It’s never done that before. But we managed to keep it in the 70s and we had an amazing drive home without hitting traffic.

Now for the penny wise part. After we unloaded the car, I noticed the right rear tire had gone flat. I had taken the car into the dealership twice — once for servicing last month and for a recall days before our trip. I was told both times that we needed to replace the two back tires. The first time I was told this, I called my husband. I didn’t trust the dealership because one, I’m a woman, and two, some dealerships try to upsell you. The being a woman thing in my experience is that I don’t know enough about cars and mechanics and dealerships can take advantage of that.

So I relied on my husband. He said the tires were fine. He didn’t want to spend the money — the penny wise part.

We were too tired to deal with the tire after our eight-hour drive on Saturday. We called Triple A Sunday morning to change the tire. The spare tire turned out to be a little skinny thing I call “the donut tire.” Triple A came three and a half hours later. My husband said when he saw the back tire, he was shocked. It was down to metal without tread! That was on the inside of the tire where he didn’t check it — obviously — when he told me we didn’t need new tires.

We called Costco and other tire stores and NOBODY had our tires. They said it was a supply chain issue. Service at the dealership was closed.

Last night, I noticed the donut tire and left rear tire were both losing air. I called the dealership this morning at 7 a.m. and the service person said they didn’t have the tires either! I called back and asked to order tires and the guy in the parts said they DID have the tires.

I told my husband I’d follow him to the dealership. He pumped up the donut tire and put in “fix a flat” and pumped up the left rear tire with a bicycle pump!

I prayed as I followed him for 25 minutes to the dealership, watching the tires get lower as he drove.

I was shaking when we finally made it. I am so thankful we didn’t have a blow out during our eight-hour drive home from California. It could have happened anytime — on the freeway through Los Angeles — or in the desert in 110 plus heat without any cell service. We could have been stuck anywhere along the way with NO tires for days. As annoying and inconvenient as the past two days were, we are safe and it could have been a whole lot worse.

green desert views after monsoons
It must have rained while we were gone. The desert is so lush and green. Even the hillsides are green.

Have you or a family member ever been penny wise and pound foolish? In what ways? Would you do things differently if you had a chance? Have you had any experience with car dealerships or mechanics taking advantage of your lack of car knowledge?

Morning walk views

Ripe prickly pears.

This is my last desert walk for a few weeks. I’ll be walking along a beach instead. I took a few pictures of things that caught my eye, including prickly pears and bunnies. Then it was time to take Olive in to board

This bright green ocotillo was bare and dead looking when we moved in.
The wild lilac in our yard is blooming. It’s also known as purple sage according to my plant ID app.
A few of the dozens of bunnies I saw this morning. We’ve been hearing the bobcat at night climbing up a tree out or window and on our roof.

We’ve made the first leg of our journey to visit my dad. Then it will be another day before we head to Summerland. The weather today is 104 degrees with flash flood warnings. Can’t wait for the beach!