Thoughts on Leaving California

One year ago in December we left California for Arizona. I’m loving it now. But I’ll admit it took me at least half a year to warm up to the move. During my week in California for Christmas, I got homesick for my new home, Olive the cat and our wildlife of coyotes, javelina, quail and the bobcat.

Here’s what I thought one year ago about the move when it was a couple weeks after leaving California:

archway gate
The entrance to our old home in Palm Springs.

Did you know there is a private Facebook group called Leaving California? I’m not sure how I ran across it, but before we made the move, I signed up. I was surprised to find out there are more than 30,000 members!

Scrolling through the posts made me feel sad in the beginning. I wasn’t convinced I wanted to leave. I loved our home downtown Palm Springs. We were two blocks from restaurants, shops and our views were breathtaking.

To add to my uncertainty, my “adult children” were beyond furious. That was the only home they’ve known prior to moving away for college and their adult lives. They both believe we made the biggest mistake in our lives by selling our home. It does have “location, location, location.” It is beautiful. But it also had its downsides. It was rustic without many modern amenities like closet space or a roomy kitchen. I was always freezing and my fingers went numb. It was big on charm, though. It was also big on expense. For some reason — partly because it’s located in California and also that it was built in the 1930s — it was terribly expensive to keep up.

birthday party for dog
My kids celebrating Natasha the rottie’s birthday.

The kids were so angry with us that they didn’t speak to my husband or me for a bit. This made me more sad. We invited them to come home to say good-by. We also asked the buyers if we could stay for one last Christmas. They said, sure, no problem — $8,000 and Christmas was ours. We passed and decided to bite the bullet. We left our home close to 30 days of selling.

I bring this up about my kids because I noticed this week on the Facebook Leaving California page, that a lot of people are going through the same thing with their adult children. The latest post garnered close to 400 comments. Most said “Tell them to buy it if they want it.” Others were a little more understanding to the kids’ feelings.

prom photos in backyard
Pre Prom Photo in our back yard.

I understand how my kids feel. My mom had to sell our childhood home, which was gorgeous with stunning views, too. Unfortunately, she had to sell after she and my dad divorced and she could no longer afford the expenses. I can tell you, that was an extremely upsetting way to lose my childhood home — and my nuclear family. I felt like my world turned upside down and there was no gravity to keep me on the planet.

My husband felt our kids were acting spoiled. They weren’t entitled to the house. He said he’d been working since age 13 and didn’t want to work until the day he died to pay to live in our home. Although, he’s still working now in our new home, there will come a day in a couple years where he won’t have to.

My kids are coming to accept our new reality. I’m looking forward to COVID-19 vaccines and their visits to our new home. I can’t wait to show them the hiking trails we’re discovering, the quail running through our backyard and the sunsets and sunrises.

Nothing can take away all the great memories we had of 28 years living there. I truly believe that home is not a structure, but is with the people who love you.

view of gorgeous Palm Springs backyard
Our former backyard all fixed up to sell.

What are your thoughts about selling a childhood home? Would your kids understand? How did you feel when your parents did the same?

Are We Suffering from Too Much Graduation Glory?

csfI think we’re getting carried away with end-of-the year activities.

My daughter graduates high school in 14 days. Between graduation and today, we have no less than 8 events on the calendar to celebrate high school graduation. There is Baccalaureate, Senior Brunch, Senior Presents, Latin Awards, Swim Banquet, California Scholarship Banquet, etc., etc. You get the picture. Before this week, we had Senior Awards, Grad Night, ad nausea.

Am I missing something? Aren’t we overdoing this a tad bit? It is just high school, after all.

Back in the day — the late 70s — we had graduation followed by a party. Period. And our party was held at the local Grange.  

imgresWhat’s a Grange you ask? Here’s the definition. It’s a hall out in the middle of nowhere.

On the phone with my aunt last night, I was telling her how busy and crazy the next two weeks are with graduation activities. 

“Her life is just one big celebration,” my aunt said.


Yep. One big celebration. We started this road with graduation ceremonies from preschool, kindergarten and 8th grade. My son’s 8th grade class of 25 students at a Catholic school spent more than $25,000 for grad night at the local Hilton. It looked more like a wedding reception than graduation with sash covered tables, roses for each woman, photographer, magician and DJ. 

Exactly who was this night for? The 13 year-olds with pimples? Or the moms?

We had a class vote and the kids wanted a pool party or a picnic outdoors. But the moms won and we had the 8th grade grande graduation gala — plus the pool party and picnic.


I’m curious what will become of these kids that are used to glory at every turn — from a trophy for every little leaguer — to a ribbon for each kid in the spelling bee. I have a sinking feeling it won’t be good.

Photos from top: My son’s CSF banquet with friends. A Grange. My daughter’s Senior Prom. Kindergarten Graduation. Pre-K Graduationn. Kindergarten Graduation. And Me — graduating.