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?

VRBO views

stone lion with Christmas decorations
I saw this nicely decorated lion on a morning walk around the corner from the Christmas VRBO.

We’ve left the VRBO and we’re headed home slowly. It took a ton of energy and hard work to pack 12 people and to get the house in shape for the housekeepers. I’m waiting to hear that my son’s car has arrived safely to the Bay Area. They were the last car to leave along with us at noon.

We decided to spend the night with our dear friends who live in the Santa Barbara area and get up at dawn to make the nine-hour trek home. The packing and cleaning left us too tired and too late to make the drive. Plus, I’m hoping for better weather tomorrow. Another storm is currently walloping the coast.

I miss Olive the cat and hope she’s not too angry with me for boarding her. In our new home and her new career as an indoor cat, she’s become very affectionate. I have bonded with this lovable kitty more than ever. The goal is to stop on our way home to pick her up from cat jail before they close.

views of Santa Barbara marina from the Christmas house.
The view from the master bedroom deck in our Christmas VRBO.
View from master bedroom of Santa Barbara VRBO
The master bedroom French doors to the patio with spectacular views.
Santa Barbara sunset.
Sunset

Happy New Year! I’m ready for 2022. How about you? Are you looking forward to saying goodbye to 2021?

Views from Christmas Week

sunrise over the Pacific
Sunrise view from the VRBO deck.

We spent Christmas together with our kids and our son’s girlfriend and family. This is our third Christmas together. We missed 2020 due to COVID — or it would be number four. This year, we rented a VRBO between our home and the Bay Area (where everyone but us lives). The house was amazing and it was a wonderful few days with family. My daughter and I had a mother-daughter day while the rest went to Solvang. I absolutely loved our time alone together. We spent so much time together while she was growing up that it was taken for granted. Now it’s a huge gift.

Christmas photo in Santa Barbara
The Christmas Crew
The Anderson Bakery in Santa Barbara
One of our musts in Santa Barbara for breakfast.
Statue at the marina in Santa Barbara
Statue at the marina.
Seawall at the Santa Barbara marina.
Seawall at the marina where the ocean and seaweed splashes over the wall.
selfie of mom and daughter
Mother daughter selfie on our much needed day together.
Path over the Santa Barbara marina barrier
At the end of the seawall you can walk the plank to a small beach.
On the Alley fish tacos
Fish tacos from On the Alley in the Santa Barbara marina. The best. I’m trying to find something close in AZ.

All of my son’s girlfriend’s family play stringed instruments. Two of the seven are professional musicians and we enjoyed Christmas Eve, Christmas and post Christmas concerts in our living room. Below are two samples of the amazing music we were treated to.

Christmas Eve concert snippet.

Thanksgiving gratitude for family and friends

Santa Barbara sunset
Sunset on Thanksgiving Eve in Santa Barbara several years ago.

I wrote this post about my Thanksgiving several years ago without our kids. Unfortunately, we hardly ever see the children on Thanksgiving anymore. But we do have plans to be together for a week over Christmas. Here’s what I wrote on my first kidless Thanksgiving:

Our first Thanksgiving without our kids. I’m thankful they are with dear friends and their families since they weren’t able to make the trek home this year. Instead of moping around the house feeling sorry about my empty nest, we’re celebrating with our close friends. It was 30 years to the day that I first met them (my husband met the husband through work) and we spent Thanksgiving weekend sailing with them in Santa Barbara.

Here’s to friends and family and creating memories together.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Waffles the Ute Pug says Happy Thanksgiving!
My daughter’s team sent out a Thanksgiving message with her pup. The sports marketing team adored him.

Who are you sharing your Thanksgiving with? What traditions do you share with friends and family?

Views from my week

sun setting in the desert
Almost sunset the other night in the neighborhood.

Besides sitting down writing this week for NaNoWriMo, I went for walks, enjoyed sunrises and sunsets and was entertained by Olive the cat and our friendly quail. FYI, I’m almost 10,000 words into my 50,000-word challenge. My husband took off to help our son move so I’m alone and will have lots of quiet time to write. I’m stressed because he didn’t leave himself enough time. He may be on his way back home in an hour. It’s out of my control, but it’s the type of thing that makes me anxious.

My son is moving from his apartment of five years into a house with more space. My son needs help because he isn’t supposed to lift anything due to his August shoulder surgery. My daughter said, “Only my brother would plan a move when he wouldn’t be able to pack or lift anything.”

She’s looking to move as well, so my husband might be moving her if she finds a place this weekend. She looking at apartments this very minute. Funny, the house my son is moving into is 700 feet from the house my daughter gave notice to leave. It wasn’t planned and I’m sure they’d like the close proximity, but it just worked out that way. My son is moving for more space and the black mold they discovered doesn’t agree with him. My daughter is moving because she’s in a co-op with a total of eight people and she’d like to try living alone. She said she’s tired of other people’s messes. Just wait until she has kids someday!

cat peering through cat grass looking out a window.
Olive hides behind her cat grass waiting for the quail to appear on the patio.
Quail out the window where I sit and write.
A bunny hangs out with the quail.
Sunset in Arizona
Sunset.

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Anybody have more exciting plans than mine of sitting and writing? What are your plans? How much time do you give yourself at the airport when you travel?

Life goes on… fitbit or not

Sunset in the Sonoran Desert.
Sunset view in our neighborhood the other night.

It’s been over a week without checking my steps and sleep on my fitbit. It went kaput and I wrote about that HERE. How have I survived? Well, the only complaint I have has nothing to do with fitness tracking, but the lack of toilet paper in the grocery store.

In fact, things are better than alright. When I’m on my morning walks or after a night’s sleep, I don’t focus on the device tracking my every move. I know if I slept well or not. I feel I’m more in touch with how I feel physically rather than being dependent on an arbitrary number. I don’t need to know how many steps I take each day. I get plenty. Although my husband still wants to compete. He’ll interrupt my writing to tell me how many steps he has. I look back at him with a blank stare.

Although the fitbit has it’s advantages, I’m not in a rush to get a new one. I feel I’m more in the moment watching the sunset, enjoying my wildlife, swimming, walking. I’m more focused on my surroundings. I also don’t need to know what time it is every few minutes.

I wonder If I’d feel even better if I point down the iphone? Not checking on electronics has its benefits.

We had javelinas at sunset at our front door!

Have you ever taken a break from your devices? How did it go?

How long do you think you’d last without a fitness tracker or a smart phone?

Moving day: An exercise in tired!

Moving van

The moving van arrived.

Friday was moving day. Our movers arrived at 9 a.m. and we thought it would be a couple hours and we’d hit the road. No, we were wrong. By 5 p.m. the movers realized the van was full and we still had a bunch of stuff in the garage like bikes, a wheelbarrow and my daughter’s small desk. Plus the STORAGE UNIT where we’ve been squirreling away boxes and stuff for months.

Yikes! They had to rent a U-Haul and we gave them the keys to the storage unit. They said they’d come back the next morning and pick up the rest of our stuff in the garage when our housekeeper and dear friend Delia would be cleaning.

We drove on to Arizona and our new home, minus our stuff. We thankfully packed suitcases. Our fellow Piranha parents and close friends drove one of our cars packed to the hilt, plus their car complete with all the stuff from our freezer and fridge. Now, those are real friends who volunteer to drive an 8-hour round trip to make our move easier!

I have driving anxiety and panic attacks driving on freeways and couldn’t face the four-hour drive. Our daughter was going to fly down from SFO and drive one car and help us unpack. Then the state went into lockdown and she didn’t feel good about flying. So our friends volunteered to help us out and meanwhile her supposed flight was cancelled. So it all worked out in the end.

moving boxes in house

Our new living room. So much work to do!

We got to our Arizona home at 10:30 p.m. Unpacked what we had and settled into bed around midnight exhausted beyond comprehension. The moving van and U-haul arrived at 2 p.m. the next day and we’ve worked a solid weekend to get the kitchen in order and our closet organized. Kitty is stressed and hiding under the bed in the casita, where we’ve been living.

pink skies at sunset in Arizona

My new backyard as the sun begins to set.

I don’t recommend moving after 28 years after living in one house on anyone. It’s an unusually hard task, mentally and physically. But, when we’re more settled the sunsets will make it all worthwhile.

Cactus Arizona sunset

Sunset and saguaros in the neighborhood.