I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Robins are Back!

Robin in the Locust Tree in the back yard

Of course, I have one thing to say about this—yippee!  Spring must be coming shortly.  The first one showed up last Saturday.  This is thrilling for me.  They come and go all day.  I’ve managed to get a few pics, but so far have missed them splashing around in the birdbath having a grand time.  By the time I get the camera, they are out of there already.  I’m determined to get one.  If I do, I’ll post it.

Robin on the birdbath

Friday, January 24, 2014

Meanderings of the Mind and other Daily Issues

Desert Sunrise - 1 January 2014

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m really a weather freak and like it nice, so bad weather affects me a lot.  I guess it’s okay to say something about the incredible weather we’re having since January is almost over this year.  Usually as soon as you get something out of your mouth, it changes.

This is the nicest January we’ve had since we’ve lived here in the desert.  This time of year, we’re lucky to be in the thirties during the day.  We’ve had temperatures in the high fifties and low sixties with lots of sunshine and not many dreary days.  Much of the “lower forty-eight,” as it’s called in Alaska, has been colder than the last frontier itself, including where my poor sister lives in NY, so now I feel lucky.  Even today, where most of my family lives south of Houston, it was only 36 for a high.

This year is different weather wise for much of the country, but I don’t think its global warming; only a natural trend we get back to after a number of years.  We had bitterly cold weather when I growing up, but it’s been real mild since that time.  Many days it’s in the seventies in south Texas in January and will be that way starting again on Sunday.  There’s a bigger danger for colds and the flu with this yo-yo type weather.  I hope everyone’s taking precautions to stay well.  Heaven knows I remind them all the time, being the big believer in vitamin C and hand washing that I am.

 Desert Sunset - 6 January 2014

The weather is a big issue when considering where I’ll live next; hence, I’ve been keeping my eye on several places as the last couple of months have gone by.  But weather can’t be the only issue because there are many things to consider, such as cost of living.  However, I feel I don’t have to put up with the cold winters, if I can help it.  Someday, one of these moves will be my last move and I want that to be somewhere warm where I never have to worry about protecting plants from the frost and digging ice out of the birdbath.

 Birds enjoying the pool.  I thaw it out with boiling water from my teapot.
I keep wondering if February will be God-awful this year to make up for January.  Usually it rains a lot here in February and stays in the forties.  I’ve always wondered why they have the Parade of Homes here during that month because the weather is always windy and muddy, and plastic and other things have to be taped down on the floors of the new homes to protect them from the hundreds who will file through to get ideas for decorating.  I doubt they get many buyers at this affair because the homes are overpriced and so extravagant that it isn’t practical to think of living there.

Of course, we were hoping to have our house on the market in the next two weeks.  We’re moving in that direction, but we still have too much to do.  I’m sill deciding what to sell or donate, and what to keep, as I organize things to pack.  This is a slow process when I also sew, craft, draw, and read, as well as write.  I have a ton of stuff I’m not ready to part with yet, especially when I think about the replacement costs at today’s prices.

I’m still working on the rewrites of my mystery novel.  A stomach bug that kept me in bed a couple of days has put me further behind schedule.  I also had eye issues and found out I have beginning macular degeneration, so that was a shock.  I may post more about this later.  It’s hard to keep this blog up at the moment, but I’m trying my best.

Things are getting difficult for my sisters in Texas as they deal with our mother who has mild cognitive impairment, or so the doctor said in November after extensive testing.  I’m beginning to wonder if he got this right because she seems to be further advanced than that in her dementia.  Unbeknownst to her, she is slowly alienated her caregivers with her outbursts.  I want them to keep me in the loop here, so I get regular updates on her condition and all the episodes of the day that I pass on to my little sister in NY.

It’s hard to think of my mother turning into such a little devil at times because she’s such a sweet person and has sacrificed so much for us growing up.  However, I’ve seen a lot of this behavior from the days I was a bookkeeper in a nursing facility years ago.  My advice to my sisters is to grow a thick skin; the same thing writer’s have to do, in order to manage the situation.  Everyone has a breaking point, but you can’t let it get to you.  As far as I know, that’s the only way to keep going and come out the other end.  I’ll post more about this later.

I wish the best to all of you and hope you’re on track to meet your goals for 2014.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A winter getaway to southern California was perfect

Clip Art - I couldn't resist posting this because palm trees are EVERYWHERE!

Okay, I know there are different places all over this country that some people prefer over other places, for whatever reason.  That’s great because as humans we’re all different and that makes life so much more interesting.

But tell me where you can get 78-80 degree temperatures with the doors open in January, unless it’s maybe Hawaii?  I love this place.

I lived in southern California for twenty-five years before moving to the desert nine-and-a-half years ago.  It’s such a nice place that I wonder why I ever moved, even though I know the answer to that.  There’s a lot of traffic there and lots of illegal’s, as well as other facts, things like higher expenses for about everything.  Nevertheless, it will always be one of my favorite places.  I would still be living there now probably if it weren’t for my husband’s pushing to move.

Naturally, this trip came at the perfect time because it’s been so cold here.  We’ve been setting records.  I was more than ready to get away to that California sunshine.  Don’t get me wrong because it is sunny much of the time here, just way too cold.

 The famous Beverly Hills sign.  This has been here forever.

We visited friends in Beverly Hills first.  It was fun to see the old Beverly Hills sign again.  It brought back old memories from my first time there when I was sixteen.  My grandmother lived there at the time.  I swore to myself back then that I was moving to California one day and I eventually did many years later, via a detour of two other states first.

The Hollywood sign was too far away to capture with my camera, but it was there on the hill gleaming white in the sun.

I did capture this Christmas decoration on Wilshire Blvd.

 Mall we visited on Santa Monica Blvd.  They had trees and flowers spread out everywhere.

 This is a shot of the mall from the second floor.  They had coffee shops and lots of outdoor seating areas with fire pits.

Our next stop was north San Diego County where we used to live.  We stayed with a friend there and visited other friends the rest of the trip.  Of course, we had to drive by the old neighborhoods and hangouts too.  Some things have changed, but many are the same.

 This is the new hospital from my friend's house.

I was able to get a few pics from the hill our friend lives on.  She has a view of the big new hospital they’ve built and the surrounding hills.  And of course, we loved her adorable animals, a dog and three cats.  We felt right at home and all the cats eventually warmed up to us.  The little one was very friendly and played his heart out until he would collapse on the floor to catch his breath.  He’s only eight-months-old and a male Ragdoll.  We wanted to smuggle him home, ha!

This is Fiero, the Ragdoll kitten

 This is Domani (it means tomorrow in Italian)

 This is Garage Key - a rescued stray

This is Bubba

Naturally, we ate Mexican food and let our hair down drinking wine while watching football playoffs.  But that was a lot better than politics that’s usually always on at my house.  The wine drinking ended up in my friend breaking her toe on a chair leg one night.  It was no big deal to her.  She told us it’s happened before.  Ouch!  I’m not sure how she got up early to attend a seminar the entire next day.  Once home, she went out to water plants on the hill behind her house afterwards, and then we went to eat out.  Her toe was black and blue, but she said she was okay.  I guess she’s stronger than I am.

We had so much fun laughing and talking.  I hated to see the trip end.  I also didn’t get to see all my friends this time, so I phoned them instead.  I promised my husband I wouldn’t write the schedule as tight as I did when we visited there last May.  I wore him out running around.  However, he’s usually ready to quit by nine PM and I’m the night owl.

This is me and my friend, Kara.  We met for breakfast.

This is Scott - my husband's old business partner

 Of course, we looked at property in different places and saw some open houses to get an idea if moving back there is even in our price range anymore.

The worst part of the whole trip was the six-and-a-half hours through miles and miles of desert.  That’s not to say the white-knuckle time driving through LA isn’t nerve racking and a close second.  But it keeps you on your toes.  When the scenery is boring, that’s when I tend to fall asleep.  There’s nothing to see but sand, Joshua trees, and sagebrush.  If we do move that way again, my husband is not crazy about me driving because when we were moving here, I ran over curbs and off the road and didn’t even know it.  I guess we’ll have to stop more often for coffee next time.

This is what much of the six-and-a-half-hour drive looks like.

The next trip will be to Texas to check that out.  It’s not as if I don’t know what that’s like, but he wants to be at least an hour from my family because all of us talk too much.  We’ll need to check prices there on many things and see how affordable that is.  I’m not sure yet when this trip will happen.  Actually the sooner the better because it makes me anxious not knowing where we’re going and what size house we’ll end up in.  That might make getting rid of things easier.

So at the moment that’s our two options, southern California or south Texas.