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Puppy-Girl-Approved Reflection of 2020

Sunday Stills Challenge  

“Retrospective shows our year in words, photos, stories, and other creative endeavors. Share your good and bad, your best and worst, and what your hope is as 2021 begins.”

Terri Webster Schrandt

As strange as it was, it may have been one of the busiest year of our lives. I love what Terri said about the year in her challenge post talking about the game-changing done by COVID 19.

“…If this was a sci-fi movie, the plot would demonstrate the resilience of humanity as we navigate through these unprecedented times.” 

Terri Webster Schrandt

Lens-Artists Challenge #129 – Favorite Images of 2020

Tina Schell’s posts reminds me that I don’t need to be so wordy, I can just share my favorite pictures – even that would be 12 pictures, and I have way more than that to share. Donna had a great idea when she displayed her pictures and grouped several together by month.

Also Included Are:

This post is way too long. Take your time or skim, either way thank you for reading and being part of my Always Write Hobby Blogger Family this year. You are the some of the bright spots in my 2020 tapestry. It was a memorable year with the good and bad woven so tightly into the design that you couldn’t unravel it with the sharpest stitch remover.

January 2020

We brought 2020 in with a bang in Las Vegas with our blogging friends from Australia, Carol and Glen.

Las Vegas Fireworks welcoming in 2020

We only has a short time with them, but squeezed in a trip to Hoover Dam, sights on the strip on New Year’s Even, a trip to the pawn shop of the famous Pawn Stars, and downtown Las Vegas.

We drove home to California and had time for only about an hour in the Sequoia National Park.

Days after they left, I had my final surgery following nearly a year-long bout with breast cancer. Vince was scheduled for eye surgery for cataracts in February and Scardy, our 19-year old cat had successful surgery for nose cancer.

Marching along the timeline of life, you have no way of knowing the the line is going to break two months down the road. Looking back we are so grateful that we got all those medical issues out of the way when we did.

Vince finished building a walkway and bridge in the garden. Puppy Girl inspects all his work and gave her approval. This picture is in black and white for Cee’s Black and White Challenge Outside Your Home.

Bridge over no water at Bellavista, our home in Elderwood, CA

February – Supposed Alien

After his successful eye surgery, Vince and I took one last trip to Las Vegas in which we occupied our time hiking around the gorgeous Valley of Fire. This upstanding statue kept his feelings well hidden. Surely those tears did not come from a volcanic eruption!


On the night of our Woodlake Awards Banquet, before the pandemic officially started, we found out that two Kiwanians were quarantined with possible COVID-19. We were stunned, not just that they were sick, but that they were condemned to stay in their home for two weeks. Kiwanians stepped in to bring them food and groceries. Even so, I could not in my wildest dreams have foreseen what was coming. Within two weeks everyone holed up in their homes during the California Lock-Up.

Our son was supposed to visit us at the end of March and he called and canceled. I was shocked and a little perturbed at the time. It only seemed logical that if everyone stayed home for two weeks, the bug would get fed-up and die out.

I stayed home except to walk around Bravo Lake with my friend Sally until the pandemic blew over, which I assumed would be soon. Sally made us masks which I wore when I went out and eventually got used to breathing through it.

April – the Month of Hope

Hope evaporates
Like steam off a cup of tea
Yet life continued

Written for Tanka Tuesday Hope.

roses at Woodlake Rose Garden

May – Month of Mechanical Mess-ups

When our air conditioner died, it disrupted COVID-19 from first place upsets. Washing lettuce from our garden supplied most of our excitement and coolant during May.

cleaning lettuce for entertainment

I grew up in Indiana and then Oregon without an air conditioner. At a family reunion my seven-year-old self overheard an adult relative who shall remain nameless because I don’t have the slightest idea who said it, “Look at poor Marsha, she sweats just like her mother.”

I was upset at her insulting, though accurate diagnosis even though it was supposed to sound like sympathy.

Fast forward nearly 30 years when my first husband and I moved to California we lived in an adobe house with a swamp cooler in the hall ceiling outside the only bathroom. That was important because of my hair and the nature of swamp coolers, which blow hot wet air when the temperature rises over 90. My thin wisps whipped around my face into my eyes, stuck to my contacts and made me cry ruining my carefully applied makeup and my hairdo every time I left the bathroom.

I digressed to supply an explanation for how supremely important air conditioning is in my life. When the AC could not be replaced in a timely manner because of the COVID slowdown, a couple of people suggested that we needed a swamp cooler. LOL

June – Month of Real Estate Transactions

Vince retired from real estate because of his bad hearing in January, but that did not stop the transactions. We sold a rental in March – a miracle we thought because of COVID-19. As it turned out COVID-19 had turned everyone into real estate tycoons including us. This was our second transaction – a replacement rental for my IRA account. It rented as soon as it was completed, and has been a blessing in our life.

New rental house in Visalia, CA

Food is always a priority on my list. Our air conditioner still wasn’t working as the weather heated up and the restaurants stayed closed because of COVID-19.

One of our best friends invited us over for dinner and air conditioning several times a week. One couple baked pizza on Wednesdays for pick-up and donated a large part of the proceeds to the Woodlake Food Pantry. June wasn’t euphoric, but it was a time of getting creative and grouping together to get through the crisis.

July – What Else Could Happen?

My blogging friend Terri Webster Schrandt actually came to our home in the short interim in which the air conditioner worked, and the flood hadn’t started. Even though a raccoon bit me in the middle of the night after I kicked it to get it to let go of Puppy Girl.

My method worked, and I drove myself to the hospital at 3:30 am for rabies shots. Terri heard my screaming and the commotion and thought nothing of it – coyote howls. Vince didn’t hear anything until Puppy Girl ran screaming into the house and jumped on him.

I was raring to go on a photo journey the next day to Sequoia National Park.

Realtors, even retired ones, invest in real estate. Vince got a call from a builder friend of his asking if we would sell the vacant lot next to us. We had left the acre fallow for twenty years rather than one year every seven as the Old Testament required. At that rate, it should be productive for another 140 years.

We sold the lot and the next Sunday Vince invited another realtor friend over to “look at” our house and update the estimate on how much it might be worth. She also listed the rental where Vince’s sister lived, and Cindy moved in with us.

In the meantime, I kept occupied blogging and taking in five of our neighbor’s 50+ feral cats to the vet to be fixed. They came back missing part of an ear (and other parts, too). That’s how you can tell they are fixed. Another five we caught/trapped and carted off to new homes. That was not super successful.

Neighborhood Healthy Feral Cat Colony

August – More Mess-ups

Some of you have read these sad tales of our air conditioner flood before, so I won’t repeat them. All these catastrophes kept our minds off COVID-19.

Looking in through a window at our flooded room

By the end of August, we had endured all the paperwork of two more real estate transactions. Our utmost need was to find a place for Cindy and her stuff to live other than our tiny cabana. Vince still wanted to move to Prescott, AZ, so we embarked on our fifth transaction and bought a condo for Cindy – in Prescott. Good thing she wanted to move with us! Now we had to uproot!

September – Septic Upwelled – AGAIN!

You’ve read our cat stories of Snickerdoodle and Tex. They were untroubled by our turmoil. By September we were itching to move. Vince still wanted to get a few more things perfect before we listed the house, but our realtor Patty urged him not to wait to list the house. So we sold the house, our sixth transaction for the year, and then dealt with the septic problems.

Snickerdoodle above, Tex below, my sunglasses for perspective

October – Giddyup

On a more upbeat note, Patty and Jesse took the three of us to a Dave Stamey outdoor concert as a thank you for listing Cindy’s condo. We felt safe and joyful as we sat in family groups in the open air enjoying the famous cowboy poet. Here is a short video for your euphonic enjoyment.

Open Air Dave Stamey Fundraiser in Elderwood, CA

Another positive event of the month was the honor of hosting one of the Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contests.

November – Goodbye

“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.”

Germany Kent
Last view of Bellavista, our house for nearly 20 years.

The garage sale was long over. The movers had loaded the last of our furniture and boxes. It was empty. I took pictures of every room, but there were no wall-hugging pictures of me. I was alone and I don’t have long enough arms to do selfies.

Vince had gone the day before in a UHAUL with all of Cindy’s things.

Brave or stupid, Jesse agreed to drive Cindy to Prescott in her car and they left early in the morning as the movers arrived. I have never been more grateful to anyone in my life. But the dangers of COVID-19 still raged in our county as they flame now in Arizona. Like Patty and I, they traveled nine hours in a car together and I believe that God kept them both safe.

I said goodbye to our home of nearly twenty years and went three miles up the road where the animals and I spent the night at Sally and Mike’s Bed and Breakfast, Running P Ranch. Smart move!

December – New Beginnings

Bridge at Tanglewood Hills Cindy’s new home

My life is full of new beginnings now. Besides the fact that I am in a new place, one of the tools that have kept me sane and healthy over the last 9 months is blogging.

The series of interviews of so many blogging challenges on the web got me started with a purpose for my blog. By supporting challenges I can share my photos and my stories, meet friends, and have fun.

The series ran its course and then Story Chat sprang up with Hugh Roberts’ The People Under the Stairs. What fun that has been! In less than two weeks you will read “A Postcard from the Past” by Anne Goodwin.

Because of the interview with Colleen Chesebro, I started learning and using poetry in my writing. I’ve met so many interesting people through her blog. She invited me to restart one of her challenges, Writers Quotes Wednesdays Writer’s Challenge, #WQWWC.

Another interviewee, Yvette Prior honored me with an interview. Next week Yvette will host the #WQWWC topic “Persistence” on Priorblog. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about it. Please join in on her blog next week. I will post a response to her challenge right along with you, and will visit your responses along with her.

Searching for shapes at Willow Lake in Prescott, AZ.

Thanks for taking the time to read this long post. Please visit some of the other participants when you visit Sunday Stills, Lens-Artists, Cee’s Fun Fotos Challenge, and Becky B’s Square Up as well as Tanka Tuesday. And don’t forget to check out #WQWWC on Priorblog next Wednesday.

48 replies »

    • It was rather full. Sorry to unload on your challenge, Patti!! I think everyone has challenging years. Last year was exceptional for everyone. I’m looking forward to ordinary adventures this year. LOL


  1. Wow, you had an eventful year, Marsha! How did you have time to blog this much? So many changes as well. I’m glad the move to Arizona worked out alright. Love the kitties as well. Cute!

    Now, I have to get to the Valley of Fire. Your photos reminded me of southern Utah. I remember Terri’s visit and the photos of her two visits to the Valley of Fire.

    Enjoy a “settled” and more relaxing 2021 without any (home) disasters!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi dear Norah,

      I hope your 2021 journey is wonderful as well. 2020 was weird for everyone. I just hope our political situation calms down. 2021 is not off to a good start here. 😦

      I think 2021 will be much more settled for us barring any major health issues. We have been so blessed even considering my cancer, we are healthy. When you move a long way from any support system, that is so important. Most people that move, especially at our ages, move closer to family and friends. We are counting on being able to make new friends. This is a very friendly town, but odd times with COVID. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was in the middle of the comment when my phone rang. Oh yeah, it does take a long time to compose a retrospective, Marsha! A whole year and in your case, wow, you were busy!! Your photos tell a great story of the ups and downs. Poor you and the AC issues. I hate the heat, why do you think I had no problem moving north? I love the post title, Puppy Girl is so cute. She was lion-hearted going after that racoon, though. And 6 real estate transactions? Holy moly I would have lost my mind! And you still got a lot done! I know you are enjoying your new life and I’m hoping you got your furniture by now. We got to see the inside of the house a couple of days ago. I’m pleased with everything so far. Happy Friday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Did I say six, I meant 7. I think I forgot the last one. Oh well! Yes, I don’t mind the cold here at all – 50-60 degrees during the day and 20s at night. My friend Jean warned and warned me that I wouldn’t like it, but I have lived in Indiana, Oregon and Colorado. I know all kinds of cold, and this is nothing. Neither is yours, really. Not compared to the Midwest and far North. I love Washington. Of course it is much colder where you are than Seattle or Vancouver, which is the side of the mountains I am most familiar with. I think we are both going to be very happy in our new places. I would definitely love to visit you in the summer. Talk about beautiful weather! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m hoping so, too. Actually I think COVID spurred our commitment to move. In withdrawing from people and activities, it allowed us to consider the option of moving. Otherwise, there would never have been time to move!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well Marsha, you have won several kudos for this one – longest response to our weekly challenge, most real estate transactions in one year, most homeowner disasters in one year, most cats taken care of/rescued in one year, most moves in one year —– I could go on and on but will stop there. You however do not compete with Terri for most disaster-ridden move of the year LOL. Thanks for sharing your year with us, I enjoyed every word (and yes, I did read them all) and the accompanying images. Looking forward to hearing more about life in AZ!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww, thank you Tina. You are such a dear. I have loved getting acquainted with all the Lens Artists. The challenge has become a staple in my blogging diet, and you have all become friends. I look forward to each week. 🙂 Thanks for the lovely comment, Tina. 🙂


    • Thank you for your kind comment, Donna. I look forward to 2021 as well. I think I’m going to add a goal counter to my sidebar to keep track of my steps. 🙂





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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