Things To Do In Palm Springs On A Thursday Night

So last Thursday night was Palm Springs VillageFest. Every Thursday night is Palm Springs VillageFest so if you ever plan a visit to Palm Springs, make sure you are there on a Thursday night.  Several blocks of Palm Canyon Drive, the main shopping and restaurant road,  are blocked off for a street festival featuring art, food and music.  In conjunction with VillageFest, the Palm Springs Museum of Art which is just a couple of blocks over from Palm Canyon Drive offers free admission on Thursday afternoons.

We took full advantage of this by visiting the museum then wandering around VillageFest admiring the crafts, sampling the food and listening to some very good musicians. My favorite was guitarist, David Wayne. He was playing Sound of Silence when we walked by and we stopped and listened for quite a while. You can listen to it at his website www.davidwaynemusic.com.

I also decided to wear a bit of art home. This was an original creation by the artist who was so delighted with his handiwork that he took a picture of it to add to his book of tattoo choices. My leg, or more precisely a picture of my leg, is now in a tattoo book.  No, it is not permanent, the tattoo not the picture in the book, it may very well be permanent I have no way of knowing that. I have no desire to be stabbed repeatedly with a needle. And if I did decide to get a real tattoo, I’m sure I’d be flinching so much the tattoo would end up looking like something Salvador Dali would do if he had been a tattoo artist. This is a henna tattoo and it is starting to fade but should still be visible for a few more days. Maybe by the time it fades, I’ll be caught up with everyone’s blogs. I’m on the posts from November 12th, so I am making a bit of progress.  I’ll keep you posted.

 

I’ve Got Mail

Somewhere between the Salton Sea and Palm Springs, 11/6/11

I’m back home after 10 days in California. It was also 10 days without the internet. I don’t own a smartphone and refuse to lug a laptop when I travel. I keep my load as light as possible. I once went to Africa for 16 days and took a carry on bag. When I came back through customs, the agent asked me where my luggage was. I pointed to my bag and said I was trying to travel light and he smiled and said, “I think you succeeded,” and then waved me through.

Our flight which was supposed to land in Tampa around 10:30 p.m. was about 45 minutes late – something about flying around a line of storms that extended from Memphis into the Gulf. Then it is a little over an hour drive to my little town. But when we pulled into my driveway, I got out of the car and looked up at the night sky and saw what I love, but hadn’t seen in 10 days, a night sky filled with stars. I kept looking up while we were in California and we were treated to a lovely full moon, but on those evenings before the moon rose, the only visible star through the light polluted skies of southern California wasn’t a star, but Jupiter.

After unpacking, yes, I unpack before crawling in bed. I would much rather dump dirty clothes in the laundry basket and put away stuff than have to deal with it in the morning, I logged on to the internet thinking I’d quickly check email. I had over 300 emails. I quickly deleted the junk and read the few personal ones which left 252 blog related emails. Only three or four were comments on my blog, the rest were notifications of posts from what I thought was a handful of blogs I follow.

Yikes! Don’t you people have anything else to do? Actually, I know you have other things to do because I read about them on your blogs. So, how do I decide which to read first? Do I go through and read my favorite bloggers’ posts first? Yes, I have favorites and no, I’m not going to tell you who they are.  Or do I go in the order in which they were received? Or do I try to read the old ones and read the new ones as they come in? This last option seems to be the best on the face of it, but what if I’m reading a post from today and there is a reference to something in a post from a couple of days ago, I won’t get the reference because I haven’t read that one yet.

Proof I made it to Taco Tia!

So I decided to answer the comments to my blog, and post a quick comment on Brainrants to let him know that he was off the hook and would not have to devour one of my thongs with or without the special sauce because I did find both Taco Tia and In-N-Out Burger while I was in California. The burrito and the burger (and vanilla shake) were very good.  I then started to read a few of the blogs from the 5th before getting in my warm, comfy bed around 2 a.m. I didn’t miss the internet while I was gone, but I did miss my pillow.

So today after a trip to the grocery store, I started reading your blogs in the order in which they were received. I’m now on the November 7th posts. I’m opting not to comment unless I am truly moved or laughed uncontrollably or some other extreme until I get caught up which I expect will be sometime in the future.

Planning to Plan

When I began my blogging adventure almost four months ago, I didn’t really have a plan, which isn’t too surprising as I haven’t had much of a plan for most of my life. I sometimes wonder how my life would have turned out if I had been more of a planner.  Although having a plan, doesn’t guarantee the outcome you plan on achieving. Sometimes plans don’t work out and you have to scrap those plans and start over with another plan. So why plan? I don’t have an answer to that question which is probably why I’m not big on planning.

This is not to say I never make plans. I plan on going to Orlando this weekend to spend a couple of days with my cousin. I have no idea what we may do while I’m there, but I do plan on being there.  I plan on going to the movies tomorrow with my movie friend, Jean. This is not so much a plan as it is a ritual. We go to the movies almost every Tuesday, because Tuesday is dollar popcorn day. The price went up to two dollars at the beginning of the year, but we still call it dollar popcorn day.

I plan on flying to California in a couple of weeks, though what I will really do is get on a plane that someone far more capable than me will fly to California.  There is a general plan for what we will do while we’re in California, but this is more the result of Jennifer’s planning. I’m along for the ride, so to speak. I did tell her that we need to visit Taco Tia’s and In-N-Out Burger because Brainrants told me they have the best burritos and burgers around. I’ve been consulting maps and Google. The In-N-Out Burger should be easy as they seem to be everywhere, but the Taco Tia’s will be more like a mission.

I often travel with people who like to have most of the trip planned out. I’m good with that, though I’m also good with traveling without a plan.  I spent four days in Paris without a plan, but we managed to see quite a bit of the city. Same thing happened in Venice – no plan, buts lots of walking and discovering hidden little places away from the crowds and off the beaten track.  My second week in Australia had no plan from the moment we landed in Cairns until we left Kangaroo Island, yet we managed to snorkel along the Great Barrier Reef, go bird watching on the Daintree River, climb Ayers Rock and feed fruit to orphaned bats.

It’s best to be flexible when traveling as plans often go astray. About the only thing that really makes me a little crazy when traveling is missing a connecting flight, especially overnight flights to Europe. Been there, done that, and waiting around an airport for 24 hours is not that much fun. The upside was we ended up in first class for the flight to London because those were the only seats available on any flight. That part was nice and made missing a whole day of a trip more bearable.  So things usually work out with or without a plan.

I think having a regular job makes people think they have a plan because they do have to show up for their job and get things done. It may not be the job they planned on having, but once they have it, they stay because it’s better than they thought or it’s easier to stay than to make a plan to leave and get another job.

Somehow, I got off on a tangent. This is not what I planned on writing when I began this post. I really planned on writing about…..oh, who am I kidding? I didn’t have a plan when I sat down to write this or when I started this blog. I’m really not much for planning unless it’s planning to make plans, though I usually procrastinate and the plan for a plan never gets very far. Someday I may have a plan, but I’ll probably need a plan for that.

It’s All Greek To Me, Part One

Ahhh, the joys of flexibility and not just the physically fit kind. This past week began with a call on Monday from Chris asking if I could petsit with his dog, Chief. He wanted me to come down Tuesday night and stay until Thursday afternoon. Since I had no set plans, I said yes.

Tuesday morning, I called Dawn and we made plans to meet for lunch on Wednesday. I left a message with Jenn as I hoped to get together with her either for dinner on Wednesday or lunch on Thursday.  Jenn then left me a message saying that she wouldn’t be able to do dinner as she was on vacation, but would check her calendar when she returned to work on Thursday to see if lunch would be a possibility.

I arrived at Chris and Amber’s house on Tuesday evening and they introduced me to Chief, their blind cocker spaniel, and showed me around the house. Soon after leaving on their trip, Chris called and asked if I could stay another night as they wanted to extend their trip.

“No problem,” I replied and we agreed that I would stay with Chief until noon on Friday.

On Wednesday, as I headed out the door to meet Dawn for lunch, my cell phone rang. It was Dawn, calling to say the morning had gotten away from her and could we do lunch on Thursday.

“No problem,” I replied and we agreed to meet the next day at California Pizza Kitchen. I went back inside the house and fixed a salad. I left Jenn a message saying Thursday would not be good for lunch, but I could do dinner that night or lunch on Friday.

Chief and I spent the afternoon lazing on the screen porch enjoying the breeze and the view of the lake, though I’m the only one who enjoyed the view. Chief enjoyed the smells. I did a bit of writing. Jenn called later that day to say lunch on Friday would be perfect and we settled on a time and place.

Thursday morning was a bit gloomy with the threat of rain. I headed over to the mall to meet Dawn at CPK.  I know Dawn from my former life as an employed person. We worked at the same dealership and would have lunch together at least once a month, time and our schedules permitting. She still works there, and when I’m back in the area, we get together for lunch when we can.

Dawn brought her youngest daughter, Erin, with her to lunch. Erin adores mac and cheese, even the fancy CPK mac and cheese made with rotini instead of elbow macaroni. I use rotini in my mac and cheese, though I opt for the whole wheat variety. I also substitute frozen butternut squash for half of the cheddar cheese and top it with breadcrumbs crushed from my home made garlic croutons and a little bit of parmesan cheese. It’s yummy.

Dawn has three kids and all of them have a first name that starts with the letter “E” as does her husband. I’ve never asked her if being the only one in the family without a name that begins with “E” makes her feel special or a bit of an outsider.  If she should ever want to join the “E” crew, I think she should try on the name Eos.

Eos was the Greek goddess of the dawn. She opened the gates of heaven each morning to let her brother, Helios, drive his chariot across the sky.

I think this name would be perfect for her and not just because of the obvious Dawn-Eos connection but because Dawn is as beautiful as you would expect a Greek goddess of the dawn to be. She has gorgeous light red hair that she wears long and straight, though she occasionally wears it a bit wavy. She has a cute figure and a dazzling smile.  Her laugh is contagious and she always strives to make life easier for those around her.  She’s courageous and a fantastic friend.

She’s also flexible which makes her a perfect travel companion. She helped me celebrate my 51st birthday three years ago in Las Vegas. We arrived without much of a plan, choosing to let spontaneity be our guide. We rode the roller coaster, dined at Rao, saw Bette Midler in concert, and hit a salsa bar.  Copious amounts of alcohol were consumed, mostly margaritas and cosmos with a few glasses of wine thrown in for good measure. We had a blast!  I can’t reveal any more details because of that whole needs to stay in Vegas rule, but I can attest to her ability to keep a secret!

And That’s What Friends Are For

I spent the first weekend in June at Amelia Island with three girlfriends. I do at least one “girl’s trip” a year.  We pick a place we’ve never seen, pack an overnight bag and hit the road. This is a wonderful way for those with husbands, kids or both to leave them behind for two or three days to decompress with sightseeing, girl talk and liberal amounts of alcohol.

Now for the travelogue portion of the diary.  Amelia Island and the little town of Fernandina Beach are as beautiful and charming as I had heard. Our hotel backed up to Fort Clinch State Park and was a half block from the beach and just a mile or so from the historic district. The historic district is filled with Victorian homes on shady lots dotted with huge oak trees. The downtown area features a small harbor on the intercoastal waterway. There are shops and restaurants and an art gallery that features local artists. It is very pedestrian friendly

On the first Friday night of the month, there is a free concert in the historic district. And Saturday mornings feature a farmers’ market filled with gorgeous produce, artisan breads, and delicious olive salad (I adore olive salad). Every restaurant we tried was very good and the little cupcake shop we found was filled with fabulous sweet treats.

There is a great little bar and grill right on the beach called Sandy Bottoms. The food is good and they have live entertainment at night and since it was only a half block from our hotel, we didn’t have to have a designated driver. We lunched there on Saturday.

At this point, I must introduce the cast of characters. Gwen and Jean are married (but not to each other) and have no kids. I have known them for many years. Jean is my movie buddy. We share a love of cinema and usually see two or three movies a month, almost always on Tuesdays, because Tuesday is dollar popcorn day at our local cinema. It’s really now $2 for a small popcorn on Tuesdays. They raised the price in January, but we still call it dollar popcorn day. Jean and I are also soul sisters of a sort since we share the same birth month (July) and both of us feel a birthday should be celebrated all month long. This idea originated with another dear friend, Deb.

Jennifer rounded out our foursome for the weekend. I have only known Jennifer for a few months. She is divorced and raising her teenage son. This was her first vacation in several years. I am single and childless. I often joke that most of the world’s problems can be attributed to one thing – too many people. So by remaining childless, I like to think that I am part of the solution.

The four of us range in age from late 40’s to early 60’s. We differ in our political and religious beliefs but we can engage in spirited discussions of our viewpoints and still remain friends. Our lunch time discussion for some reason landed on the topic of aging and dying.

At this point I said, “At least you guys either have a husband or child who might be there if something happens. If I should die at home, it’ll probably be a week before anyone checks on me. My body will be decomposing in the house.”

Jean piped up, “I’ll notice if you don’t show up on Tuesday for the movie.”

“Like I said, my dead body will be rotting in the house for a week. The neighbors will be calling the police to check on that awful smell coming from my house!”

“That’s awful,” Jennifer said. “I’m going to call or text you every day to make sure you’re still alive.”

“Okay with me.”

That was on June 4th. On July 1st,  I received my first text from Jennifer:

               Ok so I’m late. It’s July 1 and I will msg daily to check that you are alive.

And to her credit, I got another text from her the next day. Not only did she check to see if I was alive, she invited me to see a movie with her and her son.

I am so grateful for so many things in my life, but I’m most grateful for my good friends. They are a diverse group and represent a cross section of ethnicities, ages, politics, religious beliefs and ideologies, but they all have good hearts and the ability to laugh at themselves and the world around them. They keep me grounded, sane and feeling loved. And they occasionally check to see if I’m still breathing.