Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Waiting Game

Today we waited for the service man who came mid afternoon to determine why, after 3.5 weeks, we were no longer able to get online. It was epic and in the end he left us still not hooked up. Bill persisted, as he is wont to do, and eventually did get us hooked up and I sighed with relief!

We ventured forth around 4pm looking for flowers to photograph. Shot some hibiscus and some bird of paradise but I had been smitten with the amaryllis on El Paseo drive that I had seen on Sunday when they were just beginning open. I still can't get over them growing, with other vegetation and flowers in great pots, outdoors! At home the best we can hope for is to force the massive bulb, in a wee pot, to push up a heavy head of blossoms.

Coming home we passed 'The Esprit', where we would like to stay next year, and looked for a vantage point to show you the incoming weather. The glow in the gap is created, in part, by blowing sand. The roads are plowed of sand drifts with rubber bladed plows, how novel!

There is no one coming in on our heels and so we were offered and accepted a two day extension here at the condo. So, instead of leaving today we depart on Friday!

Desperate Measures

Tuesday, March 30th

Communicating with my people means a lot to me and so having Internet at my fingertips is critical to my well being. Yesterday, we lost our connection at the condo. Twenty-four hours without and I was near convulsing in my withdrawal! So, Bill dropped me off at the extensive and beautiful Palm Springs Public Library for a hour and a half where I got all caught up.

Calgary has it's painted cows, Toronto it's moose and Palm Springs desert bighorn rams! He we are in the library's foyer, leaving after I had had my fix!

Hanging Out

Monday, March 29th

I can't keep up with Bill, playing tennis daily the way I did last year, so every morning he's been playing at Palm Canyon Villas, with some of the fellows we met there last year. I know he's enjoying this immensely. While he is gone, I play house and savour some pool time. Today I photographed this grapefruit tree outside our front door ...

We usually have lunch at home on the patio before stepping out for a look see. Today we revisited this thrift store to find not one, but two, baby grand pianos for sale!

Nearby there is this little mesa with a home perched on top which always catches my eye when we are passing by.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Social Sunday

Sunday, March 28th

Bill and I got up early and headed off to the market, where we knew Eagles Mosaic was going to be today. The quest is over. The sweetest bistro set I have ever seen is collapsed, wrapped and stashed in the back of our SUV. We also got the matching, tiny bird bath. It's all gonna look terrific on our front porch!

That done we went to the Simpson's to play tennis on their courts (nice) then joined them for lunch and the afternoon in their pool (exceptionally nice).

The Shostaks had invited us for happy hour so off we went to see them at The Emerald Desert RV Resort, at Palm Desert here in the Coachella Valley. It's a delightful place and it was good to have one last visit (this trip) with them.

Back we went to the Simpsons for dinner. What a fun, social day!

Triple Header

Saturday, March 27th

Bill was off playing tennis with The Geezer Boys (fellows we met at the complex we stayed in last year) and I went to the open air market at The College of the Desert, with Dale and Janice. Dale was after a ring and I was going to get the bistro set of my dreams. Imagine my disappointment when the Eagles Mosaic vendor wasn't there! There is a happy ending to this story, it just didn't happen today.

From there we met up with Bill and the Shostaks at La Quinta where we had lunch in a great Mexican restaurant before touring "Art Under Umbrellas" in Old Town.

The flat art wasn't terribly impressive, but the level of the artisans was superlative. Just look at these amazing blown glass gobbets ...

And how about these exceptional pieces of pottery with the tricky yet gorgeous crystal glazes ...

From here we went to "do" the galleries on El Paseo Drive. It is always more fun viewing art with another artist. Peter and I praised the good works and slagged the poor ones. This always works best when tastes are aligned and ours are!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Because You've Asked ...

Here are the paintings I've done since being here. They are all oil on linen panels 6" x 6"...

Patio Geranium
When we first arrived I bought this geranium and painted it when it had the one and a half blooms you see. Now it has four blossoms plus buds. You can virtually watch things grow here!

Freshly Picked
I wanted to paint an orange with leaves so I climbed one of the trees by the front door to get this one.

A Bit of Green for the Day
To honour the day I painted it, Saint Patrick's Day.

Avocado on Glass
March 17th, I was on n a roll and so I painted this one also!

California Shades
As suggested by Susan in my previous post.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

California Shades

When Susan and Jim were here she and I both bought new sunglasses. Talking about what I could paint next Susan suggested a pair of sunglasses for my California 6x6s collection. I thought a hibiscus would work nicely along side them so I took a jaunt around the complex to find and clip one.

When I was finished, Bill suggested we go to El Gallito for a homemade Mexican, lunch where it is always busy. Inside, there was a line up to be seated ... at 2pm! I was yearning for a margarita, but they only serve beer and wine!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Empty House Syndrome

Cactus and palms along Highway 111 in Palm Desert.

This morning, in our last few hours with The Ethnics, we shopped a bit before walking around another potential community as a possibility for us to rent next year. Stopped in at our favourite specialty grocery store, Trader Joe's, to pick up some things for lunch which we had on the patio. This afternoon, after we had bid Susan and Jim farewell, we stepped out again for some more retail therapy. It's terribly hard to resist shopping here with the variety and sales. Got some charming things for little Avery. We showed her what we'd bought in a Skype call to her and her folks. Then we had our first Skype call to Laura who is on a training course in Regina. It's strangely empty and quiet there tonight!

Fine Dining

Tuesday, March 23rd

Today, The Ethnics went off on their own to ride the gondola up on Mount San Jacinto, Bill went stepped out to some sports stores and run errands while I stayed home to enjoy a fine day of languishing by the pool, on the patio, in the bathtub, reading and journaling ... oh and all right ... Facebooking! Most of The Tribe (missing Brenda and Tom) assembled for happy our on the deck prior to a decadent dinner at ...

... at Piero's Acqua Pazza in Rancho Mirage. Lovely to be on their patio, even if "The River" is man-made!

I ordered raw oysters and much to my surprise, when I offered them to him, Dale had not one, but two!

Susan tried one but everyone else declined. It was a wonderful evening, The Ethnic's last here and their treat to thank all of us for hosting them on their first visit to PSCA!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Joshua Tree National Park

Monday, March 22nd

The first time Bill and I visited Joshua Tree we were on our own. We stayed several nights close by at the Joshua Tree Inn in the town with the same name. Subsequent visits have been day trips from Palm Springs when we've had the pleasure of touring family and friends. Today we were with Jim and Susan (affectionately known as The Ethnics).

The landscape is like no other and for the first time (for us) the Joshua Trees were in bloom!

This is one mother of a cactus ...

Exotic slots and rock formations go on and on ...

There is an easy way up here, but the granite is heavily textured and although it provides excellent gripping for footwear it is brutal on the hands ...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Market & El Paseo Drive

Sunday, March 21st

Back at home Bill had bought his ticket to see the finals of the PSBA Paribas tennis finals which were played today. The Simpsons and The Ethnics picked me up and we all went to the open air market at The College of the Desert. It's a really big market and we spent hours there either side of lunch at the food fair.

Last year I fell in love with this bistro set at the Tuesday Morning store but Bill said we couldn't get it home. I saw it at the market a couple of weeks ago and then again today. I am still lusting over it!

Beverly Hills has Rodeo Drive, The Coachella Valley has the even longer El Paseo Drive. There is a complimentary shuttle cart. Some stores have valet parking. Complete refinement, glamour, wealth and decadence. Chicos is Janice's favourite a women's clothing store and she wanted me and Susan to see the one on El Paseo. Dale and Jim waited patiently as the ladies shopped.

Tucked behind El Paseo Drive are The Gardens. A serene urban space with exceptional landscaping and charming bronze sculptures.

Worn completely ragged we arrived back at our place around 5:30PM just minutes before Bill. The ladies took their champagne to the pool. And in the hot tub we let the jets pound the bottom of our tired feet.

Then, we joined the men on the patio for happy hour snacks.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

The Fantasy Springs Resort in Indio has a Special Events Centre, which is like an arena. Tonight the six of us went to hear the almost 76 year old Frankie Valli and we got our moneys worth!

The new, very young "Four Seasons" where like Chippendale dancers who, as you would expect, could also sing very well. In addition to three guitarists, a drummer and a keyboard player (who has been with Frankie for 33 years) there was a horn section of six. All together it made for such a big, thunderous sound in the opening number ("Dawn") it had me wondering if we were going to hear Frankie sing at all. As the evening and the songs unfolded we did and he still can! "Sherry", "Rag Doll" and "Big Girls Don't Cry" had the whole house rocking with the entire audience singing along. This is a poor photo folks, but it's all I've got!

Frankie is the little, bright white figure in the spot light! He gave us an amazing performance!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wasn't That a Day?

On our way to play tennis (actually very early, for us) this morning we stopped to photograph one of the hundreds of golf courses in this valley ...

After tennis we went to the outlet mall at Cabazon, just west of here, where we did some major damage (or I might say had some amazing savings at) especially the Van Huesen store. This is the weekend we capitalized on last year. All of the items in the store are 50% off, then a further 20 or 30% off AND if you add the friends and family special coupon (thanks to Dale) another 30% off. They almost pay you to shop! I particularly indulged myself. But we also remembered our big kids back home.

On the way back we stopped so that I could collect a sand sample for someone very special. She knows who she is!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Palm Springs Art Museum

Thursdays between 4 and 8PM the Palm Springs Art Museum waves admission. It's also Street Festival night on Palm Canyon Drive, downtown Palm Springs. With my long arms I took this photo of us with The Ethnics, trouble is we are blocking the view of the Art Museum ...

Inside there was plenty to see including some works (bronzes and a painting) by Charlie Russell, a couple of Picassos and the annual juried show of The Artists Council, a group of 300 members here in the Coachella Valley. We were taken by this horse. Looks like driftwood, and in a way it is. It's driftwood cast as bronze. Remarkable.

Bill waiting with some of his friends ...

At first I didn't notice that the couple on the right are actually bronze sculptures. Unbelievable!

From the museum we went for dinner at Hamburger Mary's before taking in the night market. We enjoy the savoury bread, licorice, fresh fruit and vegetables you can buy there.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick's Day

Being that it's Saint Patrick's Day, I thought I should paint something green. So, I sliced open a lime placed two cut pieces and a whole one on this cute little plate and here is the result ...

I went to great lengths setting this up, bringing outside the only small lamp in the place. This was in an effort to create some shadows on my arrangement since the sun doesn't come around to the patio until afternoon. I was full of ambition so I did another ...

This time I was doing my utmost to keep myself out of the sun by shoving everything into the corner of the patio. It was 32C out there by the time I was finished. I came in and ate the avocado.

Now, I'm waiting for Bill to return from Hemet. He went golfing there with Peter, today. And when he does get here I'm all ready, dressed in a green shirt, to go to the Simpson's. We are having a welcome The Ethnics to PSCA dinner, they flew in today!

Back home again after a lovely evening with most of 'The Tribe' present. Susan and I got to be 'bookends' wearing green!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Half Way Through Our Stay

We didn't get up to much today, just enjoyed our home away from home, then stepped out for some groceries and wine!

This evening we got to see Miss Avery bare run live on Skype, to see and talk to Denise and Larry too. And then I spoke with Laura in Regina who is there for a ten-day course with her employer, Service Canada. We missed talking to Adam, who is leaving tomorrow for his first rotation in Libya. Safe travels, Adam!

Here I am talking with Miss Avery, using our sign, a pointy finger. It means you are number one!