Palm Desert

Swinging the Clubs

Slept in this morning — the radio alarm was already on by the time we got out of bed. Coffee, toast. Worked on the computer for a while. Dave Driedger skyped — new golf passes, new used bike for MaryLou, planning a hike to the petraglyphs on Superstition. By 10 we were off to the clubhouse to sign our ‘residence’ cards and get our driving range passes for the day (all you can hit, all day, for $10). It was warm today. By 11:30 I was wiped and hungry for lunch.

Sue swinging at the Chaparral Driving Range
Sue swinging at the Chaparral Driving Range

After lunch we hung around the house until 2pm, when we went back to the range. Hit some more balls, until I got blisters on my right hand. But at least my shots were going straight. Not so for Sue. She was winging them to the left pretty regularly. Well, except when she shanked one to the right and hit the guy to the right of her with an errant shot. Twice! Yikes. Hope these people have glass insurance, never mind medical coverage.
After 3pm we went to the clubhouse and had a cool beer on the patio, overlooking the 1st and 18th holes. Spectacular scenery. Should have taken a photo.
Rudy at the Chaparral Driving Range
Rudy working on his short game.

When we got back to our house we got serious about booking some real golf — and we did. Tomorrow afternoon at Cathedral Country Club. Hope my sore muscles and blisters are healed by then.
At four o’clock we got the laptop all set up on the dining room table. Sue then skyped with a reporter from the Albuquerque ABC TV station — while a cameraman filmed her. They’re doing a story about our purse snatching incident.
After that was over we skyped with Tim and Alex about their holiday plans. Looks like THEIR passport issues are about to be resolved — Max now has the proper birth certificate and his passport should be arriving in the next few days.
The FedEx delivery person knocked on the door and delivered Sue’s new iPad mini — cover! The iPad is supposed to arrive later this week.
Then it was time to make supper. Sue roasted potatoes and I barbecued cheeseburgers. Got to use the new barbecue tools (ordered by our ‘landlord’ from Amazon, they arrived yesterday).
After supper we watched a bit of TV and I continued my computer work. The kids skyped that they have booked their plane tickets for mid-February — so that’s good. We’re all set.

Golfing at Cathedral Canyon

sunrise-at-chaparral
on-the-tee
sue-on-the-course
sue-tees-off

Sue got up just in time to see the sun rise over the golf course outside on our patio. We had breakfast out there and watched some early golfers tee off.
After breakfast I went online to GuitarOnline.com and ordered a cheap Yamaha classical guitar. It’s supposed to arrive in a few days. Sue read her book, 419, by Will Ferguson. She’s close to being done — she’ll finish it today. Sue talked to Alex by phone. I did some computer work.
After lunch we got in the van and headed off to Cathedral City. I wanted to stop along the way at a golf store to buy a retriever — we’d heard the course had a lot of water — but the Garmin led us to a location where there MAY have been a golf shop, but if there was, it’s moved. Oh well. We went to the Cathedral Canyon golf course (we’d booked it online yesterday). Although we were a bit early, once we’d paid we were told that we were up next. We got on our cart and headed out to the first tee. The course is a bit worn — greens are a bit rough. But the day was perfect. The course wasn’t busy — we barely ever had to wait for the couple ahead of us, and we ‘lost’ the couple behind us a few holes in. The mountains seem so close. Our pace was quick — but not rushed. We wondered if we would be able to finish 18 holes before it got dark — but we did, just barely.
After golf we headed back towards home — stopped at the Monterey Albertson’s for groceries and more cash. Then home. Sue quickly rustled up some supper. Sue read a bit more. We watched the Daily Show and Colbert at around 7pm, then a bit more computing and reading and TV. Tough to stay awake tonight — I think all that fresh air and exercise has plum tuckered me out. Goodnight.

A Windy Day in Southern California

I mean, REALLY windy! As we had our breakfast we watched the ladies golfing on our course hang on to their caps and try their best to hit the ball against the wind. And it got worse as the morning went on. I saw women with ear muffs, even scarves over their faces, but determined to have their golf game.
After a skype with JP and lunch, Sue and I went for a long walk. It really wasn’t all that cold, but the wind was terrible. We went down to the Westfield Mall, about 4 miles from our place, to see a matinee. Because the Oscar nominations were announced today (and I had saved the ballot to a flash drive, hoping to print out a couple so I could play along at home), there was quite a line-up at the movie ticket office. In fact, our theatre filled right up by the time the movie began. Well, we DID take our camera along with us, but it stayed in Sue’s purse, so no photo from the walk. I guess I could pilfer a photo from the “Lincoln” movie promo images — but I’ll let you go and look that up on your own. The movie was pretty good — and although it didn’t seem like it while we were watching it, the movie was quite long. So by the time we exited the theatre it was totally dark outside! It was 6:00pm. We went to the Walgreens to pick up some sour cream, but decided to leave the printing of our oscar ballots, etc. at the UPS store for another day. Now we had to walk all the way back to our place, and although the sidewalk was very dark (not too many street lights here — makes the evening seem even darker than at home) at least we were now ‘with wind’. Got home at around 7. Sue made some great chicken fajitas. I watched the Daily Show and Colbert. After supper we watched another movie on TV, “My Idiot Brother”. Boring. Sue went to bed. I worked on my web project for a couple of hours and watched the late night talk shows.

Cool Friday in the Desert

When I woke up this morning radio said it was going to be cold today and colder tomorrow. I had coffee and took a few photos of the sprinklers going full blast on the 13th hole outside our patio.
morning-sprinklers_1


morning-sprinklers_2After scrambled eggs and toast, we skyped with Alex a bit — it’s a blizzard at home, schools are closed, Tim’s got Alex’s flu now and is sick at home in bed. I worked on the web project a bit.


rudy_at_the_printshop_1After lunch we put on our mittens and took the bikes out for a spin. Since there were 2 cards in the mailbox (and a ton of flyers and even a parcel from Amazon (wisk for Sue from the condo owners) we had to get to the post office on Hovley. Our Canadian Tire Mastercard had arrived in the mail. Whoopee! We continued our ride east until we got to a big corner complex, including a UPS print shop and an Albertson’s grocery store. I printed out all of Sue’s Holiday Travel reports from my USB flash drive — and the Oscar and Golden Globe ballots for me. Sue picked up some lettuce from the grocery store. We cycled back to our place. Cold, but the slight incline on the route got the heart rate going and we warmed up quickly.


sue_with_new_ipad_mini_1sue_skyping_with_max_1We were not home long when there was a loud rap on the door — UPS, parcel for Sue. Her iPad mini arrived. Yippee. So while I started it up and configured it (not so hard, since all we had to do was connect to the network, and install apps from the iCloud backup! — took about 15 minutes) Alex skyped again. Max was cooing and laughing and bouncing around in his lounger.
Then at around 5 we left again, this time in the van. Went down to the California Pizza place on El Paseo. Good place. Way better pizza than what we had last week.
After supper we went to the Westfield Theatre to see the 7:15 showing of “The Impossible” — a movie based on a true story about the 2004 tsunami disaster in Thailand. A very good movie — very well done. We got home and watched some oscar discussion on Charlie Rose before going to bed.

Divisional Saturday

Slept in a bit today. Sue finally woke me because she wanted her morning coffee and wouldn’t make it unless I was up too. We sat at our ipads and read the news. We vacuumed and dusted the house. Then lunch. Then at 1pm the first of today’s 2 division championship NFL games began.
Since I really didn’t have a horse in the race — the Giants didn’t make the playoffs and the Vikings lost in the first round — I had to pick the teams to cheer for. I decided to cheer for the Broncos over the Ravens because: I really don’t like Flaco, the QB for the Ravens; Peyton is a Manning, just like the Giants’ QB; Elway got rid of Tebow and brought in Peyton, a ‘real’ quarterback. Well, anyway, it was a great game, but in the end, and I mean really the end — it took double overtime for Baltimore to upset Denver. Okay, so far my record sucks.
Skyped with the kids — Tim’s feeling a bit better. Max is eating like a horse. Alex is feeling better. Everyone’s ‘stormed in’ at home. Hey, it’s kind of cold here too, although not THAT cold.
Sue had to do the golf course walk on her own tonight — I had me some football to watch.

Still wearing my Vikings sweater, but I'm cheering for the Niners.
Still wearing my Vikings sweater, but I’m cheering for the Niners.
Next game, which started at 5pm local time, featured the 49ers hosting the Packers. It would be pretty sweet if the Packers would lose this game. And boy, was that ever a good game. We ate our leftover pizza and enchiladas in front of the TV and I was pretty much jumping out of my seat as the second half of the game was even better than the first half! In the end, San Francisco beat Green Bay 45-31.
After football we watched a bit of news. Sue went to bed early — tired. I stayed up until 1, working on my web project and watching an old BeeGee’s concert video. Tomorrow: more football — I think it starts at 9am!

Brrrr… Let’s stay in today and just watch TV

Another cool day. Well, actually by mid-morning there were golfers on the course just outside our kitchen window — in shirt sleeves, looking like they were enjoying another day in paradise. And no wind either. So maybe 14 degrees is cold for Californians, but it sure beats the -20 they got back home.
Watched Fareed and Reliable Sources on CNN in the morning. Then french toast with mangos and bananas and fresh coffee for breakfast. At 10am the first of 2 divisional NFL games began. I was cheering for Seattle, and they ‘almost’ won, but not quite. So in the end the Atlanta Falcons won. Oh well, the next game was a foregone conclusion. Patriots are just too good.
And all during the games Sue was busy phoning and skyping and emailing, but not reading. And I was working on a bunch of pretty good photos of Baby Max which are in my PhotoStream. Here’s a sample:

Huh?
Huh?


When the last game of the weekend finally came to an end, and quickly before it got dark here (which it does at around 5:30), we bundled up and went for a walk — the usual route, around the course, in reverse. And yes, it was pretty cold outside. But the view was good. See, here’s how it looked:

golf-walk-evening
Green fairways

golf-walk-sunset
Early sunset on the course
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Beautiful sky, but we’d better hurry home!
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Not home yet! Lights on the fountain on Hole #10.


So you can see how nice the sunset looks over the Santa Rosa mountains. And you can see how nice and green the fairways look. And you can see how quickly it gets dark here.
When we got back home I fired up the barbecue and Sue zapped some bacon, and we had whistle dogs for supper while we watched the Golden Globes on TV. They were over at 8pm. “Argo” won the Best Picture award (Surprise!). We followed that up with “60 Minutes”, and a second glass of wine. Another fine Sunday. Can’t wait for the next one!

Brrrr… Let’s stay in today and just watch TV

Okay, that title is a bit misleading. The weather here today was absolutely gorgeous. Again. But after skyping with Tim and Alex and talking to Ed and Val for a bit we learned that it is frighteningly cold at home. And just because the weather here is fantastic doesn’t mean I spent any time at all outside today. Nope. There was Playoff Football on TV today. And another very fine Sunday of football it was.
So, after quite a few pleas from my faithful readers, I’m back on the blog. It’s been a week since my last confession. I’m not sure I can list all my sins, but I may just mention a few highlights.

Desert Mountains
Hiking in the Santa Rosa Mountains south of Palm Desert.

On Monday last we went for a hike in the Santa Rosa Mountains — about 3 miles, relatively easy hike. Cool weather but not too bad in the sunshine.

Rudy on a mountain hike
Hiking in the Santa Rosa Mountains south of Palm Desert.

We also went to see a few movies. We’ve now seen almost all the major category nominees for the Oscars — still have “Les Mis” and “Django” and “Amour” to see. Maybe in the coming week.
We also went golfing a couple more times.

Sue with a golf club.
Golfing at Shadow Mountain Golf Club.

We had a lovely time at Shadow Mountain — not far from our place. It’s an older course just a block or two off El Paseo Drive, right in the heart of Palm Desert. We had fun (code for ‘we played crappy but we had a good time’).

Sue teeing off.
Sue tees up at Shadow Mountain Golf Club.

On Friday we went for another bike ride. Slowly we’re getting a sense of what is where. It really is beautiful here, although it seems a bit artificial: every block is just another beautiful country club, with lots of plantings and palm trees and sprinklers and golf courses and shiny cars parked next to walled-in gated communities.

Great old cars on El Paseo Drive.
Cruising El Paseo Drive on a beautiful Friday Night.

Then a little after 4pm we went down to El Paseo Drive and walked along the street watching the parade of cool old restored show cars cruising up and down the street. Lots of very nice cars, and a fun way to spend the end of a very warm day, watching people, watching old rich guys take their pride and joy out of the garage for a couple of hours and show off a bit.

I think it's a '63 Corvette.
Cruising El Paseo Drive on a beautiful Friday Night.
Rudy about to tee off.
A sunny afternoon at Rancho Las Palmas Golf Club.

Then yesterday we went golfing again. Again, it was a course not far from us, and we found it on the ‘golfnow’ website — a pretty good deal for the two of us. And again we had a very enjoyable afternoon. The course was like a postcard. Our game was still not that good, but it’s hard to get too upset when you consider that you are spending an afternoon riding around some incredible scenery in the warm sunshine while people at home are shovelling snow. Anyway, we got the pictures to prove it.

Sue takes an iron shot over water.
Sue blasts one over the water at Rancho Las Palmas Golf Club.
Sue on the golf course
Twilight at Rancho Las Palmas Golf Club.

And finally, that brings me to today. Got up at 7 to watch Fareed — but he’s not on! All CNN is going to show today is a bunch of talking heads going on about Obama’s inauguration — which isn’t ‘officially’ happening until tomorrow! Oh well, we watched CBS Sunday Morning and only paused a bit for crepes with yogurt and blueberries and mangoes — made for us by Miss Crepe Suzette. Skyped with Tim and Alex for a bit. Then I settled in for my afternoon of football. Two games. First one saw the 49ers upset the Atlanta Falcons. Yes! In the second game the Ravens surprised the Patriots. YES YES! So it will be the two teams coached by the Harbaugh brothers in the Superbowl two weeks from today.

Rudy with guitar in front of TV
Sunday afternoon — NFL playoffs and a bit of guitar practice for Rudy.

And I took the opportunity to practice a bit of guitar during the commercial breaks. Just like at home. Sue spent the afternoon lounging at the pool — reading her Leonard Cohen biography. We had leftover Chinese for supper. Tried to Skype with Ed and Val a bit but had a bad connection. Sue called her brother Al (in Phoenix) to ask about Scott’s engagement announcement, but only left a message. Then got an email from Al to confirm the news. We watched our movie rental after supper (“The Words”, it was okay). And then a little more TV before bedtime. Tomorrow is MLK Day here, a holiday. YES! Finally a ‘day off’!

MLK Day

Today’s a big holiday in the states. Martin Luther King Day. You’d think that a special holiday like that would warrant a special breakfast. Bacon and eggs. French toast. A warmed up Egg-McMuffin. Nope. Half a slice of toast with peanut butter and jam spread RIGHT UP TO THE EDGE so there’s NO PLACE to hold it. And coffee. And a bit of fruit. And ‘C’mon Rudy, let’s eat it out on the patio — it’s SO nice outside’. So that was how this auspicious day began.

Sue did a load or two of laundry. I worked on some new projects on the computer. A few phone calls. Then lunch.

After lunch we drove out across the I-10 to Indio — we’d booked a tee time for 1:12. Small municipal course. Long par 3s. Walking. Hot outside. Course wasn’t great. Sue rates our chances of going back there at 4 out of 10. But we finished 18 holes, and we got in our walk.

After golf we drove back to our house. Time for a cool libation. Sue gave me a haircut. We showered and Sue barbecued hotdogs while I talke to my parents on the phone.

After supper we drove to Cathedral City, to the ‘cheap theatre’, for ‘Senior’s Monday’. All shows $1.25. We saw “Hitchcock”, and we both liked it. Helen Mirren was nominated for a Golden Globe. Anthony Hopkins was also very good in it, and Scarlett Johansson was her gorgeous usual self.

After the movie we came home and watched a bit of TV and had chocolate and diet sodas for night snack. And that was MLK Day 2013.

Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground

Not much to say about today. Just another average beautiful day in Palm Desert. Had breakfast out on the patio. Sue did more laundry. I worked on two new websites. Sue sat outside (on the golf course) reading her big Leonard Cohen book. She visited with the neighbour lady a bit.

After lunch Sue went to the pool. Shortly after 3 we got on our bikes and went for a ride. It got cloudy and it cooled off a bit (still t-shirt weather though). Sue brought her sweatpants to Lulu Lemon down on El Paseo to get them hemmed. We cycled around the area, looking for a fruit and vegetable market. Found a few, though none that Sue really liked.

bbq-chicken-dinner
Our usual spectacularly lovely meal. Napkins by Rudy, salad and rice by Sue.

Then we cycled up Monterey to our Albertsons to pick up the movie I had booked. Got back home at around 5. Sue started supper. I barbecued chicken. We had our usual spectacularly lovely meal. Although we dragged our camera along on our bike ride today, we didn’t take any photos — so this will have to do for the ‘photo of the day’.

After watching the Daily Show and Colbert, we watched our movie, “The Paperboy”, for which Nicole Kidman was nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe. The movie was not great. Sue thought it was scary, and blamed it for keeping her up most of the night. After the movie we watched Frontline — which was great, except I kept falling asleep. Finally went to bed, turned on the bedroom TV to see who was on Charlie Rose — and it was James Taylor! (I had just been trying some of his online guitar lessons a couple of days ago.) It was a great interview and I had no trouble staying awake for that. He talked a lot about writing songs, including where he was when he wrote some of his most well-known tunes. And he talked about how America is about its people, and not about its corporations. It made me like JT even more than I already did.

And then, after such a busy day! it was off to la-la land, at least for Rudy

Wednesday

After breakfast we went to the clubhouse and got driving range passes for the day. Then off to the driving range at around 11. Hit a lot of balls — and made some progress with my iron shots.

After lunch we thought we might go back to the range a bit later. Sue read, I computed. Ended up NOT going back to the driving range. Skyped with Ed Peters a bit. Then at around 4:30 Sue and I went for a walk around the golf course cart path. While Sue made supper I returned our DVD rental and picked up a new one at Albertsons.

After supper we watched the Daily Show and Colbert. Then our movie, “To Rome with Love”, directed by and starring Woody Allen. It was terrible, but we managed to stay awake for the whole thing. Sue went to bed after the movie. I worked on a website until 1.