Palm Desert

At the end of the day you’re another day older (and you’ve wasted it on a miserable movie!)

Cloudy morning. Showers, even. Sue couldn’t sit outside, although the rain didn’t really deter the golfers. Read a bit. Computed a bit. After lunch we went to the Palme d’Or theater for another in our list of Oscar-nominated movies. “Les Miserable”. It was LONG. And it brought tears to our eyes — because it was a sad movie. Emotionally sad for Sue, just awful sad for Rudy. I’d worked my way through the ALLCAPS of Film Crit Hulk‘s anti-Tom Hooper rant a while back and watching the movie I just couldn’t get over the bad cinematography. So, besides the fact that the two-and-a-half hour story was sung to us by actors in close-up, I also hated the music. Oh well, strike that off our list.

We returned our DVD rental and went home. Sue made (another) fantastic supper — my favorite, spaghetti and meat sauce. Then we watched Colbert and Daily Show reruns. Then we started tonight’s DVD feature, “Pitch Perfect”. We expected a ‘sappy’ movie, and that’s what we got. We interrupted the movie after an hour and watched a documentary about Costco. Then continued with the movie. Schlock. Dumb. Seriously? Elementary school humour. A complete insult — to grade twos. Maybe late night TV will restore my faith in the medium.

Friday Night: Pizza and a Movie

It was raining this morning when we woke up. Sue hinted that it would be a good day for a hike. Thankfully, the rain was a bit more substantial today than yesterday, and that hike never materialized. That left the whole rainy day for me to sit at my computer and do some serious wordpress work. Fun for me. And Sue? She finally finished her Leonard Cohen biography. And so her ‘secret love affair’ with Leonard has intensified because of the book. And now she’s on to the next book.

At some point in the afternoon Sue took the van downtown and did a big grocery shop at Von’s. We were out of just about everything. She got home at around 5 and unpacked the groceries. Then we had to think about supper — where would we go on a Friday night? No reservations had been made, so most of the nearby restaurants were probably not an option. Well, why don’t we pick up a pizza and a movie and have a Friday night at home?  I checked the Redbox website for a movie — whoa! each time I found one that I thought might be good, it too was booked! Well, it’s getting late; we’d better get going. Plus, we need to go to ANOTHER grocery store because they have Sue’s favorite wine on sale. So that’s what we did.

We finally got back at quarter to nine, pizza and a case of wine and a DVD rental. After pizza we watched “Sherlock Holmes, something something”. All style, no plot. I fell asleep a couple of times. Sue played Scrabble on her ipad. Had ice cream for dessert just before midnight.

Saturday Night Blog

It was wet outside when we woke up. Coffee. Sun came out. Sue had a call from Ingrid. Bacon and eggs for breakfast. Sue called just about all the people she knows while I read the news on my computer. Tim and Alex and Max skyped. Brand new photos of Max — got them on Photostream. Very nice.

After lunch we doddled around a bit more — we’d now missed the big local flea market (it closes at 2). We decided to go for a ride anyway. Filled up gas in the van. Drove to a few of the local thrift stores — Sue was looking for more dishes. We ended up way out at Washington — and found what we needed at a dollar store. Back at home we were going to go for a walk — but decided to go cycling first — had to return my DVD so we cycled out to the Ralph’s on Country Club and back. And THEN we went for our walk. Cloudy again, cooling off. But it seems like it’s staying light outside a bit longer.

Sue made a great spicy shrimp and pasta supper. Then we sat in the living room and read. All night. Each of us with our iPads. TV on mute. LIstened to a couple of early Neil Young albums as I read about them in my Neil Young bio. Finally went to bed at 11:20. Oops! forgot to write my journal. Well, I could do it in the morning. No, I better do it now. Laptop, in bed, typing, typing, typing. Okay, gotta go — the ghost of MLK is visiting Barack on SNL.

How to make the most of a dreary Sunday in Palm Desert

First of all, it wasn’t really dreary. But it was partly cloudy all day. No rain. A bit on the cool side (about 20 degrees).

After sleeping in a bit (I missed most of Fareed Zakaria, which started at 7am) we had our morning coffee and watched our Sunday morning shows. No NFL today — well, there is the Pro Bowl tonight, but other than the fact that Koop and his family are at the game, I really have no interest in that. But Bob Costas was on Reliable Sources, so that was cool. French toast with fruit and peanut butter for breakfast.

back-from-bike-ride
Back at our house after visiting the Flea Market on Sunday morning.

After breakfast we got on our bikes and cycled the 2 miles to the big “College of the Desert Flea Market” just around the corner from our country club. Apparently it’s not as busy on Sunday as it is on Saturday. That was okay by us. It looked like it was about the same size as the Mesa market we’d visited a few times the past two winters. And it had mostly the same kind of stuff. Plus fruits and vegetables. Came home with a package of dates. That’s it. But it was a good thing to do — got us out into the fresh air and gave us a good overview of what it was all about.

rudy-golf-mesquite
Rudy, about to tee off on the first hole of the Mesquite Country Club Golf Course.

We came home and had lunch. Then it was time to head out to Palm Springs — our first visit to that end of the valley. We’d booked (GolfNow.com) tee times at the Mesquite Golf Club for just after 1pm. The course is close to the Palm Springs Airport. Nice enough course. Long fairways, small greens, lots of open space, not too much water, not too busy. We got on just about as soon we arrived. Nobody behind us. Three guys ahead played at a good pace.

sue-golf-mesquite
Sue finishing up the last couple of holes as our afternoon at Mesquite Golf Club in Palm Springs was coming to an end.

It was a bit cool, but when the sun peeked through the clouds it was actually very nice. We played for about 4 hours, and finished all 18 holes. When we were done we drove around a bit before heading home. Stopped to pick up some more St Pauli Girl from Albertson’s on the way.

Delicious leftovers for supper. Then we settled into our usual places and watched a bit of TV. The Pro Bowl. An interview with Barack and Hillary on 60Minutes. A bit of reading. A good evening, after a good afternoon, after a good morning.

sue-golf-smile
Sue was feeling pretty good about her game — putting was a lot better than it was a week ago, and lots of good drives too.

And THAT’S how you make the most of a dreary day in the valley.


Bonus photos: Here are a few photos from Max’s second photo shoot (David Klassen, photographer).

Art Smith trail hike

Read a bit in the morning. Sue called just about all the people she knows in the morning. After lunch Sue went to sit at the pool and read. It was only about 20 degrees today — but it felt warm when the sun came out from behind the clouds. I did computer work until around 2:30 when Sue came in. We hopped into the van and drove south down Highway 74 to the foot of the Art Smith Trail. Parked the van and went for a one hour hike. On the way home we stopped at Vons for some bread and picked up a DVD for tonight. Had barbecued bacon-wrapped steak and potatoes for supper. Watched a bit of TV. Then at 8pm we watched our movie, “Your Sister’s Sister”. We both liked it. A bit more TV and Sue went to bed. I watched Jon Stewart and Colbert, and then at around midnight I too went to bed. Here are photos from the hike.
Art Smith Trail Hike Art Smith Trail Hike Art Smith Trail Hike

Today’s activity? a long walk.

Breakfast — a treat today! Scrambled eggs. The golfing ladies were out in full force today, decked out in glittery getup, driving their pimped-out mini Cadillac golf carts, and duffing their drives off in all directions.
Read more of my book today. Sue made lunch at around twelve and then went out to sit and read at the pool. Then at around 3 we headed out for a walk. Sue wanted to walk to Bristol Farms, an ‘organic’ grocery store. It’s about 2 miles from our place. After browsing around in the aisles for a bit we went across the street to Starbucks for an afternoon coffee. Then to the Redbox at Albertson’s to return my DVD and pick up my next movie. Then back home. It was cool, especially as the sun was setting, but we sure noticed that the days are longer now than they were when we arrived here a month ago. And as long as we were walking we weren’t cold. Back home we had a little happy hour. Then Sue made spaghetti leftovers for supper. Watched our movie — Searching for Sugar Man, an Oscar-nominated documentary about the forgotten ’70’s folksinger, Rodriguez. Pretty good. Watched a PBS special about Henry Ford after that, and then off to bed. Got a tee time booked for tomorrow afternoon. Here are today’s photos:

Sue at the fountains at our Chaparral Entrance
Sue pauses at the entrance to our country club in Palm Desert before heading off on our walk today.

Sue with Starbucks mug
Sue ordered a big capuccino at Starbucks.
Rudy at Chaparral Entrance
Back at our country club gates after our 5-mile walk.

Another great afternoon of golf

Sue was ‘Suzie-homemaker’ this morning. She cleaned all the big mirrored-doors on the closets, and all the windows. Then she baked another batch of cookies. I worked on a website and listened to old Neil Young albums. Alex skyped us — from Toronto, where she and Max have gone for a 4 day ‘retreat’ while Tim attends a trade show there. Max’s first plane ride was ‘perfect’.
After lunch Sue went to the pool to read. Then we hopped into the van for the 2-mile ride down to Shadow Mountain Golf Club. We’d gone there once before and liked it. It was a very nice afternoon. Our golf was a lot of fun too, although we had to wait for the groups ahead of us at nearly every hole. We skipped a couple of holes at the end because it was getting dark and cooling off, and instead of waiting at the tee blocks we could golf the last 4 holes without waiting. Sue wasn’t that pleased with her game, but that’s how golf is.
After golf we idled around the east end of town a bit, before coming back home for supper. Sue made one of her favourites, beans. No movie rental tonight, so we tried watching a movie on HBO. It wasn’t very good, and neither was the ‘best superbowl commercials’ show we switched to instead. Finally, at 9pm, we watched Frontline on PBS — all about funerals and funeral homes in North America. Followed several stories of death, including one couple’s final days with their 2-year-old child. A very interesting and well-done show.
Sue was off to bed early — and I sat and worked on my website until around 1:00 — and forgot to right my journal until now, next morning.

A bike ride and a movie

I slept in this morning again. After our morning fruit (grapefruit and banana salad by Sue) we watched some golfers from our kitchen for a while. I saw what was quite probably a golf pro who was giving a lesson to 4 old ladies hit his ball from the tee blocks right to the front fringe of the green — at least 250 yards. I hadn’t seen anyone do that before. Later I watched a couple of old-timers dribble their shots off the tee, and a few others whack their drives into the porches of the houses lining the 13th hole. And that’s how we entertain ourselves here in Chaparral Country Club.
At around 11 we got on our bikes and went for a nice long ride — about 30kms, but with some stops along the way. We were looking for some options for renting a place here for March. We ended up at the Visitor’s Center in Rancho Mirage. Got some leaflets.
Back home we had lunch and then Sue headed out to pool for the afternoon. I worked on some more web projects. Didn’t read at all today. We had an early supper and then went out to see a movie. I couldn’t find the theatre at first, so our 4 minute ride to the cinema included at least 4 major U-turns and we almost cancelled the deal. But eventually we found the shopping complex at The River in Rancho Mirage. We parked our car in the one remaining parking spot and ran to the ticket office. Got in just in time — to see 30 minutes of movie previews in this huge theatre with a huge gorgeous screen — and 3 people besides Sue and me waiting for the movie to begin! Yeah, it was empty. The whole complex seemed empty, although the parking lot was packed. Maybe the restaurants were busy; but not the theatre and not any of the ‘fashion’ stores we ran by on our way to the theatre.
We saw “Rust and Bone” — a french “best foreign film” nominee — with subtitles. It was over 2 hours long, and the story was completely captivating. We both really liked it.
Back at home we had some ice cream, watched a bit of late night TV, and then went to bed. Tomorrow we plan to leave here around 10, heading to Phoenix for Superbowl Weekend.

Gold Canyon, Day 1

This morning after breakfast we started packing. I loaded our bikes and golf clubs into the van, Sue sorted clothes and packed our suitcase. We’re off to Gold Canyon for the weekend. It’s a 4.5 hour drive. We left our place at 10. Just down Country Club to Interstate 10. Then straight east to Phoenix. We drove through the desert, traffic busy in both directions, mountains on either side. It was an easy drive. We crossed into Arizona around lunch time. Stopped to fill up gas because it’s $3.25 instead of $3.79 as soon as you cross the border from California.

Dave and Marylou's rental home at Hidden Treasures Court in Gold Canyon, AZ.
Dave and Marylou’s rental home at Hidden Treasures Court in Gold Canyon, AZ.
It didn’t seem like a very long drive — and once we got into western Phoenix it actually felt like we were ‘home’. We stopped at ‘our’ Basha’s grocery store to pick up some beer. Then up around the back end of Gold Canyon, through the gates, and there we were at the home Dave and Marylou have rented for the winter. It’s a very nice house, and the view is spectacular. We had happy hour on the back patio, in the shade of Dinosaur Mountain, with Superstition Mountain reflecting the pink rays of the setting sun. Gorgeous. We decided on pizza for supper, so I assembled my bike and Dave and I cycled off along the golf cart path on the Sidewinder course, to the pizza restaurant. Order pizzas and then cycled to the coffee shop at the Walgreens corner while we waited for them. The tricky part was bungee-cording 2 pizzas to the bike rack and then cycling them back to the house along that same golf cart path — in total darkness. But the stars guided our way and the coyotes kept a respectable distance. Marylou had made a salad. After supper we watched a Mumford and Sons concert on TV. Visited until nearly midnight. Now it’s bedtime — looking forward to bacon and eggs tomorrow morning, and golf in the afternoon.

Mountain Brook Golf – Revisited

Slept well. Woke up to a breakfast of bacon and eggs. Had a leisurely morning, watching golf on TV — the Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. Mickelson, who yesterday just missed shooting a 59, continues to keep the pressure on, and the 16th hole is surely getting a bit out of control. MaryLou and Sue went for a nearly 2-hour walk. When they got back we had leftover pizza for lunch.

Rudy, Marylou, and Dave wait to tee off at hole #1 at Moutain Brook Golf Course.
Rudy, Marylou, and Dave wait to tee off at hole #1 at Moutain Brook Golf Course.
Sue at Moutain Brook Golf Course.
Sue at Moutain Brook Golf Course.
Rudy, Sue, and Marylou at hole #18 at Moutain Brook Golf Course.
Rudy, Sue, and Marylou at hole #18 at Moutain Brook Golf Course.


Then off we were to the Mountain Brook Golf Course for our 1:00 tee time. The weather was a warm 75 degrees. The course was busy. My game was more like ‘the old game’ than what I thought it should be. But it was a fun day, and it brought back a lot of very fond memories for me. We finished our 18 holes by around 5:30, with the sun just setting.

The spine of Dinosaur Mountain viewed at sunset from Dave and Marylou's patio.
The spine of Dinosaur Mountain viewed at sunset from Dave and Marylou’s patio.
The spine of Dinosaur Mountain viewed  from Dave and Marylou's patio.
The spine of Dinosaur Mountain viewed from Dave and Marylou’s patio.
Sunset reflected on Superstition Mountain as seen from Dave and Marylou's patio.
Sunset reflected on Superstition Mountain as seen from Dave and Marylou’s patio.
Sunset reflected on Superstition Mountain as seen from Dave and Marylou's patio.
Sunset reflected on Superstition Mountain as seen from Dave and Marylou’s patio.


Got some great photos of the patio at Dave and Mary Lou’s — with the spine of Dinosaur jutting out against the sunset, and the familiar side of Superstition Mountain reflecting it. Dave barbecued steaks for supper. After a full afternoon of outdoor activity we were famished, and supper was delicious. After supper we settled in front of the TV and watched the highlights of today’s action at the Phoenix Open. Then we watched one of Dave’s PVR’d movies — Kinky Boots. Not enough kinky to keep all of us awake right till the end. The evening ended with a bit of basketball on TV, and then up to the room to write my journal and go to sleep. Photos are coming later.