Palm Desert

Tuesday

Good coffee in the morning. Skyped with Max and Alex. Did some computer work for Koop. Sue organized a bike ride for 10:00. Went around the neighbourhood. Then out on Dinah Shore all the way to Portola and then back along Gerald Ford. Returned yesterday’s (terrible) movie and picked up one for tonight. Lunch at 11:30! Wow! Right on time! Sue sat in her lounger outside and read — a perfect day. I skyped with Koop and did some web updates. Then I read a bit.

cheeseburgers and more
Whoa! those candles really dress this up!
Then it was time for supper. Cheeseburgers on the barbecue — plus some cool corn concoction that Sue got the recipe from Alex for. And then, after the news and our comedy shows we watched our movie rental, “A Late Quartet”.
movie on tv
Too bad you can’t hear the soundtrack.
Wow! that was surprisingly good! I tried to take a photo of us watching the movie but now my batteries in the camera are DEAD. And after the movie we watched “Knocked Up” on one of the TV movie channels. That was funny too — and we were staying up until nearly midnight, which we hardly ever do. Got a tee time booked at Desert Dunes for tomorrow afternoon. Weather is supposed to cool off for the next couple of days. That’ll be okay. Well, I’ll finish watching my movie and then mosey on off to bed.

Golfing against the wind

Worked on some projects on the computer this morning. Sue read a bit and did her morning yoga. Around lunch time a couple of landscaping guys showed up and worked on the yard for a couple of hours. They trimmed back all the hedges, took the big leaf-blower to the whole yard, mowed the grass, and cleaned up all the fallen oranges and lemons from our fruit trees. We left for Desert Dunes golf course at around 1:30. Desert Dunes is up in Desert Hot Springs, about 20 miles northwest from here. Apparently the course has been bought by a group of Canadians and there are plans for further major developments to what is now a very fine Robert Trent Jones Jr golf course. As we got nearer to the course we realized how windy it was — and quite a bit windier in that part of the valley than where we live. No wonder they’ve got windmills planted along the length of this valley. At the course they told us we could start right away. And they gave us a ‘non-refundable’ discounted price — we golfed for $25 each. Not many other golfers — in fact probably only one other couple on the front nine with us. So we never waited for anybody.

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golfing desert dunes
Teed off just before 2:30 and were done 18 holes by 5:15.
golfing desert dunes
Very fine scenery, but too windy today.
golfing desert dunes
Not too many water hazards, but we made the most of them.
golfing desert dunes
Famous Palm Springs windmills way out in the distance.


Teed off on hole one and were lucky not to have the terrific side wind blow our shots off into the desert. Even chipping and putting was unpredictable in the face of this wind. So we decided NOT to keep score. And we had fun. The course was gorgeous. By the last few holes the sun was starting to set behind the clouds and the mountains to the west of us — and the temperature had fallen from 77 degrees when we started to 64. And vicious winds — Sue will probably have a frog in her throat for the next month! We headed to Walmart to return my Redbox DVD and pick up the one I’d reserved. Then home, where Sue made a delicious shrimp supper. We watched our comedy shows. Then we popped in our DVD, “The Intouchables”, a French (subtitled) movie. The movie was pretty good, but a bit hard to follow because I drifted off a couple of times. I may have to watch it again in the morning. After the movie we had some chocolate and watched some more TV before going to bed.

Our incompetent owl

The day began like every other day here — but it gradually turned into the kind of day that the weatherman had forecast — cooling off and getting windy. I re-watched my movie from last night — since there were numerous ‘holes’ in my recollection of the plot because of me drifting off during last night’s viewing. After lunch we went for a walk — out to the movie theatre on Dinah Shore and Monterey. It was just over 2 miles in each direction. A bit cool to wear shorts but that’s what we did. We saw the movie “Side Effects”, a pretty entertaining story. After the movie we walked across the road to Costco where I bought more reading glasses and we had a big ice cream sundae. Walked back to our house. Since I’d left my DVD at home I hopped on the bike and cycled to Vons to return it. When I got back to our house I went to check out our fruit trees in the backyard. Hmmm… When we first moved in we thought we had lots of our very own fresh oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. Well, yesterday the gardeners were here and they cleaned up all the fallen leaves and fallen fruit. So now, as I look at our trees, I notice that really we only have TWO grapefruits (although the tree is blooming and maybe there are more on the way). And we have a TON of fresh lemons. And although it LOOKS like we have quite a few oranges, those pesky little birds are enjoying more oranges than we are. In fact I think I’ve seen the birds perching right on the head of the fake owl that sits at the top of our fountain! So much for the owl scaring off the birds! 


gazebo
Our fruit trees provide us with more than just a nice backdrop.
grapefruits
Just a couple of grapefruits.
lemon-tree
Lots of lemons!
Quite a few oranges on the tree.
Quite a few oranges on the tree.



empty oranges
After the birds get at them…
incompetent-owl
This incompetent owl is NOT keeping the birds away!



We waited with supper because we’d eaten so much ice cream. So we watched the news and our comedy shows. Then I barbecued in the dark and Sue and I ate our supper in front of the TV. More TV (and scrabble on Sue’s ipad) before going to bed. Weather for tomorrow is not so good, but it’s supposed to get back into the 80’s by early next week.

Friday is pizza night

But not today. Tonight we went to a Mexican restaurant, Agave, in downtown Palm Desert. We had supper there. I had 2 margaritas. Sue drove home. The end.

The rest of the story (updated Saturday morning)

Actually, Friday was a ‘work day’ here in Rancho Mirage. It felt a bit like the old days in Gold Canyon when Sue and I would do some of the day-to-day housework and chores, just like at home. So, as I write this on a bright and cheery, if somewhat cool, Saturday morning, here’s what I recollect about our day yesterday.

In the morning Sue and I did quite a bit of skyping — with Alex, with Tim, with Koop. It was too cold and windy for golfing and we’d seen or we weren’t interested in seeing any of the currently showing movies. So it was a day to putz around. I did a bit of computer work. After lunch Sue gave me a haircut. Then at around 2:00 we headed out into Cathedral Canyon to have the oil changed on the van. I had a printed out a coupon that I found online. We went for a bit of a walk while we waited for the oil change. Sue got a call from her brother Dave — there’s an opening at Bethesda Place for their mom, so she’ll probably move out of Maplewood Manor this next week.

After filling up gas we went looking for a hardware store so I could try to find replacement rollers for a broken shower door at the house. Some of my faithful readers will know that I am a bit anal about ‘fixing’ things around the house. I can’t stand a burned-out lightbulb and can hardly concentrate on anything else until I’ve changed it. I’ve had a little shopping list in my pocket now for at least a week — the house we’re in is nice, but there are little things all over the place that need to be repaired or adjusted or cleaned. shower doors in the guest bathroomAnd one of the things on my list is to fix the shower door in the guest bathroom. One of the rollers is missing and the door doesn’t slide open very easily and already the bottom track has some serious wear on it where the door has scratched along the channel. So we found a Home Depot and I flagged down a clerk and explained what it was I was looking for. Oh yes, it’s on the right-hand side in aisle 11. He was a very friendly and helpful older man, who then came and helped us find the item on the pegboard in aisle 11. (Wow, Penner Building Centre should be shaking in their boots if ever a Home Depot with friendly and helpful staff move to Steinbach!) Well, now the problem is what size might our rollers be — there are 3 different sizes here. I picked the middle size — I could always exchange the $2 item if I’d guessed wrong. We made another pit stop at Albertson’s, to pick up a movie rental and some more of that great peanut butter chocolate ice cream, and then headed home. When we got home I took the shower doors out and discovered that I need the ‘small’ rollers, not the ‘medium’ ones I’d bought. Well, we could exchange them next time.

Sue had made a dinner reservation at Agave’s, a Mexican restaurant the Tim and Alex had highly recommended. We could only get 5:30 or 7:30, so we’d booked 5:30, thinking that that way we’d have time to watch our movie before bedtime. So we got all dressed up and drove into town for a Friday night out.

Rudy at the Agave restaurant.The restaurant was busy. We got a table. We knew what we wanted — the chimichanga, but not the one on the menu; no, ask for the ‘pork’ one — it’s the best. And the margaritas are big and strong, so have one of those. Calamari appetizer. Share the chimichanga. Each have a big cold margarita. Good times. Good food. And yes, those drinks are pretty strong! No wonder Tim went to bed early the night the kids went out for Mexican food!

Rudy ordered a second margarita. Whoa, Sue, you’d better drive home after this. I’ll navigate, but I shouldn’t be driving. We shared the chimichanga and decided to forego dessert and enjoy some of that new ice cream at home later, after our movie.

Sue headed back home and I navigated. We were heading up along Monterey and since we were going right by it anyway, we decided to stop at the big Lowe’s hardware store and exchange the shower rollers. (Stick with me here now, kids.) While Sue took the receipt to the returns clerk I headed down to aisle 11 to get the right-sized shower door rollers. I knew where they were. But I couldn’t find them. I stumbled around, checked aisle 9, aisle 13. Nope, none of these aisles have a pegboard with shower rollers on them. After a few fruitless minutes of searching, I see Sue coming up the aisle — big grin on her face. Rudy, we’re in the wrong store! We didn’t buy this at Lowe’s. Oh yeah, it was a Home Depot. So we sheepishly left the store and got back into the van. Oh well, the Home Depot was just up the street. We went there and exchanged our rollers, no problem.

When we got home I quickly wrote my journal entry. That’s the little blurb at the top of this entry. Then I put the DVD into the player and pressed play. I remember the opening title credits of the movie. But nothing else. Sue watched the movie alone, with me sleeping soundly on the couch beside her. After the movie she woke me up and we had some new ice cream. I don’t really remember that. Then we went to bed.

Next morning I got up at 6:00. I’d slept 10 hours. Sue made coffee. She caught me up on what had happened last night. Well, why don’t I go fix that shower door now.

I removed the shower doors and checked the new rollers. Yup, those are the right size. I put the new rollers on the door. Well, maybe Sue would like to clean this tub before I hang the doors back on the track. Okay, let’s get out a selection of cleaning products (from the many stored under the bathroom sink) and there’s my Susie on her knees, scrubbing away at the tub. Okay, that will have to be clean enough. Now help me hang these doors back on the tracks. A bit of finnagling and their done. Work nicely. No more shearing and rubbing metal on metal. See? Fixed it! We wipe everything up, wash our hands and put the cleaning products back under the sink. I pull open one of the drawers in the vanity. What’s this? Brand new shower door rollers. Still in the package! They’d been there all along.

shower-door-rollers

Desert Dunes II

Well, I’ve already told you about the highlight of my morning. No, actually the highlight was bacon and eggs with 1 piece of toast. We skyped with Alex a bit. Sue sat outside beside the pool and read. After soup and a sandwich we got into the van and headed west to Desert Hot Springs. Back to Desert Dunes golf course. We knew it would be a bit cool today, but at least it wasn’t as windy as last time we were at this course. Wrong. Very windy. Gusty. WAY windier than the light breeze we had in Rancho Mirage. Oh well, maybe it’ll be okay — after all, we had fun last time. Sue got us the same discount, so for $25 each we got into our golf cart and teed off at the first hole. Big drives into big wind. Just like last time. And Sue really wasn’t enjoying it very much. But we persisted. The upside was that there weren’t very many other golfers on the course. By the time we turned the corner and got onto the back nine things were looking up. Better golf shots. Wind let up a bit occasionally. And instead of losing lots of balls, we actually came out a bit ahead after finding a cache of balls when we went looking for one of our errant drives in the scrub brush along hole 13. So that was a bonus. The course is really a very nice course — challenging, beautiful, well-maintained, and inexpensive. But that wind!


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We returned our Redbox movie on the way home. Then, after happy hour, I barbecued chicken and Sue made quesadillas. Then we watched some TV and waited for Daylight Savings Time to kick in.

Spring forward

Today’s journal entry will be short. Today was an hour shorter than usual. Thanks to my fancy-schmancy alarm clock I didn’t have to get up at 2 in the morning to moving the time ahead for Daylight Savings Time — no, the clock adjusted itself! And after what seems like quite a few Sundays of NOT watching our Sunday morning talk shows, today we watched Fareed and Reliable Sources. In bed. Before coffee. Sue made French toast with fruit and bacon for breakfast. I cleaned the leaves out of the pool. We went for a one-hour walk around the Victoria Falls neighbourhood. When we got home Sue went to sit by the pool and read. I switched on golf on TV. Tiger’s back — he won the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral for his 76th career PGA Tour win. Dave and Lois skyped for a bit in the afternoon. By late afternoon it was time for gin-and-tonics at the pool. Then Sue and I cycled across the street to pick up chinese food for supper. Watched 60 Minutes after supper. Watched more TV after that. Sue fell asleep shortly after 8:00 — too much sun, I guess. Plus, it’s really after 9:00 in ‘real time’.

I’m all shook up

Woke up before 7:00 — must be daylight savings time. Had toast and fruit and coffee. Skyped with Alex. Did a small computer project for Koop. Google map of La Quinta earthquakeSue was doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen cupboards, and phoning all her friends back home and I was sitting in the can, reading my book on the iPad, when suddenly the whole room began to rumble. No, that wasn’t me. And no, that wasn’t the washer going nuts on the spin cycle. It was an earthquake! The biggest earthquake I’ve ever experienced. It lasted about 10 or 15 seconds and it shook the whole house, big time. It’s quite something to have big floor tiles and big patio doors and windows wobbling around violently for a few seconds. What was that? Sue was in the kitchen looking out the window at the yard and pool — and everything was shaking. We turned on the TV and listened to the local news desks report that it was a 5.2 quake centered just south of La Quinta, and because it was a deep quake it was felt for 100s of miles. Oh well, it’s all fun and games once it’s over and there’s no damage and everyone’s okay. Chalk it up as another new experience.
I skyped a bit with Max, who was sitting up all by himself. Sue made some lunch and we sat outside in the warm sun for a while, getting warmed up for the afternoon. It was about 85 degrees today, and it’s only supposed to get warmer every day this week. At around 2:00 we left for the golf course at Rancho Mirage. Booked it on golfnow for $25 each. We were paired up with two young guys from Arkansas. We had a great time. Finished 17 holes before we quit at around 7:00, when the sun went behind the mountains.
Back at the ranch we had some cool refreshments before Sue warmed up the leftover Chinese for supper. Checked the tv guide and decided to pick up a Redbox DVD instead, so I zipped over to Von’s to pick up “Taken 2”. It was so-so. After the movie Sue and I played a little “networked iPad” bridge until the start of David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon. Didn’t know we could stay up that late anymore.

Getting Warmer

Worked on a computer project in the morning. Read my book. After lunch we sat outside and ‘warmed up’ — it’s getting seriously warm here now — it was 91 on the way home from our afternoon matinee movie. We saw “Parental Guidance” with Billy Crystal — it was ‘entertaining’. Sue made a great supper — chicken and mashed potatoes and cauliflower and a tomato and avocado salad. Wow! Watched our comedy shows and then a 2-hour ‘Chef Ramsay’ show on Fox — yikes! that was a pretty dumb (scripted) ‘reality’ show. I think I just felt an ‘aftershock’ — yep, 3.5 magnitude, south of La Quinta. Well, we’ll ‘rock to sleep’, I guess.

Golfing at the Oasis — and hit 95!

Went golfing at the Oasis Golf & Country Club this afternoon. We had a 3:15 tee time — which meant we would be golfing during the hottest part of the day! We were partnered up with a couple from Victoria, BC. Tim and I had golfed this course earlier — it’s a pretty course, short, lots of water — not unlike the Chaparral Course. Started off with a bloop onto the 4th green! Hmmm… Second shot hit a nearby palm tree and fell straight down. Third shot into the lake. So only a couple of too short chip shots and I was on the green! Now if only I could putt.

golf-oasis rudy-golf-oasis sue-golf-oasis


Things improved (how could they NOT!) a bit after that. By the time we started the back nine my game had improved a bit and Sue’s was falling apart. We all kept telling each other ‘this is GOLF’. Although we weren’t golfing quickly, we easily finished all eighteen holes with plenty of sunshine left. Speaking of sunshine, did I mention that the temperature hit 95 degrees Fahrenheit today? So while my golf score didn’t break 100, the temperature nearly did. And it’s supposed to get even hotter tomorrow.

After golf we stopped at the Albertson’s on Monterey for more beer, ice cream, pop, and a movie. Back at the ranch we kicked off our shoes and sat down with a gin and tonic before starting supper. Whistle dogs on the barbecue, Moose Tracks ice cream for night snack. Watched my movie, ‘Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away’. Tried hard not to fall asleep — all that heat makes a guy downright tired! Finally shut ‘er down at 11:30 and fell asleep before the start of David Letterman — well, Sue may have seen it but not me.

Hot Deals, Hot Springs, Hot Mess

After an early lunch we got into our air-conditioned van and headed west on Hwy 10 to the Desert Hills Premium Outlet mall, about half an hour from our place. It was already stinking hot outside and the forecast was for even hotter. We parked the van. As Sue made her way from store to store I did my best to find a bench in the shade along the way and watch people. I’d say that if it wasn’t for tourists from China and Asia, sales wouldn’t be 10% of what they are here — nearly every group of Asian tourists were carrying multiple bags from some of the high-end stores here. And after about 90 minutes Sue also had a shopping bag to carry back to the van.

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We stopped for an ice cream at McDonalds before heading back east to Desert Hot Springs. Along the way we again passed the valley of the windmills. Thousands of them.

palm-sprngs-windmills

golf-desert-dunes-1We’d booked a 3:00pm tee time at good old Desert Dunes — where twice before we’d been more or less blown around the course by the high winds. Although the winds were not a factor today, the 4:00pm temperature hit 97 degrees. And this is NOT an easy course. So once again, the first hole humbled us and more or less blew up any chance we had of finishing with a decent score. So let’s not mark that one. Let’s just have fun. Good idea, but even that didn’t last for long. By the seventh hole I was having a hard time keeping ‘Little Miss Grumpy’ from throwing her clubs into the desert. And although the thermometer read 97, it actually wasn’t too bad — lots of ice water to drink, shade in the golf cart, and a gentle breeze. golf-desert-dunes-2And because the game is called ‘golf’ there were several occasions when we had terrific shots, or chips, or putts. Usually not all three on one hole, but sort of scattered about. By 6:20 we had completed 18 holes and were back in the white bake-oven that is our van. Open the windows. Head out on the highway. Looking for adventure. And whatever comes our way. Next stop? A ‘restaurant’ that Sue said I should not name in my (public) journal. Let’s just say that it is a favorite of mine, and the name rhymes with ‘Back in the Jocks’. Ordered a bacon-double burger and one of those new ‘Hot Mess’ burgers. Hurried home.

Sue made a fruit salad — there, now this is a ‘healthy’ meal — and poured herself a glass of wine while I opened one of those nice german St Pauli Girl brews. Man, that’s good eatin’. After supper Sue called Arlene (in Phoenix). We watched some TV and listened to our hot water tank rumbling away in the garage until it was time to close up this day and start thinking about that first cup of fresh coffee that will usher in tomorrow.