Tuesday, December 18, 2007

December 21st...the shortest day of the year. Yayyyy! I want longer days...I want more daylight! I want sunshine! I want, I want, I want. Well, it's the season for wants so I will continue to want.....I want peace....that's a big one, especially since peace is temporary at best. I want a better body, or at least one that's in better shape. I want a better brain....I think mine is going to mush. I want my old eye sight back and I want my hormones back! Sheesh, is that too much to ask for?

I received a Christmas card today from Sheri. She included a picture of the kids and I was blown away by how old they are. Yesterday I received a card from Karl & Deb with a picture of Bryan who's off at college. These kids aren't just grown up, but ADULT grown up. It makes me feel SO OLD.... but what a good looking bunch they are. The boys are so handsome, and Kelly is just beautiful....and a new mom herself. Yep, I'm feeling really old. I'm a great grand-aunt or something like that. I think it's grandmother...grandaunt. Great grandmother, great grandaunt. So that's what I'm claiming as my title...Great Grandaunt. Ha!

This statue is at the corner of Cook Street and 42nd Street in Palm Desert, about a block from work. For Halloween they put a witch's hat on him...and now for Christmas, he's Santa. A little small town humor and I love it.

Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg passed away on Sunday from prostrate cancer at the age of 56. What a tragic, tragic loss. I didn't know he was ill, but now I see he's been fighting this since 2004. It was an advanced case when they discovered it....so senseless! Such a great talent cut down at such a young age. The following is from msnbc.com..

NEW YORK - Dan Fogelberg, the singer and songwriter whose hits "Leader of the Band" and "Same Old Lang Syne" helped define the soft-rock era, died Sunday at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer. He was 56.

His death was announced in a statement released by his family through the firm Scoop Marketing, and it was also posted on the singer's Web site.

"Dan left us this morning at 6:00 a.m. He fought a brave battle with cancer and died peacefully at home in Maine with his wife Jean at his side," it read. "His strength, dignity and grace in the face of the daunting challenges of this disease were an inspiration to all who knew him."

Fogelberg discovered he had advanced prostate cancer in 2004. In a statement then, he thanked fans for their support.

"It is truly overwhelming and humbling to realize how many lives my music has touched so deeply all these years," he said.

Fogelberg's music was in the vein of fellow sensitive singer-songwriters James Taylor and Jackson Browne, and was powerful in its simplicity.

He didn't rely on the volume of his voice to convey his emotions; instead, they came through in the soft, tender delivery and his poignant lyrics. Songs like "Same Old Lang Syne" _ in which a man reminisces after meeting an old girlfriend by chance during the holidays _ became classics not only because of his performance, but for the engaging story line, as well.

Fogelberg's heyday was in the 1970s and early 80s, when he scored several platinum and multiplatinum records, fueled by such hits as "The Power of Gold" and "Leader of the Band," a touching tribute he wrote to his father, a bandleader. Fogelberg put out his first album in 1972.

Among his more popular albums were "Nether Lands," which included the song "Dancing Shoes," and "Phoenix," which had one of his biggest hits, "Longer," a song about enduring love.

Fogelberg's songs tended to have a weighty tone, reflecting on emotional issues in a serious way. But in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 1997, he said it did not represent his personality.

"That came from my singles in the early '80s," he reflects. "I think it probably really started on the radio. I'm not a dour person in the least. I'm actually kind of a happy person. Music doesn't really reflect the whole person.

"One of my dearest friends is Jimmy Buffett. From his music, people have this perception that he's up all the time, and, of course, he's not. Jimmy has a serious side, too."

Later in his career, he wrote material that focused on the state of the environment, an issue close to his heart. His last album was 2003's "Full Circle," his first album of original material in a decade.

A year later he would receive his cancer diagnosis, forcing him to forgo a planned fall tour. After his diagnosis, he urged others to get tested.

Do it...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's about those Hummers

I love Hummingbirds! This morning I had two of them flitting around my patio, going from plant to plant. One of them saw me when I opened the window and flew right up to me....the only thing between us was the screen. The other one just continued to feed on the Mandavillea Vine, ignoring me as he zoomed back and forth behind his partner. I wanted to take pictures but I was afraid to move, and I knew they'd be gone when I got back with my camera. So I stayed put, and they stayed put, and we all had a great time watching each other. I'd love to get a good video clip of them some day.

It really doesn't take much to make my day.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The snowbirds have returned....

I can't believe there are only 10 days till Christmas! It hit me this morning when I was getting ready to go out....I figured I'd better get out there before the roads clogged up with little old ladies in Jaguars.

I didn't really notice it at first, it was so subtle. Then there were more people at the grocery store than usual. There was more traffic during the week. But now the main roads are filled with cars....BIG cars.....big expensive cars, and classic Thunderbirds, Bentleys, and Jaguars....lots of Jaguars. They drive them like they're tanks....they just keep moving forward while everyone else gets out of their way. Honestly, you definitely need to keep your eyes open out there. The parking lots are worse than the streets. They double park everywhere, back up without looking, and you can never be sure they'll stop when they're supposed to. The Michael's parking lot is packed solid.......SOLID. That place is like playing dodge'm cars....it gets my blood pressure up and pisses me off. I know I shouldn't complain because I don't have all that many years before I join them.....only I won't be driving a Bentley or a Jaguar....more like a Ford or a Chevy.

This is my latest addiction...Starbuck's Mocha Frappuccino's.....yum! I get hot mocha latte's in the morning and cold fraps in the afternoon. ("That's not coffee....it's diabetes on ice" ... the Women's Murder Club). So about 3 months ago I started buying these little 4 packs at the grocery store and taking them to work for a nice afternoon pick me up. Then I found a picture of them on another blog....they'd been altered and I thought they were just so cute! So I started altering some of my own.

Aren't they adorable? I wanted to send some to all of the guys I used to work with in Orange County, but I got started too late and just sent them to the girls. I love the Mocha Frappuccino's but I can't drink them quickly enough to satisfy my Christmas list.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mountains and Rainbows

It rained again this morning, and when I left for work this is what greeted me. You'd think I'd never seen a rainbow before....I ran back inside to get my camera, realized I'd left my house keys in the car....ran back to get them and up the stairs a second time....whew. It was still there. What an awesome sight.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What to do on a stormy day?

Scrap! After my trip to the store on Saturday for necessary items, like cat food, I decided it was a good day to stay at home and do something creative. The wind wasn't going to stop, my plants and flowers couldn't be repaired until the storm was over, and I wanted to scrap some pages for Gina. I made two pages with the Thanksgiving day pictures I had, and then I made this one of the two of us.....the picture is from 2003 and I love it. I think she will too when she receives it....hope I don't ruin the surprise by posting this before she gets it. I haven't sent her any scrap pages since last year and I'm glad to be able to do so again.

And what do the cats do on a stormy day? Keep the couch from blowing away!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Facing the Facts

I was dealt a hard dose of reality this week-end.....it was cold, windy, rainy, dusty, dirty and downright DEPLORABLE! Arrrggh!

It rained all day on Friday, which was fine in itself. I didn't mind it.....I like the rain. It was a bit cold but it was okay. Unfortunately, while I was at work - my plants were all being drowned. In the 20 odd years I've lived in CA, I have always had some type of overhang on the balcony...but not here. Nope, nada, nothing. And I didn't even think about it. By the time I got home, they were all swimming in the water that had pooled in their saucers, some of them had so much water in them that they spilled mud over the rims. My beautiful balcony had turned into a mudhole.

The next morning it was gorgeous. The sky was clear and blue and the air smelled so clean until the 50 mile an hour winds started. That was certainly a great help to my water clogged planters. My first foray into the great outdoors was met with cold blasts of wind that felt like Chicago on a winters day. I had sand in my hair, sand in my eyes and sand in my teeth!
Tree limbs had fallen all over the place with cars dodging them in the streets. What a great day.

I made a video from my balcony...I hope I can post it here. It was awesome.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Autumn Text - http://www.autumntext.com

I hope your day was as enjoyable as mine! Jim brought Sal and Don to the desert for Thanksgiving dinner, along with his three kids....Yay!!! To my surprise I got hugs and kisses from all three of the kids when they arrived! Even from the Tim Man!
I was thrilled with that and even more thrilled to welcome everyone into my new desert home. John was here and had to drive over the mountain, or around it, or maybe through it, but he was here. He lives closest to me actually....just on the other side of that mountain...about 1.5 hours away. Unfortunately, it took everyone else about twice that time to get here. Thank you, Jim!

I know I wouldn't have wanted to make the drive back to Orange County for Thanksgiving, so I was very pleased and surprised (not to mention Thankful!) when Jim suggested having dinner here. I loved having everyone here...wish I'd thought to take pictures! What a dunce I am. The pictures I have are compliments of Jim, so naturally he's not in any of them. Thank you, again, Jim.

The rest of the weekend I lazed around with the furkids watching HGTV. It was cold inside. Outside it was a beautiful 70+ degrees, but inside it felt like 60.....brrr! I took advantage of the cool days, (yes, 70+ degrees is cool!), stayed in sweats, cleaning and putting away my fall decorations. Then I pulled all the crap out of my closet that I'd hidden in there before company came....and started sorting through it again. I've been here for 3 months and I'm still organizing....but I'm trying to do a better job than I would normally do. I sorted through years of scrapbooking magazines and craft supplies in my front closet. It looks great now....my own little craft closet.

I love scrapbooking. I love the paper, and the embellishments, and putting everything together to make a great layout..... I just don't do it often enough. I haven't scrapped a page in almost a year....and I'm getting antsy to get back to it and send some pages to Gina as well. I have a gazillion pictures from years back that I'd like to scrap someday.....what a job that would be....It would be fun to condense them though, into something more memorable than a cardboard box.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This ain't too bad...

I'm sitting on my balcony overlooking the pool and watching Frasier track down a cricket that's chirping away in the corner behind my ficus tree. (I think he got it!) It's warm and peaceful, even with the sound of voices coming from the pool area.

I really loved living in Huntington Beach...(not to be confused with living "at" the beach), but it's overcast a lot and pretty cold...not like the weather most people think of when they think of California. At least not what I think of. I think of being warm like I was when I first moved out here in 1980. I guess I was younger then. Well, I'll pay for all this wonderful weather next summer when I have to live through 3 months at 100+ degrees.

My Bougainvilla is blooming. It was one of the first plants I bought when I moved here, hoping that I might be able to keep it in bloom even though I have no direct sun. The blooms that were on it two months ago when I bought it are still there, and now it has new blooms! I'm so stoked. Yay!

And my white Bougainvilla that dropped all of its flowers is beginning to bloom....

Hummingbirds, flowers, cats at my feet...

I really love the simple things in life.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Wind Turbines in Palm Springs

Wind Turbines in Palm Springs
Originally uploaded by Ladd
Found this great shot of the turbines on flickr. I love seeing them when I'm driving through the desert. For some reason they're oddly sad, and yet romantic at the same time. I know I'm not completely crazy....thousands of people stop and take pictures of them every year. It's a breathtaking sight.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

So why am I here again?

Oh, yes, because the boss made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Ha! The desert. 2.5 hours away from EVERYTHING. They must be kidding! This was back in April when I agreed to "check it out" and said "no". I had made the trip on a Saturday morning....2.5 hours in the car...just driving and driving and driving. It was never going to end. Finally, the wind turbines appeared and I knew I was close....You know those turbines....they're in every Hollywood movie that has a desert scene (Less Than Zero, to name one)...windmills in the middle of nowhere - hundreds of them on the landscape...maybe thousands. I was close to a town....Yay! I saw an exit ramp to a town...then another, and another, and there it was....Palm Desert. A little jewel in the middle of nowhere. A green oasis with Palm Trees and lush landscaping. The sky was clear, the sun was shining. It was a beautiful day!

(See the sprinklers watering the grass? That's the real stuff. The grass in the median is synthetic, but the plants further up are real. Go figure.)

I drove directly to one of the apartment complexes that I had checked on over the internet. It was a great place, Tuscan style, only five years old. The manager must have spent an hour with me....showing me every floor plan they had, telling me all about how she moved out here from OC when she was 50, didn't know anyone. Traded in her old life in OC working as an executive secretary at McDonnell Douglas, to live out here and work at a low paying job at the Marriott. Now that took guts. She was great...made me feel right at home. I had a friend in the desert! I actually knew someone in the desert, someone from OC like me that was...shall I say...mature? So without looking back, I headed home and told my bosses that I couldn't do it. No way, no how. Too far. Too remote.

Two weeks later I was still thinking about this little place. A new office, a new home, a new outlook....and sun....yes, sun. Oh, and did I mention money? Yeah, they offered me money....works every time.

So here I am. I opened the new office in a small industrial area. I have one technician, a warehouse, and ten accounts in Riverside County that we were handling from OC. I would sure like to get some new business but it's going to take time. Things are quiet but my day sure goes by fast.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fire Update

This is how the sunrise looked this morning on my way to work. I usually see clear blue sky. The mountains are so close you think you could touch them. The wind has changed direction and is now blowing the smoke into the Coachella Valley. It's hanging around the mountains, making the sky look just like a day at the overcast beach. It's depressing....no wonder I always felt so gloomy in Orange County. But what I have here is nothing compared to my friends in OC and San Diego. They're living with the worst of the ash and smoke.

The office was so quiet this week. I think the fires have taken precedent in everyone's life around here. I'm just amazed at how this has affected the entire Southern California area. The damage is overwhelming.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Day of Fires

It's not getting any better. Our San Diego office is surrounded by fires. Jeff and his family are prepared to evacuate their home in Escondido. This morning I watched the news as a couple dozen homes in Arrowhead burned to the ground. The fire around Irvine is still burning. All of the fires are still burning, and there's not going to be any improvement in the weather conditions until tomorrow. This is so very sad.

Monday, October 22, 2007

California Burning

We're on fire again. All over the place. Malibu. Arrowhead. San Diego. Orange County. Yes, Orange County, where I just moved from and had to be this morning. I drove in yesterday afternoon while the Malibu fire was happening. It was windy but not too bad, until I hit Orange County. It was really blowing. All night long you could hear the wind howling like a cold winter storm. It was another infamous Santa Ana Wind condition that managed to knock down a power line in Malibu. That line sparked a fire and the wind took it from there. As if that wasn't bad enough, some a$$hole arsenist started a fire in Irvine last night, where two of the guys I work with live, and my bosses mother lives. Two of them evacuated. I've been watching the news and it looks like their homes will be okay. What a scary feeling that must be...being asked to voluntarily pack up and leave your home because it might burn down! The sky around the office in Irvine was so smoky and orange. You could smell the smoke, see the ash in the air. It was bad. Really bad.

I'm glad to be back home in my valley where the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the air is clear. I felt a little bit of guilt as I drove through the smoke filled air and outta there! Just a little.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Model Trains at The Living Desert

The Living Desert

Look at the giraffe scratching his head on the tree...isn't that cute?!

After two weeks of unpacking and trying to put everything in it's place, I finally ventured out one day to The Living Desert http://www.livingdesert.org/. What a treat that was! The sky was so blue, and the day was so beautiful, that I just wandered the property for hours and took pictures.

The Living Desert is a zoological park and botanical gardens where the animals live in their natural habitat. They're not caged....well, some of them are, but for the most part they roam freely in areas that are specially developed for them. It was so nice to just stroll through the park. I was there for hours....I think I took more pictures of the sky than the animals. I was totally mesmerized by the day....it's like I've been living under a cloud all this time. What a gorgeous day.

The park itself sure isn't the San Diego Zoo. It's all natural habitat. There's nothing grand about the park or the displays other than the fact that it's a wildlife preserve totally supported by donations. They only charge $11 to get in...and an annual donation/pass is about $45. The next time I go, I'll buy the annual pass...it costs less than a day at Disneyland! It's certainly worth it to be able to go there and walk around...and see those adorable giraffes.

And then there's the model trains. Good grief, I've never seen such a train set! It covers an acre of land with 2300' of track! Talk about a cool exhibit. It wasn't even running the day I was there and it was getting a lot of attention. I took pictures of that too.
Besides the animals at The Living Desert, I've seen a couple road runners, jack rabbits, a walking blade of grass and a gazillion hummingbirds. The road runners crack me up. I was stopped at a red light and one ran right across the street in front of me. They're the funniest looking things! The hummingbirds are so friendly that they fly within inches of you. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to hang my feeder since there's nothing to hang it on....but I bought a shepherds hook....about as tall as I am...I think I'll wire it to the railing or plant it in a pot of something. It's a good reason to buy another plant for the balcony. I gave all of my plants away when I moved out here because I didn't know what would live and what wouldn't. I didn't want everything to die from the extreme change in temperature.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why Am I Blogging?

Okay, here we go. A month late, but better late than never. I thought about doing this before I moved to the desert.....figured it would be a good way to let everyone know what's going on, and how I find life in the desert. Actually, I haven't kept a diary since I was a kid.....(learned my lesson when my brother read it!) That's what blogs are, diaries for the world to read. Well, this one isn't for the world, it's just for you, a few select family and friends. I'm not trying to set the world on fire here, just stay in touch better and talk to everyone. I'm not good at writing letters anymore, or making phone calls. It must be age.

I officially moved to Palm Desert on August 30th....possibly the hottest day I could pick to move here. The heat was intense. 113° and it stayed there for two weeks. It was hot, hot, hot! But I absolutely could not deny how beautiful it was....and is. Palm Desert, along with Palm Springs and about seven other desert communities, is located in the Coachella Valley, surrounded on three sides by mountains. It's picturesque to say the least, and I'm told the best is yet to come...when there's snow on the mountains. There's not much humidity so 90° feels like 80° - and 80°is nothing. I like being warm.

I ended up here because my boss made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Open an office in Palm Desert. Set it up, run it, it's yours. I said thanks, but no thanks. Who wants to live in the desert? I've already lived in a sandpit once, that was enough. I hated living at the beach...it was cold, man was it cold. It was windy, overcast and dirty.... What would the desert offer me but more of the same...it just wouldn't be overcast.