Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And Then This Cairn Terrier Flew By

Last Saturday was quite a day for the household and this little of oasis called Palm Springs.  First the household got a new means of transportation, then we nearly got blown down to Baja by the Wicked Witch of Windstorms. We are all fine and the city will recover.

The started like any other weekend with my impulse to but something. In this case, it was bicycles. We had been talking about getting these for quite sometime, ever since our move across the country from Maryland to California. Large parts of this megalopolis know as the Coachella Valley are flat and you need nothing more than one gear to bike around town. It has been several years since I have had to buy a bicycle and suffered from sticker shock when walking into a local cycle shop and discovering that one speed "Townies" would cost upwards of $400. For that price, I should also get a handsome go-go boy to ride on the back of the bike with his muscled arms cinched around my waste as we cruise through the gayborhood.

After some internet research, a trip to Riverside ensued in which we test drove bikes out of garage of a private home. This man has a wonderful website about things to look for when buying a used bike and he also sells new and used bikes. We would up buying two new bikes from him for a reasonable price and loaded them into the Subaru. This is when my mother, as part of the Mothers Weather Network, called to warn us about the dust and wind warning covering Palm Springs. As we were leaving right then, we felt sure that we would beat the winds.

Driving on the I-10, heading past Morongo, we looked past the twirling giants that guard the entrance to our Shangri-la, and saw the beginnings of dust rising up over the valley, not quite a haboob, but close. Dramatic music began to play off the iPod and a sense of dread permeated the car.

We made it around the base of Mt. San Jacinto with little difficulty and just minor dust flurries briefly obscuring our vision. Downtown Palm Springs was a different story. As we approached we had a blinding gust blow up around us and the entrance to the tram. The next problem was the traffic jam at the beginning of downtown that extended into the Uptown Design District. We turned off to get around it and had flying pieces of artwork from the art festival to deal with. Those poor artists lost tents, artwork, and much more from the damage that was immediately visible. As we passed undeveloped blocks of Indian land on our way home, these gusts, which topped 65 miles per hour, would obliterate views of the block and I would have to almost come to a complete stop for fear of running into a car or pedestrian in front of me.

Upon returning home, we watched as our swimming pool and hot tub, both began to look like we pumped water from the Louisiana bayous to fill them. Ficus leaves, palm bark, dust and sand covered everything. We were lucky though, our carport did not collapse, nor did anything fall on our car nor our house. Others in the community did not share our luck.

The cleanup around the house, thanks to the gardeners and pool people, is mostly complete. According to locals, while this was the worst they had seen n a few years, windstorms like this happen about twice a year. We can deal with this. We just have to remember to lay low, not go out, and look for flying witches and Cairn terriers in baskets.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It Was A Full Moon, But All I Saw Was Stars

Immediately after returning form Los Angeles with a U-Haul full of apartment furnishings, my good friend whisked me away to the premiere red carpet event in Palm Springs,  the Awards Red Carpet for the Palm Springs International Film Festival.  This friends of mine was inspired by a Facebook post of a contest I entered through a local TV station for tickets to the bleachers of this event to enter as well.  He won, and since I inspired the win, he brought me along with the second ticket.

The event did not start out as a grand evening of fun and frivolity. It started as an afternoon of near blindness and boredom. First, we had to be there at 2:30 pm for an event that was not going to start until 5:30 maybe. The awards gala was at 7:00 pm so the red carpet was going to start at 5:30 according to crowd guesstimate.

Next we went through a metal detector  that was somewhat reminiscent of what some inner city high schools used back in the early nineties. We were allowed to choose which seats we wanted. We choose the top row back in a corner where hopefully, no one would block our photo ops.  During this entire time, we are forgetting we are in the desert in winter.  This means that when we took our bleacher seats, we are staring directly into the blazing setting sun...for two hours.  We may not be able to see anyone famous even if they came up and gave us a lap dance due to our retinas being permanently damaged.

The crowd surrounding us kept us mildly entertained and annoyed during our wait time. Included in this are the extreme fans, who want nothing more than a photo op with a start on their iPhone, their face mashed against a start in some cheesy photo that will be used to prove to friends and relations how well connected they are. There is also a couple who is swearing up and down that they know most of these starts when they were less famous and so they will get a personal hello and time with this celebrity. As always there is a precocious young girl who is hell bent on getting face time with the stars and brought an autograph book ans spent most of the time before the stars arrived haranguing those around her for a pen, because she forgot one.

Around 4:45pm the chaos began with the arrival of the first marquee star. The bleachers immediately emptied to the front rows and left my friend and I to fire away with unobstructed shots, except when his arm got in my way. The couple was swearing they knew her when was calling out her name and was somewhat perturbed when she did not come over to our section. The girl, with pilfered pen in hand, was trying to get her first autograph by being impossibly obnoxious, and the women with signs did nothing, because this was not the one they came to see.

I could go into an entire list of who I saw and who they were wearing, but that was done by other bloggers who specialize in that kind of star watching. I got to check something off my life list and both my friend and I swore we would never do this again because extreme boredom paired with chaos and mayhem is just not our thing. I did get some good photos though.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You Shoulda Been Here Last Week

This is the phrase that seems to punctuate my social life.  If it is a recurring social function, chances are that I will show up the week after their best function ever. A congruence of planet alignment, social migration patterns, and kismet that descends on a particular social function once, and then next week I will arrive.

Last night, my husband and I went out to a local watering hole for a recurring weekly event that had been repeated described to me as a good time, a lot of fun, and other superlatives too numerous to mention. We agreed to meet a friend there. We then proceeded to experience one of the most ho-hum evenings ever recorded in the desert. This anomaly was apparently due to one or more of the following reasons:
1) It is winter (provided by my husband) Winter is high season here in the desert, so this does not fly.
2) It is just after the holidays (provided by a friend) Possible, but unlikely, considering the propensity for good times by the local and transient population of this locale.
3) It is cold outside (provided from numerous sources) Cold is a relative term, and cold should not be 61 degrees F, the temperature registered on the patio of the watering hole.

The most plausible explanation is that kismet and karma once again teamed up to laugh in my face. Part of this I would blame on my LA exile which recently ended. However, I found the same to be true out in Los Angeles.

Another night out, another watering hole, one featuring a world renowned drag show every Tuesday night.  I go out in mid-August, figuring that the confluence of college students returning to school and the height of the LA tourist season would at least present me with lots of people in a small space and the eye candy that would invariably show up. I was one of 10 people in the audience for the first show at 10:30pm, which is the appropriate hour to start showing up for gay nightlife. The drag queens look confused and still tried to rally our spirits, but with the fact that tips were going to be scarce that night, they phone in their performances. The bartender tried to assure me that this was an anomaly and said, "You shoulda been here last week, were were packed and the ladies were on fire."

The greater question is why do people feel the need to tell me this factoid. Already feeling a bit bummed by having a lack of a good time right now, why tell me about what a good time I missed last week. Is this supposed to assuage me in some fashion? I am supposed to feel better by the fact that other people on a different night had a blast at this particular establishment. The bigger question is, why are they not here this week to help me blow off some steam? I am not asking for a lot, just a repeat of the festivities of the week before to help me celebrate or de-stress my life.

I am not a complete Sad Sack, and I have had good nights out on the town with my husband and friends. But even when I am having a blast, I almost always here either a bartender, a bar back, or a patron say, "Yeah, this is good, but you shoulda been here last week." Really? Why deflate my good time with this little statement?

So the moral of this blog entry is, go out and have fun, no matter when. However, to ensure a great time, check my social calendar first, then show up the week before I do.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year with Reintegration Challenges

As I transition from my split life to a full time residence in Palm Springs, CA, a few things become quite clear. The climate and people are more to my liking here in Palm Springs, Sunday is no longer a day of dread, and in the span of 8 months of single guy apartment living in Los Angeles, I have managed to accumulate the most amazing amount of crap.

I have duplicates of just about everything that my husband and I have in the Palm Springs residence. Discovering this and reintegrating the apartment stuff into the house has posed some interesting conversation topics:
-Which can opener is better?
-Where did all this paper come from?
-How do you fit two living room sets in one living room?

Reintegration has been good for one main reason. It has forced us to optimize the storage space we have here. One weekend saw us empty out all the cupboards in the hall and master bathroom and reorganize so that a linen area was created in the master bath and a psuedo-pantry was created in the hall. This useful except that he pantry is quite away from the kitchen.

The big challenges happens next weekend when the apartment furniture arrives from Los Angeles. A swap and redesign of the master bedroom furniture is planned for as well as the creation of an outdoor living room/zen area/party lounge so that we do not feel like fools for purchasing apartment furniture for only eight months.

Yes, we though the time in the apartment would be longer and the purchases we thought were necessary at the time.  However, it is much better to have this problem, rather than to drive sadly way from my family every Sunday night.

Reintegration is going to take awhile, but family is worth it.

My hope is to relay all the ups and downs of my life as a Desert RN through this blog. I hope you follow along with me.