For New Year’s Eve, my husband and I indulged with burgers and fries at Big Earl’s Greasy Eats.
What’s in a name? We’ve driven by Big Earl’s Greasy Eats for two years. Finally, we took the plunge and ordered the Big Earl Burgers and fries to take home.
They were just as delicious as a place named Greasy Eats promised. But then I felt sick for the rest of the day. Too much food (or grease) that I ate too fast. I couldn’t eat again for that day.
This was my burger and fries from Big Earl’s.
While we were celebrating Christmas with the family, we cooked and mostly ate in the VRBO. One of the special dishes I liked was roasted vegetables cooked by one of my son’s fiancee’s sisters. It was so delicious I made it at home.
Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, bell peppers and carrots tossed in olive oil with fresh rosemary. Roasted in the oven at 400 degrees about 45 minutes.
The roasted veggies made me feel so much better than the burger and fries!
What are your favorite things to cook or what do you like most when you dine out?
We boarded Olive the cat for our vacation in Palm Springs. I got a call from the boarding place three days into our trip. Olive wasn’t drinking, eating, peeing or pooping.
It’s the first time she’s been at this boarding place, because the one we went to before closed. I was impressed with this new outfit. It was spanking brand new, had huge two and three level kitty suites complete with climbing towers and TVs! Cats can climb up and down through the suite through large holes cut in the platform levels.
I had left Olive with her Rx laxative, kitty soup and dry Friskies. She even had an old smelly t-shirt of my husband’s to make her comfortable. After a few phone calls, the boarding place said they’d take Olive to the vet if she didn’t settle down. They also put her in an empty bathroom, where she’d be all alone.
Our Olive isn’t exactly neurotic, but she’s a loner and trembles and gets frightened of new people and places. You’d think having a friend take care of her in our house would be the ideal situation rather than boarding her. But no, you’d be wrong. As long as my friend’s daughter took care of Olive she was fine when we lived in Palm Springs. The friend’s daughter got scared of Marco — our homeless guy who believed our house was his — so her dad took over Olive duty.
Olive doesn’t like strangers, but really doesn’t like men. The end result of the father taking care of Olive was a urinary tract infection — plus me purchasing two new comforters, sheets and mattress toppers.
I got a call five days into our trip that Olive was doing fine.
Now for the embarrassing part.
On our way home we stopped at the boarding place to pick up Olive.
They gave me her meds, foods and handed me her soft carrier. I insisted it was not the right one. Hers was black, I swore — and the one they tried to pawn off on my was gray with blue piping.
I had four frantic employees opening up every cupboard shelf searching for the black-sided carrier.
Finally, 25 minutes later, we came to the agreement that I’d take Olive home in their hard cased carrier and they’d deliver Olive’s carrier to our house once they figured out what happened to it. Maybe it went home with the wrong cat? Maybe the manager who was trying out new spaces to make Olive comfortable had placed it in a safe place?
Once home I decided to check on Amazon for my purchase of the carrier. This is what I discovered:
I had bought a gray carrier with light blue piping. Not black. I bit the bullet and called and apologized for being totally insane and a pain in the behind. Then I had to drive over there and exchange carriers and apologize profusely.
I realized my error. Waffles the pug and his carrier I bought six years ago. This is what I thought Olive the cat had too. She doesn’t get out much and Waffles get in his carrier daily.
Waffles the pug in 2016 with his black carrier.
Here’s to a New Year and sanity! What are your hopes for 2023?
This gorgeous blue-eyed Siamese-mix was on leash in my old park.
We’re back home in Arizona for a bit. Christmas in my old life and Movie Colony of Palm Springs neighborhood was not as stressful as I worried about in advance. We spent two nights at my 90-year-old dad’s house and then met part of the extended family at a VRBO the kids selected — five blocks from our family home of 28 plus years.
I had mixed emotions about the entire trip. Then I saw my favorite checker from Ralphs’ grocery store my first night there. I saw a fellow swim parent in the parking lot. It made me cry and smile.
We (me, my daughter and son’s fiancee) got pedicures at the place we used to go to. We got hugs and a huge welcome. They wondered where we’ve been for two years — while they were closed for COVID and we moved. Thank goodness they are still in business!
As for getting all the food we missed from our favorite restaurants? That was one of my goals. We cooked most meals with people taking turns. Every meal was delicious. I never ate out.
My daughter went to one of our old favorites with a friend and said it was an insult to Italian food.
We took turns with cooking and cleaning. I think this was a very good family time! Loved every second. Although they didn’t want me to replay “Funky Town” too many times…Or dance~!
How was your Christmas and holidays? What are our plans for the New Year?
The holiday light display, previously staged at Kenny Irwin’s home on Granvia Valmonte in Palm Springs, had been open to the public for more than 30 years. But it became the subject of litigation regarding neighbor complaints about trash, crowds and traffic.
We used to go to Robolights a few blocks from our house as a Christmas tradition. Once we took the senior group from our swim team. The last time we went, we took our current Christmas Crew. It’s a very different type of Christmas display made with recycled goods to aliens, microwaved microwaves and a carousal of toilets. The highlight in my opinion is touring the one-acre lot with millions of white lights dazzling above.
Someone moved across the street from Robolights and complained to the city. I heard they even stole some of the million lights that were in storage bins. The city decided it was a fire hazard and shut down Robolights.
This year we walked during the daylight to Robolights and I took photos of the sculptures around the perimeter of the estate.
Irwin and the City of Palm Springs reached an agreement in November 2018, ending a two-year legal fight. Irwin agreed to move the exhibit to a commercial location, and the city agreed to provide $125,000 to help cover the move.
In 2019, Irwin purchased two parcels of land— one 7.5 acres and another 2.5 acres — in Desert Hot Springs behind Cabot’s Pueblo Museum off Miracle Hill Road for $350,000 and hoped to begin developing the site. At present, the land is home to an abandoned structure and the road leading up to it is blocked to the public.
The cost to begin development is estimated at $1.5 million, including $300,000 for the first phase of planning and there is no projected opening date.
I think one of my favorite things about being “back home” is my park. I would take the kids play here when they were young. I met other moms at the park and we’d sit and talk while keeping an eye on the kids on swings, slides, climbing tower and their favorite — a stagecoach. They climb into and on top of the stage coach, acting out adventures.
Then as they got older and left us for college, it was part of my morning routine. A walk around the park. I recognized many of the same people with their dogs daily and we became park friends. Especially when I was taking care of my daughter’s pug Waffles.
There was a 4 p.m. little dog group who met daily to let the little ones play.
A row of palm trees by the tennis courts.
When I homeschooled my daughter for middle school, we’d often start the day on the tennis courts. Hitting and running after balls.
On this Christmas vacation, I’m walking around the park several times a day. I can’t wait in the morning to get out. I keep hoping to see some of my former park friends. On Christmas day I thought to myself, “today I’m going to see somebody I know.” Sure enough my daughter and husband cruised by me on their rented bicycles!
Palm trees in the Wellness Park a few blocks from my old home and the VRBO we’re in.
This year for Christmas and Hanukkah, I packaged and mailed cards and Frango mints to my husband’s clients.
There’s a whole story about Frangos which are from the now defunct Frederick & Nelson’s department store in Seattle. They were first sold in the early 1900s, then bought out by Marshall Fields, Bon Marche and now Macy’s. When I was a young girl, my mom would take me downtown Seattle to Christmas shop and have lunch at F&N’s. The end of the festive trip would be one melt- in-your-mouth Frango mint.
I have sent Frangos to my husband’s clients for years. My project beings with getting padded flat rate Priority Mail envelopes and labels from the post office. My local post office didn’t have any and suggested that I order them online.
One day, I ran out of envelopes and since I had a miserable cold, my husband drove to another post office further away to find more envelopes. He said it was like pulling teeth to get envelopes. One employee told him that they only have envelopes if people come in with them and return them unused.
Fast forward a week, my husband is getting calls from his clients thanking him for the delicious chocolates.
Then one woman calls and said she was confused about this year’s gift.
“Why?” he asked.
“Well, there’s a beautiful card, a delicious box of chocolates — and one dirty gray sock!”
She emailed him a photo of the three items together. And yes, the sock was really dirty!
The client said “I know you must use a service to mail these. You may want to speak with your service.”
The only thing we could figure out is the sock came in an envelope from the post office that my husband went to. I would stack the envelopes and place the card and Frangos inside and then tear off the plastic strip, fold and seal. I never once thought to look inside “empty” envelopes.
If I’m not fired from Frango duty next year, I WILL look inside each envelope.
How would you have responded to the woman who received the dirty sock?
This is what a Frango box looked like when I was a child and Marshall Field bought Frederick & Nelson.
In a couple days, we’ll be leaving to have Christmas with my kids, dad and our son’s girlfriend’s family. Our kids suggested Palm Springs, where we moved from exactly two years ago this week. Last year we gathered in Santa Barbara, which was a fun — if not rainy and cold adventure.
I’m conflicted over Palm Springs. After leaving, I don’t have a strong desire to return. I don’t know if it’s an emotional response. If it brings up too many memories. If I miss it, or if I don’t miss it. It makes me feel things I don’t want to feel.
For the kids, who never wanted us to move from Palm Springs, my husband agreed to rent an Airbnb a few blocks from our old home. It’s all for them, not us.
What I’m looking foward to:
Seeing our big extended family.
Walking around my old park.
Swimming in my former city pool.
Going to my old favorite restaurants for a taste of Mexican food and Italian. We haven’t found any good spots here.
Do you think it’s true that you can never go home again? Why or why not?