Another year without

Robolights sculpture

Robolights

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.

https://www.desertsun.com/story/life/2021/11/18/another-year-without-robolights-artist-planning-pop-up-exhibition-february/8672519002/

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. 

https://www.desertsun.com/story/life/2021/11/18/another-year-without-robolights-artist-planning-pop-up-exhibition-february/8672519002/

sculptures at Robolights made out of recycled parts.

Photos from our walk around Robolights.

What are your thoughts of moving into a neighborhood with a 30-year-nationally known exhibit and complaining to the city to shut it down?

Merry Christmas from the Christmas Crew

Christmas Crew in Santa Barbara
This photo is from last year’s Christmas in Santa Barbara.

This afternoon we check into our Palm Springs VRBO to celebrate Christmas with our two kids and our son’s girlfriend’s family. Also, my dad who is turning 91 in a few weeks lives close by. We’re going to be a smaller group this year due to two sisters in Europe and the mother not well enough to make the trip from the Bay Area. One daughter is staying home with her. All in all, with those not coming, we’re down five people. So our party of 12 is now seven.

Merry Christmas!

Who are you spending Christmas or Hanukkah with this year?

Kitty is done with us

Olive the cat in the suitcase.
Every time I pack, this happens. Olive is done with our vacations.

We had a tiring but fun weekend. I’ve decided that a six-hour drive on Friday, followed by six-hours on Sunday to get home, is too much for me.

I don’t mind the long drives like we took to Santa Barbara in August. That’s because we stayed for awhile. My body had time to relax and recover.

We arrived in San Diego Friday with one hour to rest and get read for a 30-minute drive to the wedding venue. What saved us on the drive was listening to “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham. It’s amazing how books on tape — or Audible — make the drives fly by.

I made the mistake of booking our hotel room in Santee, SC — instead of Santee, CA. Oops.

Who knew there was more than one Santee and they’d have hotels with the exact same name?

The highlight of our trip happened Saturday. We visited my husband’s aunt and uncle who live in Santee (hence the reason I booked a hotel there — or thought I did. Right town, wrong state.) His cousin surprised us and came too with her son from an hour away.

My husband’s uncle is 93 years old. The last time we saw him was August three years ago to celebrate his 90th birthday. Because of COVID and then moving we haven’t visited. I have to say he looks amazing. He’s full of energy. He drives, he shops, he cooks, he waits on his wife — my husband’s aunt. He makes the best Italian food I’ve ever eaten. Luciano (the uncle) came to the US from Italy when he was 30 years old after marrying my husband’s aunt. She met Luciano while she was the city planner of Rome.

After she graduated with a degree from Berkeley in the 1960s, she couldn’t get hired in the U.S. in her field because she was a woman. However, she did get hired in Italy, so she learned Italian and moved.

She’s a dynamo that I’ve always looked up to. Not only has she had an amazing career, she’s written and published at least 15 books. She’s a world traveler and had a series based on a travel agent/murder solver. If you’re interested, here’s a link to R. Ann Siracusa on Goodreads. My favorite book of hers is “Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears.”

If that’s not enough, she’s a grandmother who actively takes care of her grandchildren. And she quilts. She taught my daughter and I how to quilt.

Whew, I’m exhausted thinking about these inspiring relatives.

What relatives have motivated and inspired you? What’s your limit for drives on trips?

How long would you wait for a taco? Hint: It’s La Super Rica

Line outside La Super Rica Taqueria, Santa Barbara.
Waiting in line to get into La Super Rica Taqueria.

I discovered a new food this week. Adobada.

What is adobada? It’s marinated meat (often pork) in a flavorful, chile-based mixture. It’s chopped into chunks and cooked on a hot grill or pan so it chars on the outside and is tender and juicy inside. The taco and burritos I had included a citrusy flavor and chunks of pineapple.

Before we took our son to the airport to fly home to the Bay Area, we stopped at La Super Rica. It’s a taco stand with a line out the door from the time they open to closing. It became famous as Julia Child’s favorite restaurant.

Adobada tacos at La Super Rica
Adobada tacos.

When our son went to UC Santa Barbara he told us about the best Mexican food that we had to try. It was La Super Rica — our favorite Santa Barbara Mexican restaurant for 25 years before he discovered it!

Tamale with cream sauce.

Sunday, we waited 40 minutes to get inside to order at the window. Then we waited longer than than that to get our food. By the time it arrived, I was famished. I had the adobada taco and a chile relleno. It was so delicious, I wolfed it down. The wait was worth it.

The other adobada I had was in a burrito the day before from a liquor store in Carpinteria. They’ve been there for 25 years and we’ve been ordering breakfast burritos from them for that long. We’re trying to convince the owner to open a store in Arizona! Our son introduced us to the adobada burrito and we’re hooked. The line isn’t nearly as long as La Super Rica, either.

The wait at La Super Rica reminded me of waiting for pizza where our kids live. Although my son’s girlfriend commented that the Cheeseboard’s line goes around the block and has about 100 people and La Super Rica’s line is only about 20 deep. I wrote about waiting in line for pizza HERE.

La Super Rica patio
View of La Super Rica’s patio.

How long are you willing to wait for a taco? How about a pizza? What other food would you wait for?

Celebration hike

Hiking and biking trails at Park City Mountain
The start of the hike at Park City Mountain.

We celebrated our 37th anniversary with a mountain hike. A storm came through the night before with thunder, lightening and rain, and the heat wave broke. Plus, my husband took time off work so we could hike the Dawn Trail in the morning.

I’m so thankful we got to go on the mountain trails. It had been too hot in the afternoons to attempt it.

Here’s info about Dawn’s Trail from AllTrails.

Discover this 5.8-km out-and-back trail near Park City, Utah. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 54 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and trail running, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are April through October. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

Review from hiker: I wouldn’t rate this trail as easy simply because if you start near the map at the bottom that’s next to the ski lift, it is all uphill and it gets pretty steep at some points. It’s mostly switchbacks up to the top, but it is a pretty strenuous slope, especially for beginners. But, It was beautiful and had a gorgeous view of the valley.

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/dawns-trail?u=m

I counted 14 different wildflowers on the hike. Here are some photos:

Lush landscape and clouds on Dawn's Trail Park City.
The lush landscape and a view of clouds.
Dawn's Trail view in Park City
A view of chairlifts and Park City from the mountain trail.
Trail winding through woods.
Parts of the trail winds through woods and are in the shade.

Wildflowers at base of moutain.
Wildflowers at the base of the mountain.
Husband on the trail.
My husband of 37 years! Where did the time go?
wildflower yellow stalk
One of 14 different varieties of wildflowers I saw.
On the trail!

I’m glad we waited until later in the week to do the mountain hiking. We’re more adjusted to the altitude and ready for more. But first, we’re going to hit the jacuzzi!

Views from the hike.

Happy Friday! What are your plans for this weekend in July?

Park City views

Park City view
A view from a morning walk of the ski slopes/hiking biking trails in Park City.
The best lobster roll in the world.
Freshie’s lobster roll.

My daughter and I discovered Freshie’s while she was in college at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. We follow a blog Female Foodie that highlights the best food in nine areas of the country, from New York to Los Angelos — and even Salt Lake City. That’s where we first heard about Freshie’s.

Freshie’s won a contest for the “World’s Best Lobster Roll” which is held in Maine. Who knew you could get the best lobster roll in the mountains of Utah? They fly lobster in from Maine daily. If you’re ever in Salt Lake or Park City, Freshie’s is a must.

Bear statue on Main Street Park City, Utah
That’s me hanging out on Main Street, Park City. Main Street is where you’ll find an abundance of shops and restaurants. I posed with this bear and my daughter a few years ago.

Airbnb condo on the ski slopes of Park City.
The airbnb condo where we’re staying. We stayed here in 2020 also, but had our daughter and a sister of our son’s girlfriend staying with us on that trip. That was a much busier week!

Breakfast at Tiffany's art
I really liked this Audrey Hepburn art in a gallery on Main Street. If I had an extra $7,500 laying around, I might have brought it home with me.

I love Audrey Hepburn. I’ve always been a fan since I watched “My Fair Lady” as a young child with my parents. When my kids were ages five and two, I would borrow Audrey Hepburn VHS movies from the library. I laughed so hard when we were watching “Sabrina” and my son said “YOWZA!” when Audrey Hepburn returned from Paris as a beautiful, sophisticated woman.

The heatwave may be over. We’re supposed to get thunder and lightening later today. This view is from the swimming pool with the ski slopes/hiking trails in the background.

Where are your favorite vacation spots? What are some of your favorite old movies and actors?

On the road again

beach view in Santa Barbara
On our way to the beach!

I need to get packed. But, I need to do laundry first. The kitty is on her way to boarding. The lady at the pet boarding place said our Olive the cat will be boarding with Olive the pug. That should be interesting. Olive our cat is not a pug fan. Waffles is the only pug she’s met and all he wants to do is chase her. I hope they don’t place them in suites (cages) that face eachother.

One thing that definitely helped my stress level was packing and loading the car one day before. What a concept! We only need to wake up, shower and go.

A nine-hour drive awaits. I’m trying to have a positive outlook for the long drive. I’ve downloaded several books to listen to including John Grisham. I tend to have anxiety on the road, so I’m trying to frame the trip as an adventure. As something fun to do for nine hours — rather than dreading it. Maybe a positive outlook will change my reaction?

Instead of breaking up the drive into a couple days, we’re going for it. We’ll stop by my dad’s to drop off his Christmas present at the halfway point. But we’re not spending the night. We want to get to our destination.

The Airbnb is letting us check in four hours early, which I’m thankful for. One of my worries was that the owner hadn’t reached out to me yet. Now she has and we have all the details to get into our Christmas vacation house.

What excitement do you have planned for Christmas week?