It’s a nice place to visit…

gorgeous blue eyed cat on a walk

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?

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?

A walk in the park

Ruth Hardy park

I feel like this park is mine.

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.

Palm trees at Ruth Hardy Park.

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.

Where is your favorite place to walk?

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?

Conflicted about Christmas

Christmas in Palm Sprigs
Christmas decorations in our Palm Springs home.

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?

Wreath on our old wooden gate
The wreath I made on our gates at the Palm Springs house which was built in 1937.

What’s annoying…

hiking in the preserve
McDowell Sonoran Preserve

I like living in Arizona. I really do. I like being across the street from 130 miles of hiking trails that will never be developed. I also like the wildlife — bobcats, mule deer, coyotes, hawks, owls and coyotes.

But what annoys me are the grocery stores. It’s 30 minutes to drive to Trader Joe’s or Costco, which we make a special trip to do. There are four grocery stores much closer. But I have to stop at two to three of them to get my shopping done.

The one that is closest is very small. It’s not a national chain, but a family-owned local store.They never carry what I need. But they do have the only kitty litter Olive the cat will use — Johnny Cat. It’s the only one of the four stores near us that carries it. They also are the only store that carries Brown Cow yogurt. (If you haven’t tried Brown Cow, please give it a try. It’s amazing.)

So I start my shopping there for cat litter and yogurt. Next I go to a major chain to get mostly everything else. Specialty items I go to the upscale store down the street from the chain store.

I don’t mind driving, but I do mind going in and out of stores for what should be one-stop shopping. I never had this problem in Palm Springs. Maybe it’s still a supply chain issue?

Are you able to do your shopping in one stop? Or do you have to go to several stores to complete your list?

National Novel Writing Month has arrived!

My last year’s project.

I wrote 50,000 words last November in honor of NaNoWriMo. The Playgroup is a novel based on my experiences as a young mother in Palm Springs, Calif. It’s a story about testing friendships and how one person changed the quiet lives of the moms’ group.

I wrote 2,000 to 3,000 words each day and made it to my goal by Thanksgiving.

But then, I lost the manuscript. I was waiting until the new year to begin the process of editing and revising, but I blew it. I never backed it up and my laptop was erroneously deleting files. I lost my community newsletter and The Playgroup rough draft.

UGH!

I thought I had set up automatic backups to icloud — but I didn’t. Now I manually back up to a thumb drive each day.

I began rewriting the manuscript and it’s taken on a new life. My biggest change was the point of view. It was written from one character but I expanded it to the POV of four moms. I’m at about 25,000 words now, so my NaNoWriMo month will be half the words I wrote last year.

I’m currently flying to Seattle for the week to visit my mom, so I don’t think I’ll get to writing until I return home. Not an awesome start to the month, but I’ll be back!

Have you taken on a writing challenge? What is it and how did it go for you?