Is 2020 a distant memory?

I looked back in my blog to what I was feeling a year ago. It was the fall of 2020 and I was anxious to say the least. We had decided to put our house of 28 years on the market and leave California for Arizona. My kids were in the Bay Area and furious with us. My daughter was unemployed, having been laid off from her job due to COVID. My son was working remotely. My husband was working remotely from our master bedroom. There was a lot of emotions going on although not much else.

Here’s what I wrote last October:

Palm trees in Palm Springs
View from my neighborhood park in Palm Springs

I ran across a poem in an email from a club I belong to. It hit a nerve with how I’m feeling lately. I’m not able to sleep through the night. I’m worried for my children’s health and lives. It’s been a strange year to say the least for everyone around the world. I can’t wait for 2020 to be a distant memory.

It may seem odd to belong to a “woman’s club.” It sounds downright archaic. But it’s an interesting group of about 150 women. We are mostly empty nesters and range in age from mid 40s to early 100’s. We have a clubhouse that we maintain and rent out to various people and organizations for things like weddings to theater. The main purpose of our club is to raise funds for scholarships from graduating high school seniors. We give them four-year scholarships for college.

The club website states our purpose:

Intellectual Improvement – Social Enjoyment – Helpfulness in the Community
​​​Serving the Community since 1938

It’s a great club because you aren’t expected to do anything. Or, you can be as involved as you wish and head a committee or project. I know many of the women from my years as a mom of school-aged children. When I joined the club, I saw many familiar faces of women who were always the ones active and involved in their children’s activities and schools. They are the ones to count on to get things done.

Then there are the older women, generations older than me. I value their perspectives and interesting histories. I don’t think I’d have built friendships with these women unless they lived next door. But thanks to our club, we all sit together for lunch or tea, and learn from guest speakers about our town’s history or other topics. I’m sorry we won’t be meeting this year in person, but I look forward to the day when 2020 and the global pandemic is behind us.

Here’s the poem I received today from the Palm Springs Woman’s Club:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

And I wake in the night at the least sound

In fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

Rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

Who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

 I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

Waiting with their light.  For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

                                   Wendell Berry

picture of woman's club meeting place
Exterior of the clubhouse.

I think this year the club will begin meeting in person. I got an invitation to their opening party. But, of course, I’m not there. Maybe I’ll pop in someday and say hi to my old friends.

Do you belong to any groups or clubs? Are they meeting in person this year? Did they meet at all in 2020?

What I don’t miss about my old house

I looked back to the first of September 2019 to see what I was up to in my life. It was before COVID hit us — and we had no idea what the year 2020 would be like. I was curious what my big concerns were way back then.

What I discovered was I was dealing with a homeless man who would haunt me for the remainder of the time we lived in our old house. He magically appeared in our yard whenever we left town — I’d spot him on our Nest cameras. Or, he’d bring his belongings and sleep on our steps at night. I felt like he was stalking us. He’d write us random notes and leave them on our gate or cars — saying he’d force us out of the house and that he’d contacted the FBI. No, I don’t miss him at all. I welcome my new intruders: the two coyotes I spotted on my morning walk, the bunnies, deer, bobcat and javelina.

In September 2020, I wrote this:

While we were on our working vacation at the beach in August, I had a friend’s daughter taking care of Olive the cat and staying at our house. One of her first times over here, our big wooden gates were shut and after opening them, she found a pile of blankets behind our trash cans! UGH! I looked through my video feed and found him at midnight, opening and closing our gates, peering through our bedroom window and jumping over our wall into the backyard. I don’t blame our house sitter at all, but she was no longer comfortable staying here! She made daily stops, but didn’t want to spend the night.

We called our neighbors who promised to keep an eye out for us, plus the police, who said they’d patrol our house carefully while we were out of town. They promised to arrest him if they found him trespassing. We returned and I haven’t seen him again. But, I did notice he stole our lock to the gate!

Here’s what I wrote about our intruder September 2019:

IMG_4427
Sunset from the back yard.

Last week I wrote about how I was minding my own business at home waiting for eye surgery and discovered on our Google Nest security feed that we had an intruder trespassing on our property nightly. We started locking the big wooden gates that open onto the street. We also have a garage door and an archway gate that are locked. On the camera feed, I saw the stranger rattling our gates, peering in through our bedroom windows, climbing over the wall into the backyard — and taking an object to smash the lock on our archway gate. I was terrified. Then I went for my morning walk on Thursday like any normal day:

I went for my morning walk today as usual. I almost skipped it because I didn’t want to leave our house with the big wooden gates open (they lock from the inside.) During my walk, I constantly checked the Nest app on my iPhone for activity. When I was a block from home, I looked at the app and the guy was there! He had returned!

I couldn’t stop shaking and when I got home, the gate was closed! I yelled and said I was calling the cops so get out! I checked my app again. The intruder had left three minutes before I arrived home. I called the cops and waited, not stepping foot on our property, but feeling safer in the middle of the street. The policeman came right away and said he’d look for the guy, he was probably close-by. He also suggested we get a lock for the outside of our big wooden gates or hire a security firm. I’m thinking Rottie. We had one before and this never happened.

IMG_4327
A present to myself from our beach vacation. The wind chimes are soothing and help me relax

Friday morning the nightmare continued. I woke up at 5 a.m. to my husband yelling from outside the house to call the cops! I grabbed my glasses, my phone and my hands shook as I tried to dial 911. My husband kept the guy at bay on our steps while we waited for the police to arrive. The 911 operator kept me on the phone and asked me to narrate what was going on.

A few minutes later which felt like an eternity, a half dozen police arrived. They said, “Marco! What are you doing here?” to our intruder.

Marco answered, “I live here. I bought this house.”

“No you don’t. You said that about the house down the street,” a policeman answered.

They handcuffed the intruder and drove him away. Both my husband and I were shaking with fear, anger and tried to lower our adrenaline levels to have a normal day. It didn’t happen. We both struggled.

I find myself waking up in the night, looking at my Nest app, listening for any little noise. I’m hoping each day it gets a little better. This person turns out to be well-known, a Palm Springs native and harmless. Of course, we had no idea of that with his erratic behavior and his trespassing from Saturday night through Friday morning. It brings our homeless problem right in my yard, not some abstract issue I read about in the newspaper.

IMG_4433
Olive is more relaxed now that the intruder has been arrested.

Have you had an intruder at your home? What happened and did you get over your fear?

Striving for an attitude of gratitude

I woke up the other morning thinking I was in my old Palm Springs home. Have you ever woken up not sure where you are? It happened frequently when we first moved to Arizona but it hasn’t happened to me for months. But, I started to miss my old Spanish Colonial home that day. It was a very pretty and unique home. Filled with memories.

A view from the kitchen to the living room of our old house. The mirror is now in our master bedroom.

It had a good location, too. So why did we move? For many reasons. Although I loved living downtown Palm Springs, we were right behind a hotel. We constantly had to call the ABC or police when the hotel violated their restrictions on noise. Living next to a busy hotel when they violate their liquor license with outdoor amplified music in the middle of the night wasn’t fun. During 2020 the hotel closed. I’m glad we sold the house before it reopened.

rustic small kitchen

The house was stunning, but not that practical. The kitchen was tiny. We called it a one-butt kitchen, but it worked. I could unload the dishwasher, cook and open the fridge without taking a step. I’d rotate in place. I had more than one friend ask me how I dealt with such a tiny kitchen.

master bedroom with open tub and pillars
The master bedroom of our old home.

Some of the things I didn’t like about the house was it had a carport, not a garage. The carport flooded every time it rained. It also got dusty and dirty, because the desert is dusty and dirty.

Another thing I didn’t like was the lack of storage because the house was built in the 1930s. Also, it was so cold in the winter that my fingers would go numb. And don’t get me started on the four-digit electric bill in the summer.

Another thing I don’t miss is the homeless man who peaked through our bedroom windows and slept in our yard. He terrified me. I’d spot him on our cameras every time we left town. He was watching us. I’d leave for my walk and return to find him in our yard.

Spanish colonial Movie Colony home.
View of our old home.

But we have tons of good memories. We raised our family for more than 28 years in that home. Yes, I’ll miss it even though our new house is so much more practical and less expensive to live in. My husband would like the ability to retire someday. Arizona makes that possible. I also feel like I’m living in luxury with a real garage and a kitchen with more cupboards than I can fill.

So I am grateful to be in Arizona. And I’m thankful for my friends, my cat and my family. You see, I’m practicing more gratitude. I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m going to start my gratitude journal and practice the three blessings before I go to bed at night.

The Three Blessings Exercise

This exercise was created by Dr. Martin Seligman and it is extremely easy to follow:

Before going to sleep every night, write down three things that went well that day. They don’t need to be big things. They can be little things that made you happy or that made you smile, or simply that had a positive impact on you. Then write why they went well.

By doing so you focus on the positive aspects of your day instead of the negatives. After a while, it becomes a habit and your mind gets wired to have a more optimistic approach to your daily life. Studies show that after months of doing this exercise, your well-being increases and you feel overall more optimistic.

http://warriorsnotworriers.com/three-blessings-well-being/
I have attempted to do this exercise in the past, but then I forget about it. I think it’s time to get back to it.
sunset view from the Old Movie Colony.
View at sunset from our old backyard.

What are you thankful for as we begin the Fourth of July weekend?

Marilyn wasn’t cancelled after all

Forever Marilyn statue downtown Palm Springs
Forever Marilyn was located downtown Palm Springs from 2012-2014. She’s back!

After watching cancel culture go after the Marilyn Monroe statue in Palm Springs, I learned something interesting. A local TV station, KESQ TV, took a survey of residents on their opinion of the 26-foot statue unveiled last night downtown Palm Springs amidst supporters and protestors.

Here was one of the questions:

“The statue will be a fun and free attraction for visitors and residents of Palm Springs.” The answers came back with an overwhelming 86% agreement vs 12% disagreement.

Survey shows what residents think of ‘Forever Marilyn’ statue’s return to Palm Springs

Isn’t that interesting? Despite protests and voices against the statue — because some think it’s misogynistic and sexist — most people don’t agree and find it fun and something they like. It makes me believe that the voices wanting to get rid of our past, cancelling Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head, Gone With the Wind, etc. are only aa handful of people. They are not the majority. But they are very vocal and often win out. I see a lot of our corporations being afraid of being canceled and they cave under pressure.

Here’s another question from the survey:

“The statue is offensive and should not be displayed in our City.” The survey ended up with a 13% agree to 83% disagree ratio among those who participated.

Here’s a video from the unveiling yesterday with protestors and supporters:

What are your thoughts about cancel culture? Do you think the people wanting to get rid of our past are in the majority? Or are they a small group of people?

Who wants to cancel Marilyn?

Marilyn Monroe downtown Palm Springs.
“Forever Marilyn” is being unveiled this weekend amidst protests.

There’s a big brouhaha in my old hometown. The statue called “Forever Marilyn” will be unveiled Sunday evening in downtown Palm Springs, Calif. The 26-foot Marilyn stood near the same site from 2012 to 2014 — and nobody objected. In fact, it was quite the tourist attraction.

Now there’s a protest being organized by Palm Springs’ very own Trina Turk, the famous designer. There are women’s groups from as far away as Los Angeles planning to protest the statue. Good luck to them — the temperature in Palm Springs was 123 degrees yesterday!

What changed from 2012 to 2021 that made Marilyn Monroe controversial?

According to an article in The Desert Sun, the local Gannett paper, “A protest in opposition to the installation is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Museum Way between Museum Drive and Belardo Road, according to a Facebook event created by the Women’s March LA Foundation.” Here are some excerpts from the article:

The foundation’s chapters from the Inland Empire and Riverside along with local organizations are coordinating on the protest, which is meant to “voice our dissent to the statue being installed on Museum Way,” according to Trina Turk, co-head of a participating group called the Committee to Relocate Marilyn.

The installation has been the subject of controversy for months. Some have voiced opposition to the statue’s planned location on Museum Way, while others have decried its general presence in the city as misogynistic and antithetical to Palm Springs’ values. 

Meanwhile, supporters say the statue will drive tourism to the city following months of closures for businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Aftab Dada, chairman of PS Resorts — the hotels association organization that bought the statue and is organizing Sunday’s event —  said the its prior installation in the city from 2012 to 2014 brought “millions and millions of dollars in publicity” and “immensely helped all the businesses in downtown Palm Springs.”

A group under the name “Me Too Marilyn” held a protest against the statue in May. That group’s leader, former Palm Springs Art Museum director Elizabeth Armstrong, has called the statue “hyper-sexualized” and said the Palm Springs City Council did not solicit enough public input before deciding on the Museum Way location.

From ‘Forever Marilyn’ to be unveiled Sunday; protest planned by Women’s March, other groups
James B. CutchinBrian Blueskye Palm Springs Desert Sun

I don’t believe Turk is the one calling for Marilyn to be cancelled. From what I’ve read, her objection is the location. But others think the statue is sexist and misogynist. They don’t want the statue to be up period. For example, the former director for the Palm Springs Art Museum Armstrong is upset because she thinks it encourages “upskirting.” She said the statue will literally be mooning museum visitors.

What are your thoughts about “Forever Marilyn?” Do you think it’s sexist and misogynist? Or do you think it’s a blast from the past of pop culture? Should Marilyn Monroe be cancelled? What are your thoughts about cancel culture?

A bit of paradise — Palm Springs

Palmsprings


I was fortunate to live in Palm Springs, California for 30 plus years. I was in the backyard of major golf tournaments like the Dinah Shore and the Humana Challenge — formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic. Tennis tournaments, too. (I don’t follow tennis, so I can’t elaborate much except to say they bring in crowds.) I wrote about my favorite things to do in Palm Springs in April 2018:

images-2

We are in the midst of three major weekends: two consecutive weekends of Coachella followed by Stagecoach. So now what?

Here’s my top 5 locals’ list of what to do in Palm Springs.

  1. Hike
  2. Swim
  3. Eat
  4. Read
  5. Golf

My two favorite hiking trails in Palm Springs are the South Lykken Trail off of South Palm Canyon and Murray Canyon in the Indian Canyons. The Tram is my hot-season favorite, with temperatures in the perfect 70s in the summertime when it’s 110 plus degrees in town.

images

The Palm Springs Swim Center boasts one of the most gorgeous public pools on the planet. Go for lap swim, or drop in on a Masters session with the Piranha Swim Team — the team my kids swam with for 13 plus years. There’s nothing like swimming across the pool and looking up at the majestic San Jacinto Mountain view!

Palm Springs Pool

We have serious food! My favorite restaurants in Palm Springs include — but are not limited to — Spencer’sJake’s and Johnny Costa’s.

Relax! Sit out by the pool with a good book. The resorts around town are gorgeous, from private luxury suites at the Ingleside Inn to larger trendy hotels like Riviera Palm Springs or Hard Rock Hotel. Soak up the sunshine, wearing suncreen of 50 SPF or better, and take a quick dip in the pool between chapters of your book.

Ingleside_Inn_pool1.0-960x447
Pool view at Melvyn’s Ingleside Inn. Photo from their website.
golf_course

Golf. Yes, we have lots of it! My favorites in Palm Springs are the muni courses at Tahquitz Creek. The Legends Course is an older, more traditional course with a great price. The Resort Course is a little pricier, but more challenging. The Indian Canyons Golf Resort is spectacular, too!

Enjoy our blue skies, mountain views, and wide open spaces. It’s all here in Palm Springs. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it!

What I miss most about living in Palm Springs are my friends. Of course this past year, I wasn’t able to spend time with them in person. But I also miss my hairdresser, the checkers at the grocery store, the postal workers, the lifeguards, my fellow walkers in the park all the people who made up the fabric of my life.

When it rains in Palm Springs…

Our country is suffering through drastic winter storms. With Valentine’s Day quietly passing us by this weekend, I remembered two years ago when I felt I was fighting Mother Nature to save our 1930s Palm Springs home. I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as what people are suffering with right now — loss of power and extreme weather — but It was a battle for hours as the biggest rain storm in decades pounded our desert.

Desert Sun 2019 flood photo

Photo from The Desert Sun

When it rains in Palm Springs I usually welcome it. Growing up near Seattle, I’m used to rain. It smells so good and makes everything green and refreshed. But, when it rains hard in Palm Springs, it can be a nightmare. And Valentine’s Day 2019 was one of those days.

I enjoyed listening to the rain on the roof the night before. But in the morning, I heard a “drip, drip” that sounded too close for comfort. I kept waking up and checking on the house from 3 to 6 a.m. Everything was okay besides a drip in my bedroom. By 6:30 a.m. our patio and garage had flooded and the water seeped in through the bottom of the French doors. By 8 a.m. the water was puddling in our living room and making it’s way across the entire room.

I battled the flooding in the house with towels. Heavy, rain drenched towels that I wrung out in the tub and threw into the dryer. Back breaking work after several hours and the rain was winning. The floor was completely covered by an inch or two of water.

My husband left for work at 6 a.m. that morning, but as the weather got worse, he decided to head back home. He bought two sump pumps on the way and had to stand in line for them at the hardware store. What a romantic Valentine’s Day present, right?

 

The sump pumps were game changers! I took a break from fighting the flood to look online to see how other people in Palm Springs were doing. Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 1.38.11 PM

There were numerous accidents on the freeway and roads. Schools and businesses closed. We were told to hunker down at home. Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 1.37.37 PM

The worst of the rain was still to come. I know we needed the rain–but really, did it all have to come down in one day?

Here’s a youtube video near the Indian Canyons: