The Living Desert


What a way to start our day in the desert: feed the giraffe.  Look at that tongue.  She didn’t want to be petted, so she snatched the carrot with her long tongue and backed away.  Visiting the Living Desert while in Palm Desert is a must; the flora and fauna of the desert is on display.  We watched the cheetahs run, the baby warthogs play while mom and dad slept, and the hyenas sleep in the sun.  Kelly wants a pet fennec, the smallest fox in the world…I don’t think she’ll ever have one of her own, though.

Then we strolled through the butterfly house.  They put the cocoons on display; about 300 butterflies emerge every week.  It’s amazing. We saw three struggling out of their cocoons as we stood there.  It was a cool day so many of the butterflies reached for the netting to catch more of the sun’s warmth.  We only were able to snap pictures of a few that had lit on the flowers. Beautiful.img_0169

Succulents and desert plants abound in the park.  With all the rain in California this year, many of the cacti were blooming.  Pinks, purples, yellows, and lots of spines cover the landscape in the desert. It was a wonderful Sunday morning stroll in the park.




Steak and Oldies

Every Saturday is steak night.  When we first started his tradition we used to listen to an oldies Saturday night radio program.  The kids dubbed it steak and oldies.  We’ve been eating steak on Saturday night for over 30 years.  Last night was just another Saturday in that sense, but not in any other sense.  With a fire glaring on the patio, the mountains in the background, the cool desert air, and our grown daughter with us, it was a special night.

We are appreciating more and more moments like this: A beautiful condo, a beautiful daughter, a beautiful city.  We are, indeed, thankful for all we have achieved and can enjoy at this point in our lives.  Hard work and planning make for a great retirement.

Steak and oldies has turned into steak with the oldies.

Rodin at Sunnylands

Our friends John and Renae visited us in Palm Desert this weekend.  We usually golf with them but the weather did not cooperate with us this year.  Because it is Midcentury Modern Week in the area we toured a newly renovated midcentury modern home.  After having lunch on El Paseo we headed out to Sunnylands for a tour.

Sunnylands is the winter retreat home of the Annenburgs, a wealthy family from Pennsylvania.  They opened it up to Presidents, Cabinet, and Supreme Court justices for a retreat or peace summits.  Their 9 hole private golf course is also for them.  There is a public building and gardens for the public to enjoy and learn the Annenburg’s story and about their philanthropy.

The highlight of my day turned out to be all about a sculpture.  The Annenburgs acquired two August Rodin sculptures: Eve and  Eternal Spring.  Eve is at the residence which the public has no access to, but Eternal Spring is on display at the visitor’s center.  Isn’t it beautiful?  It is white marble and is placed is a window that bathes her in sunshine.  Sculpture is my favorite form of art and Rodin is my favorite sculptor.  To see this up close was wonderful.  No, it’s not The Kiss, but it is stunning.  If you ever are in Palm Springs, don’t miss Sunnylands.  Next year we plan to get tickets to take a tour of the private grounds and the 25,000 square foot midcentury modern home.

This is the second year in a row that President Obama is in Palm Springs when we are. Rumor has it that they will be winter residents here permanently.  They arrived today and Sunnylands was one of their stops.  We have never seen them in person out here; I don’t think we golf the same golf courses…


I wish you could see the sky and the mountains today.  Every level and each distance appears in a different color.  A storm is on its way–has been approaching all day.  Golf at Riviera was postponed, and that’s the rain we are going to get.

This is only the second time in all the years we’ve come out here (5? 6?) that we will see rain.  Last time it was half an inch.  We are expecting over an inch today, and that means flash flooding here.  I may have another better report tomorrow. I hope not; just rain would be fine.

It would be nice if it rained tonight and blows through by tomorrow afternoon.  John and Renae are coming from Yuma to spend the weekend.  All the activities we planned are outdoor activities.  Of course they are; everything is outdoors in Palm Desert, including our living room.  We will be fine. We will be with friends.


Fresh Eating

img_1191Look at my haul from today’s farmers market.  Cara cara oranges, lemons, tangerines, avocado, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, honey, garlic, shallots.  Free range eggs and cheddar cheese were my only non-veggie/fruit choices.  This is only one of the perks of being in Southern California in February.  I picked a few grapefruits from a tree near the condo, and we have fresh fruit for a few days for snacks and meals.

The weather is fabulous.  The temp gets to near 80 everyday, chilly in the morning but warming up nicely by afternoon.

We played pickleball last evening and had some fun and met a few tenants.  This is definitely a tennis community, as there were very few experienced players out there.  Nothing like the competition we see back home.  We plan to go out to the public pickleball courts one morning soon to see if we can find others who play for fun and exercise.  The public courts are very nice, and someone told us they are busy most mornings.

I need to get my fill of sunshine today and tomorrow as rain is predicted for the weekend.  The drought is coming to an end here.  The mountains have lots more snow than I’ve ever seen in the five years we’ve been coming here.  I can also see green in the hills that I only saw as brown, previously.  A good sign…

Time to put on my suit and get to the pool.

In the Desert

The desert is such a wonderful place to be in February.  We spent our first full day in Palm Desert yesterday.  Of course, the weather was beautiful.  I walked to the tennis club to check out the facility and to find out when we can play pickleball (4:00 this afternoon).

Our clubs are ready for pickup at FedEx.  My swimsuit is also in the box along with my court shoes and tennis racket.  We are all stocked with food and drink, for a few days anyway.  We are happy to be back.

There is lots more snow in the mountains than we’ve ever seen since we’ve been coming here.  The lower mountains are greener, too.  The drought is lessening.