It was Spring Break last week, and though I worked a regular schedule, I didn’t mind. I’d already had my vacation the week before – I flew down to visit Dad and Ann in Palm Desert for a long weekend!
In years past, I’d somehow been so consumed with life that I kept putting off going down to see them in the winter… and by “years,” I mean that the last time I was there, my 20-year-old nephew was celebrating his second birthday. This was very negligent childing on my part. (I made that word up – what is the child equivalent of parenting?) Luckily, a long-awaited raise and my new three-days-a-week schedule gave me the perfect opportunity.
I flew down after work on a Thursday night (which is another story – and another blog post – in itself), spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the desert, and flew home on Monday. I solemnly pledged that I would do whatever they liked, and that we could do as much or as little as they chose.
We set the tone for the weekend by stopping at a thrift store called Revivals on the way to their condo. It is a fundraising shop for the Desert AIDS Project and has clothing for insanely cheap prices. (It might have cheap books, too, but I didn’t even look! I’m still hewing pretty closely to my no-books-in-2015 plan.) I got a lovely purse in a color besides black, which I have yet to be brave enough to actually use.
We managed to get in a few more shopping runs as well. Ann took me to get a fantastic pair of sandals which are like walking on air; I indulged myself in browsing kitchen gadgets at The Alley; we hit another one of the Revivals stores; and we even braved the 92-degree heat to go to the College of the Desert Street Fair, which is kind of like a cross between a flea market and Portland’s Saturday Market. I got a gorgeous ring of silver and larimar (blue pectolite), a stone that comes from the Dominican Republic. I wish I were a better photographer so you could see how gorgeous it is!
(An interesting note about hand photos: I originally took this photo while wearing the ring, but in order to get close enough to see the ring clearly, the skin on my hand was so magnified, it looked bizarre. No wonder they use hand models… or identical hand twins!)
We got to go to Mass at their parish every day, although I only got to hear their renowned pastor, Father Howard Lincoln, preach one homily. It was a good one, though! He was raised Protestant and was an ordained minister (educated at Fuller Seminary), and his sermon was about the Catholic “mission statement” versus the Protestant “mission statement” as respects faith, works, and salvation. I found him fascinating. I kept thinking I’d like to go to his office hours just to chat and get his opinion on things.
On Sunday after Mass, we took a crazy-curvy drive up to the first viewpoint on the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway (Hwy 74):
The view was gorgeous (see photo at the top of the post), but was marred by an incredible amount of garbage.
Imagine that amount of garbage everywhere you looked. It was as though people just walked up to the barrier wall and chucked it over, suddenly rendering it invisible to their eyes, but nobody else’s. Ugh! I can’t stand littering.
My Girl Scout-leader self could not leave it alone (“Leave a place better than you found it!”), so I climbed over the wall and started picking up anything that didn’t look too sketchy. Imagine my surprise when – after accumulating a bag full of trash – I discovered that there was no garbage can of any kind up there at all! I decided they must not have regular trash service up there, which is a serious shame, but it does not matter. People should always pack out their trash if there is nowhere to throw it out!
And I know, I know, barriers are there to keep us safe and should not be climbed over, especially by those who are not perhaps the most stable on their feet. But, believe me, you’d have done the same thing in my place; it was truly an outrage. Besides, it wasn’t a big wall, and I was very careful to stay clear of the edge of the cliff. I promise. No one would have assumed I was suicidal or anything, especially with all my muttering about garbage.
I did get a great shot of Dad and me up there – his first selfie!
Of course, the best times of all that weekend were those that I could not take pictures of: time spent sitting around talking. My dad can talk as steadily and enthusiastically as I can: at restaurants, in the car, at home (while Ann made me a gorgeous necklace!), about the past, about the future, about our health, about our lives. Those are the very best memories. And, Dad, I promise it won’t be 18 years until I go down again!