fun in the sun

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!

Palm Springs view

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!

silver larimar ring

(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):

Palms to Pines curves

The view was gorgeous (see photo at the top of the post), but was marred by an incredible amount of garbage.

Palms to Pines 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!

IMG_0658

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!

cookie madness

Another season of Girl Scout Cookie sales has come to an end.

cookie madness

Another season of…

  • Girls being nervous about asking the neighbors to buy cookies…
  • Schlepping the order form (and the cookies) to and from work…
  • Borrowing all the cash out of the money envelope and having to write a big check at the end…
  • Sitting in the freezing cold (and the blessed sunshine, at times this year) at booth sales…
  • Hearing “Thanks anyway! Have a nice day!” many, many times, always cheerfully…
  • Thanking everyone who bought cookies, encouraged the girls, reminisced about being a Girl Scout, and/or said, “Keep the change!” It makes it all worthwhile.

In case you missed out and need a box of Samoas or Tagalongs, let me know! I can definitely hook you up.

looking forward to this weekend – and dreading it

I’ve been out of town at the Oregon Coast the past two weekends. Two weeks ago, Deb and I trekked out to Lincoln City for Sue’s Annual February Scrapbook Weekend.

Lori and Deb, hanging out in our PJs
Lori and Deb, hanging out in our PJs

We did things a little differently this year: instead of hitting every Goodwill store (Lincoln City, McMinnville, Newberg and Tigard) on the way home, we hit them on the way there. We even threw in a stop at the New to You consignment emporium in McMinnville for good measure. One of my big scores of the trip was my Tray of Goodness, a sturdy Martha Stewart organizer – new – for only $1.99. It kept my tabletop organized while we worked.

Lori's Tray of Goodness
Lori’s Tray of Goodness

Speaking of working, I didn’t actually scrapbook at all. I had a huge backlog of stuff to sort and organize, so I decided to get that out of the way. Now I’ll have more time to scrapbook at home… hopefully. I also spent an inordinate amount of time hanging out and eating candy, which is pretty much the definition of bliss, for me.

This past weekend, Quinland and I went with our Scout troop out to the property at Seaside. It was basically a big one-room cabin with a kitchen and bath – the kids called it a “preschool” – with stacks of mats to spread out sleeping bags on. We did some work, cooked some food, and played some games… but mostly we walked the few blocks to the Prom, where we filled up on salt-water taffy, did some antique shopping, and flew our kite on the beach. It was super fun. We slept like rocks each night; it must be that salty air.

sunrise photo by Quinland
sunrise photo by Quinland

I’m looking forward to being at home this weekend. I’ve gotten behind on housework – more so than usual – and it will be good to get that sorted before I go away again next weekend. (I’m going down to California to visit Dad and Ann!) Unfortunately, though, this is the weekend I dread every year: Spring Forward Time. Argh. Argh, argh, argh.

Not only do I hate the one-time loss of that hour of sleep, I really hate the feeling of getting up an hour earlier every morning. I can’t seem to get used to it for WEEKS. Every year, I swear I am not going to change my clock in the fall, just so I don’t have to change back in the spring. (That resolution has never lasted more than 10 days, sadly.) I try to cheer myself up with the promise of sunny hours after work, hours when I will ultimately feel like being productive… once I no longer feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.

I hear that going to bed 10-15 minutes earlier for the week before (and waking up that much earlier as well) can help you adjust more easily to the time change. If that’s the case, I’d better go to sleep right now. Check with me in a week or two and I’ll tell you how it went.