Thursday, March 21, 2013

Some things change, some things don't...

In the early '80s I worked for a destination management company that handled all the leisure time that conventioneers had while they were in San Diego or Palm Springs.  Our headquarters was in San Diego, but the owners had a condo in Palm Springs that we used as an "office" as well as a place to stay when we operated programs in PS.  We would never let on to a client that we didn't really have a full-fledged office in PS and even went so far as having a PS phone number but it rang into our San Diego office.  It was nothing for us to talk with a client in the morning and make a lunch appointment for that afternoon!  We would just give ourselves a two hour leeway and off we would go!  It actually was kind of fun.

I'll never forget my first one tho, what an experience!  I had only been to Palm Springs once before, and that had been many years before, as a tourist.  I was suppose to meet with a potential client and show him around and "seal the deal".  I was petrified because I didn't know my way around, let alone where the "movie star's houses" were, which was the highlight of one of the spouse tours.  They said "no problem, we have contacted our limo company and they will have a driver take you everywhere and he will give the tour!  All you have to do is the selling.  Piece of cake."  Sounded ok, so off I went.  The meeting was for the next day, so I decided to go over the day before to drive around a bit.  One of our best tour guides was in town working a program and it turned out that she had a couple of spare hours and offered to drive me around and show me the "movie stars homes", along with the basic PS layout.

The next morning I met with the client and as we went to the limo, he stopped and said that he didn't want the fuss of a limo and asked if we couldn't just take my car.  I explained that it wasn't a "fuss", that it allowed me to talk easily without concentrating on driving, he bought it and off we went!  Well, after the basic "there's the golf course, airport, etc. it was time to "do the tour".  As the driver drove around and around without saying anything I soon realized he didn't know where he was going...uh oh.  I asked him what he was doing, and if he knew where Elvis' house was and he said "no, he was new and didn't know where any of them were!"  Well...I only could remember Elvis and Liberace's so we went to those two, the rest I said stupid things like "that's somebodies but I can't remember who"...and then just told him that I wasn't the guide, and that I don't give the tours, they do and that they are great at it!  I assured him that "the tour was great and he had nothing to worry about, honestly!"

We went back to the hotel for lunch, and I figured I had blown it for sure, so I decided to just relax and enjoy lunch!  At the end of lunch, he leaned back and began to chuckle a little, then said to me..."Marie, it's obvious that you are new to PS, but not new to being a damned good Event Mgr.  You have a lot of chutzpa lady, your hired!"  I nearly fell out of my chair!  He turned out to be one of my most favorite clients!

In those days, we came to PS a lot.  We had two favorite spots we always made time for - Las Casuelas Terraza for the best Mexican food and Margaritas in the valley and Billy Reed's for the biggest and best cinnamon buns ever!  It was "tradition!  PS was a "happening place" in those days.  Sonny Bono was running for Mayor so he could get his house built the way he wanted it (cutting through the red tape they were throwing at him).  He had a restaurant here we used to bring the ladies for lunch and I had to meet with him one day and explain to him that he had to stop by/walk through the restaurant and say "hi" to them, that was why they were coming there!  He was actually very shy.

Driving around now, lots of things have changed...many restaurants and other buildings have closed, while new ones have been built.  They have added weekly street fairs, public art and fun shops to brighten up the downtown area.  I just don't feel the same vibe tho that I felt in the "old days", but it could be me too.  But, one great thing hasn't changed, and that's Las Casuelas Terraza is still making great meals and wonderful Margaritas, and Billy Reeds is still the place to stop just before leaving the city!  Some traditions are worth hanging on to!

  ...kicking back in Desert Hot Springs,   Marie

Monday, March 18, 2013

Quiet reflection...

Do you ever just sit in quiet reflection (meditation aside)?  No music, TV or people to talk to?   I usually don't.  I like sound.  If I am alone, I either have the radio (preferred) on or the TV, or if not alone, then I am singing (well, I call it that) or talking to someone (in person or on the phone).

Yesterday I found myself in an unusual situation.  Jack and I were sitting outside in the nice shade of the RV.  He was reading and I decided to start on my new cross-stitch.  He promptly feel asleep, leaving me alone.  I didn't want to turn the radio on because it might wake him, and the same if I called someone.  I didn't want to go inside because it was to hot.  There was no one to in sight, it was just me and my cross-stitch.  Now, the thing about cross-stitch is that there are large sections that can be repetitive, so it doesn't take much thought or brain power to do it - leaving your mind free to it did...

I started thinking about the last time I had done one of these, as it had to be many years ago.  There was a time in my life when I used to do a lot of cross-stitch (along with other sewing projects).  During that time there was a small group of us women (in our early 30's) who would get together once a week and work on our projects.  It was so much more fun that way!  We would talk about our kids & husbands (or guys we were dating), eat, drink, and laugh a lot.  Special friendship bonds were formed during that time.

I think we all have at least one special person we meet in our life who really makes a difference.  Someone who helps you through those "tough years", who seems to understand you better than anyone else.  That person for me is Jeanine.  Jeanine has the insight of a psychic, the wit of a night show host (actually their writers) and the heart of a volunteer.  She's a talented artist and writer and attractive to boot, and she doesn't see any of it!  She wears her very big heart on her sleeve and gives openly, so unfortunately she's been taken advantage of a number of times, and it never seems to stop her from being the sweetie that she is.

As I sat there reflecting on those times together, then, and over the years as we have grown, moved apart but manage to stay in touch, I smiled at how lucky I am to have her and the other friends I've made along this path called "life".

I know that my life was pretty rough going for the first half or so, but I have been so blessed with such special people along the way that I can hardly remember the pain, only the lessons learned - and I guess that's what it's suppose to be all about anyway...hmmm

Well, that was enough of the "quiet", I went inside anyway and called my dear friend for a  long over-due "girl talk"!

 ...kicking back in Desert Hot Springs,   Marie

Monday, March 4, 2013

Relaxing...Marie style

All my life I have been on the move.  My Dad was a career Navy man and in those days, the military moved you every two years, minimum.  Sometimes we moved houses in between the big moves.  I lost count of how many houses and schools I had gone to even before getting to high school.  When I was twelve, Dad retired and my parents got a divorce so my "movement" continued on going back & forth between parents and other relatives.  After high school I moved several times, then got married, moved a few more times and then came the children!

Once the twins came I haven't stopped moving!  In those early years I was raising the three children on my own, working three jobs while going to school and even fitting in a few dates now and then!  Later things slowed down to just one job, the kids and dating!

As the children grew older, marriage came and the job got easier, but I was always active...until now.  When I would tell folks about my "pending retirement" I would get mixed responses.  Some would congratulate me and share how they either enjoyed being retired or wished they were (depending on their status).  Some would ask "what will you do?"  I would quickly tell them how I had so many things I have wanted to do but never had the time!  We (my husband and I) have wanted to travel and see the U.S. to begin with, then I have so much writing I want to do, gardening, projects, "all kinds of things!"

I have been looking forward to retirement for years!  Having the "free time" I never have had.  Time to "just relax and be".  Something new to me.  Something I've envied others having.  Something I've fantasized about.

Last year, as you know if you have followed this blog, we filled our year with travel.  Busy, moving, seeing, doing travel.  We really never stayed very long in one place, and when we did, it was still full of going, seeing and doing!  Fun!  We loved every moment of it.  No regrets.  But this year we thought we would do something different.
Something slower. 

This year our plans are to drive less and stay longer at our destinations.  See more National & State Parks, relax more, make new friends, learn new things, experience life differently.

When we were in San Diego we learned that Jack needed to return at the end of March for some follow up dental work.  That meant we couldn't travel to far afield, so we got out our trusty map and computer and settled on the desert for warmth and economy.  We have been camped in Desert Hot Springs for three weeks (with another three to go).  Now, not only has this been the longest we've stayed in one place, but also the bleakest place we've stayed at!  Don't get me wrong, it's not an awful place.  It's just that there isn't that much to do or see out here...and that's not a bad thing, it's just not something we are used to!

Of course, as I've shared, we have jaunted off to "see what we could see" of the area...Joshua Tree National Park, 29 Plams' murals, street fairs, art fairs, Thursday Night gatherings in Palm Springs, etc.  The campground has activities, which we've checked out a couple too, but mostly it's been us just "relaxing"...or trying to.

I've read a few books (loved the bio of Steve Jobs!), cleaned the rig from top to bottom, reorganized all my cupboards and made them much more efficient, and have moved the winter clothes back and the summer clothes forward.

Now I've decided there is nothing left to do but work on my tan!  So, I've been going to the pool (isn't that where one is suppose to do it?) Magazines: check (boy, they have really stacked up and my sister had saved them all for me!),  sun lotion: check, sun hat: check, watch: check (don't want to burn), water: check (need to stay hydrated), and beach towel: check!  The pool here is heated too, so that makes it nice and two nice jacuzzi to finish off with, mm mm.  Now if the weather would just stay the same way every day I could get with the program...maybe.

You see, "relaxing" I've found, is difficult for me.  Something completely new.  It was always something that happened rarely, something "stolen" for a few hours, not for days and days!  I know I will get a rhythm to this, I just haven't found it yet..but I am working on it!  In between time... I'm getting a great tan!

  ...kicking back in Desert Hot Springs,   Marie