I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I have a couple of dear old Aunties in England who, are not only the funniest women I have ever known (they really are like a comedy duo) but also, have some of the best stories to tell. They both served in the second world war as WAAF's (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) and my Aunty Mary was assigned to spotting and tracking enemy bomber formations in one of the new radar stations. This was very dangerous work as the radar sites were usually the first target for Stuka dive-bombers. Among her many stories is a favourite of mine where she danced all night in an airplane hanger with the handsome new arrivals, the US Airforce, to the music of the Glenn Miller Band. As a kid I loved the movie of his life, The Glenn Miller Story, and so finding out my aunty actually danced to his live music was a thrill and I have often wished I could dance to such a band. Tonight I did.

The day started out rather slowly. I was all ready to go by 10:30 and sent a message to Ron on FaceBook to let him know. I didn't have my rental car yet as the plan was to go and pick it up today, so I settled in to write on my blog for a bit while I waited to hear back from him. It was noon before I did and 1:00 before he and Nelson arrived to pick me up. Apparently there was a bit of a disaster at Eight-oh-One (as Ron refers to his home) when Eric attempted to put some rose stems down the garburator and it clogged up the sink in the worst way. Two hours later and lots of water on the floor, it was fixed and that's when I got the text that they would be over to get me in an hour, after a quick trip to the gym. I gave them a bit of a hard time about that - I mean, couldn't they skip the gym just one day?!?

We headed straight over to the car rental place and my car was not in. We filled out all the requisite paperwork and left with the promise that there would be a car for me in under two hours. We headed over to Las Casuelas Terraza for lunch, the same restaurant that Ron took me to right after landing in Palm Springs last year. I had been looking forward to a return visit for quite some time. As it was still raining, there was no one sitting under the huge palapa roof but it was lovely and warm with the heaters turned on so we decided to sit outside. I just love the place because every inch of it makes me feel like I am on vacation. Ron ordered up margaritas right away and mine was a blended strawberry - YUM! As we snacked on the chips and salsa they brought to our table, a rather large flock of tiny birds gathered in a tree close by to watch us. They got braver and began to land on the ledge close to our table and longingly eyed our basket of chips so I took one and began tossing crumbled bits of it to them. They loved it and so I took more to the ledge and held some out in my hand. Only one bird was brave enough to take food right out of my hand, the rest flew back to the tree or kept a safe distance.

We had a great time over lunch with lots of laughs, as usual, with Ron. We were finshed eating and it had been well over two hours and we still hadn't heard from the car rental agency so Ron picked up his iPhone, with the comment that there had better be an upgrade coming, when it rang; the car was ready. We headed back over there and they had upgraded without having to say a word because they felt bad that we were kept waiting, which I thought was very nice of them. The car is a shiny red Chevrolet something-or-other and I really love driving it after driving my rattly old jeep for the past few months. I don't know about you but the sort of car I am driving really influences how I feel about myself and also my stress level. And when I say how I feel about myself, it's not an ego thing - more of a confidence thing. It's hard to put into words. But this rental car is wonderful and I am going to really enjoy toodling around in it for the next week.

The boys had some more shopping they needed to do at Target so we headed down the highway, me following them, and pulled into a small plaza with no Target. Ron had talked earlier about going to a place tonight that had a big band playing. I asked if it was a dressy affair and he said 'sort of' and so I was concerned I might not have something to wear as I didn't want to wear my Christmas day dress and it's the only dress I brought. As we got out of our cars, Ron said he brought me here to TJ Max to see if they had a dress I might like to buy for tonight. They went off to a pet store to buy treats for Crawford T. Manchester, and I headed into TJ's. I didn't find any dresses at all but tried on a couple of tops. Nothing suited me and just as I was done the boys arrived and we walked over to a store that Ron said I would just love, called World Market. Did I ever. It's what you would get if Pier One and Army and Navy had a child. They have the most fabulous stuff (no clothing or shoes though) and it's all reasonably priced. I ended up buying some gifts for my kids for next Christmas. It's never too early to shop for Christmas!

After loading up at World Market, we headed down the highway a little farther to Target. I love that place and miss it terribly. When I lived in Seattle for three years - many moons ago - it was my favourite place to shop. And at Christmas it's even better. Right at the entrance to the store they have boxed gifts that they only carry this time of year. They are the perfect stocking stuffers or gifts for someone you don't know all that well. This time there were flasks, shoe shining kits, nail kits, car trunk organizers, car emergency kits, an organizer pouch for small electronics (I bought one for myself as I always have multiple cords lying around and when I pack for a trip like this I just toss them into a pocket of my carry on), a giant computer mouse, a shower head that lights up (great for an outdoor shower), a cup warmer that plugs into the USB port of a computer, - all sorts of great things. I got the car trunk organizer for Ron's mom on his recommendation.

All done shopping, we headed to our respective homes to get ready for the evening. I had decided that a new top I bought just before the trip would be fine to wear. It has some sequins on it and is rather elegant, and paired with my dressy black pants, and a new crystal necklace and earrings, I should look quite presentable I think.

When we arrive at Dink's (Double Income No Kids), I am taken aback by how elegant the place is and how amazing the band sounds. It is the Ted Herman Orchestra and they are pure Big Band Swing! (Ron tells me that Ted Herman is the son of famed Woody Herman, the bandleader from the 30's). On the way over Ron was expressing his frustration that they would only be playing until 9:30. It is now 8:45 so we don't have a lot of time with them but I will take whatever I can get; this is fabulous! We are seated at a table along the edge of the room with a great view of the entire place including the dance floor, which is alarmingly bare of couples - only one is gliding across it's glossy surface. Ron orders Belvedere martinis for Nelson and himself and a Malibu and Coke for me. I express my long held wish that I knew how to dance and Ron says "It's easy. Come on, I will show you." And before I know it, we are on the dance floor and he is gliding me effortlessly around and around. I am grinning like a child and know it but can't stop. This is a dream come true, to be dancing to the sound of a live big band; and to be doing it in Palm Springs in such a glamorous place is far more than I would have ever asked for. No wonder I can't get the stupid grin off of my face. All too soon, the song ends and we settle back down at our table for some nibbles and more drinks.

Once the band packs up, Eric arrives and the decision is made to head over to Melvyn's. We went there last year and I fell in love with the place; it has an amazing history and I have since read the book about it so am even more excited to go back. When we pull up, a valet comes and opens my door and holds an umbrella over me until I am under the cover over the walkway leading to the door. I am so not used to being treated in this manner that I had worried, as we drove up the long tree lined drive from the main gate, how I was to get from the car to the door without my hair getting wet. Hairspray and water just don't go together one bit and the slightest of rain will ruin my 'do'. But I didn't have to worry at all and, once again, as I tip toe around a few puddles between the car and the path, I am feeling very spoiled and somewhat glamorous. The boys have told me several times tonight that I look very glamorous and now, sitting at the bar in this fabulously glamorous old establishment, Ron asserts that - should I spend a few weeks here and sit at this bar every evening looking the way I do tonight - I would be married to a rich old codger within a month. I'd love to test that notion!

(not really thrilled with the photo's of me. I see a chin lift in my future.)
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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