Sunday, March 5, 2017

Rasar State Park

We hadn't originally planned to hit a state park this weekend, but since we were in the area visiting family, we took a little side trip over to

 The Skagit Valley is known for its bald eagles, and the state park sign reflects that with its cute wooden characters. The Skagit Valley also got some snow last night, and the white in this picture reflects that.

While it offers just shy of four miles of trails, we only did about two. The weather was spotty, and we got sleeted on at one point, that point being on the most exposed part of the trail, naturally. I don't really want to reflect on that.

The trail parallels the Skagit River.

 The water has a turquoise tint due to glacial flour. That's a real thing. I made it a link so you can read for yourself about how it reflects light in the water.

There's one o' them baldies reflecting on the fish to be caught for lunch.

My photos today don't reflect the wildlife we saw on the drive to/from the park, and that's unfortunate because we saw dozens of Trumpeter swans and elk. All apologies.

WA State Park Grand Scheme Total = 50!










Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saltwater State Park


Some people say it doesn't rain here all the time, but those people are just trying to make themselves feel better about the fact that they chose to live where it rains all the time because they believed other people who said it doesn't rain here all the time.

All right, fine. It doesn't rain here all the time, but it rains here a lot (this was only the second day of no rain this month and some of that rain was snow. So.) 

To celebrate this February's second day of no rain, we headed out for a short trek and a check mark on the list of state parks.

  This park is relatively close to us, but isn't one that offers much of what we like to do.

TBG indicates the trail sign, which indicates hiking, which is a stretch of the word "hiking."

Even though the park sits on the shore of Puget Sound, it is not secluded in any way. The trail winds under the roadway twice along its loop.

And it is in the flight path of SeaTac airport. Camping, anyone?

But the sun was pretty in the trees, and there were a couple little bridges that made me happy.

Getting all up in the sun's face.

Looking for signs of Spring.

Still looking...

Extending our walk along the shoreline's paved trail, making it just under 2 miles total for our whole trek.

Enjoying the view of the Olympic mountains while the sun gets all up in my face.

Some people say it doesn't rain here all the time, and today, they were right.








Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Week in Palm Springs, A Vacation in Eight Acts



A WEEK IN PALM SPRINGS

by

Joodie

Cast of Characters

JOODIE/NARRATOR a 51-year-old female
THE BIG GUY (TBG)/MARK a 53-year-old male, Joodie's husband
MUTTI Joodie's mother-in-law, speaks with German accent
VATI an 82-year-old male, Joodie's father-in-law, speaks with German accent    
                                                      

The play takes place at the family timeshare, The Oasis Resort, and surrounding areas in Palm Springs, California  over the span of seven days.

ACT I, SCENE I in the car after a long, frustrating wait at the rental counter, en route to the timeshare unit

JOODIE     No more sun. So much for arriving early. 
TBG            Oh, well. It'll be fine.
MUTTI      I wrote down the directions to the unit.
VATI          There is a car dealership.
MUTTI      Turn left on Ramon Road.
TBG            I don't think this is right. 
                    I think we've gone too far.
VATI          There is a Trader Joe's. 
JOODIE     No, I remember driving awhile
                    before we got there last time.
MUTTI      Well, I wrote it down from the computer!
TBG            I think we have to go back.
JOODIE     Does anyone actually know where we're going?!
MUTTI      (looking at her paper) This must not be right. 
VATI          There is the car dealership again. 
                    You can buy a Chevy.
TBG            (finally turning on the correct road) This is it.
MUTTI      I didn't have this street written down.
VATI          Oh, look, there is another car going in. Mark,
                    just drive in behind them before the gate 
                    closes, and you won't have to push the 
                    button! Sometimes you can get three cars 
                    in at one time.  I have seen it. 


ACT I, SCENE II, later that night at the unit

VATI         This remote is broken.
JOODIE    (pressing buttons on the t.v. itself) These
                   don't work very good, either.
VATI         Maybe it is the batteries.
TBG           Let me see that thing.
JOODIE    (picking up the other remote) Let me
                   try this one. (the t.v. goes to a blue screen
                   and won't come back) Oopsie! Oh, well,
                   we can just watch t.v. in our rooms.
MUTTI     You have a t.v. in your room?!

ACT II, SCENE I TBG and Joodie are on a morning walk around the resort
 
JOODIE     The sun makes the mountains pink!

TBG       Look at this view from our patio!

ACT II, SCENE II as Joodie emerges from the bathroom, she is greeted by a friendly white cat.

JOODIE     Hey! (bending down to pet it) Where did you come from? (moving to the living room)  Where did she come from?

TBG     She just jumped over the wall and came right in.

JOODIE     Her tag says her name is Luna and she lives in unit 106. Look at her eyes!
                    One green and one blue!

 ACT II, SCENE III later that day at Tahquitz Canyon for a 2-mile hike
 
JOODIE    There is the trail sign!

VATI    They must have had a lot of rain here. You don't usually see this much water.
TBG      Yes, they had almost two inches last week.
VATI    You don't usually see this much water here. That's a lot of rain.

TBG (to Joodie) I bet if you walk out on those rocks, you can get a great shot of the falls.


 JOODIE (to man offering to take picture) Yes, please.

 
 TBG One. Two. Three!


ACT II, SCENE IV at the pool
 
JOODIE     Ahhh. Vitamin D!
TBG            Yeah. (coughing) I think I got pool water in my lungs.


ACT II, SCENE V on the patio
 
TBG            What are you doing?
JOODIE     Putting out hummingbird food. See? I used the sugar from all the little packets to boil some food, and I attached this red piece of a brochure for color.
TBG           They'll never be able to reach the liquid in that.

JOODIE    Look, I made this one, too. I was going to pick some flowers off one of the bushes when no one was looking, but I found some that had fallen to the ground.
TBG           They'll never come to that.

JOODIE     See here? I made another one with the lid from the gelato.
TBG            They'll never drink out of that.
JOODIE     Be more positive, would you? Sheesh!

ACT III, SCENE I at Joshua Tree National Park, 49 Palms Oasis Trail, a 3-mile hike
 
JOODIE     We didn't get a pass. Now we have to drive all the way back around to the visitor center to get a pass.
TBG           There is no sign that says you need a pass, and the gate was open.
JOODIE     But we'll get a ticket!
VATI          I have a lifetime Senior Pass. It's free.
JOODIE     But we need to show them that at the visitor center.  
TBG            Look. It would say on the signs if it required a pass here. It doesn't say that.
JOODIE     But it's a National Park! You always need a pass!
TBG            Other cars here don't have a pass.
JOODIE     That doesn't mean they're right, they'll just all get tickets!
VATI          Don't worry. I have the Senior Pass. It's free to park.
JOODIE     Fine! Just leave it in the window then, and let's go. We better not get a ticket.  


JOODIE     Hold it! OK, thanks.

JOODIE     There it is! The oasis! My favorite!

MUTTI     I wish you could get down further into the oasis by the water.
TBG           Well, this is a nice spot for lunch anyhow.


MUTTI     I love those orange cactuses!
JOODIE    Hey, you know what I just noticed?
MUTTI     What?
JOODIE    There are no Joshua trees around here.


TBG           Go get up on those rocks.
JOODIE     OK.

ACT III, SCENE II on the patio
 
TBG     Mutti, the tag on your shoe says "waterproof" but I don't see how they can be.

ACT IV, SCENE I at Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium

 
JOODIE     Stand by the sign, I'll take your picture.
VATI          OK.


TBG is sitting on the bench, coughing a little.
VATI (to Joodie, out of TBG's hearing) Is Mark OK? Do you think he is OK?
JOODIE (yelling to TBG) Mark? Are you OK?
TBG (yelling back) Yes!
JOODIE (to Vati) Yes. 

ACT IV, SCENE II, back at the unit

TBG (coughing) I'm taking a nap.
JOODIE  You're getting a cold. I told you you didn't just swallow pool water.
TBG  No, I'm not! Yes, I did! I want Luna!
JOODIE Go take a nap. (he goes)

ACT IV, SCENE III at the unit


MUTTI     Where is all the sugar? I want to make Mark some hot lemon water with the lemons we got from that tree.
JOODIE    I used it to make hummingbird food. But I'll go get more, I need to exchange these jigsaw puzzles anyhow. We need more coffee filters, too, and I also need a pen.
MUTTI     I'll go with you.
(they go and return)
JOODIE (to Vati)  They have to send someone with the coffee stuff, they won't just give it to you. But I got a pen!
(the doorbell rings, Vati opens it, an employee hands him a bag of coffee supplies)
VATI        Thank you, er, gracias. 
MUTTI    (to employee) Coffee filters, too.
(employee looks confused, he doesn't speak English)
MUTTI    Coffee filters!
VATI        (waving his hands) Oh, uh, oh oh.
MUTTI    COFFEE FILTERS!
JOODIE   (grabbing the filters from the kitchen counter) These! These!  
(employee nods and leaves, Joodie examines bag)
JOODIE    Hey! There is no real sugar in here, it's all just sweeteners. 

(a little while later)
VATE         Mark says he wants something salty.
TBG            (calling out from the bedroom) I want chips!
JOODIE     (calling back) They're all gone.
MUTTI      We can go to the store.
JOODIE     We're not going to the store again.
MUTTI      He wants chips.
JOODIE     He'll live.

ACT V, SCENE I at the Living Desert Zoo, all present except TBG

JOODIE     Hooray! The zoo!


JOODIE    (stepping up to the admission podium) Hello, I'd like to feed the giraffes, please!
ZOO LADY  #1   Great! You can take someone up with you to get photos, if you like. ? And you get a sticker. (it reads 'I fed a giraffe')
MUTTI     I'll go!
ZOO LADY #2    Here's your carrots. You can break them in half to have more to feed them.
JOODIE     Aw, the baby is so cute. What a soft nose!
ZOO LADY #2    That's Twiga, she's just one year old. This is her mom, Dadisi. Hold onto the carrot so she can get the photo before she takes it out of your hand.
JOODIE (not letting go of the carrot while Dadisi wraps her rough dark gray tongue around it and pulls Joodie's thumb into her mouth with the carrot) Ow! She bit me!    

JOODIE (stepping up to the admission podium) Hello, I'd like to ride a camel, please!
ZOO MAN #1     Great! 
ZOO LADY #3    I like your shirt.
JOODIE     Thank you.
ZOO LADY #3     Have you ever ridden a camel before?
JOODIE     No, that's why I'm here.
ZOO LADY #3     Great! Your camel's name is Eastwood.
JOODIE     Hi, Eastwood! 

JOODIE  Hey, Vati, you can ride the wart hog!
VATI       OK.   
 
ACT V, SCENE II later that day, all but TBG are going to spaghetti dinner at the clubhouse
MUTTI     Do you think we should ask them for another blanket?
JOODIE    Do you need another blanket?
MUTTI     For Mark. For the bed in the living room.
JOODIE    He's got a blanket there.
MUTTI     It's not enough!
JOODIE    He's fine. 

ACT VI, SCENE I TBG is feeling better, all going to Whitewater Preserve for a hike 
TBG       I wonder why that fence is there?
VATI     Maybe to keep the animals in.
JOODIE     Maybe to keep the animals out.
MUTTI     I wonder why that fence is there?


VATI     Osos and pumas!
JOODIE and viboras!


JOODIE     Look out! Cholla!


TBG     Now we've been on the Pacific Crest Trail here, too. 


JOODIE (to Vati) That's a mighty pretty pack you have there, Ma'am.

ACT VI, SCENE II going out for dinner to Sherman's in Palm Desert
JOODIE    Where are we going?
MUTTI    To that place that was recommended to Mark.
JOODIE    Sherman's? I thought we were going there on Saturday for brunch?
MUTTI    Can't we go there twice?
JOODIE   I suppose we can.
VATI    How did you find this place, Mark?
TBG     It was recommended by someone in an online motorcycle group.
  
(they study the menu)

MUTTI    I'll have the corned beef and cabbage.
VATI     I'll have the stuffed cabbage.
TBG    I'll also have the corned beef and cabbage.
JOODIE  (trying not to slide off the narrow ledge of the booth seat) I'll have the fettuccine  alfredo.

MUTTI     Mmmm, very good.
VATI    Mmmm, good. The soup is piping hot.
TBG    Mmmm, delicious.
JOODIE    Mine's bland. The bleu cheese dressing was really watery, too.
(upon returning home)
VATI (to Joodie) That's how you do it. You go out to eat on vacation. No cooking. No cooking.
 
ACT VII, SCENE I TBG and Joodie are headed back to Joshua Tree National Park for the Lost Palms Oasis trail; Mutti and Vati are taking a bus downtown to a museum and lunch. All of this takes place during a planned power outage in the resort area.

JOODIE  Hey there are a bunch of RVs parked in there. I think they're boondocking. 
TBG  I didn't know you could do that here.
JOODIE We'll have to drive in and read those signs on the way out. How cool if we could do that when we have the big rig. It's right at the entrance to the park!


 JOODIE   4.4 miles? I thought it was 3.4?

JOODIE    Well, what the heck? We've only gone, like, 50 feet not a mile.

TBG    There's our trail way out there! See it?
JOODIE   I wanna see a bighorn sheep.

JOODIE   These washes look so fake. They're my favorite. Except for the oases. Those are really my favorite.

TBG (hiding up in the rocks to get my picture as Joodie walks through) Now why would you look up right then?!
JOODIE   I didn't know you were there! I'll go back, I'll go back.

JOODIE (to TBG while he's adjusting things) I'll keep going up the hill and take your picture from up there.

JOODIE   There it is! My favorite!

TBG  We're almost there! We'll have our lunch down there by the water.
JOODIE   That was steep. I'm going to have to crawl back out of here.

JOODIE    I saw this lizard from way back there! Look how that turquoise glows in the sun.
TBG    That's the best one yet.
 TBG   0.6 miles till we're back, I can see the parking lot from here. That was a great hike!

ACT VII, SCENE II
 
JOODIE   Someone missed us. I bet they don't know she's in here.
VATI        The power is still out. It is supposed to come back on at 3:30.
JOODIE   I guess that means the heat hasn't been on in the pools, either. It's too chilly to go for a swim now. Did you have a nice time in town?
VATI        We had lunch.
JOODIE   I thought you were going to a museum?
MUTTI    It had really strange exhibits, so we left.
VATI        And went to lunch.
JOODIE   Where did you go?
VATI        Something Italian? It was good. Well, it's almost 4, and still no power. They're late.
JOODIE   I wonder if it'll be on so we can cook dinner. 
VATI        Well, now it's 4:30, and still no power.
MUTTI    We'll go to the store.
ACT VIII, SCENE I at the unit, after a breakfast of everything that was leftover
JOODIE  Are we stupid or what? We could've gone for a run this morning.
TBG         We are stupid.
JOODIE  We could still go for a swim, the sun is on the pool. I bet it's warm.
(they go)
JOODIE  I'm not getting out. I'm not leaving. (sigh) Three more years, and this will be our life.

ACT VIII, SCENE II
TBG   Is everyone hungry yet?
MUTTI, VATI, JOODIE   Yes.
(there is a line out the door)
WAITRESS  Do you want to wait for a table outside or be seated right away inside?
JOODIE  Uh, inside would be good.
MUTTI   It's loud in here.
JOODIE  It was loud in the other one, too.
VATI       What?
ACT VIII, SCENE III just before noon on the drive to the airport
JOODIE   What time is our flight?
MUTTI    3:50
JOODIE   Three fifty? Man, I could've stayed in the pool another hour.
TBG          Don't start.
JOODIE   And Luna's going to be crying at the patio door, but no one will be there. 
TBG          She can go home.
JOODIE   She doesn't want to go home, either.
ACT VIII, SCENE IV at the Palm Springs airport
JOODIE   This airport sure is pretty.
TBG          It sure is.
JOODIE   At least if you have to spend three hours at an airport, this is a nice one to be at.
TBG          It sure is. I wonder how they keep the grass so green with all the dogs peeing on it?
(a man with tattoo sleeves and a tall blond woman walk toward the TSA doors the wrong way)
MAN         (realizing his mistake) I don't know what I'm doing!
TBG          Yes, you do! You know how this works!
(the man and woman head off the other direction)
TBG          Do you know who that was?
JOODIE   No.
TBG          That was the dude from Fast N' Loud. Rawlings.
JOODIE   Oh. Cool. I wonder what he's doing here. Not really, though.

ACT VIII, SCENE V Joodie and TBG are walking along the breezeways sipping from small Perrier bottles
JOODIE   I love California. They have Perrier everywhere. Except at the one Sherman's. I wonder why one had it and the other one didn't? At least we'll see Turtle when we get home.
TBG          Yeah.
JOODIE   And the chickens.
TBG          Yeah, the chickens.
JOODIE   But I sure wish it wasn't going to snow.
TBG          Me, too. 
JOODIE   Three more years. They'll go by quick.

(they fall silent, sitting companionably on the bench in the sunshine, waiting to board the plane for home)
THE END