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Birthday Boy

Indio, California: Long-time readers of this very old tired blog may recall Brother Steve has been flying from Colorado to celebrate his birthday in the desert for many years now. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend a birthday with a much older sister? As stated previously, Steve’s visits have always included perfect sunny, wind-free, days. Not this year.

We have suffered through rain, wind and stoopidly-cold temperatures all week. I was contemplating using all our Alaska Airline miles to jet us all off to Honolulu… but I am not crazy… just cold.

Our activities (after exercise in the morning) consisted of going out to lunch and going out/cooking dinner, with some sort of cultural or shopping venue thrown-in. One important activity was going to the fancy grocer to procure needed ingredients for our Lunar New Year food extravaganza: Taiwan Pickle, Potstickers, Cumin Beef, baby bok choy and mushrooms in a ginger sauce, steamed rice and sliced oranges (for dessert). It was a very good meal, if I say so myownself.

Wednesday was Steve’s birthday, so after working-out, we drove all the way to Palm Springs for lunch and then walked up and down the pretty shops along the main street downtown. So many new hotels and shops – and so many new chain stores have recently opened. I am afraid the historic and classic Palm Springs hub is going to turn into a suburban mall! Please do not let this happen! There are still plenty of small local amazing restaurants, and shops vending vintage furniture (mid-century modern, anyone?), clothing, jewelry and memorabilia – and I hope they all stay in business, instead of another block of West Elms, Kiehl’s, and H&M.

After lunch and walking miles up-and-down the main drag, popping our heads in so many shops (yet really not buying much of anything), we drove up to Palm Canyon. This canyon is just minutes from the historic Palm Springs downtown, but miles away from civilization. On Cahuilla tribal land, visitors must pay a small fee to enter the park, then can access all the hiking trails in the canyon. With natural springs and water-flow from the mountains above, this area is rich with wildlife and home to hundreds of Washingtonia filifera – the only palm tree native to western America and the largest palm tree in America. (All the palm trees in our resort – and most every where in landscapes  – have roots in the middle east. Immigrants.)

Basically in the parking lot at Palm Canyon sits a narrow gorge with water rushing over boulders – after a good rain. Oh. My. Goodness. Have. We. Had. Rain. The mountains are completely covered in snow like we have never witnessed before. The water was gushing in the canyon today.

The water roars/flows behind these boulders, creating a circular swirl of water as it cascades down the mountain.

Only small monkeys are agile enough to get inside this teeny spot to photograph the water shooting-down the mountain.

But this clever monkey was adept enough to photograph DT photographing Kris and Steve in front of the waterfall!

After the waterfall, we drove a few miles to Andreas Canyon. Andreas Canyon features an oasis, with hundreds of native palms and a very easy one-mile round-trip hike on a well-marked trail (great for little kids). The path follows a creek up to the beginning of the oasis, then climbs a bit above the canyon and returns to the parking lot.

Okay. So maybe not dressed so much for hiking… rather for lunch and shopping in town.. but I went with it and we had a great day.

Since this was Steve’s birthday, we took him to one of our very favorite restaurants in the Coachella Valley – Castelli’s. Of course (as you know us), it is an Italian restaurant. The wait-staff are Italian immigrants, the food is divine, wine list extraordinary. Everything is simply magical here and I always ask why we don’t dine here weekly instead of only on special occasions.

Earlier in the day, as we were in front of a gelato counter in historic Palm Springs, Birthday Brother asked the clerk is they had Spumoni – his favorite – and so rarely found anymore. No.

Tonight, at Castelli’s they had Spumoni Pie!

Not only did Castelli’s have Spumoni Pie on their menu – they had a free slice for the Birthday Boy.

Best. Birthday. Ever.

Forget the terrible weather – we had a very nice week with Kris and Steve. They left us today, and drove to Los Angeles to spend the weekend with Lisa, Lenny, Leo and Lucy. So jealous, yet so happy my brother and his wife are so devoted to their niece and her family… and that our kids have such a close relationship with Steve and Kris.

Family is everything.

Until my next update, I remain, your familia correspondent.

RV PARK:  TThe Motorcoach Country Club

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