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The Desert, Part I

The meticulously maintained Union Station in Los Angeles

Beside myself with excitement about traveling by train through the desert, after being called crazy for taking public transport, I arrived at Union Station, a museum-like building that is meticulously maintained. I needed sunglasses to look at the floors, they were so shiny. Unlike our Amtrak, this branch of the trains is inexpensive, doesn't smell like Egg McMuffin or urine, and has windows that allow you to see the scenery.

I'd had wistful feelings flying over the desert the week prior, so returning in person engaged all my senses powerfully, prompting me to listen to the most evocative and perfectly paired theme song from Breaking Bad as the landscape transitioned from grassy green to the washed out sage and and beige.

This is actually in Joshua Tree but the colors are right

Starved, I trolled the sidewalk in my too hot black clothes, annoyingly noisy wheelie, straw hat and backpack with tennis racquet, landing at a Greek restaurant on Palm Canyon Drive. Listening to my neighbors (above), my ears perked up when I heard:

"What was. your favorite food in Portugal?"

I visualized charred sardines, potatoes with parsley, a wonderful salad. Maybe some Vinho Verde.

A pause, apologetically


Adult Camp, that's our boss

Tennis Paradise, Indian Wells

Watching Wozniaki hit some crazy backhands

As it was my second year visiting Sandra, I was steeling myself for Adult Camp, worried about my various low-key ailments. Lucky for us, this year she didn't make us bike to a hike after playing tennis and pickle. I think the camper to counselor ratio wasn't right, so we got away with only racquets in various iterations. as participants and spectators.

Indian Wells has a fair claim to being called Tennis Paradise. The weather is sublime (it's a dry heat), the view of the snow covered peaks in the distance breathtaking, the shrimp ceviche in passion fruit a far cry from the hot dogs at Newport, and the access to the pros exciting. I spent the first day planted at the practice courts right up close and personal. Tiafoe, Azarenka, Blinkova (my new favorite), Svitolina (she looks like someone you'd see on the T but her athleticism comes close to that of her husband), Keys, Dolehide (my old favorite. I call her the female Alcaraz) Tsitsipas and probably more I've forgotten. Their drives are so hard, and with each strike, get harder, lower, faster. I was entranced by the way they hunkered down into a shot, repeating it over and over until it was right, the way they helped each other, kidded around, or in one case, suffered under the judgmental criticism of a coach/father. The look on this player's face as he turned to his father after acing his practice partner was heartbreaking, reminding me of a toddler waiting excitedly for an M&M earned for peeing in the toilet.

I think that's Carlitos on the Big Screen. He is such fun to watch.

Already lucky to be surrounded by such great people, I then met up with my Tuesday Paddle girls, minus two who were still on the east coast who will hopefully come next year (you too Nancy). Of the four of us who met up, one had hightailed it out west in January and another had a partial knee replacement (yes, we're getting to that age), so we hadn't been together for many moons. As usual, I did what I could to avoid talking current events with two of them who have strong opinions formed by being well-informed. We ended up getting them together with Sandra's Adult Camp participants and played some things.

Becky's sister, Anne, me, Becky, Erica and Deb in Palm Springs

Casa Deb in La Quinta, right up against the mountains. The light is not to be believed

Midnight at the Oasis

Wish one of these were mine

Hats at Tampico, where we bought home made tortillas

A spice or two at Tampico

As usual, when walking around in the early morning light of La Quinta, I yearned to have a house there and got to thinking about my propensity for always wanting to move to wherever the most recent place is. I guess the good news is that I go to good places but wondered why this cycle keep repeating, and I'm vehement about it. Really, I couldn't see living in the desert, but it tugged on me, this vista, these colors.

Some people like security, I like new, I like to have my views shaken up and reconfigured, and going to new places allows that to happen. decided that it is that feeling I want replicated, and there's some part of me that believes that I can "move" to it, which of course is unrealistic as I would at some point get used to wherever it is and have to get back to work and some kind of routine which I need to keep things together, but which bores me out of my skull.

Part II, stay tuned.


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