Palm Springs 2014

We recently flew down to Southern California to get our Palm Springs fix. I think going to Palm Springs is becoming an annual thing as this is the third time the Dude and I have been there together. I was a bit afraid we would be bored because we are so familiar with it, but it was totally the opposite. For such a small city Palm Springs is a very lively and fun place to be.

We visited Sunnylands in nearby Rancho Mirage. It’s considered the “Camp David” of the West Coast. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do the house tour because you have to book way in advance, but we did walk around the garden, which was full of cacti and other desert plants.

Sunnylands is definitely worth a visit for design, garden, and architecture buffs.

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I finally got to make my pilgrimmage to Pappy & Harriets in Pioneertown. I’ve been wanting to check out this music venue for years and years so I finally made it happen this time. It’s near Joshua Tree National Park in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, nowhere. The drive to the restaurant was very scenic, and I want to go back there just to explore the desert-y goodness that is all around. The place was very crowded so I’m glad I made dinner reservations. We saw a band that plays there on Sunday nights, and they mostly played blues and rock covers.

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We stayed at the Ace Hotel, predictably. I can’t imagine what it would be like to visit Palm Springs and NOT stay at the Ace. Our room was just across from the mural painted by Erin Garcia last year.

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In the mini fridge we discovered the most hipster bottle of water called Fred. It was so ridiculous. But this bottled water company actually seems to have a worthwhile mission.

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I don’t know if we’ll ever tire of Palm Springs. As long as we live in the Pacific Northwest I think we’ll enjoy going down to PS for a much-needed sun/warmth injection every winter. However, I’m not too sure if we’ll make it down there next year as we’ll have an infant in tow. Can’t imagine traveling by air with a little one, but we shall see…

Parental Influence on My Taste in Music

NPR is currently doing a series asking people how their parents influenced their taste in music. So I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and highlight some of the music I grew up listening to because of my parents.

My dad introduced me to Frank Sinatra in the mid-1990’s when he got Sinatra’s Duets album. I probably would have discovered the greatness of Ol’ Blue Eyes on my own later when I got into swing dancing. My favourite tune that Frank Sinatra sang is “I Thought About You,” and my dad and I danced to it at my wedding. Listening to Frank Sinatra was probably the gateway into my discovery of jazz.

My mom introduced me to some pop icons of her youth, namely¬†Simon & Garfunkel, The Carpenters, and ABBA. Although I was introduced to them when I was in high school, I didn’t really come to appreciate them until I was in my 20’s. One of my all time favourite songs to sing at karaoke is “Superstar” by The Carpenters. I probably came to love cheesy music because of all the ABBA and Carpenters songs I listened to.

So how about you? How have your parents shaped your taste in music, for better or worse?

I am totally captivated by a song called “Take Care of Yourself” by Teddy Thompson. It’s lush, haunting, and oh so sad. I’m trying very hard not to listen to it too much so that it never gets old. You can listen to it on his facebook page (it’s track #9). It has that old-school, Roy Orbison-esque sound that I love. Can’t wait to get the whole album, which comes out tomorrow.

Anyway, we had another successful craigslist weekend. More purging, yay! We sold the IKEA bookcases (remnants from the Dude’s bachelorhood) to make room for the new storage chest we got. We’ll soon be putting up more wall shelves to replace the bookcases.

And the Dude’s big-ass ergonomic chair also sold – miraculously. We thought it would never sell because we were asking a lot for it since we paid a lot for it.¬† Getting rid of it allowed us to re-position the IKEA Expedit bookcase/room divider in the living room so that it lies horizontally. When it was standing vertically its proportions didn’t fit the rest of the room. Its new horizontal position seems to create better “flow” in the living room.

It’s amazing how much we purge weekly from our little apartment. Whenever I think we’re done purging I still manage to find things for the outbox. The fact that I volunteer at a thrift shop probably has something to do with it. It encourages me to find things to donate on a regularly basis. The less stuff we live with, the better I say.

When I finally began feeling Christmas-y (about two weeks ago), I got me two holiday albums: Pink Martini’s Joy to the World and Shelby Lynne’s Merry Christmas. The first one took a while to grow on me, but now I absolutely love it. My favourite track on it is the Hebrew song “Elohai, N’tzor.” It is absolutely sublime and so moving. I can listen to it a million times and not get sick of it. The other track that really got to me is the Chinese song “Congratulations (A Happy New Year Song).” So fun!

Shelby Lynne’s honky tonk Christmas album is a nice break from listening to jazzy Christmas songs, which make up the bulk of my holiday music collection. I love her voice and the way she interprets the classic Christmas songs we’re all famliar with. And included in the album are two original tracks she wrote.

I think the selection of these two albums was appropriate for this season because of their atypical offerings. Now I’m kinda sad that Christmas is over because I was just starting to get into it.

I found out the day after that Hall & Oates were in town to do a show. I was devastated that I missed them. Not kidding. Devastated.