Monday, April 25, 2011

A Visit to the Edris House to Benefit our New Animal Shelter

On Saturday I attended an event to benefit the Palm Springs Animal Shelter, which is building a much-needed new, larger facility here in Palm Springs. The event was held at a private home, known as the Edris House, an historic Mid-Century Modern home nestled in the hillside overlooking Palm Springs. Built in 1954 and designed by famed architect, E. Stewart Williams, the structure is regarded as an excellent example of modern period homes in the desert. 

The current owner opened his home up to host the fundraiser, so the house itself was an added draw to donors. Like most cities, Palm Springs has an overpopulation of animals in need of adoption. There are so many great dogs and cats at shelters. Animal lovers from across our fair city turned out to help raise money to fund this new shelter, set to open late summer of 2011. Once the shelter opens, I'll post some photos here on the blog. But for this post, I thought I'd just share a few photos from around the home. It is the classic desert lifestyle I love and enjoy everyday.
the pool overlooks the desert floor

great hillsides surround the home

it was the ideal setting to entertain

I could have stayed all day, but soon it was time to go!

I've mentioned it several times over the years, but the Palm Springs community has a very active "season" of tourists, part-time residents and annual events. But we also host an amazing array of philanthropic events from the months of November through May. In just seven months, there are over 300 different charitable fundraiser events for non-profit organizations. Part of this has to do with the demographics of both full-time and part-time residents; who are at a stage of life with large fortunes and want to give back a bit. It really is amazing to participate or attend these events to see first hand how generous people can be. I was so pleased to see the turn out at this event and hope people continue to show their generosity to our shelter. If you want to make a donation to our shelter, visit their website to donate. You can also mail a donation to:  
Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter
P.O. BOX 4808

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunrise Service at the Top of the Tram

Happy Easter! This morning consisted of an early morning ride up to the top of San Jacinto Mountain on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Amid darkness, I caught the 4:30 AM tram and in just 10 minutes I was at the top. You see, I had been planning to attend the Easter Sunrise Service at the top of our beautiful mountain, 10,000 feet high. In all the years I've lived here, I've never done it before, so this was the year! It was a non-denominational Christian service of hymns, a sermon and some time for prayer, all in time for dawn to break. When the service had concluded, everyone walked outside to view the sunrise. With the choir still singing, the outdoor speakers carried "Amazing Grace" to the peaks of Mount San Jacinto. These were the views I saw:

back inside the station, I saw the lily plants I had missed earlier, in the darkness

the ride back down the tram seemed especially beautiful this Easter morning

I'm really glad I awakened so early to participate in the sunrise service, it was special and memorable. Back at home, my own Easter Lilly plant was in full bloom, which made me smile. I love the smell of lilies in bloom. I sat down and took a few moments to reflect on the sermon earlier. I wish you all the blessings of Easter, to you and your family.

And now, its time to enjoy my Easter Cream Eggs!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Eastertime Heavenly Pie

Easter is probably my favorite time of the year. Even when I was a kid, it was always my favorite. Perhaps it is the change of season, bright Spring weather. Or perhaps the wonderful church Hymns of Eastertide. (I'm sure the cream eggs, jelly beans and chocolate bunnies had nothing to do with it!). I also have fond memories of delicious baked goods made by my family. A few years ago I wrote about my great-grandmother's rice pie. These days I can't resist the urge to do some baking when Easter rolls around. Last night when I returned home from work, I decided to make a 'Heavenly Pie', a favorite from my childhood. Heavenly Pie is nothing more than a Meringue crust, crushed fresh pineapple, topped by fresh whipped cream. And that's all- but it is so refreshing. I forgot to take a photo before I dove into it, so I tried to take this picture from the other side- but you get the idea. What do you like to make for Easter?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Life is What Happens

An old friend recently asked me about maintaining this blog. "How do you have time to take all these photos, write things and post when you travel, commute and work all day?" he asked. I replied rather directly, "How could I NOT?" He seemed puzzled at my response. What he didn't understand is that this blog is written primarily for myself. It is true that a few folks check in and follow along, but primarily this has long been a creative outlet for me. It is also somewhat of a personal log for my old age, and my nieces too. 

Its the same as my massive postcard collection. I send myself postcards from nearly everywhere I travel. Its a little gift to myself when I am old and lost my memory. I want to be able to look back at all the places I've been, people I've met or things I've encountered and re-live them when I am 80, 90 or 100 perhaps. So why wouldn't I find time to blog? It is a gift I can give to myself.

"But how..." my old friend asked- " do you take so many photos and post it all? It looks like you are constantly on vacation, you are so lucky", he asked. I replied: "Ah, yes indeed I am very lucky. I learned a lesson very early in life to take time every day to appreciate what life presents. I take photos everywhere. Smell flowers, appreciate a sunset, or take a moment to enjoy a piece of history I may encounter." My friend still seemed puzzled at the response. I reminded him of that great quote from John Lennon: 'Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans'. And finally, he understood.  Yes, Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans. So stop, appreciate every moment. Whether you are sitting at home, driving to work, traveling on business, or watching a softball game with the kids. Stop to enjoy it. I know I will. Some of it even makes it to this blog. For me, it works. I just wonder if when I'm 90+ if I'll even recognize the man in these photos.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meditate Today

If you don't already practice meditation, today is an excellent day to start. It isn't difficult, and anyone can begin. You can do it just about anywhere, and you don't even need a Buddha statue ;-)
But what if you are of a different faith and aren't sure if meditation "is permitted"? Well- just think of meditation as quiet prayer thoughts. Actually that is just what it is. Of course, like anything there are various forms of meditation, but what really matters is for you to make time for yourself. Meditation can also help you understand your own mind. Meditate to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and focus on peaceful thoughts. We are meant to be happy, so strive for happiness. I wouldn't dream of trying to explain all aspects of meditation here, but I would like to give one or two tips. Start with the place- somewhere quiet without distractions. Sit comfortably but sit up straight. Then focus on your breathing. Really focus on it, slow, deep breaths. For now, don't over think it. Don't try too hard. Just r-e-l-a-x and be with yourself. Think about positive thoughts- what is good in your life, this world, and that for which you are thankful. Ten to fifteen minutes per day is about right. Give it a whirl. And when you are ready, you can explore the web. Here is one nifty website, although there are literally thousands more out there. But for now, just do this for yourself....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Future is Here with Skype

I've always considered myself somewhat of an "early adopter" of new technology and such. I like to try things to see how nifty they are, or more important, if they offer more convenience. Skype is one such technology service. I've been using Skype for years. It is an amazing service that allows people to communicate easily for free via the internet. It is sort of like Star Trek or the Jetsons. In my prior career I had a remote employee who lived in another state. I used Skype to "meet" with that person every day, and would even bring my laptop to other meetings so the remote person could be part of meetings in our main office.

But Skype also comes in handy for private use. I use it to talk to my nieces who live 3,000 miles away. Being so young, it is nice to be able to see them as they grow and develop. When I visited the Harry Potter Wizarding World in Orlando, FL recently, I used Skype on my iPhone to call my niece and give them a live, inside tour of the park. It was a real hit with them! 

Since I travel a fair amount I use Skype to stay in touch with the goings-on back in Palm Springs. Namely, the poodles. I log into Skype from either my laptop of iPhone and, and the both Sheldon and Duncan recognize the sound of the Skype "ring". While in Asia recently, I called home to chat, and while Sheldon and Duncan were each on Skype, I took a snapshot of the Skype window. Here are the photos of each one on Skype:

As you can see, they know enough to come to the laptop screen to look at me. The funny thing is watching them sniff the air, in the direction of my face on the screen. Dogs use their sense of smell more than just sight- so despite hearing my voice, and seeing my face, they instinctively want to detect me by my scent as well. Sheldon has been known to look behind the laptop screen, to see if I am there, which if awfully cute, don't you think? It makes me happy to be able to see the kids and talk to them. So for that alone, Skype has become a valuable communication tool in this age. What about you? Do you use Skype much?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Brew at the Zoo" Event at the Living Desert

It's been awhile since I've written about anything local in the Palm Springs area- mainly because I've been traveling extensively. Yesterday I attended the "Brew at the Zoo" fundraiser event at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, just down the road from me in Palm Springs. I've been a member of the Living Desert for ages, it is a fine animal reserve and sanctuary. Events such as this one help raise funds from private citizens in the local community who can re-engage with the zoo. I thought you might enjoy seeing a few photos from the event.
Camel rides were a nice touch- memorable too.
The "Brew at the Zoo" featured booths of multiple micro breweries and local restaurants serving sample size portions as people milled about. At the start of the evening, it was still quite hot, in the 90's but as the sun set, temperatures dropped and it was quite pleasant.
a great band kept everyone entertained
I always enjoy live music, it adds atmosphere and sets the mood of the evening. I forgot to catch the name of the band playing, but they were fun- the crowd seemed to enjoy it. I paused for a few minutes, focusing on that lion sitting on the stage...
people roamed around booths tasting food from local restaurants and breweries.

look closely at the moon, just over the ridge. I love the desert
The Living Desert has a great reputation for conservation through preservation, education and appreciation. Its grounds are exceptional examples of the Colorado desert, this photo alone exemplifies the natural beauty of desert life in this part of the Southwest United State deserts. Incidentally the spindly plant in the center is called an Ocotillo plant, and has beautiful flowers when it blooms.
the VIP tent had a nice setting to relax and enjoy drinks

a great selection of really delicious cheeses too.
my favorite part of the night...desserts!
It turned out to be a great evening, and a lot of fun too. I really enjoyed being outside at the zoo. It was a tremendous opportunity to truly relax and enjoy the unique views of Palm Desert. For those of you living in the Coachella Valley, I'd strongly recommend attending next year. First- do yourself a favor, sign up to be a member of The Living Desert. For a small donation, you can visit the zoo anytime. Even for any snowbirds who visit our fair desert community, I'd suggest a visitor pass. You will enjoy the time viewing the extensive collection of plants and cactus, exhibits like Hummingbirds and Butterflies, reptiles, big cats and other all sorts of other creatures. Or if you happen to just like to support preservation of wild animals, you can make a contribution from this link.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This 'N That of Asia

It sure is good to be back home in Palm Springs. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely *love* to travel. But its always so nice to sleep in your own bed. I thought I'd share a few random photos I'd been hanging onto from my Asian travels that didn't make it into one of the daily blog posts. These are photos I found interesting for one reason or another but just didn't fit into the themes I was posting. Well anyway, here goes. Top left is from Beijing, China. I had dinner one evening at a sushi joint in this area. I just liked the sign "Lucky Street', I sometimes feel as though that is the street I live on (or so it seems).

This is called a Bodhi Wishing tree. I encountered this on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. People flock to these wishing trees to write down a wish, ask for it while standing under the tree, and then hang it on the tree. It is a charming notion, and I am not ashamed to say I followed the custom and made my own wish while there that day.
While in Hong Kong, I returned to Kowloon to check out the famous "Ladies Market", where for may many blocks, you can shop the outdoor market for a variety of wares. If you like to bargain shop and haggle/negotiate this is a great place to shop. Never pay full price. Always negotiate. Most merchants will go down as low as 50% of the original price they quote-but rarely less than that. There is everything from souvenirs, clothing trinkets, to statues, silks, leather goods and bracelets galore. It is often very crowded, and since it is open to midnight, it is an excellent option to maximize the day. My advice is to eat dinner before going there. There aren't great restaurants in the immediate vicinity, and those that are there have a long wait. It is worth checking out; just remember, it is cash only in most stalls.

photo from my hotel window in Hong King, looking out to the hillside

For some reason I love this photo. I snapped it at a popular restaurant called Din Tai Fung, known for its amazing dumplings. The dumpling chefs make zillions of dumplings all day long, and it is fascinating to watch them go at it.
Overall, I had a great trip in Asia. It turned out to be highly productive from a business standpoint, and personally I enjoyed the time I spent with my Asian business colleagues. But as mentioned, it was so nice to return home again. My two poodles Duncan and Sheldon were delighted to see me. Owen too! (you can see his butt behind Sheldon). Little things like being able to go to sleep with the pets curled up next to me always seems extra nice after being away from them for a few weeks. And so, this Asian journey is complete for now. For those of you who enjoy travel, stay tuned, Rick's Roadshow will return in a few weeks from a far away land...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rick's Roadshow: Hong Kong's Po Lin Monastery & Temple

Whenever I travel through Asia, I always try to visit a Buddhist temple if possible. The Po Lin Temple and Monastery on Hong Kong's Lantau island was an easy decision, as it is adjacent to the Big Buddha I visited (see yesterday's post). While I am not a Buddhist officially, I firmly subscribe to the teachings of Buddha, and also follow the teachings of HH The Dalai Lama. So visiting Buddhist temples has a special meaning to me, more than just as a tourist, but an opportunity to pray too. I hope you enjoy viewing these photos, it is truly a beautiful and inspirational place.
entrance gates leading to the monastery

beautiful lotus flower plants in the temple courtyard

I stopped to buy some incense to use while in the temples

lighting the incense...

then you bring it to the various parts of the temple to pray, then leave the incense

you can see others doing the same. Pray, bow, leave incense sticks

a close up to the entrance of the temple steps

check out the wonderful dragon columns....

various Buddha statues for various causes...

I think this is a generic Buddha for family

all the lanterns and decorations hanging from the ceiling are beautiful


Well that's all for now, I'm afraid. My work travels keep me fully occupied so I shall close here. Tomorrow I'll post a few various photos from across Asia and wrap up Rick's Roadshow from Asia. Thanks for stopping by!


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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