March got off to a really crummy start. The weather was miserable, and finding out my little furry buddy is terminally ill has been emotionally taxing (she’s fine right now, but kidney disease isn’t an ailment cats can recover from). The one thing that’s kept me going through March is knowing that I’d booked the entire last week of March off work for a holiday. So, at 5:00 on the 22nd, I slid down the back of the metaphorical dinosaur, and began my fun filled week of vacation.
Our first stop was Toronto, where we got to see Janeane Garofalo live.
She was delightful.
The next day I met up with my friend’s mom and sister for a lovely lunch at a pub in Paris, Ontario. They had some things they needed delivered to my pal in California, and thats where we were headed next.
Our first stop in California was The Queen Mary Hotel.
The Queen Mary is a luxury ship built in the 1930s and was in service until the 1960s with the exception of the war years, when it was used to transport troops overseas.These days it’s permanently moored as a floating hotel Long Beach, California. Apparently, the ship is haunted, and while I was checking us in around midnight, there was a group of guests at the front desk reporting some paranormal activity. We slept undisturbed though.
The next morning we explored the ship, and then caught a ferry to Catalina Island.
Catalina Island is located about 40km off the coast of California. It was developed as a resort community around the turn of the last century and became a popular destination for the stars of Hollywood’s golden age. It was also used by the film industry in those days to create movie sets. Catalina was accessible yet private and untouched and he island’s mountains and beaches could be transformed into almost anywhere.
The landmark Catalina Casino was built by chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. in the 1920s. The Wrigley family was responsible for a lot of the early infrastructure on the island.
The island’s most recent claim to fame is the mysterious drowning death of Natalie Wood in it’s harbour.
We stayed overnight at the The Edgewater Hotel. I give it my highest recommendation. It was a lovely, cozy place with only eight rooms. Ours backed onto a backyard deck that was perfect for catching up over afternoon drinks when our friend arrived on the afternoon ferry that day.
We got back on the ferry late Tuesday afternoon and made our way to the desert for the remainder of out trip. Where we got to hang out with our pal and this guy.
I’m generally not a fan of little dogs, but I have a soft spot for the mini dachshunds. Especially this one – he’s such a little character.
On Thursday, we took a drive in the mountains south of Palm Springs. Now, we tried this a few years ago and found ourselves in the midst of a terrifying blizzard – even by Canadian standards. We were in our little rental car and weren’t dressed for the weather at all. My friend described it as the quietest drive ever. We survived, and made it back to a warmer altitude without losing any limbs to frostbite.
That experience taught me a valuable lesson about weather systems that I won’t soon forget. Needless to say, this time I packed some woolens for the trip, but I didn’t need them. It was sunny and warm up there. Not a flurry in sight.
Next, we drove to San Bernardino because I wanted to see the first McDonalds, restaurant. Apparently, it’s somewhere in that area, but we couldn’t find it. Our GPS wasn’t helpful at all, and we found ourselves driving aimlessly around a dodgy area (not scary, just really depressing), so we abandoned our search and went to the Cabazon Outlets.
Friday afternoon, we said goodbye to sunny California for another year, and arrived home in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
Exhausted and battling an ear/headache, I spent Saturday in bed, drinking tea and catching up on the The Daily Show from last week, then continuing on with the The Rockford Files on Netflix. I’m on season four now. The show really holds up.
Finally, the last stop on Danielle’s week o’fun was The One of a Kind Show. I’d won a pair of tickets from the lovely Sabrina of Love at First Blush, so we took a train into the city early afternoon on Sunday. There were so many wonderful and unique things there but I wasn’t in a huge shopping mood. After a week away, we’re feeling a little budget conscience right now. We did pick up some salted caramel peanut butter though.
It’s pretty awesome.
Although the month got off to a lousy start, it ended wonderfully.
Now, it’s back to the grind. At least April is finally here. The daffodils are getting ready to bloom, and I just saw my first robin of the season. Spring weather must be just around the corner.