Billie brought her parents to Palm Desert on Saturday. She took pretty good care of Kate and Jason all through the flight, not sleeping at all, and keeping her eye on them to make certain that they were not disruptive and bothering the other passengers. Billie received a heart-felt thank you from the crew when disembarking. She has scheduled a photo opportunity with me for a little later today. She brought her Jolly Jumper.

BillieJanuary2014 BillieGrandma BillieAfloat

Just driving around Palm Springs and Palm Desert, you are constantly reminded that these cities comprised the past playgrounds, summer residences and weekend getaways of many famous people. Streets are named Bob Hope Drive, Diana Shore Drive, Frank Sinatra Drive. There are spots where you can stop, press a button and have Frank Sinatra tell you the history of the park. You can tour Bob Hope's home. You can tour the home where Elvis and Priscilla spent their honeymoon.

Our community in Palm Desert is Silver Sands Racquet Club. There are stories of the people who lived just down the street. Rod Laver owned a house in Silver Sands. Connie Stevens lived here some of the time. Last night we heard of Al Lerner, a resident who passed away on January 19th, 2014. He would entertain the neighbourhood by hosting an evening of his piano playing at the clubhouse. Mr. Lerner had been a member of the Harry James Band and had been the last surviving member. His last performance at Silver Sands was about two years ago at the age of 92. Carol and I missed it. Great opportunity gone. Vamp Album

The social Fred (that only comes out when the moon is full) helped organize a mens only tennis and food event at the clubhouse last night. For those of you who do not know what a Brat is, it is a very large (biggie) sausage. Turnout of about 20. Good fun. Lots of known carcinogen.

We had not actually felt any hot water from the taps in this house since we got here. The kitchen sink took 75 seconds for even warm water to show up. Splashing cold water on our faces was the norm in the farthest bathroom. All of that has changed. We have installed a hot water recirculation pump. I did it myself. There is hot water on demand at every tap. These are wonderful devices that everybody down here knows about. Carol has pointed out that the hot and cold water seem to be reversed in the kitchen and that she wants it fixed today - picky, picky picky. My guess is that she will not end 44 years of marriage on this point.

22 Years

tennis

In 1995 Patricia Hy-Boulais made it to the quarter finals of the US Open. Until yesterday no Canadian had reached a quarter final of a Grand Slam since that event. Yesterday 19 year old Eugenie Bouchard made it to the quarter finals of the Australian Open.

Here is a picture of Eugenie with two of the games greatest players. She tweeted this a few days ago with the caption "30 Grand Slams between the 3 of us". That would be 17 Grand Slams for Rodger Federer, and 13 for Rafael Nadal. Brad Gilbert has picked Eugenie as a dark horse to win the tournament "down under". Eugenie Bouchard

Carol has raided the clubhouse for all of the baby paraphernalia that she can find. The car seat is a loner that we brought from Ontario. The new crib is not in the picture. The house is full of baby stuff. GuessWhoIsComingToVisit

Beth Hart

music

I have become a big fan of Beth Hart in the past few days. Not certain how I stumbled into her, but there she was doing a tribute to Buddy Guy at the Kennedy Centre. I love the little puff of relief that she gives at the end of the song - "I made it". There are several other videos of her on YouTube, many before she became quite so refined. Great voice. Put your earphones on for this one.

Here is another when she is a little less glammed up.

I could not wait until 2014. 2013 has been such a good year for Carol and I that it deserves to be ushered out. Later tonight (9PM PST) we will watch the new year come in as a New York broadcast. That is as it should be for people our age. The new year should come in 3 hours earlier if you are past 65. Midnight should be left for those who are not snoring at that time.

LasCasuelasTerraza

Earlier we drove into Palm Springs and had a Margarita at Las Casuelas Terraza. Just one though. Margaritas make Carol silly. A friend recently told me "having one is having a Margarita; having two is drinking". Earlier, we had a call from the Powrie home in Collingwood. We have spent many a New Years Eve at the Powrie's with good friends from the old neighbourhood. Carol and I both miss them tonight. I miss the Mushroom Soup too. I am in my PJs (we are home now). It is dark in the court yard. I will BBQ by flashlight this evening and love every second of it. We have chairs for the table, and a loaner for the top. All is good.

After dinner we will settle in to watch Dick Clark. I know he is dead, but somehow we will keep the tradition going. Happy New Year! to all friends and family. You are very important - take good care of yourselves. See you in 2014.

I don't often drink beer, but when I do, I drink Caguama | December 22, 2013

My favourite beer and I can only get it at Ralph's just down the street. 32oz of beer from El Salvador for $1.99, and it helps me earn a further discount at the gas pumps. Cross-marketing is a wonderful, wonderful thing; the more I drink, the further my car will go.

Bought three pot lights at Home Depot and had an electrician install them (bill to come). They buzzed. Called him back and he said get a new dimmer. Installed a new dimmer as recommended by Home Depot. They buzzed. Bought new spotlights and installed them myself (electrician money spent). No buzz yet, but not finished. I am playing tennis at Shadow Mountain (uppity tennis club) this morning and do not have time to finish the job.

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Micky Newbury

music

I first heard of Micky Newbury in the lyrics of a song by Jennifer Warnes. I have become quite a Micky fan. He was a pretty unique talent that I wish I had been able to see. Here is a 1 hour show that I recommend:

ChairBoxes LivingRoom

A bunch of boxes arrived tonight. We now have chairs at the counter, and we were able to sit quite civilized and have dinner. I thought that I would also include a photo of the living room (yes, I did hang that mirror all by myself). After it was hung I started wondering about earthquakes. Have I done it correctly for a house sitting right on top of the San Andreas Fault? Today I went to Ace Hardware and asked if the technique I used was correct for this part of the country. I also asked some residents at the complex. Everybody had the same response - if there is a good earthquake, the mirror will be the least of my worries. Only one person asked if it was above my pillow in the bedroom.