Dripping Caves: Hiking Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park @Orange County, California

alisosignA few days before Christmas, we picked up Angel Boy (my son– and yes, we still call him Angel Boy even though he’s thirty-two-years old!) from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

We drove RIGHT BY South Coast Plaza but my mind was too excited to see my baby to care about stopping at Chanel or Valentino or Cartier or Gucci or Harry Winston….HARRY WINSTON!!

Crap, did I just miss an opportunity to check out Chanel???

Sigh, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

Aliso hike

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is a jewel of solitude and natural beauty in hectic Orange County.

It comprises approximately 4,500 acres of wilderness and natural open space land. Originally, part of the Juaneno or Acajchemem tribal land, it later was owned by Don Juan Avila, Louis Moulton, the Mission Viejo Company, and now is under the jurisdiction of OC Parks.

Within the park lands are mature oaks, sycamores, and elderberry trees, two year-round streams, and over thirty miles of official trails. Many rare and endangered plants and animals make this park their home. This park is designated as a wildlife sanctuary.

To get to the main trailhead for Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, exit the 5 freeway at Alicia Parkway and head towards the ocean.

Of course it was imperative that we feed the child. Whether they’re four or thirty-two, the first thing they think about is FOOD! I had prepared a huge amount of food for the hungry traveler and we ate it at a picnic table near the entrance to the trailhead, under a canopy of old shade trees. He ate a couple of his favorite sandwiches: tuna with celery, apples, nuts, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce — along with Lentil Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Veggie Chips, Persimmon Bread, and an apple and an orange. We never fail to marvel at the AMOUNT of food Angel Boy can pack away…and that doesn’t include the nuts and raisins for the hike.

What’s up with that kind of metabolism?

He eats so much and burns it all and needs to eat again every couple of hours or so. This is just his normal — I once took him to an endocrinologist to make sure his levels were OK, and we learned that he’s just an extremely efficient food user. All I can say is that he didn’t get that from me.

After almost eight miles, we drove home — exhausted –but in a good way, and restored by the fragrance of Southern California buckwheat and sage.

Of course it was time for dinner and another feast of epic proportions: the stuff of mom-joy, that’s for sure.

Shadow and light, me and my tugboat man.

alisoparkhike

Great blue heron.

aliisobirdA hidden pocket of water.

Aliso1

More water, rushing over rocks.

Aliso2

A gorgeous meadow and hills, but look at the houses on the hill.
So close to civilization!

aliso4Fairy-like foot bridge.
alisobridge

alisodrippingcave

alisocave

Another cool cave.

alisocave1

Some leaves DO change color in SoCal!alisotree

A happy mom ‘cos my Angel Boy was home,
even if only for a few days.

alisome

Princess Rosebud and her tugboat man visit Palm Springs

What a difference a week makes

It’s nearly impossible to fathom that it was only last week that my tugboat man and I went to Palm Springs. He’s been gone for a week today and I’m experiencing “husband cold turkey” with no cell phone reception and only spotty email.

On my own, I have tons of free time but I’m always busy. Today I sent a Valentine’s Day package to son, DIL, and sister wife. After that, I stopped at one of my fave consignment shops and got a few things– nothing designer or vintage–not photo worthy–just a top for the gym, a Free People sweater, and a Tommy Bahama long sleeved Hawaiian shirt. I prolly won’t ever wear it, but at seven dollars, how could I NOT rescue it! The silk’s worth more than that, right?

I worked my way over to the library and got a few of their $1 books ‘cos I’m out of reading material after the “Elegance of the Hedgehog”.  I saw a car catch on fire in the parking lot!! Luckily for the owner, there’s a fire station right across the street. A few of those hunky guys came out, smelled smoke, did a little pointing, saw lots of people waving them over, jumped in their fire engine AND a paramedic’s unit (although no one was injured) and drove right by me as I stood next to my car. YUMMY!

I arrived home to discover that I was missing an earring, probably dropped at the consignment shop. It was an amethyst with a dangly pearl and I was super upset so I got back in my car. It wasn’t in the dressing room or anywhere else in the store but I retraced my steps to where I had parked earlier and there it was!! Thank you, Mother Earth!

As I drove home along the same route for the second time today, I noticed six police cars at the Motel 6 (for a “village” that tries to promote its quaint-ness, Motel 6 kinda messes with that whole marketing campaign). They seemed to be converging on one man and handcuffing him. Excitement!! I was gonna cross the street and film the action, but my merchant mariner’s voice was in my head telling me it wasn’t very smart to get smack up in the middle of something that could get out of control. Dumb captain always in my head!! Sheesh.

The previous week, my last as a married woman…for a while

Palm Springs is about three hours from home, perfect for a day hike. Neither of us had ever been there or taken the tram, and we both love to hike in the snow, so we packed a lunch, gassed up the truck, and embarked on another adventure. We passed this…bearstore

and this…not a real bighorn sheep

and this was our first glimpse of snow on a hazy day.first view of san snow

We drove past the Marilyn Monroe statue but my tugboat man wouldn’t stop long enough for me to take a pic, so I had to Google it.marilynmonroepalmsprings

Before you reach Palm Springs, there’s another little town called Palm Desert with a shopping section that rivals Rodeo Drive.

gucci

I spied a GUCCI storefront out of the corner of my eye and yelled “GUCCI, GUCCI, GOOOOCHHIIIIII!!” My tugboat man’s response wasn’t very nice, “Don’t even think about it. I’m not stopping. I didn’t drive all this way to take you shopping.” Mean man. I shmushed my face up against the window and whimpered wistfully, “Gucci, Gucci, Gucci” in a manner guaranteed to elicit pity from my stone-faced hub until the light changed and I could no longer see the signage. Nothing. Nada. He drove right by it. Two can play this game I thought to myself–hmm, there’s only one road in and one road out and I’d have another chance on the way home. I’m one clever cookie!

Frank Sinatra lived in PS when it was a celebrity hotspot. We didn’t stop there, either.sinatra house palm springs

tram

Our destination was the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world’s largest rotating tramcar, a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. It’s a brief ten minute ride starting at the  Valley Station – elevation 2,643 ft.–ending at the Mountain Station – elevation 8,516 ft. [from Wiki] San Jacinto Peak, 10,834 feet (3,302 m), is the highest peak of the San Jacinto Mountains, and of Riverside County, California. It lies within Mount San Jacinto State Park.

Naturalist John Muir wrote of San Jacinto Peak, “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”[4]

The tram ride up was SCARY. I spent the entire ride clutching the captain’s arm ’til it went all numb ‘cos I thought the cables were gonna break and we were gonna die. When I expressed that thought to him, he told me to be stop hyperventilating, be quiet, and let up a bit on the vise-like death grip. Sometimes he’s NOT all that perfect. By the time I formed an appropriate response, the ride was over, and we were still alive.tram bench

I stopped to use the restroom and snapped a pic of my new Osprey backpack chock full of the essentials. El Capitan is getting a bit annoyed with the incessant picture taking of my Chanels.

There was SNOW!snowhike

On a gigantic flat rock warmed by the sun, we enjoyed a hearty lunch of canned sardines, cheese and crackers, dried mango, fresh fruit, cookies, and trail mix with raw almonds and cashews.our lunch snow hike

Four legs taking a break. Mine are NOT the hairy ones wearing shorts in the snow.two sets of legs

I left behind a message to others…ES in snow

No GUCCI. No WAY.

Here’s a gallery of the rest of the pics. It was a spectacular day! There wasn’t going to be a Gucci moment–that wasn’t going to happen even though I promised that all I wanted to do was LOOK and not actually buy anything (well, unless there was something that I couldn’t live without), but he was steadfast in his resolve to NOT stop–a girl needs to know when to quit and I do so I did. The last couple of pics are from a detour we made to walk a bit on the famous Pacific Crest Trail. Hubs dream is to walk the entire Trail. Probably not with me. What.Ev.

Hairy Hannukah Harry and the story of Hannukah 2012

…or the continuing saga of my life. As my first husband’s mother said to my mom, “isn’t it such a shame you wasted so much money on her education. She doesn’t really seem to do much of anything, does she?”

Looky here, readers, you all need to stop whining right now. Right now, I say!

I’ve peeked inside your private lives. Here’s a typical scenario:

8:00 a.m. You’re home with your spouse before leaving the house to go to work or he goes to work while you “stay home to take care of the kids” which really means you’re going to Tweet and shop all day and change a diaper or two, only if necessary. Not all of you, but enough to make it true. And I know it’s true ‘cos who do you think I tweet with all day?

Spouse: “I’ll home home at six. See ya.”

{Smooch goodbye}

crzy cat lady bathrobe

This is awesome.

Wife pulls the ratty bathrobe a bit tighter and rebelts it because an important message is acoming…

“Now you come right home after work, don’t stop anywhere; no bars, no strip clubs, nothin’. You come right home, ya hear me?  I’m making something special for dinner tonight.”

Spouse: “OK”

He walks out to the car. Five seconds after leaving the house, before the car even backs out of the driveway, he totally forgot everything his wife said. Typical, right?

6:00 p.m.- no hubby

6:15 p.m – no hubby

6:30 p.m. Here it comes…the power texting, phoning, emailing commences.

{no response}

burned dinner in oven7:00 p.m. Dinner burns. wife drank all the wine, spends time sharpening knives. Candles burnt down to nubs, the smoke of one burnt out candle with its acrid scent floats through the air.

The scissors come out to make a few strategic alterations in his favorite t-shirt.

She opens another bottle of wine.

8:00 p.m. His car drives up, front door opens, “Hi honey, I’m home!”

“WHERE. WERE. YOU.”

‘Wha? Why is it so dark in here?”

Where. were. you. I called. I emailed. I texted.”

“Ohhh…didn’t I mention I’d be late today? I -uh- thought I did.”

-End scene-desperate housewives

OK, I could go on and on but the point is that when 99% of you get mad at your significant others when they’re late; when work or whatever–delays their arrival at the appointed hour–you all need to STOP WHINGING AND WHINING about it!!

Since the world revolves around me, take a walk around South Coast Plaza in my shoes (not the Gucci ones, tho. I wear a 5 1/2 and your feet’d stretch ‘em all out.) I was expecting the captain tomorrow, Thursday. I cleaned the house, washed the windows, planned and anticipated the whole homecoming–even made a new welcome home sign–and he called and said he’d be LATE.

HE’S GOING TO BE A MONTH AND A HALF LATE!

HE WON’T BE BACK UNTIL SOMETIME NEXT JANUARY 201THREE!!

I’m not saying not to be pissed at your inconsiderate spouse–I would never think to deprive you of that joy–just think about ME next time.

OKAY?

Your “late” and my “late” are two different things altogether.

Ahem. Now, to give equal time to my cultural background as a full blooded Jewish American Princess, may I formally present to you my Hannukah installation….with the one and only Hairy Hannukah Harry holding the torah. Eight candles represent the eight days that I had to wait before I could spend more of the captain’s hard earned money and buy a huge bottle of Chance by Coco Chanel (of course.)

Hannukah candles

Forget Elf Shaming, try Hannukah Harry!

Chance by Chanel

Of course I got the larger size. ‘Cos I’m worth it.