Saturday, June 26, 2010

old hollywood honeymoon: joshua tree

We really did almost nothing during the honeymoon but lie around by the pool, which was intentional and fantastic. But I knew I'd feel guilty if I didn't venture outside of the lush confines of the Viceroy and actually see some of California. This was, after all, my first trip out west!

Our original idea was to rent a car for just one day; we would drive out to the Joshua Tree National Park for a morning hike and then come back in the afternoon, get some In-N-Out Burger (Palm Springs proper did not have one, for shame) and spend the rest of the day being lazy, as was our way. Well the daily highs were 105, which is okay in the shade, under misters, or in a pool, but not so great when you're tromping around the actual desert.

So we hopped on from our phones to rethink our options. The number one rated Palm Springs activity was something called Elite Land Tours. We made reservations for a nocturnal tour of Joshua Tree.

We were picked up the next evening at the hotel in a gleaming white Hummer. It was just Kirk and I and our guide, an extremely knowledgeable and chatty man who came with snacks. Snacks! Everyone loves snacks.

We drove out to Joshua Tree which involved going past this spectacular valley filled with windmills and then crossing the San Andreas Fault. After about 20 more minutes of driving, our guide suddenly turns off the road onto what I would've thought was unnavigable. We were actually taking some crazy back roads into a more pristine portion of the park. Quite the adventure.
On top of Eureka Peak

sunset at joshua tree

The first thing we did was hike to the top of Eureka Peak, which at sunset, provided some tremendous views of the surrounding desert. Also notable, the temperature at this elevation dropped to 60 at night! I was freezing my tail off.
not a tree
moon and tree(s)

After snapping some pictures, the guide drove us to our next stop: a wide expanse of Joshua trees and rock formations. We hiked around, saw a rattlesnake, and then as it became dark, we looked for scorpions! Our guide gave us black light flashlights that illuminate scorpions, making them look like glow in the dark toys. Hiking some more, he showed us the oldest tree in the park. (Interestingly, Joshua trees are not at all trees, just plants!)

The tour was pricey at $220 for both of us, but when we calculated what it'd cost for us to rent a car and just the one-on-one tour guide experience, we really felt it was worth it.

Next, we eat. A lot.

Monday, June 21, 2010

old hollywood honeymoon: the viceroy

We're back from the honeymoon! It was the most relaxing and lazy trip I've ever taken. We're having difficulties adjusting to "doing things."

So Palm Springs. About a month ago, I started to really worry about the honeymoon: after all, who goes to the desert in the summer? I thought we made a huge mistake. Well, that was needless worrying because Palm Springs is simply amazing in June! The daily high was around 105, which sounds brutal, but without humidity it is solidly pleasant in the shade of a cabana or floating in a pool.

We stayed at the Viceroy and got 25% off our room rate, food, and spa services. I was absolutely in love with their Hollywood regency look.
The grounds were gorgeous too.

We barely left these spots the whole trip.
Service at the Viceroy was impeccable. There was always a friendly face coming by with drinks to the pool, feeding me way too many sweet potato fries and mojitos.

With a view of stunning mountains, I did not miss a lapping ocean at all. Next up, we went to Joshua Tree National Park and sampled a few restaurants!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

off to indiana

If you're reading this, it means I'm currently in a Mazda somewhere on I-70, eating Swedish Fish or licorice, singing along to the Eagles with my almost-husband. If we're not singing, we're likely debating the nuances of a Jon Stewart rant or wondering aloud what the Kitty is doing. We're going places.

We have a packed four days ahead of us -- first meeting with our officiant, my one and only hair trial, reuniting with friends we haven't seen in months or years, and the last minute details every couple deals with before their wedding. While the stress of planning may be high, I feel so calm and okay knowing what lies before us.

Marriage was always the inevitable for us -- I knew this as soon as I met Kirk. I think at the very beginning of our relationship I resisted believing this because it felt too easy and too right. Three years later I know it isn't easy, it's just a willingness to change for each other, to understand each other, give when the other can't, and take the moments as they come.

These are the days we'll string along forever, knowing happiness isn't a permanent realization, but just a series of small pleasures and glances, kind words and embraces, laughing at jokes we'll soon forget and being with people who love us madly. Planning this wedding has given me new friends and new moments to tuck away, with only more to come.

For now, we're driving. It's a long road, but it's love all the way down.

Another Miss signing off,


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

embracing the semi-polish

I am half Polish. I grew up thinking my family embraced our Polish heritage because we ate sausage and did polkas at weddings. It took me quite a while and seeing how other people celebrate their own culture and customs to realize that my family was quite lazy at being Polish.
My parents at their quasi-Polish wedding almost 35 years ago

My great grandparents emigrated from Poland during a time where it wasn't so hot to be Polish. In fact, I think it was quite awful because my grandpa changed his family name, removing the -kowski, in order to Americanize himself and fit in. Diversity wasn't valued back then and I think that was a major reason my grandparents never taught me much about my heritage. I don't know any Polish words, I don't know how to cook Polish foods, and I definitely have no clue where my family came from.

But us Midwestern Polish descendants, maybe even specifically Northwest Indiana Poles, have one wedding custom that I do know about: the everyone get in a circle around the couple and sing "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" while also randomly shouting "she's still ours!" in Polish. What, that's not a thing? Well it is in my family.

You see, I've looked everyone on the internet for some indication this was a wedding tradition. Apparently the "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" serenade is usually reserved for sorority/frat sweethearts? Or something. I never went greek so I do not understand these things.

As for the shouting in Polish part, it seems to have roots in a Midwestern Polish custom where the father says the phrase "Jescze nasza" and all of the men at the wedding form a circle around the bride and exchange dances, for a small fee.

So it seems my family mushed together some things and came up with the Let Me Call You/Jescze Nasza. Now all I have to do is try to explain this to my DJ.

While I'm sad I've missed out on a lot of Polish heritage, I will say one thing: I am so glad I don't have to do the babydoll apron. If you're trying to picture it and getting confused, no, you are in fact doing it right. It's precisely an apron that has plastic babydolls stapled to it. Not all Polish traditions need to be embraced!

What cultural traditions are you adopting, eschewing or reinventing?