Week 15: Chivalry is Alive

Ahhh, such a dreamy sunny morning as I walk my horse along the reflective waters of the stream. My family castle in view just beyond the river’s bend. Wait…I see something ahead, blinding, coming towards me. Dear me, is that a knight in shining armour?

 

I am prepared. My longsword is kept beside me at all times. The knight gallops towards my position and pulls up one swords length away. Perfect, so I can cut him easily upon a possible attack. As he halts, I notice such brilliant blue eyes, golden locks of hair, and a welcoming smile. “Good morning, I am Sir Miles from the North, summoned by your father for your protection.” I must thank my father later.

 

“And a good morning to you too Sir Miles, as you know I am Dame Rosalie, Order of the Dragon, so I need no such protection, as I am most excelled in the art of swordsmanship. You sir should be wary of a woman with a sword,” as I surprisingly point the sword at his heart. “But, I dare say that your skills may be useful in other ways…,” as I give him a wicked smile.

 

My knight in shining armour swiftly dismounts the horse, and captures me in his arms. “Shall I show you to my bed chamber?” With excited breath we….what? Oh gosh, I’m dreaming again. Man I must really need some, or was it that medieval sword fighting class I took…

swordsheilds

***

My friend Lacy had a Groupon for a fencing class, but she noticed they had a class entitled Swords of Chivalry: Historical Sword Fighting. Well, she told me about it, and next thing you know, I’m there swinging away with a wooden long sword. I did this one solo, and almost didn’t walk in because I was late (buildings in Sorrento Valley are not that easy to find), but glad that I did. The class is held in the Team Touche studios whose owner Tedd Padgitt gladly showed me to where the sword fighting group was already starting.

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Scott Farrell, owner of Chivalry Today, who runs the classes, welcomed me into the group. His wife April must have noticed that I was a complete novice and lost with all the terminology being spoken, and gave me a one-on-one instruction. My WTF is he talking about face probably gave me away. Luckily another beginner showed up, so we could learn together.

sword april

It really wasn’t that bad, and if you’ve had a little bit of martial arts training, or yoga in my case, your core and balance will be fine. And women can maneuver around and attack just as easily as men. But honestly, there’s a lot of terminology, and I was lost remembering what was a cut or an attack. April was very thorough, which I did appreciate. She taught us the different cuts, ranges, stances, methods of attack (Zornhau: wrath-hew, Krumphau: crooked-hew, Zwerchhau: or Twerhau thwart-hew, Schielhau: squinting-hew, Scheitelhau: ‘part-hew’), and the guards (vom Tag: from the Day, Ochs: ox, Pflug: plough, Alber: fool). Not that I even vaguely remembered any of this, I have to thank Wikipedia for that. I did like that helicopter movement where we swing the sword above our head, but I can’t recall whether that was a range, a stance or what — it’s just plain fun to swing swords around helter skelter.

swordgroup

Oh, the swords aren’t real by the way (otherwise, all my recent bruises would have been accompanied by tons of superficial cuts). We practiced with wooden swords, roughly four feet in length. There are plastic swords too. The wooden swords reminded me of the ones my kids have, given to them when they were much younger by their Auntie Liza as a souvenir from a trip to England (half the size). You hold the sword with both hands, with the thumb of your upper hand always on the inside by your body. Your lower hand is placed underneath on the grip or cupped at the bottom, which gives you greater control. It’s actually a very natural hold.

swordfight1  swordfight

When you are holding the sword properly, standing open towards your opponent, and learn to mimic their movements, you can do quite well. We didn’t spar during this first lesson, but one day. The rest of the group took turns sparring, some wearing those medieval-like vests and covered masks. No body armour though. I believe those are reserved for historical reenactments.

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What fascinated me most was the history of longswording – is that a word? April explained that their group, Chivalry Today, teaches historical methods written down in authentic manuscripts from the 14th Century. Primarily German methods are taught, and sometimes Italian techniques too. They also stress the ideals of chivalry, which are essential to the concept of the knight as an elite warrior sworn to uphold the values of faith, loyalty, courage and honour. That’s why renaissance men are so attractive!

I’ve never been to a Renaissance Fair, or any type of historical reenactment. I think it would be quite fun to dress up in period attire, and walk around looking regal. I guess that is if I presented myself as a lady. I could dress up as a wench – were they called wenches in that era? I sure do have a lot of questions; I better start researching some more. I love reading about the middle ages, and historical fiction. I must have lived during that period in a past life.

sword

I think anytime you reinvent yourself into someone other than yourself, whether a different occupation, different lifestyle, different time period can be like a fantasy come true. Just as long as you remember it’s a fantasy, not reality. If I start wielding a sword around, while wearing chains and armour, riding a horse towards my office in La Jolla, I’d probably be sent away for good. Ehh, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to reinvent myself as a crazy person…

 

***

I’m still in a sword swinging mood when I get home. I crazily start searching the house for those wooden swords that my sister gave the boys. One is in my older son’s room, darn the handle guard is broken. Okay, now where is the other one? Not in the younger kid’s room. Not underneath beds. Not in my room. Where is it? Downstairs I look through the family room, don’t let me bother you boys, and then the living room. There it is, mixed between rice paper umbrellas and plastic recorders, and in perfect shape.

 

I take the sword and excitedly tell my son and his friends what I did that morning. I show the proper stance (they say it’s wrong, but I’m not swinging a baseball bat here), step here and there, show some cuts, and my helicopter sword move thingy. My son Grant, with his deadpan expression, tells me that I’m really embarrassing. They continue to play on the xBox while watching YouTube videos of gamers playing the exact same games. Well, I did my job. Isn’t every parent supposed to embarrass their kids?

 

***

team touche

Notebook: The Historical Sword Fighting classes are taught by Chivalry Today http://chivalrytoday.com/ at Team Touche Fencing Center located in Sorrento Valley http://teamtouche.com/ on Friday nights and Sunday mornings, or Lionheart Fencing Academy in El Cajon http://www.lionheartfencingacademy.com/ on Thursday nights. Youth and adult classes available, your first introductory lesson is free. See more photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/teamtouche/9034370959/. Chivalry Today is part of HEMA, Historical European Martial Arts, which has been around since 2010. Check their website for future historical reenactment events. I plan to go, maybe I’ll find my knight in shining armour. In the meantime, I’m returning to my dreams…yes, we rush up the stone stairs to my bed chamber and he…sorry, the curtains close here.

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Week 14: Love is your salvation

Ladies and gentlemen, I have gathered you all here today to bring you salvation. Can I hear an amen? Amen! Each and everyone of you carries the answer to your own salvation. Because my friends, salvation is within all of you. Salvation is in your heart; your love is your salvation. Hallelujah!

salvation mountain mailbox

***

I went on a quick road trip to Salvation Mountain. One man’s tribute to God. Now why did I go there? I had heard a story about Leonard Knight who had created Salvation Mountain starting in the early 1990s. He and his project sounded so interesting, that in the back of my mind I told myself that one day I would go visit. One day never came.

Last week I kept thinking about my 50 weeks activity which I had somewhat wanted to tie to Valentine’s Day. I had thought of another activity to do, but it was a little risque and I wasn’t really sure it was something to talk about in this PG-rated blog. (I’ll leave it to your imagination on what I was going to do.) Late one night I couldn’t sleep and started reading emails, playing Words with Friends, scrolling through Facebook — the usual middle of the night stuff. I came across a news story that Leonard Knight had passed away. It reminded me of my desire to visit his mountain, and I decided then that Salvation Mountain would be my Valentine’s Day week activity. Because love comes in many forms.

***

I was able to finagle my friend Lacy to take a quick road trip to Salvation Mountain, which is about a 2 and a half hour drive away, east of the southern tip of the Salton Sea. We left at 6:00am, because I had to get her back to San Diego for a 2:00pm meeting. First, I would like to note that driving straight into the eastern rising sun while driving on the freeway is not fun, at times I thought I couldn’t even see the road. But otherwise it was a lovely drive through parts of California I had never seen. And once we were off the freeway heading north through the flat farm lands, I felt like I was in a different state altogether. Now, I have driven up the 5 freeway many times through California’s Central Valley, but have never gotten off the freeway to drive through the farms. Of course, I missed a turn and we had to work our way through farm roads, which are not always found on Google maps. But along the way we observed that crops were being picked, tractors were turning dirt, and cows were standing bored.

salvation mountain

We finally get to the little town of Niland, find Main street, turn right and continue onto a barely paved road where rising up in the desert ahead, you see the Salvation Mountain cross and iconic heart enclosed bible verse. Your first impression is wow, how cool is this! Then you realize there’s more than just a man made mountain. There’s old cars, recycled tires, areas off to the side. The mountain itself is built up using adobe, and colorfully painted in a 3D whimsical Dr. Seuss-like fashion, stripes, flowers, hearts. Bible verses and “God is Love” sayings are prominently displayed.

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Straight away, we notice a young Japanese couple in wedding attire taking pictures in front of the mountain. What a cute souvenir for them. Then we read the “please stay on the yellow brick road” sign, which we then proceed on and climb up to the top of the mountain to the cross. I will say it was a little slippery and I thought for sure I was gonna slip off the side and break my neck. I really should learn not to look down. But since no one was really around that early yet, I clumsily and safely crawl up the mountain to make sure Lacy didn’t have to carry me down. While at the top, we see below what looks like a room with a bunch of branches. We did notice that we could walk down the dirt side of the mountain, which seemed safer, and headed down and towards the other side to discover what were those branch like rooms.

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Oh my Lord. Wow. These “rooms” were amazing. To your left, Leonard created this adobe domed room, a Hogan, which he originally had planned to house himself during the hot summer days. You see, Leonard had lived in his truck, parked in front of the mountain. Within the painted walls of the Hogan, visitors have left all sorts of mementos — dolls, pictures, bibles, flowers, notes. It felt very shrine-like to me, as if leaving a symbol to respect a patron saint. I just kept looking around, behind, above.

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We walk out to the rooms with the tree branches, which Leonard had coined the Museum and is the area he was working on prior to his health problems. Simply amazing. Colors abound, branches here and there, windows looking in looking out, God is Love. I want to lay down on the dirt and look up at the blue skies trying to sneak through the greedy tree limbs. It would be eerie to stay there overnight while the stars sneak a peek to find you.

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I look upon the entire mountain and feel the love of one man, Leonard Knight. And that one man’s love to God has brought together people from all walks of life to appreciate what he has done. Yes, Salvation Mountain has been designated both a National Folk Art Site and a National Treasure. Yet, it is more than either of those. Using adobe and straw, donated paint, recycled materials like window panes and tires, and most importantly his time and devotion to create his everlasting tribute to God. That is love. Eternal and unconditional love is one’s salvation.

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***

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Bonus: Slab City

As we were exiting the mountain and looking around the painted cars, we were curious about the tents set up beyond. We ask a couple gentlemen, one of which was “Builder Bill” if that area was Slab City. Oh no they say, those were just a group of motorcycle club folks there for the holiday weekend. He said Slab City was further down the road, and that if we liked unusual housing developments, go take a look. We do, and we did.

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Well, what a quirky “town” Slab City is, and let me tell you, if I could stand extreme heat, it may be a place for my retirement. Slab City is a development of people who have taken over an abandoned Marine training base and the remaining slabs. Residents and visitors there live off the grid, bringing in their own generators and solar panels, water supplies, etc. Everything is recycled.

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We met Sandi, a local artist, who paints on wooden paneling and other found materials. Most of those materials are found in their dump, which apparently many outsiders use to avoid paying city dump fees. Some materials she is using as insulation for the half wall she is building around her trailer. Sandi hosts music nights at her place on Tuesdays around her outdoor firepit and underneath the unobstructed stars. She also has a CD of original songs dedicated to life at Slab City. She told us about the vibrant community life there, music played four nights a week, Saturday’s being at Builder Bill’s Range. Sunday breakfast is at the Oasis, which she suggested we go for coffee. We do so after hugs goodbye, and promised next time we visit, we’ll bring the wine.

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Coffee was already out by the time we get to the Oasis. But a group of residents there tell us about the Library, the Internet Cafe, The Blue Room, and Poverty Flats. They give us a map and we attempt to find a few of the places. Instead we look around and observe the many types of people living there. Some with elaborate RV set-ups, some homey slab living rooms, and some with hut-like structures. We never did find the Library, and since we didn’t want to get lost in the desert, we turn around and decide it’s time to go.

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In the very short amount of time at Slab CIty, we met some wonderfully nice people who have created this “town” out of necessity. I respect their pioneer and adventurous spirit. Personally, I think it’s a pretty courageous way to live. I will definitely come back for a weekend, sing songs at the Range, eat breakfast at the Oasis, and check my emails at the Internet Cafe…oh and bring Sandi some wine.

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***

The road trip to Salvation Mountain and Slab City was the right activity to celebrate love. Both places are evidence of love stories. Slab City residents live there for the love of their lifestyle, not just because it’s “free” but more so because of the freedom it offers. Every one of them has a life love story to tell. You can hear it in the pleasure that their voices echo when talking about Slab City.

Leonard believed that love is the answer to a peaceful and harmonious existence. He lived in harmony with a simple existence with God, and died in peace. His love story with God is written in each paint stroke he applied on Salvation Mountain. A story that he loved to share.

Love can come in many forms. A love for family. A love for the environment. A love for issues. A love for animals. A love for another person. Make love your salvation, and create your own love story.

***

Love is our salvation

I think of you, and I feel love.

You are my salvation.

When you touch me, I feel love.

I am your salvation.

I look at you, and I feel love.

Love is our salvation.

In person. In spirit.

Mind, body and soul.

My love is your salvation.

Your love is my salvation.

Love is our salvation.

***

Notebook:

Salvation Mountain – http://salvationmountain.org/

Slab City – http://www.slab-city.com/home/welcome/

I still need to read the book and watch the movie, but check out “Into the Wild” which references Salvation Mountain and Slab City.

Week 13: Curling (it has nothing to do with hair)

Inspiration comes in many forms. I wanted to do something this week to commemorate the Winter Olympics. When I saw the funky outfits being worn by the Norwegian Curling team, I was inspired that curling would be the sport to honor.

Norweigan curlers

Curling didn’t look that hard. It seemed like bocce ball or shuffleboard on ice, from what I recall from four years ago. I can do that. And with the help of that Google thing, I found out that Curl San Diego was just starting some beginner classes this very same weekend — what luck!

Better yet, my younger son Grant actually wanted to go too, and he brought along a few friends: Jacob, Nick, Jason and Ricky. Jacob’s mom, and my friend Heidi, plus Lacy (would she be considered an adult or a kid?) and I made up our nice rounded number of eight for beginner curling.

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The funny thing with Lacy is that when I mentioned curling to her, she said it was a dream of hers to be an Olympic Curler. Huh, really…she did grow up in Oklahoma. Well, it’s always a bonus to help others pursue their own dreams. I just think it’s cool to combine fashion and sport.

curlingpano

Once we get to the Escondido Ice Plex in North San Diego County, we fill out all the necessary waivers, and the group of beginners, about 50 of us, anxiously wait for the lessons to start. While we’re standing around, I notice a curling stone atop a stack of flyers, so I pick it up and wonder “wow, that’s really light!” They reply that the stone is an empty display and the ones we will use are actually 42 pounds. What! 42 pounds are you kidding me? I guess we never actually pick it up, we slide it along. For some reason, I don’t remember all the details from the previous Olympics. Why was I thinking curling would be something like bowling where you pick it up and aim it down the lane? Are there bumper guards for beginners? No. Hmm. I should have watched that intro video on the Curl San Diego website.

We soon are corralled into a corner and receive rules instruction. Besides safety rules to prevent falling like don’t run, don’t pick up the stone, don’t walk backwards when sweeping, they point out the very important tradition about the winning team buying the losing team the first round of drinks…although probably not applied to our mostly minor-aged group. The game was invented in Scotland…those Scots.

curling boys  curling stones

Soon we are headed to the ice. I totally expect to start falling immediately, but amazingly I stay upright, and in fact I did not fall the entire night. (I can’t say the same for others in the group.) The group of boys run off claiming the back corner lane area, playing with the brooms, trying to move the stones and generally sliding around the ice. Man, who are these kids, where is their supervision…oh that’s me…I immediately feel like back in the elementary school days of my kids, chaperoning students on a field trip. I am already worried that one of the kids will fall and get a concussion. Oh geez, there’s a basketball tournament the next day and if they lose I know it will be my fault. What have I done!

Okay, calm down, Brian, the president of Curl San Diego, is headed our way to teach our group. (BTW – Curl San Diego members won the regional title and will be competing in the Nationals, so we have excellent teachers.) He shows us how to push off and launch the stones, using a broom to help with balance. We are supposed to start low, then butts up as we push off into a lunge position and release the stone in a 10 to 12 twist towards the direction of the skip. Okay, no problem right.

 curling Heidi  curlinglacy

The problem with learning something in a step one, then two, then three method is you over think each part when it should be a smooth fluid motion. I concentrate too much, while trying not to aggravate my healing ankle, so my push off really was a push off to nowhere. I then try pushing off from my left foot. That’s worse as I still try to use my right foot and I really look uncoordinated. (My kids get their sports abilities from their dad.) Holy crap, curling looks so easy on TV. The boys were much better at it, as they tried to be creative with their final poses.

curling nick

Let’s just go on to sweeping shall we. After the launch of the stone, there is a sweeper on each side that rubs the brooms on the ice to create friction and move the stone towards the desired target, whether towards the bullseye or to push an opponents stone’s away. Again much harder than it looks. First of all, I don’t sweep that fast (if I ever sweep at all), and depending on the speed of the stone, you may have to sweep super super fast, or it’s going too fast and you just watch it fly away. I think Lacy almost knocked some people over. The skip (the guy standing in the house giving directions) can also help sweep the stone towards the target. The circles around the bullseye area is called the house, and you want your stones to end up there in order to get points.

curling scoreboard

Oh the point system. I pick up on this part fairly easily, so I designate myself the official scorekeeper – I can do that. So there are a total of eight stones launched per team for each period or end, and each game consists of a total of 10 ends. (Our baseball-centric group referred to them as innings.) The closest team to the bullseye in the house gets the points for that end. The winner of that end can get one, two or even five points, but the losing team will get nothing. Losers. The total number of points is the center row, and the number of the end played is placed on your team’s row above/below your teams total points. Does that make sense? Okay, well, it’s a little funky (remember Scots invented this game in the 15th century and they were probably determining rules over a pint of ale). On TV they use a baseball type looking scoreboard so it’s easier to follow.

curlingnicknmoms

We’ve learned and practiced the basics, so it’s time to scrimmage. You should see how the boys faces light up when there’s mention of a competition. You can put these boys together in the backyard with a branch and wads of paper and they would make up a game in a few minutes, plus put together a full bracketed tournament in no time. These boys were born with a strong competitive gene.

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We all “try” and take our turns. We lose the first end, the opposing team gets one point. Okay, the boys somewhat take over, determining who is better at launching, sweeping, skipping, or general coaching on the sidelines. They have also decided that us ladies are not that good. I take pictures, Heidi skips, and Lacy gets a hot drink from the snack bar and cheers on from the bleachers.

curlingjacob

The next end, our team wins. We are now tied 1-1. There is time for one more end, so this will determine the winner. The boys totally take over, huddling in a group to discuss strategy. Jacob and Nick are best at launching; Grant, Jason at sweeping; Ricky at skipping. Grant does sweep at home sometimes. Our team launches an early stone in the house somewhat close to the bullseye, so the other team needs to knock ours out or get one closer. After each team launches 7 stones, it comes down to the last opposing teams stone. They had an earlier one get close, but not close enough. Since they have the hammer (like in football, the coin toss determines who gets last possession), they launch their final stone…and it’s so close…their instructor acts as skipper and sweeps it along (hey, is that cheating)…and it stops. Short by that much.

curlinghuddle  curlingend

You would have thought the boys won the World Series, they were so happy, jumping up and down, high fiving each other. After quick handshakes with the other team (who all looked like they were in their 20s), they immediately slid down to where the scoreboard was located and took a group selfie. Boys. All I’m going to ask is…are there college scholarships for curling?

curlingfinalscore

***

Well, that was harder than what I thought. I was so worried about weight on my ankle, I have a nice big blue and purple bruise on my knee instead. It was fun though, and I would like to play again once my ankle is back to normal. I know I could do better. There’s a lot of strategy involved once you get the basics down. It’s almost like chess on ice. What I have learned for next time is to wear thicker soled shoes for one. We all wore Vans, and the moisture from the ice froze our feet. I couldn’t feel my feet on the drive home and didn’t realize I was only driving 50 mph on the freeway until I was wondering why everyone was passing me by so fast. Also, make sure to stretch beforehand, sometimes certain limbs went one way when you’re trying to have them go another way, and next thing you know, you’re doing splits. Stretch the arms too, because sweeping that fast is not normal, at least not at my house.

curling equip

We all had fun, and us moms loved watching the joy and enthusiasm in the boys faces. And although we teach them good sportsmanship and that you still learn lessons form losing, come on, you have to admit, you like your kids to win, even in a scrimmage game against beginner adults. For their next time curling, us parents should find them some funky team pants too.

As a parent, you enjoy watching your children experience the joy of discovery. And as an adult I’m also still learning about and discovering new things. I hope by going through this 50 weeks to 50 journey of mine, I become a role model for my kids to continually discover new things throughout life. I keep a post-it by my desk of the following motto, which I strive to live by: learn something everyday.

***

I’m a quarter of the way through my 50 Weeks to 50 journey…so much more to come.

***

Notebook:

Curl San Diego, www.curlsandiego.org. They are a non-profit group that promotes the sport of curling and offers Learn to Curl sessions ($25), open houses, pick-up games, and league play.

Week 12: PopUp Masquerade

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When I’m monitoring retail and licensing trends for the office, I love reading about pop-up restaurants and pop-up stores – Target, Marc Jacobs, Barbershop Ristorante. So when I first heard about pop-up parties in San Diego, I knew I had to go. I was supposed to attend one last year, but scheduling prevented me from attending. Finally, this past Saturday night, a few friends and I went to our first PopUp Masquerade Party in San Diego.

And what a blast! I’m telling you now, we had so much fun, we’re already making plans to attend the next pop-up party in September.

What exactly is a pop-up party you ask? Well, basically the planning company provides the venue, tables, chairs, and entertainment. You bring the food, drink, table settings and decor. Oh, and you don’t find out the location until two hours before start time. That’s right, you have no idea where it is until that night. That’s why it pops up. It was hard explaining that concept to my family, as they kept asking where it was, and I continued to reply that I didn’t know. You eventually find out via email, Facebook and Instagram.

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The fun part is in the planning — although amongst us busy women (me, Marie and Lynn; Lacy was still sick), we put it all together the night before. Now, many of you know I love to plan parties, or any event really. And quite frankly I wish we had more time to think this out, but we were pop-up virgins and we weren’t sure how far to go. Luckily, I love to collect china, and I had enough table decor to get us by. Oh, and we needed masks.

Picking out a mask is not that easy, how mysterious do you want to look? This was a black and white themed masquerade, but your mask can be colorful. As usual, I go with the color black for a mask, with a few feathers and a silver decorative border. Since my wardrobe consists mostly of black colored clothing, I have every type of black dress imaginable in my closet – long or short, casual or formal, conservative or sexy. I have one white dress. I wore the white dress.

Our menu would be simple and Italian inspired: penne alla vodka, cheese ravioli (gluten-free for Marie), meatballs in a tomato sauce, caprese salad, bruschetta, cheeses, salami, crackers, fruit, and assorted dessert bars from Sorella’s in La Jolla.

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By Saturday afternoon, we’re anxiously awaiting the location. I find out while watching my son get knocked over for the umpteenth time at his basketball game (they’re very aggressive): Gaslamp Quarter right behind Horton Plaza. Perfect! A fun location, and Lynn has a parking pass right next to the venue – how lucky can we be. (Remember, I’m still suffering from my stupid sprained ankle.)

As usual we’re all running late, but very excited to go. It’s always an adrenaline rush when you don’t know what to expect. We drive by looking for some sort of drop off spot for me and our stuff, and immediately notice the corner location with the high lofty ceilings and ambient lighting. The PopUp Masquerade logo displayed against the wall and glimpsed through the large side windows was another giveaway that we were there.

popuptoast  popuptrio2  popuplogo

We ended up going straight to the parking structure and lugged our stuff to the venue. Many guests were already set up, so we take an available table towards the back. (I later find out this place rents out Segways to tourists during the day.) I’m amazed at the elaborate measures people take to decorate. The table settings were exquisite: high candles, oversized balloons, candelabras, flowers, an oversized loop grass thing, and printed menus.

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Oh the food items…some were simple cheese and cracker types, while others brought coolers of food and drink, a smorgasbord of finger foods, gourmet sit down affairs, and chafing dishes full of yummy stuff. I think we had a lovely setting of mixed and matched Noritake china place settings, Waterford crystal, centered by our tiered morsels of Italian goodness.

Note to self: next time know there are sideboard areas to prep and serve food.

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The masks and attire worn was magical. When you pair masks with formalwear, it provides such a mystical atmosphere. I loved how the men were dressed in tuxedos and black suits. Something about a man in a suit. The women were stunning in long and short dresses. Everyone looked fab!

One thing I enjoyed was how friendly everyone seemed to be. We were talking with others and finding out what everybody was serving (a lump of crab meat centered in the bowl topped with a creamy bisque), where they got their table decor (Home Goods), and where did they get that fantastic mask (some online site). I especially loved how everyone was sharing food by the end of the night, because most of what they were sharing were desserts!

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Although the official dinner start time was 9:00 pm with the waving of the napkins, everyone was munching way before then, and the dancing and drinking was already in full swing. Okay, so I sprained my ankle, but after a couple glasses of wine who cared…we were off to the dance floor. You remember how it goes, everyone dances in a big group, sometimes a guy would saddle up to you and say “How you doin’?” or ask to see your face underneath the mask. A typical night out.

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I love dancing, but when the song is saying “jump, jump”, all I could do was sit and smile. Yes, there came a point where my ankle won out and I had to chair dance. Oh well. We had a good time, as did everyone in attendance. Yet, as usual, there’s always that one person that goes a little too far. One of the female masqueraders from the table next to us was passed out on the floor. Paramedics were called and she was taken away in a gurney. We were told a couple stories from different guests belonging to that group of what happened to her, but since they were conflicting, I’m not gonna pass along rumors.

***

We enjoyed every minute of the masquerade and it didn’t seem like anyone wanted it to end. We stayed til midnight, but these Cinderellas had to go home to kids. I will say that part of the fun was the planning, and the anticipation of where it was going to be. The unknown can be quite intoxicating don’t you think? Many had said they had been to the previous PopUp summer white party, and we’re already planning for the next one in September. I’m planning a beachy theme with a luau menu. Want to join us?

Notebook:

Handmade Events plans PopUp parties in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, www.handmade-events.com/