Week 34: Walking Amongst the Dead

I became aware of the Walking Dead show a few months ago and watched some episodes. But that was the fourth season and was told I really should watch from the beginning. Watching four seasons of life after a zombie apocalypse wasn’t too appealing at the time so I didn’t. The show haunted me again when soon thereafter, my friend Marie B. sent sent me a link about The Watching Dead Escape (TWDE) and that it may be something we may want to do. Why not? Who wouldn’t want to dress up like zombies and try to infect good paying people with the virus? Sounds like fun to me!

twde6

Since TWDE was during Comic Con, we thought we could get some of the kids to participate — no go. Guess it’s not cool to dress up like a zombie with your mom. Oh well, so Marie, my friend Jamie, and I got into our zombie mindset this past Saturday night. Prior to going, we make sure to wear old clothing that we don’t mind getting dirtied up. I find old sweats, a surgical shirt and a medical smock (probably remains from a prior Halloween costume).

twdeclothesclean

We drive to Old Town where we plan to catch the trolley since we know it’s going to be packed downtown. Once we finished driving around to find a parking spot, we rush to make the next trolley as we are already running late. We’re supposed to be there two hours prior to our walking time of 9:00 pm, so that TWDE folks can apply the zombie make-up. Now, you know Comic Con is in town when a ton of people dressed up in various costumes from superheroes to sexy vixens get on the trolley and no one bats an eye. I still can’t figure out how some of those women are comfortable walking around in 6-inch heels. I would fall over and sprain an ankle or two.

twdetrainer  twdepetco

Once off the trolley, we rush to Petco Park to check-in. It’s pretty organized, you first sit to wait for instructions. Then you get up and move to sit in another section while the main zombie dude gives you a quick training session on how to be a zombie. He reiterates over and over again that you are to always remain in character (because people pay to be spectators, so we are always being watched by someone), and zombies are slow and lethargic…slow and lethargic…slow and lethargic…I am  s l o w  and  l e t h a r g i c. We are not to hide and scare people (what, that’s fun), or try to attack them outright. As zombies, our muscles go into atrophy and we really can’t see. So we are to slowly, and lethargically walk with our shoulders and eyes downward. We can hear noises, and smell survivors within two arms length distance. That’s how we can “infect” the survivors (the people paying more good money to run the course). Remember, slow and lethargic. We can do that, I think.

twdeprep  twdemakeupprep

On to make-up, the fun part. We get into different assembly lines of make-up artists from the actual show. Artists from either Los Angeles or Atlanta who get paid to turn people into zombies, now that’s a profession! First make-up base is sponged on our hands and faces to pale us down, then a splattering of black and red (a trick we will have to remember). Then we’re air sprayed more white or black coloring on our faces and arms, which smelled like it had a trace of rubbing alcohol. Last came the thick and sticky fake blood made with corn syrup splattered all over my face to look like we had been eating flesh. Jamie had her guy make it look like she had a head wound. Marie and I wanted more blood — we are blood thirsty B8#@*%? — we go back in line for more blood, which was why I wore a white smock in the first place, so the blood would be very visible. The make-up artist does just that this time, smearing blood all over me, which eventually ends up in places I didn’t imagine. I asked for more blood, and I sure did get it.

twde1  twdejem

Now we wait in the holding area until our time slot. As I look around, we have an interesting group of zombies standing around doing nothing. I guess we are getting into character. There were people of all ages, yet skewed to those in their 20s or 30s. A few young children too. Many were dressed up to fit in with the Comic Con crowd. So you got your zombies wearing pajamas, orange prison wear, sailor zombies, bride zombie, zombie superheroes, and the FEMA guy — oh wait, he’s one of the course characters. This is when we take most of our pictures, because once we’re let out to infect survivors, we can’t be walking around with our iPhone cameras snapping away. Next year — GoPro. Remember, slow and lethargic.

twde9  twde8

The time has arrived for us zombies to greet the waves of survivors! We are assigned to a group upstairs in a section where a horde of zombies await the survivors as they turn a corner. We end up liking this zombie section because we can make comments to each other in low zombie voices as we slowly and lethargically drag ourselves around. But as we start our zombieing, it’s hard to infect anyone. These survivors run you down, I mean really run you down as if they really are going to get infected by you. I think Jamie was struck to the ground three times! I know I was hit quite a bit, but I admit I really tried to block them too. And when I try to reach out, I realize the location of my hands may not be the best area to grab people. I mean I didn’t want to be accused of sexually harassing anyone. But we soon get into the zombie mindset of wandering around aimlessly until we hear steps or they get close enough to smell. There’s usually someone that will make noise as a distraction for the group, so us zombies mob towards the direction of the noise while the other survivors move quietly around us. So nice of them to sacrifice themselves. Our group was able to trap one guy in a corner, he just sat hunched down on the ground not moving a bit. Eventually us zombies forgot about him and he quietly slipped that away. Remember that if you get overwhelmed by zombies in the future.

twdecamo

Some zombies really get into character, making grunting noises, falling due to our failing muscles. Sometimes we bump into each other like a slam dance. The spectators try to tell the survivors which way  to go, or yell out to us that we could have gotten them. TWDE hecklers, who would have thought. Hey, we’re all trying here, give us a break, we paid even more good money to walk around slowly and lethargically.

twdecage  twdefans

After about an hour though (we have an hour and a half total walking slot), we decided to go rogue. I mean, us three were getting antsy, we’re very active women here. We find out that we can walk the rest of the course as long as we stay in character, so we decide to slowly and lethargically see what the survivors have to do. Well, everyone is in total character around here, the actors really get on the survivors to move it. There are all kinds of obstacles set up throughout half of the ballpark. And we only saw a part of it, there was so much more (see YouTube links at the end), and it looks like the survivors need to be somewhat fit (note to self – train for next year). We find the end, and the military group manning the area there was very nice to us, taking pics, and letting us experience the finale. They were a family of volunteers, which is another option to get involved with TWDE, but volunteer slots fill up quickly.

 

As the survivors young and old are herded into the safe zone, I’m sure they felt relief that they weren’t infected. A fun time for all.

twdefanfest

TWDE is just plain fun. Another chance to reinvent yourselves in a minor way playing dress-up. We’re all kids at heart and love to play. Would we do it again? Absolutely! While we were zombieing around, we kept getting ideas on what to do for next year. First, we would be survivors too and participate both ways. We would wear wigs, so we don’t get all that sticky blood goop in our hair and waste all that water showering at 2:00 in the morning. Oh, and we had all kinds of ideas on fun, freaky costumes to wear. It’s still in the planning stages, so I won’t share all our secrets yet. Yup, I admit it’s kind of a nerdy thing to do, but hey nerds rule the world, and we are looking for world domination!

twdeexit

***

twdehappy

Walking around like a zombie was somewhat a form of meditation. No really. Think about it — you’re walking around in a somewhat vegetative state, slowly and lethargically aimlessly meandering about. Thinking and doing nothing is, well, relaxing. I think I will include zombieing in my daily routine…where can I fit that in my schedule?

twdesyfy

As we were discussing meditation on our way to the Gaslamp, some guy overhears and starts talking to us, asking what we were doing dressed up as zombies. It becomes a familiar question the rest of the night, as we make our way through the late evening Comic Con crowd for some midnight breakfast. Even in this setting, three petite female zombies is a sight to behold. We were sitting at the outdoor bar at Ascension (MaryJane’s at Hard Rock, SyFy channel takes it over for Comic Con) where there’s a glass partition separating you from the sidewalk. While devouring breakfast food (there’s only so much human flesh you can take), people kept walking by, pointing and smiling at us.

twdecos  twdeccsign

We also had a great time people watching, I mean it’s Comic Con, who needs a ticket, just grab a seat and watch. We see Mario Bros., octopus like creatures, more superheroes, Luche Libre type guys, some young construction guy that wanted us to stay and have a drink (we are not cougars), and a line of prostitutes, oh wait they were real ones. There were celebrity sightings too, Orlando Bloom went by us, supposedly Megan Fox was in the place, and Christopher Nolan (starring in Interstellar with Matthew McConaughey) was signing autographs right in front of us. We should have shoved a piece of paper over the glass wall for an autograph..

twdetrolley

On the trolley ride home, you would have thought that superheroes and zombies are normal late night passengers. Me, I was happy to go home and wash all the blood and make-up off of me, because it’s really hard to pee when the toilet paper is sticking to your corn syrupy bloody hands.

twdeclothesafter

Maybe I should watch all the Walking Dead episodes now, it’s on Netflix right?

***

The Walking Dead Escape, http://www.thewalkingdeadescape.com/, $20 to be a spectator, $75 survivor, $95 walker, $150 VIP – survivor and walker. (We were able to find a Living Social deal to be a walker for $42.) Tickets did sell out, so if you plan to do it next year, you may not want to wait for a deal and just buy a ticket. The next TWDE is scheduled for October 25 in Miami, and other cities to be determined. But remember TWDE for next year’s Comic Con weekend, as we will walk again!

youtube videos (there’s plenty, just search the walking dead escape san diego:

2014 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zu6y04zSK94

2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMSISUtFk78

TWDE bw1  TWDE bw2

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Week 33: Showing Some Pride

Early last week, a friend forwarded me an email request asking for volunteers during the annual Pride Festival. But my kids had basketball and baseball games, and other plans had been made, so the timing of the volunteer slots didn’t work. I had never been to the Pride Festival or watched the Parade, so it got me thinking maybe I should at least go and watch. Then without having mentioned it to her, my friend Lacy asked if I wanted to go to the Parade. I took that as a sign that going to the Pride Parade would be my 50 Weeks activity for Week 33.

 

As with many of my activities with friends we take the time going to and from the destination catching up on life. Lacy had just returned from her sister’s wedding in Jamaica, so I was getting the scoop. We soon drive into the Hillcrest area and after once around the block we park and walk to the Starbucks.

pridestreet

If Starbucks was an indication of the large crowd to be expected, it’s going to be huge. The line for morning lattes reached the door, and more importantly the bathroom line was just as long (of course I forgot to go before leaving the house and needed to stand in this line). Once getting relief and getting introduced to Kelly and Hank (friends of Lacy’s), we leave to find a spot along the parade route. It is already packed with many people bringing chairs and canopies. Luckily it wasn’t that hot of a day.

pridekidshirt

We claim a great location at the corner of University and Sixth, where we figured was a spot that Parade participants needed to stop and turn the corner. Already I can tell this is going to be one fun parade. Many spectators themselves were dressed for the occasion, Kelly had on a cute rainbow tutu. Lacy was wearing a colorful blocked dress (later a drag queen commented how she loved Lacy’s dress, and a gay guy said to his boyfriend to look at her great tits).There was a lovely family next to us whose young boy designed a rainbow t-shirt for them to wear, with labels of Dad, Dad, Daughter and Son on the backs. Lots of skimpy clothing too — both men and women. I just had to look at a woman’s ass that was half exposed, you couldn’t miss it.

pridevendor

  prideumbrella  pridemaskguy

Once the parade started with a leather clad bike club leading the way, there came lots and lots and lots of participating groups. Pretty much every local politician was there, many legal associations, churches, banks, medical groups, nightclubs, radio stations, and of course, all the LGBT associated groups. I was having fun just being there since I haven’t watched a parade since…I can’t even remember, probably when I was a little girl. (I’ve always wanted to watch the Rose Parade too, but I have been to the Rose Bowl.)

pridefetish  pridecops

pridelovestraight

priderevivals  pridemamaskitchen  pridehula

You really have to experience the Parade to truly enjoy it, which is why this blog is mostly pictures because there was so much to see — and there was so much more that I didn’t include, need to edit you know. What was my favorite? So much…all the cute guys (so what if they’re gay, still great eye candy, especially the half naked ones with ripped bodies, is there a gay strip club I can go to?), the foam truck, all the fun giveaways (I was given a bunch of condoms), the Chipotle truck with the giant riding burrito, the costumes, and all the signs expressing love for all (“I love all my children, even the straight ones”, “God loves us all”, and “size matters” — oh wait, well still a great sign).

pridehalfnaked  priderichs

pridechipotle2

pridefloat  pridehula

The vibe of the Parade and the festival is one of acceptance. No matter your sexual preference, race, religion, big or little, how you looked, favorite dog breed or bank affiliation, Pride welcomes all and judges no one. Well, the anti-circumcision group drew a few “not the right place for that, honey” type of comments, but overall it was a fun gathering of people enjoying life and who they are. Always take pride in yourself — you are beautiful, inside and out!

pridepugs  pridewalkers  pridefoam  prideteddybear

pridepubdef  pridefall  priderv

pridestiltwalker

pridesizematters        pridewheelchair    prideflags  pridesm  pridebikenun  pridebears  prideflagwalkers  prideloveisgod  pridescooter

***

San Diego Pride, https://sdpride.org/. This was the Pride festival’s 40th anniversary, which drew a 300,000 parade attendance (yes, it was really, really crowded), 40,000 music festival attendance, and 940 volunteers. Be prepared, with so many groups participating, the Parade was long, over 3 hours (we had time to eat fish tacos at Oscar’s during the parade, http://www.oscarsmexicanseafood.com). The music festival was only $20 for both Saturday and Sunday, so plan for next year. Lacy and I are trying to figure out how to participate in the parade next year — anyone have a flatbed truck, DJ equipment, and racy costumes we can borrow?

priderainbow

pridegoodies

Week 32: Lavender and Rose

On the road or on your toes, it’s all about the journey.

 

***

kcfsign

Keys Creek Lavender Farm.

We were all chatting and catching up with friends the evening of the Fourth of July, and Linda mentioned reading about the lavender farm in San Diego. Now, when I envision the rolling purple hillsides of lavender farms, I think of Provence. Something I had hoped to do whenever I get a chance to visit France again. The idea that there was one in my own county, well add that to my 50 Weeks list.

kcflavenderbush

That weekend I tried to locate info about the lavender farm, and I was brought to the website of Keys Creek Lavender Farm. And what do you know, the season was extended into two more weekends in July (normal season is May and June). I took this as a sign that a visit was in order, so next thing you know I’m emailing Linda and Sharon (who was in on the discussion) and we made plans to go. Since we all had some weekend activities scheduled (we all have boys in summer sports, that should explain it all), we had to squeeze in a visit this past Saturday afternoon.

 

We know it will be hot, so we grab our hats and off we drive away. And you know when they say it’s not the destination but the journey, well that was partially true for this trip. As we ramble up the 15 corridor, we continue to chat away and get caught up on life. We unintentionally make a wrong turn somewhere, and didn’t realize it until we couldn’t find the “Yellow Deli” landmark as noted in the website’s directions. We decide to check our blue dot location on Google Maps and figure out our way back, which led us to one of the curviest roads I’ve ever been on in the mainland. (For those of you who have been on the Road to Hana in Maui, think of the road we took as the same pattern, but without the lush green waterfalls to your right and the deep ocean blues to your left.)

kcf road2

After driving this windy road, thankfully we all kept our stomach contents intact, we get to a main road and soon pass the Yellow Deli. We turn right onto a dirt road, and as we start to drive it I’m thinking “thank goodness my lease is up next month!” A mile and a half later of driving up and down short hills, passing through tree groves, we arrive at the entrance to the farm.

kcffields

I will admit that I was disappointed at first at not seeing rows and rows of purple. But we soon realized that was because all the lavender stems in the lower fields that we first came upon had already been harvested. We did come at the end of the season, so that is to be expected. Now that we know about the place, we can visit earlier next year. As we continue walking towards the main visitor’s area under the hot sun, we soon get a whiff of the fresh lavender scent. Ahhh, here’s our journeys destination.

kcfgate  kcfporch

We pass the welcoming gate and you can immediately sense a feeling of calm. Quirky plant displays and repurposed furniture greet us. First thing we do — walk into the gift shop. Everything lavenderish you can think of, they’ve got. Oils, lotions, bath products, teas, candles, lavender. I try to sample the oil and accidently pour way too much on my hands — Sharon, do you need some oil? We leisurely look at all the products, and after a taste sampling — or two, or was it three — amongst us we take home a variety of goods (tea, lemonade, scone mix, sachets, caramel sauce, jelly, and of course, lavender sprigs).

kcfgiftshop

We mosey up the dirt path to Mrs. Jones Tea House. Like the gift shop, the tea house is a cozy wooden cabin, painted in olive green with lavender trim that blends so comfortably with the surrounding fields. The wrap around porch provides views of the picturesque hillside, plus desired shade while we sip on lavender iced tea and lemonade, and munch on lemon lavender cookies and scones.

kcftea  kcfteahouseinside

There was a very lovely couple from Germany, Clarissa and Marc, tending the tea house, who was helping out at the farm for a few weeks. They were part of the WWOOFing program which pairs volunteers to work at organic farms in exchange for room and board (sign me up!). Clarissa and Marc have been able to travel all over the world as part of this exchange. We kept chatting with them about the program, since it was so interesting to us, and we were all wondering if that lifestyle would fit into our retirement plans — I think so. Okay kids, hurry up, finish college, and start supporting yourself, cuz mom is hitting the road!

kcfgercpl

It was time to actually walk amongst the lavender bushes, where we can read about the different varieties. (They grow 20+ varieties.) There were lots of bees around, which the farm is trying to help preserve theri population. We walk around to the far fields where lies a bougainvillea archway leading you to a lavender labyrinth and meditation garden. The whole setting was so serene, so peaceful, so natural. When I think of living in the countryside, this is what I would envision.

kcfsharlin      kcflabryinth

kcffieldspeople

As we head back home, on a shorter and less windier road, you can’t help but begin to think about ways to live like this. Maybe true innovation in the future will be a way to combine technology for use in smaller and less stressful communities. Not just for those who have the luxury to do so, because in my mind, living on a farm such as Keys Creek is a luxury.

kcfpost

***

 

Rose Canyon.

There are lots of canyons around San Diego, and my neighborhood of University City is surrounded by Rose Canyon. The city maintains hiking trails in the canyon and for the almost 15 years that I have lived here, I am ashamed to admit that I have never been in Rose Canyon, until now.

 

Walking through Rose Canyon was on my 50 Weeks list because it was one of those activities that’s so easy and so accessible that you always think, oh I’ll do that next week, next month, next year. Our elementary school would have field trips into the canyons, yet for some reason or another those were dates I was unable to chaperone.

 

How did I finally get down into Rose Canyon? After our lively lavender seeking drive to Valley Center, I felt it was warranted to take a nap. Well, before I could get into the dream stage, Gigi texted me to see if I was up for a walk in the neighborhood. Sure, why not, I need the exercise and it was a lovely evening. And she too came back from a long drive to Los Angeles and wanted to move her legs about. So off we went on a typical walk through the UC hood.

 

At one point we came close to the trailhead on Regents Road, I had pointed us towards Starbucks, but Gigi wanted to know what was down there. We looked at the posted map, down the hill towards a hidden creek, and a asked a gentleman who was jogging down into the trail about how far a hike would it be. He said that he usually turns around at a certain point and comes back, but I knew there was a way out the other side — not only by looking at the map, but because my kids have been known to play in the canyons with their friends.

 

We each had a water bottle, the sun was still out, and you know I love these impromptu adventures. Plus it was on my list, the time was now.

RCbridge

Down into the canyon we go, first into a steep well worn dirt path. We seemed to have lost the creek. But we meet it up again at the bottom as we cross over it on a very nicely built bridge. The path then opens up onto a wide trail that parallels the canyon with the train tracks on the north side. We notice a huge tree that was either burned or hit by lightning. Tiny wildflowers decorate the canyon.

RCwidetrail

Quite a few people are down in the canyon, mostly of the running, sweaty types. Us, we walk. And we walk, and we walk. I assured Gigi there was a way out if we continue, and there was no need to turn around. (Gigi – I know you were questioning me.) But after a while I must admit I wasn’t sure if we would be out before dark, because I thought there would be a shortcut up the hill ending up at the west end of Governor Drive. If there was, it wasn’t visible from the path we were taking. So we walk.

RCplankbridge  RC trail

We stay on the path and were rewarded with surprising rustic charm. Besides the beauty of the natural habitat, some of the trail was lined with ranch-like wooden fences, areas lined off for regrowth, and plank bridges. I loved part of the path that was enclosed by trees, kinda spooky. Eventually it leads up on a bare narrow ledge around the west end of the canyon, where you can wave to the train passengers and watch the freeway traffic. As we head down we once again encounter the gentleman we first talked too and his young son riding a dirt bike. He reassured us that we were almost there. He and his son were heading back the other way. We were happy we made it this far.

RCcreek

As we see the end leading back to our neighborhood, we also notice other paths that lead to Marian Bear Park and its trails — next time. Because right now the hardest part was ahead of us — the killer walk up the steep Bothe Avenue!

 

***

 

The Journey.

In both activities, the time spent with friends getting to the destination became what was cherished. In both trips, there were times we weren’t really sure where we were going, but we kept trudging along eager to get to the final stop…must have been the full moon. In both, we met wonderfully nice people who we chatted up and learned new insights. In both, we discovered places that seemed so remote, yet were in our own backyards. And in both, we ended up enjoying the excursions so much, we found ourselves planning for “next time.” Our children may have brought us all together in the first place, but our growing friendships have lasted. Here’s to more journeys together my friends!

kcfflowerarch

***

 

Keys Creek Lavender Farm, 12460 Keys Creek Road, Valley Center, CA 760.742.3844, www.kclfarm.com. The season is over for now, which is usually during the months of May and June. Entrance fee is $5 per person. During the season they hold special events and classes such as distillation workshops, soap making classes, English High Teas, and Jazz Concerts. The farm is available for special events. Their products are also available at farmer’s markets, including Ocean Beach, Little Italy, and La Jolla.

kcfdistill

kcftabledistill

Friends of Rose Canyon, www.rosecanyon.org. A non-profit volunteer-run organization which helps preserve Rose Canyon. They offer student field trips, bird walks, and volunteer preservation opportunities. The website contains some information filled videos.
City of San Diego, http://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/parks/oscp/ – useful info and trail maps.

 

Week 31: A Mixed Bag

Sometimes a week can unexpectedly provide a few fun firsts. This was one of those weeks.

 fabfair

Fab Fair Four

Thursday, the 3rd of July. Who’s really working this day? Apparently hardly anyone, therefore our office decided to lock up shop midday. What to do with this extra time — go to the San Diego Fair! I hadn’t been in ages, probably close to a decade, and my co-worker Rosey hadn’t been yet this season, so what the heck, we were going to the Fair.

 

Going to the Fair was somewhat on my 50 Weeks list, primarily because I’ve never tried those oh so bad for you fried foods. Like I mentioned, the last time I had been to the Fair was years ago, and when I did go it was to take my little boys to the kiddie section. We had never ventured into the adult areas, with all the vendors, exhibits, and food stalls (lots and lots of food stalls). I ended up doing a few firsts while there.

fairoxybar

Oxygen Bar. I had seen ads about oxygen bars in places like Los Angeles and New York, but thought really? A place to go pay to inhale oxygen, don’t we get it for free? Well, there was an oxygen bar at the Fair, and we were waiting around for one of the bands to start, so I thought what the heck, I’ve never done that before. The guy manning the bar gave me the spiel, it’s one of the healthiest things to do at the Fair, it’s 92% pure oxygen, and refreshes you from the inside. Also note, this guy only started doing this for the Fair, so what he’s telling me is from what was told to him. But, it was only $7 for 12 minutes, so what the heck, tube me up.

 

I get to pick the color tube I want (you keep it for a souvenir I guess) — green, and he showed me how to loop it around my ears and to place the inserts into my nostrils. It’s then connected to the machine that has four different scents that you can pick – one, or mix and match. You can adjust the scents as you please throughout the 12 minutes. You smell the different flavors because the oxygen is bubbled through the bottles before getting to your nose. I start off with Sex on the Beach (no comments please), which contains various fruit extracts and is described as “euphoric, sensual, exotic.” Then I add some Beach flavor which is wisteria and is to be “visualizing, exotic, relaxing.” After a few minutes, I thought might as well throw in some Mango Madness and give me an “exotically sweet and invigorating” flavor too. Wow, as I breath in through my nose, and exhale through my mouth (very yoga like), it feels like there’s a party in my nose.

fairoxybottles  fairoxyjemma

I enjoyed breathing in that combination of flavors. I wonder if I could just sit at one of these machines and breath in chocolate, or potato chip flavors — would that take away my cravings for such foods? Maybe it could be a whole new diet fad, breath your way to weight loss! It did feel refreshing, and gave me a short boost of energy, but I didn’t feel any real lasting effects. Maybe I needed more oxygen, who knows. Maybe visiting the animal pens and breathing in their aromas right after may have negated the benefits of my visit to the oxygen bar…

 fairpearl

Pearl for a Jem. One of the many vendors we passed by in the huge exhibit halls was the AM Import Pearl booth, where you can pick your own oyster and keep the pearl inside for $12.95. Again, what the heck. Rosey was very excited about this booth and she studiously looked at the oysters, found the ugliest one and pulled it out. It produced a beautiful pearl with a bluish tint. She had the touch, so she poked around looking for one for me, and I selected a pretty pitiful looking one too. After opening, getting doused with salt, rubbed shiny, I too had a beautiful silver blue pearl, with an estimated value of $69. That was the first time I ever got a pearl from it’s source. How special. Should I find a ring setting for it, or maybe wear it as a necklace?

 fairskyride

Skyway Jitters. One of the prominent attractions at the Fair is the Skyway ride which takes you from the middle of all the food vendors to the depths of the Kiddie Zone. It looked like a nice leisure ride which would save us a bit of walking on the way to the other side of the Fair, since we got a round trip pass. And again I had never gone on that ride, plus it would give us a great view of the Fair and oncoming sunset. So up we go and it’s like a ski lift, so the seats come around, scoops you up, the attendant drops down the bar and you’re lifted into the sky. What a great view, I’m taking pictures left and right. This is pretty cool. I’m trying to make sure I don’t lose my phone (anyone make me a phone neck holder yet?), and therefore not holding on to the bar. I then notice the sign on the back of the seat ahead of us which warns riders to sit up straight and hold on to the bar. Hmm, I start to think, if I start relaxing too much and slouch would I fall underneath the bar, would the crowd below catch me? I then grab the bar and hold on. I did manage to take a few pictures.

 fairtopview  fairskycrowds

Food. Food. Food. Okay, the real reason I wanted to go to the Fair was to give myself yet another excuse to eat unhealthy, fatty, but ohh so yummy food. Those TV news stories about the newest deep fried something are always so tempting. I finally get to partake. Yes, this was on my 50 Weeks list. So much to choose, where should we go first?

 fairnavtaco

We hadn’t had lunch, so I start off with a Navajo Taco, which is beans, chili, lettuce, cheese and salsa on Indian Fry Bread. Rosey started with a corn dog. We each had a little bit of each, which was plenty. We were stuffed, but we couldn’t help but notice what others folks were eating, and thinking we should get some of that. To walk some of it off we head into the exhibit halls, where I notice a mini donut stand. It was so cute, their mini donut machines frying the donuts right in front of you. I love watching those machines, the dough is dropped in the hot oil in a perfect donut shape. They bobble along until they get to the turning thig-a-ma-jig, they halt for a second then they are plopped on to the other side. The donuts bobble along a little more until they are pulled out and sprinkled with sugar. Now that is an invention! I refrain and only get a half dozen as a quick treat to tide us over til later.

 fairminidonuts

Sooner, rather than later, we decide it’s time for Rosey’s Fair craving — funnel cake! You’ve got to love fried dough (that’s really the gist of fair food). Covered with strawberries and whipped cream, what a sweet delight. We were tempted to get a bacon maple donut, but that would have sent me to the emergency room (or at least to a nice comfy bed for a nap). Afterwards we walk over to the Paddock area and wait for the band and get a Happy Hour beverage. We run into one of our favorite elementary school teachers, Shawn Nelson, who along with her friend Debra, sit with us and rest our feetsies. (Shawn took the oxygen bar photos.) After we parted, Rosey and I look for more food finds. We almost got some fried cheese curds, but after a sample from some guy who just got some, our taste buds decided naw. We did find the stall that makes deep fried Twinkies and Oreos – an order of each please! Twinkles, ehh a little too sweet; Oreos – YES!

 fairfunnelcake  fairbacondonut

fairfoodoreostwinkies

It was soon time for us to leave, so we gathered a few things to take to go. Rosey: a huge turkey leg wrapped with a pound of bacon, yours for only $20. Me: chocolate covered bacon (after tasting I felt the chocolate drowns the bacon flavor), and Mackinac Island chocolate nut fudge – which makes a delicious breakfast with a cold glass of milk.

 fairturkeyleg  fairchocbacon

It was an impromptu Fair visit, so we didn’t have time to plan much, because afterwards I realized there was a lot we missed which would have given me a few more firsts. Plus we should go in a group of four to share the treats. There’s always next year.

 fairbaconsign

Water Play at Waterfront Park

Saturday night, post holiday. What to do, what to do? My friend Gigi was hungry, and we were both in the mood for seafood. I suggested a drive downtown to grab fish and chips at Anthony’s Fishette. Off we went, took a while to find parking (I forget we live in a tourist town), and next thing you know we’re munching away. The night is still young, so what the heck, we walk a number of blocks towards Extraordinary Desserts, another fave. We each get desserts to die for, with boxes to go. We take a different route on the way back to our car, which takes us along the south side of the new Waterfront Park at the county building. We decide to take a look, since we have never seen it. First off, it’s just so much nicer than the huge concrete parking lot that was there previously, as all parking is now underground.

 waterfrontpark

We immediately are entranced by the evening lights with the historic county building looming in the center of the park. Then what do I see in front of me — shallow pools with splashing fountains along the edge. I can’t resist. The fountains are dragging me in to come and play — “Jemma, come in the water and play with us.” I’ve always loved running through sprinklers, and these were just as fun. The water was very shallow (no chance of drowning here) and was very refreshing on this humid night. A little boy joined me and dared me to put my entire body underneath the fountain. Although I was tempted, the practical side of me remembered that I didn’t have a towel with me and didn’t want to soak Gigi’s car. And as the sun was setting with the historic Star of India sailing ship resting on the San Diego Harbor, I had to be thankful once again to live where I do.

 waterplayboy

Playing in the Waterfront Park that night reminded me that aging doesn’t mean you can’t have some kid-like fun. The simple joys you found as children are always within you. Let the kid in you out every once in a while. You’ll be a happier adult.

 watership

Ticket for One Please

Sunday afternoon. No plans. Empty house. I had been wanting to see the movie Jersey Boys (then plan to follow-up by watching the play), and going to see a movie by myself was actually on my 50 Weeks list, so what the heck, the time is now. I search my handy dandy Fandango app, Jersey Boys was showing at my local AMC (the one with the leather recliners) in 45 minutes, so I click the buy tab – one ticket.

 movies

I finish up the laundry, grab myself and off I went. I have just enough time to get popcorn and butter thoroughly. I had picked an aisle seat in advance which I plopped myself down in, pressed the button to recline all the way back, and the previews begin. The theatre was full, and I looked like the youngest person there. I loved the movie and all the music. I did have the urge to start singing along at times, and to get up and dance. Do you think they will come out with a sing-a-long version? I would have to go with a group of friends for that one.

 

Although most of you know that I’m a social, people-person, going to a movie by myself wasn’t that bad. I didn’t have to compromise on the movie I wanted to see, I left when I was ready, and most importantly — I got to watch all the credits at the end without feeling like I was holding up the rest of my group. Yes, I would do this again.

 

What did I learn? It’s not a big deal to do stuff by yourself. Now I have done some things by myself, primarily on business trips, where eating alone and reading paperwork felt normal. And I have actually vacationed by myself (only once) during college when researching for a Cultural Anthropology paper. Plus I’ve done a few 50 Weeks activities by myself (meditation center, homeless shelter, colonics). You can be alone and not be lonely. A good thing to learn, as my kids are growing up and will be off to college soon enough. Although for retirement, I have discussed the idea of communal living with some girlfriends, like our version of the Golden Girls.

 

It’s also a good learning experience to know that you don’t need to rely on others to enjoy what you want to do. Does this make us selfish? I guess it depends on the person, but if you are happy with yourself and with what you are doing, then I would think it makes you a happier person when you’re around the people you love, who in turn want to spend more time with you. Does that make sense? You can still share experiences with those you care about, without actually doing them together. There is joy in sharing. Quite frankly, those you love may not always want to do the same things as you, but that’s what makes each other interesting, we’re not all the same.

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San Diego County Fair (the Del Mar fair to me), www.sdfair.com. The Fair, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, starts early June to the weekend of 4th of July. The 2015 theme is Planes/Aircraft. (The Del Mar Racing season starts soon!)

 

Waterfront Park, located at the San Diego County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, 92101. http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/parks/Waterfrontpark.html. Park hours are from 6:00am to 10:00pm. When we were there, it was $20 for underground parking. Drive around and you can usually find a spot, if you don’t mind walking.

 

AMC Theatres, www.amctheatres.com. AMC La Jolla, 8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, La Jolla, 92037. It was recently announced that AMC will be installing recliner seats in all its theatres. Get the Fandango app to easily buy tickets.

Week 30: Wax On, Wax Off…Ouch!

Before we go on, there are some subjects that can be considered TMI (too much information) for some of you folks, especially to my male readers — all one of you. You know who you are, so thank you for your loyal support, but you can stop reading now if you’d like. Otherwise, remember I warned you.

 

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Okay, it’s bikini season (a one-piece for me)…therefore, yes I got a Bikini Wax. Not a big deal, but again, it was something I had never done and which was on my 50 Weeks to 50 list. I had been thinking about doing this for months, years really, and every time I would think about it I would laugh. Because it seems so silly. Why should I bother, who’s going to see? Don’t answer that. Plus I wanted to spend more time at the beach this summer, and I didn’t want to be constantly looking at my pelvic area to make sure no stray hairs were sticking out. Am I the only one that does that?

 

But again, this year long journey of mine is about trying new things, and waxing my lower regions would be a new experience for me. Occasionally, I do get my eyebrows waxed and I started only after getting my eyebrow virginity broken by the best — Anastasia from Beverly Hills (yes, I am name dropping), who has worked on many celebs — courtesy of my sister’s connections at Orange Coast Magazine (thanks Linda Goldstein). Now I get mine done through Anastasia’s locally trained affiliates in La Jolla at the Brow Lounge (I go to Annie), a short walk away from my office. I remember that getting my eyebrows waxed made such a difference in how I looked, that I wondered would that make my genitalia pretty too.

bikini 

By now, you all know how much I love my Groupon and Living Social deals. Well, there was a Groupon available to get a Bikini Wax done at Our Little Secret Salon & Beauty Bar, also in La Jolla. After thinking about it and laughing to myself while picturing in my mind what they are going to do to my very private parts, I figured what the heck, it’s just a Bikini Wax, not a full Brazilian where everything is waxed off.

 

I buy the Groupon (only $17) and I log onto their website and make an appointment for the next day. Boy that was easy; now I can’t chicken out, I’ve paid the money. And I was so busy at the office the next day, I had no time to think about it. I had to hurry up after work and get to the hidden salon.

OLS

When they named it Our Little Secret, they meant it. The salon is tucked away in a very nondescript shopping center off Mt. Soledad Road that blends in so nicely with the surrounding community, you would have thought it some homes. I’ve driven by there many times in the past and never noticed it. My appointment was with esthetician Kelly, who was waiting for me and ready to go. I let her know this was my very first time getting a Bikini wax ever — I was a virgin.

 

Kelly was very nice, explained that I need to take off only my pants, place the towel over me, and I could keep my panties on for a Bikini wax. Really, because I was ready to take them off. When you’ve given birth with doctors and nurses coming in and out of your room looking at the lower regions, showing those parts to strangers doesn’t seem like a big deal…well for medical type reasons…I mean, I wouldn’t show them to some random stranger…what do you think of me…don’t answer that.

 

Anyhoo, Kelly and I were discussing the procedure and she mentioned I didn’t look that bad. Why thank you Kelly. Embarrassingly I explained that I had attempted to pluck my own hairs, but it was taking forever. Plus, I was always worried that one of my sons would walk in on me (because they haven’t learned the knocking thing yet), and what kind of explanation would I give them.

 

Before you know it, Kelly was applying wax along the sides of my mound, and whoosh, pulled off the strips. I had a delayed reaction because we were chatting away, then it hit me. Okay, ouch, stings a little, but not too much. For some reason I thought it would be worse than childbirth. But, no it was fine, yes Kelly go on and wax away my pubes. And before you know it, my Bikini wax experience was over. It took less than 15 minutes.

OLS Kelly 

Not so bad. I may have to try the full Brazilian next time. If I do, I’ll be sure not to let you know. But apparently Kelly says more women come in getting a Brazilian than the Bikini. Or I could meet in the middle and get a landing strip wax – a landing strip for who? The after effects of my first waxing experience was minimal, just some redness which oils and lotions helped relieve. The pain was hardly worth all the time I spent getting worried about it. Soon afterwards, I was off shopping.

 

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After all that, no big deal. So ladies, if you’ve thought about waxing down there and was worried about the pain, just do it. OLS can even host parties, shall we have a waxing party? But the things we do for so-called “beauty.” Who ever thought of waxing off our pubic hairs in the first place? Probably some man. And the Brazilian, did some Brazilian man think of that? Did they think of Brazilian Blow Outs too? Who gets that job?

 

Now I get the “I don’t want hair in my mouth” thing, but then male partners should reciprocate don’t you think? Guys can get some manscaping done, and get a wax around their private parts. Let’s see who’s crying in pain. And think about it, that if your partner wants you all bare down there, isn’t that a little creepy. I mean, then he prefers a pubescent look. What, does he have child molester tendencies? Or trying to live out virgin type fantasies? Weirdo.

 

Again, it’s the ongoing debate over what is considered beautiful. All vaginas are beautiful, hair or no hair. Ladies, you are all beautiful, inside and out…including your lower regions. Who gets to decide what is beautiful — each of you, for yourself? Celebrate the beauty of your vagina (and control of it too). Do I need to start a Jemma’s Beauty blog, and tell it how it is? The beauty brands wouldn’t like me very much then, because I would probably say why spend your money on such things, go spend it on feeding starving children. But again, here I am getting sucked in by my own curiosity and spending money on such things. I do have a nicely trimmed triangle now, want to see…no, not you! Wait, what’s that…is that a gray…okay, Brazilian next time.

 

When you think about it, if doing such beauty treatments makes you feel more beautiful on the outside, then your increased self-esteem makes you feel better on the inside. Right after my wax, a friend saw me driving down the street and texted me that I looked real happy. I texted back (not while driving) that “I just got a bikini wax!” Ahh, the little things that make us happy.

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The Brow Lounge, 933 Silverado Street, La Jolla, CA 92037, 858.459.9800, http://www.browlounge.net. They are known for their brow shaping. Other services are waxing, skin treatments, make-up, and spray tans.

Our Little Secret Salon & Beauty Bar (OLS), 6437 Caminito Blythefield, Suite A, La Jolla, CA 92037, 858.454.7444, www.ourlittlesecretsd.com

Bikini Wax regularly priced at $35, Landing Strip $45, and Brazilian $50. Besides all types of waxing, OLS is a full service salon (for men and women) and offers make-up application, eyelash extensions, facials, spray tanning, and hair services – cuts, styles, coloring, updo, and blow outs. Membership packages available. OLS Happy Hour specials each day – check website for info.

OLS can also add a Vajazzle or body art if you get a Brazilian – that is a design element down there. OLS Vajazzle designs use Swarovski crystals, and high quality glitter for the body art. Perfect for that special private occasion, or Friday nights.

If any men are still reading this, wasn’t this very informative? I try to provide a pubic service.