Week 31: A Mixed Bag

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


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.


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…


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?


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?


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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