Week 27: The Queens’ Gospel

“I would have figured it out Bitch,” was the last thing Kiki said to me. I was explaining to Kiki, our waitress and performer, how we were splitting the bill at the Lips Sunday Gospel Brunch. I should mention that Kiki is one of the drag queens. Yes, I finally went to a drag queen show…and can’t wait to return.

lips trio

Kiki was the one with attitude, and our table of four — me, Marie, Lynn, and Lisa-Marie — got used to being called bitches early on. I will admit, if we needed anything, we looked for the nice young guys wearing the black Lips t-shirts. Kiki scared us.

lips friends

Overall, if you ever plan on going to Lips, you can’t be thin-skinned. Everyone, every age (old, young), every race (Mexicans, Filipinos), every skin color (white, black), every gender (straights, gays) will get picked on…and nobody cares. Our emcee, the “pregnant” Sister Nun of the Above, is a quick-witted queen who will single out anyone, and brings with her (I will refer to the queens in the feminine) sister act a funny, and clever angle where you really don’t feel offended at all. Her accents of various groups were accurately hilarious.

lips group

I’m sure I’m offending someone reading this, but oh well. Let’s see, what were some of the lines…ah yes…remembering to SlapAHoe, that afterwards the guys were welcome to meet in the parking lot to pray on their knees and to bring a kneepad (I’m not sure what that’s alluding to), and being located on El Cajon Blvd. that the gospel brunch crowd was the most righteous group around. There were a lot more great one-liners, but I can’t remember them all now, you just have to experience it all for yourself, and what an experience!

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The show highlights the queens lip-syncing to various songs (I was hoping they actually sang), performing on stage, dancing around the crowd, and sometimes doing a few acrobatic movements. They certainly all had a lot of energy, and kept the audience entertained and engaged. It was fun, and it was good to laugh.

lips nun

Sister Nun of the Above likes to start out each performance with calling forth the attention of all the brothers and sisters, praising aloud amens and hallelujahs! And she gets everyone in the mindset to have your dollar bills handy (like a strip club I presume), which the audience throws to the queens on stage, like throwing a baseball (my pitches weren’t as accurate as my sons).

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I did find myself looking at the queens and wondering…can those breasts be real? What do they do with their penises? Strap them down? (In my mind I used different terms.) A friend told me maybe I should take a look. Hmmm.

lips 5

We were there for gospel brunch, and although we didn’t really go there for the food, our choices were very delicious. I decided to play it safe and get a fruit plate (we were being a little fruity anyway) and a side of bacon — what a combo right! The fruit plate was a platter’s worth, and very fresh and delicious. And my side of bacon was a package’s worth, enough for the whole table and perfectly crispy. With brunch, you also get unlimited Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. I’m a Mimosa gal, and boy were those young attendants good about refilling your glass – it was like magic, my glass was always full. I am a half-full, rather than half-empty gal. Good thing Marie was our designated driver. Then you can come to Jesus with a shot of Jesus Juice. Not sure what was in it, some sort of vodka with something that made it taste like cough syrup. That did it for me. Reminder to self: do not mix drinks.

lips food

One of the best parts of the show was when Sister Nun of the Above turns herself into Cher, still pregnant though. Loved all of the performers. And you can tell that the packed audience was thoroughly enjoying themselves. Go in a group, and have it around someone’s birthday so they can get pulled onto the stage. That day, there was a nice young gay couple who just got married that were called up on stage to perform some drinking maneuver on their knees (what’s this knee thing all about?), and Cher was commenting on who she thought was the dominant partner.

lips 4

The crowd is primarily adults, of all ages. Underage kids are allowed too, and I think that if you have kids that are pretty open-minded (your kids do know about different gender groups right, whether you agree with it or not), it would be funny for them too. They probably get all the sexual innuendo better than we do anyway. Plus they will like the music.

***

 

I always think about why do we love comedy. Is it because comedians can say things that the rest of us really can’t say aloud in a day-to-day setting? I mean, if we said half the things we thought, honestly, what would people think of us? Racist, insincere, bitch. Now if a straight person was up on that stage making fun of gays, would we laugh? It always seems to be okay when we make fun of our own group, but if someone else does, well, then they’re being offensive. Is that a double standard, and being hypocritical? Think about that.

 

And why do we have to label people in the first place. Why is it a special thing to go watch a show of drag queens? Can’t it just be a funny musical show, with food thrown in? I don’t know. But I still played into the idea that it was a special to-do by having Lips on my 50 Weeks list.

***

 

One of the lines Sister Nun of the Above mentioned was that all the white folk should look to the colored folk for the rhythm when clapping along to the beat of the songs. Because we all know that, especially white guys, don’t have rhythm. For some reason this made me think of my childhood friend Scott. Scott was good looking, had great hair, dressed well, was white, and boy could he dance. I always thought he was the perfect guy. Then, after taking him to my Sadie Hawkins dance, he revealed to me that he was gay. I was so disappointed, not in him, but I thought he would eventually be my guy. We had lost touch over the years, but I just was able to find him on Facebook – gotta love Facebook. Not sure why I went there, but in that you can’t label everyone. Okay sure I should have seen the signs that Scott was gay, but he’s a white guy that can dance, well yes, he’s gay, oh nevermind.

 

I think my bottom line here is go have some fun, and not take everything so seriously.

***

brunch

Notebook:

Lips, 3036 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104, 619.295.7900, www.lipssd.com. Make reservations, especially if you have a big group. Sunday Gospel Brunch has a $5 cover, with menu items at $17.95 that includes unlimited Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. Check website for weeknight themes, cover charges and food minimums.

Week 26: Lost with Words

You can say that I was lost this past weekend…lost amongst the pages of my books.

 

Memorial Day weekend. I was thinking that I would go on some adventurous road trip where my itinerary would be determined by the whims of the moment. But sometimes plans, even spontaneous ones, don’t come to fruition. Instead, I did get to do something I have never done before, I read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

I love to read, and reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings stories were on my list. I had bought the books a couple months ago, but hadn’t had the time. This weekend I was going to rest, cuddle up in bed, and read. Rather than getting lost on the road, I was happily lost in the words of Tolkien.

 

I have all kinds of lists: travel, restaurants, adventures, and books. My 50 Weeks to 50 list includes parts of all those lists. As I’ve said before, lists of things we want to do don’t always have to be big grandiose plans. The little accomplishments all add up. For me, reading is a simple pleasure that I treasure (I read all day at the office, which is not a simple pleasure). And I love finding stories that highjack your attention away from life’s daily chores.

 

Tolkien’s stories did just that. I could not put The Hobbit down. I quickly read about Bilbo’s adventures (I may need to re-read in the future). I especially loved the section where he matches wits with Gollum and then discovers the power of the ring. As soon as I finished reading The Hobbit, I picked up the much thicker and heavier The Lord of the Rings and continued the journey. This will take me longer to read, as my copy is over a 1,000 pages, plus it’s it’s back to work and weeknight meetings, and as of this writing I am still reading the book.

 

I know that I will enjoy the adventures of Frodo, who starts his journey at the age of 50. How appropriate that I would be reading these stories at this time. So far I am even more enraptured by Tolkien’s words. I love books that make you react as if you are in the pages yourself. As Frodo and his group are being chased, trying to get away, my heart pounds too. Or when they are lingering too long discussing what to do, I’m yelling at them “what are you waiting for, get out of there!” Or when they have the instinct that something is watching them, I go around and make sure drapes and blinds are closed, windows are locked, and shut my bedroom door. When Gandalf returns, I am happy too — everyone loves a wise old wizard. And when there are hints of any romance between characters (since there are hardly any women in the story so far), my heart thinks how sweet is young love.

 

I feel it is a treasure when people can find escape in such simple pleasures as reading. I can’t be transported to the pages of Middle Earth, or back in time to the middle ages, or even forward to the future (I don’t have one of those special DeLoreans), but I can experience fantasy adventures through reading. You can be any age and still be able to climb tall mountains or explore far off galaxies.

 

Once I am done reading The Lord of the Rings, then I will allow myself to watch the movies. I try to read the books prior to watching the movies, because I don’t want my imagination to be influenced by what others think. (I did this with the Harry Potter books – once the last book was written, I purchased a full set and read them all in one week – the kids were on summer break and they thought I was crazy. Then I watched all the movies made at that time.) Let me visualize the characters and the settings for myself first, and later be surprised by another viewpoint. And both can be right.

 

Adventures can be found in many corners, it’s all about attitude. Even reading can be a wonderful journey if you let it. I find that discovering stories and an author that excites your soul is something to cherish. Let’s see what else Tolkien has written…

 

Notebook: Tolkien, J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel), The Hobbit, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1937

Tolkien, J.R.R., The Lord of the Rings, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., Three Volumes: The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954; The Two Towers, 1954; and The Return of the King, 1955.

Week 25: Cringing Ringside

Silverback picks up his opponent and slams him against the cage’s metal fence walls. The outline of the fence’s diamond pattern is etched on his back due to the pressure of Silverback’s weight. As the crowd hollers in support, I cringe. I turn away when Silverback’s opponent is thrown on the ground, yet I can’t help but look in frozen awe as brutal strength wins out. No match for Silverback’s ability, this MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) match was soon over.

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Why was I here again? Oh yes, my friend Lacy J. (you all know her by now) studies Jiu Jitsu and she knows Silverback, aka Russ Edwards, who is an instructor and was fighting in his first pro MMA match. She wanted to go, and guess who again gets to be the lucky companion. Going to an MMA or boxing match was on my 50 Weeks to 50 list anyway, so it all works out. And again, it was a spur of the moment plan. She had just found out about it that morning. I really had a ton of other things to do (our school 5K was the next morning), but Lacy assured me we wouldn’t be long since we were just going to stay until Russ was done with his match; and for some reason, we assumed (you will see wrongly) he would be fighting early.

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First, we should have realized it would be a long day, when after committing to go, we then found out the matches were in Valley Center, which according to Google Maps would take us almost an hour drive. Ehh, no big deal. Lacy picks me up and we update each other on our lives, and before you know it we exit off the freeway and head east towards the hills past Escondido. After a few miles of windy roads, our Google maps app points us towards an empty hillside, and no place to turn around. We find a way to head back and try to look around towards the other direction of the T in the road. We then see an open dirt lot with white tents, and a big open-sided metal roofed building. We also see a sign that says parking $5 — I guess this is it. Not quite what I expected. What did I expect? I thought it would something like a casual type of boxing match in an enclosed arena setting, and felt I should dress appropriately with a cotton black dress and elevated sandals. I definitely did not expect the matches to be held in an open venue on a dirt lot. Have I been transported to the deep south? Hope I don’t twist my ankle walking along the uneven dirt and rocky landscape.

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Since tickets were what I would consider pricey, we get standing room only seats for $35 each. Luckily we were there early enough to find standing room space pretty close to ringside. Unluckily, we didn’t realize these MMA fights work in Filipino time, meaning they don’t start promptly — not even close. We also didn’t know there were a heck of a lot more matches scheduled than we anticipated, and like boxing, they start with the flyweight divisions — Russ is a heavyweight. Needless to say, the no big deal to stand attitude at the beginning kinda wore us down by the time Russ entered the cage, which was over six hours later at around 9:00 pm. (What time was I supposed to be at the 5k to set up the next morning?)

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Now, I am an MMA novice, I’ve never even watched it on television, but the whole idea of it seemed interesting. The current movement was created through a combination of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling, and popularized by the Gracie family challenges in Brazil, held in gyms and garages starting in the 1920s. The MMA competitions were introduced with the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 1993, and Royce Gracie won the first tournament. The Gracie’s are like the royal family of jiu jitsu and MMA, which by the way Lacy trains under and they have a studio in La Jolla down the street from my office. I like the idea that it is a sport that combines all types of martial arts: Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Muy Thai, Wrestling, Judo, Kickboxing, and yes, Boxing too.

 

I probably paid attention to the first one the most, mainly because these kids could have been my sons. The flyweight division is up to 125 lbs. and they looked like they were still in high school. Well, actually yes, the amateur winner had to immediately leave to go to his prom. Apparently the limo was waiting, I hope he took a shower first. He had his parents there along with a bunch of friends, very exciting for him. Good thing the match wasn’t that long. He knocked out his opponent in the first round.

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What did I notice during the numerous fights we witnessed:

  • they make sure the cage is locked real tight, like they’re wild animals that might get let loose
  • the EMTs were very handsome
  • the fighting reminded me of all the wrestling matches I watched in high school (Go Canyon Comanches)
  • I liked it when the fighters bowed and greeted their opponents and used more of the eastern martial art techniques with lots of kicks
  • it seemed to be a pretty young crowd, lots of tattoos, shaved heads and beards, and lots and lots of muscles
  • they do cup checks and make sure there isn’t Vaseline rubbed on the shoulders
  • you can’t kick the groin, but you can kick the inner thighs
  • there was your typical T&A going on – the girls walking inside the cage announcing the round, and the vendor girls in skimpy shirts and undies, I mean shorts (shouldn’t there be guys walking around barely naked for the female fights, just saying, equal rights you know)
  • it was hard watching the match when there was a “ground and pound” move going on – one guy is basically sitting on top of the other and pounding his head
  • there’s a lot of guillotine chokeholds that are tried, many that end up getting called
  • it seems smart to use the fence to push off towards your opponent
  • it was a fun atmosphere, with random strangers talking to each other

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Again I will note that I have never seen a headline professional MMA match, even on television, and I hear they are much bloodier. But I felt the matches I saw were really quite civilized and not too brutal – which is why I really hate to watch boxing matches, to me they seem brutal. But as part of my journey, I’m trying to put myself in situations that may not always be comfortable. As a side note, I have also seen cock fighting matches in the Philippines. I know it is illegal in the U.S. and people have gone to jail for holding such fights, but in the Philippines it is part of the culture and is big business, with lots of gambling going on.

mmagirl

For the most part, the fights we saw did not last long. Many were knockouts, the losing opponent tapping out (relinquished), or for the handful that lasted all three rounds, it was a unanimous decision. Oh, I forgot to explain, there are only three rounds of five minutes. I believe that championship matches last five rounds. Although a very amateur spectator myself, the matches did seem to increase in ability as the evening progressed. I was also told the professional guys later in the night are fighting harder to try and get picked up by the UFC or obtain sponsors. I do think the officials do a very good job of watching the fighters and calling the match to prevent any more injuries to the losing guy or gal.

 

I will say there was one match that was very scary, and it happened to be the one female title match. The two women both looked tough, and I would not want to get into an argument with either one. It soon was evident that one was better than the other. They lasted into the second round, when eventually there was a ground and pound maneuver. Soon the referee called it and as the winner got off the girl with the pink hair on the ground to celebrate, we saw pink girl’s feet to start uncontrollably shaking — she was having a seizure. As a spectator, it was pretty scary to watch helplessly as this is happening. And it seemed like a long time before the paramedics returned (They had left to take away someone who drank too much in the heat – isn’t it proper protocol to make sure there is another ambulance in place before you leave?) Finally, they got her onto a gurney, but the fighter in her was evident as pink girl fought to get out of those straps. Maybe it was an aftereffect of getting pounded and possibly a concussion, but you can tell that she did not want to go. I hope she is doing well.

 

***

You’ve got to hand it to these fighters. Like most sports that you are dedicated to, in MMA you too must concentrate full time if you are serious about competition. You can’t just have one coach or trainer, you need to be knowledgeable in many martial art styles.

 

Yes I had fun. Met some interesting people, including a law professor who you would not imagine to be an MMA fan and martial arts student. I liked that there was a DJ playing music which gave it a club-like atmosphere, which sounded like the music my kids listen too (profane lyrics and all, hey I like the beat). We also loved the variety of the players walk-up music, which ranged from soft country to hard core rap. All us legal-minded folks that I met thought it would be pretty cool if they played walk-up music in the courtrooms – when the judge walks in, attorney’s opening statements, when witnesses are introduced. Right? What would your personal walk-up song be?

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So by the time Silverback entered the cage, we had seen a full range of fights. And before you knew it, the match we had been waiting all day to see was over. Darkness had enveloped the outdoor arena, the crowd had gotten bigger, and there were people in the beer garden that had no plans of leaving. But we were tired, I had a big event the next morning, we were starving and hopefully something would be open along the road home. In MMA speak, we were tapping out, we had enough for one day.

 

Can I do that in my everyday life, tap out when I’ve had enough?

 

***

I’m surprised that I didn’t think the fights were that bad. I still haven’t seen a pro MMA fight on TV, which everyone tells me are pretty bloody. Maybe I would think differently if blood was splattered all over the mat. I do think you have to be not only skilled in many forms of martial arts, but smart enough to figure out which technique to use when. That’s what makes you a champion. My opinion after one day of fights — it seems rules have been put in place to keep fighters from getting damaged too much. The girl having a seizure was still frightening, and the ground and pound sequences made me want to run in and stop them; it’s a good thing the refs do so. And afterwards, the camaraderie amongst the fighters seemed pretty strong.

 

Like all sports, you respect your opposition and can learn from them. It’s like life, when you get beat down, take it as a learning experience and figure out what went wrong and try not to repeat. Some of us learn from those life lessons, others don’t and make the same mistakes over and over again. We’re all on the same team, with coaches trained by different experiences. Each can give you advice. Take the relevant advice, play smart, and fight like hell. You’ll always come out the winner.

 

(At this time, I would like to thank all of my life coaches…you have helped me create such extraordinary experiences.)

 

***

There’s one more story I want to share. Earlier this week, I saw a story about a Filipino MMA fighter named Mike Pantangco, who in an amateur fight in Michigan was clearly beating his opponent. In order to prevent further physical damage to that opponent, Pantangco decided to tap out, conceding the match. He was concerned about the safety of his opponent, because hey, they’re amateurs, no one gets paid to get beat up. They’re not all out there brutally destroying someone else for fun. It’s like when our baseball teams play another team who are making tons of errors, can’t hit and you’re winning 15-0 — it’s not fun for either team. That is sportsmanship, and Pantangco is the winner in my book. Apparently, Manny Pacquiao did something similar in his career too. See the story at: https://ph.sports.yahoo.com/news/pinoy-mma-fighter-taps-out-to-save-opponent-from-getting-seriously-hurt-044321079-mma.html

silverback

Notebook:

Gracie Jiu Jitsu La Jolla, 7598 Eads Ave., La Jolla, 858.454.5345, http://www.graciejiu-jitsulajolla.com/

San Marcos Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Silverback Competition Team, 456 E. Mission Road, San Marcos, 619.550.9884, http://www.sanmarcosbrazilianjiujitsu.com/

Xpolde Fight Series – www.xplodefightseries.com

Week 24: Face It

I look in the mirror, smile, then start counting wrinkles around my eyes. I make a bigger smile, one that I really would look silly doing in public, and check if it creates more wrinkles. Then I notice a few more gray hairs sprouting at my temples, and one sticking out from my right side, I pluck it. Something about turning 50 and all of a sudden I’m worried about looking older.

 

We all do it, right? I know it’s not just me. It’s funny because as I look at my kids who are now both in high school, I think back to when I was their age, when we all wanted to look older. In high school, I wore so much more makeup and hair product than I do now, oh and heels when going out. Yikes. I decided to wear heels to the Taste of the Triangle and my feet are still killing me — and that’s almost two weeks ago.

 

So what did I do this past weekend? Got a facial.

***

Yes, getting a facial was on my original 50 Weeks to 50 list. A very typical thing to do, but I never had. Now I love going to spas and I have my Massage Envy membership, but I have never actually gotten a facial. And it was about time. I mean really, I’m almost 50. So, my friend Sharon and I went to the About You Day Spa and Salon in Solana Beach for a two-hour massage/facial combo package. (Amy, we’ll get you there.) We had our handy dandy Groupon that was expiring, and it was Mother’s Day weekend. Us mommas needed some of that pampering.

 

I won’t go into the massage part too much, since I’ve received lots of those in many places around the world (including on the beach in the Philippines for less than $10, and a real Thai massage in Thailand where they stand over you moving limbs all over the place and massage your chest – yup). Because paying a guy to touch your naked body and rub oil all over you…and it’s legal too, what else can I say about getting massages. So as I’m laying on the massage table, soothing music playing in the background, the aesthetician comes in to perform the facial. Now the facial is an hour long too, so I wasn’t really sure what was to be done. Well, let me tell ya, I think my facial was much more relaxing than my massage.

 

She pulls back my hair with a hair band, and starts to tell me about all the different creams, masks, scrubs and stuff that she’s going to put on my face. But I soon forget it all as she starts to massage my face. In all the massages I’ve had, I don’t recall anyone ever massaging my face, scalp yes, but face no. And it felt goood. Between creams and masks, those oh so relaxing hot towels are placed on my face and neck. I guess the hot towels help open up your pores and that is good for absorbing whatever type of moisturizer is being used. Which I guess would be a good reason to hit the steam room at the gym.

 

At one point she uses that rotating brush thingy to exfoliate my skin. I actually enjoyed that scrubbing feeling. It reminds me of when getting your teeth cleaned and they scrub your teeth with gritty paste using a circular brush, like that. I know, I’m weird. And more hot towels, love it! Then she uses some large skin looking glass, to find any blemishes, and it felt like she was scraping them off. It didn’t hurt though. She tells me I have tight pores. It’s good to be tight.

 

After one last facial massage and cream, I’m left to just relax. I think I actually nodded off, suddenly jolting myself awake at the first sign of a snore. I was so relaxed. And my skin…it did feel very smooth. No really, touch it…not there, touch my face.

 

The aesthetician comments that I don’t even need to put make-up on when I go out that night. Let’s not go that far.

 

***

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Why do we worry about how we look? If we look younger, do we somehow think we will live longer? When I get home, I look in the mirror some more telling myself maybe I don’t need make-up. Ehh, I put some on anyway. But I do like this facial thing. I start to look through my bathroom drawers for all those skin treatment samples I get whenever there’s a giveaway at the Clinique counter. Maybe I should use those products and start a bedtime skin treatment routine. Nah, that seems like too much work. I never even take off make-up at night, and yes for some of you that probably sounds disgusting. I’ll just have to make sure to get facials on a regular basis, it’s part of the aging process.

***

aubreyrosewelcome

Although not part of my original blog topic, I will talk a little about Mother’s Day and my mom. We had a lovely time taking afternoon tea at the Aubrey Rose Tea Room in La Mesa. (I love afternoon tea.) Everything was delicious (the spring squash soup was divine, and the lemon lavender scone was scrumptious), we had a nice cozy corner table surrounded by cute rose covered tea things, and all the women there (I only counted two men) were having a glorious time. But as I was looking at photos of my mom that day, she really does look great for her age. We all age differently, but if I can age as beautifully as my mom, well that would be just fine with me. And she’s beautiful on the inside too.

 

Face it ladies, and gents, no matter how beautiful you are on the outside (and depending on whoever’s definition of beauty you are using), beauty from within is what’s most lasting. Internal beauty will keep you young at heart.

aubrey rose menmom

***

Notebook: About You Day Spa and Salon, 983D Lomas Santa Fe Dr, Solana Beach, 858.792.7143, www.aboutudayspa.com. Our Groupon deal for massage and facial was $99. Go on the website for rates and services. A variety of monthly specials are offered.

Aubrey Rose Tea Room, 8362 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, 619.461.4832, www.theaubreyrosetearoom.com. Open Wednesday – Saturday, Sundays on Mother’s Day and in December, check website for times. Assorted tea menu options available. Private parties for groups of 40 or more.

*Not too many photos this week. I forgot to ask them to take pics while I was getting a facial, I was too relaxed to remember. I tried to take a selfie of me that night without make-up, but I must have messed up that rotation option on my phone.

 

 

Week 23: Who Dunnit?

Hiding behind her tears of sorrow, was a woman who was distraught over the untimely execution of her husband, or was she? Her now late husband, the esteemed Mayor Topdraw, was made to look like he planned a murder against known shyster Fast Frank; then was killed himself legally by the town executioner, Mr. Guillotine. The Mayor had already gasped his last breath of air before the townsfolk realized his death was a mistake, he himself had been framed. But by who? Could everyone have been so blind? Was the Mayor totally innocent? Who wanted Fast Frank dead? Who would benefit from their deaths, financially and emotionally? Who framed Mayor Topdraw?

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***

Those were the questions we had to answer one cool night during The Murder Mystery Company’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”  mystery dinner show at The Old Spaghetti Factory. Going to a crime solving dinner show was on my 50 Weeks to 50 list, something I had never done before, plus I bought a Groupon. You know how I love those Groupons, and it was one that I would actually use before the expiration date. This time I took my friend Marie, who also had never been to a mystery dinner. She deserved a night out after working a long and grueling tax season.

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And wouldn’t you know it, Marie had to work at the show — she was tapped to play the role as Pearl de Vere, the fashion shop owner, aka the Madame. That’s what happens when you sit at the end of the booth. Yes, Marie the Madame was the local brothel owner, and had a bevy of women at another table who all worked for her. And what a lively group of broads they were, not sure how many tequila shots they had throughout the night, but they were having a grand ole time.

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Marie did a great job of acting. She kept wearing the frilly hat given to her, and she hates hats, and spoke in a southern accent, which mixed real well with her natural Philly tongue. She was given a binder of instructions, which gave her information about her character and helped her answer questions from the other guests trying to solve the murder mystery. Our team, which included a nice young college couple that were seated across from us, was given information that only we knew about Miss Pearl. Yes, secrets…but if anyone were to ask the right questions…Marie was supposed to answer the truth. Which meant we needed to figure out answer provoking types of questions for the other characters.

 

Who else were the characters being played? Besides Marie and her gals, plus the already mentioned Mayor Topdraw, Fast Frank and Mr. Guillotine, there was Sandy Crack, the town reporter; Jeremy Irons, blacksmith; Doc Klutz, the doctor who was vacationing from another town; Miss Ann Tique, the Mayor’s widow and school teacher; Cam Pain, the town treasurer; Dee Frog, detective; Miss BeeHave, saloon dancer; Bonnie N. Clyde, event organizer; the Little Tijuana tribe table; and Dicky Quick or Quickie Dick – whatever his name was. Not sure what his role was supposed to be, he was just in and out.

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The actual “murders” happen early on in the evening, and you spend the time between dinner courses going around asking the other characters questions. Some played their roles really well, while others had the I can’t believe my wife dragged me here look. Many of the guests also dressed up in cowboy hats, and period looking dresses with a feather boa here and there. I grabbed my red flannel shirt that I wore to my high school Sadie Hawkins dance. Yes, I still have it, it’s sentimental…who did I go with?

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So what did we learn? Well, the scuttlebug was that: the Mayor was having an affair with Miss BeeHave; Jeremy Irons received a letter, forged as if from Mayor Topdraw, telling him to replace the blank bullets in the Dick’s gun with the real ones that killed Fast Frank; the Mayor built his house on land owned by Little Tijuana and he had not paid them in full; Ann Tique would inherit the Mayor’s estate in full; Bonnie N. Clyde used to date Fast Frank; Cam Pain becomes the new Mayor and felt that Sandy Crack was two-faced; Fast Frank had killed the Doc’s wife in another town; and only a few townsfolk could read and write. What else did we secretly know? That our own Marie, Pearl de Vere, was a forger and disliked Fast Frank for using her girls’ services without payment. Hmm…

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The event host, aka the Sheriff, also had to remind characters when it was time to inform the group of relevant information to help solve the mystery. I’ve probably divulged enough (did I sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?); I wouldn’t want to give it all away for those who want to attend a future show of the same theme. But when it was time to prepare our submission of who dunnit, we decided to play against the odds and pick a longshot — our own Pearl de Vere. Hey, she had motive and was a forger. No one else seemed to suspect her. And since there was supposedly a $10 million prize, we didn’t want to share. What did I learn about trying to solve a mystery? Be direct with your questions, and the most obvious suspect is most likely the actual culprit. So did you figure out who the killer is? (Comment if you’d like.)

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Overall, we had a roaring good time. There was activity, we met some very nice people, and heck, The Spaghetti Factory’s spaghetti with meat sauce and Mizithra cheese has always been my favorite! We would love to come back for another theme, with a group of fun-loving friends who get the sexual innuendos.

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***

You know what’s fun about playing roles in situations like the Murder Mystery show, you get to reinvent yourself. Even if just for a little while, you get to be someone different. In life and in play, are you living in your own reality show? Do people see who you really are, or are you in character? Are you pretending, or being true to yourself? Can one person play multiple roles and be comfortable in all of them?

 

Even the questions you may or may not ask can give you insight to answer your personal doubts. And are you direct with your questions, maybe you don’t want to know the answer? Some facts you ignore and some you give more weight, possibly because that’s what you want to believe. And sometimes when you find the answers, you then realize those answers were right there all along. Why did you miss the clues?

 

Maybe life is meant to played like an ongoing puzzle. With new clues to its mystery being found everyday. It’s the journey that counts right? We may never really solve the puzzle, but we might as well have fun trying!

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***

Notebook:

The Murder Mystery Company, www.themurdermysterycompany.com, 888.643.2583 (CLUE), tickets $60 each (find a Groupon), in San Diego the Wanted Dead or Alive theme is scheduled through August. They will also hold private events with themes such as: Crime and Pun-ishment, A Dance with Death, The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year, Murder at the Masquerade, Now You See It Now You Don’t, Of Sound Mind and Dead Body, ‘Til Death Do Us Part, and Totally 80’s Totally Murder.
The Old Spaghetti Factory, www.osf.com, 619.233.4323, San Diego Gaslamp location at 275 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, 92101, murders held at the upstairs Dussini Loft Bar area. Delicious food at a great price.

Week 21: One Minute of Fame

It was over before you knew it. My one minute of fame had come and gone just like that…wait, let me snap my fingers on my right hand, it’s much louder…okay, gone just like that!

 

***

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If you haven’t noticed, I silently skipped a blog post last week. You know how it is during this time of the school year, we decide to pack it up with events and fundraisers. But it was for one of those fundraisers that gave me the opportunity to be on TV. I’m chairing the Taste of the Triangle event on May 2, which is EdUCate!’s biggest fundraiser and I’m the chairperson. We have 20 restaurants participating during this 20th anniversary celebration. And Jessica Gago from Fast Forward, a PR company, set up the television appearance on San Diego6 The CW’s morning San Diego Living segment.

 

I became the designated spokesperson. Lucky me. Did anyone vote on that? Well, I had some warning about the appearance, but I really didn’t tell anyone beforehand. I didn’t even tell my family the day before at our Easter gathering. Although I’ve spoken in front of groups and crowds in the past, I’ve never made a real TV appearance and deep down inside I didn’t want anyone to witness what I thought for sure would be some sort of embarrassing moment, you know possibly tripping over a cord into some chef’s dish.

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Luckily, fellow EdUCate! board member and Taste of the Triangle (“TOT”) Vice-Chair (meaning she’s the one that really does all the work) Diane Lueke agreed to come along for moral support. We get there well in advance of our designated arrival, and shown to the Green Room. To the door is as far as we got. There was a group in there getting ready for a fashion show, so between all the models, stylists, hair, makeup folks, there really wasn’t any room. Plus with all that hairspray smell in the air, whoa, we preferred the hallway.

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Monday morning and it’s crowded in the studio. There are some guys with a fire and flood prevention service bringing in machines that I have no idea what they could be used for. While waiting, Diane and I go over some other TOT details; there really is a ton of work that goes on to put on one of these taste events. Soon, Tiffany Frowiss, the segment producer, comes by to introduce herself and brings us out to the back lot where we are having the cooking segment.

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The chefs have all arrived and are figuring out where to stake their territory. Now, we have four chefs here, and when I had told a friend of mine, who’s also a chef, about the TV segment, his comment was “egos will fly.” Well, of course, they all happen to be men. But, actually they were all very nice and cooperative, exchanging business cards. Chef Michel Malecot from The French Gourmet, I will say is quite comfortable in these settings and is a real pro — he has been supporting TOT since the beginning!

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The fire/flood guys are ahead of us, so they take up the outdoor grass area first, and when they are done, then Chefs Michel and Aron Schwartz, from the Marine Kitchen, have to roll their set up over, then the Bella Vista Social CLub and Caffe guys, Chefs Jose Ledesma and Michael Garner have to take the other table, clear it off and put together their set up. Meanwhile, Cozymel’s Chef Miguel Flores and General Manager Amber Johnson have already set up their table, with a few bottles of tequila — is that just for decor? I guess it’s unusual to have so many chefs together for this type of segment.

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Soon enough, I’m getting hooked up, cord through my shirt, small microphone clipped on the front of my blouse, and the receiver thingy held in back. I’m sure you see it all the time on TV on the morning talk show hosts. For me, I was like ya, ya no big deal, I do this all the time, but really, it was panic time. Was I going to be able to answer questions? How much were tickets again? What is our website domain? Who am I?

 

One of the hosts, Laura Cavanaugh, comes out to introduce herself everyone. A very vivacious woman, she asks some off-camera questions to gain a sense of the purpose of EdUCate! and why the chefs would donate their time and food to our cause. When she talks to me I realize, one, she is very tall and good thing I was at least wearing heels — otherwise I would have looked like a munchkin next to her. Second, her ease in having a conversation with you prior to going on air was very comforting. I later felt that it was her way of prepping us all into feeling we were just having a friendly chat together.

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Okay, everyone in place, we are quiet, Laura is nodding her head to someone, I assume those in the studio, a countdown was started, and here we go. She begins talking to the camera about TOT in general, then she introduces me and starts to ask me questions. Now, as a board member I pretty much know what’s going on, and I gave quite a bit of info to her beforehand. I feel that I am talking fine, then whoa, what was that question you asked me, I don’t remember discussing that beforehand, okay let me think real quick, I try to find the words (to me this questioning seemed to be taking a really, really long time), and I have a full conversation in my head while this is going on: Jemma think quick…what does the funds we raise buy…she already mentioned Math Academy, so what should I say now…didn’t I anticipate this question before, what was the answer I thought of, oh yes outdated science equipment and what else for Kindergarteners…oh what was that, I think she sees the panic in my face…a rug for kids to sit on…well that really wasn’t the answer I wanted to give, but good enough for now…too late, I already said it on live television.

 

Whew, Laura goes on to the chefs, and my cue to step aside. I’m done. My one minute of fame completed.

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After this first segment which showed The French Gourmet and Marina Kitchen, anchor Marc Bailey comes out to join the group. During the second segment, Bella Vista Caffe and Cozymel’s dishes were shown and Marc went around and ate more food. They were quite funny and the chefs did great. Soon it was done, everything quickly put away, and yes we got to eat the food afterwards. Thank you’s and hugs were given, and we all looked forward to meeting up again at the Taste!

 

***

 

Later that afternoon, the segment video was available. I guess I will watch it. I’m getting nervous again. Let’s see…I said uh huh in agreement all the time, I noticed my hesitation during that conversation about the funds, oh and I kept talking when I stepped away forgetting about the mic on me, luckily the studio technicians were on it and cut me off — who knows what I was saying next!

 

Then, here it starts…the self-criticizing. This is why I hate looking at photos (and now video) of myself, and listening to my voice. Is that really how my voice sounds? Why did they film that angle of my face? I should have worn foot high heels. And why are we so self-conscious? People start sending me the compliments, yet I always feel uncomfortable about getting them. Instead of just saying thank you, I always point out something negative about myself. Why is that?

 

And I’m not alone. I think many of us, especially women, get very down on ourselves. The way we look, talk, dress. Why are all the pictures of our kids are with their dads? Oh mom is taking the pictures, and we don’t want to be in them anyway, right? Why are we so ingrained in the idea of what society is considered beautiful? Why have we let society, and ourselves, define beauty in such a way that somewhat unrealistic looking models and celebrities grace newsstand magazine covers?

 

In my day job, we value intellectual property, which includes a celebrity’s right of publicity. Part of our valuation of celebrities includes what we call a Q score, which among other things rates their “attractiveness” from surveys. But what really is attractive? Isn’t the woman that works two jobs to raise her kids beautiful? Isn’t the man that works all day and night, raises his son alone, and feeds the homeless handsome? Isn’t the woman who takes care of her handicapped child day and night without any respite gorgeous? These are people who should get celebrity status. And inside all of us is a celebrity that deserves time in the limelight. Maybe I’ll start a new magazine about everyday celebrities. Would you read that? Honestly?

 

***

 

Aside from my self-conscious issues, I was on TV for a reason: to promote the Taste of the Triangle. So here’s a shameless plug for the event. Buy your tickets and come to the event, 20 restaurants providing tastes, lots of auction baskets (who’s going to bid against me for the dinner with the firemen), music from our local kids, bar for adult beverages (sodas too), and dancing! Yes, let’s get loose at the end of the night, because by that time I won’t be self-conscious! And if you want to join in with me for a champagne toast at the VIP reception to celebrate 20 years of the TOT, send in your generous donation. Support EdUCate!…it’s for the kids!

 

***

 

Notebook: EdUCate!’s 20th Anniversary Taste of the Triangle, $75 per person, $85 at the door, www.uc-educate.org. 20 tasting restaurants, 100+ auction baskets, music, drinks, dancing, and best of all spending time with friends. If you can’t make it, go online and make a donation, buy it now auction items, or sponsor a teacher.

 

To see the TOT segment, click here: http://www.sandiego6.com/san-diego-living/food/Taste-of-the-Triangle-Exploring-Local-San-Diego-Cuisine-256046711.html

 

Tastes from the Channel6 San Diego Living Segment were:

Marina Kitchen – Stingy nettles with pork belly

The French Gourmet – Braised beef cheeks with mashed potatoes and sauteed celery root

Bella Vista Social Club and Caffe – Jambalaya

Cozymel’s – Mini taco salads


Stay tuned, next week we’ll be promoting TOT on KUSI with more chefs and tastes!

Week 20: What’s SUP with that Yoga

I lay down upon the board which sways along with the gentle waters of the harbor. I am grateful to be able to relax on such a beautiful blissful morning. I close my eyes, and am kissed by the sun…as I lay there enjoying the sunshine on my face, the board starts to move side to side just a bit more. Is a boat motoring by? Ugh, I’m starting to feel a little queasy…am I going to get seasick on the paddleboard? I am so lame.

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***

I was excited this morning to try a new adventure for my 50 Weeks to 50 journey. I woke up real early and was on the road to Point Loma for Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga. I regularly attend Yoga classes twice a week, and my kids had tried SUP while on vacation. It looked like fun and I wanted to try it too. I knew OEX had life jackets, so the not knowing how to swim thing didn’t bother me…at first.

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Then I get to the water’s edge. Again, what I imagined it to be was not. At this particular location in Point Loma by Shelter Island, they don’t wade out from beachside in shallow water, but rather paddle out dockside amongst the boats. Other locations do start beachside, but the location that Lacy gathered a bunch of friends for this morning excursion does not — Lacy you are going to kill me girlfriend! Well, they reassured me it wasn’t that deep, and that they would all be closeby to save me if I fall into the water. But when I’m still recovering from thoughts of thinking I was going to drown from my Week 17 Jetpack experience, and I can’t see the bottom, I’m a little apprehensive. Why can’t San Diego have clearer waters?

 

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I don’t know if I can do this. Dana, the instructor from Paddleboard Bliss that operates out of OEX Point Loma, was very patient with me and reminded me that these boards are very steady. Now, didn’t Lacy tell me she falls at least once each time, huh. In my mind, I didn’t want to hold up the group and be a distraction. I was ready to wait for the group back at OEX.

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Okay, I can do this. Dana helped me on the board by the dock’s edge. I sat there for a while, holding on to the dock for dear life. Lacy paddled next to me and said she would stay right by my side. Okay, I don’t really think she would let me die. But when you’re scared of drowning and you know everyone else can swim and can save you, and Erik, one of the guys in the group, says he was a lifeguard for five years, even if you know all that — you’re still afraid of drowning.

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I stay in a position sitting back on my legs and slowly start paddling off with Lacy close at my side. I don’t dare try to stand up. I am well-balanced, right in the middle of the board, over the designated “keyhole” which acts as your location guide on the board. I am like a mannequin, not moving one bit — well except to paddle. I set a stroking pattern. Three strokes on the right, three strokes on the left, repeat.

 

The rest of the group (Dana, Jessica, Jacque, Erik and Alisha) is way ahead of Lacy and I. As I slowly paddle along, I get a little more comfortable and start to look around. Being so close to the water’s surface, I realize there are some big boats around me. San Diego loves their boats. And who can afford some of these whoppers!

Slowly I go, little by little…I think I’m getting the hang of it — but I’m still not standing up. For me, it’s just paddleboard, not SUP. Well, I think I’m doing fine, but then Erik paddles back to us and said at this rate by the time we get to the more scenic area out by Shelter Island, we would have to come back. So we decide to paddle into a side alcove amongst the docked boats. I knew I was going to hold up the group.

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Once all there, we anchor down. It’s so cute, the little anchor to help us from floating all over the place while doing yoga. As we settle in our spots, Dana starts to lead the yoga instruction, I close my eyes and meditate. I can’t even move if I wanted to — I must have been so tense, I can’t move my legs, they have fallen asleep. Wonderful. Eh, it’s good. I sit there, getting calmer by the minute. Everyone else is standing in Warrior One pose, and I sit. I decide to follow along with any arm movements or upper body twists, while my lower body stays put.

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Why are there all these waves splashing about? Whoa, a sea lion decided to visit our group and is probably wondering what the heck are those crazy humans doing now. Can’t they do that on land, why are they on water? Humans are so weird. And for all you humans who do think SUP Yoga is crazy, I will say it’s another challenge for those that do love to practice yoga, because you’re concentrating more on your balance, so as to not fall in the water. If I really could get into this, my core would get a great workout.

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Dana starts to lead the group in more poses that are closer to the board, so I am much more comfortable doing those. I can balance on my bottom all day. Hey, at 24-hour fitness, I rock at yoga. Can we put this board on the beach? Actually, Paddleboard Bliss will also offer yoga in a pool, and has regular classes in Carlsbad. I may have to sign up for one of those, I’m fine in a pool.

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Soon it’s free time. Erik starts to do a bunch of headstands, and Lacy tries that one where you’re on your elbows. There are a few people watching from the docks, and they seem to be cheering for Erik as he keeps trying to stand on his head for longer periods of time. They each fall, but hey, I can’t do those on land. That’s when I decide to lay back and sunbathe on my board…and when I get queasy. Luckily, I did not get sick. Now that would have been embarrassing.

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It was time to paddle back to where we started. Just when I was getting comfortable. Oh well, next time I will stand up. Because I’m not risking it now, especially after I saw Lacy’s face when she fell in the water and said how freezing cold it was. Nope, let me sit here at water’s edge and enjoy the sun.

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For me, even though I didn’t do the SU in SUP, I had a great time. I got back on the water, enjoyed the glorious sunshine, made new friends, and eventually relaxed. (I still need to learn how to swim.) This is why we live where we do. Gotta love San Diego.

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***

Afterwards, we walked a short distance over to Mitch’s Seafood for breakfast and mimosas. I should have had some mimosas first, because I was feeling confident now to stand up! Lesson learned – mimosas before SUP.

***

Notebook:

Thanks to Dana and Shannon at Paddleboard Bliss, and OEX Point Loma for opening early and letting us schedule our group.

Paddleboard Bliss, www.paddleboardbliss.com, has locations in San Diego, Laguna Beach, and Newport Beach. Classes $39 online booking. Paddleboard rentals, and additional yoga classes available.

OEX Point Loma, 5060 N. Harbor Drive, #165, San Diego, www.oexpointloma.com, sales, lessons and rentals available.

Mitch’s Seafood, 1403 Scott St, San Diego, www.mitchsseafood.com, excellent breakfasts and seafood, watch the fishermen come in with their catch.

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Week 19: This Ain’t Your Momma’s Bingo

B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, and BinGLO was its nameo…wait what? Yup, I’m talking about Kozmik BinGLO, Sycuan Casino’s twist on your typical bingo night.

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When anyone brings up playing bingo at a casino, I envision little old retired ladies spending away their pension dollars and double fisting their markers (aka daubers) on a table full of paper game boards. One day in the far away future, I figured that I may become one of those sweet little old ladies. I had never played bingo at a casino, so what the heck, I should go check it out and see what my future will look like.

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Well, let me tell you — Sycuan’s version of Saturday night bingo is definitely not your momma’s bingo. For one, Kozmik BinGLO starts at 11:00 pm (yes pm)! Now I haven’t started my evenings that late until way before B.C. (that’s before children). So obviously, in preparation I took a nap, at least I think I did. I can’t even remember, I’m getting senile already. Once awaken and ready, I pick up my friends Gigi and Dawn and we head on over to Sycuan, which is a good 45 minute drive away. And since it’s dark and I’ve never driven there even in the daytime, once off the freeway I couldn’t tell where we were heading. Time for my nighttime driving glasses. Feeling old again.

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When we arrived at Sycuan at 10:30, and after comedic errors in trying to find a parking spot, I thought we had plenty of time. I was wrong. Little did I know that Kozmik BinGLO is very popular in the east county of San Diego, and this would end up being a sell out night. When we got there, lines to purchase your game cards were wrapped around the slots, and seats in the bingo hall were nowhere to be found. Luckily, my friend Rosey arrived earlier and found us four seats in the back row of the non-smoking section (one thing I hate about casinos is walking through cigarette smoke).

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Oh, did I mention this was a special themed BinGLO night? Yup, it was a Mardi Gras celebration. Not only do people dress up with glow in the dark necklaces, clothing, and bunny ears, but add your Mardi Gras beads, hats and masks, and it’s the making of one heck of a party! They have a DJ playing club music, people walking around on stilts, ladies lifting their shirts (not me…you need to throw beads my way for that). And let’s call us the Back Row Divas, because soon enough we’re all getting up in the space behind our seats and start moving to line dance sequences, making sure we’re in sync and wearing that we’re too cool straight face. There’s plenty of dudes around too, but as usual, the ladies start the fun.

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Settle down now, the DJ reminds us, we’re here to play bingo and we’re already 15 minutes behind schedule. The fun has just begun. Now, if you are even a bit prudish, let me warn you this activity is not for you. There is lots, and I mean lots, of sexual innuendo going on. The silly one (we still act like our teenagers when this is brought up) that everyone loves is when the caller (I loved his dry deep voice by the way) yells out O-69! The whole crowd yells along and giggles. Then the pattern of your numbers reflect the name of each bingo game, such as “bikini”, “reach around”, and “top or bottom.” But those are tame compared to the game called “dikfor.” Well, you can imagine the comments being made by the DJ. Surprisingly, it was the only game of the night where there was only one winner, awarding $1630. For that lucky lady, she knew what’s a dikfor.

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In between the actual bingo games, there were audience participation games. The first one being the “suck it” game. Yes, two women were selected to suck frozen juice bars, and the best sucker won the prize – $500. I think for $500 I’d suck pretty hard too. Then there was the dance off to the big butts song, one guy looked like he was a dog spraying on a fire hydrant. But eventually the crowd chose the pregnant woman as the winner – come on, you’ve got to give to the lady with the baby. The one game that took long and slow to determine a winner, was the one where they had to pass around a bottle between each other’s legs. Now these were strangers, face-to-face, having to maneuver a bottle between their legs. You would think it would be awkward, but not this crowd. They did it with ease, and eventually it kept going and going (and as the DJ pointed out he was already in overtime status), so it was decided to call a four-way tie. All winners.

 

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Let’s just say the night was fun. The music, the games, the chance to win, the dancing, the dressing up, the friendship, good clean simple fun – with sexual overtones of course. You didn’t even miss the alcohol that’s not served.

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Sycuan offers Kozmik BinGLO every Saturday night starting at 11:00. The fourth Saturdays of the month, special themed nights are scheduled. For April it’s a baseball jersey night, and for May the theme is Alice in Wonderland. You can reserve tables for 10, and for the Alice night, a group of 10 gets a table full of sweets! Who’s in? Shall I dress up as Alice with a blond wig?

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*** 

Next time. It’s like when you go on vacation to someplace new, you always think about what you will do next time. So, next time I come to BinGLO, and there will be a next time, I plan to arrive much earlier and get seats located closer to all the action. Although us Back Row Divas created our own fun, it’d be nice to see what the DJ was actually referring to. And more the merrier for this activity, so guys and gals, you’re all invited. It would be a great place for birthdays and pre-wedding celebrations. Baby showers, no. And even though I’m not a big buffet person, I would get there even earlier to indulge; then play some of the other casino games. It is a lot closer than Vegas…I wonder what other local casinos may offer a Saturday club-like bingo parlor…hmm, more onsite research is needed.

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Oh, and also next time — I’m going to get some of the paper games too. There’s a reason why those ladies double fist their daubers, it’s kinda boring just watching the computer screen tell you how many more numbers you need. I didn’t even realize I had 72 game cards going on, because silly me didn’t click around the screen to see that there were pages of game card screens to view. There’s a little bit of little old lady in me already. Hey, I can double fist with the best of them.

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***

 

Notebook:

 

Sycuan Casino, 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon, www.sycuan.com

 

Kozmik BinGLO is every Saturday night starting at 11:00pm. $10,000+ payouts for the theme nights, each bingo games pays $1,000, fun games pay $500. Actual winnings may vary, as one game had over 20 winners and only the Dikfor lady was a sole winner, with a bonus too (not that kind of bonus, get your minds out of the gutter please!). Regular Saturday nights it’s a $2,500 payout, yes a lot less, but it’s only $8 for paper/$15 for electronic/$25 for 42 game cards. The $10,000 theme night we were there, cost is $10 paper/$20 electronic/$35 special package – which we selected, might as well play big!

 

Regular bingo is played throughout the day, everyday, including earlier evening sessions at 6:15 and 7:00pm. Special promotional days are scheduled each month, so check out their website for monthly updates.

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P.S. My momma told me should would love to go to Kozmik BinGLO…she doesn’t want to be with the old ladies, she wants to be with the young kids, it’s more fun — that’s my momma!

Week 19A: Going Commando

I don’t know about you, but underwear always seems so binding. And if you’re wearing a dress that’s just a little clingy, you see lines and maybe a little bit of the love handles. Well, I decided to stop wearing underwear for my 50 Weeks to 50 journey. Bras are still okay, I need to lift my aging lovely pair. But no more panties.

 

Think about it. It will save me a fortune from wanting to take advantage of all those Victoria’s Secret panty sales – 7 for $26 is going on right now. And for some reason it takes me longer to decide on what panty to wear for occasions than my outfit. Not that anyone else is going to see them (well, maybe sometimes). But for instance, when my kids are playing a ball game, I admit that I wear school colored undies — I think it will bring them good luck. So, I go out and buy all the blue colored cotton ones, some with polka dots, some with graphics, some that say “LOVE” on the behind. I have found that the plain blue ones provide the best winning percentage.

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But I want to get away from being too superstitious. Partially why I am getting rid of the undies. They stress me out.

 

So far it’s been quite liberating. I feel so free and unrestrained. And so fresh, and airy. It’s spring all over. I think my personality has even changed, I feel so much more relaxed. Maybe if people stopped wearing undies, everyone would get along so much better. Shall we suggest this to Obama and Putin? It does seem so hippish 1960s and 1970s, but they knew what they were doing with that peace, love movement. No undies equals exhilaration!

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The freestyle lifestyle seems to be winning so far, yesterday the varsity team did fabulous — winning 12-2 (Craig Grubbe pitched a complete game and Morgan Baumeister hit a grand slam!). Two more games this week, let’s hope for the same result. No underwear brings positive baseball karma. Maybe I should suggest this to all the team moms – have an underwear bonfire at the beach. Didn’t they burn bras in the 60s? Better yet, no underwear days at Petco Park! I think I may need to trademark something here — win without undiewear? Hmm, I’ll think of something better.

 

Now if I get my kids to do the same thing, it would reduce one full load of laundry per week. Maybe it can be a whole new movement. Less money, less impact on resources. Celebrate Earth Month and stop wearing underwear – it’s environmentally friendly.

 

To be realistic, there may be times when underwear is hygienically prudent. You know…like that time of the month. And well, especially to those of us who have had children, when you’re sick and sneezing and coughing, sometimes a little pee is released…well you get it.

 

But overall, my new motto is: Go commando, the environmentally friendly non-fashion style!

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For those of you who are on Facebook and may read my posts, I had already announced that I would stop wearing underwear. And thank you to those who liked or commented to the post, especially all you men. And those who did like or comment, I sent them the following message:

 

“UH OH!! You should not have liked or commented! Now you have to pick one of the 14 below and post to your status. This is the 2014 breast cancer awareness game. Don’t be a spoil sport; just choose your poison and change your status. 1) Damn diarrhea. 2) Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket. 3) Anyone have a tampon, I’m out. 4) How do you get rid of foot fungus? 5) Why is nobody around when I’m horny? 6) No toilet paper goodbye socks! 7) Someone offered me a job as a prostitute but I’m hesitant. I think I’m in love with someone what should I do? 9) I’ve decided to stop wearing underwear. 10) I still love my ex. 11) I really don’t know how to tell anyone and I’m sick of hiding it I’m gay. 12) Guess it was too good to be true, I’m pregnant. 13) Just won $7000 on a scratchy. 14) I’ve just found out I’ve been cheated on for the past 5 months. Post with no explanations. And remember…I fell for this first!!”

 

My friend Lucie had posted the boobs one, and I liked it. Of course, I had to play the game, and I posted the underwear statement. I thought of posting some of the others, but didn’t want to cause a community scandal. My mom immediately had questioned why I was no longer wearing underwear and was very concerned.

 

Remember, it is for Breast Cancer Awareness. Ladies, and men, make sure to check your breasts monthly (you men can happily assist with that), and get regular mammograms.

 

Yes, my friends – Happy April Fool’s Day!

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(If you are wondering, these are not photos of my actual underwear, I still keep some things private. I took these from eBay. Apparently you can buy used Victoria’s Secret underwear online.)

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Notebook:

http://www.breastcancer.org/

http://ww5.komen.org/

http://www.cancer.org/index

Week 18: Stop and Smell the Flowers

 

Get off the freeway, stop and enjoy the colorful gift that nature provides at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. I remember back when I was a little girl and my family drove south on the 5 freeway to visit relatives in San Diego. I would look out the car window in awe at the rainbow of colors whenever we passed by the flower fields. I thought to myself one day I will stop and visit.

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That day arrived this past weekend. After last week’s disappointing non-flight, I decided to do something easy breezy. And what girl doesn’t like to be surrounded by flowers. (Well, I like flowers – hint, hint to any potential suitors). Now that I actually live in San Diego, it’s become one of those things when you live someplace you don’t always enjoy what is offered in your area. That’s partially what I am trying to fix via this 50 Weeks to 50 blog.

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My friend Gigi same thing, gone by, but never into the fields. So off we went during a glorious blue sky filled, light breezy winter day in San Diego (it was still officially winter). One of those days where I really wished I drove a convertible. After a short lunch stop at one of my favorite seafood joints, Pelly’s in Carlsbad, we arrived at the Flower Fields. I will say I think it’s a little sad that now the view of the fields are partially covered by the outlet stores, why must we take away from simple pleasures…

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Once in, you are immediately infused with color. We decide to take the old-fashioned tractor pulled wagon ride to the north fields that were in full bloom, and get a full overview of the place. Over 50 acres are dedicated to growing the Tecolote Giant Ranunculus, where the flowers are either cut for sale or their bulbs are later harvested also for sale. I would love to have even a smidgen of color like what I was seeing in my yard. Maybe the UC Garden Club folks can help me out?

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What a beautiful ride. Not only did you see a rainbow of flowers, but the clear blues of the Pacific Ocean below and the skies above were picturesque, this is why we live where we do — and we really must take advantage of our locale. At the wagon stop, we got out to walk amongst the flowers. The pictures do not capture the splendor. Yes, they are planted on purpose, not wildflowers, but what human creativity and nature combined can create – it’s art.

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I wanted to run into the middle of the flower fields and play hide’n’seek like a little girl playing in the park, but guests are kept to certain photo spots and the outer edges. It was bad enough I almost fell backwards onto some flowers while posing for a photo, luckily I fell forwards. Always the klutz that I am. We walked up a short hill to get a better viewpoint. Ahhh, we could have sat there for hours, the calmness of the floral surroundings was mesmerizing.

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All around you, rows of purple, red, pink, white, orange, yellow. The hills are alive, with the colors of the rainbow…you really don’t want to hear me sing. Next time I will bring a picnic lunch so I have a reason to sit and enjoy for a longer time.

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After we are done looking in awe, we get back on the wagon and continue to gaze at the fields, passing by the U.S. flower flag (hard angle for pictures). Once back it was time for a snack – well the ice cream stand was right there and it was hard to resist. With ice cream cones in hand we went to explore the rest of the Flower Fields. Oh yes, there’s more to it than the fields themselves. They have done an excellent job of creating it into a family excursion.

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Remember Santa’s Village at Lake Arrowhead? A couple of those structures were moved here as part of the children’s playground. Then there’s the Paul Ecke Poinsettia display, a sweet pea maze (which we successfully completed), mining, and other inspirational gardens. Looking around will provide the gardener in each of us lots of inspiration. Cleverly, there’s an Armstrong Garden Center onsite, where you can also buy cut ranunculus to take home. My souvenir for the day.

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The rest of the season (this year they are open until May 11), many other special events are planned ranging from musical events to arts & crafts shows. So if you’ve driven by the Flower Fields and always wanted to go, get off the freeway and spend a lovely afternoon stopping to smell the flowers.

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And if you’re going to the Flower Fields, you might as well go pick strawberries. I’ve taken the kids to Legoland plenty of times during our season pass days, and never have we stopped to pick strawberries. As kids they did go strawberry picking during field trips to the now closed Bell Gardens, but we never did on our own. What the heck. We were in the neighborhood, so a few minutes away we had our big bucket to fill with strawberries. It didn’t take long to find ready to eat (but wash first) juicy red strawberries. Love these food souvenirs!

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Notebook:

The Flower Fields, Palomar Airport Road exit east, left at Paseo del Norte and you’re there, www.theflowerfields.com, open daily 9:00am to 6:00pm, $12 adult, $11 seniors, $6 kids ages 3-10, AAA discount and season passes available. This season the Flower Fields are open through May 11 with many special events scheduled for the weekends – check the website for more details.

Carlsbad U-Pick Strawberries, Cannon Road exit on the way to Legoland, www.carlsbadstrawberrycompany.com, $10 small bucket, $20 large bucket (get the large – you can share)

Pelly’s Fish Market & Cafe, 7110 Avenida Encinas #101 (next to Subway), Carlsbad, www.pellysfishmarket.com, excellent fish tacos, this time I had lobster tacos, yummy!