Genealogy, family history, crafts, sewing and pattern drafting
Classical, bluegrass, humorous, Opera, Musicals
Nightmare Before Christmas, Back to the Future, TRON, Star Wars, The Music Man
MythBusters, Top Gear, Good History Documentaries
Genre fiction, history, popular science
Classy amusement parks, roller coasters, travel, shooting large-caliber sniper rifles (don't get to do that very often)
Amusement parks that are nothing but roller coasters, Bingo, Bunco and most such games
I have Asperger's Syndrome. My sense of empathy is retarded, and I tend to say what I think, sometimes offending people without intending to.
I take care of everybody - my adult special-needs dependent sons, my recently bereaved father who has mild cognitive impairment, and before that my mother and mother-in-law when they were dying.
My house is full of guys. My wonderful husband, my two disabled adult sons and my father live with me.
Are you a Mother?
Are you a Grandmother?
Cheyenne is my dad's service dog, but she can revert to pet status when she's not on duty.
Yesterday, as members of the
American Coaster Enthusiasts, my older son and I went to SixFlagsMagicMountain in Valencia, California to ride X2 multiple times for media day. The roller coaster doesn't officially
open to the public until Saturday, but a number of coaster enthusiasts, Los
Angeles County fire fighters and their families, and members of local Boys’ and
Girls’ Clubs had been invited to help provide backgrounds for newscasters
reporting on the ride.
X originally opened six or seven years ago, and I went to the media day for
that, too. Since that time, the trains have gotten really rough and, more
importantly from an operational standpoint, unreliable, so Six Flags contracted
for a redesigned vehicle with a different company. It is significantly lighter
so it should be less subject to breakdowns.
The new trains had been thoroughly tested with water-filled plastic dummies
before any people are allowed on. Normally, the dummies are just vaguely anthropomorphic
torsos, but these were fully humanoid, partly articulated plastic bottles. I
saw a coaster train parked on a siding with the test dummies still on board as
I walked the back way up to the ride, and they all appeared intact. I had some
hopes that X2 would be as good as X was when new, and if that were the case, I’d
ride it several times. If not, I planned to ride once and then just take
It had not been restored to
youth, alas. The lighter trains made it run faster, which reduced my enjoyment
of my favorite “sky dive” element, where the seat flips forward as the train
plunges almost vertically toward the ground. A new, unpleasant “head bang”
element had been added to the numerous “shoulder contusion” elements I
remembered from my last ride on the old X. But at least I could walk when I got
off, which was an improvement. MagicMountain also fed us
hamburgers, hot dogs, fresh fruit and soft drinks, so I had lunch and decided
to try it again. Twice was enough for me, although one Coaster Diva of my
acquaintance was working her way back the train so she could experience the
ride in each of the seven rows.
We left a little early so my son could get to his afternoon class and I could
get some still photos of a mosaic on a police station in Central
Los Angeles for a student film he has due on Saturday.
Fortunately, the fashion and jewelry districts (and toy, wholesale and flower
marts) are near the police station, so after I had my shots, I went shopping.
I bought some pink silk cord for making a hand-knotted a rose quartz bead
necklace, some Czech fire polish beads, a formal-length crinoline petticoat (to
wear with my 1840's day dress), red cotton socks, three pairs of gloves (two
purple, one red, in elbow length), and a small buckram frame on which to
construct a hat to wear to theater performances (it will be low to my head so I
won't have to remove it). I had hoped to get a frame or wool felt hood to make
a bonnet for my 1840’s dress, but those would have been special order items.
I also went into a dress shop, but the proprietor of the store hit on me - very
nicely, but very, very, obviously, so I didn't buy any dresses. If my chapter
members think guys hit on me because I wear alluring dresses, they should have
seen me today in jeans, t-shirt (albeit a girly one) and no makeup but
sunblock. Maybe I’m too friendly with strange guys.
When I got on the subway, I had most of my purchases in a nice hemp
shopping bag, but the petticoat had been stuffed into a black garbage bag. I
had an SLR camera bag on one shoulder and my purse on the other, so I didn't
exactly look like your typical bag lady. It was cumbersome, but at least if I
bumped into people with my garbage bag, I didn't hurt them any.
I didn't make it to the Queen Mary, but a couple of friends from Classy Ladies and Special Mamas and I drove down to Fullerton for tea at the Imperial Tea Room as well as some shopping.
We got one of the last few spaces in the parking lot when we arrived shortly before noon. Since we were scheduled for the 1:15 seating, we had time to browse an antique shop (where I bought a red crystal bead choker [10mm ruby AB Czech glass, for those in the know] for less than what it would cost to make it) and discover that the official Red Hat Society Store was impossibly crowded. I had never seen so much red and purple all at once in my life, and that didn't even take into account the merchandise. Both front and rear cash registers were open, and lines of chatting ladies waiting to make purchases snaked out both front and rear doors. Inside the store, others clustered around the sale racks and accessories. Women entered the dressing rooms and then had to slither back out through crowds to find a friend to either talk them into spending the money on such a dynamite outfit or tactfully tell them it made them look like Barney the Dinosaur.
My friends and I, after struggling a bit and finally finding each other - the Shop isn't very big, but we still kept getting separated and lost - decided to go over for tea. More red and purple. And bling...! I saw grand-duchess-type necklaces and earrings that probably hurt worse than the sparkly, heeled pumps. I should have taken some pictures to show my husband that, in spite of the red and purple that threaten to take over our closet, there are other ladies far more dedicated to the cause than I.
As promised, Sue Ellen was at the tearoom for book signing, and I bought a copy of Sassy, Classy and Still Sparkling while waiting to be seated. As an author myself, I tend to buy books whenever an author makes a personal appearance, but I actually wanted this one. I had a chance to chat with Sue Ellen and Lady Bug (who I want to add to my friends list, but I can't find her!) while I got the book signed. I think I ended up talking more than listening. When I'm excited, I either talk too much or not at all. I told them about my chapter, Special Mamas, and gave each of them my card with pin made from a flat florists' marble (saying "I haven't lost ALL my marbles") attached. I also mentioned my QMB2 groups, Red Hat Special Mamas and Red & Purple Prose. I did listen enough to answer questions about some problems with the QMB2 as well as hear about a new literary group associated with the new RHS store book store.
Tea itself was well organized, although I suspect 45 minutes is not really enough time to allow for chatty ladies to sit down, have a full tea complete with hot savory, sandwiches, scones and sweets, much less give the staff time to clear and reset between seatings. Fortunately, they did not try to completely empty the room before beginning the next seating; they went table by table. Each table would accommodate ten, although the three of us sat with a group of five from Riverside, with two places remaining empty. So instead of there being simply too much food, there was waaay too much food. We each had our own little pot of clotted cream and tiny jar of raspberry jam, and I passed on the sweet course so I could have a second scone with clotted cream and jam. Calorically, I'd have been better off eating the Cadbury fingers and tea biscuits (I'm a life member of Weight Watchers; I know these things), but properly loaded scones are a favorite of mine to which mere cookies, even imported English ones, take a distant second.
Following tea, the three of us waddled back to the RHS store in hopes that enough people would have gone to tea and then on to the Queen Mary that it would be less crowded and a little easier to actually see the merchandise. It was still lively. In fact, it was even more lively, if indeed less crowded. The Birthday celebration was in full swing, featuring a couple of musicians and a couple of scantily-clad pretty boys (a deliberately provocative, sexist remark - see my new photo). One of the young men had a megaphone, and he was having a great time. At one point, he put on a blingy red hat, announced he was going to pimp all the ladies who walked by and encouraged them to dance. A lot of ladies really enjoyed strutting their stuff, while others ducked around behind the garment racks in embarrassment.
I watched most of this while waiting in line to buy my commemorative t-shirt and pin, along with a reusable purple shopping bag similar to the ones most grocery stores offer these days. This particular line edged the refreshment table, which had a giant cake, crudites, croissants, crackers, and who knows what else, but I wasn't even tempted. At least one cake had already been demolished by then, and I could see a few ladies indulging in generous pieces. One lady in Victorianesque attire even strutted the pimp line while eating cake. That's what Red Hatting is about, I think.
By the time the three of us had finished with our purchases, and I had gotten my picture taken with the handsome young men (gotta have my life-size action figures or no one will recognize me), the store had emptied out considerably. At that point, I was able to get close to the sale rack and found some purple slacks. I didn't have anything between jeans and chiffon dresses in purple, so I had been looking for something intermediate. I tried on the size medium, my usual size, but they were ridiculously small, so I held something over the sizeable gap in front and sidled out to get a larger pair. I grabbed L and, just in case, XL, but the large fit beautifully. I had also picked out a velvet velour surplice top in small. I normally wear large in tops if they're junior sizes, or medium in misses, but you never know, and small was the only size left. It fit, though I'd better not go to fancy teas too often.
We finally hit the road about 3:00, and I hadn't gotten a ticket on my car in spite of the fact I'd left it for three hours in a two hour lot. The traffic home was the usual early rush hour crush but nothing worse, and I had a couple of friends to keep me company as I drove. I had a terrific time, even if I did rip off my shoes as soon as I walked through the door of my house, and my halter bra didn't stay on a whole lot longer. I wore my new 10th birthday t-shirt (with a comfy bra underneath) when I went out to get a few necessary groceries later in the evening. I do wonder how the ladies who went on from Fullerton over to the Queen Mary later survived the day, however.