Bit of Ivory

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Fun, but TIRING

June 20th, 2006 · No Comments

I’ve been having a fantastic trip so far, but today I’m pretty much exhausted, and plan on doing nothing more than sitting on Nicole’s couch all day with my laptop, catching up on LJ and the latest happenings surrounding Charlotte Lennox–which I’m sure will take me the greater part of a couple of hours–and doing a bit of work for WGU and maybe on my thesis, if I have the energy for it. Which I don’t think I will. It’s going to take enough energy to write up this entry. :P

Anyway, after I made my last post, Taylor and Rosie went to a church activity for Father’s Day, and Nicole and I went out to dinner at a yummy Mexican restaurant called Acapulco. When we all got back, we piled into the car and drove to Ventura. It was a pretty uneventful drive, and we arrived safe and sound, with Rosie half asleep, at about 10 at night. The beachouse was very nice– it’s actually a beach condo, but it’s right across the street from the Port Hueneme beach. There were two bedrooms– one with a king-sized bed, and another with two twin beds– two bathrooms, a kitchen, dining room, large living room, and a balcony looking over the ocean. Not that we could see it, really, since it was dark and a bit foggy. I did manage to glimpse the waves crashing on the beach in the light of a large lamp on the pier, but not much else could be seen. So we made sure there were wireless connections we could steal bandwidth from use, and went to sleep.

Next morning we slept in a bit– well, I did, the others were up pretty early, not surprising with an active 5-year-old– and went to Burger King for some breakfast. After a quick stop at the grocery store for some food, we went back to the condo and got ready to go to the beach. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to play in the ocean– since I was eight years old, actually– so I quite enjoyed myself. The water was too cold to do much serious swimming, and I’d left my contacts in so I didn’t get too crazy even with letting the waves break over me, but I had a lovely time. After spending half and hour to 45 minutes in the water, I retreated to my beach towel and dried off a bit, and got a little sun. Before we left, Rosie’s parents buried her in the sand. I got pictures, which I’ll probably be uploading later today, after I get some work done. Anyway, we left the beach around noon, went back to the condo and showered and generally got ready, then went out for lunch. Unfortunately, the sushi restaurant Nicole and Taylor wanted to take me to wasn’t open for lunch, but luckily we got a very good substitute by driving to Ventura proper and eating at Eric Ericson’s, a great seafood restaurant that sits right on Ventura pier. I had a charbroiled halibut sandwich with avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion, and boy was it good. I also sneaked some of Rosie’s fried shrimp, and it was excellent as well.

After lunch we drove up to Ojai, a small town nestled in the Calfornia foothills, to see my old high school friend Nathan McEuen perform. I really liked his music–it’s kinda folky, reminiscent of some of the 60’s music that I like– and bought one of his CDs. It was great to see him again– I don’t think we’ve met since graduation. We wandered around the Ojai Lavender Festival, which was where he was performing, and I bought a lovely hand-made straw hat to keep the sun off my face and the top of my head, which had already gotten a bit burned at the beach. Other than Nathan’s CD and maybe Keane’s new CD, it’ll be my only souvenier from this trip, I think. Unless I can find some great deals on earrings. I don’t feel too bad about spending a bit more than I usually would have, because it is hand-made and very high quality, actually fits unlike ones I tried on at big box stores, and can be used for the Cedar City/Vegas trip that’s coming in July. Besides, it looks very cute on me, which is unusual for hats. :P Maybe it’s the new haircut.

After the concert, we drove back down to Ventura, stopping at Starbucks for a refreshing Bananas and Creme Frappucino, which was delicious, although I think I’ll take Nicole’s advice and have them add caramel next time. Mmm, caramel. Anyway, after our Starbucks run (at which no coffee was consumed, I add for the benefit of other horrified Mormons on my flist– the creme Frappacinos are more like smoothies, and don’t have any coffee in them), we got back to the beach house, looked around on the internet for a while, and Taylor broke out the grill and whipped us up some steaks that he’d bought at the market earlier. Taylor’s uncle, his wife, and their two little boys (I think I’m getting the family relationships right here) came down and joined us for dinner, and then, although the night was foggy, we went down to the beach for another stroll and a bit of wading. The kids all got totally soaked, and an enjoyable time was had by all. After the beach, we stayed up pretty late talking until Jason and Melissa had to leave, then we all headed to bed.
Sunday dawned nice and bright except for all the mist, ;) and we all got up and got ready for church. Taylor and Nicole used the LDS Meetinghouse Locator to find a ward we could attend for Sacrament Meeting, but when we got to the building it turned out that the info was a bit out of date. It seems they’ve just finished a new building in Oxnard, and all the English-speaking wards had moved there. It took a while for us to find the new building, and so we missed taking the sacrament when we did get there, but the rest of the meeting was very nice. Rosie went up with the primary kids to sing Father’s Day songs to her dad, and the ward choir sang, and the high council speaker talked about relying on the Spirit, and was a very good speaker. We didn’t stick around for Sunday School or Relief Society, but went back to the beachouse instead. After one last walk on the beach (I didn’t even change out of my clothes, just held my skirt up while the waves came in), we packed up, cleaned up the condo, and headed for home.

Rather than taking the freeway back to La Verne, however, we took the Pacific Coast Highway so I could look at the ocean. It was a lovely drive, although traffic around Malibu was horrific. After we got through Malibu we stopped to see the Los Angeles Temple, which is currently closed to undergo seismic upgrades and renovations, but was nice to look at all the same. We went into the visitors’ center and saw some of the exhibits, one of which was South American hand-carved depictions of events in the Bible and Book of Mormon. Very interesting. Having eaten nothing since breakfast, we gave in to our hunger, broke the sabbath, and stopped at the California Pizza Kitchen in Santa Monica for dinner. The Wild Mushroom and BBQ Chicken pizzas were very good indeed, and I was full up when we got back into the car to finish our drive back to La Verne. After a quick stop-off at Nicole and Taylor’s to drop off our stuff and get a card for Taylor’s step father, we went over to Nicole’s in-laws to have a little Father’s Day celebration. We didn’t stay long– just long enough to enjoy some root beer floats– and we came back to the house quite exhausted. Rosie went to bed almost immediately, and Nicole and I entertained ourselves by looking over old notes that people had written to her in junior high and high school, including some from yours truly. I surfed the internet, trying to catch up on all that I missed, while she looked through her files and pulled out the funniest letters for my inspection. I’m in awe of her pack-rat skills, as I didn’t save a single note from anyone at that time. They were sure fun to look through, though. Eventually we got too tired to continue, and as Nicole had to go to work in the morning and I was heading to Disneyland with Rosie and Taylor, we needed to get some sleep. I took up my position on the quite comfortable couch in the family room, read the first few chapter of Northanger Abbey (which was the first book I laid hands on when searching for something to read), and went to sleep.
After seeing Nicole off to work, I got up, obeying the insistent pressure that was Rosie, excited to go to Disneyland. Once all was ready, sunscreen was applied, mini-backpacks were packed, and hair was done, we got in the car to pick up Nicole and Taylor’s friend Kevin, who works at Disneyland and was going to sign us in for the day. Once we arrived, we parked in the new parking structure (Disneyland sure has changed from when I went last at age 11), rode the tram to Downtown Disney, and waited in line to buy tickets. Taylor and Nicole had decided to buy annual passports for themselves and Rosie, and Kevin was there to give them his employee discount. After we got those bought, we went to the entrance, where Kevin signed the three of us in for free! Thank you, Kevin! We went straight off to Fantasyland for Rosie’s sake. Kevin works in the entertainment division, and he knows all the characters, so Rosie was in high heaven. She said “hi” to Belle as we walked past, had a conversation with the Evil Queen from Snow White (clinging tightly to Kevin’s leg as she did so), got advice and a hug from Merlin (he advised us on what ride to go on first, and after considering the different variables such as popularity, scariness, and enjoyability, recommended Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride), got a wave and a hello from Princess Aurora and a hug from Gepetto, and got to sit on Ariel’s fin-lap, while Ariel made her an undercover mermaid and gave her a scale from her tail. Rosie held the scale tight in her hand, made a wish and dropped it into the water in front of Ariel’s statue, and tried to be a brave girl with her mermaid powers when we wanted to go on rides that scared her. Before Kevin left for work, he walked us over to where the cast members come in and out, and Rosie got to wave to Snow White, got a hug from Alice, a wave from Tweedledee and Tweedledum, some conversation with the Mad Hatter, a friendly wave and hello from Peter Pan and Wendy, and a handshake and a blown kiss from Captain Hook. She also got to interact with Push, the talking garbage can, who thanked Rosie for giving him a water bottle to eat, and asked for a hug.

And all of this was in the first hour we were in the park.

After Kevin left for wrok we got down to the serious business of riding rides, and waited in line for Space Mountain. Rosie has been on this ride before, but she was nervous. She never let go of Taylor’s and my hands if she could help it, and although we kept reassuring her that nothing was going to hurt her and that it would be fun, she was still pretty scared. In fact, while Taylor and I had a wonderful time (Space Mountain is always as good as I remember it), Rosie screamed basically the whole way, and sobbed while we walked out of the ride. We stopped for pizza before attempting any more rides, and gave her a chance to calm down, which she eventually did.

The idea was that we would head over to Frontierland and get FastPasses for Indiana Jones, but when we got there, they weren’t distributing them any more. We looked at the line for Splash Mountain, were informed that the wait was at about 2 hours, and decided to forgo it. Pirates of the Carribbean is still closed for renovations, so I couldn’t go on that (*sob*), although we did get to see the bleachers and giant screen they’re already setting up on Tom Sawyer’s island for the World Premiere of Pirates II. So instead we headed over to the Great Thunder Mountain Railroad, which Rosie remembered going on and liking, so she didn’t balk. A Rosie who’s looking forward to a ride is a much different Rosie than one who is scared to death of said ride, as she was much less clingy and quiet and much more inclined to attempt climbing rocks. She was a bit scared during the parts of the ride when we were in the mountain, but overall she had fun. We wandered back over to Fantasyland, because I wanted to ride the Matterhorn, but Rosie nearly threw a tantrum (which is very unlike her), so Taylor took her on Alice in Wonderland while I rode alone. It was very fun, but I decided that Rosie would have been freaked, so it’s probably a good thing she didn’t go. We met back up after that and went on Small World to conciliate Rosie (and it was worth it to see her reactions, as she loved it), then headed over to Tomorrowland, got FastPasses for Buzz Lightyear, and stood in line for Star Tours, which I hadn’t been able to ride on my last visit to Disneyland at age 11. Rosie was scared at first, but really enjoyed it when we actually got on the ride, and I had a great time. We came out and decided the 35 min. wait for Buzz Lightyear wasn’t so bad after all, so we went on it. I did terrible at the shooting-the-targets thing. My strategy was bad, I decided. Anyway, we e-mailed ourselves the pictures of us on the ride (I’ll post that later, too), and as Nicole was planning on joining us after she got off work, we left the park to meet her.

First, though, we walked through Downtown Disney to the Disney Hotel, and stopped in at Goofy’s Kitchen, where Kevin was working. At Goofy’s kitchen, the characters are there to interact with the diners, and Kevin wanted Rosie to get the chance to meet a few more of them. He managed to bring Princess Aurora out, and Rosie got a nice long time with her. They took pictures together of Rosie holding Tinkerbell in her hand, and looking at Tinkerbell in the air. Rosie also got a big hug from Pluto, who tried to lick her. :P After Aurora left, Kevin gave Rosie a Mickey Mouse cupcake, and we went back to the parking structure to meet Nicole and drop off uneeded bags. We had dinner at Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney, then went back to the park.

We were going to hit California Adventure, but it turned out it closed at nine, so we missed it. Instead Nicole, Taylor, and Rosie went to the Main Street Bank to get their pictures taken for thier annual passes while I browsed the souvenier shops, then we all went down to Tomorrowland again. Rosie, Nicole, and I rode Buzz Lightyear with our FastPasses (I did slightly better this time, though not spectacular), and when we came out, the fireworks had already begun, so we joined Taylor and watched the end of them. I still wanted to go on Indiana Jones–it hadn’t even opened when I came last– so although I was pretty darn tired by that time, Taylor took Rosie on some more rides while Nicole and I headed off to Frontierland. The wait wasn’t too bad, so we joined the throng and rode Indiana Jones. It was way fun. We got out and discovered that Taylor and Rosie had just ridden Winnie the Pooh, and that Rosie was willing to try Splash Mountain, so we made plans to meet them. When we got there, however, Taylor and Rosie hadn’t yet appeared, so Nicole and I went on Winnie the Pooh (which is so cute!). When we got off, we found that Taylor had met up with Kevin, who had just gotten off work. We looked at the line for Splash Mountain, only to discover that the ride and broken down and they weren’t sure when it would reopen, so we decided it wasn’t worth it. I’d gone on Splash Mountain twice at Disney World in 2003, after all, and the rest could come back anytime they wanted. Kevin badly wanted to go on the Haunted Mansion, so we talked Rosie into it and went. I and the rest of the adults liked it a lot, and while Kevin tried to distract Rosie from the scariness by pointing out the fun things, like at the ball and dinner party there’s a set of plates that looks like Mickey Mouse, and one of the ladies dancing at the ball has Belle’s ball gown, Rosie was still pretty scared. She recovered quickly enough, though, and as it was almost midnight, we decided to call it a night. After another tram ride back to the cars, Rosie and I went with Nicole while Taylor took Kevin home. Unfortunately, the road were were supposed to take was blocked, and Nicole got us a bit lost on the way home, but we made it eventually, and pretty much fell into bed as soon as we possibly could.

And all of those rides were taken without a hint of motion sickness pills, and I felt much better all day than I have at an amusement park for ages. I did make sure to follow my limits (the teacups were right out, as were Dumbo, the Astro Gliders, and anything else that involved circles), but even the rides that made me queasy at Disney World didn’t do much to me here. I think the Dramamine is a thing of the past.

So today we plan on taking it easy. I slept until 11, and my feet and body ache every time I get up, so I don’t plan on doing much. I took a shower, but my contacts are still in their case and I haven’t bothered donig my hair. The internet connection I’ve been hacking is down right now, and Taylor and Rosie went to his parent’s to escape the heat for a while (their house doesn’t have central air), so I used the time to type up this account. I’ll have to post it when the internet comes back. Or maybe Taylor can convince his stepfather’s son, who lives in an apartment in the garage out back, to give us the security key for his wireless network, which Taylor’s offered to pay half for and which always seems to be up and running. In any case, since I can’t do any WGU work without the internet, I guess I’ll do some reading for my thesis.

Which isn’t a bad day to spend an afternoon, considering that the book is about LotR. ;)

Okay, the internet never came back up, so we went to a local coffee shop with a wireless hotspot. So now I’m posting. Hah.

Tags: Life

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