August 2, 2001

Hello, Everyone!  Iím back!  For a homebody recluse, Iíve done a ton of traveling in the past week and a half.  First things first.  All those things I said about loving LA?  Forget that.  It was based on memories from 8 years ago and that's a whole other ball of greasy wax.   The LA I knew no longer exists and the one that is there now needs only to have Kurt Russell look into the camera and say, "I'm Snaaaaake" for the image to be complete.  Put up the maximum security walls, get Nicole and Stephanie the hell out of there, relocate all the GH cast (except a select few, ahem) and tell them Snake Plissken is ready to rock and roll.  LA:  RIP  Thy name is hell.

Anyway, in preparation for my trip, as any good VirgoI had that eventful week neatly mapped out to ensure a smooth flowing progression and a good time to be had by all.  Here was the plan:

Monday:  Clean my house, do laundry for trip, pack, go to bed early

Tuesday:  Leave out early, around 7, get to Gramís by 2, relax, go out to dinner.

Wednesday:  Take kids out to big breakfast, get to Disneyland by 9am, home by midnight.

Thursday:  Go to Wal-Mart and buy beach supplies.  Fill cooler with bottled water & head to Huntington Beach.  Relax with pizza for dinner.

Friday:  Go to Bodhi Tree in North Hollywood, Merlinís Crystal Cave in Clairmont if time, bonus points if you make it to Eye of the Cat in Long Beach, meet EOS staff at 6pm

Saturday-Sunday:  GH Functions 

That schedule is now somewhere in the sewer system of LA after my husband and fate finished cleaning their business on it.  On Sunday, hubby got a wild hair up his butt and decided (at 2pm) that we would be leaving on Monday instead of Tuesday.  This was not on my list, however, I am nothing if not flexible.  It's the Cancer moon I have, see?  Amended schedule is below: 

Sunday night:  Clean house, pack like mad

Tuesday:  Go to Victorville and check out old houses I used to live in, Eat at Andrews' Family Dining for old times' sake, be home in time to go out to dinner with Gram.

Wednesday-Sunday:  Same as before, no problem. 

Then hubby decided that we would leave at 3am.  This was to avoid heavy traffic on I-5 and to take advantage of sleeping children.  Hmm.  Flexible, but only able to bend so far.  Scorpio ascendant kicked in and REFUSED to accept defeat as an option!  At least I could sleep on the trip down.  To show how crazy it is to try and plan anything, here is what really happened: 

Sunday night:  Did a cursory clean on the house, threw all the wrong clothes into laundry baskets because I donít have time to dig out the suitcases from the mound of mess in the garage, got to sleep around midnight.  

Monday:  Woke up at 3am, gouged husband awake.  Left at 4am.  Dozed intermittently while husband asked me to change the cassette every twenty minutes.  Listened to husband bitch about traffic that ďshouldnít be here.Ē  Regretted ever saying to husband, ďNo, really, youíll totally love The BeatlesĒ after hearing Rocky Raccoon for the 4000th time, interrupted only to cleanse the palate with post-Beatles John Lennonís Greatest Hits.  Considered tying the feet of the child who is kick kick kicking my seat in perfect Rocky Raccoon rhythm for the length of Interstate 5.  Tolerated husband who knew the exact way to his grandmotherís home and didnít need a map or atlas of any kind because he was just there four years ago, then was utterly confused by such things as taking Highway 60 to Whittier and got off in East LAís not so nice area.  The property values doubled just because we drove our car down the street.  Listened to husband complain continually about the smog.  Arrived at Gramís at 3pm, having covered most of LA in our quest to find her condo and after many phone calls to get directions.  Began a week of the ďNo, Nathan, donít touch, Nathan, not so loud, Dylan, quiet voices, guys, get down from there, NathanĒ litany, having not weighed out the dynamics of watching two active little boys in a 70-year-old rich womanís condo that is covered with heirloom pieces, Ming vases and all other things a 70-year-old rich woman should have.  Took kids to the pool and took turns holding non-swimmers. Ate cold cuts for dinner and collapsed into bed around 11pm.  Got up with kids through the night. 

Tuesday:  Got to Victorville to see old houses where I used to live.  Noted in the case of the first house that the very nice chain link fence has been removed, the house has been painted from a lovely blue-gray to the color of the nasty desert sand and there is no longer a blade of grass in sight.  Cursed HUD for not selling to someone who would keep up the house.  Got to next house.  Cried over the beautiful weeping willow that is now missing and the soft grass that has been replaced by lava rocks in lieu of a yard.  Mourned the lattice work that use to have grape vines hanging over and through it that has long since fed someoneís fire and now is an open patio.  Got to George AFB (now closed for almost 9 years) and by-passed barriers to get into housing.  Discovered that the second house I lived in there is torn down and the street is totally unrecognizable.  What was once a thriving, beautiful, green oasis in the desert is now devoid of life, totally dead, barren, dried up, absorbed back into the high desert.  The first house I lived in on the base is still standing.  It looks like this: 

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Any pics on this page can be clicked upon to get to the bigger pic

You canít see it, but there is actually a tree through one of the windows on one side.  I wanted to go inside, to the place where Iíd raised by big boys when they were little boys, where Iíd lived with The Goat and heíd left so many times, where so much had happened that doesnít even bear going into, but it was too spooky.  There were ghosts there than didnít come from me, but a few that did.  It was so metaphoric that just as that part of my life is dead, each of the places where I lived it is dead in some way.  Couldnít any of it have been better than I left it?  I looked up my friend, Trish, who teaches at one of the base schools, which are still operating (the only thing on the base, from what I could tell) and are now absorbing overflow students from the local schools.  There is a huge, maximum security prison across from the baseís carcass and Victorville is almost unrecognizable.  Itís devoid of life, just like the base, but doesnít know it so it keeps growing and growing, like a snake that doesnít know its head has been cut off.  I wanted to cry the whole time I was there.  Eric was bitchy because the smog was up there too and he wasnít having any fun.  Trish and her friend, Brian, took us out to a nice restaurant (NOT Andrews', but still pretty good), which assuaged Eric for a while.  I ate ice cream to feel better.  Didnít work.  Eric got lost on the way home again and was in terrible spirits by the time we got back to Gramís that night.  Wrangled kids again and collapsed into bed. 

Wednesday:  Went to Disneyland and found that it was not much like I left it.  The parking lot is gone and now you are directed right off the 5 into a huge parking garage

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where you have to walk and walk and walk to the tram, then ride and ride and ride to a rather confusing entry where you buy your tickets ($154 - Yikes!) and go in.  Once inside, it was similar to what I remembered.  They have a new thing called a ďFast PassĒ for some of the more popular rides where you can slide in your ticket (which now looks like a paper credit card) and get a pass to come back later, where you enter a priority line and donít have to wait.  It was hot.  Couldnít go on much with Nathan so small.  Kids were terrified of Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion.  I did a lot of waiting with Nathan.  Didnít get to do The Matterhorn or Space Mountain like I wanted.  Captain EO is long gone - *sniff*.  Thatís OK, this trip was for the kids anyway.  Been there, done that.  Dumped way too much money.  Dylan cried the last hour because we couldnít find a balloon man.  There were tons and tons of people there.  It was like walking in New York to get anywhere.  The lines were huge. 

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Oddly, in the middle of Southern California, the very vast number of people at Disneyland were white or Japanese.  There used to be a huge diversity of people.  I went the whole, entire day without hearing even one person get even slightly cross with their children (I'm not claiming a correlation, just another weird thing about the day).  That is unheard of.  The one thing I always dreaded about going to Disneyland were all these losers who would take their kids to ďthe happiest place on earthĒ only to berate, jerk, hit, badger, demean and beat them.  Strange.  People still donít mess with things you leave in or on your stroller while youíre on a ride.  The old hard green strollers have been replaced with nylon-seated jogger strollers.  On a planet where water is our most abundant resource, at Disneyland, a bottle of it costs $4.50.  The Polynesian chicken at the Bengal Tiger BBQ across from the Jungle Cruise is still the best on earth.  The vents in Disneyland pipe in pure Oxygen to abate the smog and make you a little high (or a lot, if you hog the vents).  Another reason why it's the happiest place on earth.  There are birds living in the butt of the Dumbo topiary.  Hee hee hee.  There's a nest about where his colon would be. I had way too much time on my hands waiting for Eric to take Delena on rides.

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Upon interviewing a food service worker at one of the restaurants, I learned that itís no big whoop to work at Disneyland and is really just another job.  The Disney police move fast when thereís ďan incident.Ē  I never did find out what the incident was that they were onto, but they sure did move fast and were jabbering to one another on their Mickey walkie-talkies.  The camera support shop will charge your digital camera battery for free.  The women Jungle Cruise tour guides arenít as funny as the men (we went a lot).  The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House is now Tarzanís Tree House and Tarzan has about 5000 more stairs than the Robinsons.  Left at 10:00 after the fireworks.  Went home and collapsed.  

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OK, so we made her take the picture.  I'll pay the therapists' bills later.

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Loved this guy, so I took his pic! 
Cheer up, Spike!!  You're at Disneyland!!

Thursday:  Went to Wal-Mart and spent lots of money on beach toys, floaties, sand castle building equipment, rafts, inner tubes, etc.  Did not chart a course to the beach because Eric knew exactly where we were going.  Got into an argument with Eric because I tried to factor how much money we were spending and whether or not weíd have enough to get home.  Pshawwww.  I should just relax and have a good time.  Why was I so damned uptight about money?  Eric got us lost and couldnít find his way to the beach because he forgot he had to go on Highway 22 (who knew?).  Got to the beach late around noon rather than 9 as we planned.  It was hot.  Sprayed down the kids with sunscreen.  Put hats on them.  Eric didnít need any.  Water was about 50 degrees.  Got the kids busy on sand castles, digging, etc.  Delena and Eric braved the water.  I doused myself with Hawaiian Tropic because I love the smell.  It is, of course, a sand magnet.  First two hours were great.  The last hour involved me learning that while a 220 pound woman will sink in her footsteps in the sand, a two year old will float effortlessly across the sand like a piece of paper blowing in the wind.  Learned that California no longer has the benefit of an ozone layer to protect anyone from any degree of the sun and only SPF 2000 will protect people.  Hawaiian Tropic will not.  Fortunately, all three kids were wonderfully safe.  Eric and I were maroon colored and in enormous pain for four days (meaning that the only underwear I could wear to the GH functions was, in fact, my swimsuit, so I had to undress every time I peed and there was no division between my boobs and my belly). Delena fussed all the way home about the sand bothering her butt.  We had her shower as much as she could before we left, but she was still really uncomfortable.  When we got back to Gramís, she shook out her suit (while it was still on) on the patio and a live crab about the size of a quarter fell out.  She danced like she was on a rubber string and went into hysterics.  Collapsed into bed around 11pm. 

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He's actually standing in this hole that Eric dug 

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The Big Kahuna

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Dylan Rasbold!  Give him a cape and he'll be:
Dylan!  Defender of the Short Bus!

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Probably abducting the unfortunate crab right about here! 

Friday:  At last!  Time for the GH stuff to begin!  We left out early, left Delena and Dyl with Gram (yikes!) and took Nathan, stopping by the Bodhi Tree (a fabulous metaphysical store on Melrose) and it did not disappoint.  I didnít buy it out like I expected, but did pick up a couple of nice, cheap pendants and got some sandalwood sticks.  

Friday Night Ė Sunday Night:  Is pretty well documented in my GH account on the front page of the site.  The biggest joy was meeting Abbie, Heather, Tracey, Leigh, Nicole, Kate and Stephanie and finding out that they are just as neat in real life as on the computer.  It was really great fun.  Eric began to grumble part way through the weekend because he kept having to drop me off and pick me up (an hour one way), but when I suggested I get a ride home from Stephanie, he declined, saying that he liked the time to ďthinkĒ during the drive.  He decided to leave for home Sunday night instead of Monday morning, so it was another hurry up and pack situation.  Gram was a little disappointed, but she was leaving Monday early to go to Vegas and meet the rest of her family to celebrate her birthday in Vegas.  Eric made it home in record time.  The kids went to sleep right away (we left around 9pm) and he drove it in 5 hours.  At one point, I woke up and noticed that he was going 110 mph, but I just rolled over, thought about getting home faster, went back to sleep and hoped for the best, hearing The Beatles as the soundtrack of my life.  

Since we returned, itís been a matter of trying to get kids acclimated back to home again.  Theyíve been fussy, trying to find their feet in routine again.  Of course, after being in Gramís house, my house looks filthy, so thereís been lots of gradual cleaning as I can around fussy boys.  I had a mountain of e-mail to dig through (sorry for all those Iíve not gotten back to yet!)  There was lots to catch up on with the site, so Iíve worked that in as I can.  Finally got the GH Weekend Report done and now with this NonSoapy Journal entry, another milestone is met!  Iíll be back on track again soon!  Meanwhile, thanks for being so patient with me.