Monthly Archives: October 2011

Frightful weekend!

As it turned out, last weekend ended up being our weekend to participate in fun and special Halloween things! The local historical park just down the road from us has an annual Fright Night. Our calendars have never meshed in the past to allow us to attend, so we usually ended up attending Knott’s Scary Farm or Universal Studio’s Halloween thing on a different weekend in October. Plus, I didn’t figure the local event would be all that impressive. This year, we happened to be available, so I lowered my expectations for the event and ended up being pleasantly surprised.

True, it wasn’t nearly as scary as the "professional" places, but they did have creepy, scary people roaming around. Their attempts to scare me always make me laugh at them anyway, so I got lots of laughs. They also REALLY did a lot of work with their Halloween lights (which were everywhere) and creepy sound boxes and frightful decorations dangling around.

The old schoolhouse, lit up with Halloween lights:

Weird (headless) bride and groom on the steps of the church:

Lots of Halloween lights everywhere:

On Saturday, the same place had a family event, so we invited the family over for a BBQ and then headed down the hill. The decorations were still up, but the scary-creepy people were gone and the freaky sound boxes were turned off. They had a craft area for the kids, local vendors who were giving away swag, games, a little pumpkin patch, kid friendly mazes, a costume parade, storytelling time, and kid friendly characters, many of whom were handing out candy. Captain Jack Sparrow even showed up to take pictures and hand out candy!

All in all, I think it was really well done and I actually did end up being impressed!

The schoolhouse the next day, not so scary! And Harry Potter was inside talking to the people who were wandering through.
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Captain Jack showed up. I have no idea who that kid is, I just wanted a picture of Captain Jack and his side kick!

I had purchased tickets through Groupon for one of the Queen Mary’s scary nights… and Sunday was the night. So off we headed for that! I was a little intimidated when we got to the area and the line to enter the parking lot was just ridiculous. Then the line to exchange the voucher for a ticket was ridiculous… more ridiculous, even, than getting into Disneyland on a busy summer day. At one point while we were waiting in one of those lines, I told Tony, "This event better not suck once we get in, because THAT would REALLY suck!" I know, I have a gift of phrasing things, don’t I?

Fortunately, the event was really fun and cool. There were a ton of people there and, as a result, the lines for the mazes sucked, but I never felt claustrophobic like I did at Knott’s Scary Farm that one year. However, if we do the event again (which we likely will), I think it would be worth it to spring the extra dough for the front of the line pass. But — they had live DJ’s in a couple different areas, one welcoming you into the entrance maze and one who entertained the line for another maze, along with some really cool pyrotechnics. They had a ton of creepy, scary zombie people who were really talented… better than the ones at Knott’s Scary Farm, I thought. One guy slid about 15 feet, sparks coming up off his knees, and stopped within inches of me! My response to him? "Whoa! That was cool!" He just stared at me. ha

We only had time to do a couple of mazes, and one of those went through the alleged haunted pool area of the Queen Mary. The whole thing was just a cool experience.

Queen Mary:

The “welcoming” DJ:

The haunted pool area:

Fortunately, the Groupon deal I purchased includes a day pass that we can use anytime through December 2012. I’m really looking forward to going back for that! This week it’s just been back to the usual… almost the weekend again!

(I’m trying out the post-by-email feature with this blog post. Hopefully it displays correctly…)

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Filed under Entertainment can be Cheap, I did something Special

Living Life.

On my way home from work one day last week, my car sputtered when I took off from a start. Those dratted traffic monitor lights on the freeway on ramp only make people sit in frustration before they can get on the crowded freeway and sit in frustration longer… and I totally blamed the sputtering on that, even though I knew deep down it was something more. It did it again when I was driving home from dinner later that evening and I figured it was probably the spark plugs. I took it in the shop the next morning and the tech was able to get the check engine light to come on and pull the code: spark plugs.

So they replaced them, test drove it, and it ran like a champ… for them. Except the next morning, it sputtered again when I drove it. But I couldn’t get it to duplicate when I took the tech for a drive. Of course not. He told me to try and get the check engine light to come on so they could pull the code. Made sense, rather than chasing some random problem, to try and get a specific diagnostic code. The next day came and it got worse and worse. Stop and go traffic in a sputtering car is a hoot. I finally got the check engine light to come on — yay me! They pulled the code and it said “misfiring.” Well, duh. I could have told them that. Anyway, the saga finally ended (so far) when they replaced one of the ignition wires which was testing with high resistance. They are original equipment to the car, and I guess a car who’s nearly 10 years old does need this kind of maintenance.

Don’t you just love the car talk? Anyway, so I now have my car back, minus some $$ and time and inconveniences to my husband, his dad (we borrowed his car) and myself.

Then, another day this week, I plugged my primary external hard drive into my computer after using it somewhere else. It decided that it needed to run a check disk and, in the course of it, converted several folders to files that are now not accessible. According to what I’ve read, Microsoft just decided that they were going to be lazy and didn’t want to create an unconversion option, and I found an enormous three page step-by-step fix for it, but … really? Fortunately (if there’s a “fortunate” part of it), although it converted quite a few folders, my loss is only about three weeks worth of stuff because I back up my crap on a monthly basis.

Then, the day I left my car in the shop, we all played musical cars. My husband drove his dad’s truck to work and I drove my husband’s car. That morning I took a corner in his car at the speed I would normally take it in my car, but failed to factor in the fact that an SUV drives a bit different than a sports car. As a result, my lunch bag went tumbling top over bottom in the back seat. It wouldn’t normally be an issue, except in the mornings I put my travel mug of coffee in there for the ride so I can savor it when I get to work. I just knew it was dumping all over the inside of the bag. I grabbed it, righted it, and checked. As it turns out, the suction of the heat of the coffee had created a such a strong vacuum that it sealed that mug so tight that only a drip came out.

I thought to myself, “Well, it looks like things are turning around… a bit of luck!”

If you’re looking for it, sometimes the smallest thing or just an hour in time can make all the difference in the world.

Also, I finally used my “coupons” from the deal I bought a couple weeks ago at Whole Foods market. One of the gems I found there were a novelty grape called Holiday grapes. Good heavens, but those things are amazing. I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a special food treat for yourself!

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Filed under Life Encompasses Me

Change of Seasons.

In our part of the world, I know fall is coming when Halloween City posts classified ad after classified ad for seasonal help in all surrounding cities. Who knew there were so many Halloween City stores? I didn’t.

Also, my HOA sends out notification that they’ll only be heating one pool in our community until October 31st. This year it’s the “upper” pool, which is good I suppose, since that nasty marijuana smell seems to be an intermittently regular visitor at the “lower” pool. So annoying.

Wonderful spice scented candles make their appearance in the stores, along with weird Autumn figures and freaky Halloween decorations, who stand at the end of aisles and stare vacantly at you as you pass them by.

Also, the days are warm but the nights are crisp and cool. Which always makes me want to bake cookies, but not enough to turn the oven on during the day. Quite a conundrum. So I usually end up mixing up the dough and storing it in the fridge or freezer until it cools off for reals.

During my “modified swimming” this weekend, there have been monarch butterflies fluttering around the upper pool. They are so pretty and I could happily watch them flit about all day, dramatic colors and carefree wind carried whimsies.

Beautiful butterflies, beautiful weather, in the sun swims, desire to create things in my oven — simple things I’m celebrating and giving thanks for tonight.

Praying for the safe travels of those I hold close to me (my husband and mom), on separate road trips, but traveling long journeys.

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Filed under Daily Journeys:, Longbits