Magic Bands to Masks #ThrowbackThursday

Reading the “Disneyland Drama” article in my daily Disney Food Blog newsletter, I must say I’m happy to see this issue spreading beyond locals in California and nearby Las Vegas. I’ve been having interesting comment exchanges on FreshBaked about how ridiculous and political this whole issue of not giving California theme parks the information they need to officially open.

I also must say that as much as I can’t stand the idea of having a lunatic president for another 4 years, this whole Newsom thing doesn’t bode well for my impression of what the Democratic party might do if elected to the White House. We are so hosed!!

Anyway, each morning I feel like we really might book a trip to Florida – I can’t sit around and wait on every breath Newsom takes – that’s just not healthy! So I thought it would be fun to put together a #ThrowbackThursday video of our time living in Florida when our magic drawer held our Magic Bands. Here in Las Vegas, we still have a drawer but now all it holds are masks.

Here’s the link to the video – please like and subscribe! Thank you!

PS – I got a migraine after publishing this post and video. I’m calling it Newsom. Btw, Did you know his exwife is a big Trump supporter? There’s no way this whole thing isn’t political.

Catching up with the Blog Before Dawn

With the West Coast burning and Disneyland still closed, it’s easy to make plans to fly to Florida and go to Disney World. As I get up to feed the cats before sunrise and peek at the dirt backyard, It’s easy to remember my early mornings on my Florida lanai as the sun was just starting to break through the dawn.

But I’m a West Coast girl through and through and can never be away for long.

This year has not been kind to any of us, including the West Coast. This weekend would have been our second attempt to attend the Knotts Berry Farm Festivals – “Taste of Calico” and “Taste of Knotts,” but we cancelled because of the San Bernardino Fires and excessive heat in SoCal. The first we cancelled because Rich had to have emergency dental surgery. So…. we’ve bought tickets for the third event for next month – something about Fall o’Ween. Here’s hoping we actually make that.

Disneyland is making progress with opening a few stores/restaurants at Downtown Disney and now indoor dining has just opened. We were there for my birthday in July – World of Disney shopping followed by lunch at Uva Bar. That’s the last post I posted.

Now that indoor dining is permitted, perhaps we’ll get to Napa Rose for Thanksgiving after all. That’s the one hope that prevents us from seriously booking a Florida trip, although I’m not sure we’re up for flying 4-5 hours wearing a mask with no cocktail to get us through the flight – lol!

But if cruising starts up later this year in Florida with no hope for us actually getting into Disneyland any time soon (due to allowing in the back log of people before any new tickets are sold), and certainly no sign of cruising out here, we may just have to fly to Florida after all.

 

Happy 65th Birthday Disneyland: Our First Trip Back to Downtown Disney (#YouTube #Disneyland65)

Happy 65th Birthday, Disneyland! This was the day Disneyland chose to reopen nut the state of California (ie Governor Newsom) rejected them. And the way he keeps shutting down the state, who knows when Disneyland will open again.

But our recent trip to Downtown Disney was a real pick-me-up to help tide us over. We’d hoped to get back to Anaheim for Rich’s birthday and had made reservations at the Hilton (while we were lunching at Uva Bar at Downtown Disney), but Hilton just cancelled them. They’re not opening by mid August after all.

Listening to Walt’s opening speech on July 17, 1955, I knew I had to update our youtube channel with a video of our recent time at Downtown Disney. The video starts with our driving by the Grand Californian, on to the Simba parking lot, and then Downtown Disney, concluding with lunch at the Uva Bar (Catal).

The Downtown Disney/Newport Beach Birthday Trip

Yes, we did it. We finally decided to go forward with staying at the beach, booking outside dining at Tommy Bahama in Newport Beach for my birthday dinner, and the next day lunch and shopping at Downtown Disney. It was pretty awesome. And we felt totally safe. People were wearing masks (definitely at Disney) and most other places we went, too. Life felt almost normal – certainly nothing like what you read in the media. Ugh!

The tyrant governor newsom should investigate his “data” a little more thoroughly and figure out where, exactly, these spikes are coming from and the reasons for them. Because I could see no reason for them or the closures where we were. Of course, we stayed outside and chose wisely. It did seem a bit more loose when we drove by the donut shop on Newport Beach. People were wearing masks but I couldn’t say they stood 6 feet away from each other. Maybe that doesn’t matter as much if you’re wearing a mask?

Here are some photos from the trip starting with the birthday dinner at Tommy Bahama, Newport Beach, kicking it off with a Mai Tai:

First Sip

Incredible Calamari with Cilantro Slaw (shared appetizer)

Rich’s Ribs

Kathy’s Coconut Shrimp

Key Lime Pie to share (Rich insisted – lol)

First Cut

First Bite

Evening walk on Huntington Beach

Everything was delicious and we took half the rack of ribs and a couple of shrimp back to our beach hotel for dinner the next night.

The next day we drove to Downtown Disney at around 11 am to secure a parking spot in Simba Parking Lot before it was full.

The CMs teased us that Rich was wearing an Angels mask, and Kathy was wearing a Dodgers mask (to match her blue outfit,she explained). Yeah, right, they said – lol!

Not sure a Dodgers mask goes with a Mickey hat – lol!

We stood in line for about half an hour for entry to World of Disney (nothing compared to those who arrive later in the day).

In line, waiting to enter the World of Disney

After the walk from the Simba parking lot, temp check, and security, 30 minutes in line for World of Disney, 45 minutes and $200 of shopping later, we were desperate to take off our masks at the Uva Bar and have a drink and some lunch.

Scanning the menu from the iPhone

Rich toasts Kathy’s birthday with a glass of Spanish Chardonnay

Enjoying the atmosphere, company, and refreshments at the Uva Bar in Downtown Disney

Rich’s Fish Tacos (Garlic Fries substituted for Sweet Potato Fries)

Kathy’s American Cheeseburger, Garlic Fries, and a Glass of Argentinian Malbec

Lunching at the Uva Bar at Downtown Disney was Magical! We felt safe and it was so like us that we didn’t even feel cheated that Disneyland or DCA weren’t open. We’re just waiting for the Grand Californian to reopen. Oh, and our server noticed the Angels and Dodgers masks and said her boyfriend was Angels but she was Dodgers. lol! The food was delicious and we took half the fries back to our beach hotel for dinner, but they didn’t heat up well. Darn! They were so yummy!

We returned to our beach hotel and admired our World of Disney shopping haul: Baby Yoda plush, 65th Anniversary Photo Frame, “the child” top for Kathy, coral top for Kathy, the Mandalorian t-shirt for Rich, Disneyland 65th Anniversary socks for Rich, Star Wars mask for Rich, Baby Yoda mask, and Mickey Mouse mask (matches her purse) for Kathy.

All in all, it was an awesome and much-needed trip and great birthday celebration even though we were originally disappointed that Napa Rose wouldn’t be open. It was nice to change it up. We’ll see what’s open for Rich’s birthday.

We’ll be uploading some new videos on YouTube.

I Love Masks, Fireworks, the Making of Frozen II, Disney World, and Church

This morning we stopped at Albertson’s for our weekly grocery shopping and for the first time since “The Bob,” I was actually in a grocery store. It was early on a Sunday morning so it wasn’t busy at all, especially the morning after the 4th of July firework shows lasting until well past midnight. Really cool displays all around us, so that was fun, but eventually, I really wanted to get to sleep. 🙂

Anyway, I realized wearing my mask this morning that I was starting to like it, if not love it, because it gives me my own personal space from other people. I didn’t have a panic attack. My ears didn’t hurt. I didn’t get a headache, although it wasn’t for that long of a time. Honestly, we both hope that some of these “social distancing” measures stay in place well beyond this Pandemic. We don’t need to sit or stand up close to strangers. We don’t need to dine so close, you can hear others’ conversations and vice versa. Dining alfesco can be pretty awesome.

We’ve been watching the making of Frozen II on Disney Plus. Totally LOVE it!!! I or rather we both prefer this over the making of the Mandalorian, although that’s cool, too, but much more technical. The making of Frozen II has story and music and animation and reminds us both of our Silicon Valley days. Stressful, yes, hard work – oh yeah, but a heckuva lot of fun!

Since I’m now retired from the tech world but spending my days writing and producing music, I miss that interaction. Writing and music are both so solitary. I mean, I love my alone time, but I also like some communal teamwork time, too. Anyway, it’s inspired me to act as if I have a team – lol! I’ve got plans to decorate my studio accordingly.

Adam the Woo flew to Orlando yesterday so I’m looking forward to seeing his videos (and others) of the opening of the parks in WDW. Still haven’t heard exactly if/how Downtown Disney is going to open on Thursday so we can make more concrete plans. Really frustrated with Disneyland or rather California and thinking of seeing if we can do WDW later this year.

Just when we were able to get back to church, we got word that our priest was exposed to “the Bob” and so he will be quarantining for the next couple weeks and there will be no church services.

 

Birthday Trip: The “Plan C” Compromise

One reason I was up at first light is that I was thinking about Plan B (staying at Caesar’s), instead of driving to SoCal (Plan A) after Governor Newsom “dimmed” the lights on outside dining, bars, etc. At bedtime, we were both excited about Plan B. But somewhere during the night, I came up with Plan C, which is a bit of Plan A (SoCal) and Plan B (Vegas).

I still wanted to go to SoCal – it’s been too long since we’ve been during this house building project, and I need to see, smell, and hear the ocean. I need a road trip. It’s my birthday. So we will do the big dining celebration here in Vegas (Border Grill, one of my favorites), and then drive to SoCal for my birthday for a couple of days. It looks like Downtown Disney will open as planned with outside dining restrictions. You can read about it on AllEars. And we can drive down PCH to enjoy the ocean, and maybe even find a beach.

The other mood enhancers for today have been watching some DIS videos – here and here. I totally wouldn’t mind owning a Disney vacation home. 🙂

And I’m missing cruising. If you’re missing cruising, too, enjoy a virtual cruise here.

 

 

First Light in the Desert

One of my joys when we were living in New Smyrna Beach, Florida was the first light shining on the pond from our Lanai. I knew I would miss that. But, on the other hand, I absolutely adore first light in the desert, too. Sunsets and sunrises are simply gorgeous. And from our bedroom window on the second floor, we can even see the lights from the Strip.

Here’s the view from our living room window – the photo is from my iPhone and doesn’t do it justice:

The view of our “Tree of Life,” as we like to call it. Reminds us of Animal Kingdom.

I like to get up at first light, say the Divine Office along with the audio, write in my journal, and sip my coffee. It’s quiet and contemplative.

I think it’s important to focus on what we have during this difficult time for everybody. And this is my blessing.

Breaking News: California Shutdowns (including Orange County)

When I lived in California, I must confess I sometimes flipped people off. Okay, I was much younger then, but how can you not do that as part of the California lifestyle? Thankfully, since I left, I don’t think I’ve flipped anybody off – lol!

But I’m now ready to flip off California itself after that ridiculous Governor declared shut downs for 19 counties, including Orange County. I can’t really celebrate my birthday in my beloved childhood county (indoor restaurants closed and beach parking closed), my annual tradition whenever I’m not living in Florida.

We cancelled the trip. I think. How could we not? What are we supposed to do, order delivery from our hotel room? Peek at the ocean as we drive down PCH? I can’t imagine that Downtown Disney will open at all until later because these shut downs aren’t just for the 4th of July weekend, but for the next 3 weeks. Not much of a celebration. Will keep abreast, though.

 Screen shot of the video so it’s a bit screwy

San Diego is not on that list nor Napa, Sonoma, or San Mateo. So there are other counties to visit, but the birthday trip is a short trip and we cannot really go beyond Orange County. If things change in Orange County for our August trip, we might go then. But I’m sad and mad, having looked forward to this trip for so long.

In the meantime, Plan B is a staycation at Caesar’s Palace. Drinks out by the pool and a nice dinner out.

I really like how the Florida governor is handling this. Check out what he said in this post.

I did a little research on Governor Newsom and he is a typical Bay Area liberal – I lived there for 23 years and I recognize the sort. I also learned he’s another one of those Democratic Catholics I disagree with. So, having discovered he’s a fellow Catholic, I may have to forgive him. Okay, so maybe I won’t flip him off. 🙂

But reading this pisses me off all over again.

 

 

Independence Day – the Irony of It

Happy July!

Reading the OC Register this morning, I see that the California governor is going to tighten restrictions today. Who knows what that means but I’m hearing “bars and beaches.” Laguna Beach is talking about closing before the 4th of July. In fact, all of this is happening now to prevent a huge spike over Independence Day.

Oh the irony of that name. You may as well cancel the 4th, because, frankly, we don’t seem to have any independence these days.

But what does independence in this context mean anyway? The ability to not wear a mask? Not to stay socially distant? But if you don’t wear a mask, or stay socially distant, things close. Not much independence in being forced to stay home because nothing is open.

I’m especially concerned because for all intents and purposes, we’ve been locked down in Vegas since the end of September. Returning from our trip to California, we decided to go ahead and build a home here. During that time we were so focused and financially strapped and uneasy about leaving the cats with a new pet sitter in that strange rental, that we stayed in Las Vegas.

Ten months in Las Vegas straight is a record for us. Geographically and culturally, we’re basically a suburb of SoCal. And it’s normal for us to visit every six weeks or so during the warmer months of the year. Mostly Disneyland and the beach. And my old neighborhoods, of course. 🙂

No Napa Rose for my birthday celebration. And now maybe no beach. We’d give California the finger and cancel the trip if it we weren’t in such need right now to see the beach – the beach that belongs to not only California residents, but the entire country. Closing the beach is not the way to celebrate “Independence Day.”

I get it, but I don’t like it. Some people can’t be trusted and they’re deciding what I get to do and what I can’t do right now. Not feeling very independent at all.

Oh the irony. We escaped lockdown well before the 4th, so now we may be back under lockdown orders by the 4th!

First Trip Back to Disneyland Property

Watching this morning’s youtube video: the one where Katie and Spence (Best Life & Beyond) meet up with Adam the Woo and Pixar Charlie to bike/scooter the perimeter of Disneyland starting with the Anaheim Convention Center (site of the D23 Conference each year).

When I got my notification, I wasn’t too sure I wanted to peek in. I’ve been trying to focus on living without Disneyland. 50/90 starts on Saturday and that should occupy my attention through September. October brings Rocktober and in November, there’s something similar to NaNoWriMo (novel writing month) called NaSoAlMo (album writing month). Anyway, you get the idea. Keep me distracted so I can forget about this crazy world right now. I can’t keep up with its ups and downs. I don’t want to keep up with the ups and downs.

I also realized these songwriting groups (mostly male) do for me what the old men on the front porch did for me when I was a kid – you know, the one I wrote about in this post. A nice change from the women in the living room (aka women writers) talking about babies – lol!

Anyway, I’m thinking we’ll keep our ressies near Disneyland and try to get into Downtown Disney on my birthday weekend.

Mask Headache

Today we went to Home Depot. I wore my mask. After about ten/fifteen minutes, I was done. Instead of continuing our browsing, we finished our business so we could leave. I’ve noticed that after wearing a mask, I get a terrible headache around the back of my head, where I usually get stress headaches.

We keep hearing and reading of spikes in “The Bob.” Paul of The Motorhome Experiment, said in his Live show last night that the spikes in Florida are up because of the testing that’s being done everywhere. He calls it the “Corona Chaos.”

Sue, my DVC friend, calls it “medical theater,” and she works in some sort of state-run long-term residential facility.

I love their attitude.

I hate to hear of the spikes. But I have a feeling that none of my activities are spiking anything. Even without a mask. The spikes are probably more likely due to those who *must* gather closely together in crowds, throwing caution to the wind. But here in Nevada you must wear a mask as soon as you leave your home. Exercising in the fresh air? Must wear a mask. More than six feet from the next person? Must wear a mask. It’s getting ridiculous!

Thanks, Nevada governor. He’s definitely getting on my nerves again. He’s also still restricting churches to 50 participants, although restaurants/bars/casinos are only limited by percentage – not total number. There’s a lawsuit underfoot.

No more than 50 people can attend church and because some churches have thousands of members, we’re told we can only go to church once during Phase 2. And now the governor is delaying opening up to Phase 3. So church, for all intents and purposes, is still in the same camp as brothels and tattoo parlors.

What has horrified me the most about all of this is how much control the governors seem to have, although lawsuits are being filed questioning this.

Seriously still thinking about the full-time RV life when Rich retires. Then we can move from state to state if something is too distasteful to have to remain in one state.

As for the birthday trip, I’m also seriously reconsidering our plans to stay in a large hotel near Disneyland in case we can go to Downtown Disney. Disney has revealed no specific plans about who will be open, who will not. How do you get a reservation? Nothing. Nada. Zip. And it will be busy, mark my words. Especially since the theme parks will not be open anytime soon. People will clamor to get into Downtown Disney.

With California always on the verge of lock down, I’m thinking we might go back to Plan A, which was to stay at a smaller beach property and perhaps get food delivery and drive along the coast. Anything not to wear a mask. But I must see the ocean. Smell it. Walk it. Okay, I might have to wear a mask for that.