Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays, 2012!

Merry Christmas from Cars Land

Season’s greetings from Tim and Cindy!

Things we did this year:

Visited Cindy’s family in Snohomish, WA

Toured Dodgers Stadium and Wrigley Field

Sneak previewed Disney’s new Cars Land twice (!)

Spent the weekend with famous Disney "Legends” at the Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs 

Sailed to Catalina Island aboard the WWII ship Lane Victory     

Discovered narrow-gauge railroading with friends in Arroyo Grande, CA 

Season tickets to the Hollywood Bowl and Ahmanson theater, including the amazing play War Horse     

Saw the space shuttle Endeavour toodling down the streets of L.A.    

What we’re grateful for:

Family, friends, jobs we still love, and good health

My sister Vicki and me at Cars Land (yes, it was
an all-Disney year!)

Our cats Beanie and Cecil, who continue to bring us much joy

The boys: Beanie and Cecil

Our beautiful home and gardens

The Metro light-rail that takes Tim to work every day 

Four more years of the Obama administration (yay!) 

What we’re looking forward to in 2013:

Baseball spring training in Arizona

Being part of the Theodore Payne Foundation’s native plants garden tour for the 4th year in a row (!)

American Library Association conference in Chicago

A possible Disney cruise in the fall (fingers crossed)

Celebrating Cindy’s 60th birthday (yikes!)

Peace and happiness to you all in 2013!

Before: Tim riding in the back of the car 
with our Christmas tree

After: Cecil, the tree and me watching SNL

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Bat Man

Date night yesterday at L.A. Live: The Hobbit movie* and pizza at Wolfgang Puck. Then, as we were walking back to the car, we noticed a father and his son dressed in Batman t-shirts.

“Oh, yeah,” I said to Tim. “There’s that free Batman exhibit on the roof of the parking lot. Can we check it out for a few minutes?” After all, how good could any exhibit be inside a tent on the roof of L.A. Live’s parking lot?

Well, it was fabulous: Batman artwork, costumes, props, and, of course, the various cars. We were in Bat-heaven. See for yourself.

The villain Bane's costume from
The Dark Knight Rises

Heath Ledger's Joker costume

Adam West's Batmobile

Hubcap from the George Clooney Batmobile

Christian Bale's Bat-cycle

The Tumbler


The Dark Knight Rises

*P.S. Despite a lukewarm review in the L.A. Times, we couldn’t stay away from seeing The Hobbit on opening day. Don’t believe everything you read—the movie is absolutely wonderful! From the first frame I felt like I was among old friends. If you loved The Lord of the Rings movies, you’ll love The Hobbit. I can’t wait to see it again.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Dress Like Walt Day

Yesterday would have been Walt Disney’s 111th birthday. To celebrate, fans around the country decided to “Dress Like Walt” in honor of their patron saint. We chose to spend Walt’s birthday at Disneyland’s exclusive restaurant, Club 33, with fellow members of the Carolwood Foundation

Because Club 33 is so exclusive, we were asked to arrive a half-hour early so we could all enter together en mass. There was no way I could drive in rush hour traffic wearing a 1950s-style crinoline petticoat, so we cashed in some of our Starwood points and reserved a room at the Sheraton, where we changed into our retro clothes before heading to the park. We were the last couple on a very long line of some 100 Disney fans, all dressed in early- to mid-20th-century apparel. Quite a sight!

Tim in his titki shirt and 
me in my 1950s strappy party dress

We sat at a table with three other Carolwood members, one of whom had never been to Club 33. (This was our third time.) After everyone was settled and had ordered drinks, the hostess stopped by each table, directing us to a small room where an extensive buffet awaited. We helped ourselves to several varieties of salad, roast pork, chicken (me), vegetables, and various types of seafood (Tim). We returned later for dessert—mostly cookies, pie and an extremely popular chocolate fountain.

Everyone was encouraged to bring a small Disney-related gift that was then raffled off after dinner. We, along with several other people, brought nice trading pins, but there were also fabulous gifts, like free tours of Disneyland, tickets to the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, books, Disneyland maps, and one-of-a-kind artwork. We didn’t win a thing!

But we did get to talk to the guest of honor, Bob Gurr, who worked for Walt and designed the monorail, submarine and Autopia rides, among other things. I had been quite smitten by Bob at the Smoke Tree Ranch in January, so it was fun seeing him again.

Me and Bob

Plus Timmy

The holiday fireworks show started at 8:30PM, prompting us all to run out onto the balcony to watch. Amazingly, I didn't knock anyone over the balcony with my dress. I swear, I don’t know how women used to walk around in petticoats!

Sleeping Beauty's castle

After birthday cake, we bid our new friends adieu and joined a group that was leaving. The park was already closed for two hours, so we had to be escorted to the exit. Sleeping Beauty’s castle was still blazing in all its holiday glory, while music continued to play. And yet there we were, the only people in all of Disneyland! “This is eerie!” someone in the group whispered, and it was. But before we knew it, our escort was unlocking the front gate as we all (sadly) passed back into reality.

Christmas on Main St.

Happy birthday, Walt! Thanks for giving us the happiest place on earth!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Earl of Sandwich

One of the highlights of our trip to Orlando, FL, two years ago, was discovering the Earl of Sandwich fast-food place in Downtown Disney. Now I make a pretty good BLT—my all-time favorite sandwich—but the Earl’s was the single best BLT I’d ever eaten in a restaurant: lots of thin crispy bacon on a toasted bun. I loved it so much, we ate there twice even though we were in Orlando only a handful of days. When we returned home, I looked for an Earl of Sandwich in the L.A. area, but the closest one was in Las Vegas! I was crushed.

Then about a year ago, we heard that the Earl was coming to our Downtown Disney in Anaheim! Tim checked the website regularly for updates and every time we went to Disneyland we walked by the construction site to check on its progress. The last we heard, the Earl wasn’t opening until after the new year.

Well, we were driving through Anaheim a couple of days ago and decided to make a quick run into Disneyland. The big parking lot was full, so we pulled into Downtown Disney. As usual, we took the long way around so we could get an update on the Earl of Sandwich . . . and there it was! It had opened in early November without us. The line to get in was enormous, so we decided to go to the park first and then grab our sandwiches on the way out.

A mob scene inside - we were the oldest
people on line!

The line was even longer by the time we got there, two hours later. I whispered to Tim that the Earl needed a FASTPASS™ line like the most popular Disneyland rides. I didn’t dare look at the time, but I think we waited at least 30 minutes before we finally got to order our sandwiches. It was then another 5-10 minutes before our beeper started to flash.

BLT heaven

Tim said he’ll never wait that long again. I, on the other hand, was in hog (OK, bacon) heaven and only wished I’d thought of getting two BLTs—one for then and one for the next day. But not to worry. I can never stay away from Disneyland for long and so should be returning again soon. As if I needed yet another reason to go to Anaheim!

The world's greatest sandwich, indeed!