Moonlight’s Matilda

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The Moonlight

Wednesday evening we went to the opening night performance of Matilda at the Vista Moonlight Amphitheater.  We have been season ticket-holders for about 3 years now, and before that I attended a good number of plays there over the years.  If you aren’t aware of this theater, you are missing out on a true GEM in the North County area. (I’m constantly amazed at how many of my friends have never heard of this theater. Where have you been, people?) Every play that we have seen here has been superb. The last play, The Producers had people who had been involved in the BROADWAY production of the play.  It doesn’t get any better than this folks!

One thing I love about The Moonlight is that it is an outdoor theater.  There aren’t too many of them around the San Diego area.  You have a choice of 3 types of seats- regular theater seating (chairs), general lawn, which is at the top of the hill and first-come type of seating on the grass, or the reserved lawn tiers,  which are between the theater seating rows.  I LOVE the reserved lawn tier seats!  It is fake turf, so no grass or dirt stains….. but you get an area about 6 ft deep and as wide as a “seat” so that you can picnic at your place before the play! They give you low folding chairs to sit on, so you can enjoy your picnic and the performance, without blocking the regular theater seats behind you. We purchase 4 seats each season, so that at each play we can bring another couple that we’d like to get to know a little better and enjoy a picnic dinner before the play.  The tickets at Moonlight are some of the least expensive play tickets you will find in San Diego county, so even purchasing 4 tickets per play is STILL a raving deal! Their highest priced tickets are under $60.00,the reserved lawn tiers under $30.00 each, and the general lawn tickets come in under $20.00.  I think when you buy season tickets it comes to less than that price!  Where in San Diego can you purchase play tickets for that price?  Again, if you haven’t been to The Moonlight, check it out. There are still 2 plays this season!

Matilda

Now, on to Matilda.  I’m going to admit, I knew NOTHING about the play, and wondered if this was just going to be a play for children.  NOT AT ALL!  The minute the first actors come on the stage you are enthralled!  It takes place in England, so everyone in the cast has an English accent. The talented Vanessa Dinning was the dialect coach, and as always she did a fabulous job working with the cast that is made up predominantly of children. (Vanessa happens to be a family friend, but she does the dialect coaching for most San Diego area plays when there is an English accent involved, and does a superb job of it!)

More about the cast later, but it’s the STORY LINE of Matilda that I SO SO SO love! The character of Matilda comes from an abusive household, with parents who have not a bit of kindness or love toward her. There is also a tyrannical headmistress who is awful to Matilda. But this story shows that no matter what your circumstances are, you can succeed. Matilda is a brilliant little girl, with some special powers, and books are her refuge.  Matilda sings a songs that says “Nobody but me is gonna change my story, so sometimes you’ve got to be a little bit naughty.”  This is the childhood version of “Living a Royal Life” that I talk about all the time.  In SPITE of terrible circumstances, Matilda has the courage to do what is right, and makes the best, for herself, and those around her.  She refuses to be a victim. She stands up for herself- in spite of what the outcome may be.  She realizes that no one is going to do it for her, she has to make the best of her life. I wish that more of our society would do this for themselves!  (I get REALLY tired of the victim mentality lately……….. )

The Cast

I loved every minute of this play.  The darling young actress who plays Matilda (Charity Rose @CharityRose) does a brilliant job in the role! She couldn’t be better! The whole cast, singing, dancing and performing the whole she-bang with English accents are beyond compare.  One of my favorite area actors, Randall Hickman, plays Miss Trunchbull.  He has made a name for himself playing the evil female parts in a few plays locally, including Ursulla in Moonlight’s “The Little Mermaid” a few years ago.  I LOVE his acting!

The director is Jamie Tocellini and everything I’ve seen him involved with has been amazing!

Everything You Need to Know About The Moonlight…

The play would be great for kids (probably about 8 and up) who you would like to introduce to live theater, but don’t feel that you need any children with you to fit in and enjoy this play.  The large majority of the audience was adults when we were there, and everyone around was exclaiming how fabulous they thought it was.

Matilda is running through August 3rd.  Do yourself a favor and get some tickets to go see it.  https://www.moonlightstage.com/  You will be glad you did!

Then, check out tickets for the other two plays this season, West Side Story August 14-31 and Victor Victoria September 11-28.

I am SO excited about next year’s season, which is going to have 5 different  performances, and includes An American In Paris, Something Rotten, Cinderella, Ragtime and Kinky Boots!  4 of the 5 plays are totally new to me, so I am thrilled for the 2020 season!

 

 

The Comedy Queen is Performing Soon!

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The Comedy Queen has a show in the works, and you will want to be a part of it!  Get your reservation in while there is space available! This event is being held in a new venue, the lovely Koi Zen Cellars in the Poway area!  Go to their website to make your reservation, or contact Patti personally!  And remember, a reservation PAID, is a reservation MADE………… until then, it’s just wishful thinking on your part!

Go to KoiZen’s website to make your reservation!

A Castle, Fit for a Queen!

Adventures With Attitude!, Day-Dation Ideas!, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, Travel and Adventure

Hearst Castle

We are so blessed to live in Southern California!  There are more places to explore, and more adventures to create than you could ever have time for.  One of our great California treasures, and one which took me FAR too long to go and see is Hearst Castle. I have lived in California almost 40 years and had never been there.

The views from Hearst Castle go on forever. He used to own all of the land from the castle down to the beach. Over 250,000 acres at one time!

The views from Hearst Castle go on forever. He used to own all of the land from the castle down to the beach. Over 250,000 acres at one time!

A few months ago, Don and I took one of our little adventures, flew up to San Jose, and spent a few days driving back home down the coast.  Our main stop was Hearst Castle, which we took 2 full days to explore. I loved every minute of it!  My only disappointment was that I can’t make it my own “personal” castle!  After all, every Queen needs a castle, right? (Perhaps if we all petitioned the state they might consider it????)

I truly believe in “Living a Royal Life!”  Well, it seems that Mr. Hearst had it down to a science!  The decadence and opulence of Hearst Castle is unrivaled, especially here in the United States!

The drive from San Diego to Hearst Castle is a beautiful one. We always make every little trip like this an adventure, exploring along the way. We stop on a whim when something catches our eye.  Fewer plans and more spontaneity make life far more interesting, in my opinion!

When you approach San Simeon, the ocean is on one side of the highway and far, far up the hill you will see the castle.  The day we arrived, in the field next to the highway were some of the zebras, decedents left from the Hearst menagerie that he kept many years ago.

I loved hearing some of the stories about the guests who frequented San Simeon, and some of the strange “quirks” that were passed on about William Randolph Hearst! I just eat it up!  I love it when you have a docent who has taken the time to find out every nugget they can, and shares it with passion! It makes a place like this come to life!

In front of Hearst Castle. I can only imagine how exciting it would have been to be a guest there back in the day!

In front of Hearst Castle. I can only imagine how exciting it would have been to be a guest there back in the day!

If you are a history buff, the history behind Hearst Castle, also known as San Simeon is fascinating! Check it out here! 

Planning Your Trip

We had to buy the cheesy tourist photo, right???

We had to buy the cheesy tourist photo, right???

There are hotels located on the beach, across the street from Hearst Castle. If you plan to have a full day, or even a few days of touring the castle, this is a convenient way to go.  The Castle is located in about the middle of nowhere, so driving back and forth to other hotels can be time consuming. Cambria and Morro Bay are about a half hours’ drive away – and you will find some more charming places to stay there, if you are willing to drive. We spent a few days in Cambria after our tour of San Simeon.

My man in the library! Such a masculine room! I just loved the feel of it!

My man in the library! Such a masculine room! I just loved the feel of it!

We took two full days to see the castle, enjoying two different tours each day.  As it turned out, it would have cost us almost exactly the same had we decided to do a private tour.  We then could have probably seen the whole castle in one day.  I would definitely recommend that you see as much of it as possible, because ALL of it is so interesting and fabulous! It is well worth the time and money spent. You can’t go wrong with one, or two, or four or more of these tours! 

Hearst Castle Sculpture

One of the many beautiful sculptures on the grounds of San Simeon

There are occasional evening tours, where the docents dress in 1930’s period clothing.  I plan to go back for one of those tours in the future. (Of course, you know me- I would be sure that Don and I were also in period clothing! ANYTHING for a costume!)

The artwork and collections that are on the grounds and throughout the castle are just unbelievable!  SO worth the trip!  I would suggest that if you can travel there when it isn’t peak tourist season (summer months) you will have the best experience, since it won’t be as crowded. The castle isn’t air conditioned, so it can be warm during the hot months.

You dont realize how large Hearst Castle really is, until you see the proportion of us next to the front door!

You don’t realize how large Hearst Castle really is, until you see the proportion of us next to the front door!

If you live in California, and haven’t taken the time to go and see it for yourself, you really need to do it.  It is an amazingly interesting and beautiful attraction! Personally, I can’t wait to go back and see it again!

Look at the detail in this room and in the ceiling! It is just amazing what was put into this castle!

Look at the detail in this room and in the ceiling! It is just amazing what was put into this castle!

Life is Worth Cheering About!

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When I Die, I Want To Be a Pink Firework!

I didn’t even know it was possible.  Until last night.  I didn’t know that after you die you can have your ashes made into FIREWORKS!  Seriously!  You can’t make this stuff up!  (Well, you COULD make it up, actually I guess, but I’m NOT making it up!)  Where did I find out this profound and amazing way to get rid of yourself after you’ve gotten rid of yourself?  The movie POM. That’s where!  More about that in a minute, because actually, going to the movie is what this article is about.  But I digress, once again, to becoming a firework.  Since it IS a real thing, I’m just laying it out there for everyone who is left behind after I’m gone.  If they don’t take my whole body for science, and there is anything left behind, please make me into a firework.  Or two.  Pink would be my preference, unless they can do one that explodes into a crown shape. Then I’d prefer to be a crown shape.  Maybe gold.  Or a pink one and a gold crown. Whatever you can do to make the biggest possible SPLASH as I am remembered for the last time on earth.  I want to go out with a BANG!

OK, now that THAT is settled……… on to what the article is REALLY about.

POM Movie Madness!

Girls night out a few nights ago was to see the new Diane Keaton movie POM.  This is a movie about a bunch of women in a retirement community who decide to form a cheerleading group. We had a group of 12 women, ranging from 50’s to the just-past-mid 80’s.  And, you know me.  We can’t just go to a movie, walk in and sit down.  Heck no!  We needed to add a little SPICE to the event…….. so about half of us went dressed as……. what else?  CHEERLEADERS!

You may think that would be the silliest or stupidest thing in the world.  Go right ahead and think that.  I know better.  Maybe YOU wouldn’t do it, but that’s probably because you aren’t nearly as much fun as I am.  And my friend Stella is. And some of my other friends are!

Gerri, Patti, Stella as a blonde!) and Barbara enjoying Happy Hour!

Gerri, Patti, Stella as a blonde!) and Barbara enjoying Happy Hour! BTW- This is Gerri’s actual cheerleading outfit from high school. And it fits her perfectly!  I can still fit into my things from high school too.  I fit into my earrings.  That’s what I fit into.  It just isn’t right when people do this to you!

Here is the thing folks.  I’m WAY past the stage where I worry about what people think of me. No matter WHO you are, there are gonna be haters out there.  Even if I was the most perfect, smartest, most together person in the world (I’m none of those things and never going to be…. but IF, it’s an IF I put out there) there would still be haters with something negative to say.  So, I don’t worry, I don’t care. I just go ahead and be outrageously FUN, and enjoy every darned minute that I can in life.  After all, like I often say- YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO CALL IN YOUR CHIP!  It could be tomorrow. Or next week.  Or when you are sleeping tonight.  (That’s a kind of creepy thought, huh?)

“We are all so worried about what everyone else is thinking, but  of course,  the only thing that really matters is what we think of ourselves.” Diane Keaton in POMS

So, instead of worrying about other people’s impression of me, I just constantly think of something new, something fun, something entertaining that I can partake in, and invite those around me to join in.  Sometimes it’s a bit much for others’ taste, and they don’t come along for the ride.  Sometimes they come along for the ride, but they aren’t sitting in the front of the roller-coaster (that seat is reserved for Stella and me anyway!)  They may take a seat further back, where they can be a part of the fun, but not quite so far “out there.”  That’s all fine and good too!

Stella and Patti. We both have no problem dressing up in any costume, any time, for any event! Any excuse for a costume is fine with us!

Stella and Patti. We both have no problem dressing up in any costume, any time, for any event! Any excuse for a costume is fine with us!

Years ago I volunteered for hospice. I sat next to the bed of a number of people as they took their last breaths.  Never once did I hear a person say, “Gee, I wish I didn’t dress in that silly costume that time” or “Gee, I wish I hadn’t had as much fun in life as I did.”  NOPE.  The regrets that I heard about in life were that they had worked too hard, or worried to much about unnecessary things, or they hadn’t taken time to be with their friends or family enough, perhaps they wish they had traveled more.  My only regret will be – no matter HOW old I am when I die, is that I didn’t have more time.  I will know though, that I spent my last years having as much fun as I possibly could, and that I filled every moment I could doing things I love.

One of our late arrivals, Bella was pretty impressive with the splits! I never could do them, and no chance at all now!

One of our late arrivals, Bella was pretty impressive with the splits! I never could do them, and no chance at all now!

That’s what  I am referring to when I talk about Living a Royal Life.  Many call it Living Your Best Life.

Living a Royal Life

There are so many quotes that I love about what others think of you, but this is one of my favorites:

“At 20 we worry about what others think of us.  At 40 we don’t care what they think of us.  At 60 we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.”  Ann Landers.

STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU!  It doesn’t matter and THEY don’t matter.  Be outrageous.  Be silly.  Look like a nut!  It’s worth it, believe me!

Are you MAKING memories in your day to day life?  Are you experiencing fun times, and enjoying adventures, big and small in your life?

If you aren’t- what will it take to make your life a life you love?

Maybe you need a “cheerleader” in your life, to help you be on the winning team!  There are a bunch of great cheerleaders in this group- give one of us a call and we’ll be over, Pom-poms in hand to help you to Live a Royal Life!

This was most of the "whole crew" from last night! Just ready to walk over to the movie!

This was most of the “whole crew” from last night! Just ready to walk over to the movie! Our ages ranged from 58-86! Now THAT is a bunch of winning cheerleaders!

BTW-  The POM movie is great. Get out and see it while it is in theaters if you can! (Check out POMS trailer here!) We all enjoyed it and the sweet  life lessons that were taught in it! (Not to mention finding out you can be made into a firework after you die!)  We also had a great time at Happy Hour at 333 Pacific in Oceanside, (Their happy hour includes $8.00 vodka specials, and the BEST brussel sprouts and calamari!  YUM!) Then we walked the few blocks over to the Regal Theater. I’m sure there are people who are still wondering WHAT the heck they were seeing as we paraded by with our pom-poms! We had a few other patrons ask to take our picture and the manager of the theater asked if they could put us on the Regal website……….

So there you go.  Silly fun, yes!  A fabulous memory of time with the girls too! It’s what Living a Royal Life is all about!

Faster Than A Jet On Takeoff……

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Photo credit, Matt Ben Stone Photography

Denise Mueller-Korenek                                                                                                     Photo credit, Matt Ben Stone Photography

Faster Than a Jet on Takeoff!

I recently joined my local Soroptimist Club. Before joining, I knew a handful of the women in the club, and they were all women I admired and thought highly of.  When I attended my first meeting, was I impressed to learn that one of the members had set a world record for speed on a bicycle.

Just the weekend before I met Denise Mueller-Korenek, Don and I had rented electric bikes and took a ride around Mission Bay in San Diego for a few hours.  I had managed to take a spill on the bike, when I was stopping to talk to Don, and had basically scraped the crap out of my body.  After my fall, going about  12 miles per hour on the bikes had me scared spitless! All I could think of was the damage that could be done to my body if I fell while going “full speed!”  It had me as nervous as a mouse in a cathouse!

So….. imagine what I thought when I heard that Denise had broken “land speed records” on a bike!  I figured she had gone maybe as fast as 40 miles and hour or something!  No. She hadn’t gone 40 miles an hour.  Not even 50 miles an hour.  She had gone 183.9 miles per hour.  On a bike. WHAT??????

In my wildest imagination, I can’t even begin to think what it would be like to go that speed on a bicycle!  183 MPH is faster than the takeoff speed of a JET!  And all she had to protect her beautiful limbs and head during the process were a leather riding suit and a helmet!

An Awe-Inspiring Woman!

The first thing I thought when I met Denise is that I need to get to know this woman better, and I have to do an interview with her for my blog!  Talk about “Leading a Royal Life!”  This is a woman who isn’t sitting back waiting for life to give her an adventure!  She has taken adventure by the balls, and given them a big SQUEEZE!

Denise agreed to sit down with me and explain HOW it is that a woman goes God-danged near the speed of light, on a bicycle!

When Denise broke the world speed record for a bike on September 16, 2018 it was far from the first impressive goal she had set for herself, or- for that matter, the first world record she had broken! Not by any means!  Denise started competing and earning titles in racing bikes when she was 14 years old.  The minute she tried downhill mountain bike racing she was hooked and went on to earn the Silver medal in the Junior World Championships in 1991. When she hit 19 she stopped competing, and basically didn’t even get on a bike again throughout the years that she married and raised her 3 boys.

The Sign at Bonnevile Flats Photo credit Matt Ben Stone Photography

The Sign at Bonnevile Salt Flats                                                                                                                  Photo credit Matt Ben Stone Photography

The Competitive Bug Bites Again

When Denise was raising her boys, she realized the only way she could consistently get a workout in was when she went to a 5 AM class.  It was at that class that she met 3 women who were training to compete in the San Diego Rock & Roll marathon.  Denise and some others decided to go and support their friends, and that’s when the ” competitive bug” hit Denise once again. She decided that she would compete in the 2010 marathon with her middle son.

I guess the saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” has more truth to it than you might imagine, because her son Michael Boever decided he wanted to run 19 1/2 marathons that year at the age of 16. Setting, and achieving goals obviously runs in the blood with this family!

That followed up with Denise running 1/2 marathons with all 3 of her sons within 3 years.

In 2012 Denise ran into her old cycling coach, John Howard, and he told her he’d love to see her participate in a charity event.  Denise hadn’t been on a bike in nearly 20 years, but agreed to do it.

The athlete on her bike. Photo credit Jinna Albright Photography

The athlete on her bike.                                                                                                                                   Photo credit: Jinna Albright Photography

That’s when the “bug” hit her again. Denise planned to break a record in 2016 when she was being towed behind a Range Rover at the Bonneville flats. Unfortunately, after training intensively for 2 years, the last day she was to compete it rained.  At this point, although she had already achieved a  1st ever Women’s record at 147.7 mph, she knew she could do even better! Instinctively, she immediately announced, “We are coming back next year to do this.” (Just as this 2018 record , a distinction needs to be made between being towed to start pedaling vs being towed the whole way.  Some people think she was towed the whole way, which is not true.  She needs to be towed only to be able to turn the large gear over herself,  then she continues increasing speed unattached, but “surfing” the draft of air.)

That wasn’t to be, however, because her sponsor let her know that they couldn’t provide the Range Rover again in 2017, so she had to come up with “Plan B.”  Plan B was to beat the world speed record set by Fred Rompelberg in 1995, which had stood for 23 years.  His speed had been 166.9 MPH. And she would do it behind the same vehicle that Fred had used.  The vehicle required extensive rehabilitation, having not been used for a long time. Denise and her team worked to get her, and the vehicle “up to speed” (no pun intended) so she could compete at Bonneville in September 2018.  With her specially equipped bike, her coach John Howard and race car driver Shea Holbrook they were ready to go for the record breaking ride of a lifetime.

Shea Holbrook, who drove the race car, poses with Denise. Photo credit, Jinna Albright Photography

Shea Holbrook, who drove the race car, poses with Denise.                                                                  Photo credit, Jinna Albright Photography

Denise explained the way it worked. She had to be pulled behind the special vehicle until they got up to a speed of 110 MPH, then she unhooked from the car and rode in the airstream, pedaling until she hit the 183.9 average speed.  Denise’s son was driving the vehicle that followed to pick her up after the ride. Her husband, Chris followed in another sponsor vehicle from Optec to pick up the race car at the end.

Mueller-Korenek told me what it was like when her son came up beside her, doing a facebook live and told her that they had determined her speed at over 183 MPH. All they planned to do was 170 MPH to beat the record previously set by Rompelberg.  Denise said she screamed “WHAT?” when she was told the speed she had hit.

The breaking of a world speed record... Photo credit, Matt Ben Stone Photography

The breaking of a world speed record…                                                                                                   Photo credit: Matt Ben Stone Photography

As she explained it to me, she was going the  average of 1 football field per second, behind the “cup” of the vehicle in front of her.  All she was concentrating on was staying upright and pedaling her fastest. There was no way she could take even a moment to look at her speedometer.

Think about that speed. Think for a moment what would happen if you lost your balance, while going over sand at that momentum.  Personally, although I am pretty much of a daredevil, I can’t even begin to think of the consequences of one slight misjudgment in timing.

There is no “practice” for this type of endeavor.  It’s a one shot event.  Denise prepped physically. She prepped mentally.  But she didn’t get to go to the Bonneville Salt Flats and give it a test run.  Unimaginable!

When I asked Denise what her family thought about her doing this, she said she had their support, because the whole family was used to setting goals and meeting them. She had done it numerous times, her sons had done it with their marathons and other goals, and it just didn’t occur to any of them she wouldn’t achieve the goal.

Denise at the Bonneville flats! She believed she could do it, and she did!

Denise at the Bonneville Salt Flats! She believed she could do it, and she did!                                Photo Credit: Matt Ben Stone Photography

What an inspiring story!  A 45 year old woman breaking a world speed record!  This isn’t a 20 something athlete, this is a mom of people in their 20’s!

What’s Next?

What happens now?  I’d think that if you accomplished what Denise has accomplished that would be enough. But I was  wrong in that assumption. After taking a few months off, Denise is now training to break a record on a special type of bike.  A “Faring Pod.”  This is a recumbent bike, completely encased within a “pod.” The one that Denise will compete in doesn’t even have a window.  You look at a video screen to see where you are going.  The current women’s record is set at 75.6.  Somehow, I don’t think that record will stand on the books for very long!  There is only one place where they run this race in the country.  On a special “road” in Nevada.  Denise plans to go there to break the record this September.  I don’t doubt for a minute that it will happen, do you?

When we give excuses about why we can’t accomplish one of our goals, we need to look at what this awe inspiring woman has accomplished.  She has overcome many of the excuses we constantly tell ourselves.  I’m too old.  It can’t be done.  I’m not as good a another person.  I don’t have the time.  I don’t have the resources. We all use these excuses day in and day out.  Yet Denise didn’t listen to those excuses.  She just decided she would, she could and she did.

What unachievable goal can you set for yourself?

Photo credit: David Kamatoy

An amazing goal is achieved!                                                                                                                                            Photo credit: David Kamatoy

Spring in Holland….

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Living a Royal Life, Out and About, Travel and Adventure

Spring in Holland

From the time we are small children, most of us associate tulips and wooden shoes with Holland. For the tulips alone Holland is worth visiting.  But there is SO much more to make a trip to Holland worthwhile!

Amazing Amsterdam

Amsterdam is such a beautiful city. Different than almost any city you will ever see, with few buildings taller than 4 stories. The buildings are lined up along the canals, and the architecture is so quaint and stunning in its simplicity.

We tied a 5 night stay in Amsterdam into another trip we had planned to West Africa.  Two VERY different places, two very different experiences, believe me!  But, we decided that on the way to our West African cruise we would take some time to “stop and smell the flowers.” So, that is exactly what we did!

There is a reason that First Class cost so much! Your own little "pod", Champagne or Mimosa in a real glass) before take off, a real pillow and a chair that turns into a bed.....Yep. A reason for First Class!

There is a reason that First Class cost so much! Your own little “pod”, Champagne or Mimosa in a real glass) before take off, a real pillow and a chair that turns into a bed…..Yep. A reason for First Class!

We had a flight that would get us into Amsterdam in the early morning hours.  Our hotel was The Grand Amsterdam Hotel. When we arrived they accommodated us checking into our  room by mid-morning, so that we could get settled before starting our sight-seeing. What a fabulous, and history rich hotel!  It was a convent in the 15th century, then housed royalty for a period of time before becoming City Hall for nearly a century.

The hotel we stayed in was beautiful, and they had amazing flower arrangements everywhere. I look a bit like a homeless woman, because it was quite a bit colder than I was expecting while we were there, and we were going on to 16 days in Africa, where the weather was really hot, so my combinations werent going to win any fashion awards!

The hotel we stayed in was beautiful, and they had amazing flower arrangements everywhere. I look a bit like a homeless woman, because it was quite a bit colder than I was expecting while we were there, and we were going on to 16 days in Africa, where the weather was really hot, so my combinations weren’t going to win any fashion awards!

From the minute you pull through the entry gate you feel the elegance and attention to detail.  The hotel is built around a courtyard, and in the middle of the courtyard is an antique cart, which was laden with tulips. Throughout the hotel were beautiful flower arrangements, cozy little sitting areas, terraces and gardens to enjoy, a lovely restaurant to enjoy breakfast or lunch and so much more.

Part of the lovely display in the courtyard entry to The Grand Amsterdam Hotel where we stayed.

Part of the lovely display in the courtyard entry to The Grand Amsterdam Hotel where we stayed.

This replica of The Grand Amsterdam Hotel was ceramic and part of the display out in the entry courtyard.

This replica of The Grand Amsterdam Hotel was made from ceramic and tile, and part of the display out in the entry courtyard. It was just gorgeous!

Since there was so much rich history in our hotel alone, we took a tour of the hotel one morning with one of the hotel employees. We got to see so much more of the hotel than we would have been able to without the tour! It was well worth our time! We got to see a small “chapel” with some of the most beautiful stained glass windows you have ever seen! Everything in the room was designed to continue the stories from the bible which were symbolized in the windows.

Our hotel had quite a bit of interesting history. It had been a convent for many years, then was the City Hall. These windows were part of an original chapel and all represent biblical stories. It was really stunningly beautiful!

Our hotel had quite a bit of interesting history. It had been a convent for many years, then was the City Hall. These windows were part of an original chapel and all represent biblical stories. It was really stunningly beautiful!

The whole hotel recently went through a freshening up, and I would recommend it to anyone traveling to Amsterdam. There wasn’t a detail overlooked in the whole hotel.   The Grand Amsterdam is only blocks from The Red Light District. Don’t let this little fact concern you however!  In America we would assume The Red Light District to be seedy and dangerous.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Soon after our return from Amsterdam I wrote an article on their Red Light District.  I invite you to check it out here if you missed it!  

Live and Let Live!

The whole city of Amsterdam has the basic attitude that what you do is your business, what I do is my business.  There is very little crime, (beyond bicycle thefts- they are rampant!) and I felt very safe the whole time we were there. We were actually told that Holland has closed down a number of their prisons, because crime is so low there.

Pots of flowers are throughout the city, in plant boxes across canals and in large containers along the streets. It is just beautiful!

It’s funny, isn’t it that the first thing EVERYONE seems to ask about the beautiful city of Amsterdam is if you went to the Red Light District……..  That says a little something about Americans! To answer the question, Yes, of course we checked out the Red Light District, our first day there.  It is very interesting, to say the least.  My favorite part of the area was a dress shop I saw the first evening, which carried beautiful “vintage style” clothing, most specifically, the 50’s type of swing dresses that I love to dance in.  Let’s just say, after we visited there the next day, another suitcase had to be implemented for the rest of the trip!

Patti in front of some of the windows in the Red Light District. You may not take pictures of any of the women if they are in the windows. The police will get involved and you will lost your camera!

Patti in front of some of the windows in the Red Light District. You may not take pictures of any of the women if they are in the windows. The police will get involved and you will lost your camera! The “closed curtain” means that the lady is currently “occupied” and unavailable at that time.

Playing Tourist in Amsterdam

You will find Amsterdam has a little something for everyone! There are numerous fascinating museums, including the famous Anne Frank house, the Van Gogh Museum , Rijksmuseum, and many more.  We were unable to get into the Anne Frank house.  It is very small, and tickets were sold out nearly 4 months before our trip for the time we were there! I was really disappointed! So my big tip for you, if you plan to go to Amsterdam, get your ticket FAR in advance!

There are a number of companies that do boat tours through the canals.  It is well worthwhile to take one of them.  You get to see the lovely architecture that Amsterdam is so famous for, you go right by the Anne Frank house and many of the other attractions you wouldn’t want to miss, and can’t cover by foot. The one we took stopped a few times and let you get off and take photos.

This photo is a perfect synopsis of Amsterdam. The beautiful 3 and 4 story architecture, the canal and bikes pretty much sum up most of what Amsterdam is made up of..... the only thing really missing are the beautiful flowers, the Red Light District and the "Coffee Houses!

This photo is a perfect synopsis of Amsterdam. The beautiful 3 and 4 story architecture, the canal and bikes pretty much sum up most of what Amsterdam is made up of….. the only thing really missing are the beautiful flowers, the Red Light District and the “Coffee Houses!

Dam Square is another famous site in Amsterdam and it  houses the Royal Palace, still in use today.  Free Walking Tours are available, but you need to try to book early, or you may not be accommodated. There is quite a lot to see around the square, so it is well worthwhile!

What many people aren’t aware of in Amsterdam is how many BIKES there are everywhere!  There are actually many more bikes than there are people in Amsterdam, and there are multilevel parking structures throughout the city where only bikes are parked! It’s quite a site to see so many bikes in one place!

When we think of Holland, one of the first things most everyone thinks of is Tulips! As I said, there are flowers throughout the city, but if you REALLY want to see masses of tulips and spring bulb  flowers, you’ll need to take a little trip outside the city.

This picture is a great example of how much the shape and size of tulips can vary!

This picture is a great example of how much the shape and size of tulips can vary!

Keukenhof Gardens

Two fabulous places are the Flower Auctions or the Keukenhof Gardens. Don’t even THINK of visiting without going to Keukenhof if it is in season!  It is EVERYTHING you would expect, and then some! I could literally post hundreds of photos of the different flowers we got to experience while we were there!

Explaining Keukenhof is nearly impossible. Every year they plant more than 7 MILLION bulbs, and the flower beds are laid out differently each and every year.  There are over 800 different types of tulips alone in the gardens. Who could imagine that tulips could come in so man different shapes, sizes, colors and textures? There are, in addition to the flowerbeds, buildings that house new species of tulips, and specialty flowers,–such as Orchids.  Keukenhof is truly spectacular, to say the least.

There was a whole building, just for Orchids. They had displays in there that were probably 25 feet high!

There was a whole building, just for Orchids. They had displays in there that were probably 25 feet high!

We took a seat for a moment in one of the buildings where the new species of tulips are displayed. You can't begin to cover the Keukenhof in one day!

We took a seat for a moment in one of the buildings where the new species of tulips are displayed. You can’t begin to cover the Keukenhof in one day!

This woman was supposed to represent a character from a well known Dutch child's book. Her costume was just beautiful!

This woman was supposed to represent a character from a well known Dutch child’s book. Her costume was just beautiful!

 

The darker purple flowers looked just like our Iris', but they were only about 5 or 6" tall. Their name plates, however, said they were a type of TULIP! They looked exactly like short Iris' to my untrained eye!

The darker purple flowers looked just like our Iris’, but they were only about 5 or 6″ tall. Their name plates, however, said they were a type of TULIP! They looked exactly like short Iris’ to my untrained eye!

“Old Holland”

Another lovely day trip, which I would highly recommend to anyone is to go to “Old Holland.”  The small villages of Marken and Volendam are quaint and charming, and give you a real taste of what it might have been like many years ago, with the windmills, cheese factories and wooden shoes still being made by hand.  My only complaint with the tour we took is there just wasn’t enough time to take in all of the villages, and what they had to offer! I truly wished I could have set our own pace to see the different lifestyle that is still a part of Old Holland.

We got to see firsthand how wooden shoes were, and still are, hand made. In Old Holland we actually saw a few of the villagers still wearing them.

We got to see firsthand how wooden shoes were, and still are, hand made. In Old Holland we actually saw a few of the villagers still wearing them.

We got to tour a few of the old windmills, some which are still being used today.

We got to tour a few of the old windmills, some which are still being used today.

This was in front of one of the charming homes in Volendam.

This was in front of one of the charming homes in Volendam.

Though we had 5 days in Amsterdam, we didn’t begin to see and do all that the area offered.  It would be easy to  stay for a month and feel as though it wasn’t long enough. I hardly touch the tip of the iceberg in this little article about Amsterdam. I could post enough photos, and give you so much more information that you would be reading for days!

I didn’t even discuss some of the fabulous food we had while we were there!  One evening we were just out strolling and stumbled upon a lovely restaurant in an alleyway.  It turned out to be a “locals favorite” and was both delicious and charming! There is just too much that is fabulous about this city!

If you plan to take a trip to Amsterdam, check out  this article about 50 things to see while you are there. They are all well worthwhile!

Bodacious Blooms & Bountiful Butterflies

Adventures With Attitude!, Date-Daytion Ideas, Every Day is an Adventure, Everyday Magic!, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, Travel and Adventure, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Spring Has SPRUNG in Southern California!

The California Poppies at Lake Elsinore stretched as far as the eye could see!

The California Poppies at Lake Elsinore stretched as far as the eye could see!

When you live in Southern California, you become spoiled by the weather.  I’m not kidding when I tell you, if the temperature gets below 70 degrees, or above 79 degrees, most of us will be complaining, one way or the other!  It’s been a much needed rainy winter.  We need the rain, but still….many of us complain.  You know the old saying, April showers bring May flowers?  Kind of true, with a little “tweaking.”  Spring comes a bit earlier here in Southern California than it does in other parts of the country. By the time May gets here, spring will be finished and we will be experiencing “May Gray.”

This shows that the mix of flowers, which from a distance look like a solid mass of orange poppies, are actually a mix of poppies, mustard, popcorn flowers, California bluebells and lupines! What a beautiful bouquet they make!

This shows that the mix of flowers, which from a distance look like a solid mass of orange poppies, are actually a mix of poppies, mustard, popcorn flowers, California bluebells and lupines! What a beautiful bouquet they make!

This spring has been like no other I have seen in Southern California in my 40+ years of living here!  The super-blooms are everywhere and the migration of the butterflies has been amazing! People attribute it to our rainy winter, but I’m telling you folks, I’ve lived here through some rainy Southern California winters.  I’ve lived here through our “El Ninos.”  I’ve never seen either of these phenomenons like I’ve seen them this year.

Sitting among the flowers! (No flowers were trampled in taking this photo! I am on a pathway, although you can't see it!)

Sitting among the flowers! (No flowers were trampled in taking this photo! I am on a pathway, although you can’t see it!)

We who live in San Diego county are probably the luckiest people on earth!  Within 90 minutes driving time,  I can currently see the poppy super-bloom in Lake Elsinore, go skiing in Big Bear, enjoy the fragrance of the Lilacs in Julian,  savor the desert flowers in the Anza-Borrego Desert or relax with a book at our lovely sandy beaches, before the tourist fill them up for the summer.  It is incredible how many visual delights we are able to experience within such a short distance!

The Poppy Apocalypse!

The hillsides in Southern California are a kaleidoscope of colors right now!

The hillsides in Southern California are a kaleidoscope of colors right now!

This past Wednesday, Don and I had one of our “Date-Daytions” where we take the day off and go play.  (If you don’t know what a Date-Daytion is, I suggest you check out my previous article, What the Heck is a Date-Daytion? which explains them!)

Don and Me, taking time to "smell the flowers" on one of our Date-Daytions!

Don and Me, taking time to “smell the flowers” on one of our Date-Daytions!

We decided to head toward Lake Elsinore to see the “super-bloom of the California Poppies, because we had heard so many people oohing and aahing over it! They weren’t exaggerating!  The brilliance of the poppies on the hillsides are unbelievable!  From a distance, all you see are bright orange hillsides, but when you get in close proximity, you realize that they aren’t just made up of the brilliant California Poppies, but there are also Lupines, California Bluebells, Popcorn Flowers and Wild Mustard.

Although the picture didn't really pick it up, the reason I took this picture is that when you looked at this hillside there were patches of lime green, mint green, seafoam, thaos blue and other blues! The colors in nature were unbelievable!

Although the picture didn’t really pick it up, the reason I took this picture is that when you looked at this hillside there were patches of lime green, mint green, sea-foam, thaos blue and other blues! The colors in nature were unbelievable! The pictures of this super-bloom just doesn’t do it justice!  When you see it in person it is absolutely breath taking!

I was glad we went on Wednesday, because the traffic around the area was a bit crazy mid-week.  I can’t even imagine what it would be like on the weekend!  There were actually articles referring to this weekend’s viewing as The Poppy Apocalypse!  

Weeding through the traffic and hoards of people proved to be well worth it, however!  When we got near Walker Canyon, we were left almost breathless from the endless beauty!  We were also pleasantly surprised to see bridal couples having photos done, engagement and family photos being taken, and artists set up catching the beauty with their paintbrushes!  I does my heart good to see so many people taking the time to enjoy the natural assets Southern California has to offer! Our society has become so busy, and our noses are often so planted in our cellphones!  It’s wonderful to know people are taking the time to “smell the flowers!”

The poppies are so delicate looking when you see them up close!

The poppies are so delicate looking when you see them up close!

This couple was having photos taken on one of the hillsides. Don't ask me how she got up there in that dress, but what beautiful photos she will end up with! I couldn't help but wonder if the wedding had already taken place, or was set for a future date, as I doubt it was actually their wedding day on a Wednesday afternoon!

This couple was having photos taken on one of the hillsides. Don’t ask me how she got up there in that dress, but what beautiful photos she will end up with! I couldn’t help but wonder if the wedding had already taken place, or was set for a future date, as I doubt it was actually their wedding day on a Wednesday afternoon!

Butterflies “On a Mission!”

One of the other phenomenons that we have experienced this past week was a migration of Painted Lady butterflies.  (When I told my daughter they were called Painted Ladies, she said it sounded like the name of a strip club!  Kinda’ does, right? “Hey honey, the guys and I are off to The Painted Lady for  few drinks”……. )

Painted Ladies, for those of you who aren’t familiar with them, look like tiny Monarch Butterflies. The coloring is very similar.  This week they were migrating up from Mexico, and our skies were filled with them.  Don’t picture a sky full of meandering butterflies landing on your flowers, floating about your yard.  This isn’t what it was like at all!   Picture instead, “butterflies on a mission!” Each and every butterfly you saw was flying north at top speed!  Zip, zip, zip- they were moving like they were in the race of a lifetime! It was just crazy! I guess that when you only live a few weeks, you have to move fast to accomplish your migration!  No stopping to smell the roses for these ladies! They would come, en mass across my street, up my driveway and right over my house at the speed of lightning it seemed! Every intersection and freeway had them darting across by the hundreds, right in the middle of traffic! So many of my friends were posting how sad they were that they felt they had killed dozens of butterflies when they were driving!  It was the craziest thing you have ever seen!  Unfortunately, getting a good picture of them, where you could really get a feel for the number of butterflies was difficult.  They just didn’t really show up well. The attached article explains about the Painted Ladies, and also has a lovely video of the Poppy superbloom! It’s worth checking out!

The Desert is in Bloom!

The Borrego desert is in bloom! It is amazing the many different flowers you can see there!

The Borrego desert is in bloom! It is amazing the many different flowers you can see there!

We haven’t gotten out to the Borrego Desert yet this season, but last year we made a day trip of it and enjoyed the beauty of the desert flowers.  My friend, Adam Snider went out there just a few days ago, and shared some of his pictures with me. He is an avid hiker, and said that due to this year’s rainfall there are plants blooming that haven’t bloomed in many years! Every time you go, you are sure to see something different!

My friend Adam shared a few of his photos from his trip to Borrego this weekend. There are plants blooming this year that haven't bloomed in years!

My friend Adam shared a few of his photos from his trip to Borrego this weekend. There are plants blooming this year that haven’t bloomed in years!

If you haven’t ever taken the time to do so, it’s well worth it. When we went,  I was amazed how you could see one type of flower in one area, go 1 or 2 miles up the road and experience a whole different type of cactus’, flora and fauna!  This is not something you can enjoy from the car.  You MUST get out to see the many types of tiny little flowers you can’t even see with the naked eye while you are driving by!

Close up of a desert Lily

Close up of a desert Lily

Julian’s Lovely Lilacs

Nearby Julian has its own beauty to enjoy! People often think of going to Julian in the fall when the apples are ripe.  It’s too darn crowded there then for me.  I prefer spring in Julian!  Being a “mid-west” girl, one of the things I love, and miss dearly are spring Lilacs, daffodils and crocus’. Julian is just the place to get your “lilac” fix.  You can usually see the lilacs starting about the 3rd week in March, through the first week or so of April. Unfortunately, the past few years I have seen a lot less lilacs in Julian, because there has become such a demand for people to sell their lilacs to the flower stands in the San Diego area.  (If you try really hard you can imagine my sad little face about this detail!)  I remember that I used to drive up to Julian and you could find large bushes of lilacs, full of blooms just outside of town.  No longer!  Now if you want to bring some lilacs home, you are most likely going to be buying them. Lilacs are expensive, and only last 2 or 3 days once they are cut!  Even so, it’s a great day, driving to Julian, seeing (and smelling) the lilacs, enjoying a bit of their apple pie, seeing the coastal live oaks and driving home. Another “bonus” is that Julian is close enough to the Borrego desert that you can go and see both in the same day if you choose to make a day of it!

Yes, we spend a lot to live here, but I don’t know too many places in the country where they can find the diversity of beauty that we have at our finger tips!  If you live in Southern California, take some time to enjoy the beauty that is ours for the taking- just minutes away!

Are You “Dying” to Throw a Party? Having Fun is No Mystery!

Adventures With Attitude!, Cocktail Time, Entertaining, Entertaining Made Easy, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Living a Royal Life, Martini Magic, Sensational after 70!
Don's character was Donald J. Brooks, and Stella, stunning as always, was Miranda T. Shetes, a beautiful and talented actress!

For our Watersdown Affair Murder Mystery last year, Don’s character was Donald J. Brooks, and Stella, stunning as always, was Miranda T. Shetes, a beautiful and talented actress!

Are You “Dying” to Entertain More?

I love to entertain, and I love anything that involves a costume.  That being said, you will find that many of our parties have some sort of “theme” so that costumes can be involved!  I think getting into costume brings out many people’s hidden “fun zone!” They are far less inhibited than they might normally be, once they don a costume!

Entertaining comes so naturally to me that I am always amazed by the number of people who don’t know where or how to begin when it comes to throwing a party.  I love putting on any type of party, which is why I host a monthly Bunko,  a monthly Book Club, gamenights, clothing swaps, wedding showers, networking and women’s events and numerous other seasonal parties, such as Holiday and Summer parties.

How to Host a Murder…

Our guests, in costume, for The Watersdown Affair Murder Mystery. What a fun evening we had! This was a great one!

Our guests, in costume, for The Watersdown Affair Murder Mystery. It was set in Yorkshire, England in 1936.  If you are wondering why the shorts on one guest?  His costume suggestion on the invitation was that of a Mountain Climber! He came, hiking “ax” and all!  What a fun evening we had! This was really a fun one!

One of our FAVORITE types of parties are Murder Mystery Parties. We do a few a year.  We think they are really enjoyable, they involve “costumes” and they are a small group of 8, which fits around our round dining room table just perfectly!

Friends have asked me how in the world they work, so I thought I’d share a little about them here. Putting them on is pretty darned easy- believe me- it’s no “mystery” how they work! With the “brand” of murder mysteries I put on, everything is pretty well spelled out for you, as I explain below.

The table, set for The Watersdown Affair, which was to take place in Yorkshire, England at The Watersdown Mansion in 1936.

The table, set for The Watersdown Affair, which was to take place in Yorkshire, England at The Watersdown Mansion in 1936.

My love for the Murder Mystery parties started about 30 years ago, when I was married to my kids’ dad. We put a number of them on then, and loved it.  When Don and I got together, we decided to revisit the idea, so I did a little research on the internet to come up with some new games.  The company that put out the games I had used years ago is called “How to Host a Murder.”  Back in the day, those games seemed kind of pricey, but worth the money (about $35 or $40 in the 80’s.)  The game came with everything you needed to put the mystery together- invitations, a tape you played at the start of the party with the “scene” set out, the list of characters, and even suggestions on what they might want to wear.  In the hosts’ booklet they often gave menu suggestions, making these parties a breeze to put on!

When your "Murder" takes place in England, the decor just calls out for some crowns, don't you think? and wouldn't you know, I just HAPPEN to have some crowns laying around? Not to mention, my events HAVE to have a signature martini to round out the fun!

When your “Murder” takes place in England, the decor just calls out for some crowns, don’t you think? and wouldn’t you know, I just HAPPEN to have some crowns laying around? Not to mention, my events HAVE to have a signature martini to round out the fun!

When I started looking for a newer version of the games, I found that the newer “digital” versions of the game are MUCH more pricey, often about $160.00.  This just seemed ridiculous to me, so I went on Ebay and Amazon and found the older versions, from the company I had used previously,  which were up for sale.  Most of them are still brand new, and in their original seal. And I paid between about $8 and $16 for them!   I have an old cassette player laying around, so that wasn’t a problem for me!  (For those of you who aren’t dinosaurs, or aren’t “savers” give me a call, you can borrow mine if you need one!)

It is Actually Very Simple….

So in detail, this is how it works:

Each game has a specific theme, and time period.

They have 8 players, 4 female and 4 male characters.

As I said above, each character is listed with a bit about them, and a suggestion of what their attire might be.

When you decide to do one of these parties, you need to know that you have friends who are pretty reliable, and will be there once they commit. Without ALL 8 of the players/characters present, you really wouldn’t be able to play the game. So, in thinking up your guest list, think about people who would be reliable, enjoy dressing in costume, and who wouldn’t mind if a bit of the conversation has some “racey” innuendo. Trust me, when people start getting into their characters, the fun REALLY begins!

Mike, as Dr. Malcolm "Mal" Praktiss and Olha, as Dame Allison Bigh. Funny thing is, Mike came practically screaming and kicking when he found out it was a Murder Mystery and he had to come in costume, but I think he had the most fun of all!

Mike, as Dr. Malcolm “Mal” Praktiss and Olha, as Dame Allison Bigh, when we did The Watersdown Affair. Funny thing is, Mike came practically screaming and kicking when he found out it was a Murder Mystery and he had to come in costume, but I think he had the most fun of all!

Once you get a date and have your 8 people, the way I find to be easiest is to scan one of the invitations, and send it to your guest list, letting them know which character they will be.

Props we placed outside our front door for our Western murder mystery, The Good, The Bad and The Guilty! . The bale of hay SEEMED like a good idea, until I found out what a HUGE mess the hay made- just sitting there! In my house, in my yard, Dons SUV from getting it there……… NEVER AGAIN with the hay bale!

The way the playing takes place is that upon arrival, every guest is given a book made specifically for their character.  Instruct them not to look at it until you tell them to. When everyone is present, you play the tape that explains the situation (murder) that has happened, and gives you some details regarding the event.  Guests may take notes in their playbooks.  Most of the murders are divided into 4 “scenes” or chapters.  In each scene, your guests will each be given specific clues which they must bring out, and others that they “may” divulge, only if asked by another character.

Marc was Elias Truist-Heath, an "up and coming" heart-throb gunfighter. Kim, as the lengendary Butch Chastity, the first lady of outlaws. I was Elvira-Lynn Fekshin, the "consummate soiled dove" of the town dont miss out on the pronunciation of her name!) And Don, as Chief Breaking Wind, the distinguished leader of the Cowpai Tribe! We all had fun with our costumes for this one!

4 of us at our Western Murder Mystery we did last spring.  This was was titled, The Good, The Bad and The Guilty, set in The Wyoming Territory 1881!  Marc was Elias Truist-Heath, an “up and coming” heart-throb gunfighter. Kim, as the lengendary Butch Chastity, the first lady of outlaws. I was Elvira-Lynn Fekshin, the “consummate soiled dove” of the town (don’t miss out on the pronunciation of her name!) And Don, as Chief Breaking Wind, the distinguished leader of the Cowpai Tribe! We all had fun with our costumes for this one!

Often, there will be some pretty funny, and sometimes “racy” facts that have to be brought out, such as one character being an illegitimate child of one of the other players, or someone who is having an affair, etc. That’s why, if your crowd is too “straight laced” it may not work out too well!

Johnny as P Elvis Swagarin - a lonely gunslinger, and Geralyn as Helena Handcart, mother of the 13 "Handcart Boys"

Johnny as P Elvis Swagarin – a lonely gunslinger, and Geralyn as Helena Handcart, mother of the 13 “Handcart Boys.” Poor  Helena lost all 13 of her boys after a gunfight at the Parkkay Coral!

Believe me when I tell you, if you have some fun friends, it’s very easy to get into character, and the whole evening becomes ridiculously fun!

K.I.S.S

Keep it Simple Silly!

As far as the menu and the food go- this is my recommendation.  Figure out a way that as the hostess, you don’t have to disappear into the kitchen for long periods, or you will miss too much of the fun- and perhaps a clue or two!

I have done these parties a few different ways.  How you will do it will depend on your budget.  I either make sure my menu can be pretty well prepared beforehand, and will just need to be taken out of the oven at the last minute, or I get someone to help in the kitchen, and they will bring the food out and serve it, so I can stay with my guests having fun at the table. I don’t want to miss out on any more of the silliness and the banter than absolutely necessary!

If you didn’t want to worry about dealing with the food, call in for pizza!  People don’t really care- they just enjoy working through the mystery and playing their parts!

The most important part of entertaining is HAVING FUN!  Don’t make it stressful on yourself- make it easy- whatever “easy” is to you, so you can enjoy it!

Typically, I start the evening at 6 PM and some have lasted as late as 11, depending on the story and the story line, so we have appetizers and drinks as people arrive, go through the introduction of the scene and our characters, and then move into the dining room for scenes 1-4.

No one gets into character more than my beautiful friend Stella! She turned out to be quite the "black widow" in this murder mystery, having buried 3 husbands due to mysterious deaths!

No one gets into character more than my beautiful friend Stella! Her character in this one was called Dee Adela Muerte, and she turned out to be quite the “black widow” in this murder mystery, having buried 3 husbands due to mysterious deaths!

Our table setting for our Western Murder Mystery. This one was really easy- a few yards of “patchwork” fabric sewn together and some bandanas ordered from Oriental Trading Company, tied with twine for napkin rings! Drinks were served in Mason Jar Mugs! The menu for this event was simple easy- I dida simple salad,  BBQ ribs, roasted potatoes, etc. and for dessert root beer floats!

By the end of the evening, you will find that most of your friends LOVE playing the part of someone who is nothing like them, and you will have some great laughs and memories.  And…… you may just find out you are a murderer!  No one, not even the host, knows “who done it” until the end of the night!

Is there anyone who couldn't come up with these fun and simple costumes from their closet?

Is there anyone who couldn’t come up with these fun and simple costumes from their closet? The Western theme lends itself to simplicity!

 

Stella played the part of Dee Adela Muerte, the thrice-widowed Mexican beauty..... And Al was Wyatt Hertz, the most famous lawman in the west!

Stella played the part of Dee Adela Muerte, the thrice-widowed Mexican beauty….. And Al was Wyatt Hertz, the most famous lawman in the west!

The memories you make with these parties last for years!  I still fondly remember the ones we did back in the 80’s and 90’s and the friends who attended still mention them when we get together!  It’s not just another boring evening at home!

Our most recent "Murder" was last weekend, with Murder at the Mardi Gras. While we had a great time with our guests, I have to be honest and say that this wasn't the most well written of the murder mysteries I've ever given. It was really lacking in detail!

Our most recent “Murder” was last weekend, with Murder at the Mardi Gras. While we had a great time with our guests, I have to be honest and say that this wasn’t the most well written of the murder mysteries I’ve ever given. It was really lacking in detail!

This was the whole gang from our Mardi Gras event! The evening was a lot of fun, even if the mystery itself wasn't too well written!

This was the whole gang from our Mardi Gras event! The evening was a lot of fun, even if the mystery itself wasn’t too well written! From L-R  Skip was J. Stephen Peek, family attorney, Stella was Connika Gothika, famous author, Don was Cayenne Pepper, the family chef, Patti as Alexis DuPre, reigning “Magnolia Queen”, Terry, (in front on knees) was “Gator” Crovitz, alligator fisherman,  Gerri was Melissa DuPre, the trampy gold-digging wife, Adam was Bourbon DuPre, jazz musician from the French Quarter and Bella was Elise St. Gresch, the family live-in maid.

 

Spring Networking Social

Adventures With Attitude!, Cocktail Time, Entertaining, Events, Living a Royal Life, Martini Magic, Martinis, Networking Event

Spring Social Success!

“The Queens’ Spring Networking Social” proved to be a success!  When you have a home decorated for spring, a houseful of dynamic professional women, delicious food, a sunny Southern California afternoon, and LEMON DROP MARTINIS…….how could you lose?

Fabulous women, delicious food, a gorgeous sunny afternoon....... and some Lemon Drop Martinis..... What better environment for networking and making connections?

Fabulous women, delicious food, a gorgeous sunny afternoon……. and some Lemon Drop Martinis….. What better environment for networking and making connections?

 

Connections being made, friendships formed and women connecting with other entrepreneurial women is what its all about!

Connections being made, friendships formed and women connecting with other entrepreneurial women is what it’s all about!

Janina, Adele and Peggy enjoying a bit of wine and some Lemon Drop Martinis, when the Flamingo decided to photo bomb them!

Janina, Adele and Peggy enjoying a bit of wine and some Lemon Drop Martinis, when the Flamingo decided to photo bomb them!

Introduction time, and time to give away a few raffles!

Introduction time, and time to give away a few raffles!

If you aren’t on my email list and would like to be notified of upcoming events, please let me know!  I’ll be happy to add you so that you don’t miss out on the fun and frivolity!

Wendy and Natalie enjoying getting to know one another at "The Queens Spring Networking Social!"

Wendy and Natalie enjoying getting to know one another at “The Queens Spring Networking Social!”

Is it a generational thing? Drinks in the hands of 2 ladies, and a phone in the 3rd!

Is it a generational thing? Drinks in the hands of 2 ladies, and a phone in the 3rd!

"The Queen" Patti Phillips seems to be standing guard over the food table!

“The Queen” Patti Phillips seems to be standing guard over the food table!

Don’t miss the next fun event!  We are having a Network, Sip & Shop event on May 2nd, 5:30-7:30 PM!  Stay tuned for the info to be posted soon!

 

It’s a Scam…….. Ma’am!

Comedy, My Humble Opinion, You Can't Make This Shit Up!
There is a new scam out there every day! BEWARE!

There is a new scam out there every day! BEWARE!

There is a Sucker Born Every Minute!

Somewhere, somehow, I am at the top of a list titled “Try her. She’ll believe anything.”  I swear I am. If you have had a scam tried on you, so have I. 27 times.  AND, the other 1,327 scams you’ve never heard about?  I’ve gotten THOSE too.  Each one at LEAST 27 times.  Not sure how or why, but somewhere, some time, some place, I clicked on something that put me at the top of the list.

I have had more Nigerians wanting to share their millions with me than I care to name. I have had Microsoft wanting to “fix my computer” more times than Steve Jobs ever said “Apple.”  I have more people wanting to get me out of my timeshare than you could take vacations in your lifetime. You scam it, I’ve had it!

Funny thing is, many of the scams that come my way, my friends have never even HEARD OF!  How in the world can this be?

When I get the phone calls, I just wish that I knew they were coming so I could record them and have some fun with them.

For some reason, probably “by association” with me, Don gets his fair share too.  A few months ago, his phone and mine were both blowing up with a few “IRS Scam” calls each and every day.

The Computer Fix

Just before Christmas we were visiting family in Illinois for our family Christmas party. (BTW- Sorry if the mention of Christmas “offends” you.  That’s what we happen to celebrate. Christmas. Just the facts, folks. do with this what you may…..) Back to the story…… so Don gets a phone call, while we are staying at my niece Kelly’s house.  From “Microsoft.”  The man with the Indian accent tells Don that he needs to help Don with his computer because he has downloaded a virus.  Don walks into the bedroom we are staying in, with a grin on his face and the man on speaker phone. And Don decides to have some fun with this scammer!

Don says in a very angry voice, “Woman, I have Microsoft on the phone and they say something has been downloaded on my computer causing a virus!  Have you been on my computer again?”  So I play along and say meekly, “Only once or twice. I was downloading a recipe for dinner.”  Then Don smacks his hands together as if he’s hitting me, and I scream saying, “Don’t hit me, ouch!  Stop, please stop.” Don says, “he thinks he’s handled the problem so it doesn’t happen again”, and guess what the scammer’s response is?

“Ma’am, you need to just calm down!  You are making too much noise and need to be quiet!” I said to him, indignantly, “I need to be quiet?  He is hitting me and I need to be quiet?”  “Yes, you need to be quiet” is his response again.  We play this back and forth for a bit, meanwhile my niece Kelly has long appeared from her bedroom, making sure that there wasn’t some awful  part of our relationship she didn’t know about, realizes what is transpiring,……… and the conversation goes on for a bit.

We aren’t sure when the scammer realized that HE was also being scammed, but the phone call ended by him saying, “Sir, I know what you need to do now.  You need to let me put my penis in her vagina.” I asked him to repeat what he just said, then he hung up on us.  SMH!

The Nigerian Scam

SCAM, no matte how you spell it, it's never good!

SCAM, no matte how you spell it, it’s never good!

At least once or twice a week, I get some form of the Nigerian “We have money to get out of the country and you are the only person we can trust.  (See, and some of you probably thought I wasn’t trustworthy!  There is the proof!  People want to entrust me with 4, 8, 10, even 50 million dollars, sure I’ll give them a small share of it!)

Here is one of my recent “Nigerian Scams,” which seems SO legit, because a lot of people have ATM Funds (????) with 10.5 million dollars in them.  Right?

—–Original Message—–

From: Barrister.Angel Nasky [mailto:www.@mild.ocn.ne.jp]

Sent: Wednesday, December 5, 2018 3:06 PM

Subject: GOOD NEWS FROM UNITED NATION ATM CARD CENTER OFFICE,

GOOD NEWS FROM UNITED NATION ATM CARD CENTER OFFICE,

How are you today? hope all is right with you; Please I advised that you should read this email message very carefully and urgently get back to me immediately to avoid wrong delivery of your overdue inheritance unpaid ATM CARD fund worth of $10.5 Million USD presently at our custody United Nation.

Based on the meeting held yesterday with the United Nations Official, US Embassy Official  and IMF officials In collaboration with Office of the Presidency Republic of Benin and Federal Ministry of Finance F.M.F Republic of Benin regarding all overdue inheritance payment File of which your name and email ID was listed among the unpaid beneficiary, I writing to inform you that your files appeared on our desk to pay you a partial payment of

$10.5 million US Dollars of your funds for this First quarter of the year.

But we are having misunderstanding because a Man by name:Mr.Steven Brown, from United States of America called our Office on Friday stating that He is your new next of kin that you have given him the power of attorney to claim your unpaid ATM CARD Fund worth of $10.5 Million USD, He clearly informed our Office that he will pay the delivery charges and he said that you have instructed him to receive the funds on your favor that you are greatly Will which makes it impossible for you to ask all our calls and email to you so far that you cannot work or answer any calls due your presently health condition.

Executive Board of Director Federal Ministry of Finance World are currently and so confuse about him claim that is why the authority instructed me to contact you for us to know if he is telling us the truth or not to avoid wrong delivering of your unpaid fund worth of $10.5 Million USD to unexpected person as we have no clue about this person Mr.Steven Brown

he also forwarded below information DETAILS to us for the delivery of your unpaid inheritance Payment worth the total sum of $10.5 Million USD.FULL NAME== Mr.Steven Brown COUNTRY===USA ADDRESS====3500 OLD DETON RD APT 208; CARROLLTON, TEXAS  75007 PHONE NUMBER== (+1 203-989-2535 ) Kindly check this information and name if we can go ahead and deliver the funds to his info.

After he provided this info to us, he instructed us not to bother or disturbed ourselves by contacting you because you cannot access your email presently due to your present health condition that we should delivered the fund  the funds to him provided information directly because he is now acting on your behalf. If you still interested of this ATM CARD fund kindly reconfirm your directly information to us urgent to avoid wrong delivery such as okay. Contact me to My Email- unitednationheadoffice1998@gmail.com

Or call / text message to this number  Tel: +22960577221

  1. Your Full Name:=======
  2. Your Telephone No:====
  3. Your Country:=========
  4. Your Home Address:====
  5. Your Nearest airport:==

6.Your Age”

We wait to hear from you soon Don’t keep us waiting for your own good.

Your Sincerely

Barrister.Angel Nasky

Tel:+1 (409) 241-7593

Seems TOTALLY legit, right?  I know you may be surprised, but I didn’t follow up on this, so it looks like Mr. Stephen Brown of Carrollton, Texas might be a rich man now, as he is probably in possession of my 10.5 Million ATM Fund.  Ladies, looking for a rich husband?  This could be your big chance!

The Social Security  & IRS Scams

One of the other more recent ones is “The Social Security” office calls you.  They believe there is fraud against your social security number and they want you to call them, otherwise you may not get future payments due to you from your social security account.  I find it strange that the return number is for a number outside the country!  Who would THINK that the government would outsource our Social Security office like that?

The one that it seems almost everyone has gotten is the IRS phone call, stating that you owe for back taxes. The choice of wording on this one is my favorite!  They tell you that you have “Five serious allegations PRESSED UP against you”, and they will be sending “the local cops” to come and get you.  Thank God they are giving the “local cops” a little something to do to keep busy!

At least 5 times per week, I have someone calling to help me, in some way with my timeshare.  To upgrade it, help me get out of payments, WHATEVER. Strange thing is, I don’t OWN a timeshare, and never have.  Other than that, it seems pretty legitimate.

The “Porn Site” Scam

Scammer at work!

Scammer at work!

The very best one, however, is the most recent, and one I know a lot of people are receiving.  The scary thing about this one, is the email notification DOES come in with one of your legitimate passwords (scary enough in itself) so I’m sure, some people, with something to hide, do fall for this one!

This is the email where the hacker says they have hacked your computer, and they have footage of you watching porn and masturbating to it, and they are going to send it to all of your contacts if you don’t send them bit coin of a specified amount.  Haven’t seen this one?  Below is an example of just one of the 4 I have received in the past week alone.

The line on the email notification is: Hi Perv, I have recorded you masturbating

ATTN: patti@thequeenofdamnneareverything.com

THIS IS NOT A JOKE – I AM DEAD SERIOUS!

Hi perv,

The last time you visited a pornographic website with teens, you downloaded and installed software I developed.

My program has turned on your camera and recorded the process of your masturbation.

My software has also downloaded all your email contact lists and a list of your friends on Facebook.

I have both the ‘Patti.mp4′ with your masturbation as well as a file with all your contacts on my hard drive.

You are very perverted!

If you want me to delete both the files and keep the secret, you must send me Bitcoin payment. I give you 72 hours for payment.

If you don’t know how to send Bitcoins, visit Google.

Send 2.000 USD to this Bitcoin address immediately:

3ArUiCT318zX5H8Xc2SPxoXmWba7r2Pj5w

(copy and paste)

1 BTC = 3,580 USD right now, so send exactly 0.564062 BTC to the address provided above.

Do not try to cheat me!

As soon as you open this Email I will know you opened it.

This Bitcoin address is linked to you only, so I will know if you sent the correct amount.

When you pay in full, I will remove the files and deactivate my program. I guаrantеe yоu that I will nоt disturb уou аgain аftеr payment, as уou аre not mу single viсtim. This is а hасkеr сode оf honor.

Don’t bе mаd at mе, еvеrуone hаs thеir own work. exactly what shоuld yоu dо?

If you don’t send the payment, I will send your masturbation video to ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES from your contact list I hacked.

Here are the payment details again:

Send 0.564062 BTC to this Bitcoin address:

—————————————-

3ArUiCT318zX5H8Xc2SPxoXmWba7r2Pj5w

—————————————-

You cаn visit police but nobody will help you. I know what I am doing.

I don’t live in your country and I know how to stay anonymous.

Don’t try to deceive me – I will know it immediately – my spy ware is recording all the websites you visit and all keys you press.

If you do – I will send this ugly recording to everyone you know, including your family.

Don’t cheat me! Don’t forget the shame and if you ignore this message your life will be ruined.

I am waiting for your Bitcoin payment.

If you need more time to buy and send 0.564062 BTC, open your notepad and write ’48h plz’.

I will consider giving you another 48 hours before I release the vid.

Anonymous Hacker

Now this particular “hacker” is one of my favorites, because he lives with a “Hacker’s code of honor.”  If I am going to randomly send off money to a hacker, THIS is my hacker of choice!   None of the others promised that they live with a hacker’s code of honor, so how am I to know I can, indeed, trust them?

Not only that, but this guy is willing to give me a bit more time to scrounge up the funds, should I need it.  How thoughtful and kind is THAT?

I have never been to a porn site, and wouldn’t really know where to go for one, because it’s just really not my thing. But, imagine the one that comes in with one of your REAL passwords, and you are someone who HAS been participating in this activity, without the wifey knowing?  Might give you a bit of a scare, don’t you think?

As P.T. Barnum is quoted saying, “There is a sucker born everyday.” Obviously, some measure of these scams work, or they wouldn’t pursue them as frequently as they do.

I just wish I knew where to have my name deleted from the “Try her. She’ll believe anything” list!