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DO YOU STOP AT RED LIGHTS?

Adventures With Attitude!, Royal Ramblings!, Sexuality, Sexy After 60!, Travel and Adventure, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

DO YOU STOP AT RED LIGHTS?

Everything You Need To Know About Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

One of the side streets in the Red Light District. You can see the red lights down the street.

Normal Curiosity…..

As an American, I think it’s normal to be curious about the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a bit of a curiosity all the way around, with its legalization of drug use, prostitution and other carnal pleasures that aren’t legally allowed in the glorious US of A.

Amsterdam, seems to me the epitome of Liberalism, although I don’t believe that is what they call it.  When you go to Amsterdam there are a number of sayings that you will hear the locals say. “As long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else, go ahead and do what you want.”  “I see you through my fingers”, which means that they know what you are doing, but don’t really care.

The thing about this type of attitude, is that it seems to work. While the prisons and jails in America are burgeoning, in Amsterdam and throughout the Netherlands, it is just the opposite.  They are nearly empty, and some have actually been closed down and turned into other uses, such as hotels.

A very typical Amsterdam Street. 4 story buildings, bikes and a canal down the middle!

Charming Amsterdam…..

All of Amsterdam, due to the water and canals, is mostly made up of buildings 4 stories tall.  You will see an occasional 5 stories, but most of the 5th stories are made up of just one room.  Narrow streets, divided down the middle by a canal.  One narrow lane going one direction on one side of the canal, the other direction on the other side of the canal. The sidewalks are even narrower, so many of the pedestrians walk in the traffic lanes.  Add to all of that THOUSANDS, literally THOUSANDS of bicycles, and it’s a bit of a clusterfuck! Then you have small “alley like” streets that run perpendicular to the main streets.  These are equal to one narrow lane, and many don’t even have sidewalks.

Charming. That’s the way to describe Amsterdam. Completely charming.  The architecture is beautiful.  Most every building made of brick. Due to the quagmire it is built on, many buildings tip a little to the left, to the right or a bit front wards or backwards.  Some may tip 2 or 3 of the direction that I mentioned.  No one seems too worried, as they are 200, 300 or 400 years old and haven’t gone anywhere yet!

The amazing thing though?  You don’t see aggravated drivers.  You don’t see aggravated pedestrians.  The bicyclists, for the most part are pretty calm weaving to and fro between it all….. Again, the Amsterdam attitude of you do your thing and I’ll do mine.  Let’s all just get along.

A typical store throughout Amsterdam. You can buy various drugs, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms and much more!

The Red Light District

So, back to the Red Light District. What is it like?   The streets look basically the same as other parts of Amsterdam, except there are a plethora of sex shops & erotic shops (which are just a sex shop with a different name!), sex “museums”, and a number of bars which have some sort of sex show or porn show.  It kind of reminds me a bit of Bourbon Street in New Orleans- just missing the jazz music.

Keep in mind, little “coffee” is consumed at an Amsterdam coffee shop! The “coffee shops” are where you can go and puchase and smoke weed- all very legal.  Just walking past most of them you can get a “contact high!”

The biggest difference that you see are the Red Lights, and the windows which accompany the Red Lights.  Some blocks may have none, others may have 2, 4 or 12.  So what does that all look like?  Picture your typical front porch light.  With a red bulb placed in it.  Then, next to, or under the light will be a window, and the window usually has Red Velvet curtains in it.  When the light is on, and the curtain is closed, that means the lady  (the prostitute) is busy with a customer.  When the light is not on, you will usually see the curtains closed.  No one is working in that window, at that time.

Typical example of the windows the girls stand in.

An Open Curtain – Means Open for Business!

And then the thing that we Americans find SO fascinating……….. when the curtain is open, and there is a girl in the window. What do you see then?  Most of the women you see are in their 20’s.  They are wearing some type of lingerie.  Most often a bra and panties with heels.  It can vary of course.  I was really surprised that I never saw any type of “bustier”, stockings and garters.  I would assume that look would be prevalent.  I also never saw any “nighties”.  There were a few with the “school girl” look of a short pleated skirt.  One had her nipples only covered with a couple of (ouch!) star-shaped stickers.

There are areas, evidently, where one can find some more “mature” women, larger women or even women-who-might-not-be-women.  Those areas are a bit off on their own, not on the main drag.

The women are in their little “window” area. Many of the windows are groups, usually 3 together.  Those windows are about the size of a typical front door. There were a few other windows, even smaller- typically set down about 2 feet below street level, and they were about 3 ft. by about 4 ft. then, there were other larger windows, about 6 or 7 feet wide.  The wider windows actually showed you the whole room- bed and all.  All of the beds were covered with a dark blue vinyl.  Most of the rooms you could see were very clinical, not too “homey” and unattractive.  We never saw a shower, and seldom a sink in any of them.

These are the “rare” windows, in that their curtains aren’t red velvet!

One of the larger “rooms” we saw in the main area had the usual vinyl covered bed, but also on display were numerous sex toys, wigs, whips and other BDSM equipment. The woman in this window was a bit older than the average girl we saw in other windows. (Darn it, I snuck a photo of her room, but can’t find it in my camera!)

The World’s “Oldest Profession”

So…….. How does it work you wonder?  The women are behind their windows.  Some are very actively interacting with the crowd, giving a cute wink or smile, a “come hither” look. Others look bored beyond belief. Some look plan ol’ scary and like you’d better not bother them.  Some were on their cell phones.  When someone has an interest, they motion to the lady, she opens her door, and negotiations are made as to the services offered or desired, and the price. We were told that the typical price is 50-75 Euros.  That is for the “service” not for the time, and most sessions are considered about 15 minutes long. Evidently, if you want a specific time period, that is negotiated up front.  Don’t ask me what happens to the poor gal who gets a guy who lasts forever and a day……….. I guess they have provisions for that!

Rules of the Red Light District

There are certain “rules” that everyone is supposed to abide by.  Pictures of the women while behind their windows is strictly forbidden.  There are a number of plain clothes police walking around, and they don’t take kindly to rule breakers! It is also said that the girls have been known to come out, grab your phone, and throw it in the nearest canal, or stomp on it and break it!

This is how people are expected to behave in the Red Light District. Sorry about the color, the nearby red lights were distorting the white background…..

There is actually a “10 Commandments” on how to behave toward the prostitutes which is expected. You can find it posted in the area.

They are as follows:

  1. Do not take photographs or film
  2. Do not tap or spit on the window
  3. Be respectful toward the women
  4. Do not peek through cracks in the curtains
  5. Do not stand in front of the doors or windows
  6. When visiting, pay in advance and discuss beforehand what is and is not permitted
  7. Never have unprotected sex
  8. Be Hygienic (clean and well groomed, not intoxicated)
  9. When you suspect force or coercion, call the police on 09008844
  10. Aggression is not tolerated.

There are a specific number of licenses given for the Red Light district.  No new licenses have been issued for quite a number of years. One person can own more than one “window” which they rent out by shift. There are approximately 300 of the windows, or “prostitution rooms.” The ladies pay a specific amount per “shift” which is typically 10 hours.  Most of the rentals are 150. Euros per shift, but some, depending on the location, day and time, could rent out for more – or less.

It is said that most of the ladies are “independent”- they work for themselves.  But there is still some amount of “pimping” “managing” or as they call it ”lover boys”. Evidently, “pimping” used to be illegal, but in the past few years it was deemed to be legal. However, things are closely watched, to make sure that sex trafficking is not going on. In theory, in Amsterdam, everyone who is working as a prostitute does so of their own free will. Local authorities continuously investigate and inspect the working conditions of the prostitutes.  It is also encouraged that if any customers suspect that someone is being forced into prostitution, they should report it, so the woman can be helped. There is an anonymous phone number that can be called to report issues, and that number is prominently displayed around the Red Light District. The safety of the prostitutes is taken very seriously in Amsterdam.

This is the suggested behavior for “on the job” success!

Taxes are filed by the women, in fact we went past a Tax Accountant’s office- and he advertised that his specialty was filing taxes for the Prostitutes.  There are also required routine medical test to make sure they aren’t passing on any diseases.

In Amsterdam, there are also brothels and individual escorts. All must be licensed.  The brothels are located all around, not just the red light district. It is the responsibility of the brothels and the owners of the “windows” to make sure that the women are properly checked out, and that none of them are being forced into work by anyone else.

I don’t think much sleeping goes on in these rooms! This may have been a bordello, but no one would really give us an answer on that!

Museums, Museums…….. Everywhere!

Another interesting fact about Amsterdam is that it seems you can call just about anything a “museum” and charge people to enter.  In the Red Light District there were The Sex Museum, The Eroticism Museum and The Museum of Prostitution, among others.

We visited The Museum of Prostitution.  It was interesting, but I wouldn’t say we picked up any astonishing information, or learned any big fact about prostitution in the Red Light District that we hadn’t picked up by talking to someone we knew who lives in the area.

Patti in front of the Prostitution Museum

Obviously, we weren’t the only ones a bit curious about the famous “Red Light District.”  It is estimated that over 6 million people visited the Red Light District of Amsterdam in 2017, and that over 60% of all tourist go to see it personally.

So, let’s see if we have this right.  Prostitutes are licensed, taxes are paid, diseases are kept to a minimum, things are policed for everyone’s safety, the jails aren’t filled beyond capacity- and the rest of Amsterdam basically feels like “live and let live”- basically not caring if someone partakes or doesn’t partake.

Can someone explain to me why in the world our country is so antiquated and doesn’t do the same thing?  If people want to participate in prostitution on either end of the spectrum, they are going to. Filling our jails with adults who have both consented to a sexual act doesn’t make sense to me. People involved in that act shouldn’t have to worry about their safety, whether it is the woman, or the man.

I’m all for the Amsterdam attitude of “live and let live” and “as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else, go ahead and do what you want.”

I hope this little article answers some of your curiosity about the Red Light District!

 

The Sound of Silence

Comedy, Fabulous After 50, Health = Happiness!, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Sexy After 60!, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

If you know me, you know that I love being pampered as much as the next girl!  In fact, earlier this evening Don and I went for a 90 minute massage.  We go pretty often.  Many would call me spoiled, and I don’t feel bad about it for a minute.

Nails, pedicures, facials…… I’m a regular at pretty much all of them.

So, of course, when I saw an article about the most “out there” spa treatments, I was sucked into reading it stat!

The idea of most of them left me cold (or hot- but not in a good way!) Treatments where they switch from freezing you to heating your body parts with hot volcanic rocks, within moments of one another.  People ringing little bells and making noises while you are having a massage. Metal bowls laid on your body, and sound vibrations being used to “calm you.”

Shammans, High Priestess’, detoxifications, Nature bathing, Chakra Clearing, Chants, Bell ringing……… the thrills go on and on.

The one that sounds like pure torture to me are the “silent spas.”  Holy shit- people go for 2 to 5 DAYS without anyone talking? I would be out of my fucking MIND with days of total silence.  Please, let me give birth to 12 elephants without an epidural before I have to sit around in complete silence!  Are these people training to be some sort of monks?  And for this people are paying good money?  Something is wrong with this scene! THE SOUND OF SILENCE…. A little bit goes a LONG way in my book!

Call me old fashioned, but my idea of pampering is to take my clothes off and have someone massage me. I don’t want Chatty Cathy working on me, but should I want to let her know I’d like a little more pressure, I want to be able to speak up and get it done the way I like it!

Bells ringing, vibrations vibrating, chakras being cleared, water being poured on my head, rattles, wind chimes and other assorted “hocus-pocus” are just not my cup of tea.

Boring.  Old fashioned. Dull. Call me what you want, but when I’m being pampered, I prefer things a little more subdued.  I don’t feel the need for the Shaman and his dancing band of thieves to show up and set up a show. I think my Chakras are doing, fine, thanks for asking.  I’ll keep the bells on the windchimes outdoors.

Give me a quiet room, a little bit of “Origami music” (check out my Origami music side story, which is at the end of this blog)  and if we are really going all out- a heated bed, and I’m a pretty darned happy camper.  I prefer  the “cozy” of a warm massage bed to the extremes of being frozen and heated to excess……

So, as I previously said-  Keep the bells, the Shamans, the dings and the dongs, the good vibrations (I’ll keep the vibrating to the privacy of my own bedroom, thank you very much).  Just get out the massage oil, a semi dark room, my man on the adjoining massage table, and let’s stick to the basics.

Keep it simple stupid!

If you’d like to read the article and see what you can have done, and where to find it- here goes: Most Out There Spa Treatment

SIDE STORY- As promised………

Now that I mentioned “Origami music” I feel the need to explain.  A number of years ago, I owned a gift ware company.  When we worked the gift shows, it was damned hard work- on your feet for 8+ hours straight, trying to write as many orders as possible to keep the company profitable.  I always took 2 other girlfriends with me to work the markets.

At the LA gift show they had chair massage set up.  I told the girls that if we made a certain goal that day, I’d spring for chair massage on our way out.  Sure enough, goal achieved we went to get the massage.  My friend Kim was one of the hardest working people EVER.  Always doing for others, but seldom doing anything for herself…….. So, as we all settle in our chair massage contraptions, and just start to relax, Kim says, in all seriousness…. “This is great, but we need a little of that Origami music.”

HUH?  Origami music? What is that, music to fold paper by?

To this day, I can’t hear “massage music” without thinking about it being “Origami music.” Thanks for about 20 years of laughs over that one Kim Hartley!

 

 

 

Emily Post is Dead…..

Entertaining, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Uncategorized

Emily Post is Dead….

Whatever happened to Emily Post?  Back in the day- (and I realize “the day” was a while back, and things have changed) society lived by a set of rules, known as etiquette.  The rules for how we conducted ourselves was large. About 2 or 3 inches thick as I recall.  There were details in it that didn’t really make a rats ass of difference in most people’s lives.  How to properly seat people at a dinner party.  Leaving a calling card when visiting.  When and how to use obscure pieces of flatware.  Those things probably won’t change our lives, at least life in todays’ society one bit.

But, there are still some rules of etiquette that SHOULD and could be implemented.

I probably entertain more than any 10 women put together. And I am amazed each and every time that an invitation goes out, just how rude people can be. (Sorry, just have to call it like it is!) I do realize that many people don’t entertain in their homes, and may not realize the amount of work that goes into it. Perhaps THAT is the excuse.  WHATEVER the excuse, I’d like to share a few easy rules for being a guest in someone’s home, which just may get you invited back.

A Few Simple Rules for Being a Good Guest…

  1. RSVP.

Just take the time to RSVP for the love of God!  It’s not that difficult!  I absolutely can’t believe the people who never respond in any way.  No yes, no no, no maybe!  Come on people!  If you don’t want to go, can’t stand the host, would rather pull lint out of your belly-button, or lice off of your significant other-  JUST LET THE PERSON WHO ASKED YOU KNOW YOU WON’T BE THERE.  No. A simple no.  Nowadays, other than a wedding invitation, most of your invitations can be responded to via email, response to evite, or via text.  JUST TAKE A FRICKIN’ MINUTE TO LET THE HOST OR HOSTESS KNOW YOUR INTENTIONS!

The “Maybe” response……. I understand the Maybe response- if your daughter is due to give birth sometime the 3rd week of January, so your response is “As long as we aren’t on our way to Nebraska, due to Janie’s impending birth.” That’s a good reason for a maybe.  Absolutely.  It’s the “maybe’s” that make the hostess feel like you are just waiting to see if something better comes up which really piss me off.  Look, if you can’t give a definite YES, I’d like to be there, because you really DON’T want to be there, give a resounding NO, and move on. If you have to see what your work schedule is, and they don’t let you know until the Tuesday of the event…… OK on that.  But just maybe, a maybe that, once again looks like you are waiting to see if possibly Angelina Jolie is going to invite you over for drinks, but… if she doesn’t, you might show up are rude….. just plain rude…..

I think that California is particularly prone to this. Everyone wants to wait until the last moment to commit, fearing they might miss something better.  As Bon Qui Qui would say. RUDE!

I recently had a big party for my 60th birthday.  I rented a room, had a band, and had it catered.  I BEGGED people, via Evite to just let me know whether or not they were coming.  In the end, there were 60 people who never responded one way or the other.  That could be up to 120 people who may- or may not be there.  Kind of a BIG difference when you are paying to cater something.

I entertain enough to know what the average response rate is, and I had my numbers within 5 people of who actually DID attend. But SERIOUSLY?  If I didn’t entertain on almost a weekly basis, I wouldn’t have had any idea how many people to tell the caterer to plan on.

2. HOSTESS GIFTS—- Not to “Wine”……….

A girl can only use SO much wine!

I think it is really thoughtful when people bring a hostess gift for the hostess.  You definitely deserve Kudos for the thoughtfulness.  Can I give you a hint on what NOT to bring for said hostess gift.  2 items I suggest you forget about bringing to a hostess. (Keep in mind- I’m the girl who has held about 10 events in the past 3 months).  PLEASE, rethink the bottle of wine, and cut flowers.  At one of my housewarming parties a few years ago I received over 30 bottles of wine.  As a single woman who rarely drinks wine, and then, only white wine ( and, I’ll admit it- shit white wine at that), there was not a chance I was going to ever drink that much wine, not to mention, be able to store it.  Can I just say…… IT IS UNIMAGINATIVE!  It’s boring.  It’s the easy way out, and most likely, it’s wine some other unimaginative, boring person gave YOU!  Come up with something that the hostess might really be able to use.  It’s simple. It’s more fun.  And it says you really care.

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers……. Anymore…..

The other item to stop bringing…… cut flowers that need to be put in a vase.  The last thing in the world a hostess has time to do when a slew of people are walking in her door is figure out where a damned vase that will fit your flowers is! AND, if her cupboard where vases are stored is where my vase cupboard has been in all my previous homes, it is 6 feet up, above the oven, and they are stacked in there in such a way that opening it may be life threatening.  DON’T DO THIS TO THE WOMAN WHO JUST MADE YOU A MEAL!  Either bring a plant that is in a ready-to-go container, a flowering plant or flowers in a vase.  Don’t add stress to the woman who just put this event together. It’s stressful to figure out what to do with a bouquet of flowers when so much is going on!

A potted plant is a great gift! A hostess doesn’t have to find a vase, take time to arrange it, and can plop it down and carry on!

Use Your Imagination…..

You might wonder, what in the world you are supposed to being a hostess if not wine and flowers? Bring something seasonal.  An ornament or decoration if it’s the holiday season.  A pretty fall accessory. An orchid or other flowering plant which can be set down and dealt with later.  If you know the hostess has a passion for something, bring something that speaks to that.  A friend recently brought the cutest little mug set to a party I gave. One said “The Queen of Damn Near Everything.”  The other “The King of Whatever’s Left.” Something for both Don and I, that said she’d thought about it!  Another friend brought a lovely orchid.  For about 8 weeks, I had blooms that made me think of her. Neither cost more that most bottles of wine, I’m sure! But they spoke volumes to me when I received them.

This was a hostess gift that showed me the giver KNEW me, and took time to bring something fitting my tastes and quirks!

3. DON’T BRING A GUEST WITHOUT TELLING THE HOST

I am probably the most “more the merrier” person in the world.  Unless I’m putting on an event that can only have a specific number of people for a good reason, I always say “bring whoever you want.”  HOWEVER, if you do that, can you PLEASE clue the hostess in that someone she may not know will be arriving?

On more than one occasion I have been in my home at a party and see someone I don’t know, enjoying food and drink.  It is very awkward to walk up to a person in your home, and inquire who they are, and how they got there!  It’s really not that tough to clue the hostess in that you have brought a friend, and introduce you, or to tell her your friend may be stopping by. COME ON PEOPLE- should we have to tell you this shit?

4. DON’T WHINE IF YOU AREN’T INVITED TO SOMETHING.

As a host or hostess, we can’t invite ALL of the people ALL of the time.  I have had numerous occasions where, at a smaller gathering I haven’t invited someone that might come to other gatherings I have.  When you are having a sit-down luncheon for example, only a certain number of people can fit at the table.

DON’T BE THE PERSON WHO GETS ALL BUTT HURT BECAUSE YOU WEREN’T INVITED!

I can’t begin to tell you the many times I’ve seen people getting all up in arms because someone had an event and they weren’t invited to go!  GET OVER IT!  We aren’t in 3rd grade.  We can’t always invite every damned person we know, AND….. I’ll bet those of you who get all butt hurt NEVER INVITE THOSE SAME PEOPLE TO YOUR HOUSE! It’s always the ones who want to be invited to every damned thing who never invite others to their house! They typically don’t entertain, yet they WANT to be entertained!

Take a look at your social skills people!  Are you being a good guest?  Taking time to RSVP? Inviting your favorite hostess to your house now and then? Remember your mother’s old saying, “To have a good friend you need to BE a good friend!”

We are all adults here.  Let’s look back at some of Emily Posts rules, and take a bit of time to follow some of them.  You will be glad you did!  (And so will the hostess who invited you!)

Creepy Christmas Carols

Comedy, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Uncategorized, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

I published this article last year during the holidays……. all in the name of fun.  Now, this year, people have actually started CAMPAIGNS to get many of the songs I mentioned in last year’s article banned from being played!  STOP YOURSELVES PEOPLE!  It’s enough already with political correctness! OMG!

Now I’m wondering if I’m like the old saying- “When EF Hutton speaks, people listen.  Holy crap!  Did people take my kidding rant SERIOUSLY and decide to go after these old classics?  THAT must be it!  I must wield more power than I realize!  Alas…….  read what I wrote last year about the Classic Christmas Carols……. then hate me for life, because you will soon never hear some of them again! (I’m also adding a hysterical link to a video just put out about “The Date Rape Song.”

Below is the article from last year-

——————————————————————————————————————————————

I fully understand that most of our Christmas Carols were written quite some time ago – and standards of what is acceptable have changed dramatically during that time.  Am I the only one who shudders when you hear some of those “old classics?” Many are not only “politically incorrect” they are “socially incorrect.”

Think about it.  In We Wish You a Merry Christmas– a bunch of strangers walk up to your door, and start singing outside.  When you open the door, they demand “figgy pudding” (and God only knows what the hell THAT foul sounding concoction is).  Then this intrusive bunch of strangers says they “won’t go until they get some.”  It’s like spontaneous trick-or-treating of sorts, but you have no idea that this rude bunch was going to show up- and you are supposed to be Johnny-on-the-spot with some damned  figgy pudding! Or maybe, it would better be called Martha-Stewart-on-the-spot! ( I’d doubt that even Martha would have figgy pudding whipped up, ready for carolers! And – I’d also bet, you don’t just show up ringing the bell at Martha’s house unannounced!) I can’t imagine too many of us would be ready to welcome a large group of strangers into our home unannounced and feed them dessert!

Where was Santa when the bullying was taking place?

Then of course, the one that really makes my blood boil.  The ultimate “it’s OK to bully someone” song.  Rudolph The Red Nose Raindeer. Rudolph, the poor little raindeer with the big red nose.  This poor little guy is different from the other “kids” and gets teased, made fun of and ostracized from raindeer society.

The big guy in the red suit obviously knows this bullying is going on, and he doesn’t do anything to stop it either.  But then- alas- when there is a USE for poor little Rudolph- he is called upon and becomes the hero of the raindeer hierarchy. Am I the only one who is pissed off by this little song?  Come on- why didn’t anyone stick up for little Rudolph earlier in this little ditty?  Fuck you Dasher and Dancer, Donder and Blitzen, and all your other little raindeer bully friends………And shame on you Santa and Mrs. Claus for letting the bullying happen in the first place.

How about Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  Again, Creepy!  He “Sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.”  This sounds more like Stalker Santa than not,  in my book! Picture some fat old guy hovering about in your bedroom,  looking over you when you are a small child asleep in your room.  Uh………. no thanks! I’m not going there  for just  a few little presents under the tree Santa….. I have my standards!

Oh my goodness- another song that is very odd when you think it through.  I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.  What’s it do to a little kid to see his slutty mommy screwing around under the same roof where daddy lives?  What’s THAT say to a developing little psyche? Mommy is kissing AND tickling the chubby old guy, and this kids sneaks in and sees the whole scene! Right under the same roof where daddy was probably the sole breadwinner in those days! I have a feeling that once daddy gets told mommy is screwing around with another guy, this kid is going to find out it isn’t so “funny” after all!

The guy in this song just doesn’t get the word NO!

The REALLY creepy song?  What I call the original “date rape” song.  Baby It’s Cold Outside. This woman CLEARLY states numerous times she wants to leave, and he insists she stays.She says “I really must go, the answer is no.”  Still he insists she stay- saying there are no cabs outside, because it’s cold!   Whatever happened to that saying- “No means no?” Not only does he keep insisting she stay, but it sounds like he slipped a rufie into her drink! She says, “What’s in this drink?” CREEPY!  CREEPY!  Mr. Date Rape himself is the star of this little ballad!

“Say, WHAT’S in this drink? (Maybe a rufie?)

NOTE: Since I published this article last year, there is a new video out, which I think is hysterical. You’ll want to watch it!   The Holderness Family is just too darned funny!

Santa Baby takes “gold digging” to a new standard!  Work it sister, and get the old geezer to buy you diamonds, furs and cars! There is a GREAT standard to teach the kids!  Money can’t buy you happiness, but using those womanly curves can get you the goods!

The list goes on and on…… this is just the tip of the Creepy Christmas Carol lyrics.

My last comment on Christmas Carols…….. I know I have a number of screws loose, but am I the only person who gets creeped out whenever Karen Carpenters songs come on? I don’t know WHAT it is, but the whole time she is singing my mind plays a constant loop of “dead woman singing.”  I don’t think that when Whitney Houston songs come on, or Nat King Cole, or Bing Crosby- or any number of other artist who have gone on to the big gates in the sky….. but Karen Carpenter songs cause damage to my brain, because that is all I can think of……. Dead woman singing.  I know, someone should have me committed…….. put away for a long time so I don’t do further damage to myself or those around me.

My mind tends to go to places the average Joe, or Josephine wouldn’t begin to imagine.

A little PS to this article…. Do you remember the song Grandma Got Run Over by a Raindeer?  Well, check out the following YouTube link!   It gives some real credibility to that song!

Faded Photographs…….

Family Time, Household DIY, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, The Queen's Castle- DIY, Uncategorized

Out With “The Old?”

There is no doubting that in our lives, time passes, things change, people come and go from our lives.  On my computer, my screensaver is a constantly changing round of all of the photos stored on my computer.  I have never gone in and purged photos from the years past, so, undoubtedly, photos from past relationships show up, my children’s past relationships, sometimes family or friends who are no longer with us, or aren’t any longer a part of my life.  My daughter has expressed shock that a picture of an old boyfriend of hers will pop up on my screen. “Mom, why do you still have THAT on your computer?”  I’m sure there has been the occasional time my man has walked past my computer to see a picture pop up of me with one of my ex’s.

You may wonder why I don’t “purge” those photos from my computer.  Time. Or lack of it may be one reason.  However, even if I had the time to go through dozens of files of photos to take out those from past relationships, I probably wouldn’t do it.

This silly picture is me, my daughters, Alyse and KT. We went up to Long Beach, to see my sister who was visiting from Illinois. This was New Years Eve Day, and who could resist these glasses? (I still have 2 pairs!) It’s one of those memories of a great family day, filled with silliness!

Memories of Days Gone By

Each and every one of those photos are a part of me.  Although a breakup happened, those photos typically represent a small snapshot of time, a time that I was enjoying the day, the person, the event.  To purge those photos would be purging a happy memory.  While a relationship, in “the whole” might not have worked, the day at the beach was a good one.  The family trip may have been a special one.  The wedding we attended was a beautiful day for the couple involved, even if that couple’s relationship- or mine- may not still be intact.

Seeing those pictures from years past often give me a brief spark of memory of what redeeming quality  I did see in that person at the time, and make the “mistake” of the relationship a little less piercing.

And if you know me, you know I’m a bit vain, so seeing myself as I looked a few years back is a fun kick in the pants too!  “Damn, I looked pretty darned good at that family party, I must say!” “What was I thinking wearing that Christmas sweater?”  “Look how young the kids were there!”  “That was such a fun vacation! I remember that we did (this or that) on that trip!”

Traces of Love… And Friends No Longer With Us

If you are old enough, you may remember the song, “Traces of Love”, which had the lines, “faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases, tickets torn in half, memories in bits and pieces…traces of love, long ago, that didn’t work out right….. traces of love with me, tonight.”  Our digital photos no longer fade and crease, but our memories often do.  The constant replaying of those photos helps me to remember those days, those moments and those memories.

I love the feeling of looking at my computer, and chuckling over a particularly silly time, or feeling that little “tug” on my heartstrings when a photo of a friend who is no longer with us pops up.

My lovely friend, Sharon Freed. So gorgeous, so much fun! When we worked together, we would laugh so hard our stomachs would hurt. Gone too fast, and too young. When this picture pops up, although I look like a complete DORK in this picture, seeing my friend makes me smile every time! Yes, it’s bittersweet, but memories of our times together are nothing BUT sweet!

Life’s “Before” and “Afters”

I have photos of the first home I purchased as a single woman, about 5 years ago.  At the time, I had recently come out of a marriage to a financially reckless man who left my finances devastated, my credit score well below 500, and no credit cards to my name.  The ability to purchase this home was totally unexpected- kind of kismet, you might say.  So, as I remodeled this home, doing vast amounts of the work with my own two (manicured) hands,  not only did I build myself a new “home”- I was in the process of building a new life. Reinventing myself, and reinventing this dated mobile home into something I was proud of.  I can remember the nights I worked at that house until 2 or 3 am getting it ready to move into. I loved that home, I shared it with numerous friends, having many events there. The sweat equity I built into that home became  a springboard to purchase my second home as a single woman, the home I currently live in.

This was the “before” of my bedroom at the home I redecorated.

Here is the same bedroom after I worked on the house.

Looking at those photos when they randomly pop up- whether it is one of the “before” photos of a dated, worn out kitchen, or the unpainted 1970’s dingy, dark paneling, or the “after” pictures of the fabulous 1940’s style black, white and crystal bathroom I created, I feel a great sense of accomplishment for having made my way through what could have been a dark time.

Here was the kitchen when I took possession of the house. Yes, all of this junk was left for me!

Here is the after on the same kitchen. I LOVED that kitchen! I did it on a shoestring- pulling out the old cabinets myself, re-using the stove, and getting a refrigerator free from a friend! This picture wasn’t taken ‘staged’- so ignore the stuff on the countertops!  You’ve got to remember, many of these photos were taken for “memory’s sake.” I had no idea I’d have a blog where I was sharing them!

There is no rhyme or reason to the order my photos from my past show up.  Some pictures will have rotated 20 times through my screen, when others don’t seem to appear for months, but whatever is on my screen, there is ALWAYS a memory sparked.  Often a smile.  Sometimes a shake of the head and an eye roll, along with “What the hell was I thinking.”  But no matter what the reaction, I know that what I am seeing is a snapshot of my past. And every one of them add up to having made me the woman I am today. The unique me that I am.  Every one of them is a treasure to me, and to my ever fading memories of my past.  Will I clear out those photos of my ex, my daughter’s ex, even the “friend” who might have turned out NOT to be such a great friend?  Probably not.  Because every one of the memories that pop up before my eyes are there for a reason.

My darling grand daughter Nell and me at Disneyland. We were attending the “Princess Lunch” and you can see she was thrilled! (So was I, obviously, because I was wearing a tiara….. Once the Queen, always the Queen, and don’t you forget it!) Nell is 10 now, and she was only 4 here!

What’s the “Deal” Wayne Brady?

Productions & Concerts, Raves & Rotten Reviews, Royal Ramblings!, Uncategorized, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Really Wayne Brady?

Really Wayne?  Is this the best you’ve got for those people who have been your fans for years? Where is the funny guy, the friendly guy, the personable guy we all think of when we see Wayne Brady? I just have to ask!

Last weekend, my daughter Alyse, her friend Liza and myself took the hike up to LA to be on Let’s Make a Deal.

Now, if you know me, I’m ALL about putting together costumes!  I have, literally, dozens and dozens of costumes in totes in the top of my closet.  If you can think it up, I probably have a costume for it.

Your’s truly, my daughter Alyse, and her friend Liza. We are pretty damned glamorous, you have to admit! 🙂

We decided to go as the Three Blind Mice.  When I do a costume, I do it up to the last detail. We had mouse tummies, mouse ears, mouse bow-ties, mouse tails, mouse “canes”, sunglasses.  Sayings printed on the back of our costumes, and great 2 sided signs, with oh-so-clever sayings……..  If that doesn’t get you chosen for Let’s Make a Deal, what would, right?

The Wait Begins………

So, if you’ve never been to one of the TV game shows, let me tell you, this is a LONG and drawn out affair!  It starts with the reservation to go up there, then when you get there, you stand in line to prove you are supposed to be in the audience.  You have to show your reservation and your ID.  Then you go through a security check and metal detector…….. after that the wait starts.

Waiting in the line that seemed to take forever. But we kept the “perfect contestant” smiles plastered on our little mouse faces!

You are handed a clipboard, with about 8 pages of small print.  You fill that in and wait. And wait. And wait.  There are various people you connect with to get your ID scanned, paperwork checked out, nametags, numbers, blah, blah, blah…….

We were aware that they are checking you out the whole time to see if you are “fun material” for TV, so we kept the fun-a-coming….. the happy attitudes in check and the cuteness factor just oozing from our bodies for every damned minute…… hour (and seemingly day and week).

The thing that amazed me was the amount of people who come into this process WITH NO COSTUME!  Yep!  You can rent them there.  Now, silly me….. the way I would do this thing would be to look at who really made an effort at a costume, made it fun, made it creative — and they would be at the top of the “people to choose” list.  Evidently, not so, as you will soon see!

Don’t get too excited about this picture. This is just a “fakey” they do in front of a blue screen! Your phone is confiscated AGES before you get to the studio. We were actually sitting behind where my left ear was when we were in the audience.

At the end of the long and tedious line, you are pulled off into a little section at the end of the room with about 20 people, where one of the producers goes around, asks your name, what you do, etc…….. then into the holding tank you go, with all of those who are going to be on the show that day.

You’d think they might give you a clue, such as, “The bus to the studio will be boarding approximately “blah-blah” time, or “15 minutes after the last contestants get through their interview” or “when hell freezes over” or “when you die of old age” or “once Bettie White is no longer the most popular female in the US.”   Uh, no.  No hint.  You are a bit scared to go off to the potty, because it’s out the door, down and around the building, and up on a trailer full of porta’ potties. (Seriously?  They can’t even give you a REAL bathroom here at the Let’s Make a Deal holding pen? Let me tell you, on a day that hovered in the 80’s with more damn humidity than is legal in Cali’- this was not a pleasant experience.)  So, you don’t know if they might call everyone while you are porta’ pottying it, and you might miss the whole damn show!  And, when you are one of the 3 Blind Mice, you miss it, and the rest of the gang is also kinda’ shit outta’ luck for their costume ensemble…..

A little information for the masses would be nice you execs in charge of Let’s Make a Deal.  Just sayin!

Me and Liza. (BTW- might know that out of hundreds of people, I’d get assigned contestant number 69! Just sayin’!)

So, it’s once you are put into the “holding pen” that those who need to can rent a costume.  These aren’t great costumes.  Not by any stretch.  A lot of “Hawaiian Shirt and plastic lei” type of stuff. Santa and Santa’s helper. With “Santa” consisting of the Santa top & hat, no beard, no Santa pants or boots…… Very basic, not-a-real-costume type of costume…

And the wait goes on…..and on….. and on……

We kept up our happy-as-fuck little effervescent attitudes, however, because we KNEW we were being judged each and every moment.  Once 3 separate people gave us our marching orders (all 3 speeches were basically the same, BTW!) We were told that, indeed, we were being watched moment by moment, both now and throughout the show, until the very last moment, and we needed to keep our enthusiasm til the end, act excited if we won a prize, even if we hated it more than our mother-in-law, don’t touch Wayne Brady in any way, unless he gave explicit consent, and don’t chew gum…… we finally were herded into buses to go to the studio.

Upon getting to the studio, we were then herded into a sort of hallway to sit until further notice. Again, a bit of information would be nice.  Information such as how long we might be there, if/when and where we could go to the bathroom, etc.  Of course, the moment my daughter wandered off to the bathroom they started us moving inside, giving the other 2 members of the “blind mice” ensemble a moment of panic.

It might be nice before they DO herd you into the studio to tell you you WON’T be able to get a drink of water, or go to the bathroom for the next 2 hours or more……… HOLY GOD, is that too much to ask?  Heads up here people, do what you have to do, and you have this much time to do it in……… NOPE!

Then the fun, and the disappointment begins.

Once they seat us in the studio, there is yet another speech (#4 for those of you who have stopped counting).  This speech reiterates the same content which was gone over repeatedly before boarding the bus.  I DO fully understand, that some of the people in said audience are not rocket scientist….. but SERIOUSLY?  This isn’t LIVE TV, and if someone really F’s up, they CAN edit it out……

“His Royal Highness” Arrives!

Then “his highness” arrives on the set.  We are all prepared for the moment.  When Wayne Brady enters, the first person he calls up is a gal who isn’t even IN a costume.  SERIOUSLY?  WTF?  She was cute, and did win a motorcycle, so we were all pleased for her.  When it’s time for a commercial break, Wayne strolls out, no interaction in ANY WAY with the audience.  Not a wave, not a smile, not a joke, nothing! We, however, stand up and, as Liza put it, “dance like monkeys” the whole commercial break, because that’s how they told us they choose people for the segments. It was like rinse, and repeat for the rest of the taping of the show.  Almost everyone chosen for the show was- are you ready?…… wearing one of the IDIOTIC RENTAL COSTUMES!

Closeup of Alyse and Liza. Once you are on the show, your contestant number comes off.

There was one costume that was UBER popular in the audience.  This was a hat type device which looked like a milk carton, and your face became the face on the milk carton.  There were at least 7 people in the audience with that clever $5.00 costume.  There were 3 “rainbow unicorns.”  90% of the costumes were easy-peasy purchased costumes We had the only hand held signs in the whole audience.  No notice of that!  We had accessories! We had cuteness!  We had creativity!  All that, on top of our sparkling personalities the whole frickin’ day!  And none of us were called!

There was one gal in our “group” who did get called up front.  We were so happy for her! She was a kind of Sandra Bullock look-alike, and very friendly.  Her costume was a slot machine, and she had personalized it with Wayne Brady phrases on it.  Alyse called it early on that she would get chosen, and we were excited to see her do well.

Wayne Brady……. Not So Much……

But the worst part of the experience? Wayne Brady. Wayne Brady and his lack of interaction with anyone in the audience.  He didn’t actually even ACKNOWLEDGE us in any way shape or form!  Other than 2 funny bits he did while the camera was rolling with guys on stage and in the audience, none of us existed.  We were simple “props”, and not worthwhile human beings.

Like mother, like daughter. Even as blind mice we look similar! Turns out, Wayne Brady is kind of a dirty rat. At least, not a very friendly one, as it turns out!

Wayne, Wayne, Wayne……. I’ve loved you since I saw the first Who’s Line is it Anyway…. but I’ll never feel the same about you.  Bummer! I don’t think a bit of kindness to the people in the audience would have been too much to ask from you. Wayne actually came right in front of us in the audience, to get to the woman they were choosing for “the big deal”.  No eye contact, not a hello, not a hi five…… in fact, I don’t think he knew we were humans he raced in front of.

Wayne, you pompous little ass! You hadn’t been standing in line all day. You hadn’t been in the holding pen for hours. I’m pretty damned sure YOU hadn’t missed lunch.  You weren’t dying of thirst and needing a bathroom.  Would a little hand wave, a few hugs, maybe a little joke or two have killed you? What’s the deal, Wayne?  Did you forget the people who put in in front making the big bucks? Our relationship is officially over now you chump!  I’m embarrassed for you and your lack of simple kindness and compassion to the people who came to see you.  Nice suit, by the way.

Tsk, Tsk, TSA!

My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Travel and Adventure, Uncategorized, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

If you’ve done much traveling over the past few years, I’m sure you have experienced opening your suitcase to find a white card, about 3 1/2″ x 8 1/2″  to inform you that TSA has done a “safety inspection” of your suitcase.  I have had it happen.  On more than one occasion. (The picture below shows the lovely little form they leave in your suitcase. If you’ve been so lucky to have your bag inspected you will recognize this.)

TSA Safety Inspection…….You may note that nowhere does this say that TSA has been given permission to go on a “search and destroy mission.” Only that they may inspect your items………https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening

I’m the first person to vote for taking necessary precautions to keep our country, airports and aircraft safe.  By all means. I’m sure there is not another American who would want to see a repeat of the awful events of 911.

But the people at TSA obviously have no regard for your items in your suitcase, or how they handle them.

Explain to me this—- does an inspection of your bag result  in your bag looking like it was ransacked by orangutans in the jungle searching for bananas?  Or perhaps an 8 year old frantically searching for his iPad so he can play his favorite video game?  Do you remember the old luggage commercial, where they had an ape throw the suitcase out of the airplane, then stomp on it a number of times to prove its durability?  Evidently, the same apes are still employed at the airport, only they now work for TSA.  Someone told them that the bananas are stored at the bottom of each suitcase, and if they look hard enough, they may find them!

That is the condition my bag has been left on in  more than one occasion.  We just flew up to San Jose, a short 1 hour flight.  My bag was just slightly larger than a carry on size, and I had all my makeup, lotions and potions in it, so of course I checked it.  (Anyone who has traveled with me knows the makeup bag is about 18 pounds alone.  So I’m a bit high maintenance, what can I say?)

When we arrived at our destination, I quickly needed to change for a meeting we were attending.  I opened my bag, to find everything in it jumbled about.  This particular bag is very deep on both sides of the zipper, so there is a zippered panel which separates both sides to keep everything neat. On the bottom side of the bag is an elastic thingy that clips to keep your hanging clothes in place.  The zipped separator was undone, as was the elastic thingy. (In case you are wondering, elastic thingy is the technical term for this apparatus. Just sayin’….)

Believe it or not, this had previously been a neatly packed suitcase. When I opened it, the strapping was undone, the zipper compartment on the other side was undone, and my clothes spilled EVERYwhere when I opened it up. SERIOUSLY TSA? Is this REALLY the way to do things?

I was a little shocked, because I knew this was not how I left things when I packed my bag just a few hours before.  Then it began to hit me………. I’ll bet TSA has had their grubby little hands in my suitcase……… SURE ENOUGH!  There was that telltale white notification.. “Notice of baggage inspection.” While telling that TSA is required by law to inspect all bags, and that some bags are opened and inspected, it’s the second paragraph which is interesting.  The notification states, as follows: During the inspection, your bag and its contents may have been searched for prohibited items.  At the completion of the inspection, the contents were returned to your bag.”

Seriously TSA?

Nowhere in that statement do I see it stating that the contents will be thrown into a giant mixer, tossed around for 15 minutes then thrown back into the bag by gorillas.

The strangest and most disturbing time TSA “hit” my suitcase was a few years ago, when I was……. uh….. single, and going to meet a male friend (OK, a “friend with benefits” if you must).  I opened my suitcase to find it totally in disarray, as described above……. with one exception.  Evidently, Mr. TSA wanted to give his vote on his favorite garments in the suitcase.  In so doing, although he had destroyed the folding and organization of everything in the suitcase, he had layed out, EVER SO CAREFULLY, my red bustier, matching panties, garter,stockings and matching shoes!  COME ON YOU FUCKING PERV!  Really?  You have to riffle through and destroy all of my clothes in the name of “national security” and can’t take a moment to check the suitcase’s contents carefully— YET you have time to lay my lingerie out in a nice little “Flat Stanley” type of ensemble on top of everything, right along with the  card?  Seems to be going a bit far, don’t you think?

It doesn’t end there though. He had even gone so far as to go into my cosmetics bag and get out the lube and condoms. SERIOUSLY?????? They were also laid out with the outfit.

Nice touch TSA!

Nice touch TSA! Not only did he lay out his favorite outfit, but he went so far as to go into my cosmetic bag and take OUT the KY and put it with the outfit! I think he had a hard time deciding between the gold shoes and the red shoes with this outfit, so he gave me the option of deciding!

I even took the time to snap a picture of it, and send it off to TSA.  Never did get a response.  They probably have the photo of my red lingerie ensemble up in the men’s john there, with TSA agents wacking off to it daily!

My advice to you is to be careful what you pack. You just may provide the fodder for some TSA perv to get his jollys at work that day!

PS…….. Don is convinced that my publishing this article will result in me no longer getting the “TSA Pass” when I travel.  I somehow get it every time I go through the airport.  I don’t think enough people really read my shit that TSA is going to put me on the “most wanted” list at the airport.

 

 

Please Flush The Toilet!

Comedy, Mimsy Whimsy, My Humble Opinion, Pet Peeves, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Excuse me, can you please just flush the damned toilet?

Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves, we all have them.  Sometimes, they are legit.  Sometimes, you are just plain fucking crazy.  MY pet peeves are all reasonable.  Anyone and everyone would agree with them, I’m certain.

Park on Freemont

I love the  humor on the sign in the ladies room at this restaurant (Park on Fremont in Las Vegas)!  So many signs in restrooms are ridiculous and boring…and say the same ol’ shit you’ve read 100 times!  If we don’t know by now we need to wash our hands, I think it’s just plain too damned late!

The one that is my #1 Pet Peeve-leaving the toilet, toilet seat or toilet stall a mess.  Listen bitches, when you walk out of a public restroom, before you leave the stall, look back, and make sure that anything you left in or ON  the toilet is gone once you flush.  It SEEMS like such an easy thing to me.  I do it, and never once have I been worn out from the effort. I actually don’t even remember a time I had to take a nap immediately after due to the stress of such tough work. I make sure the toilet paper has flushed, the pee-pee and pooh-pooh have flushed, ass gaskets have gone down the toilet, and no drips are on the seat.  It’s a pretty simple task, in my estimation……

Bathroom Sign

Seriously, should we have to have a sign to tell people this shit? It seems simple enough to figure out, doesn’t it?

Why, oh why, oh why then is it that about 3 times out of 4, I walk into a stall to find one or more of the above mentioned gross situations,  in or on a toilet???? COME ON LADIES!  I’m willing to bet that at home, these same women don’t have huge wads of toilet paper building up in their toilets!  They’d have a fit if their husband left a single drip of urine on the toilet seat. And yet, it’s OK for me to walk in the stall they just walked out of and deal with their filth!

 

The one that REALLY frost my ass is the person who uses an ass gasket (the little paper thing that is supposed to keep you from getting some sort of life-threatening disease) and leaves it on the toilet when they walk out. The tissue thin paper has now soaked up the water/urine/whatever from the toilet being flushed, so that while THEY have chosen not to touch a dry toilet seat previously, they have left a sopping tissue and urine soaked toilet seat for the next victim using the same stall.………

I wish this was a rare occurance, but unfortunately, it just isn’t! Come on- why do I now have to handle YOUR ass gasket?

What About the Golden Rule?

Who the hell thinks this shit is A-OK?  What about the golden rule?  I really don’t understand the thought process of these women, but there evidently are  a huge shit-load of you out there!  I’ve been known on occasion to call someone out when they have just evacuated and left this sort of mess.  “Excuse me, would you like to finish the flushing and wiping process from the toilet you just walked out of?”  Typically, all I have gotten in response is a rude look, as I decide to use another stall.

And, while we are on this shitty topic- how many people REALLY need a reminder, every damned time we are in a toilet, that all that is supposed to go into the toilet is toilet paper?  I honestly think I’ve seen the request made any number of different ways: cute, pleading, bitchy, formally, silly.  All, however said, basically say the same thing- Don’t put anything that didn’t come out of your body naturally, or was used to wipe the same part down the toilet.  Simple.  Seems simple.  Seems uber simple. Can’t we just be told this once in life, and have the information stick?  Evidently there are a lot of people out there breaking this common sense rule too, or they wouldn’t be reminding us of it every time we shut the stall door.  SERIOUSLY?  Come on people, this isn’t fucking rocket science!

Bathroom signs

Again, this isn’t rocket science. Is there any female who hasn’t figured this one out by the time they are 12 years old- and may really need to USE feminine products?

Singapore Does Things Right!  Big Brother, And Sister, Are Watching!

I don’t know if you are privy to this, but in Singapore, you can place someone under citizens arrest if they don’t flush the toilet and leave the stall properly clean and tidy.  I’d add one more layer to that rule, and make them clean the whole damn bathroom.  With their tongues.  I realize, I’m a tough task-master, but anyone who knows me, knows that I just don’t abide rudeness well.  They would remember if they did THAT shit, I’m sure.

This is the type of Bathroom PSA I appreciate. Ones that remind me what to flush and not flush seem redundant…..Club Fox has it right!

Toilets would be flushed.  Ass gaskets would be flushed down the toilet completely and neatly.  Urine drips and God forbid, blood drops would be wiped up, and the wiping tissue placed neatly where it belonged.

A word of advice, should our bathroom useage cross paths….beware, if I’m in the bathroom, and you leave it gross, and I happen to be the one walking in as you walk out….I’m calling you out in front of everyone, so be ready!

Bathroom performance sign

This is painted on the wall of Peggy Sue’s Diner in Yermo- on the way to Las Vegas. Kind of cute. I love it when bathrooms have clever signs in their bathrooms or on the door to tell whether it is a men’s room or women’s room!

If I had a Hammer…..

Giving Back, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Uncategorized

The famous “pink safety hat” that Habitat gives out to the women who raise over $500.00 for the Women’s Build Day.  SD Habitat for Humanity

Many of you remember the old song, “If I Had a Hammer.”  After working with Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build for a day, helping to build a home for a local San Diego family, I’d definitely finish the line by saying, “I’d replace it with a nail gun or a power drill!”  Hitting nails in the old fashioned way is just not all that easy, nor all that fun!  There is a VERY good reason why, when you walk past a construction site you hear the clacking of nail guns and the whir of power drills. They are one HUGE leap up in productivity from the old fashioned pounding in of the 8 penny or the 16 penny!

Of course, there is plenty-good reason why they don’t give us once-in-a-lifetime types of volunteers nail guns.  Because society would be full of one eyed previous volunteer type people wandering around!  As it was, it was damned good we were all wearing hard hats at this event!  More than one of us was hit in the head by dropped hammers, pieces of wood and other debris!

I have wanted to help with a Habitat for Humanity build for years.   I never really knew how to go about it, until the opportunity presented itself a few weeks back.  A friend of mine from a networking group I belong to put out the word that she was trying to put together a team of women for a local build day.  I immediately jumped at the chance, even though I was already committed to another volunteer opportunity that evening.  I knew I might be bone tired for my volunteer ushering with some friends, but I wasn’t going to miss this chance.

Part 1 of volunteering for the build is you need to raise a minimum of $300.00. Raising money for these types of volunteer events used to be pretty easy.  Now that there is some sort of MS walk, Breastcancer walk, Brain Cancer walk, Alzheimers event or other needy-cause event nearly every weekend, I find it’s much harder to raise funds.  I volunteer for these events 5-10 times a year, and you can only put your hand out so many times before people just don’t even notice any more.  Therefore, raising the $300.00 in about 5 weeks wasn’t as easy as I had hoped! I knew that if needed I could donate whatever hadn’t been raised.  And my man also offered to put up anything needed, so it wasn’t going to be a deal breaker on participating in the event. The biggest chunk of donations came in over the last couple of days. We only had to kick in about $100.00 total.

Our team at 7 AM, meeting at a Starbucks to caravan down to our build site, in the Logan Heights area of San Diego. Left to Right: Darcy Wolfe, Tonya Dubrish, Lisa O’Hearn, Kim Lombardi,  Patti Phillips, Hadley Wood

The morning of the build, Saturday, May 20 was bright and sunny. Our team met up at a Starbuck’s coffee, located near where most of us lived, so that we could caravan down to Logan Heights, where the build was to take place.  We had 2 cars, because I needed to find a YMCA to shower and change at immediately after our build, to go on to event #2!  All 5 of us grabbed a coffee and piled into 2 cars to get to the build site before 8:30 AM.

The minute we arrived, we were given our tee shirts and those who had raised over $500.00 were given pink hard hats or a pink tool belt- their choice.  I was feeling a little jealous that I had neighter, but, what’s a girl to do?

There were coffee, drinks, croissants and bagels to help ourselves to, until the kickoff announcements took place.  We were all chomping at the bit to get the building started.

The site we worked on will eventually be 11 homes for low income families.  They are attached- 4 or so to a building, and our assigned unit was Unit #1, a handicapped friendly unit. (Not sure how that’s going to work, as all of the bedrooms are upstairs, but this is not my monkey, and not my circus.)

We all grabbed hammers, tool belts, safety glasses and hardhats and were assigned our 2 male “supers” for the day.  And away we went……   One of the first things I noticed was that hammering a nail is just wasn’t as freaking easy as I had thought it would be.  Then I was told, we didn’t have big enough hammers, go outside and find some bigger hammers.  Unfortunately, no one had mentioned that the buckets held 2 sizes of hammers when we chose our tools, and the big ones seemed to be gone.  I was sent to ask Dale, one of the long timers who works on all the local Habitat builds, where to get a larger hammer.  After investigating, Dale let me know that none of the large hammers were still available, and after promising I could be trusted with his own personal, FAVORITE hammer, he entrusted me with it.

Patti & Dale- Habitat for Humanity Build

Here I am with Dale at the Habitat for Humanity Build. He let me use his “big tool” that day, and let me tell you- size DOES matter! Don’t let them kid you!

Let me tell you something.  Size does matter!  Hitting in a nail with Dale’s big tool was 100% easier than it was with the previous hammer.  But now I had to shlep 2 hammers, because I had a pinky swear with Dale that I would not use his hammer to pull out any bent nails.  A girl has to live up to her word, so one hammer to put the nails in, one to take them out.  (Yes, sometimes the nails just seem to have a mind of their own, and decide to give this wet-noodle performance.  they have to go.)

And not to brag, but this lefty found out that she’s ambidexerous when it comes to wielding a hammer!  Yep, I can use the left, the right, or when needed BOTH hands to get the job done.  My abilities just never cease to amaze me!

I got to use a power saw to cut a few of the beams, and we quickly came to realize how damned heavy a 24 foot beam is!  Holy Shit, lift a few of those puppies in place and you know you’ve lifted something.

My first try with a power saw. And dammit, I want one of my very own now!

Our team of women was great. There wasn’t one whinner or wimp amongst them! Everyone worked the whole day, the only complaint was that we wanted a shorter lunch hour, and wished we could have worked a bit longer!  Team “Carlsbad Cares” rocked it, I must say!

Patti & Kim at lunch. We took a bit of razzing from our team, because neither one of us had removed our safety helmets or safety goggles while we were eating! Hey- we are professionals here, people!

It got hotter than hell out there by afternoon, I must say!  I have a newfound appreciation and respect for construction workers now, no way around it!  Geez, when you are up on scaffolding and you are so hot you think for a minute you might faint, it’s not fun!

H4h nails

I took a bit of razing about the fact that my nails matched the hard hats, and tool belts exactly. Only trouble was- I didn’t earn the pretty things! I need to raise more funds next year! The Queen needs to be decked out!

The most surprising part of the day was when we found out that this job site will take Habitat about 2 years to complete!  I had no idea that the jobs take that long. There is a good chance that we might be back here working on the same project for next year’s build! I am going to find out how I can do another day on this building.  I would love to see it when it is closer to being completed, and perhaps do some of the finish work or painting!

On site, along with breakfast and lunch, there are volunteers who give each volunteer a 10 minute chair massage.  Believe me, those were much appreciated by all! I didn’t realize that I had a few sore arm muscles from hammering, until she started to work them out of me!

At each build day there is a playhouse which is constructed and given out to different community places.  The wood is pre-cut, so it is basically assembled and painted.  This is the one that one of the teams put together. It turned out really cute!

The playhouse which was created by one of the teams on our build day. Just darling! It will go to a local playground, school or boys and girls club.

I was UBER impressed, when at the morning kick off they announced the person and team who had raised the most money for the event.  A darling, trim blonde, Kay Grimes had raised over $7200.00 and her team, “The Riveters raised over $17,000 between them.

 

Kay Grimes

Kay Grimes was the top individual fundraiser for our build day! I have to say, I was REALLY jealous of the pink tool box she got as an award! I think that looked like it was “made for a queen”— don’t you?

I was curious as to how this team got together, and how they raised such a phenomenal amount.  Kay shared with me that their team leader, Kelly Mercado, put together a group of friends who all work in the building industry.  Kay said that raising the amount she did had actually been easy.  Here is a quote from her email to me about her fundraising.  “There’s no great secret to my fundraising, actually.  My job puts me in a position the people (1) open my emails, (2) read them, and (3) want to make me happy.  That’s it in a nutshell, so I don’t have any amazing tips, other than always being very appreciative of those who support me.”

The Rivetors Team

The Rivetors! Top fundraising team! Here they are, enjoying a beer at the end of the build day! You go girls! (You’ve gotta love the girl who has tennies matching the t-shirts!

It’s great that Kay and her team both had the support they did. I’m sure a big part of the support was because of relationships Kay and her friends have cultivated in their communities. It is good to hear that our local building industry is so supportive of the Habitat endeavors.  I know that most of the supplies were donated to this site, quite a lot of them by Home Depot and Lowes.  I am looking forward to seeing Kay, The Rivetors and all of the other friends I made this year, again at next year’s event.  I know that I will be there!

So, my friends, please consider donating to the cause next year when I put out the plea for donations for this event.  It’s certainly a worthwhile event.  Not a hand out to a family, but a hand up.  The families that are able to purchase the homes give 250 hours each to the building of a Habitat home. They have some skin in the game, and they are able to achieve the great American Dream- home ownership!

The Stuff America Is Made Of!

My Humble Opinion, Raves & Rotten Reviews, Royal Ramblings!, Travel and Adventure, Uncategorized, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner

Peggy Sue Sign

You have probably seen it many times if you have driven to Vegas! It is a classic out in the middle of no where! It truly is “The Stuff America is Made Of!”

If you’ve driven to Las Vegas from San Diego, you’ve seen this little gem.  I’ve driven past it untold dozens of times, but never stopped in.  In the middle of absolutely NO WHERE, Yermo to be precise, is Peggy Sue’s Diner.  The stuff America is made of.  Or WAS made of at one time.

“Happy Days” Revisited

Peggy Sue, Betty Boop

When you walk through the door, this is what greets you. Well only the Betty Boop part of this picture. Usually I am not actually there to greet people!

When you step through the door it’s like stepping back in history.  Its “Happy Days” revisited.   Back to a day when America was wholesome, when families were intact. A time when mom’s job was to stay at home and take care of the kids, and no one had to worry if some psycho was going to go into their child’s classroom and open fire.  That innocent time in America is where you are transported the moment you step through the door of Peggy Sue’s diner.  50’s music is playing.  The walls are lined, top to bottom with memorabilia from days gone by, old concert and movie posters and photos of every  movie star you can imagine, some from years ago, some more recent.  You could literally spend hours looking at this bit history from the 50’s and 60’s in our great country.

As you enter, you are greeted with a life sized statue of Betty Boop.  When you step into the original part of the restaurant, the diner portion, you’ll see a waitress wearing a turquoise and pink uniform, reminiscent of the old diner waitresses, right down to the bobby socks.  She’ll tell you, in a friendly voice to “follow the yellow brick road” and seat yourself wherever you’d like.  Sure enough, as you look down you’ll see a path of yellow linoleum running right through the middle of the floor.

Bursting With Pies, Fries and Other Treats!

Peggy Sue Pie case

There are two pie cases filled with fresh baked pies. The servers are always running top speed to take care of the customers!

As you pass through the diner portion there are two cases filled with freshly baked pies.  I remember those same style of pie cases from my local childhood restaurants in the Midwest.

Is it hokey?  Sure it is.  But somehow, you can’t help but feel happy.  Once you sit down, you will also find a menu resplendent with food from days gone by.  Burgers, fries  and shakes, of course.  Also, from “back in the day”- Meatloaf, Liver and Onions (bacon and extra $1.29), and chicken fried steak.  On the pink menu (what other color could it POSSIBLY be?) is the story of how Peggy Sue’s came to be.

Elvis, Shelley and Patti

We HAD to pose in front of Elvis! The trip wouldn’t be complete without Elvis! After all, doesn’t Elvis symbolize “The Stuff America is Made Of?”

Service With a Smile!

Our waitress, Shelley (sorry you PC people, but back in the day, that’s what they were called, and in Peggy Sue’s you ARE back in the day) looked like she could have been on board at Peggy Sue’s for the past 30 or 40 years, but as it turned out, she is actually pretty new to the place, under two years.  She took care of us the way you’d expect.  Efficiently, friendly and with time for a kind word and conversation, not to mention, she took time for a picture with Elvis and me!

Peggy Sue's bathroom

This is in Peggy Sue’s ladies room! It gave me a bit of a start when I first walked in!

As soon as we were seated, I had to take a trip into the ladies room and met with a brief shock!  I rushed through the door, and did a quick doubletake!  There was a gentleman, standing at a urinal doing his business!  I quickly realized that it was simply a mannequin in front of a painted urinal! Peggy Sue had pulled a fast one on me, and it gave me a chuckle.  Once again, corny, but good ol’ fashioned fun.  Painted next to the sinks was a sign that requested you “remain seated throughout the performance.” Another corny, but wholesome joke.

Our food came, and it proved to be far more than we needed.  Don started out with a chocolate shake,  then moved on to a burger and fries. I ordered something that I seldom see on a menu any more, but do love- Liver and Onions.  Again, something that takes me back to days gone by!  I enjoyed it thoroughly!

You Can Shop Til You Drop!

Peggy Sues Memorabilia Store

Collections of all sorts are found here- Wizard of Oz, Betty Boop, Marily Monroe, Coca-Cola, Elvis……. You name it, you can find it!

Not to be missed is their gift shop, another trip down memory lane.  Coca-cola memorabilia, every  of bottled soda you can imagine, Wizard of Oz collections, tin lunchboxes, Marilyn Monroe knick-knacks, 8×10 photos of old time stars, you name it!  Fun to peruse.  My treasure for the day?  Don got me a wineglass that says “Queen Bee” on it!

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew!

Diner-Sour Park

Diner-Sour Park was an experience! Kids would love it! There was a pond with dozens of turtles in addition to the dinasour sculptures.

Exit the back door of the gift shop and you move on to another chapter in the kitschy “American Tourist” scene known as Peggy Sue’s.  They have their own “Diner-saur Park.”  An area with metal dinosaur and King Kong sculptures, a water fall and a pond with seemingly hundreds of turtles swimming around (two in the process of mating while we were taking our little tour,  I might add!) Hokey, Smarmy……. The stuff that kids never forget when you are on vacation and let them take a few minutes to enjoy.

Dino- Sour Park @ Peggy Sue's

This tall sculpture is part of the park behind Peggy-Sue’s.

Will I stop at Peggy Sue’s again?  You bet your sweet ass I will.  It will probably become a part of my “Vegas drive ritual!”  I’m just sorry that I never discovered it when we took my kids to Vegas the many times we made the drive.  Their dad’s family ran diners, and this would have been a bit of history they would have loved.

Check it out the next time you drive to Vegas.  You’ll be glad you took the time.