Friday, July 24, 2009

Adventures in People Watching

I'm a People Watcher. I love to just sit and watch people. Back when I was in high school, my sister Jamie worked at Disneyland and during the summer, we'd go to Disneyland (we got in for FREE!) and pick a spot to just sit and people watch. Oh, sure, we'd go on a couple of rides but mostly we just people watch and laugh our fool heads off.

We could usually guess which part of the world people were from by their clothing. European men seemed to favor short-shorts with tank tops and clogs. Canadians usually wore high-waisted jeans with HUGE legs (this was back in the late '70's). Jamie and I would elbow each other and snicker, "How's it going, eh?" Japanese guests would almost always be in silk suits and ties for the men and silk dresses with pearls and high heels for the ladies.

One family that still sticks out to this day was the family that looked like they had just stepped off the set of "Deliverance." The menfolk were wearing overalls that could not be buttoned at the sides due to the fact that the material did not stretch that far. "Paw" had a "Mountain Man" beard down to his chest. "Maw" and daughter were both large women (and that's putting it kindly) and were wearing what looked like a tent sewed at the sides with head and armholes cut out. They looked terrified at being away from the Appalachians yet thrilled to be at Disneyland!

But I digress. While I was in Colorado last week, sister Jamie asked if I would be interested in going to the Larkspur Renaissance Festival. Would I? Would I? (Peg Leg! Peg Leg!) Some of the best people watching is at Renaissance Fairs/Festivals and I was SO there!

Now I had always assumed that people who "participate" in RenFairs made sure their characters and costumes were historically accurate to Elizabethan England. Hardy har-har and tee-hee-hee. Oh, sure, there were a few characters that were historically accurate in their costumes but for the most part, RenFest was just a chance for people to fly their Freak Flags and live out some fantasy, like Mr. Centaur here:

There were lots of fairies floating around. Nephew Chris says it's because they all had pointy ears leftover from the last Star Trek convention and dammit, they're going to get their money's worth out of them. Some of the fairy costumes were just...odd:

Or maybe she was a jester.

I discovered that if you wear a swimsuit, stuff some tulle in your bottoms and paint whimsical designs on your face, you can consider yourself a fairy:

For women, the costume of choice appeared to be a curious mixture of Goth Gypsy meets Belly Dancer. The more skin showing, the better. Which in many cases was NOT better as the skin that was showing was usually rolls of belly and waist fat:

You'd buy your Goth Gypsy/Belly Dancer attire at this place:

There were many people who mistook fashions from the late 17th century for mid 16th century Renaissance wear. Lots of Captain Jack Sparrows roaming around, along with Nell Gwynne lookalikes. The Pirate (or should I say "Pyrate?") Wench look was big.

I saw about 10 people who were dressed historically accurate for the time period.

Some of the best people watching were the attendees. Yes, she's wearing a bikini top and gold lame' shorts.

His 'n' Hers Beer Bellies!

A Shining Example of American Youth:

Yes, his earlobes ARE stretched that far and yes, that IS a lip disk that makes his bottom lip stick out that far and you can see his nipple piercings through his wife- beater. I'm sure they're very nice people.

Chris and Kaylyn modeling the latest in headwear from the Ghengis Khan Collection:

We did have a lovely time, even with the sudden drenching downpour. Since the food stations were serving up deep fried carnival food, I partook of fried dill pickles and a funnel cake that had sat too long under the heat lamp. Luckily I was able to burn off those empty calories with the trek back to the parking lot. Up hill. In the heat and humidity. It killed me. Dead.

Anyhoo, I learned that Renaissance Festivals and Fairs aren't about being historically accurate; it's about living out your fantasies, accuracy be damned! But mostly, Ren Festivals and Fairs are all about the People Watching!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seen in the Likker Store

I can't get over the fact that in order to buy booze in Colorado, one must go to a State liquor store. You can't just pick up a fifth of liquor in the supermarket. Well, I'm used to having a nightly cocktail of vodka and Fresca so off we went to the Oh-fish-ul, Sanctioned House o' Booze.

While perusing the Vodka Department, I noticed there was all manner of vodka to choose from. There were single-filtered/distilled vodkas, doubled filtered, triple filtered, filtered through a gym sock, fruit vodkas, pepper vodkas, rotgut vodkas, vanilla vodkas, chocolate vodkas (barf!), and even this:

Sweet Tea Vodka. I'm sorry but that just sounds just plain icky. I don't mind fruit flavors but sweet tea? I'll pass.

Rocky Mountain High

For the second time this year, I actually got on one of them new-fangled aero-planes and took a trip out of California. Who'd a thunk it? I tell you, I am just SO adventurous! Especially since my usual destinations are Fontucky for NASCAR races (I'm SO done with THAT!) and the High Desert of California to watch TheManTheMyth and Thing 1 race motorcycles.

I flew out to Colorado for two reasons: to retrieve Thing 2 and to finally see my sister's house that she's lived in for, oh, 7 or 8 years now.

Highlights of my flight on Cattle-Car Airways: not being able to recline my seat, the woman in front of me reclining her seat so far back that I could have performed dental work on her, having my elbow smacked by everyone who walked by (at least I had the aisle seat), discovering that any refreshments other than a few spoonfuls of soda are NOT complimentary and the man in the seat next to me constantly tossing and turning while trying to find a comfortable position. I gave up trying to read because the woman in the seat in front of me got pissed when I rested my book on her nose so I spent the rest of the flight listening to my iPod and playing air-drums because there wasn't enough room to play air-guitar.

I arrive in beautiful Colorado and sister Jamie is right there to carry me off to her lovely home in Monument with so much storage space and closets that I'm positively GREEN with envy! My 1950's California Ranch has itty-bitty closets in each room plus 1 small linen closet and 1 small coat closet. I lost count of how many large walk-in closets are in Jamie's house.

The next day, Jamie, Thing 2 and I headed to Winter Park to spend the day and what a day we had! We took the ski lift up the mountain so we could go down the alpine slide. Everyone who knows me knows that I have a serious fear of heights. Climbing a 6 foot ladder causes my heart to pound so getting on this ski lift was An Ordeal for me. But I did it:

Because I'm a big chicken and only the lift would only seat 2 people, Jamie volunteered to ride by her ownself. You can see her in the chair behind me. This photo was taken not by me turning around (I was too skeered) but by me holding my camera up behind me. It's also a great shot of the alpine slide.

After a couple of runs down the alpine slide, where I kept to the "Beginner Level" slide, we decided to try the maze and then play a round of Miniature Golf, which was quite a hoot and a half. After 18 challenging holes, which Kaylyn won (of course), it was time for lunch. Lunch, sister Jamie informs us, will be enjoyed at the very top of the Mountain (10,700 feet above sea level) and to get to the top of the mountain, we would have to take the chair lift. Oh boy! says the terrified of heights Me. At least this time, the 3 of us could ride together because neither Kaylyn or I wanted to go solo.

So up we go:

My evil daughter kept demanding I turn around and look how high we've gotten but would only smack her in response. Going UP doesn't so much bother me; it's looking DOWN that causes my heart to flutter and not in a good way.

We finally get to the top and it IS gorgeous. There was a BBQ stand at the lodge where I had the best hamburger. There was a group of teenage mountain bikers sitting behind Kaylyn:

Jamie said they were checking out Kaylyn (who replied, "Ewwww") but I know they were actually giving my delicious, juicy hamburger the eye.

Me and Kaylyn:

We walked around the lodge, taking in the sights and getting light-headed before heading back to the chair lift for the steep, scary ride back down the mountain:

Which wasn't really all that bad. When we got back down, we decided to hit the alpine slide a few more times before calling it a day. I was feeling so brave by this time that I actually rode the chairlift to the top of the slide BY MYSELF. That's right, ALONE. Yay me! And for my last run down the alpine slide, I even went on the Expert slide. Yay me, again!

After stopping for pizza on the way home, our Girls Day was concluded and we were 3 very tired but happy gals. I spent the rest of the evening having a cocktail, watching the Rockies/Padres game and talking hockey with brother-in-law Charlie, who I am always excited to spend time with because he is the only family member I can talk hockey with.

Charlie, the day Jamie brought him home to meet the family. Poor guy was doomed from the moment we thrust newborn Thing 1 in his arms for a Kodak Moment, 17 years ago:

On Sunday, we went to the Larkspur Renaissance Festival but THAT deserves an entry all its own.