Friday, December 6, 2019

celebrating the holidays, disney-style

although the holidays officially came to disneyland almost a full month ago, we've been so busy that we hadn't had a chance to get down there to soak in some holiday magic.  but on sunday, we finally got our chance and headed down in the afternoon.  it was busy, but not overly crowded - which we found a little odd, but then again it was also a pretty blustery, chilly day.  you know how weak we so cal folks are when it comes to cold.  heh.

despite the look on the bean's face, we were all pretty excited to be there at last.


the old lady had requested that we fit in a ride at the haunted mansion and i really wanted to finally indulge my months-old beignet craving, so we headed into the disneyland side first.  there were a ton of folks crowded around the tree for pictures.


main street was busy and festive.


the kids gave in to my plea for a castle selfie:


and with the line for haunted mansion quoted at 45 minutes, we opted to grab a fastness for the holiday-themed "small world" and went into new orleans square to get those beignets and some hot cocoa.  we all split a 6-pack, dividing them between original powdered sugar and the seasonal candy cane flavor.  so delicious.


our fastpass window didn't open for awhile, so after we lingered over our treats we went over to haunted mansion and found that the wait time was doable, so we got in line.


the quoted time was 40 minutes, but through the magic of disney we found ourselves on the ride in less than 25.  yay!


we hopped onto the disneyland railroad to get to "it's a small world" and had enough time to browse through the shop and take a couple of pictures before we got in the line.


the imagineers had incorporated three new scents in the ride this year, and we smelled the first one as we went under the new mexico-themed arch -  cinnamon, of course.


i'm not gonna lie, i didn't even notice the other two.  i still don't even know what they were.  oh well.  we enjoyed the ride anyway, and it was fun to see our old favorite scenes as we rode through.


i look forward to seeing the elvis bobblehead on the end of lilo's surfboard every year.





by then, we were hungry and ready to sample some of the grub at the festival of holidays over in california adventure.  once we crossed the esplanade and entered the park, our first stop was to pick up one of the sip 'n savor passes.  it's always such a great deal, with 8 tabs to use at the kiosks for food and non-alcoholic beverages.


the bean made a beeline for the "holiday duets" stand, where she picked up the braised pork belly adobo and garlic fried rice.


at "winter sliderland," i snagged the pot roast slider topped with horseradish cream.


the old lady stopped at "grandma's recipes" for the shepherd's upside-down pie, made with plant-based "ground beef."


at the "favorite things" marketplace, her special friend tried the holiday stuffing mac & cheese.


and i grabbed the gingerbread mickey cookie.


we circled back to the "twist on tradition" marketplace so that the bean could pick up the beef wellington:


and her sister got the reuben potato tots.


it was a school night, so once we'd polished everything off we headed back out to the parking lot trams.  a short and sweet visit, but we managed to meet the goals we'd set for this trip.  and our passes will be blacked out for two weeks starting on the 20th, so we're hoping to get back at least one more time before the end of the year.

and now it really is the holiday season!  gotta soak it in...not much time left.  sigh.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

possibly the final bridal twirl

no, really.  and not due to lack of interest!  definitely not that.

i've noticed over the last few months that my clothes are fitting a little differently - not really in a bad way, just different.  and when i complain about it the old lady always tells me that it's most likely because of all the rowing we've been doing at orangetheory.  "you're getting buffer, mom," she says.  i mean...i don't know about that, but i do know that clothes that i used to put on a year ago are a little snugger in some areas and looser in others.  it's weird.  is that because i'm (getting) old?  who knows.

after our wan-niversary dinner last night i went into the closet and pulled the ol' dress out to do my annual twirl.  i took it off the hanger, unzipped it and stepped in.  fastened the elastic belt around my waist, reached around to zip it shut - and barely got halfway up.  now, this wouldn't really be much cause for concern because i've always had trouble being able to reach back there to get it done, but this time was definitely different.  i enlisted the hub's help and guys...he damn near had to put his foot on my back to get it zipped up.  i was almost at the point of giving up when he finally got it.  yikes.

just know that i'm taking very short, shallow breaths here:


the last time we had trouble getting it zipped up we noticed that part of the zipper was actually busting loose from the seam.  i didn't look at it very closely for fear of crying, but i'm pretty sure the gap has widened after last night's try-on session.

with all of that said, here is what is very possibly the very last time i get to do my annual wan-niversary bridal twirl:


do you love the black socks underneath?  heh.  it was cold and rainy last night, so i wore knee-high socks with my boots under the skirt i put on for dinner.  pretty.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

fourteen years

and since day one, he's been there for me for all sorts of things.

like helping me when i can't reach my shoes:


or wiping my tears away (or sweat, because let's face it...it's me):


maybe i just needed him to listen to me vent.


or simply hold my hand in a quiet show of support.


he's always there for me whenever i need him, and even when i don't...heh.  he gets a front row seat for all my crazy, and while he might roll his eyes or not-so-silently judge some of my decisions, i know he's always going to support me in whatever i do.  or don't do.  and hopefully he knows that i'm there for him in exactly the same way.  there's no one else i'd want to go on this rollercoaster ride with than him, and i love the adventure we've shared so far.  


happy anniversary to my love!  and don't worry...bridal twirl to come.  that's if i can still fit into the dress.  you just never know.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

the one where we had friendsgiving on the WB lot

with the thanksgiving festivities all wrapped up for 2019, the old lady and i headed out to burbank's warner bros. studios for one last friendsgiving celebration.  and when i say "friendsgiving," i mean FRIENDSgiving.


as much as i love the rain, i was kinda bummed that day because i knew it would make for a different tour experience than if it were - well, not raining.  but this was the second-to-the-last day for this special friends-themed tour and so we just rolled with it and made the best of the situation.  when we got inside the building to check in, it was bustling with activity.  along with those of us who were there for friendsgiving, the regular lot tours were also in full swing.


we didn't have time to stand in line to grab a drink at starbucks, so we just waited around in the line to  have our tickets scanned and grab our tour lanyards.  as we got up to the desk, i spied this:


here's the full picture.


as we were all separated into groups of 12 to board the trams, we were handed ponchos since the drizzle had given way to full-blown rain.


our first stop was in "NYC" and saw the street that had been used for "the one after the superbowl, part 2."  this is the episode that featured julia roberts as chandler's classmate from the 4th grade, where marcel the monkey was in a movie and when rachel dated jean claude van damme.



this is the only building on the lot that has the warner bros. name on it, mostly because all of the other buildings are often used for filming.  you can slap a sign on the front and turn any building into pretty much anything you want it to be.  but here is where all of the warner bros. tv shows are produced, and where the cast and writers and directors assemble for table reads.


the costume department is housed here in this 60,000 square foot building.  they have 850,000 pieces of clothing and accessories here, representing over 90 years of film and tv productions.


this is where frank jr. lived with his mom in "the one with the bullies," where phoebe meets her brother for the first time.


and we got to revisit the gellers' home, from "the one with the prom video."  this time we got to stand on the staircase that ross ran up to change into his dad's tux to be rachel's fill-in date for the prom.


while we waited for the rest of our group to take their photos, we gazed out the window and the old lady spied the bar from "speechless" across the way, with the red doors.


and for some this is stars hollow from "gilmore girls," but since i was never a fan of that show for me this was the town square for "hart of dixie."


after a quick ride on the tram, we got to one of the best friends photo ops ever - the fountain from the opening credits of the show.  this is super blurry, but these girls came dressed as phoebe, rachel and monica from "the one with the football."


and a fiberglass replica of that iconic orange couch that the friends always lounge on at central perk was there...along with the original lamp that monica turns off at the end of the opening credits.


the old lady really didn't want to take her poncho off, so most of our pictures have us rocking that blue plastic hoodie.  and i wasn't going to take mine off if she wasn't because that would look weird.  so cute, right?



i couldn't resist the opportunity to reenact the best scene in "the one where phoebe runs."


and she obliged when i asked her to do this boomerang video with me.


just behind us was the insane asylum from "pretty little liars."


we drove right past the soundstage where "friends" was filmed for ten seasons.  a show only earns a plaque on the building if they actually reach the 10-season mark, so while "full house" ran for 9 seasons they didn't get one of these.


we got to enter one of the other soundstages where a bunch of movies and tv shows have been filmed.  right now it's being used for alison janney and anna faris' "mom."  we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside, but if you watch the show you can imagine what we got to see.


these are called "elephant doors" because they're literally large enough to fit an elephant through them.  or a giraffe, as they learned while filming "the hangover."


we drove right through the middle of one of the buildings, where we got to see how sets are stored in giant bundles of wooden pieces.  there were fun signs to look at along the way, too.


the last stop on our tour was the props department, which houses 500,000 pieces of all sorts of things from lamps to couches to dolls to telephones and everything in between.  this was my favorite part of the tour, and it would have been super fun to just wander through and look at everything.


here's a ton of random photos of all sorts of stuff that we saw in there.  a lot of items had tags on them that were basically calling dibs for a production, and those we weren't allowed to photograph since there was personal information written on them.






if you saw "the hangover" you'll recognize this giraffe, although in the movie i think his head was ripped off.  one of the props department's rules says that if you use something, you better return it in the condition it was in.  and so the head was sewn back on before they brought it back.


this is a replica of the president's desk, used in "the west wing" and "scandal" and other shows and movies.  you know how much i loved "scandal," so when she offered it up as a photo op i scampered right back there and sat on the desk.  i picked up the pen and got ready to pose with it and our guide shouted out "NO WAIT DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!" which scared the crap out of me and i dropped it like a hot potato.  the old lady snapped this right as the guide started cracking up and said "nah, just kidding, it's all good..."


i was pretty much dying of embarrassment with our whole group giggling at me, so i stopped for one more second to take an actual photo and then ran away.  the guide said "i was totally kidding!  you can pick up the phone or whatever you want to do, it's all good!" but i was like NOPE I'M GOOD.  heh.  i wasn't mad, and it was funny.  all fun and games, right?



i bet this was used in "scandal' too, so i snapped this as we continued on.


seeing this portrait reminded me that i'd read that it was the first anniversary of president bush sr.'s passing.


we paused to look at this:


while these creeps from "the matrix" stared down at us.


this was used for a conan o’brien skit:


more random stuff.  we also passed an entire wall of telephones, from rotary phones to neon colored plastic phones from the 80s, but i couldn't get a picture of it.  it was cool though, trust me.



one of the tiaras from "miss congeniality" was in this case, which was funny since i'd just seen that movie the day before.


and if you looked closely, you'd see a family photo from "the greatest showman" on top.


behind us was one of the creepy ass "annabelle" dolls.


some posters from the most recent version of "a star is born."


an original lamp from "casablanca."


and newspaper vending machines from one of the many versions of "batman."


we left the props building and drove a short distance to where we were going to sit down and enjoy the "friendsgiving" meal.  of course, there were a couple more photo ops outside.


time to eat!



i was juggling a full plate plus my phone and my wadded-up poncho under my arm, so i didn't take a picture of the actual spread.  every dish was named after one of the characters, and i cracked up when i saw this:


we found a table for two along the wall, where there were posters from every season of the show.


mmmm, food.  it was an actual thanksgiving spread, and i finally got my ham!  yay!


we had "phoebe" serenade us with all of her songs while we ate.  it was funny to sing along and hear most of the others there singing every word.


our last stop was the tour building, gift shop, and central perk set (along with an actual central perk-themed coffee shop).  inside there were props and costumes from the show:





along with mock-ups of production offices, stacks of scripts and props from other warner bros. productions.








 the next room had the "central perk" set and photo op.



costumes from "my fair lady" and "casablanca."  the guide there told us that those "casablanca" costumes alone were worth a million bucks.  the old lady remained skeptical of the notion that these were actually original threads that had survived decades, especially under those lights.


these dresses were worn by elizabeth taylor, joan crawford, bette davis and lauren bacall.  talk about old hollywood glamour.



we had the option to take a picture in the "big bang theory" set, but neither of us watches that show so we passed.


but look!  phoebe's guitar!  they probably put it in a case so she wouldn't come and pound on you if you touched it.


 this was worn by judy garland in her version of "a star is born."


 harry potter paraphernalia.  another phenomenon i've never really gotten into.


 we knew the bean would like this one - pieces from "the lego movie."


" i'd like to thank all of my fans, without whom this wouldn't be possible..."


gerard butler and brad pitt wore these.


oooh, creepy.


ben affleck touched these!  maybe.


michelle tanner's costume from "full house."


and j.r.'s hat and boots from "dallas"!


costumes from "the matrix," one of them being keanu's.


props from "roots."


christopher reeve wore this.


and that was the end of our tour.  we found ourselves standing outside of "central perk," where we stopped for some caffeine.





these cookies were super cute.


in the gift shop you could pick up your very own wizard's wand.


some "ellen" underwear, perhaps?


lots of merchandise for the upcoming holiday-themed "gilmore girls" tour.


hey...how you doin'?


it's the holiday armadillo!


we picked out some fun stuff to take home before boarding the shuttle back to the parking structure and then it was all over.  we'd been there for about 3.5 hours and had a blast.  i think the "friends" tour should be a permanent offering, although the guides seemed to think that they'd keep it as a thanksgiving tradition so it would be extra special.  i guess we'll just have to wait and see.
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