Fav 40...

40 years...Part one...
For 40 years I have lived on this earth!
I began thinking about this day months ago. I quickly made some new goals I wanted to reach before today, some were lame, some were good and some were unrealistic. Then as the day got closer, day by day, I began to get slightly depressed that I hadn't met some of those short term goals (the non lame ones) and then I began to think of more serious, long term goals I still hadn't met. I Hadn't traveled enough, lived enough, given enough, crossed enough off of my bucket list, man what a downer!

Fast forward to December 7th and I really started to freak out! Then it happened, I decided to try and share 40 of my favorite memories with you. I sat down and quickly focused on the stuff I had done, the good stuff, the goals I had met and all of a sudden, the weight was lifted. I began to remember all of the cool things I have done, the amazing places I have been to and all the wonderful people I have met along the way and pretty soon I had way more than 40!

This taught me two things;
1. I am really lucky to have lived the life I have so far.
2. I don't listen to myself enough when I tell other people to focus on the positive and erase or learn from the negative. So I guess that's a new goal :)

With that said, here are 20 of the 40 I came up with so far, I am still working on the next 20, what can I say, my 40 year old brain only works so fast :)

Fav #1. My first memory was an early one, I must have been about three when the below picture was taken but every year we went to my parents friends lake, appropriately called, Jack Browns Lake, I am guessing that was his name. This picture was taken there and I remember many things about those trips, swimming in big truck tire inner-tubes my Dad would get us at the local truck stop, riding in a small boat along the shore at night as my Dad and brothers went frog gigging (I know, don't get me started on my heathen upbringing), the porta-potty on top of the station wagon as we drove through the neighborhood and yes, water snakes and why to this day, I hate snakes! Come to think of it, I believe my favorite thing about these trips may be the below picture :) * on a side note, my husband calls this picture the fish popsicle picture because it looks like I am about to eat it :)

Fav #2. the next, I remember my Grandparents from my Mom's side (Albert Liddiard and Fanny Sutherland, great names!) coming to visit every summer, they would roll up in their mini RV, my Grandpa wearing his cool sunglasses from the 50's and my Grandma in her big straw hat. My Grandpa would re-plant Johnnie jump-ups that my mom had killed throughout the year and my grandma would cook, cook and then cook some more (home-made chicken and noodles, yum)! Sometimes taking a break to eat and hand-sew Barbie dolls clothes :)

Fav #3. Some memories are confusing for me because my Mom would always tell me stories about stuff that had happened to me or our family but there are a lot of those stories in my head, so I am convinced I remember some of them for myself. My next would be a blanket of memories of ridiculous pictures of me between ages 2-5. One of me in my much older brothers motorcycle goggles and boots that stopped at the top of my legs, a picture of me curled up in a large metal washtub, completely naked or the one of 5,000 where I had a huge goose egg on my head from falling over and going boom. For the first five years of my life, we lived in five different countries, so the next few pictures/memories were of those times. There is the one of me on a sea turtle on the beach from New Zealand, one of me on a camel from Iran (not sure why me and animals were so amusing, see earlier posted fish picture) and then one of me saluting the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace from London (I'll try to drag those out of storage sometime)
Fav #4. Next up, I remember when I started pre-school, my dad was working as a professor at a college and apparently that was the first place I was enrolled for school. My dad used to come down and visit me and I remember a really cute picture of my dad and I holding hands in the hallway, he seeming to be 9 ft. tall and me, not so much. I had a full length green and yellow floral dress on and my long hair down to my butt in blonde ringlets.

Fav #5. my Dad loves boats, is completely obsessed with them really, so I grew up obsessed with water and spending many a hours with him on said boats. I remember the LIVE grass-shrimp that we used for bait to catch Sturgeon, I remember he would pull into a slough on the Delta and we would swim and jump off the top of the cabin cruiser but more than anything was the music. He would blast the best music and I bet you could hear it for miles. Any and all Motown you can think of but the best was the Blood Sweat and Tears! Spinning wheel=Awesome!

Fav #6. Around that same time, back in the states, we moved to a house in the middle of a small city in Northern California. It was a man made lake surrounded by houses. So the next memory was, spending Saturday mornings with my brothers on the dock, fishing for Blue gill and Croppy. All we needed was Mom's uber thick pancake batter, a stick, a bobber and some fishing string, it doesn't get better than that!

Fav #7. The next was another blanket memory, spent where I grew up, in a smaller, more rural town, also in Northern California. We lived on a tiny little block, with 12 houses, no street lights or sidewalks, all senior neighbors ( except maybe three houses including ours) and surrounded by grape and almond orchards. All I remember doing was running and playing in the orchards 24 hours a day. We were close enough to the Delta that, that was a common destination. Through the almond orchard, past the haunted house, through the walnut orchard, over the railroad tracks, past the huge oak tree, cut through the wild asparagus field and you were at the sandbar on the Delta, a common play ground for us country kids :)

Fav #8. Another favorite past time memory was spending hours in the attic of our garage, playing dolls and school with me, myself and I. What can I say, I was the youngest and only girl and I needed my alone time :) All of my dad's old Architectural equipment was stored up there as well as my mom's old dolls and my treasured typewriter I received from my grandpa when I was about 9 years old. Man, I typed on that thing everyday it seemed. A little later, I remembering discovering my moms old 78" records of Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, The Kingston Trio and many more, quickly these became my new passion. I know, I was a strange child :)

Fav #9. Fast forward a few years, 8th grade graduation, the most treasured award to date that I have ever received, The creative writing award from Mr Solario, for my Bearded blobs and Shaved lizards story, an instant classic!

Fav #10. next, spending nearly every birthday in the city (San Francisco) with my Mom, seeing all the holiday decorations, walking around pier 39, The square, eating lobster and clam chowder and following it up with a trip to world market to start my Christmas shopping. Those were the best birthday's ever!

Fav #11. Life-guarding and swimming at Contra Loma Reservoir has to be on my list, my first time ever swimming across an entire lake (even if it was man-made reservoir)

Fav #12. Working for the El Campanil is really high on my list and time I will always treasure. I worked there all through High school with a great bunch of girls and a Manager that not only looked like Vincent Price but had the death stare to match if he wanted to (he was actually a really nice guy who just didn't smile much). It was an old vaudeville theatre from the 20's and probably what sparked my interest in theatre to begin with. All the old underground dressing rooms still had signatures and memorabilia in them and the stage behind the movie screen, still held set pieces hung from the rafters. Of course it was supposedly haunted so that always kept us on our feet :) The best thing was the races to The Meca after the last movie, we had about 7 mins to drive a 15 min. trip before they stopped serving, we usually always made it :)

Well I didn't quite get to 20, this brings me to the end of High school and the beginning of my move to LA and my time at Disney, which I want to properly ponder, so I will stop for now and post more later.

 40 years...part two...
Birthdays and colds sure do get in the way of blogging. Sorry for the lack of posting and visiting your blogs as of late, I got a cold for my birthday so it has slowed me down a bit. Now that it has passed, the cold and the birthday, I feel like I quickly need to wrap up this foolishness of my favorite 40, the problem is, writing down 40 memories is a bit of a task, I hadn't thought it would be this challenging and take so long :) Prior proper planning, bla bla bla...anywho, Thanks for all for the kind words about the first 12, oh and for indulging me by pretending to care about them! It was an extra special birthday gift :) I plan to share the next 28 or so as I get time to properly pay tribute to them, most likely a few at a time and I may back track a bit. BTW, as lengthy as this process is, it is very therapeutic and I highly recommend it!
Fav #13. ~Just starting out~ Okay moving forward, after high school, I moved to LA to start college and I got a part time job at Disneyland. Almost as quickly as I started College I stopped, it quickly became working for Disney and going to school part time! It was such an interesting, happy place where I made lots of friends and they paid me to do all of that, Hello! So number 13 is what I think made the next ten years possible. On my last day of training in the Disney Costuming division and what was sure to be hours, weeks and months of watching old men undress in front of the costuming windows and wiping their armpits with their already dirty, nasty Monorail shirt as I ran to get them a new XL that they could wear for another week and then repeat the ritual with me later, I completely LUCKED out! On our tour through what was called The Parade building. or "Siberia" for those who really knew where it was, I managed to answer a very important question correctly, by totally guessing! "Which Gummy Bear is this?" Kim asked our training group as we strolled through. Our trainer Karl had just explained what the parade crew did and how cool it was and now was my chance! "Gruffi" I screamed (guessed) and the rest is history. "Correct" Kim confirmed. The next day, someone called in sick on the parade crew, I walked in for my first shift of watching old men undress in front of me which would surely scar me for life and Kim said, "I'll take her, she knows who the gummy bears are!" so my hot,old men with the stinky armpits were gonna have to impress some new las, I was off to Siberia!
 40 years...part three...okay let's stop counting, this is going to take awhile :)
On my big 40th birthday I had this brilliant last minute, poorly planned idea, to share my favorite 40 memories with you. It was to not only get myself out of my 40 year old turning funk but to share with you, some of the cool and amazing things, places and people I have met in my 40 years (oh and to write it down so when the Alzheimers kicks in, I'm good) One struggle has been, all of my cool pictures and such are in boxes in the bottom of a ginormous storage unit, under Mom's stuff, Grandma's stuff, you get the task there (btw, I curse the days without electronic data storage) the other has just been time...it's a very finicky thing isn't it? If we have too much, we abuse it and when we have too little we curse it and vow to multiple ourselves. So, I am doing the very adult thing and moving these further away so not to be reminded of yet one more thing I need to do :) I really want to finish these and I intend to because I enjoy thinking about all of the blessings I have had in life so far ( much more fun and inspiring than the heartaches) and again as the Alzheimers rears it's ugly head (touch wood this doesn't actually happen) it will give the kids a built in reference guide. Until I complete them however, they will stay here, on the second page, keeping tabs...stay tuned...:)

Fav. #14. So that person that called in sick was actually fired for poor attendance and I didn't crash anything or dress anyone in half a Goofy costume and half a Mickey so I got a full time gig! The next year was filled with Parades and Shows and bonfires at the beach, oh and some school as time allowed :) I quickly took whatever Disney threw at me and sucked it all in. I would hand out the first parade, go to what we called step off, to help zip and tuck, then run over to the "Show Biz Is" show, at what then was the Videopolis stage, to hear Preston scream from stage left, as he ran full speed ,to stage right," I need a red Tie!!!" Soon Disney purchased the Queen Mary and I got yet another part time gig there, beyond Fun! The Queen Mary was having an event called The Voyage to 1939, complete with with a 1940's themed sailor show on the sun deck of the ship and a medley show of chaos in the Dome with the Spruce Goose as the back drop. It even included  my first Filming for a two hour TV Special  with Will Shriner and an awesome wrap party tour, to the bottom hull of the haunted Queen Mary from a newly published author on the subject. All this fun, I mean work, paid off for number 14, My Managers asked me to do the Hollywood Bowl! It was held on the July 4th weekend, two hours of Mickey and the gang and the LA Phil, with a fireworks extravaganza to cap off the show. Well, the event nearly killed me but was my first look into the madness of special events and I couldn't get enough. 16 hour days, screaming directors, pouty dancers and tired costumers we were but we had fun in the end! My actual fav # 14 moment, at the end of the show there was a plan! We undress the last set of whatever we are dressing as quickly as possible and throw all of the loose costumes (ie, highly flammable fabric) under the dressing tables and then collapse the tables and run for our life to the top of the parking lot to enjoy the beautiful fireworks show and in turn avoid the mass amounts of fireworks that are going to go off right above our heads in I think it was 4 minutes.  Well best laid plans and all that… Jesse and I got stuck with way more highly flammable fabric then we had hands for or knew what to do with so, guess who spent the first 6 mins under the tables with the highly flammable fabric, yep, yours truly. I thought the building had exploded it was so loud but the rain shower of fireworks spilling over the roof practically onto our feet was an image I will never forget! Eventually the top notch fire guy found us and gave us an all clear to run when he knew there would be a safe gap in the fireworks fallout. The next ten minutes were spent watching from the parking lot with the rest of the crew, they were just as beautiful but for some reason not nearly as exciting :)

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