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June, 2013

Tilt-a-What the F@&??

The flower fields in Lompoc were beautiful, although not what I expected. I thought they would all be in one huge valley all together but now I know they are farms and those farms are located all over the place. Some people gave us general directions where most of them were but then driving along the highway, you come around a bend and there’s one all by itself – a stunning carpet of orange and purple flowers. But more than the flowers, we saw acres and acres of grapes being grown. I forgot that we were in wine country. If I had known what was to come, I would have had a lot of wine before going in search of a Tilt-a-Whirl.

It was opening day at the Flower Festival so there were not a lot of people. And there was no Tilt-a-Whirl. But I found one that looked kind of like a tilt-a-whirl and the operator was just hanging around waiting for someone to ride. I bought the ticket, got on, and then two other kids got on, all about 8 years old.  I was so excited! This would be my Tilt-a-Whirl. The music was loud and I was ready. It only took about 15 seconds for me to start screaming, “Stop! Stop!” I had no idea this thing would fly up into the air, start heaving down to the bottom, then up to the top… but that’s not all. The seats went vertical… but that’s not all. Then they started spinning!!! Got it? Loud music, flying up and down, seats VERTICAL and SPINNING! I was so scared and was screaming as loud as I could to stop. But the other kids were screaming for joy so he didn’t know the difference. Suddenly I remembered that someone died of a heart attack in an earthquake last year. You can die from fear!! Would I die up here? Would I pass out and fly out of the seat? I think I just peed on myself. He finally noticed me screaming and stopped the ride after about 4 hours (Denis says it was 30 seconds but he lies).

I had to be helped off the ride like an old person who can’t get out of a chair. My heart was pounding. My hands were shaking. I was crying and hyperventilating. I thanked the operator for stopping (I think I recognized him from the audience at the prison!). But all that’s not even the worst part. The operator had to start the ride back up for the other kids who seemed to have no problem with this death-trap called The Orbiter. The worst part was the looks I got from the kids for interrupting their ride. Can an 8-year-old girl be condescending?  This bitch was.

No prison this time

The last time I was in Lompoc was in 1978 when my band played at the Lompoc Federal Prison. Don’t ask me how we got the gig – I have no idea. I remember going through all kinds of security as they searched us and our instruments. When we started playing, the prisoners’ cheering was so loud we could not hear our own music. We actually got out of sync and didn’t know it as we kept playing through the pandemonium. No one in the audience knew or cared that we were playing out of sync. They kept screaming for me to turn around and I thought maybe one of the prisoners got loose and was coming up behind me. Security guards were stationed at both sides of the stage but they didn’t move so I finally turned around and the crowd exploded. They just wanted to see my ass!

Fast forward to 2013… I’m gong back to Lompoc, but no prison this time. I always wanted to see the flower fields in Lompoc and we’re going tomorrow.

There’s a flower festival this weekend and  I love taking pictures but what has me even more excited is… there might be a tilt-a-whirl!

Bon voyage!!

This has never happened

We had the most amazing thing happen yesterday. Denis and I were having tea in the backyard around 3:00, wondering if we might see the young deer again and all of a sudden a hawk swooped down and landed on a tree branch just 5 feet off the ground. He was right next to us! Maybe 25 feet away in a birch tree. The green leaves in the foreground are to top of a hydrangea bush. Before we saw him we heard his wings as he flew down. We sat motionless, afraid to even move an arm, knowing he’d fly away as fast as he landed. And I didn’t have my camera! “I have to try,” I said to Denis, “because the camera is just inside the door.” So I very slowly slid out of my chair and moved towards the door. I opened the door and it creaked a little and I was afraid to look back, knowing the noise would scare him away. But he stayed. I got my camera and slowly came back outside, in disbelief that he was still there and so close.  I was so thrilled to get this photo. He stayed for about 5 minutes and then his giant wings opened up and he was gone.

It’s a boy!

Did you see my posting on May 16th when the baby deer got into the backyard? Well, mom and baby came around again today (not in the yard – just on the hill behind the house) and guess what? Its a boy! I wish I had a better picture but as soon as he saw me, he ran to momma! But you know I’ll be staking out the hill for more photos of this beautiful boy when his antlers start to grow. The way he was looking at me, I wonder what he was thinking… “Aren’t you the broad who was chasing me around the yard? Try and catch me now, lady!”  Or maybe he was thinking, “What’s to eat? I ate all the flowers up here so…  got any tomatoes?”

Photo album is completed

My thanks to everyone for taking time to share your photos. This album is now completed and closed to any further additions. I hope you enjoy looking through three years of photos sent in from friends. (The Chat Room is always open!)