The thing about 35 is that years ago my aunt casually mentioned that that was the age that both of her sisters (being the one I am named after and the one that birthed me) sort of lost their shit. So I’ve been counting down to my insanity for the last seven or so years. (Which brings me to the part about how isn’t it weird how time just keeps moving and how I’m not actually 17 anymore and who the hell put me in charge of these kids?) So, while I’m continually moving towards sanity and away from losing every last one of my marbles, I’ve often wondered how much I can handle. When I was reading through my mom’s old papers last year I had my first grown-up-perspective glimpse into what her life was like around that time and she really did have a lot on her plate. So part of me felt like I’d retain my sanity even beyond 35 because I am not my mom, but part was afraid that maybe 2011 had been the beginning of just Too Much. Once I arrived at 35, though, I felt pretty good about it. 35 is a nice, clean-feeling age. Not sharp and caustic like 33. Not slow and too-soft like 34. 35 feels nice and crisp and clear. (Let’s go ahead and go back to the part where I refer to myself as sane, mrmhrm?) Of course the next day I spent in tears for… no real reason. Even despite watching the Puppy Bowl. I’m hoping that might have been a cow dairy overload rather than anything more ominous.
But my birthday itself? Was lovely. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much out of it. My loneliness, my emo-ness, my broke-ness, and the fact that the latter point means we can’t renew our Disneyland passes right now so this was our last visit for awhile, all gave me low expectations.
But birthdays at Disneyland are never bad. And my kids were especially amazing on this particular visit. Interestingly, we spent more than half the day at California Adventure. If you’d have told me 10 years ago that I’d have done such I thing I’d have never believed it. At the time California Adventure was really kind of a disappointment. But they’ve made a lot of changes over the years, and especially with the opening of Buena Vista Street last year, it’s really become a fun park. And Cars Land? Just fantastic detail. So we headed over there first because the kids wanted to try the big ride there, Radiator Springs Racers. By 9:30 am they were already almost out of fast passes and the ones they were currently giving out were for 8pm, when we had plans to see a show, but the lines had gone down from the four hours back in the summer to only 80 minutes so we waited. The ride is really fun, and it’s one of my favorites for sure, but I won’t wait that long again, this was just a first time special. After people get used to it a little the lines (hopefully) won’t be so bad and we’ll get to ride it more often. Luckily the queue is very well decorated so there is lots of see while you wait. The kids LOVED the ride. When Elliott gets a little bigger he’s going to love roller coasters, but I think this ride is pretty much Margie’s limit (and mine).
We did some other stuff we don’t often make time for – riding the Sailing Ship Columbia, for one. I’d actually never been on that one, just the Mark Twain. Margie felt a little nervous being so high up, but she wanted so hard to make sure I had a good birthday, that she decided to be OK with it (and I made sure she wasn’t pushed beyond what she could handle).
After dinner, we went to talk to Crush which is one of my favorite things at California Adventure. It’s MAGIC. Or else cartoons are real. One of those things. Elliott got the chance to talk to him and you can see the video here. (Everyone sees long hair and thinks he’s a girl.)
And then we ended the evening with a show we hadn’t seen yet. World of Color is a water-and-light show where they project images onto the water. Despite the fact that it is, um, a water show, I didn’t realize it was so, uh, interactive. We were warned that we’d get wet, but that it was “just a little mist”. By the end of the show we were soaked. Which turned out to be pretty OK since it was, for some strange reason, about 70 degrees that February night. Go figure. Elliott, who melts if he comes in contact with water outside of a bathtub (and sometimes even in) didn’t love that he got wet, but he also couldn’t keep his eyes off the show. He had that smile on his face that all the kids in every Disneyland commercial always have. I have never experienced such a stereotypical moment as a parent. It made me giddy with the warm fuzzies.
My quick review of World of Color:
It began with a simple (and yet amazing) show of lights and music and I thought for a second that it would be something like Fantasia, where they simply animated music. They were going back to one of Walt’s original ideas, pure imagineering, just experimenting with new ways to animate music in a 3D environment. I found it intellectual, exciting, honest, and heartwarming. That was the first 30 or so seconds. And the rest was all based on the bigger characters and movies. And it was still a really great show; I sang along almost the whole time and they used their various effects very, well, effectively. But I feel like they missed a big opportunity to make something unique and important. They, of course, feel like that would have missed a big opportunity for marketing of their bigger characters and movies. Ah well. At least Disneyland does commercials really well.
The point is that the show, and therefore my birthday, ended with rainbows. And that is, I hope, a good omen. At the very least it sure is pretty.