Thursday, July 31, 2008

June 2008: Three Amigos

Needless to say, we got some weird reactions.

When you tell your friends that you’re going to Disneyland and you’re only taking one of your kids, their immediate thought is: But what about all your other deprived, neglected kids? Surely they’re going to weep every day that you’re gone and hold it against you and when you’re old they’ll put you in a nursing home much earlier than necessary.

But hey, at some point, each one of your kids needs a little one-on-one time.

So when Jason’s band, the Steel Institute, was invited (again) to play in Disneyland, Lori and I decided that it would just be him and us…and two of his friends.

I had originally thought that with four-dollar gas we would drive to Southern Cal in my Camry. It gets pretty good gas mileage and it’s comfortable…if you’re under 5’10” that is. Problem is, Jason’s friends, Richie Dowd and Rick Doxey are both well over 6 feet. So instead of 27 mpg in the Camry, it would be 16 mpg in the Suburban.

Ouch.

Note: the White family can’t do anything unless we have a bag of treats. Watch a movie at home? Gotta have treats. Going to play in the Park? Gotta have treats. Going camping? Gotta have treats. Taking a long road trip? Gotta have treats.

Apparently Richie’s family is far more sensible and health-conscious than the White family because Richie was astounded at the plethora of treats that we loaded into that gas-guzzling Suburban. Then, to supplement our mobile larder I bought a gigantic bag of beef jerky at a gas station along the way.

But besides hitting another déjà vu headwind between Baker and Barstow we made it to Orange County without putting a dent in the Suburban or the über treat-bag.

So, with lots of June midsummer light left we headed straight for Newport Beach. Once there, we busted out 4 longboards and 1 scooter ‘cause the boardwalk is much more fun on wheels. The boys and I were skateboarding—but Lori’s not a skateboarder—so the scooter was for her. You gotta give a 39 year-old mother of 6 credit for being game.

We immediately headed down the boardwalk for the Balboa Pier. Naturally, after eating all those treats we were hungry. There’s this little pizza shop that we discovered last year and we promised the boys a slice. But they aren’t just slices—they’re GINORMOUS.

I had quite forgotten how big they are so naturally I ordered 2—and the boys followed suit.

Can you say stuffed?

Afterward we tooled around the Balboa and Newport piers—the boys reenacting a scene from the Titanic and generally acting like the big boys they are—and Lori and I tagging along.

The next day the boys headed off to Disneyland while Lori and I, having no previous plans, scanned the hotel’s tourist trap brochures for something to do. None of the day-tripper leaflets were really catching our eye until I saw one for the RMS Queen Mary.

There’s a story behind this.

Both my father (Quentin) and my mother (Marja-Riitta) served as missionaries in Finland during the period of 1954 to 1957. My dad was a typical Utah farm boy and Mom was (okay, still is…) a beautiful Finnish girl from Vaasa. As young, unmarried, LDS missionaries they each had companions of their same gender, lived in different cities, and were living under strict rules regarding how they could socialize—i.e., no dating, no flirting, etc. So, we’re told that they more or less ignored each other and only occasionally bumped into each other throughout those years.

In 1957 my dad finished his missionary service, promptly bought a Vespa, and buzzed off throughout continental Europe to see the sights. Not long afterward, my mom also completed her missionary service and, deciding to immigrate to the U.S., boarded the Queen Mary at Southhampton, England. And (surprise!) guess who was onboard? Yep, handsome Utah farm boy, Quentin.

Nothing to do but hang around a beautiful ship and practice those long-inactive flirting skills.

The rest is history.

Anyway, Lori and I thought it would be cool to see the old ship—which is now moored at Longbeach.

And cool it was.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Afterward we somehow decided that it would be important to visit Venice Beach.

It wasn’t.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Now the good part…. Eating.

I’m not a big fan of Mexican food, but I’ll never miss an opportunity to eat dinner at El Cholo.


Seriously, if you haven’t eaten there and you’re hanging around Southern Cal, go eat there.

Yum.

You won’t be disappointed. Just thinking about it right now makes my stomach growl.

I recommend the Taste of History with Green Corn Tamales.

Yum again.

The next day it was off to Disneyland. Once again Jason had some great performances with the Steel Institute. One highlight was a memorable solo during Rush’s, Where’s My Thang….

Click the play button to see and hear it.

video

Lori and I let the boys go do their own thang while we hung out together. I even convinced her to ride the Tower of Terror—no small feat considering her fear of heights.

So, yeah, it was fun to focus on just one of our kids and hang out with Jason and his two buddies, Richie and Rick.

I suppose what said it all was when Jason found us throughout each day and gave us hugs with a big smile on his face.

Priceless.