Thursday, August 15, 2019


I know that people who have read this blog for a long time will appreciate when I say that last Friday I played bingo with the Knights of Columbus.

What does a gal do when she realizes that all of her dreams have come true?

I went up to Oregon to visit the fam (questions: how in the world do more Knechts now live in Oregon, OREGON!?!, instead of California. It's a real mystery, folks.) Before I left I checked out things to do in the area because I don't like for people to have to plan to entertain me when I travel. And, it has been a bit of a whirlwind summer for me with a lot of visitors and a lot of fun but a couple of weeks ago my dad had a medical thing that none of us saw coming (he's doing great now) and it's been a little stressful. So I was more than happy to lounge about and play with the kids all weekend but I thought I would have some ideas in case we wanted to get some fresh Oregon air. I stumbled upon the Polk County Fair. Polk County neighbors Marion County where the gang all live so it was nearby and looked charming.

I did not expect half of the charm I got. Because the Polk County Fair is like stepping back in time. A time where cotton candy costs $1.50. You can tell that we were all just a little too used to California prices because I found myself shouting, "Snow cones are $1.50!!! SNOW CONES FOR EVERYONE!!!" I think a snow cone at the LA County Fair is $10. The only thing you can get at that fair for $1.50 is 6 turns on the foot massagers and that's it. (I will say this till I die, those foot massagers are the greatest $0.25 you will ever spend. Also, there are no foot massagers at the Polk County Fair because it is in the past.) The Polk County Fair is probably a whole lot closer to most county fairs. I've only ever been to the LA and OC county fairs so what do I know about small town charm?

Come to think of it, I have never even been to my own county fair. I actually live on the very edge of San Bernardino County and it is the largest county in the nation. (Don't be too impressed, it is mostly desert and people who like to live alone in trailers in the desert.)(Does a quick google search) It's in May in Victorville. Look, I'm not opposed to going to Victorville, I'd just like to know how many foot massagers they have before I make the drive.

Okay, back to Polk County. It was incredibly tiny, like maybe it would fit in a football field. There was one exhibition hall, a stage and several long stables for animals being shown by FFA kids. There were maybe 200 people there, most of them showing animals or cheering on the kids showing animals. But what it lacked in size (and fried food, whither all the fried things on a stick, Polk County Fair?) it made up in things like: a very large quilt display, with the women who made many of the quilts sitting at tables in front of them and talking about quilting; a cutest baby competition; a kids talent show that had some kid dressed up as a ring master singing from the Greatest Showman; and regular animal judging, we caught the pig competition. Does anyone else always say, "That's some pig!" whenever they see a pig? From Charlotte's Web?

The two real highlights though were,

1. Free monster truck rides. (" MONSTER TRUCK RIDES FOR EVERYONE!!!) Graham was STOKED OUT OF HIS MIND! He is going through a really big monster truck phase right now. And it totally lived up to all of his expectations. We sped around the track and did donuts and Graham could not contain his glee. I could hear him laughing over the roar of the engine. It was the most joyous thing I've ever witnessed.

2. The Knights of Columbus hosted a bingo tent. THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HOSTED A BINGO TENT! And the Grand Knight himself was the caller. I tried to explain to him how this is kind of a big deal for me. Like, that picture of Graham in front of the tire is how I was feeling on the inside when I was playing bingo. I think he thought I was teasing, but you all know how sincere I am when it comes to fraternal orders. Lindsay, Susie, and I all put in our $2 (for 3 cards. BINGO FOR EVERYONE!!!) and Lindsay won. But I really think I was the big winner because the Grand Knight shared story after story about all of his famous relations who helped settle Oregon (his great, great grandfather settled Tillamook, of the ice cream and cheese fame.) And I convinced him to let me take a picture of him to commemorate this magical night

It was truly a magical place. I still love the LA County Fair but I've never played bingo there. 

And now, for some pictures:

The only fried food we found. An elephant ear, a giant scone slathered with butter and cinnamon and sugar. Apparently they're a thing in Oregon.

Is it too unrealistic a dream to try to go to all the county fairs? Yes. But wouldn't it be great to try?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Ole' Toothless Magee

A few years ago I had a dreadful dental experience that included hours of drilling, a dental dam that made it impossible to close my mouth for 3 hours, and an assistant who was not very conscientious about suctioning, so I literally felt like I was drowning while a drill worked its way down to the depths of my soul. Fun! All of my dental visits since then have just been for cleanings and I can handle that. I went about my life convinced that if anything went wrong with my teeth I would just let them all fall out and I could take on a kicky nickname like Ole' Toothless Magee. Well, one molar decided to test that resolve and broke clean in half in January. On a piece of pineapple. The most pernicious of all tropical fruits. I decided then and there that I didn't have it in me to be Ole' Toothless Magee and that I needed to find a new dentist and start fresh.

Enter Dr. C. He was on my list of providers, had good reviews on Yelp, and his office was less than a mile from my home. There is one very important thing you need to know about him: he's a Disney fanatic. I mean, every inch of his wall is covered in Disney memorabilia. His biggest dream is to purchase an old People Mover car and put it in his lobby. He works at Disneyland on the weekend as a canoe guide. Wait, I'm going to repeat that because maybe you just skimmed over it: he's a 50-something year old dentist with two practices who works at Disneyland on the weekend as a canoe guide because he loves it so much. I mean, I certainly do love Disneyland and I have often thought it would be fun to be a Jungle Cruise guide, but that's after I retire and before I begin my life as a Palm Springs eccentric.

He also is the type of guy who laughs at his own jokes. He thinks he's the funniest guy on the planet. This is what makes him truly funny, rather than his jokes. And I have to say, it's the best characteristic to have in a dentist. There was a lot of drilling for that broken tooth and I was really nervous going into it but once he started cracking dad jokes and then laughing his head off over them all of the nerves went away. 

But he took it to a new level yesterday. I had to go in to have a filling replaced which meant more drilling. (Fun fact: when my teeth are being drilled there is a very distinct odor of nacho cheese Doritos. Neither Dr. C or his assistant could smell it but I've smelled it every time. Is that what my teeth smell like on this inside? I want you to image the moment, because it's bound to happen, when I'm in a new situation and I'm a bit nervous and have to share interesting things about myself and I blurt out, "My teeth smell like Doritos.")(I digress.) When Dr. C came into the room he turned on a classic rock station, and you would think that listening to Welcome to the Jungle would be stressful when the drilling began, but it wasn't. It was actually kind of funny and very fitting. A few more songs played and then, near the end of the drilling, Cypress Hill's Jump Around came on. Now, this song is objectively great. Everyone loves it. And you can't sit still when it's on. But I was in a position not conducive to dancing, that being fully reclined in a dental chair with two pairs of hands shoving instruments into my mouth, one of them a live drill. And yet, when it comes on I manage to garble out "Yeah!" and start tapping my foot. Both Dr. C and his assistant start bopping their heads and mumbling the words through their masks. Then it gets to the jump-jump-jump part of the song and Dr. C removes the drill and starts jumping around. I'm lying on my back with the water thingy and suction still in my mouth, surrounded by Disney princess pictures, Jump Around is blaring through the speakers, and my dentist is raising the roof and laughing at himself, all with the smell of nacho cheese Doritos in the air.

I'm officially over my fear of the dentist.