Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vote. Every. Day.


Go to the link above and vote every day until the 31st of July. Because if this campaign doesn't rank in the Top 10 on Pepsi refresh Everything, Conneaut Lake Park will NOT receive the MUCH-needed $50K to restore it's beloved roller coaster, the Blue Streak.

Refurbished Blue Streak=Renewed Conneaut Lake Park=Revitalized local economy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

No more scary clowns, please...

Folks, I've been so good about writing almost every day, or at least posting a photo and some commentary every day. I'm actually quite proud of myself because this sort of discipline has often eluded me in my life. Well, the last posting I did was 3 days ago; there's a reason for this.

We had a "Happy One Month Anniversary of our Last Flood" flood late Friday, very early Saturday. Ben and I bailed out the water that was gurgling up from our kitchen sink. We were at this for over two hours. Ben used a bucket, I used a large pot with handles. The bailed water, which was sewer back-up water by the way, got hoisted again and again out our kitchen door and out onto our back deck.

Finally, I reached our next door neighbor who came over with a portable sump pump to pump out the flood that was rushing through our back basement door. The water was at least 3 feet deep at the back door.

Luckily, we only had some minor flooding in the basement, which is still gutted from the Flood of June 23rd. Water was swept into the drain, or mopped up. It was a relatively small job.

If, however, we were not home, if we did not get the sump pump or bail for hours, the water would've been spewing up from the kitchen sink, flooding our kitchen and living room, cascading down into the basement (with all the freshly painted, brand-new drywall), and probably we would've been looking at wading through at least 3 to 8 FEET of water, which is what many folks in our neighborhood were greeted with in the morning.

So, I'm done with this flood business. I feel like Carol Anne in "Poltergeist" when she realizes after the tree eats her brother, after she gets sucked into the closet, after she's chased by a demon somewhere between the living room ceiling and hell, after her mother rescues her from said jello-covered netherworld, that the haunting is not over, the scary clown in the bedroom is possessed and there's additional mayhem to face. All she's capable of emitting is a plaintive "No More.".

That's how we feel. No more, please. Let's get on with our lives, with the Cotton Candying and championing of vintage parks, with finding places to put things in a meaningful, organized way.

No more scary clowns please, in the guise of another torrential flood - or any other disaster, made by man or nature.

Thank you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Suddenly, I'm feeling all "Drowsy"

Yes, babies, I've been cast as The Drowsy Chaperone, in the play of the same name.

This is rather a big deal, as I've considered this a dream role ever sicne I ever saw Beth Leavel's performance on the Tonys. I thought at that time, "I intuitively know this woman. I knwo this role. And it is so ordained I will play it some day."

Hey -- thanks Law of Atrraction! That day has come.

I calculated it's been 17 years since I've been cast in a dream role - the last being Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd" (for which I won an After Dark Award for Best Performance).

So, while I still Cotton Candy and do voice-over by day, by night I'll don black crystals and velvet and swoon on a fainting couch, all the while prepared with the pithy zinger, courtesy of the incredibly clever book of this wonderfully inventive musical.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Humid enough for ya?

Seriously, the weather here today in the greater Chicagoland area is thicker than glue and just as sticky. If I wanted to live in Florida, by gum, I would've moved to Florida. But no, instead I choose to live in an area where I can breathe in air rather than a flood of water. Actual water. I walked outside to my car this morning and I do believe I swallowed a lungful of water.

When we visited Hershey Park last month, it happened to be on a day where the humidity and the temperature were both easily in the 90s. I was afraid the costumed Kiss and Chocolate Bar characters would melt into puddles on the asphalt (never did see the Reese's guy -- and now I'm frankly worried).

Yours truly had to speed slurp her luscious hot fudge sundae, topped with life affirming and life sustaining Hershey's sauce. I'm a slow ice cream eater (all of us Turlows are), so the concept of "ice cream headache" is lost on me.

Luckily it was too darned hot for the headache to take effect.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Idling awhile...

Last August, Ben and I drove to Ligonier, PA to visit the laid-back, countrified, "down by the old mill stream" amusement park called Idlewild. What Idlewild has going for it (besides the highly-rated kiddieland, the Mr. Rogers-inspired "Land of Make Believe", a rockin' coaster that bops you along the treetops, and a storybook land with real, live, walking and talking storybook characters!) are the places you can just relax and set a spell. For hours. For all day, if you wish.

Like the beautiful elderly lady I befriended within my first 15 minutes at the park did. I'd visited the gift shop and bought a tumbled piece of agate and strung it on a cord to make a necklace. Afterward, I sat down on one of the rockers to admire my handiwork and the two of us first started talking about the necklace (she produced from around her neck a yellow seashell-shaped pendant she'd purchased at the same store, years before), then her family, the many years she's been coming to the park ("Around 60 years, by my calculations," she said), and, eventually, the fact that she gets tired quickly these days, so she's just content to sit back in the shade, enjoy the commotion of the crowds walking by, and just idle awhile.

Try finding quiet respites like that in your typical coaster-driven park. You can't.

Thanks Idlewild, for the chance to meet this wonderful child-at-heart.

Monday, July 19, 2010

And, on occasion, I sing!

Keep pulling for me, folks,. I auditioned for the first show I've really been drawn to in 4 years! Just last night, I went for "The Drowsy Chaperone" at Wheaton Drama, for the title role. We'll see what happens. I'm pretty psyched, as I licked my usual fear of auditioning pretty well. Was still nervous, but a good kind of nervous, not the kind that debilitates me for the whole day leading up to the audition, leaving me a barely recognizable lump of my former self (I'm only mildly exaggerating).

Most people don't know how phobic I can be regarding the stage. I've been that way since high school, but as I've recently been focusing on other projects (like this book!!) I've been able to distance myself from that feeling of being judged, of having all eyes upon me, waiting for me to make a mistake and look like a donkey.

Anyways, that's my update for now. Oh wait -- I DO have a park update! I just read that Arnold's Park was hit by a nasty storm just recently! They survived, but had a few casaulities: the Tilt-A-Whirl and Spider are out of commission for a bit, after enduring damage from fallen trees. The coaster, the Legend, at once my nemesis and best friend, is missing some lights -- and its ominous, top-of-the-hill sign, "The Point of No Return" was blown away. Hopefully all will be repaired and replaced soon.

By the way - if you wish to view the original sign, then you MUST become a backer of my Kickstarter funding for $100 or more. Because I rode that coaster - and the sign figures predominantly in my screaming,antic, madcap venture!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Master of all you survey...

Most amusement parks have some sort of ride that allows you to get the proverbial bird's eye view of the environs, but none come close, to me at least, as the sky ride. They're definitely a vanishing breed; Disneyland removed theirs years ago, much to my chagrin. The old "depot" in Fantasyland remained for a long time after the ride was plucked, an empty shack that always drew curious kids, wondering what it was, what kind of magic hid behind its wilting Tyrolean exterior.

The sky ride was first introduced at the Chicago World's Fair - Century of Progress in 1933. Called the aerial tramway (or the "Star Trek"-ian transporter bridge), it carried 4.5 million riders before it was demolished. Imagine the fair goers, gliding above the pavilions in rocket-shaped cars (which carried 36 people each! Much different from the usual gondola ride!), taking in all the space age newness!

While I've been "Cotton Candying", I've luckily encountered a number of sky rides and they always elicit the same response from me: I run to them, giddy with the expectation of surveying the park, doing some recon from up, up above.

Pictured is yours truly on Cedar Point's sky ride. My hubby informs me the ride used to be longer, but was shortened to bring in a new tangle of roller coasters.

I'm grateful the park decided to keep what they have. The gentle ride acclimates you to the energy of the park below and is a great way to start your Cedar Point day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vote for the Restoration of the Blue Streak roller coaster!!!

I've already posted about this, but I'm learning more and more that it's crucial for the fate of this historic park, which dates back to 1893, that the coaster is up and running STAT!! It's also so important for the Conneaut Lake local economy. A roller coaster is to an amusement park like a department store is to a mall. It's the main thing that draws folks in. Now, let's up the ante by stating that this particular coaster is long-loved, historical - FAMOUS! Some compare it to the Coney Island coasters.

Here's the link once again:


As of today, the Blue Streak ranks 22nd as far as vote-getting. It needs to be in the Top 10 by July 31st.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"I'm part of an original crowd..."

Nothing like a flood that deposits 8" of water in your basement to reset the machine, so to speak. There's a sense of clearing and rejuvenation going on in our house, in my work, in my writing. It's actually an exciting place to be; just wish it wasn't brought about in such a dramatic fashion.

What's in my Magic Mirror today is the word "persistence". I don't consider myself the most persistent person I know. When the going gets tough, I'm mostly wondering how much I can pay "the tough" to do it for me. But I've been gaining this persistence in thought and spirit lately. I'm feeling like this powerful force, but it's a gentle power, born not from an anger to be first, to get what I want, to win, but more from a sense of wanting the best to succeed, wanting to keep quality in the fore. Wanting the good guys to win.

I grew up not wanting to be a bother, not wanting to ask for too much. I'm getting done with that mindset, too.

That's it. That's my Emotional Upload, my Stewart Smalley reflection for the day.

Keep it going. Keep it up. Pester. Be a pesterer.

I'm a Pesterer, You're a Pesterer, He's a Pesterer, She's a Pesterer. Wouldn't you like to be a Pesterer, too?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday on the Blog with Photos!

Yours truly, truly in awe of what stands before her: a cabinet full of music for the carousel at Seabreeze Park, the 4th oldest park in the country. What makes this so special is that their original vintage carousel was lost in a fire but rather than installing a fiberglass ride, as most parks would do, Seabreeze chose to build a brand new hand carved one and had new music made for the organ!

Truly a testament to what can be done when a respect for quality and craftsmanship is revered.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nutty Bar is good eats!

No, I didn't see Alton Brown cozy up to the counter for a succulent Nutty Bar while I visited Arnold's Park, but I did see a car pull up near the entrance and out of it emerged a stylish woman in her 80s. Inside the car, her lady friends awaited their beloved ice cream treats. I followed the woman inside the store, which has stood in the same exact location for decades. Definitely since this woman was in bobby socks and pigtails.

I offered to help her with the three Nutty Bars; she gladly accepted the aid rather than face the mad juggling of three top heavy, nut laden bars (coated in a rich, almost mocha-like chocolate - goodlordinheaven!). When I delivered the bars to her eager friends ("Curbside Service, ladies!", I announced, like the geek that I am), they giggled in appreciation and suddenly didn't look a day over 18.

Behold the magic of the Nutty Bar, an Arnold's Park staple, made the same quality way for generations. Sometimes it's very, very good when things stay the same.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's... a SIGN!

Knoebel's park truly flattened me. I normally stride through a vintage park with my trusty notebook, scribbling this and that and such in a rather manic fashion, making sure I don't miss one scintilla of something charming, something unique. But Knoebel's is brimming, I mean brimming, with snack stalls, buildings, rides, gift shops, more rides, museums and signage that is truly one-of-a-kind -- I simply couldn't keep up with the onslaught or greatness. Even the lowly game shack (although none of them here at Knoebel's could be called lowly - all are in tip top shape and house some terrific games) is found to be topped with a sign that's truly a work of art. Take a close look at this one; the castle is 3 dimensional, bright ,cheerful and eye-catching.

I don't know who's in charge of the design and upkeep of the Knoebel's signage, but that person deserves a kiss on the pate. MmmmmmmWAH!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hey! Get that Altruism Monkey off your back TODAY! One of THREE ways you can make me smile -- and get that warm, fuzzy feeling...

Today the dumpster was set out on our drive way. That's good because we can finally load in all our debris from the flood, the debris that was fermenting near our driveway, swiftly turning into a biohazard as the days progressed. The shiny green dumpster is here so the nice man who is working on our roof has a place to put the old crumpled roofing, some of which was damaged during the storm of 2010.

This morning when Ben attempted to make breakfast, he realized our stove does not work. Something went kaflooey with the electrical componenet which, upon closer researching online, I've learned may cost about $250 to replace, not counting the repairman.

So, if you're still reading this, could you please take some time to help me out because, yeah, things are a bit trying just now and money issues just keep cropping up. I'll definitely have your back later.

Here's what you can do:

Go to my Kickstarter site and pledge money toward my book:


Go to my Cafe Press shop and buy something cool:


Go to the Pepsi Refresh Everything site and vote FOR FREE for Conneaut Lake Park's funding of the Blue Streak rollercoaster. If this park's coaster is put back into working order, this park has a chance of succeeding. If not, I'm not quite sure...


There are your options. Oh - you can also stop by our house on Sunday and help us paint. Contact me directly for further information.

Thank you for your attention. Oh -- and enjoy the nifty photo of the llama from the Conneaut Lake Park carousel. That's free, too, just for visiting my blog today!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Weekend on the Blog with Photos!

Besides fireworks, the 4th of July makes me think of picnics and games at county fairs. Above, you'll see yours truly attempting to win the unwinnable ping pong ball toss game for a chance to take home a stuffed penguin.

I came close, about five times. But close is only good for horseshoes and hand grenades, both of which apparently the common penguin has a problem with.

On the wonderful, playful midway of Seabreeze Park.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Follow this link and vote, vote, VOTE!!


Go to this link and vote everyday. Pepsi is giving away SCADS of money every month. Help Conneaut Lake Park win $50,000 to refurbish its Blue Streak Coaster, the park's signature ride, closed for years. It's an historic coaster, a good old-fashioned wooden jobbie. It's magnificent and needs YOUR support. Plus once it's up and running, it'll defintiely help revive the park.

Don't let Conneaut Lake Park go the way of Kiddieland. Vote EVERYDAY!!