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4:20 p.m. - 2004-11-02

Light parades and a spooky house

Over the weekend I realized I had to make a change with my page. I had thought that due to the pictures I was posting it was slowing down the entire uploading process. To my chagrin, and thanks to Firemind, I realized I needed to take my lovely blogpet back to the pound. She was causing me much grief, and tearing up the furniture.

Bye-bye Blog-kitty!!

Having deleted the little cyber feline my pages veritably jump from the page with speeds too astounding to me. Ok – actually – they’re just coming up normal now - I just didn’t realize how bogged down I’d gotten. Thanks for your patience and perseverance, ya all!

I believe I last left you after our day at Universal Studio’s. Which brings us to our two final days in Southern California. Friday and Saturday were spent bouncing back and forth from Disneyland and California Adventure (CA). Because we had done everything we’d wanted to do, and sometimes more than once, we spent this time looking more closely at shops. Doubling back on rides we really enjoyed (Indiana Jones a total of 6 times), and just plain sitting and watching people. Which reminds me – I have never seen so many kiddie strollers congregated in one place. At the entrance or exit of many rides you saw rows upon rows upon rows of strollers. I’m talking in the 50’s here folks. It was astounding.

Friday evening we watched fireworks at Disneyland to close out our evening. They were amazing and beautiful. And Saturday night, our last evening in Anaheim, we watched the ‘Light Parade’ over at CA. This had once been a tradition for Disneyland, but with the burgeoning of CA they moved it over. It’s is truly a spectacular way to close a weekend evening at the park.

This is just one example of the many float displays from the parade. Many of the well-known Disney characters are re-created with thousands of little lights. This one is by far my favourite. Although I must confess I’ve never sat through this particular Disney movie. Does anyone recall the name of it? It had to do with a little boy who befriends this dragon.

Sunday morning we again rose exhausted, but happy, and continued on to the next event in our travels. Saddleback Church is your typically LARGE American evangelical church. However, to us it is a little more significant. Around two years ago there was a book that was published called “The Purpose Driven Life”. From this book spun off much promotion and promotional items. On this factor I am not impressed, but the author is “Pastor Rich Warren”. Just a week or two before we were to leave on holiday’s T and I chanced upon the show “Dateline”. This is not a program that we would normally view, however, the few seconds were landed on the channel they were talking about a upcoming segment on “Rick Warren”. We had to watch.

I gained a great respect for this man and the church that God built through him and his ministry. I did not enjoy “The Purpose Driven Life” as a read, but he kind of person Rick Warren presented himself to be endeared me to him.

Unbeknownst to either T or I we both checked out Saddleback Church on the Internet during the next week. We both e-mailed each other (from work) with the knowledge that Saddleback church was only a 30-minute drive from Anaheim, and wouldn’t it be fun to experience this church first hand. So we did!

We found out when services were and decided upon the 11am Sunday service. Once we found the church we stood in awe of the immense size of the place. You must realize that the church we attend here in Victoria is one of the largest churches on the island. Let me tell you, I think our church congregation could fit into a bathroom at Saddleback. Well – slight exaggeration there, but you understand I’m sure. This church has two services on Saturday night, and three services on Sunday. Each service can seat approximately 10,000 people. It’s HUGE people!

We both enjoyed the service, and I had to find my way over to the “Children’s Ministry Building”. I had to opportunity to have a quick word with one of their Sunday School teachers who informed me that at any given service the average kids attendance (Kindergarten to grade 6) was 1,000 kids. OH-MY-LANTA!!! We thought we were doing pretty good to have attendance of 130 kids on any given Sunday.

Can you tell we were a little blown away by all we saw?

I could go on, but I won’t. Deciding to attend this church on our holidays was one of my highlights. And people at work are tired of hearing me talk about it.

After church we needed to start driving back north to head to my brothers place in the San Francisco Bay area. We passed our recent motel on the I5 and it was 2:15 in the afternoon. We were looking at a 6-7 hour drive ahead of us. And to add to this day it drizzled on us most if not all of the way. This was in fact the first rain that these parts had seen in almost a year. But at one point, probably an hour and a half to two hours from our destination this was the sight out the front window of the van.

Beautiful, huh?

We had a wonderful visit with my brother and his family. Monday they all tore off to respect work or school, and left T and I to a much-needed sleep in. Monday night we all went out to dinner, and reconnected as a family. (Other than our wedding T has spent anytime with this portion of my family). Tuesday morning we rose with the rest of the crew to begin the long trek home to Victoria. With a minor stop in San Jose at the Winchester Mystery House.

Winchester House is a sprawling 160-room house built by the late 1800’s, although the original house had only a few rooms. Mrs. Sarah Winchester was the widow to the heir of the Winchester Rifle Empire. She had had only one child, a daughter, which had died in her young years. Mr. Winchester died before being able to live in this house, and Mrs. Winchester, being a lover of all things mystical, consulted a medium after his passing. In hopes, I would guess, of staying in contact with her deceased husband. This medium told Sarah that in order to keep all the spirits of the all the victims who had died from bullets from Winchester Rifles she must continuously build. And that she did for 38 years. Continuously – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Can you imagine?

She also had a likening for the number 13. Many rooms had 13 windows many windows had thirteen parts. There were 13 bathrooms, and 13 bedrooms, and she never slept in the same bedroom two nights in a row, so as to confuse the spirits. She had stairwells going nowhere, as well as many doors.

One door within the house, when opened up, you would drop down into one a huge kitchens sinks. Did I mention there were two kitchens? Or ya, and two basements, each with it’s own furnace.

Here are a couple more shots.

This is the front of the house, but you will see on the far right side much ‘blackness’. These were rooms or walls that were in the process of being made or remodelled at the time of her death. Another fact I forgot to tell you – that within minutes of her death all work on the house stopped ‘dead’ cold (get it? Dead cold . . . dead . . . cold – ok – so I’m not that funny). It was almost supernatural the way work ceased, and nothing was completed after that.

There are the front doors to this beautifully crafted house. Note the intricate wood work around the door. The most amazing stain glasswork. These front doors only ever saw three people walk through them - the three workmen who put the doors in place. Sarah never walked through them, and expected all guests (and herself) to use the servant entrance at the back of the house. There is a story, which says the then United States President of the day – I don’t remember which one, came by to visit her. He, logically, approached these front doors but was denied entry. He was told to use the back servants doors like everyone. He was so flummoxed, and indignant at the request the he left in a huff without visiting Mrs. Winchester at all.

She had her front drive lined with 13 palm trees which all stand to this day. I have a picture of one of them, but I see I didn’t scan it. So you’ll just have to use your imagination.

After this amazing tour we finally departed and began to wind our way north through San Francisco. But I see that I have given you quite a bit to chew on for one entry and I’ll leave the rest of the journey to begin again in my next entry.

I hope you’re enjoying our adventures. It’s been rather fun going over them again myself.

Cheers - LJ

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