My name is Cathy.With the chicks teetering on the edge of the nest I'm pondering midlife in the Midwest in pursuit of a life less ordinary. Perhaps I'll find extraordinary along the way. Welcome to my journey!


Haunted By Tradition

Kids and amusement parks seems to go hand in hand. No matter where you live, you’re never too far from a great park with attractions for all ages and thrill levels. For my family, summer was not complete without a trip to some sort of Universal Flags Over Disney Cedar Island.  We endured many back-breaking lines in sweltering heat over the years. For our efforts, we’ve managed to transform 3 white-knuckled merry-go-round screamers into fearless, no-limits coaster riding junkies. So proud.

When the little daredevils grew into blasé teenagers, we shifted our summer pilgrimage to the fall season to add a little chill to the thrill. The best place to go in the Midwest for ghosts and coasters is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio for…

Over several years, the tradition grew to include friends and family for one big ghoulish good time!

Then suddenly they were no longer teenagers.

They were young adults. All grown up with school and work responsibilities.

And so a tradition comes to an end.

Or does it? Two years later, the “grown-ups” and friends felt the tug of the coaster rush and an inexplicable desire to be chased by chainsaw wielding circus clowns (they had me scared at “clown”).  They were going.

Without us.

Part of me was so happy they were picking up the baton and continuing the tradition, but…I wanted to go too.

Just once more.

For old time’s sake.

Our friends didn’t hesitate. They still have a high schooler at home as cover, so they were in.

What the hell? I called College Boy and offered a weekend of spooky fun if he could make it home. I know it’s wrong to tempt an adrenalin junky when he probably has to study, but I couldn’t help myself. Fortunately, the weekend was well-timed for his classwork. He was a go!

Cedar Point has an RV park and hotels attached to the park so it’s convenient to go in and out at you leisure. On a beautiful fall Friday afternoon we hooked up the RV and headed for the campground. The rest of the gang opted for the hotel.

It was dark when we arrived. We set up camp to the rumble of coasters and a cacophony of screams from beyond the trees.

The crew from the hotel made their way to the trailer and we whipped up a batch of hot chocolate for traveler cups. Some of us added a little schnapps. It takes the chill off while you’re standing in line, you know.

Then we headed in the direction of the noise.

As we neared the entrance, I suddenly got goosebumps! Not from fright, but from the perfect collection of elements on this night. The weather was crisp–but not cold, the air was calm, an eerie glowing nebula surrounded a gloriously full harvest moon…so perfect!

Hollywood couldn’t have created a better Halloween setting! Best of all, we had friends and family to share it with.

My well-seasoned coaster fanatics joined their friends to stand in long lines for a quick thrill while we old folks strolled cautiously through the freight zones. It’s a good way to keep the heart pumping!

If this was the last family Halloween weekend, it was the best. Ever. I suppose it’s time to let the next generation take it on or let it go. I’ll have to wait for the grandchildren so I can mold a new generation of thrill seekers. There’s a huge cute-scary portion in the park that’s dialed down for the younger set I haven’t experienced yet!

But wait, what’s this? A new ride opening Spring 2013?

I know some people who are going to want to check that out!  That line is going to be long and they’re going to need hot chocolate!


RenFest 2012: Something for Everyone

A sure sign summer is slipping away (in southeast Michigan, anyway) is the annual return of the Renaissance Festival for your weekend amusement. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, indulge you inner romantic, or eat a turkey leg the size of your head. Just put on your chain mail halter top and strap on something leather because, be ye king of thy castle or meer house wench, there’s something for everyone at RenFest.


Many summers have come and gone since we last transported ourselves back in time half a millennium. It was fun to take the kids when they were little. My daughter and her friend would dress up in their princess costumes and immerse themselves in all things royal. Feeling nostalgic, we thought we’d go and see what’s new–or old?

Not much has changed over the years, although…it’s seems the gaily costumed children have blossomed into the 7 circles of fantasy geekdom for enthusiasts of all ages.

It’s hard to tell the actors from the guests.

Of course you can expect to see the usual. The King and Queen make appearances and walk around the with their court.  There’s plenty of entertainment–magicians, jugglers, story tellers, puppet shows, and full contact jousting!

I love a good joust! Who doesn’t admire a man in armour? On a horse? But..where you find experienced jousters? In one of the circles I’m sure.


There’s an extensive village marketplace with a variety of shops. Looking for a crystal dragon for your coffee table? Skull candle holders for the buffet? Need a vial of fairy dust (for giving wishes that extra boost)?

Perhaps you’re looking to spruce up your wardrobe? Maybe something new for the office?



Something a little more daring for evening?



I must admit, the girly girl in me wanted to take this little number home and spin around in it. The reality check woman in the mirror shuttered at the thought of what would be bulging from the empty spaces. Scary!

I wonder who really buys this stuff? It’s all beautifully crafted, but…what the hell do you do with crystal dragons and herem outfits? Does anyone really need fur leggings and leather armor?



Wait…okay, there may be a reasonable argument for this…

Some things seemed a little out-of-place. I’m not really sure everything was consistent with the Renaissance…



Didgeridoos? I’m sure they existed, but in Europe? I’m didgeridoobious.



Is that Gandalf? A Scotsman with a tail? We’re entering the inner circles of fantasy geekdom here.



Gladiators? I don’t think so. I mean..I’m okay with it…but…Renaissance? Poor guy just looks so…and where would you even buy a gladiator outfit like that? I’m dying to know how much this geek spent on this get up!  Plus overnight shipping cost must be ridiculous! It’s probably one size fits all with all those buckles. I’ll have to do a google search on this and get back to you.

Is there a Renaissance Fair near you? It’s a great way to get your geek on!