My cousin Lacy and her five-year-old daughter, Madison, came out for a visit this month. I met up with them at Disneyland, and we spent the day there along with Lacy's friends Danette and Travis. They are from Illinois too, and now live out here. Experiencing Disneyland with two young children as part of your group was new to me. I rode rides like Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, and so on. Madison was very keen on meeting princesses and pixies, so we did that too. I took her to Pixie Hallow while Lacy and her friends rode the Matterhorn roller coaster, but a second trip had to be made because we missed Tinker Bell the first time. Madison's comments on some of the rides were pretty entertaining. For example, on the Jungle Cruise: "This is TORTURE!" Pirates of the Caribbean: "I DON'T want to do that again!" Winnie the Pooh ride: "Again!" I was happy she also gave It's a Small World a good review, because that was one of my favorite rides when I was a kid. (Although I rode it at DisneyWorld, not Disneyland.) It was a really fun day, but very hot and ultimately exhausting. I picked up an annual pass while I was there, so I most definitely plan to go back with Eric sometime soon.
I also took Lacy and Madison to see the Villa and we spent an afternoon at the beach. You might expect I spend a lot of time on the beach since I live so close to it, but that afternoon was the first time I had been on a beach in years. However, after enjoying an afternoon of laying on the hot sand and reading, I may have to reevaluate my habits. Madison spent a lot of her time on the beach running from the waves. When we arrived home that day, Eric asked her how the beach was and she said it was good, "except I got sand in my buttcrack." Priceless. All in all it was a good visit.
It has been awhile since I have really taken the time to chill out, so it felt pretty good to escape to Disneyland and go to the beach and do nothing for a couple of days. At the Villa things are the same as ever. The Chimaera of Arezzo and the Golden Graves of Vani exhibitions are here now, and I am enjoying them immensely. My favorite thus far is Chimaera, since you can talk about everything from retrograde inscriptions to the transmission and evolution of the Bellerophon/Chimaera myth. St. George and the dragon, anyone? I plan to spend more time in the galleries this week, so hopefully soon I will be able to post some of my thoughts on these two exhibitions.