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MOMMIES' DEAREST WISHES : Fantasy Ways to Spend the Day: From Riding the Blimp to the Shifting the Mother Load

May 09, 1991|ZAN DUBIN | Zan Dubin is a Times staff writer who writes about the arts for The Times Orange County Edition.

Virginia Mason has a fantasy she probably shares with many Southern Californians: a ride on the Goodyear blimp.

The Laguna Beach resident, who has four grown children, fancies a flight on the silvery airship as an ideal Mother's Day celebration.

"It's fun to get out on the water or up in the air," she said. "It makes you have a different perspective on your whole life, you know?"

Sorry, Virginia. The six-passenger gasbag takes off from its base in Carson some nine times a day. But Joe or Jane Q. Public can't buy tickets and stand in line. Flights are by invitation only and usually offered to the tire and rubber company's clients, a spokesman said.

Still, there's nothing wrong with dreaming, especially about how to most sublimely spend the day on which you're supposed to be treated like a queen. Recently, a few women who live and work in Orange County readily did just that.

Like Mason, who co-owns the Bead Shop in Laguna Beach, some moms had lofty ideas and extravagant visions. But many described the type of languorous scenario that Mary Hornbuckle longs for.

From 9 to 5, Hornbuckle runs Community Preschool in Newport Beach, where piles of paperwork, incessant telephone calls and enumerable split-second decisions conspire to challenge her characteristic composure.

On top of that, she's the mayor of Costa Mesa, attending to city business on a daily basis and presiding over typically contentious biweekly council meetings that can drag on for hours past midnight.

So Hornbuckle's concept of heaven is nothing more elaborate than down time with her husband and daughters Amy, 21, and Shelley, 24.

"My fantasy would be a day with no phone calls and just plenty of relaxing time with my family gathered around," she said.

Single mom Angel Johnson, a California Highway Patrol officer who lives in Orange, pictured an unlikely 12-hour truce between her sons Chet, 10, and Greg, 13.

"I'd be able to sleep late and go the whole day without them fighting," she mused. "You know what I'm saying, really just a quiet day, a peaceful day at home; not having to drive anywhere or cook. Yeah, no cooking."

Johnson, who reads CHP traffic reports over radio station KYMS-FM (106.3) when she's not writing tickets, on patrol or giving talks on driving safety, said if she did venture out, she'd sunbathe at Laguna Beach. Then there would be a shrimp scampi dinner at the shore-side Beach House restaurant.

"They have really, really good food and an excellent view" of the ocean, she said, adding without a pause: "And of course, the kids would pay!"

Compared to the sweat and stamina it takes to manage two busy eateries, Disneyland would seem like an afternoon's nap to Nancy Voll. There, at least, the whole family can get the heck out of the kitchen.

Voll and her husband own and run the popular Original Pancake House restaurants in Anaheim and Yorba Linda, where four of their five grown children flip flapjacks and serve up dish after platter of the weighty matter six days a week.

"Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year, so if we do anything together, we go somewhere everyone can collapse," Voll said. "I'd probably take them all (plus four grandchildren) to Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm, where they could just enjoy each other without having to have a big meal and put somebody through all that work."

A simple repast would suit Mary Lee Martin of Corona del Mar, who said she has no reason to expect anything but quiet decorum over supper--even though her son, actor/comedian Steve Martin, known for his outrageous on-screen antics, will be coming to dinner.

"Steve's kind of like I am," Martin said. "He's not much of a talker, but he'll answer questions if we have any questions."

When it comes to more extravagant fetes, Kathy Barnes-Biava would spare no expense. She'd take daughters Michele, 23, Laura, 18, and Daria, 17, her husband, Bill, and her mother, Mildred, on a three-week cruise to Tahiti aboard the Wind Spirit, a luxury sailboat that sounds, by her description, like a sea-faring Ritz Carlton with a VCR in every cabin and a massage each afternoon.

Barnes-Biava owns Universal Odyssey, a Newport Beach travel firm that books the Wind Spirit and organizes "fantasy fulfillment" excursions as a way for businesses to reward top employees or impress clients.

On the cruise--which would cost the family about $45,000--"they pamper you to death, I love it," she said.

Karen Miner of Orange would love a cruise too. But an extra ticket for a mother's helper would be imperative.

After trying for years to have children, Miner gave birth to quadruplets in early 1990--the first born in Orange County. And while the word "circus" has taken on new meaning in her life, she wouldn't want to go away without Brianna, Whitney, Jeffrey, Vincent and husband, Al--providing she had another pair of hands to help with kid control. Where would she go?

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