Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some Photos From the Trip

The view from our balcony.... no zoom used...

Me in the Winner's Circle at Saratoga Springs...

Enjoying my (now) traditional Glowtini...

Captain Hook Topiary, Flower and Garden Festival

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Le Scooter Ne Marche Plus

For the first time ever at Walt Disney World, we rented an ECV. These are those little scooters that you see advertised for older folks who can't get around much on their own anymore. Designed for locomotion and not so much for long term care like wheelchairs, scooters are really nice for people like my mother... over sixty, chronic pain, long-time smoker, poor walker. At first, Mom was just going to try to walk the parks, but before we even started our first full day at Epcot, she admitted she wanted to go ahead and get the scooter.

I'd love to show you a picture of her on it. I have a great one. But mom is not a fan of having her picture taken and asked me not to post it, so there you go. We used the scooter each day, and by our third day, Mom was a pro. Well, except she seemed to think she could use her feet to brake, which really doesn't work so well, and I fussed at her the whole time to keep her feet up so she wouldn't break her ankle. It was a nice role-reversal.

So anyway, back to the third day... the only rain we saw during the daytime on our trip fell on Monday. Fortunately, due to my awesome Disney planning skillz, all three downpours fell in rapid succession during the ninety minutes we were enjoying Croque Monsieurs at Chefs de France in Epcot on Monday. Unfortunately, they didn't have a covered area for mom to stash the scooter, so although we didn't get wet, the scooter did.

We lifted a stack of paper towels from the restaurant, dried it off the best we could, then mom decided to sort of wheel it out of the spot where she had expertly parallel parked. It didn't start. At all. Nothing. nada. *sigh*

Unfortunately, the number printed on the key to call for help is merely an extension. In this day of cell phones, I wonder why they don't just give you a full number, but anyway... we were right there at the restaurant, so we went in and spoke to the manager. Apparently, their phone is not on the WDW system, so the extension meant nothing to her either. However, in true Disney customer service fashion, she began making phone calls to try to figure out who she needed to call.

Fifteen minutes later, she got someone from the International Gateway to come. Ten minutes after that, he actually arrived in a way-cool "tow-scooter" to take the dead carcass away and trade us the shiney new one on the back.

Mom tried to start it with the tow-scooter guy still there. Nothing. Then he said, "Ma'am... it won't start unless you are sitting on it."

We looked at each other. "Oh," we said. "Well, um... then the other one may work after all." No one told us this little rule when we got the scooter. Sure, it makes perfect sense, but, duh... we aren't thinking or anything... we're on vacation.

He was very nice... waved, and let us go on our way with the new scooter... probably returning to the International Gateway to laugh at us with his coworkers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Can We Fix It? No, It's F**ked!

So the first step is admitting you have a problem. I do recognize that my obsession with Disney is a problem. And yet, unlike the original twelve-step program, I believe that the best way to deal with my problem is to continue to take as many trips to the Mouse as possible. If nothing else, you... my fair readers... benefit from hearing my people-watching stories.

I learn a lot about people at WDW. It's the sort of place that brings out the best and the worst in you. I usually come back with one totally gossipy-sort of story that I just accidentally stumble across. Want to hear the one I picked up this time? You know you do...

So mom and I are in line for Kilamanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom first thing in the morning. She is pumped to be doing this, which is awesome, because Mom wasn't really there to ride the rides or see the attractions. She was there to eat. So anything she was willing to do was okay by me. And I love the safari ride. (A note to those of you who have done this attraction that has no relevance to the story... We saw NO giraffes. Have to wonder what's up with that, since that's the primary animal you normally get to see. Illness? Regular down-time. Dunno.)

Anyway, as we were waiting in line, an argument erupted behind us. And I mean ERUPTED. Here's what I picked up on while trying to pretend not to notice the hubub...

MAN: Well, I am TIRED of everyone complaining! If they don't want to be here with me, they shouldn't BE here with me.

WOMAN: Well, I don't want to be here with you. I never wanted to be here with you. I'm only doing this to be with my kids. I don't even LIKE you.

MAN: Well, your KIDS want to be HERE!

WOMAN: I didn't want to be in the parks with you YESTERDAY, and I don't want to be here TODAY, but you are forcing me.

MAN: I'm not forcing anyone!

(By now the teen boy is crying and the pre-teen girl is wringing her hands... not that I noticed of course, because I'm not one of those people who rubberneck or anything).

WOMAN: FINE! I'M LEAVING! (exit, stage right)

So a few minutes later, when it was clear that it was okay to look, I checked out the scene closer. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, I thought. There was the teen boy, the pre-teen girl, the dad, and his NEW WIFE with a NEW BABY, small enough to be in an infant seat! His new YOUNGER, SEXIER wife, I may add.

Now I'm guessing that this was the most awkward trip-planning ever.

"Hey, ex-wife. Wifey and I are taking the kids to Disney. Wanna come?"
"Well, I hate your guts, you bastard, but sure! I'm sure that even though our marriage is a total shambles and you have already remarried and had another kid, I'll be just fine hanging out in line after line with you and your new love. Should be a blast."

Fascinating weirdness, that. At first I thought the guy was a total jerk, but upon observing his behavior after the ex left, he chatted with me a bit and he was quite nice and polite. He was wearing an Edmonton/Canes Stanley Cup Finals shirt, so I didn't point out that I was present when the Canes beat his team in round seven and took the cup. Just didn't seem to come up in the conversation.

Perhaps I'm a bad person for peeking into the lives of others... but really... it was like a buffet... all laid out for me. Wonder how the rest of their trip went... think they made it work?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Something Cool

My brother-in-law (specifically, Chris' sister's husband) writes an occasional storyline for Walt Disney's Comics. One of his stories appears in the March book (No. 690) - ISBN 978-1-60360-025-5. I don't have any permission to scan the panel or the cover art for you, but it's cool enough to tell you about it. He put in a little tribute to Chris' dad, who spent his career managing restaurants... If you happen upon the book (or you own it), check out The Winter of Their Dissed Kismet." One panel about midway through the story features a restaurant called "Caran's Costly Cafe." Nifty!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Quest for Hotness

I am joining Jessey and Amy in their quest for hotness. Chris is on the quest too, I think, but perhaps not as formally. I'll let him out himself if he wants to make it official. I was going to start next week after returning from Disney, but since I have had strep these last few days, I haven't been able to eat well. So... I figure that's as good a kick start as I can get.

I will probably find a counter to put on my sidebar, but for now, here is the lowdown.

Starting Sunday, May 11 - Weight 216lbs. (Don't freak... I'm 5'10". Yes, I'm overweight, but I'm not a pumpkin. I can carry a lot of weight without showing it too badly.)

June 28 (My birthday) - Weight 205
July 7 (Amy's Birthday) - Weight 200
July 31 (Harry Potter's Birthday) - Weight 190
October 31 (Chris' birthday and post Disney trip two) - Weight 170
January 1 (The year's birthday) - Weight 160

If I reach that goal, I will still be about 8 lbs heavier than when I was in college. Rumor has it that any woman can attain her college weight at any age post-college. I tried it once before, and I only got to 168. That was ten years ago. So really, I'll be happy at 170, I think.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

So I Know What I'm Doing This Weekend...

I stole this from (Deb, please forgive me... I wasn't sure how to make the link permanent.)

May 2008: Journey into Narnia is currently closed and undergoing a major renovation, and will reopen as The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian on June 26, 2008. Guests can experience an exclusive opportunity to see behind-the-scenes footage, original concept art, storyboards, props and costumes from the latest installment of "The Chronicles of Narnia." They can explore Aslan’s stone table chamber set recreated directly from the original molds, see blueprints used for the motion picture, and meet Prince Caspian.

The "Prince Caspian" theme park character -- seen at right in a promotional photo shoot at Walt Disney World Resort -- is scheduled to begin regular meet-and-greet appearances on May 16, 2008. That same day, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is scheduled to debut in U.S. theaters. The film, presented by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, is the second motion picture based on C.S. Lewis' series of classic books.

A Tribute to All Moms, But Mostly My Own*

*The title of this post is an obscure reference for most people indeed. First one to post the correct answer to what it references will get a prize (probably an adult beverage... and I probably know who will guess it.)

So here we are... Mother's Day. I actually don't encourage my family to celebrate Mother's Day, and I would have been at work today if not for the strep (it's official! Woot!) It's another Hallmark Holiday like Valentine's Day, that is set aside for something we should really do all the time. So I say "Bah, Humbug... I love my mom and don't need anyone to force me to say it."

Still, since we're here and having this little chat, I'll go ahead and say it. I think my mom is the shizzle.

Having kids of my own was, like it is for so many people, the turning point for me. I had always appreciated my mother, no doubt. She makes a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich that the neighborhood kids would clambor to our house for. She put up with my A-TI-TUDE when I was pubescent, and she is still very loving and caring and looks out for my best interests... sometimes without me even knowing.

Although we have certainly had our issues, and we still do not agree on politics at all, we have always gotten along. I always respected her opinions, even when she didn't respect mine. But now that I have kids of my own, I have learned a whole new world of information about what her life has been and what she has really done for my sister and me.

I have been blessed with amazing opportunities for travel. Many of those doors were opened by my father and his international company, but they were facilitated by my mother. She made sure I was well-rounded and sought out all sorts of opportunities for me. I'm even glad she forced me to take piano when I was five, even though I thought I had no interest. (I do wish, however, that she had chosen a better teacher).

She is pretty good with a computer, which I KNOW is rare for her generation. She taught herself a lot and has taken a couple of courses. Her biggest strength is probably Maj Jongg, but it's not her only strength. I'll be teaching her a little more about blogging this weekend, as I make my first attempt to post pictures live from Disney World. So, Mom... here is my blog entry about how awesome you are. Thanks for the trip! And thanks for everything. Really. I mean... everything. I love you.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Dear God, What Happened?

Three months ago, we had the SWEETEST little boy. He loved everyone. He loved anything. He did as he was told. He was a joy. Then he turned two. And now... NOW... Well, see for yourself, if you can stand it. Here is what happens when you offer him a delicious (although drier than normal... I'm trying to figure that out...) helping of Chicken Tettrazini and refuse to let him have yogurt instead:

Impressive, eh? And to think, I didn't start shooting this until he had already been going for about five minutes. And he CONTINUED for another five. Nothing wrong with his lungs now, as you can see.

An Open Letter Robert Downey, Jr.

Your new movie? Kicks. Ass.

And I just wanted to let you know that as long as you are sober, you are officially on my "exceptions" list. Call me the next time you are in the neighborhood.

Oh, and could you bring Gwyneth Paltrow with you so my husband will go along with this? Much thanks...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I Got the Fever

100.3 to be exact. I started feeling like crap at the end of the day yesterday, and by about 5am this morning, every time I swallowed it felt like a knife was jabbing me in the ear. Lovely. Then the chills started.

I laid out of work today, barely moving and shivering almost constantly. Chris went and got me some lozenges and he is making dinner downstairs now. I haven't eaten since this morning and I am ravenous. I'm also expecting that the hot food will sooth my throat. I'm off tomorrow anyway because I work Saturday, so that's a small blessing... except I have a million errands to run tomorrow. bleh. Hopefully the fever will break tonight and I'll feel better tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My Fifteen Minutes...

My new best friend George generously offered me an opportunity to guest blog over at his popular (among the Disney Community) website, ImagiNERDing. He gets about 500 hits a day and has about half as many subscribers. George inspired me to write a little piece on my stay at the wonderful, but short-lived Disney Institute and he published it last night. Feel free to go check it out. You non-Disney people may even be interested. If nothing else, you get to see a picture of me at age 25, and (to borrow Jessey's latest catchphrase) superfly!

Monday, May 05, 2008

...And I Lived to Tell The Tale

Athena turned four last week. Her party was yesterday. This was the first, honest-to-God birthday party I've hosted for either of the kids. I actually allowed Athena to invite her friends (normally we just invite OUR friends, and if they happen to bring her friends... fabulous bonus). She invited 12. Daddy invited 2 more. Five of the original 12 came and they brought a total of three siblings. Well, technically one sibling was actually invited, but whatever. Neither of the two Chris invited on his own came. However, they both SAID they would. Hrmph.

We rented the shelter at our local park. Between 11am and 3:15 pm, I managed to take the family out to eat, go to Party City to get final supplies and balloons, go to BJs to get candy for goody bags and other normal grocery items, take the kids and Chris home so he could create the goodie bags, went to the grocery store to pick up the cake and ice as well as a few normal grocery items, then go back to the house, pick up the birthday girl and the goodie bags, plus various party needs like tablecloths, etc., then go to the park and set it all up. I am awesome.

She had a Hello Kitty theme, which she loved. We had cake, the kids ran themselves silly, Athena tore through her gifts (seriously), distributed the goodie bags, then everyone departed. We went to Friday's with the Gundlachs, and the wait staff sang to her... which surprised her more than pleased her. We then went home to show off the new tv, which Mr. Gundlach was kind enough to help Chris fix up.

I drank.

It was an excellent end to a really great day.