Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shameless Commerce That's Tax Deductible!

It's been mentioned many times here in the blog how my boys are involved in Scouting. What started as an activity I thought would be Chef's and his alone, Gameboy decided that he wanted to participate as well. Now, in our third year of the Scouting adventure, I am happy that he decided his brother had a good idea. Honestly, I think it's done more for Gameboy than I ever could have imagined.

As with activities, there are fund raisers. Most of our family and friends live far away, but both the Troop and the Pack have chosen fund raising events that don't require you to be nearby! Did I mention that purchasing any of these items is TAX DEDUCTIBLE?! No, well, guess what? IT'S TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

I'm posting the details from Gameboy's first. His Troop has a Greenery sale as their only fund raising event of the year. There was a sample at the meeting two weeks ago and my gosh, you could smell this one wreath across the room (and I love the smell of pine). It was passed around the room for all of us to see how well made the wreath was. I can attest to the freshness, because I didn't even touch the thing, but the oils in the air made me itchy. (Pretty severe allergy to pine sap for me).

The prices I'm posting include direct delivery to your door from the Nursery that makes them. Locals, check with me for pricing-it will be less and includes seeing our smiling faces when we drop off your purchase. (There are also different items available) Local delivery will be done by December 6th and the shipped ones are supposed to arrive the week following Thanksgiving.

This has been the Troop's activity for years and I understand that these wreaths hold up through the whole month of December here in Florida, which is saying something for the durability. We've had some Decembers where the temperature stayed in the 80's all month long!

Have I made you curious? Here's the info on the Wreaths, with info on Chef's yummy fundraiser to follow.

You'll want to breathe in as deeply as you can to experience every bit of this large, glorious wreath's delightful scent. Fashioned from the premium evergreen, noble fir, your wreath will arrive fresh and fragrant and ready to trim. Easily attach hand-selected, natural pine cones and a rich, red velvet-finish bow in any way you wish. When you're finished, you'll have a distinctive holiday decoration of lasting quality and beauty.

Each 28" noble fir wreath package includes:

Our largest, most dramatic noble fir wreath
Pre-tied red velvet water repellent bow in separate bag
Natural pine cones in separate, moisture-proof bag
Simple decorating instructions with illustrations
Easy-to-handle, plastic carrying bag

Direct Delivery! Shipped to your door for $52.00 (tax deductible!)

Made from long-lasting evergreens grown in the Cascade Mountains. Noble fir, berried juniper, and incense cedar combine to provide a pleasing variety of fragrances and natural textures. Adorn with seasonal pine cones and a single, tasteful red bow or just leave it plain. And get caught up in the wonder of the season.

Each 22" mixed evergreen wreath package includes:

An aromatic combination of noble fir, incense cedar and berried juniper
Pre-tied red velvet water repellent bow in separate bag
Natural pine cones in separate, moisture-proof bag
Simple decorating instructions with illustrations
Easy-to-handle, plastic carrying bag

Direct Delivery! Shipped to your door for $49.00 (tax deductible!)

Only the finest Pacific Northwest evergreens are selected to create the Holiday Door Swag. Close attention is paid to finding the most vivid greenery with the deepest natural fragrance. Those selections are then handmade into a wonderful traditional arrangement that you'll be delighted to display in your home or at the office. Add your own decorative touch with select pine cones and a bright red bow (included).

Each door swag package includes:

Fresh Pacific Northwest evergreens, noble fir, cedar and pine
Approximately 22" wide by 30" long
Pre-tied red velvet water repellent bow in separate bag
Natural and snowy pine cones in separate, moisture-proof bag
Easy-to-handle, plastic carrying bag

Direct Delivery! Shipped to you for $57.00 (tax deductible!)

Introduce a traditional feel to your seasonal celebration. This centerpiece is a beautiful blend of colors, textures, and fragrances that will enhance anyone's holiday table. Select pine cones and lavish, festive greenery invite you to gather 'round and stay awhile.

Each centerpiece package includes:

Cedar, noble fir, pine and berried juniper
Natural and snowy pine cones in separate, moisture-proof bag
Arranged in oasis block and bowl
Easy-to-handle, plastic carrying bag

Direct Delivery! Shipped to you for only $42.00 (yep, it's tax deductible, too!)

Handmade from select western cedar tips, this attractive garland creates a warm, inviting aura for your home. Railings, columns, door frames and window frames are all cheered by the festive company of this smoothly draping evergreen garland. Add a Decorative Pre-Tied Bow or two as a colorful accent to its lavish greenery.

Each garland package includes:

Ten-feet of gorgeous garland
Fragrant fresh-cut western cedar
Easy-to-handle, plastic carrying bag

Direct Delivery! Your tax deductible cost is only $44.00!

There is also a Gift Set for $87.00, but I need to verify what is included then add it to this post.

How does this work? If you're local, you tell us your order and we'll take payment upon delivery. If you'd like delivered items, we need payment first. This sale runs through October 25th. We ask for checks made out to the Troop. Email me or comment and I'll email you the necessary information.

I think we'll make Chef's a separate post. His can be ordered directly online and I want to verify his account number with Trail's End.

Thanks for supporting scouting or being a patient reader and enduring my huckstering for my kids. I can't help it, Scouting has been so rewarding for us.

Three years!

Sometime in the past year, I signed up with Blogoversary to remind me of the day the blog was begun. About two weeks ago, I started a post inspired by two friends and went off on a tangent. I do this often, but I cut that part out of that post that day. (If you're wondering, Mr. Linky and I have decided we can no longer be friends...unless I someday have readership ten times greater than what I do now. That was a stunning failure if ever I saw one!)

Today marks three years of writing this blog. The original inspiration was reading Polly PI's blog at the insistence of a friend. Heather would nag me and tell me I should do the same, that I'd be good at it (I'll let you be the judges on that front). She kept at it and kept at it. Finally, I figured that I should give it a try.

**If you go to Polly's blog, you'll notice that she dropped out of the blogosphere. While I miss her posts, somehow, I think she and the Light Haired Man are enjoying many adventures and are far too busy to post.**

New to the blogging thing, I found a blog here and a blog there to read. Amalah was one of the first that was my personal crack. Noah was a tiny little guy when I started reading, and for weeks, I went back through the archives. Damn, this woman was FUNNY!

For a long time, there were just a handful of you: Ed, Donna, Joyce, Jeff, Jill, Bob and Heather. Then my YaYa sisters here and there. I told people I blogged, but didn't share the URL with the world. Most comments were made in phone calls or IMs. The most common comment? "Write more, damn you!" My posts every three or four days weren't enough for some of you (and you know who you are!). Then I decided to add another blog and Blogger didn't like that. Really hated the idea, in fact, so I had issues with logging in for a long time and didn't blog for a portion of 2006.

I wanted to, and now, I wish it HAD worked, because I'd have more stories of the job I enjoyed so much saved for posterity. The trip to California needed to be documented, so I forced through and decided to delete the original incarnation of Wine and Foodies. (and the current version has been mostly ignored due to lack of new wine, new dining experiences and efforts with Blog 365. It will return.)

A curious thing happened, I started getting comments. From people I didn't even know. When I added a sitemeter (because Mandy had one), I noticed that there are people who read here regularly that I don't even know. Imagine that! I tried to figure out who these people were. It was funny to realize that someone was even reading on vacation. Still, if I went five days without writing something, one of you would ask/badger.

Then the leg fell to pieces. The blog became a coping device, with many 3am entries. I later was contacted by one of the companies that provided an item used for treatment, and linked them to 46 entries (to that time) about the vascular issues.

When I took disability from work, I had more time to write and read other blogs. Along the way, I found out about NaBloPoMo and decided to jump in. I wanted to increase my audience and find more blogs to read (I was up to about 25 readers a day at that time.) Writing every day was a little intimidating, but not too much. I started a little list of blog topics, just in case I ran out of ideas. That original list of twelve still has seven of the beginning topics on it, eleven months later.

NaBloPoMo was great for expanding my audience AND my daily blog fixes. I'm not sure who was first, but Lotus, http://www.imaginarybinky.com/, Saffa, Jess, Mary and Shannon all came from that event, along with a few others. I found new stuff to read, to inspire me and oh, some more people to visit my blog, too.

The thirty days was at an end and a day of rest was looking mighty inviting, but then: Holidailies! That one cemented the habit of writing every day, so when Blog365. reared it's head, I was ready. I picked up some more awesome reads and some more awesome support.

I'm saving most of the particulars about Blog365 to celebrate the end of it, but here it is, 9 full months in, and I've kept up. (Came close a couple of times, but some posts in the last half hour of the day got in!) Back in November, if you'd told me that I would be here writing every day nearly a year later, I would have told you that you were nuts, because 30 was so intimidating.

I'm so glad that Heather convinced me to do this. The writing process is great for many reasons: the friends made, the memories saved, the connections maintained. I'm even more happy that you all have come along for the ride and haven't run screaming!

Three years and lots of memories here. May I be able to continue for many more...

I'm Married to a Closet Doofus

Are you?

Do you know what I mean? Maybe you don't, so I'll explain. He *pretends* to be stupid for laughs. He used to do it in public, and royally embarrass me. Picture if you will, a hugely pregnant woman and the man next to her acting as if he weren't playing with a full deck. It was a wonder I didn't break my water and deliver Gameboy next to the Carousel in the Columbia Mall.

He loves hearing me laugh and if he hasn't heard enough, out comes the ding dong. The five year old trapped in an adult's body. Heard a train whistle? "Where toot toot?" and the happy, puppy dog persona emerges.

Tonight, he reduced me to laughing so hard, I was wheezing (a side product of asthma) He acted as if he was clueless about the phone. First, yelling at the top of his lungs "HELLO!" then "Hello?" then "hello?", then looking at me and saying 'why doesn't anyone answer?'

Thus begins the explanation, which he picks apart:

"You need to open the phone to talk on it" This gets him to take the battery cover off.

"You have to dial the number of the person you want to talk to, then press the green button" results in him calling MY phone and wondering why it's ringing. (and asking why I chose that particular part of "Willow Farm". It's Goofy, he tells me, which is exactly why it is assigned to him)

He runs to grab my phone, because there's this song coming from the kitchen, you know. Again with the picking the thing up and saying "Hello" over and over without opening it. Next, he returns to me and hands it to me, telling me that they hung up. (DUH!)

He pouts, "I just wanted to talk to somebody."

I take the phone in my hand and dial his phone covertly. At this point, Ed's got his phone in hands, looking at it mournfully: it doesn't do what he thought it would, because nobody's talking to him. When it rings, he drops it like a hot potato, because, he says, it's trying to shoot him. (Tom Saywer by Rush-very fitting, but the beginning is a synth pedal that sounds like a ray gun)

Next, trying to explain how you ANSWER the phone. He finally gets it as the phone stops ringing. "They're gone", comes this tiny, mournful voice.

Of course, I have to dial again. "Hello?" he answers, excitedly. Someone to talk to!

"Hello", I say back and I am SHUSHED. "I'm talking on the phone!", Ed says proudly.

"Hello?" he says again, and I say "Hello" into my phone. "I can't HEAR them, shush" is what he says with a mock scowl.

I resort to covering my phone and whispering "hello". He drops the phone-"It's possessed." Ed now picks it up and starts saying "who's there?" as I'm wheezing.

He got me laughing just hard enough that I can't speak, but not too hard enough that I have an asthma attack.

Mission Accomplished.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Little Rant About My Beetle

I'm a Volkswagen fan. Truly, I love my car-it's my second new car purchased from VW and they are great. I like the road feel and responsiveness of the car. So much so, that when I drive anyone else's car, I usually feel like I'm driving a marshmallow.

However, I've got a few petty annoyances and one MAJOR pet peeve right now. Last year, in October, my left front headlight went out. Okay, that's annoying. The car was three years old at the time, so it's to be expected. I decided to head over to the auto parts store, get a headlight and Ed would swap it out for me, right?

Nope. Two things happened. First, the OTHER headlight went out less than 10 days after the first. Okay, we'll buy two headlights. Off to Advance we go and get two headlights. Then, the problem is discovered-Ed can't do it. Unlike any other vehicle we have owned, the headlights are situated in a manner that requires a mechanic (either it went on a lift of the bumper came off, I forget which).

I sat at the mechanic for two hours while they had no other cars. Cost $50 bucks for labor and something similar for the BULBS that go into the lenses. That price wasn't even for the old style headlamps, you know, the kind you'd put in then have to aim on the garage door?

That was done November 9th of last year. I found the receipt in the glove box yesterday. Why was I looking for that receipt? The darn left headlight went out a week ago. I was trying to figure out if there was some damn way to replace the lamp ourselves when I came out of scouts tonight and THE OTHER HEADLIGHT IS OUT!!!!!

Now, if you're trying to figure out how two headights can just burn out in 45 weeks, within a short span of each other, three words for you: daytime running lights.

Ugh! I am PISSED at you, Volkswagen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Tra la la, tra la la la...

Chef Jr is a snuggle bug. After his bath tonight, he decided he wanted his snuggle time so I could smell his mango scented hair and satsuma fragrance body. And so that he could play Knock Knock with me.

Little did I realize his knock knock jokes would take me back down memory lane to a couple of Saturday Morning favorites that had extremely catchy songs.

Banana who? rapidly evolved to "One banana, two banana, three banana, four, four bananas make a bunch and so do many more..."

The theme song was written by a jingle writer. Now it makes sense that this song stays trapped in the brain!

Of course, when I think of the Banana Splits, I think of another one with a catchy theme song, HR Pufnstuff:

This of course makes me think of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, but that theme song didn't stick around in the recesses of my memory for thirty five years. I found it on You Tube and I think my brain did its best to block that one out! Let's just leave it at Johnny Whittaker is a better actor than he is a singer.

The Banana Splits and HR Pufnstuff are such happy songs, which is the purpose of these shows, right?

Makes you wanna run out and buy the DVDs, right?

A Round of Applause

To Jill, Heather and Jason for completing Walt Disney World's Inaugural Expedition Everest 5K! Woohoo!

A few years ago, another friend, Liz, had plans to walk the Walt Disney World Marathon and encouraged me to join her. I didn't get very far on that journey-but I did get the iPod to walk. Liz did two other events, but has yet to get here to Florida for a race.

Yes, if my friends are involved in a race, any race, it seems that the Disney events are what motivate them to get active. I'd like to be able to join them all someday, but for now, I give them a hearty CONGRATULATIONS for finishing. You guys ROCK!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Florida Air Museum

Today was the Smithsonian's Free Museum Day, and since we're never ones to turn down something free, the family ventured out to visit the Florida Air Museum. We've visited many automotive museums and a train museum, now it was time to see some planes.

(Bummer here is that we were going to get together with friends, but Chef decided he wanted to hang out with friends in the morning. He changed his tune when he realized we were going to see planes.)

It was a cool way to spend a few hours. The museum is heavy on vintage planes and a few military aircraft. While technically it wasn't a 'hands on' type place, the planes weren't roped off-you could look right into the cockpits or touch the propellers. I honestly can't tell you who got the most out of the experience, because we were all enjoying different aspects of the venue.

Half of the main (air conditioned) building. The hangars aren't cooled, which makes me glad we didn't visit in the heat of summer!

This model was made from pie pans.

Cool two seater, huh?

We didn't see Snoopy anywhere. (Red Baron is made locally, so its common to have it turn up around here)

I love looking at the cockpits of these old machines and marvel at the nerve of those who took them up. Open air, primitive controls, no seatbelt!

I wish the macro on this camera worked well. I love old decals. This propeller was made by hand.

There were a series of photographs taken by Russell Munson on display. They were taken in the air over Long Island. I would love to have the prints, they were gorgeous!

A small representation of what was hanging from the rafters in the main exhibit building.

The Spirit of Peace. Alas, no information accompanied the vessel, but Google is my friend, found the information on the museum website!

One of the Navy's jets assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The kids were fascinated with being up close with this plane, especially Chef Jr.

Sensenich seems to have made props for quite a few planes. Up close, it is beautiful workmanship.

This engine was made less than ten miles from where I grew up.

The picture doesn't do this plane justice. It was huge, and those props were about 8 feet tall! It was quite impressive.

Another prop blade

My Nana and Papa were employed by Grumman for many, many years. Now it's Northrup Grumman, but at one time, they were the largest employer on Long Island (with Fairchild being either 2nd or third)

On the way out, Ed noticed a flyer that they hold campouts for youth groups. This sounds awesome, and who knows? Maybe we'll be back soon with the kids earning a merit badge and checking out more of the facilities.

I suppose we should look through the list of participating museums and start planning next year's excursion...

Friday, September 26, 2008

The End of Believing?

A couple of weeks ago, Chef Jr confessed something to Ed when Gameboy and I were out of the house. "Dad, I know." Ed replied "Know what?" and was informed that our younger child just doesn't believe in the man in the red suit anymore.

As parents, we got a lot more mileage out of playing that role than most. I found out when I was seven or eight and discovered the cache of presents in my brother's closet that were later tagged as coming from the big man himself. Ed figured it out because ALL the presents were wrapped in the same paper (which is why Santa always had different paper in this house.).

We knew the day would come and discussed the plan of attack with the subject matter. For each of us, there may not be a real person. We believe in the spirit of giving that Santa represents and they both discussed this. Ed also asked Chef to keep the secret from his older brother. Additionally, he asked Chef to not bring the subject up with friends.

The other day, he took the opportunity to clear the air with me as well, since his brother wasn't with us. He told me he knows that Santa isn't a real person, but he's alive in all of us. It's great that he understands our approach-and that the reason why his parents get so excited at Christmas is knowing that we've made them happy.

I'm just wondering how much more mileage we're going to get from our 12 year old still believing amd how upset he'll be if one of his classmates spills the beans...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A First for Me

And an educational experience for the kids, to boot.

I've never contributed to a political campaign, other than to buy buttons or bumper stickers. My wallet has never been fat enough to contribute in that manner, and right now, it's got moths in it.

However, I got a call the other day to offer my support in another way and I agreed. This afternoon, I'll be spending a few hours at the local campaign headquarters for Obama, doing whatever is asked of me for that time. Time is something I have plenty of nowadays, so I might as well put it to use.

The kids are coming along. I had hoped to leave them at home, but I realize that this is a great opportunity for them to see how the political process works beyond what they see on the news. Unlike Giggles and I, neither one of them was in the fifth grade in a presidential election year and thus, they're not learning the US Government in an election cycle.

That was an interesting experience. Back then, our teachers encouraged our parents to bring their fifth grader into the election booth, to see what you do and hopefully, have discussions about the process. I thought it was rather cool. Four years later, Mom voted FOR the man she'd voted against when I was in the booth with her.

I'm hoping the boys come away from the experience with an appreciation for what it takes, how many people have to be on board. We're voting for one man, but it takes many to support the one that gets into the White House.

It's pretty cool when you stop to think of it on that level.

Game Night

Last night, I had the age old dilemma in this house. Two kids, both wanting the TV for different activities (Wii for Gameboy after all the homework he did, whatever dreck you can find on Cartoon Network for Chef Jr). As I'd promised Gameboy that he would get the Wii after doing all the homework, he got it.

That left me with a sulking kid. Teenage girls could learn from this one-he's got it down to an art. He wanted TV, and the only other one isn't hooked up to cable. Each room in this house is wired for it (can you tell our landlord was a bachelor when he built it?), but it's an old TV that isn't cable ready without a box. What to do? I suggested playing some games and Chef's face lit up like it was Christmas.

I've got tons of board games waiting for when the kids are old enough to comprehend them, though the time is drawing closer for those (Pictionary, for one). We opted to play the ones that we got last year, Othello and Life.

The box is right-a minute to learn, a lifetime to master. Chef got the concept very quickly and his competitive ways took over. If you didn't see the proceedings, you'd wonder why the 9 year old was laughing maniacally. For his first game, he did very well-only lost by 2.

Next up, enough time to play Life. I should video the gameplay, because the one liners that this guy comes up with while playing the game are hilarious! His career was Entertainer (how appropriate) and he balked at the 50,000 salary. Dude, need to introduce you to real entertainers-that's actually good!

He played the stock market and sold a house and bought another one and had a kid, all within an hour. He also seemed to have a knack for landing on spots with payouts, too. Ultimately, my salary as a computer tech left me with a lot more cash at the end of the game, but he didn't seem to mind.

He just wants to play again tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's For Dinner Wednesday

This week, Ed decided WFDW for me. He found a BBQ Pork Loin while marketing the other day and grabbed it. I was game for trying it, why not? Granted, I like getting unseasoned Pork Loins so I can work my own magic on them, but this one wasn't bad. I suggest giving them a try when you're pressed for time and/or ideas. (50 minutes in the convection toaster, woohoo)

A few weeks ago, I found a recipe for warm German Potato Salad. I thought it would be a good side for the pork, and this time I winged it. I used less mustard, more bacon and sauteed the onions in bacon fat. Yum!

This Saturday is FREE Museum Day!

The Smithsonian is sponsoring FREE Museum Day this Saturday, September 27th. Check it out HERE.

Now, off to decide exactly which one we'll check out this weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Word About Online Assessments

They're great, because I didn't have to drive over to Brandon to take an hour's worth of tests.

They're frustrating, because I loathe Internet Exploder so bad that I had to dig it up after viewing phase one of the aforementioned assessment.

They're good at showing you're a ding dong, because you didn't actually SEE the attachment the recruiter sent with the email that stated that you had to use Exploder. I should have known this, because the company's career website doesn't do any filtering in Firefox.

They terrify you when you have to do numeric data entry without a keypad. I use a laptop. Oh well, no 18,000kph for me this time.

They make you go BOOYAH when you finish one in less than the time that is allocated.

Now, I wait. Cross your fingers, because this is a GREAT company that Ed will tell you I am annoyingly partial to!**

**As is the norm for me, no prospective or current employers will be named in the blog. All I will say is that it is a Fortune 100 company...***

Monday, September 22, 2008

In Which I Answer Your Burning Questions...

Last week, I asked my lovely readers for questions. Several of you rose to the occasion, and today, you'll get some answers!

Okay, the first question (well, two questions) come from the lovely Grandy of California. She asks:

Ok...on to my question...
If you could re-do anything from your past, what would it be? and... Would you do it differently?

I gave this one a lot of thought, but I kept coming back to the same things. There are a bunch of things that were spectacular disasters in my life, things that most people would want to redo properly. However, I look at most of my failures as character building.

For that reason, there's only one thing that I would have changed. I would have finished up my degree. Here I am, twenty years later, just six credits shy of that Associate's. The reason has been the same over the years-time and money kept me away.

There's your answer, Mary. If I could change anything, I would be the first college graduate in the family. Instead, I'll be the second-because damn it, I AM going back to school!

Next comes the lovely Richardina. I've known her almost as long as her sister, and longer than Donna by a year, so there aren't many questions that haven't been asked over the years.

Rich asks:
...if you could spend time with someone you've never met (living or dead) who would it be and why?

Of course, she's got to ask a tough one! You know how hard it is to pick ONE person! Depending on the day or even the hour, my choice would be different.

Today, the choice is one woman who has always fascinated me: Annie Sullivan, who was Helen Keller's teacher. Her story could just be a sad one: she lost her parents to illness, was sent with her brother to live in an Alms house, lost her sight and her brother died. However, she overcame all, and later somehow was able to find a way to communicate with Helen when others could not. As a kid, I devoured any books I could read on either woman.

I'd love to know how she figured out how to reach Helen and what it was like to have that 'a-HA!' moment when Helen communicated back. She wrote of it, but I'd love to sit and talk about it.

Mind you, tomorrow, you might have received a different answer! Then again, I came back to Annie several times since the question was posed, so probably not.

Now, it's Joyce's turn. The B sisters have a knack for the 'just one' type of questions, when clearly, I'm not able to easily settle on ONE thing!

Her question is:
Now, for my questions, if you could re-live one day from your past would you do it? If so, which day and why?

I have two parents that I would love to relive a day with, so I'm answering with two days!

The first, with my Dad, is the day that he, Giggles and I visited the French Quarter in New Orleans during the '84 World's Fair. He spent ages planning that and our 1982 road trips. Any day on any of our many travels is worth going back in time to enjoy again, but I especially want to spend the day in a city that I know more about with my Dad, who would have loved having all of that information about those restaurants!

With my Mom, I'd go back and spend the day we went out to the East End of Long Island
for shopping, farm stands and a great lunch. We laughed so much that day! I was so fortunate to have a better bond with my mom as an adult. I still miss that.

Doreen threw me the easy one! Thanks, Doreen, after those two B siblings, I needed an easier one.

She asks:
I've got one! How did your love of Disney start and what keeps it going?

Blame my Dad for this one. He took me to Pinocchio when I was 3 years old. Then, when I was in third grade, I got my first part in a play: Mary Poppins. Over the years, the man who was born the same year as Mickey Mouse fostered the love of all things Disney by taking Giggles and I to numerous matinees. Our Christmas Day tradition as kids was to see a Disney movie at one of the movie theaters the next town over.

When I was 18, he, Giggles and I finally got to do what we'd ALL wanted to do for years: visit Walt Disney World. Honestly, I don't know who was more excited about the prospect!

For years, my love for the mouse was on the down low, but eventually, I was able to share that because I'm married to a man who's family also has Mickey shaped DNA. Six years of working for the Walt Disney Company only made it worse! Now, if only I could get them to realize that they need to do Annual Passes on a monthly payment plan, the addict in me would calm down-it's been a long time since we've been in the parks and we only live 30 miles away!

Some funny Disney stuff about us: each room had either a subtle or not so subtle Disney design plan-our old house would have had a garage painted up like a utilidor! Our DVD collection is about 80% Disney movies, and we each visited the movies for the first time to see a Disney movie. Yeah, we've got it bad!

And that, my friends, is the end of the questions. I hope it has enlightened you and not put you to sleep!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More St Augustine

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

The Soundtrack of Spouses

As far as musical tastes go in this house, there is a lot of common ground. We had favorite bands in common before we even started dating. We listened to many of the same radio stations when we lived in NY, and while I hadn't delved as far into prog rock as Ed had, I had more than a passing interest in the genre.

However, there is a lot that each of us listens to that the other would not choose to listen to if left to our own devices. In fact, I listen to stuff that annoys Ed. (He gets even-he plays computer games at. top. volume. that I cannot STAND. I guess we're even). I try to be considerate and play things that he doesn't like softly or wait until he's not around. Sometimes, I fail.

Right now, the prime offender is Moosebutter. That has a lot to do with a small child liking the song as much as I do and requesting to listen to it loudly several times a day. Chef especially enjoys miming the Wookie sounds and he's picked out some harmonies. Harmonies, people-not the boring melody line! I would be a bad parent if I didn't foster his musical abilities! Oh well, it irritates Ed.

One from the past, with an explanation:

Two videos from Johnny Clegg and Savuka. My ex and I had gotten into World music, probably inspired in part by Paul Simon's collaborations with African musicians on his Graceland album. The instruments, the rhythms and the exuberance of the music captured our attention, and the ex and I ended up with quite a few albums from various African artists.

Alas, my ex wasn't the most gracious host, in that when people came to visit us, he'd play HIS favorites and not ask the houseguests what they might want to hear. Thus, Ed, Donna, Joyce, Rich and everyone else got endless plays of Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World and Third World Child. They didn't even get to hear the later albums-because they were sick of the endless diet of one or two World artists. As a result, if I'm going to listen to Mr. Clegg, it will always be when Ed's not home.

Another artist came from closer to home. Like only a mile from my house!

There's something about seeing an artist grow into their abilities that is appealing to me. Giggles came home from the first day of kindergarten with the news "One of the girls in my class WROTE A SONG about school!" Not only that, she was a sweet kid. What's not to like. (and yes, I still buy the CDs)

Finally, even though he has I've lost track several guitars, he's not always a fan of jazz or blues guitar. If I want to listen to Stevie Ray, Robert Cray or Jean-Luc Ponty, it's going to be on the iPod.

Now that you know his secret, try not to play these things if he happens to visit, okay?

(pssst, what CDs are in your listening library that your spouse wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole?)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

St. Augustine

Donna and I whiled away an afternoon in St. Augustine. The weather was dodgy, the waterfront was flooded (apparently, it is a tidal thing) and the shops were pretty interesting.

This year, Chef is supposed to learn Florida history. Usually, the school district takes the 4th graders on a trip here, but the budget shortfalls have axed all field trips. Sometime soon, we'll bring the boys here to the fort and historic downtown.

The skies weren't the best, but the company definitely was! I could photo hunt to my heart's content and I had a companion who takes the same slow pace that I've adopted. Woohoo!

Looking up from a hotel...
Donna at Donna's on St. George Street
Wind Socks
One of the many beautiful archways
As I've mentioned to Donna, whenever I find these markers imbedded into a street, I take a picture. This goes back to the ten days on Block Island, when I thought the USGS marker at the lighthouse fascinating. Since then, looking through pictures will probably find about two dozen different ones.
Another pretty archway
Honesty in Advertising
Wow, no people on St. George street!
At the fort. When I see two people taking pictures of each other, I tend to offer to take one of them together. Donna asked if they would do the same, and they gladly conplied.
Water Mill (there was a bar upstairs)
The historic district is full of these gorgeous courtyards
Dinner. This is the town to do a pub crawl-up the block from Scarlett O'hara's, there are lots of B&B's to stagger back home.
Lightner Museum.

It's very rare that I get to do the shutterbug thing anymore. Ninety eight pictures later, I was happy. The town cries out for taking actual film and playing with the SLR and all the lenses. Perhaps next time...

Days of Wine and Chocolate

Really good wine:

Really good chocolate:
If you're a fan of Snickers bars, my personal crack, or that sweet/salty combination, chocolate with sea salt on top is really good!
Really good ice cream:

We went into Publix to get ice cream and spied a half gallon of Egg Nog Ice Cream. I figured that they probably had Barnie's Santa's White Christmas available if they're trotting out eggnog. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE! Forget our usual MO of stuffing the freezer with Girl Scout cookies, I think filling up the space designated for sweet treats should be filled with half gallons of this flavor.

Off to have some fun for the day...