Thursday, October 6, 2011

Something people forget

I'm sure that by writing this post, I'm going to make a few people mad. They are going to take it personally or whatever. But, really, in my world, what's new?

I've done a lot of thinking lately about groups and cliques and such. It seems to me that in every group, there is one person who is "the resident bitch". You know who I mean- the one that every loves to roll their eyes at, the one that speaks their mind a little too much, the one that doesn't always play well with others... Well, it dawned on me recently that I am the resident bitch.

I freely admit I don't play with others. Maybe it was because I was an only child and didn't have to. I don't like to put up with other people's drama and antics. I have enough going on in my own life- I don't need that. I speak my mind- call it snarky, sarcastic, bitchy, whatever. I say what I think even when there are times I shouldn't. I don't kiss ass well... never have and probably never will.

So yes, I am the resident bitch. I guess I should embrace it.

But people forget something. Everyone has feelings. Even people like me. And those feelings can get hurt. I try not to let it show- it's just not how I am. But it happens. All the mean things that are whispered behind my back... Yea, I know about them. The little snide comments that are made- my name my not be specifically mentioned, but I know they are about me. When I am ignored and left behind, I notice.

But am I going to say anything to you? No... Because that would just further cement the fact that I am that bitch. And I guess in some ways, not saying anything also makes a bitch. People think it's because I don't care or I'm snotty or whatever. I admit, sometimes that true. But sometimes, it's because it hurts. Will I ever let you know this? No, probably not... but that doesn't make it hurt less.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Will I or Won't I???

It's that time of year again- the application process for the Disney Mom's Panel is about to begin. I have applied the last several years, and last year's experience left me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth (see my post here).

I have tried to avoid a lot of conversation or information about the process this year. But I'll be honest, there is a part of me that wonders about applying again. There is also a part of me that says I don't need the stress and the hassle of the process- I have enough going on in life right now.

The question is- will I or won't I apply? I don't know... Well, actually, that's not true. I think I do know what my answer is to that question. But it's MY answer and MY decision. I am the one that needs to be happy with what I decide. I will not be sharing my decision with anyone. If I do decide to apply, I don't want to hear people say how I shouldn't make because I cuss, drink, or anything else that's un-Disneylike. And if I decide not to apply, I don't want to hear people say I should apply because I go so often and I have quite a bit of Disney knowledge.

I will share this- I know many people who would make a fabulous addition to the Mom's Panel. I sincerely hope that Disney has the smarts to pick them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My adventures with American Airlines

Pardon the length of this post, but I think this whole story needs to be told.

This last week, I had one of the worst travel experiences I have ever had. I flew on American Airlines from Philadelphia to Tucson through Dallas/Fort-Worth on August 9, and then returned home via the same route on August 15. There was not just one issue- there were many, many issues on these flights. It is doubtful I will ever fly American again.

I was excited about the flight out- Matthew (my seven year old son) and I were scheduled to leave Philly at 6:30 in the morning on flight 2017. Yes, that's a really early time, but I'm a morning person and it wasn't that bad to me. Plus, we had a quick connection in Dallas and would get into Tucson at 9:50 in the morning. That gave us basically the whole extra day for us to visit with my parents. We were suppose to start boarding the plane at 6:00 am. There were quite a few people waiting at the gate, but yet, no gate agents. So we waited. And waited... And waited.

Finally, a gate agent showed up and started the boarding process at 6:20 am. I'm sorry, but there is no way you are going to board a full plane and be ready for take-off in 10 minutes. Sure enough, it took about 20 minutes for everyone to board the plane. After everyone got on the plane, the flight attendant discovered one seat (which had no one in it, by the way) had a broken headrest. At this point, maintenance was called. It took 20 minutes for the maintenance worker to arrive and put a "Do Not Use" sign on the seat. So it is now 7:00 am- 30 minutes after we were suppose to take off.

We had 45 minutes in Dallas to make our connecting flight to Tucson. At this point, I was hoping that the pilot would be able to make up some time in the air. I've flown quite a bit, and that isn't an uncommon occurrence. That hope was dashed pretty quickly when the pilot announced that due to bad weather we were going to be forced to fly south to Atlanta then over to Dallas. It would take longer than the scheduled 3 hours and we would be late arriving at DFW. He mentioned that there were many people on the plane with connections that would be tight or missed and that the flight attendants would help us rebook flights as needed.

As the flight went on, we didn't hear any more about rebooking our flights. Across the aisle from me was a woman who was about 7 months pregnant and also was facing a tight connection in Dallas due to the delays in Philly. As the pilot announced we would be landing about 9:25, I asked the flight attendant what to do about my flight that was leaving at 9:40. She looked at me, and Matthew, and said "I suggest you run like hell." I was FLOORED. I couldn't believe that this is what I was told. The flight attendant then gave the same advice to the pregnant lady. I mean, really? This is acceptable customer service.

When we landed Matthew and I ran our little hearts out, but we didn't make our flight. Neither did any of the other people on our plane that were trying to get to Tucson. All in all, there were about 20 of us that missed the plane by less than 5 minutes. There were 3 other flights to Tucson that afternoon- 12:45, 2:05. and 5:20. Matthew and I were put on the stand-by list (as numbers 6 and 7) for the 12:45 flight and booked tickets on the 5:20 flight. Um- hello... Our original flight was due to leave at 9:40. This was now an 8 hour delay in DFW. And why couldn't we be booked on the earlier flights- this wasn't OUR fault. This was all due to a late gate agent and a maintenance issue. I asked to speak with a supervisor and was told "This is Philadelphia's fault. We can't do anything." I also learned that there is no customer relations at DFW for American.

Well, Matthew and I killed time riding the Skylink and checking out all the different terminals. We went and waited for the 12:45 flight. They had overbooked the flight and were looking for volunteers to bump to the 5:20 flight. People who voluntarily took this bump got a $300 credit for their trouble. Um- excuse me... What about MY trouble? I went up to the desk and pointed out that I was being bumped from flight after flight due to American's problems, had NO choice in the matter, and was getting nothing in return. The gate agent looked at me and said "Yes, that's correct. That's how we do it" All that came of that conversation was Matthew and I got put on stand-by for the 2:05 flight as number 5 and 6. Well, we didn't make that flight either.

Finally, almost 8 hours after our original flight was scheduled, we were got on the 5:20pm flight to Tucson. What should have been a total of 7 hours travel time turned into a horrible 15 1/2 hour travel day. All I can say is thank goodness Matthew is an excellent traveler. Only once did he break down in tears. After we didn't make the 2:05 flight, he sat there and cried for a few minutes because all he wanted to do was see his grandma. That was truly my lowest point too.

Well, I figured that with a travel day like that, I was due for some good travel luck on the way home, right? Not- especially since I was traveling American. We were scheduled to leave Tucson at 1:40 and fly to DFW were we had 90 minutes to make our connection. Well, our plane to take us to DFW didn't show up until 1:50. We finally got boarded and took off at 2:20. 40 minutes late. I've learned that American is not capable of flights taking off less than 30 minutes late.

We arrived at DFW, changed terminals, grabbed dinner and went to our new gate. So far so good. Hey- we even got on the plane on time. Our plane was scheduled to leave at 7:30pm and arrive in Philly at 11:40pm. I was so excited when we pushed back from the gate on time- I just wanted to get home!

Well, we pushed back from the gate and sat on the tarmac. And sat. And then the air turned off. And we sat. And they turned the air back on. And we sat. And- well, you get the idea. Finally after about 20 minutes, the pilot came on the intercom and announced that we had a maintenance issue (SERIOUSLY!?!) and were being pushed back to the gate. Yep... So, we sat there for about 20 minutes getting quite toasty- they had hooked up the gate AC, but a big metal tube in Dallas in the summer with 200 people gets warm- when they announced it would be a while before they could fix the issue and we all needed to deplane. At 8:15 at night, we were now getting OFF the plane. I was ready to curl up in the corner and cry. Turns out the left ignition box wouldn't work so they had to change it out. This took over an hour. We were finally allowed back on the plane at 9:15 pm. Our plane finally took off about 9:40pm- over 2 hours late. There was not one word of apology from the pilot or any of the flight attendants. I will say the gate agents dealing with this delay were by far the BEST American employees I encountered on this trip.

I am so disgusted by how we were treated and the rude customer service we had from almost every American employee. No one seemed to care that American inconvenienced us. I never heard one word of apology. No one ever tried to make anything better.

Now, I have not yet contacted anyone at American about this issue. I don't know how, or even if, they are going to respond. I am going to do is send them an email with a link to this blog. They can decide to ignore me, in which case they will lose me forever as a customer. If American decides to do the right thing, or anything, I will put it here and update this for all to see.

I will simply say this to anyone who is looking to travel- please seriously think twice before you book on American. Let this story be a lesson to you.

UPDATE: I posted this blog originally about 3 pm Eastern time. It's now 6:30 pm Eastern, and I have been contacted by American about the issue. The original tweet that went out about the blog caught their attention and they read the post. It was discussed internally, and then a resolution issued. I spoke with Steph from the customer relations team who offered an apology for the various issues that occurred. She understood that the major issues that I had were the bad customer service and the lack of information. They have made amends for problems. We will be flying American in the future (although hopefully not through Dallas- I am still tired of that airport).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This birthday is gonna hurt

Lately the thought of my upcoming birthday has been on my mind. And for some reason, the thought of turning 36 (yes, I said my age- GASP!) really kind of bothers me.

I've never been bothered by my age before. I've never lied about it or anything to appear younger. And goodness know, I certainly don't act my age- that concept is way over-rated. So why is this one bothering me? I didn't care when I turned 21- except for being able to drink. 30 was no big deal. Heck, even 35 didn't matter. So why 36? It's such an odd age to be bothered by.

I think it has to do with the fact that I am now closer to 40 than I am 30. Wow, writing that makes it seem even worse. But I get that these are all just numbers and really don't mean much.

As I get older, I learn who I am more. I am more and more comfortable with being me- the good, the bad, and the ugly. When I looked at some pictures from our recent cruise, I noticed a few wrinkles around my eyes when I smiled. Eh- that's life. I know more about what I like and don't like. I've really thought about what I want out of life. I've learned that no one out there is perfect- and often it's those imperfections in people that make them the great person they are. I am more accepting of people than I was before. These are all great things that come with ~gulp~ getting older.

When I look at it this way, I wonder why this birthday bothers me. I still don't know- but for whatever reason, this birthday is gonna hurt. Oh well... Maybe I'll just celebrate it with a couple of drinks like I'm 21 and won't care.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I lived without my phone!!!

As most of you know, and if you don't know- where have you been?, I just got back from an amazing 10 day Disney vacation. We spent 5 days in the parks and then 5 days on the Disney Dream cruise ship. There will be blog posts about both of those later, have no fear.

But this blog post is focusing on the fact I did something I didn't think I could do. I lived without my phone (and laptop) for 5 days. Yep- I had to turn my phone off and go cold turkey from all forms of social media. If you know me at all, you know I am just a little addicted (stop laughing!) to Twitter and other ways of communication with my friends. Now, I will admit I twitched. A lot. But, it helped that a good friend of mine (Jim) who is equally addicted was on the cruise with us- we suffered together.

Now, the ship did have phones that would work on the ship so you could stay in touch with family members around the ship. They would call and even text. There was just one problem... Jim and I couldn't work them. The phones are very similar to the 'non-smartphone' phones. Which I can't use anymore. I would attempt to text and ended up sending only one letter. Or I would try to text and would make a call instead. I gave up trying to use it and just accepted the fact that I had to go cold turkey.

There were definitely times I wanted my phone. There were so many great things I wanted to be able to tweet or show people. Jim and I would look at each other and just comment how much it hurt not to be able to share whatever idiotic thing he had just done. In fact, we may or may not have pretended to hold our phone in our hands and type and few times. When we were lounging on Castaway Cay on Wednesday and the rest of the world was at work, I so wanted to be able to rub it in to everyone. But I couldn't.

After 5 days, I admit, I didn't want the vacation to end, but I was ready to have my phone back. I know that I can live without and be unplugged for a while. However, I have no problem admitting that I don't like doing it. Yep- I am addicted...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Let's talk tattoos

As I have said before, this is my blog and I can talk about what I want to. And today, I want to talk about tattoos.

Yes, tattoos. I've had several friends lately who have gotten them. And I want one.

I don't want anything big or fancy or in a very obvious place. Just something small and tasteful.

So what's stopping me? Well, there is a bit of a- hmmmm, how to put this- disagreement in my family about getting one. Yep, I've been told "No." Now, if you know me at all, you know that I don't deal well with being told no. In fact, it's like waving a red flag at a bull. However, I'm not sure that's the best thing to do in this situation.

I mean, this isn't like buying a new pair shoes I really don't need or changing my hair color. This is something permanent (duh).

So... I guess I will continue to want one... And who knows, maybe someday I'll surprise everyone and post a picture of my new tattoo.

Monday, July 4, 2011

10 days and counting!

10 days from now we will be leaving for our combination Walt Disney World and Disney cruise vacation (on the Disney Dream). We will be going with some wonderful friends of ours and we are beyond excited.
Our vacation buddies!

So, I figured I would a "10-things I am looking forward" post. I know, this concept has been done to death by everyone, but I never claimed that I was original.

1. Staying at the TreeHouse Villas. Our friends are DVC members and were lucky enough to snag a THV for our Disney World stay. I can't wait to see these!

2. Lunch at Kona. I know Kona has good food, but that is not why this one makes the list. This one makes the list because there will around 18 of us at this lunch. This includes some wonderful friends that I have yet to meet in person. I'm pretty sure that by the end of lunch we will kicked out of Kona, but who cares!

3. Taking Matty on the new Star Tours. He is so in love with Star Wars right now that he will go crazy for the new ride.

4. Seeing the amazing Atlantis resort. Our excursion at Nassau is the Atlantis Aquaventure- we get to go play on the water slides and eat lunch at the Atlantis resort.

5. Hanging out in a cabana on Castway Cay. Need I say more?

6. Food, food, and more food.

7. Seeing the Magic, Memories, and You show at the Magic Kingdom. I admit, when I first heard about the show, I thought Disney was making a horrible mistake. But, I was wrong- this has quickly become one of my favorite things to see. And yes, it makes me cry- which considering I am NOT a crier says something.

8. Carrot cake cookie from the Writer's Stop. Yes, I am slightly addicted to them now.

9. Eating breakfast on our verandah on the Dream. Someone bringing me coffee when I wake up and being able to just sit and enjoy it sounds like HEAVEN to me!

10. Being able to just relax and soak in a Disney atmosphere for 10 days. I can't wait!

Now, some of you may notice I didn't say things like the AquaDuck, pools, oceans, etc. Believe me, I am looking forward to all of those, but wanted to add some different things to my list. And no, I haven't started packing yet.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Packing Procrastination

Wow- it hit me this morning that we leave for our 11 day Disney World and Disney Dream vacation in 12 days. Now, don't get me wrong, I have been counting down the days for weeks (ok, months). But it hit me this morning that 12 days is really not very long.

For normal WDW vacations, it isn't unusual for me to have piles of clothes and other things on the guest room bed weeks ahead. Part of this is because I don't bother unpacking some things out of suitcases- for example, our ponchos live in the suitcases. My Disney backpack hangs out on the guest room bed and I am constantly putting things in there. There have been trips I have had everything ready to pack, or actually packed, two weeks before the trip.

But this isn't a normal vacation. It's 5 days at WDW and then 5 days on the Dream. OK- the packing for WDW part is easy. I can do that in my sleep. And I know that I will have to break one of my cardinal rules of vacation and actually do laundry on this vacation (made easier since we are staying in the Tree House Villas). But it's the packing for the Dream that is giving me fits.

Of course, I am now thinking that I have nothing to wear. And if you have seen my closet (or closets) you know that is not even close to being true. I am panicking about what to wear to the dinners... How many awesome pairs of shoes can I take... Do I have a dress that is dressy enough for our dinner at Remy... I hate my bathing suits- should I get a new one? All sorts of very difficult questions. And yes, I know, whatever I take or wear will be fine- but do you not get that is not the point? It has to be just perfect!

So what do I? Nothing. I delay and procrastinate packing. I refuse think about it. And the more I do this, the closer it gets to the time we leave. And the closer it gets to the time we leave, the more I panic about it all. The more I panic, the more I don't want to think about it. And so the packing procrastination cycle continues.

This is all normal, right?????

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wha?? I don't understand...

A few weeks ago, we booked a trip to WDW for August. However, there is a catch to this trip. We are going with my in-laws. Now, I'm not even going to start discussing this- they fall squarely in the category of people who "don't get Disney". It will be a very interesting trip.

Today, Mike and I were discussing this upcoming trip and he said something to me that I just don't understand. He said that we really have to do some planning for this trip. HUH? You mean more than just planning what park on what day- and more importantly, where we are going eat? I don't get it. This is a Disney trip. I pride myself on NOT over planning these trips. I mean, I know we only have 5 days to show them OUR Disney, but plan????

As I stared at Mike with a look of utter confusion, he said something else that I still don't understand. He said that he didn't think he was going to have his parents get Park Hopper tickets. HUH?!? You mean I am limited to only one park a day? If we are done at Animal Kingdom, we don't get to go to another park for the rest of the day? I... I... I don't understand. How do I do that? What about Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom... That only happens if we are AT the Magic Kingdom that day? How am I suppose to do this?

I just don't get it... Planning? No hopping??? I need a beer...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What does being a Disney fan mean?

Every few months, this discussion seems to come up. It seems there are some people out there that think being a Disney fan means you a squeaky-clean always happy person. I've got news for those people- you're wrong!

Take me for example- I am a HUGE Disney fan (I don't think anyone is really going to argue that point with me). But, I am far from squeaky-clean.

I don't talk about pixie dust and castles and happy endings all the time. As a matter of fact, I curse- a lot! I've been told I don't curse like a sailor... it's more that my language would make a sailor blush. Now, I don't curse (much) when kids are around just because I don't think it's appropriate. But I don't watch what comes out of my mouth and think "Is this Disney-like?"

In my life, there are things that go wrong and make me frustrated. Life is not all pixie-dust and that's OK! I'm a real person and I'm allowed to have bad days. It doesn't make me any less of a Disney fan on those bad than I am on good days.

The Disney community that I am proud to be a part of is made up of a variety of people- There is no stereo-type for Disney fans. Some are single adults, some are married with no kids, some are married with children, and some are older adults whose kids have grown up. We are all different but brought together by our love for Disney.

And if someone out there doesn't like me for how I am, well, that's not very Disney-like of them! I mean, didn't Nemo have a gimpy fin? Wasn't Lightening McQueen in trouble with the law? Didn't Mr. Incredible lie to his family for months?

Disney teaches about embracing differences and that you don't have to be perfect. And that's what being a Disney fan means to me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How social media helped out run a fire

Well, this last week has been interesting, to say the least. Most of my on-line attention has been focused on the Monument Fire down by my parent's house in Southern Arizona. Being 2500 miles away makes it hard to get good information, but luckily, I found an AMAZING Facebook page that kept me in the loop. (And here a quick shout out to the administrators of the Monument Fire Az page- they have done a great job keeping the page up to date and minimizing rumors). There was also a Twitter hashtag #monumentfire, but Twitter doesn't appear to be real big in the small town.

My mom has refused to get on Facebook and watch this for herself. She has a Facebook account, but for whatever reason, refuses to use. She was getting emails from friends, but obviously it wasn't as quick and timely as what was occurring on Facebook.

On Thursday, I watched as the fire jumped a main highway and headed for several of my parent's friends homes. I was able to call my mom and let her know that her friends had been evacuated. I was also able to let them know which direction the fire was going and so forth.

Friday rolled around and it was much of the same. As I monitored the fire, it continued moving east, not north toward my parents. This was all good. Some of their friends were in a new pre-evacuation zone, but nothing had really changed. The fire was still concentrated (as much as a 19,000 acre fire can be concentrated) areas where the homes had lots of land- not subdivisions.

About 5pm my time (which is about 2pm for my parents), I was on the phone with my mom and started seeing reports of a new fire that had started on Fort Huachuca. This fire was less than 2 miles from my parents- and it quickly became obvious that it was out of control and moving east straight toward my parent's subdivision. Because my mom was already wound tighter than a high-E string on a violin, I asked to talk to my dad. Well, at that moment he was coming back in from outside and commenting that there was a lot of smoke over to the west. So, I told them about the new fire and that I was waiting for more information.

Well, at this point, the Facebook page started to go crazy. The fire was moving quickly and even though the fire response team was jumping on it, dry grass and high winds meant the fire was growing. Within about 40 minutes of the fire starting, evacuations were starting about 1 mile from my parents house. These people had NO notice and only about 3 minutes to gather everything they wanted to take with them and get out. They were told "Get out. Get out now. We are not kidding. The fire is coming." At this point, my mom called me to say there were attempting to take donations to the fire station, but saw how bad the smoke was and decided to just stay home. I told her at this point where the evacuations were occurring and that they needed to go home and get their stuff together.

I then heard from my mom about 15 minutes later as she called me and asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted them to save from the house. That is not something you ever really want to think about. She said they were loading the car up and getting ready. I couldn't think of anything, but told her to take her iPod and start walking around and videoing the house as documentation.

I continued to watch the Facebook page and the evacuations were growing, as was the fire. The new evacuations included their area- they needed to get out NOW! This was about 6:15pm my time- about 75 minutes after the fire started. There was talk that air tankers were going to be diverted from the main fire to this new fire (called the Antelope Fire) to drop slurry to attempt to save the subdivisions. I called my parent's house and got no answer. So, I tried my mom's cell phone. It went immediately to voice mail. Ok- I started freaking a little bit about now.

I remained GLUED to the Facebook page and saw many people saying that cell service in the area was overloaded and service was also bad due to the heavy smoke in the area. That helped me calm down a little. I also know my father and while he is easily one of the most stubborn people around, he wouldn't take any chance with my mom and their 2 dogs and cat. The Facebook page continued to be updated with new information with people talking about how they had no notice of the evacuation and had to leave everything behind. I was thankful that I knew my parents were able to get some of their things out.

Finally after about 30 minutes my mom called me. I could hear one pissed-off cat in the background. They were out and hanging at the city park with other evacuees. They were going to wait it out there for a while and had a friend's house to go to if needed. They knew nothing and had no way to get information- they were just winging it at this point. I told her I would keep watching online and would pass on information as needed.

Facebook was updating frequently with information on the percent of the fire contained and other information- such as the gas company had shut off all gas to their area. I called her with information as I got it and I could hear her passing it on to everyone else with them. They had no other information coming in. Finally, about 8:20 my time, I saw on Twitter that a news channel had reported the evacuation was lifted. There was actually no way to verify this online (I had tried and was told the only reliable sources were calling the sheriff or police). I called and, sure enough, they could go back home. I called my mom in the park and let her know and she told everyone there. This was the first they had heard the news. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of cheering!

So my parents headed home- and thankfully they had a home to go to. I hate to think how this would have gone without social media. I have no doubt that they would have gotten out of their home- but would they have had the time to be able to pack things or would they also have had those 3 small minutes (180 seconds) to pack up. And what would I have known from 2500 miles away? It's very possible I wouldn't have even know what was going on. And how would they have known that they could go home. I am so thankful for that Facebook page and how it was getting information out to everyone who needed it.

Also, I just wanted to thank everyone who passed along such wonderful words of support to me yesterday- it was a very rough evening and the support of all my friends meant so much to me!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Things that make me happy!

I am blantantly stealing this idea from my friend who just did a blog post on 30 things that make her happy. I decided to make my own list of things that make me happy- in no particular order.
  1. Disney
  2. Watching my son sleep
  3. Ice cream
  4. My friends
  5. My #peas
  6. The #beans- but don't tell the #beans though!
  7. Potato dumplings- not eating them, just the thought of them
  8. The first sip of a Starbucks coffee with foam
  9. Getting into bed with fresh crisp sheets
  10. The song "Wild at Heart" by Gloriana- Seriously, how can a song with the line "Put your hand into my back pocket, light me up like a bottle rocket" NOT make you happy???
  11. Any song by the Black Eyed Peas- because it always makes me think of my friend who HATES any song by them
  12. Those few seconds on Tower of Terror after your elevator is loaded into the tower, but before it begins going up and down
  13. Text messages from friends
  14. Riding the PeopleMover
  15. Snuggly kittens
  16. Pedicures
  17. Snuggles with Matthew
  18. Nascar date nite
  19. Dancing
  20. New shoes
  21. My pair of jeans that fit just right
  22. Crossing the finish line of a race
  23. A good hair day
  24. Eating frosting right out of the container
  25. Movie theater popcorn with butter
  26. Girl's Night Out
  27. Being under a bunch of warm blankets when it's cold outside
  28. Taylor Lautner's abs
  29. Reading a really good book that you don't want to put down
  30. Laughing so hard I cry

Monday, June 6, 2011

'Ohana means family

The Disney movie Lilo & Stitch popularized the staying "'Ohana means family." Many of my Disney friends, and myself, use this saying when we are talking about some of our dearest and closest friends. We use it to mean that our friends our like our family. But for me, that's not quite right.

There is another saying "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." Think about it- you have that family member (or members) that you really don't like, but you just kinda tolerate. To me, 'Ohana is something so much more than family.
'Ohana doesn't include all photo crashers in the picture though :)

For me, I have a wonderful group of 'Ohana friends. Who are they? Some of them are:
  • the ones that I ate at Biergarten with- the food was mediocre, but it was hands down the best meal of my life.
Yep- my 'Ohana friends are inappropriate... LOVE THEM!
  • the ones you see on Main St. and start yelling and going crazy with happiness.
  • the one I think of every time I go over a particular bump on Space Mountain and remember him commenting when the lap bar met his groin in a rude way.
  • my #peas- my two friends who are always there for me. And know when they need to give my space.
Yes, I know I just used this pic, but there are no words for how IMPORTANT these two are to me!
  • the ones that I want to call first when something good happens.
  • the ones that I tell first when something bad happens.
This picture and the one above are completely interchangeable :)
  • the ones that tell you to stop being a drama queen and just get over yourself.
  • the ones that are in all of your pictures with you.

There are just some of my 'Ohana friends- it's not all of them.

'Ohana is those friends who touch your soul. They are the friends that are in so many of your memories- both good and bad because they are there for you no matter what. They are the ones that I think of when I cry happy and sad tears. They are the friends who take a part of you with them when they leave.

I am so thankful for all of my 'Ohana friends. I am not complete without ALL of them. I need them in my life.

And this post is dedicated to my 'Ohana friend who has very recently come back into my life- I didn't realize how much emptier my life was without them in it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Disney- not a vacation destination

No, I didn't mis-type something in the title of this post. To me, Disney is not a vacation destination. It is so much more than that.

Yes, I go to Disney on vacation, but it recently occurred to me WHY I always want to go to Disney. It's not because I enjoy the rides and the attractions- although I do enjoy them! It because Disney has such wonderful memories of friends and family.

I love my #peas!!!!

It bring me a sense of happiness and peace. And I will admit, there is a bit of escapism there. Being in the Disney bubble makes all the other problems and stresses of life seem so far away.
Problems? What problems?

Simply put, Disney is the happy place for my soul.

I don't go to Disney for a vacation- I go for a total recharge. To spend time in my happy place and gather more memories to get me through until the next time I can visit.

I know some of you reading this don't understand this. You think that Disney World is simply a place to go every couple of years for vacation. That's OK with me- it keeps the crowds down for all the other times I want to go :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our adventures with Lego Pirates of the Caribbean for Wii

So, like many Disney fans, my family was very excited when it was announced that Disney Interactive Studios would be putting a Lego Wii adventure based on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. We love the Lego Wii games and couldn't wait to get the game.

Well- consider this your warning. DO NOT BUY THIS GAME!!!

It's a known issue that many of the Lego games have some bugs in them while you play. But this game takes it to a new extreme.

In this game, there are 4 "movies", based on each of the four released Pirates movies (um- duh). Each movie has 5 stories that you play through. Our problems started on Story 1, chapter 2. We got about 75% of the way through the story, and our Wii console froze. It also began emitting a high-pitched sound (which the cat did NOT like). We couldn't get it to do anything for us and we had to turn off the entire console and turn it back on. So we booted the game again, started the story again, and guess what... Yep- it froze in the same exact spot. So, after doing this 3 times, we thought it might be the disc. We took the disc back to Target, explained the issue, and came home with a new disc. And guess what- same thing!!!

At this point, I called the technical support number for Disney Interactive Studios. They said that we had a corrupted save file. We could try playing past with only one person (we had been playing with two people) or breaking less objects, but our best bet was to delete the file and start over. And so we did. We deleted the save file and started the entire game over.

After we did this, we had a couple of other freeze issues, but after restarting the console, we were able to move past the spot without an issue. UNTIL... we got to story 4, chapter 5. Yes- the last story of the game. And guess what- it happened again. The console froze- and even after restarting, three times, the game continued to freeze in the same spot.

So- we placed another call to Disney Interactive Studios. They told us that this is a known issue and there is no current fix other than to delete the save file and start over. We are 40% finished with the game- and with a 7 year old playing, that is no small accomplishment. And now we have to delete the file and start over. They did tell us that if we didn't want to keep the game, we could exchange it for another Disney Wii title.

But that's not what we want. The whole family enjoys playing the Lego Wii games, and we want to be able to play the game. But we can't... So, until Disney fixes the issue, I recommend to everyone that they avoid buying Lego Wii Pirates of the Caribbean. I hate saying this, but there are just too many bugs and glitches in the game right now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's my blog, I can say what I want!

I have so many things I want to say but no clue where to start. So I'm just going to ramble for a bit. And fair warning, this is a bit of a different type of blog post for me- you'll see what I mean...

People never cease to make me shake my head in wonder. And I mean this in both good ways and bad. In the couple of days, I have seen some behavior from people (adults, mind you), that just leaves me speechless. I'm not getting into who did what, but it was classless and tacky. And they then tried to cover up what they did and back pedal.

However, in the last week, I have also seen some amazing friendships that- well, let's be honest- makes me wish I had friends like these friends. The way that people are there for each other and interact with each other is just fun for me to see.

I've also witnessed people who 100% stand by their beliefs, feelings, and convictions. Whether or not I agree with what they say, I applaud them.

In the last couple of weeks, I've come to realize that living in Pennsylvania just isn't where I want to be. For a while, I've wanted to move elsewhere- and I would have settled for just about anywhere. But now, I realize that I absolutely want to be in Florida- specifically Orlando (I know this doesn't come as a shock to many of you) It's not just the weather here in PA that makes me want to move- although I have seen enough snow the last 2 years for a lifetime! It's just that I'm done here. That being said however, I don't see a move to Orlando or any part of Florida, happening anytime in the near (or even kinda near) future. Oh well....

I know this isn't a normal post for me- I usually try not to be such a Debbie-downer. But, I'm just not feeling it right now and decided I didn't want to try to put on a happy face and fake it. I promise, the next post will be much more "me" :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Drinking around Epcot

Classic Margarita from Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico)

Tequila Flight from La Cava del Tequila (Mexico)

Wine Flight from Weinkeller (Germany)

Rosa Regale from Italy

Sake from Sake bar (Japan)

Grand Marnier Orange Slush (France)

Cider and Black from Rose and Crown Pub (UK)

Gray Goose Lemon Slush (France)

Moroccarita (Morocco)

Leaping Leprechaun from Rose and Crown Pub (UK)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A trip of firsts

Don't fall off your chairs- yes, I am blogging again...

I just got back from a WONDERFUL and exhausting 4 day trip to Disney World by myself. Well, I traveled by myself, but I surprised some friends down there and had a great time with them! The weather was perfect- you really can't beat Orlando in mid-March.

The crowds were busy, but thanks to a variety of insider knowledge and tricks, we minimized our waiting in lines.

When I mention I'm going to Disney World to people who are Disney freaks like myself, I often hear "Again? Haven't you already done everything there?" And while I have done quite a bit at Disney, there is still so much I haven't done- as this last trip proved. I think I did more things for the first time on this trip than any trip in recent memory.

  • I did my first drawing at the Animation Academy. Ok, so it didn't look exactly like the artist's, but it was still a ton of fun.
  • I had my first Carrot Cake cookie. YUM!
  • I had my first Grand Marnier slush. It will not be my last!
  • I had my first Green Tea Peach Snap at Epcot.
  • I closed down a park (Magic Kingdom) at 1:00 am. This was the first time I had been at a park this late other than MNSSHP.
  • I saw the "Kiss GoodNight" as we were leaving the park at 1:00 am.
  • I stayed off-property.
It's things like this that make me keep going to back to Disney World time and time again. To have this many "firsts" on my 11th trip in the last three years- there is still so much waiting for me to discover! Now, when can I go back?!?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Nothing to say?!?

Wow- I haven't blogged much at all this year. To be honest, I just haven't really been feeling it. It's not that I don't have anything to say- I think we all know that's not true! It's just that I haven't really come up with anything good to say in my blog. Also, there hasn't been a whole lot going on around here.

Yes, I took a quick trip Disney, but that's been about it. We've had snow, snow, and more snow. As a matter of fact, this is the first week since Christmas that we have had a week of school not interrupted by weather delays or snow days. Matthew had his first piano recital and did really well! He's only been playing about 4 months, and I was so proud of him! Other than that, it's been the same ol' stuff.

I'm hoping that as soon as the snow melts (we've had snow in our front yard since Christmas) and the temperatures climb out of the bitter Arctic zone, I can get back to my running. I always seem to think of good blog posts when I am out huffing and puffing and trying not die!

So no worries- I'll be back with my long, chatty posts soon!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Not a new post- but one of my favorites

OK- this is not the first (or even second) time I have posted this post. But I have to say, I think it's one of the best posts I have written, and there are times that it just fits what is going on in life. This is one of those times. So, enjoy!

Real, Virtual or Imaginary

Lately, I have been thinking about friends quite a bit. And as I was thinking, it dawned on me that friends can be divided into three categories- Real, Virtual, and Imaginary. Of course, you're probably wondering what the heck I am talking about. Let me explain--

Real friends- These are people that are a friend through and through. They stick by you when the times are bad, they don't expect you to act perfect, they make sure you're OK when you aren't yourself. Real friends are a true find- when you find one (or many) you need to keep them.

Virtual friends- This is my term for the people that you meet online, that you haven't met in person. Many of us have lots of virtual friends- we know them online, and we may know a lot about them- but chances are, we wouldn't recognize them if they were behind us in a supermarket line.

Imaginary friends- These are people that can be either Real or Virtual friends, but what makes them imaginary is that they disappear. They may disappear from your life after a few days, or a few years. But, when things get tough or change, they don't stick around. You always won't know a friend is Imaginary- sometimes you think they're Real until they're gone.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have learned a lot about friends. I learned that, sometimes, when you meet Virtual friends, they instantly can become Real friends. And, I learned the hard way, that people you think are Real friends, are actually only Imaginary.

I was recently with a group of people who started out as Virtual friends- but what was amazing to me was how quickly we all became Real friends. And I miss each and everyone of them everyday. (And yes, I do think Virtual friends can be Real friends without ever meeting in person...)

Real friends are hard to find- and when you do find a Real friend, make sure that you are a Real friend to them, and that you keep them in your life in whatever way works for you.