Monthly Archives: June 2013

Weekend Update

Yesterday I dropped Jason off at his office to do some work. My mission was to unload a trunk-full of stuff at Goodwill and run some errands. When I picked Jason up two hours later, he said, “When you left, you had a car full of stuff. Now you have a car full of different stuff.” Progress?

I picked up eight frames on clearance at Michaels, so I can finally make progress on the gallery wall using the black and white prints I had made. Including the Zen Sea Lion:

Sea Lion

Tyler and I cleaned his room for five hours on Saturday. FIVE. HOURS. I was appalled by the sheer volume of trash – gum wrappers, scrap paper, broken pencils, GARBAGE. It was maddening. I made him watch an episode of Hoarders. I don’t think he got it.

With all this recent Lucius news, you might be wondering how Homer is doing (or you might not! I don’t know your life). Homer is still Homer-ing around, doing his Homer thing. We haven’t had any inquiries about adopting him, which is sad for him but OK with me.

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He’s such a funny dog. After he thoroughly destroyed his first stuffed animal, we got him a stuffed alligator. He’s opened up a hole in the face and is methodically extracting all the stuffing. He doesn’t bother any of the kids’ stuffed animals, or anything else in the house. He’s a toy monogamist.

With the end of school, and travel, and general busy-ness, I haven’t had time to try many new recipes lately. However, last week I made these Cilantro-Lime-Chicken Tacos using cilantro from my garden, and prior to that I made this Portobello, Asparagus & Prosciutto Pizza.  Both were outstanding. RECOMMEND.

 

 

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Survivor: Disney World

I admit, I am not the world’s largest fan of Disney World. I am also a bit suspicious of grown adults who are HUGE FANS of Disney – who have bumper stickers and theme apparel and annual passes. And as a native Floridian, my default mode is to be snooty about tourist traps, and Disney is the biggest tourist trap of all.

However, when one lives in Florida, and one has children, it’s hard to escape gravitational pull The Mouse.

So I have notes, because I think overall the experience is worthwhile for kids and totally manageable for adults. I mixed in pictures of our trip, because pictures are fun!

Day One: This plaque is above the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.

This plaque is above the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.

Note 1. Do Your Homework.

Get your tickets. A regular three-day ticket for a non-Florida resident is $280. By combining a Florida resident discount and a spring discount, I paid $120 for the same three-day ticket. Sign up to receive e-mails from Disney with special offers.

First Stop: Tomorrowland

First Stop: Tomorrowland

Related: Make your reservations. Dining in the park can get crowded. I used the Disney Experience app to make dinner reservations for two nights, and it could not have been easier. Had I waited until the day of our visit, we would have been out of luck.

The People Mover gives you a good overview of Tomorrowland.

The People Mover gives you a good overview of Tomorrowland.

Find a place to stay. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort in Lake Buena Vista, which was perfect for our needs. The hotel was clean and most amenities were included – free wi-fi, free parking, free meals and free movies (in a theater) for kids, big awesome pool,  free shuttle to the parks, etc.

Tomorrowland Speedway - Yikes!

Tomorrowland Speedway – Yikes!

Check the weather. This should be a no-brainer, but the Sunshine State is famous for pop-up thunderstorms and occasionally worse (like today, when Tropical Storm Andrea is dumping rain all over). We brought a few folding umbrellas, but in retrospect I would have purchased a pack of emergency ponchos.

The Haunted Mansion - my all-time favorite.

The Haunted Mansion – my all-time favorite.

Pack light, like a ninja. I recommend a backpack or other ergonomic bag for all your gear. Carrying a heavy purse on one shoulder for 10 or 12 hours will leave you looking like Igor. If you don’t want to spend a bunch of money on food, bring your own snacks and drinks. We brought granola bars and water bottles, and refilled the bottles at water fountains. We ate lunches and dinners at park restaurants.

Classic.

Classic.

Other things to pack: The sun is your biggest enemy. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Comfortable shoes are a MUST – this does not include the cute flats you just got at Target. You need support. I purchased a pair of Keens earlier this year, and they were (ugly but) perfect for this excursion. I like mine so much I bought Tyler a used pair off eBay for this trip. They were outstanding.

Day Two: Epcot

Day Two: Epcot

Note 2. Be Flexible

Look, this is one of the busiest tourist attractions on earth. Lines and crowds are part of the deal. The sooner you get over it, the happier your trip will be. The Fast Pass system is GENIUS and will be your best friend (and it’s free!). However, most of the rides had wait times of 20 minutes or less. The majority of the waiting is done indoors or in the shade, so it’s really quite manageable. Plus the people-watching opportunities are tremendous.

Epcot is my favorite.

Epcot is my favorite.

Note 3. Don’t rush.

The amount of effort and planning that went into Disney is staggering. Enjoy it. You’ll miss all the details if you’re running from one ride to the next with blinders on. It’s not a competition. Chill out. You may have to make choices with your time, but it’s better to do 75% of the attractions and be happy than do 100% and be homicidal.

Tyler is trying very hard not to squeal right now.

Tyler is trying very hard not to squeal right now.

Our original plan had been to take one day at the Magic Kingdom, one day at Epcot, and one day to either go back and hit things we’d missed, or move on to another park. Then Tyler discovered it was Star Wars Weekend at Hollywood Studios, so that was the end of THAT debate.

Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood Studios

Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Hollywood Studios

The adults had a good time. Tyler had a GREAT time. As a grown-up, I have a much better appreciation for the things Disney does well – crowd management, efficiency, customer service, and cleanliness. I also appreciate the inclusiveness of the parks. Once you hit the front gates, there are almost no upcharges or hidden fees or “extras.” Everyone is treated equally.

Tyler is nine years old, which (to me) is the perfect age for taking this trip. He can be responsible for his own gear, stay up later, and has a rudimentary understanding of patience. He was incredibly well-behaved all weekend, and is generally a good traveler/adventurer. I had not been to Disney since I was a senior in high school. While I am perfectly content to wait another (COUGHfifteen) years before venturing back into Mouseland, I was very happy with our experience there.

So long, Mouse House.

So long, Mouse House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moo!

Today is my mom’s birthday. Yeay!

This past weekend, Jason, Tyler, Moo and I went to Disney World. Moo has wanted to go with Tyler to Disney since he was born, but I put it off. For nine years.

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Tyler had an AWESOME time, and it was great to see my mom enjoying the experience through his eyes. While he loved the space-themed rides the best, he also enjoyed the slower rides, like Peter Pan (which is one of my mom’s favorites).

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We had a great time, and I’m so glad my mom got to go with us.

Happy Birthday, Moo!

 

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Oops.

Jason’s beagle, Bailey, died in March. He got Bailey as a puppy, when he was in law school, and had her for 14 years.

Bailey

After her death, Jason swore he would never own another dog again, EVER, because the loss was just too painful. He wouldn’t even consider fostering a second Boston Terrier because he wasn’t ready to love another dog.

Two months went by.

One Saturday in May we were at Tom Brown Park, which happens to be the location of the Leon County animal shelter. Tyler asked if we could go in to pet the kitties and puppies, so we agreed to go. “But we’re NOT getting a dog,” Jason insisted. “I’m not ready.”

You’ll never guess what happened next.

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Lucius is a 4-year-0ld chocolate lab, and may be the sweetest dog in all the land. When we took him to one of the meet-and-greet areas at the shelter, he laid his blocky head in Jason’s lap and sighed deeply.

“Um,” Jason said, “I might be ready.”

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Lucius is named for my grandfather (NOT LUCIUS MALFOY). When Animal Control picked him up, he weighed 45 lbs. and was covered in ticks. He was not neutered and heartworm positive. The shelter fixed his little red wagon, so to speak, cleared him of ticks, and bulked him up to 58 lbs. He’s put on another 5 since then, and is still slightly underweight. He will begin his heartworm treatment on Monday, and after 8 weeks of crate rest he should be good as new.

He. is. AWESOME.

He’s incredibly laid back, and seems content to lay on the floor in whatever room we’re in. We’ve taught him “sit” and we’re working on “stay.” He gets along with Ron the cat, Homer the dog, and all the kids.

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He’s all Lab in the sense that he’s family-oriented, eager to please, and obedient. He is also a total ninja when it comes to food – he snuck a hot dog off the counter without disturbing the plate or the bun. However, he s-u-c-k-s at fetch and hates the water. We’re working on this, too.

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I’m so glad we adopted him. He’s been a perfect addition to our family.

 

 

 

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