November 23, 2009

tricky relationship

I remember the day G told me he wanted a new microwave. He told me of his affair with the microwave in his office breakroom. How it had a magical popcorn sensor. How, with just the push of a single button, one would extract a perfectly popped bag of popcorn from the machine. I audibly rolled my eyes. I mean, couldn't he just program the microwave for the time recommended on the popcorn packaging and listen for those last kernels like the rest of the world? He insisted that this microwave was so much better than that. This magical popcorn sensor would pop nearly all of the corn leaving nary a stray kernel in the bag. I was not convinced. What I was convinced of, however, was that he was smitten with a new toy. He told me I just needed to see it to believe it. He was sure he could make me a believer. Yeah, him and every late night infomercial host.

Thus, he brought the new microwave home. The old microwave came to rest in my apartment, which I was perfectly fine with, having no microwave at all. I didn't need this fancy sensor cook technology. Unfortunately, the first time I attempted to use the old microwave, it gave off a horrible smell and promptly died. I was again without microwave. G paid little mind, as his shiny new toy sat upon his counter, white and gleaming against the dingy flat white paint and faux butcher block countertops. He eagerly put the popcorn in and pushed the button. True to his word, the little machine popped a perfect bag of popcorn. I was sure this was a fluke. However, night after night she proceeded to do her trick without fail. Harumph. Perhaps I was wrong. I examined all of the other sensor buttons, testing them on various foodstuffs. She heated my tea to a perfect steeping temperature. Browning meat was hardly a feat she couldn't handle. Leftovers were reheated and vegetables steamed with hardly a thought on my part.

She needed little coaxing. One push and she was off. No complicated combinations of buttons. No adjusting power or wondering if I would get food poisoning. If the food contained within needed a little special attention, she would tell me exactly what to do. Stir and recover, I was all over it. Let stand, covered. I could do that! No guessing games. No trying and failing to see what she needed. I had to admit I was smitten.

A couple of years ago, we suffered our first falling out. We were in the midst of remodeling our kitchen, and I was removing our upper cabinets. I got to the last two, those just over our beloved microwave. I uhscrewed the first from the wall, carefully holding onto it so it didn't plummet when loosened. I didn't budge. I thought perhaps its neighbor was holding it in place, so I repeated the maneuver, ready for both cabinets to come loose. They stayed put. I wriggled, shook, pulled, and crowbarred to no avail. I called the hubs to see if he had any advice. He ahd all the same thoughts I did. When he came home we took a look at it, but they weren't coming down. So, we went on our merry way for the evening. We came home to find one cabinet perched atop the counter, the other atop the microwave. Oh no! We removed the cabinets and checked our beloved cube of magic. She had a ding, but continued to work just fine. We loved her despite the cosmetic flaws.

She continued to chug along. I admit, I had begun to take her for granted. I casually pushed the appropriate button with hardly a glance these days. Our exchanges were minimal. Door open, door close, push button, repeat. We were settled into our routine, it seemed to suit the three of us just fine. We were, dare I say, content.

Then it happened. She, apparently fed up with our arrangement, went on strike! Her motor would hum, her turntable would spin, but the corn would remain unpopped. The water would remain tepid. My heating pad would stay room temperature, which was of absolutely no help to me! Every few tries, she would half heartedly attempt to heat the item, but would just give up. We tried unplugging her, and plugging her back in. She would pop a bag of corn then return to her newfound sullen state. We tried to talk to her, push some extra buttons to no avail. It was clear. It was over. She had moved on, and made it apparent that we should to.

We were unprepared. We didn't know what to do. We aren't the kind of people who just buy a microwave willy-nilly. We wanted to get to know the microwave. See how the sensors worked. We were unsure of how to proceed. I mean, we had been off the market for ten years!

So, G started where most good relationships do, the internets. It seemed that finding exactly what we had was not meant to be. We apparently are no longer good enough for the kind of microwave that offered magical popcorn buttons. He did find one that had a popcorn button, though we could not verify the level of magic that came with it. She was shiny, though, and would match our other appliances perfectly, not that looks mattered if the popcorn button would pop every kernel without burning one. I was apprehensive, but was willing to meet the microwave in person. I had to admit she was pretty. Roomy interior. Her buttons gleaming under the fluorescent lights. We did a round of microwave speed dating to check out the other available candidates. However, we came back to the sparkly stainless steel we started with.

We brought her home, and placed her on the counter. Our former microwave was obviously jealous, and refused to go without a fight. Or at least without a crisp twenty from our wallet. I could understand the reticence, I mean, we did have a good run. However, we both knew we were no good for each other. None of us was happy with the arrangement, so it was best to move on. Quick like a band-aid and all of that.

Unfortunately, we found out too late that the new popcorn button was not all that magical. You have to watch her every second, and even then the corn is probably burned. We are pretty sure we can grow to love the new microwave. I mean she's good looking, and after all we like her. I suppose if things go sour, she can keep house with the rest of the appliances and try to charm the next residents of our condo. Until then, we will just have to carefully listen for the pops to slow down and hope for the best.

Posted by raven at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2009

ridin' high upon a deep depression

Okay, so maybe that's an exaggeration. I'm happy in some areas, but feeling a little blue about others. Right now, work is going well. I'm still in Philly, planning a major remodel for work. I kind of wish I had more time for exploring, but I do need to pay the bills, ya know? Luckily I get along well with the people from my location that are here. Plus, most of the people I am working with are great. I expected I would get along well enough with them to work alongside them. I mean, people in my department tend to have things in common, no matter what location they are at. However, I am making some great friends.
Friday night was dinner out, Saturday was shopping until we dropped. Even having just met a couple of the girls I was with, and only having been able to spend time at work with the other, we gelled wonderfully. We even went into a ridiculous formal shop and tried on the weirdest dresses we could find. We laughed and had a wonderful time. Today, we hit a thrift shop after work. The stock was disappointing, but we managed to have a fantastic time.
I kind of think it's funny. I mean, I am getting along better with some of these people better than people I've known for a long time. Unfortunately, they will go back home to their part of the world, and I to mine. After this week, we have three weeks left together, so no more crazy times. I mean, I know I can have some crazy times at home, but I feel like being out here is highlighting how stir crazy I am getting at home. I have been ready to pack up and ship out for a while. Unfortunately, having a house and debt makes it a lot harder to get out of dodge. I am trying to remain optimistic, but it's hard to enjoy the moment when I am ready to move on to new and exciting adventures.
Since the next adventure is further out on the horizon than I might like it to be, I am trying to focus on my dreams, and get them going now.
Two things I have been dreaming about for quite some time are having an accessory business (with the potential to lead to a full clothing line) and becoming a burlesque performer. I started an Etsy shop earlier in the year, participating in a craft show. Unfortunately, sewing isn't the most transportable career. Right now with traveling with the ol' day job, I haven't been able to do much actual sewing. Luckily, I've been poking around some pretty fabulous shops, and have got some great inspiration. I had a few things that I prepped, but those didn't get in my bag...among them my sketchbook. So, I have to settle for sketching on some extra paper and in my planner. As soon as I get home, I will be putting that sketchbook, and my pencils in my bag first thing! I also have some fabrics to research to see if they are something I can even get my fat little fingers on! So, at least I am focusing on that on some level.
I am continuing to work on some burlesque ideas. I think some of my lonely evenings in my hotel room would be well spent practicing choreography. I had to skip this session of classes, and the thought is weighing me down a bit. I am trying to remind myself that this is a good thing. I mean, that is some extra cash I can put towards my performance class in the Spring, and to build costumes. I quite hope that by the time we journey out west, I will be of a caliber to join up with a troupe out there, and run my accessory business. It would be delightful to make my dollars these ways, and have the flexibility to audition like a fiend and see what else awaits me.
Finally, I am continuing on with my running. I am looking forward to two or three half marathons and a full marathon in 2010. Focusing on my fitness allows me the energy and the positivity to follow my dreams. Not to mention a hot body, which is sort of important when I will be showing it off!

Posted by raven at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2009

wee hours

Whew! One would think that with me posting at this hour, I must have been running about the town, partying hard. Not so much. I stayed up late having a pseudo slumber party with my friend, Soni. Instead of sleeping over, however, she wandered back down to her room, and I am still here.

We spent the day at the infamous King of Prussia mall. I had never heard of it, honestly, until a coworker mentioned it on our way here. Some of the girls from another location who are here for the same purpose mentioned they were going today, so Soni and I tagged along for some shopping fun. The place was huge! Two buildings, plus a perimeter of restaurants besides those located in the two huge buildings. We arrived around 12:30, and started at Urban Outifitters. I wasn't planning on doing much, if any, purchasing. However, I found two dresses that fit perfectly, and were half off of the clearance price. I got them, leery it would quickly become a day of packed shopping bags dangling from my shoulders and hands. We went to DSW, luckily I didn't find anything on my need list, although there were a lot of gorgeous shoes that needed good, loving homes. Sadly, my pocketbook wasn't ready to help me bring them all home. We continued popping around, I found a gelato stand, and the lemon gelato was calling my name. So delish!!! The other girls ran to the car to take out a load of bags, and Soni and I continued on. We hit a shop of RIDICULOUS formal dresses. We went in to investigate, and wound up trying on some insane dresses. Just to give you a clue...the first one I tried on was peach with a sheer corset and sheer ruffle. The very top (which, fortunately, was not sheer) had beading as did the weird ruffle. The portions that were satin, just covered the NSFW bits.

We continued on. Lots of things were tried on, but I didn't purchase anything. I did squeal like a schoolgirl when I saw a real-live Thomas Pink shop. I purchased a Christmas gift there, and was pleased to check that off the list. There were many shops I wanted to check out, but I knew I would just be sad to not be insanely wealthy. The mall also had an exhibition of the local opera companies costumes, which was delightful. It made me long to work for a company with a crazy budget to create costumes made of silks. I tried on hats at nearly every stop, but managed not to get them all. Lunch was at the Corner Bakery, which was fun and delish, and we all shared pictures with our cameras and phones. It was fun to see everyone's families and pets and loved ones. More shopping was done. I wanted to buy one of everything at Bebe, luckily Soni talked me down. Eventually, we made it back to Urban, where I made my last purchase, a cloche for $5. We were there until nine o'clock, and only saw a small portion of the place!

We headed back to the hotel via Target and the liquor store. I got some wine, and Soni was kind enough to join me to drink it. There was much giggling and gossiping and consuming of food and drink.

It was a fun girly day, and just the thing I needed to get my mind off of work and some of the people I know stressing me out. We are meeting such great people here, and I am sad they won't be coming home with us.

Good thing we have the internet!!!

Posted by raven at 02:30 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2009

lucky day

Ummmm...when did it get to be Friday? There I was, Monday morning facing the daunting task of working in a new city, at my company's home office, working on a huge project. Suddenly, I am trained, and in the deep end of the project, and the week is over! How does this happen? I would say that I can't believe it's Friday. However, given my brain is about to explode from information overload, and I am exhausted from working and learning, and my upstairs neighbor is apparently an elephant....I can believe it.

Tonight was spent driving into the city, and upon one of the project leader's recommendation, we tried a restaurant called Jones. It was super hip, yet comfortable. The server was so adorable, I wanted to eat him with a spoon...but I settled for something off the menu. I started with a dry Bombay martini. It was so delicious. So. Delicious. The three of us decided to split the appetizer special, which was Artichoke garlic dip. Then we decided to be a bit gluttonous and also split the mac and cheese appetizer. Both arrived at our table, still bubbling from the oven, and topped with the finest ground breadcrumbs I have ever met. Both were delicious! I settled on the ALT sandwich for dinner. Avocado, lettuce and tomato with mozzarella and lemon aioli. Tasty! The other ladies I was with had sesame crusted tuna with coconut rice (I tried it, yum!), and free range chicken with mashed potatoes and haricot vert. I tried some of the potatoes, since chicken and I don't get along, and they were amazing. The presentation made even the chicken breast and potatoes look exotic. We perused dessert menus, and I couldn't commit to an entire dessert myself. My friend suggested we split the big dessert, which said it served two to four. I stated that it sounded way too big for even the three of us, but the other two ladies swayed me. When it arrived, it was bigger than even I expected. It was insane! It was tasty. A giant brownie sandwiched with thin slices of ice cream, topped with whipped cream and crushed oreos and one lovely cherry. It had a subtle hint of mint, and was delicious. However, I opted for a chocolate peanut butter martini, at the adorable server's recommendation. I wasn't disappointed, and peanut butter rum is apparently delicious.

If you are ever in Philly, I highly recommend Jones. Very elegant comfort food.

Posted by raven at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2009

so lame

So, I am working from the home office this week and next. The upside is that there are lots of fab things to see and do around here, and I am staying at a sweet hotel, in which I essentially have a furnished apartment. The downside is that I am working. My brain got so jam packed with information today, it is ceasing to function.

Hence not much in the way of blog witticisms.

However, tomorrow is a field trip, so I should feel much more lively and bloggy tomorrow!

Posted by raven at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2009

feeling like an old lady

So I was ready to tell you all about how the rest of the day...erm...night at WDW sucked less. However, I have spent the day traveling and working, and am already in my PJs at 8:30 EDT. Yikes. I did make it to the City of Brotherly Love safely, and after figuring out that my bag somehow was on a different carousel than the rest of my flights bags, and found my way to my coworkers and shuttle, and got a bit of work in, and am ready to crash.

The weather here is gorgeous, and I am hoping to have some down time to explore. We are not far from lots of exciting things to see and do, and since I don't have to worry about cleaning (the cleaning staff even does our dishes!) I think I should be able to get some workouts and 'splorin' in.

So, assuming I feel rested and rejuvenated tomorrow, I will finish of the story of how I survived Disney World, then it will be full speed onto new and exciting things! W00T!

Posted by raven at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2009

the big day

So, finally, here we are at the actual anniversary of my birth. Before we headed to WDW, I told G I wanted to get a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for my birthday. Something totally ridiculous, I thought it would be hilarious to do. He got an appointment for me on the morning of my birthday. We arrived at the boutique in Downtown Disney at 11. I gave them my name and received my invitation addressed to "Princess Amanda." This contained my makeover options. The "Fairytale Princess," involving a topknot and tiara, the "Disney Diva," involving extensions and rhinestone barrettes, or the "Pop Princess," involving rainbow extensions and sparkley clips. I already knew I wanted the Fairytale Princess option. I was walked over to and introduced to my fairy godmother-in-training. She seated me in a pink salon chair, and went over the options with me, and I told her my selection. She placed a cape over me and got to work. Another fairy godmother-in-training came over with a makeup pallet and had me select eye makeup, which she promptly got to work on. My godmother-in-training was very bubbly, and quickly pulled my mass of hair on top of my head, making sure it was okay for her to pull back my bangs. "My, you have very thick hair, Princess," she exclaimed as she bundled the hair into a ponytail. The other godmother brought over a selection of tiaras for me to choose from. It had it down to two choices, so I called G over to help me decide. I selected a tiara of white rhinestones. It was explained that when a princess got crowned, she got to make a wish. I closed my eyes and made a wish. The makeover continued, with more makeup, much hair combing and lots of hairspray. There was a plastic shield I held over my face to keep it from getting covered in hairspray. After getting a dollop of lip gloss and learning the "princess pop," I was sprinkled with a lot of glitter from a glitter fairy wand. The final touch was to have a princess sash placed on. I was asked to cross my legs like a princess and place my hands in my lap. I was then asked to close my eyes. I could hear the sash being prepared, then it was placed over my shoulders. Once again, I was asked to make a wish. My chair spun around while a fairy spell was said over me. When the chair stopped, I opened my eyes to see myself in the mirror. It was pretty hilarious. My hair was pulled so tight, I looked like I had a face lift! We went to the counter, where my princess bag was waiting for me. It contained all of my makeover goodies, including the makeup pallet and adhesive rhinestones. We killed some time at the Disney Store, while waiting for G's parents to pick us up. I was wearing a black strapless sundress that my sis had given me. I thought that once I put my sunglasses on, I looked a little like Holly Golightly. It was a little cooler than it had been, so despite the Breakfast at Tiffany's appeal to what I was wearing, I thought it would be even more fun to wear the Snow White dress my mother-in-law had brought with her. She had picked it up from a costume shop that was going out of business, and I had considered wearing it, as I didn't really have another hundred bucks to drop on a princess dress at the parks. With the heat, I'd pretty much ruled out getting to wear it. Since we'd need to go back to the resort anyway, it would be the perfect chance to change.

We met up with the 'rents, and headed back to the hotel. I changed, moving my sash and birthday button to the Snow White dress. I kept on my black sandals, and popped my sunglasses on top of my head. G's dad took a couple of snapshots, and G went downstairs to get a couple more of me looking out over the balcony. We then set off for Epcot. We figured that since we were going to be eating dinner there, we would hit the park while we were at it. Then, the plan was to go to Hollywood Studios for extra magic hours to hit the rides we couldn't get to at the race after party. We arrived at the park to a minimal line to go through security. We went to will call to get my park birthday gift, while the in-laws went to get a wheelchair for my mom-in-law. After hearing all my options, I opted for the $79 gift card. We headed into the park, hitting Future World first. We started with Spaceship Earth, then split up so we could check out Mission Space and Test Track and the 'rents could hit Soarin'. Unfortunately, there were no more fast passes for Test Track, and we weren't up for waiting for an hour. We went to Mission Space, which was fun as usual. Cast member after cast member wished me a "Happy Birthday, Princess!!" In one of the gift shops, a cast member fawned over my dress. It was a fun and silly day. We met back up with the 'rents, and headed over to the World Showcase. We saw a kiosk for the Kim Possible scavenger hunt. G had heard it was fun, so we got a ticket for it, and were told to go to Norway where we would get our device. We had a bit of time, so we perused a bit around the showcase. I popped into a gift shop, where I picked up a stuffed Stitch popping out of a happy birthday cupcake. I got a gift for a friend, and we kind of poked around checking out pins and such. A young teenage girl (probably 13) asked if she could take my picture. I obliged, and that sort of thing happens to me a lot, since I tend to dress, um, eccentricly. She then proceeded to take pictures of just about everything in the store. We checked out, and continued on to Norway. We found the Kim Possible kiosk where we were to pick up our hunt devices. It was decided that we would grab fast passes for the Maelstrom, so we could do the scavenger hunt then go on the ride. We were strolling over to the Maelstrom when I heard G call out to me. I turned to see him and his parents with a security guard. I skipped over, figuring it was another happy birthday wish. "That attire might be appropriate for the Magic Kingdom, but here we have our own show." I chuckled, thinking he had a weird sense of humor. He looked at my shopping bag and said gruffly, "You have something to change into?"
"No," I replied, confused. He told us to follow him. He walked us over near the restrooms, where he started talking in his radio. We couldn't hear what he was saying. We were standing in the sun, so G and I walked over to the shade. We figured the hubbub had something to do with my dress, but we weren't clear, and Jerry, the security guard, wasn't telling us. After nearly fifteen minutes without knowing what was going on, G's dad headed off to find a manager to help us. We waited some more, with no more info, so G's mom called information to get connected to guest services. We just had to stand there with the security guard as masses of people passed us in and out of the restroom. I felt like a criminal. Finally, the manager came over with G's dad. He took us back stage to talk. By this time I was livid. I am a pretty emotional person, unfortunately this often manifests itself in tears, which were flowing beyond my control at this point. It was explained that they have different policies for their adult guests than they do for children. "Sounds like discrimination to me, " I said sharply. He went on to say that they want to protect their characters, and it was just too easy for a kid to think that I was really Snow White. I found this pretty hard to believe. I mean, I have red hair (which was in a bun), was wearing all my birthday stuff, etc. I think that a kid would have to not know what Snow White looks like, at all, if they were to mistake me for her.

He continued that he would allow me to keep the dress on, since I wore it into the park and didn't have a change of clothes with me. Then, he wanted to know what he could do. We told him it was our last day at the parks, and we really didn't have a lot of time left, and a bunch of it had just been wasted. Finally it came to us riding the Test Track, since they didn't have fast passes. I wasn't to keen on this, but he insisted that he would get someone to drive over, take us there and get us right on, then drive us back. I agreed, just because I wanted things to be over. He implied that getting me on the Test Track would, "wash all the bad memories away." Hardly. We asked if they could do something for us on a return trip. He said he was hesitant to do so, since he felt that would, "bring all those memories back." Bullshit. He finally agreed to take our information so they could do something for us then. I asked him to have a chat with Jerry. I told him I was completely appalled at the way Jerry treated us. I told him what he said, and that he pulled us away without telling us why. He replied that I just said he told me why. I repeated what Jerry said again, and said that was not stating a policy, or explaining why he pulled us aside. It was being rude and sarcastic. I said that I never expected anyone who worked at Disney to act that way, and I would never want another guest treated that way, especially not on their birthday for crying out loud. He assured me he would have "more than a chat with Jerry."

Eventually, a cast member came over in an SUV to take us to Test Track. Curtis, the manager, kept asking if we were good. I just had to nod, as there wasn't really much, outside of me kicking Jerry in the junk and embarrassing him the way he had me. We went off to Test Track which, for the record, is really hard to enjoy when you are furious. Once we rode, we were taken back to the 'rents. By this point, we had to start heading to Chefs de France for our dinner reservation. I really just wanted to go home. People continued to wish me a happy birthday, but I didn't want any of the attention. I felt like there was an APB out on me by this point, and everyone knew I was a criminal. I didn't have much of an appetite, and the thought of sitting through dinner was unpleasant. I felt like I couldn't ruin anyone else's day, so we went. I got the appetizer and meal I'd planned on, but the joy of eating it was lost on me. Instead of the Kir I'd planned on drinking, I stuck with soda, of which I managed to drink one. I heard the staff singing to other guests at the restaurant and prayed that they would somehow skip me. This was not the case. For the first time in my life, I did not want anyone looking at me, I didn't want any attention, I just wanted to slide under the table. It really sucked.

I don't embarrass easily. I've done some stupid things, and gotten myself into awkward situations, all of which I could laugh off. This, however, I couldn't laugh off. I am still furious. So, I am researching, and compiling my letter of complaint. So far, the only things I have been able to find on rules for apparel at the parks have nothing about dressing too accurately as a character. The closest thing I found was that one dressed as a character could not accept money for photos and autographs, which I did not do. I really have no desire to go back to the parks for a very long time, and am disappointed that those are the memories I have of my birthday.

I bet that is not how one would expect me to get into trouble at Disney World.

Posted by raven at 01:33 AM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2009

more than i can chew

Today, I finally admitted that I often bite off more than I can chew. This week, as I was preparing to head out of town for work, and finish everything up, and get everyone nice and cozy to be without me, I so did that. Luckily, I have some great friends who helped me accomplish this. Almost.

So, now I am exhausted, and can't really type as much as I had hoped...so the story of how one can get kicked out of Walt Disney World (almost) will have to wait until tomorrow.

Sleep well.

Posted by raven at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2009

remember, remember

Man, I am sucking! I fell asleep again yesterday! I think I am finally winning against the dreaded cold, hopefully that means that I will have a little more vim and vigor!

So, onto the next installment of my birthday week! Saturday, the big race day, we spent at Magic Kingdom. We got a slightly earlier start than on Friday, but still not what most would consider early! At least we didn't have to run, but I did want to ensure all of our things were ready for the race. The less one has to worry about before a race, the better! It was even hotter, and I tried not to be nervous about the temps and the race and enjoy the park. Once again, we decided to grab food right away, this time going a little more casual with sandwiches. I had already told G he needed to stay hydrated throughout the day. I had to clarify that diet Coke did *not* count as hydrating! So, we all had water with our sandwiches, and G didn't even complain!

The 'rents stopped to chat with some cast members about pins, and we headed over to see about fast passes for Space Mountain. Unfortunately, the ride was walled off for renovations!! Bummer! So, instead we hit the rest of the spacey rides in the area. The people mover (which was really weird to ride through the Space Mountain part as if was totally black), the Carousel of Progress, and Stitch's Great Escape. We hit the Mad Tea Party next. It was a little annoying as right as we got to the front of the line, they "ran out of sugar for the tea." I found it slightly odd that they couldn't tell us anything other than that, but we waited patiently. Luckily the wait wasn't too long, so we rode and moved on. We wanted to ride Peter Pan's Flight, but the fast passes would have put us on the ride after the race start, and the line was over an hour. I have never been on it, as the line is always ridiculous. So, I have no idea what the draw is. If anyone knows what is so amazing about it, please tell me! I don't want to wait in line for hours if it's totally lame. Speaking of Peter Pan, I planned on picking up G a Peter Pan hat while we were at the MK. I'd seen them before, and we'd already seen Peter Pan costumes in many of the shops, so I thought it would be an easy feat. So, every time we passed a shop, I had to pop in and see. Anyhow, we looked at the time, and hedged our bets on what would get us the most enjoyment for our time. We checked the map to see where we could get fast passes, and talked about what rides we all wanted to hit, and what we wanted to do separately. So, we hit Hall of Presidents, since it was closed last time to add the new president (yeah!). I enjoyed the lobby displays of First Lady gowns immensely (as you would probably guess). G and I checked out Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Railroad. Based on the wait times and the fast pass return, we opted to fast pass BTR and come back to wait in line for Splash Mountain. We met up with the 'rents to ride the Haunted Mansion. I do enjoy this ride, however after riding the Nightmare Before Christmas version at Disneyland last year, I am a little spoiled. I still kinda want it to always be like that! We split up to finish off the day, and agreed we would see each other at the hotel before the race. So, G and I rode Big Thunder Mountain, which was just as fun as I remembered. We figured we didn't have enough time to wait for and ride Splash Mountain, as the line was longer by then. So we decided to pop in and out of a few more shops for a hat and make our way to the bus to the hotel. No dice on a hat anywhere, Not the end of the world, but again, they had lots of Peter Pan costumes....what were all the boys who purchased them supposed to do for hats???? Alas and alack, we got some water and headed for the hotel.

We were sitting on the bus for a few minutes, when we saw the 'rents boarding. We thought it was pretty amusing that after we parted ways and did our own things, we still wound up on the same shuttle home. We got back to the hotel and had some snackage, and I had a lie down to prep for the race. G woke me up, a tidge later than I had planned, as he forgot I wanted to shower. I new that I was gonna get gross and sweaty again, but I thought it would be nice to start clean. I put my hair up on top of my head and tried to get my bangs to sweep to one side a bit, though mostly unsuccessfully. I put on the Tink costume, pinning the tops of the wings to keep them more upright. Shoes went on with double ties in the laces so I wouldn't have to stop and retie them. G got all Peter Panned up, and prepped his fuel belt. We looked at the clock, a bit nervously, but fortunately it was fast, so we realized we were probably okay. We walked over to the shuttle stop, and saw several other runners, so we were sure we were fine. A few minutes later, we saw G's dad pull up in their car. He just wanted to make sure that we made it for the bus, and was ready to offer us a ride. We told him we were good, and would see them at the race! As we waited, I heard a little girl desperately trying to get her mom's attention, "Mom! It's Tinkerbell! MOM! It's Tinkerbell! MOM! It's TINKERBELL!" I thought it was pretty cute. She was positive I was really Tink. Not much later, the motor coach pulled in. We boarded with the other runners for the trip over to the starting line. We arrived at Hollywood Studios, and followed the volunteers with their air traffic style flashlights. it was a bit of a trek, but we found the waiting area. As it was a Hollywood themed mystery race, they had a red carpet for the runners to enter on. Up ahead of that were giant Hollywood Tower guest registers for everyone to sign. It would have been fun to sign, but they were already pretty full, not to mention crowded with runners trying to sign. We noticed lots of interesting costumes. First was a gent dressed as the Joker. He had on regular running clothes in purple and green, but with full on Joker make-up. I couldn't imagine running in that!! We saw some dressed as the Tower of Terror, along with a friend dressed as The Twilight Zone. There were a couple of ladies in Dunder Mifflin rabies 5K tees. Lots of various winged creatures. Some tiaras and crazy hats. Since the race was a mystery race, we saw the first light indicating a clue. We checked it out, and eliminated our first suspect. Some stretching, some water, and eventually we figured it was high time to get in our corral. We decided to get in between the up to 12:59 a mile and the 13:00-15:00 a mile. It was rather tricky getting to the corrals and in, as there were lots of spectators milling about. I thought this was weird as the half didn't allow spectators in the waiting area or the starting line. It certainly made things more annoying. On our way, we spotted the second clue, and eliminated another suspect. Then, we made our way to the correct corral and waited. A girl dressed as a bumblebee asked to have a photo with me, which I thought was sweet. Finally, there was a spray of fireworks from the starting line, and the 5K started. Within minutes, the elite racers were heading for the finish line! I don't know that I could ever get that fast, but it's fun to dream! Then, came our big moment! Another spray of fireworks, and we were off! as expected, it took a while to get spaced enough to do any running. I was peeved that despite the honor system of going to the correct pace, there were still an awful lot of walkers ahead of us that we had to try and get around. Gah! I tried not to be annoyed, but there were corrals for a reason. It was especially hard not to be annoyed when the route was pretty narrow for a while. It was really exciting to hit the first turn, which was a youey (or however you spell that slang word). G seemed to be having a rough start. He was hurting right away, which concerned me. We headed along the path, and I saw the pace carts heading along the path we had turned from. They made me think of death eaters, with their skull lights that flashed to look like they were eating. I told Geoff that whatever he did, never to let his pace hit 18:00 a mile. Just seeing the pick-up carts was troublesome, even though they were pretty far behind us. I saw port-o-johns on the right, and asked G if he wanted to stop. He stopped, went, stretched, and we tried to better synch up our Garmins. We went on with the run, G feeling much better. We took an extra walk break every few runs. We continued to see more clues. The first audio clue was pretty obvious, but wore out quickly. They had speakers for an awfully long stretch of race! It was fun to hit various terrain, sand, track, etc. The only annoyance for me was that there were a lot of people who didn't seem to follow run/walk etiquette and make sure to take their walk breaks such that they weren't in the way of those at a faster pace. Again, I tried not to be annoyed, but with a lot of the path being so narrow, it was really hard to get past people in the middle. We pressed on, and the clues were pretty interesting. One we totally missed was a clue, as the cheerleaders weren't holding up the letter signs that we later found out they were supposed to have...thus at the end, we were pretty confused! There was a rebus puzzle of sorts with a large sketch of a shell, another of a bee, and then two female horses (live ones, eating grass) to spell Shelby Mayer. There was an alphabet puzzle with the missing letter being the suspect to eliminate. In this case the ex. There was a guy in a big furry mascot style costume of a buck playing a green trumpet for Bucky Greenhorn. Dancers on stilts playing a fiddle for Freddy Fiddlesticks....so on and so forth. Pretty amusing. Lots of people along the way really seemed to enjoy the costume. The race started out warmer than I would have liked, but did cool down some along the way, thankfully. It got really exciting when we finally got into the park to run. I find it great fun to run in the parks, especially when the parks aren't really open! The highlight was running across the set for the stunt show, where they had a cameraman set up to capture us and we saw ourselves on the GIANT HD screen over the set. By this time we were in the homestretch. I told G he could do it! He wound up wanting a few extra walk breaks by that point which I was fine with. Coming through one of the last turns, we saw G's parents waiting for us. It's always great to have a cheering section!!! Expecially since we were so close! We made our way around to the Tower of Terror. When we saw the finish line, we grabbed hands and ran as fast as we could. It was so exciting to finish with G. We got our medals, what we were waiting for. We grabbed some Powerade and water, and got a photo of us with our medals, then were off to find the 'rents. We met up, and G hit the bathroom. Another annoying etiquette thing came into play, as G needed a stall, and had to wait forever to get one, as they were all being used as changing rooms. We felt like they could have either spent the hour in their running gear, or not use a stall. I mean, it's all adults, and I doubted anyone was getting naked. When you have thousands of people sharing restrooms, it's nice to be courteous to people who have business. (I am really trying not to be a complainer, but I get annoyed when people don't have courtesy for others.) When he finally made it back out, we headed to the sorcerer hat to meet up with some peeps from the Disney Spark Team. We didn't see anyone, so we enjoyed the music for a bit, then tried to see our prelim times. After fifteen minutes, we figured we must have missed the team, so we got some food to refuel. The party only went until two, which did not give the runners much time to enjoy the festivities. We finished up, and the 'rents decided to go back to the hotel. We couldn't leave from doing the Tower of Terror race without riding the Tower of Terror, so we went off to hit the ride, leaving my wings with G's folks. I got some more compliments on my costume which felt good. We enjoyed the ride as much as usual, considering it's my favorite Disney ride ever! By the time we got out of the ride, the party was over. So, we headed for the bus. It was definitely a full day, and I was looking forward to getting a nice shower in and some sleep. We got back to the resort and walked through to our building. G pointed out a wee armadillo. We crept over to it in time to see him sneak into the bushes. We could see the bushes moving as he ate some branches. We waited very quietly, and he came waddling out. He was cute in a weird way. I kind of wanted to touch him, but I had no idea if they were mean or not. So, I let him waddle back to the bushes. We made it back to our room showered and hit the hay after our adventuresome day, and to get some rest before we had to continue my birthday.

More tomorrow in which we find out how you can get thrown out of Disney World! Hint: It is not how you would think.

Posted by raven at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2009

Oops

Oy. So, I was all set to write my post yesterday when I crashed. Pretty literally. On the sofa. I awoke to the news, and thought, "That wasn't so bad. The news is on. A couple of hours worth of napping." Until I noticed G was home. The news was actually the early morning repeat of the news. Oops.

So, I was feeling a little badly about missing a post. Then, I realized that I totally miswrote in my previous post. NaBLOWriMo. Jeez. You'd think I'd never wrote a blog before!!!

I promise I will improve.

So, in that spirit, I am moving on to one of those posts I have put on the back burner for a week. the first post of the official 2009 birthday week recap!!!

A little background. When I was in the process of training for my half marathon earlier this year, we discovered that WDW had a Tower of Terror themed race that was run at night. We were a bit chagrined, as the 2008 race would have fallen on my 30th...erm...25th birthday. I decided I would run it this year! Then, my stupid back decided to act up and I had to halt training for a while. Boo. On to plan B. I would run it in 2010. It was gonna be awesome! Until I got the update e-mail from Disney racing. The 2009 Tower of Terror race was to be the final ToT race. I was so bummed out. I teared up from frustration. Thanks to not being able to train, I was going to miss out on that super cool Tower of Terror replica medal complete with moving elevator! G told me I could still do it. I could walk it if I had to. That was totally the opposite of what I wanted. I wanted to RUN the WHOLE thing. I wanted a PR. However, G talked some sense into me, and even promised to do it with me.

My new goal became to simply cross the finish line with my sweetie. The bonus was that I would get to spend my birthday in Disney World. So, we commenced training. I restarted the C25K and G started it for the first time. It was some bumpy training, and we were barely gonna finish the week before the race. The 13K race! Our final training run was to be the day we were flying down, and would be six miles.

Think we're all caught up.

I get home from work, do the math, and realize that we would be cutting it close at best to cram our run in and still make our flight. I told G that we would just plan on doing it at the resort at WDW. He set off to do some errands, and apparently my spidey senses were a-tingling. He called, remembering that he still needed to drop off his karaoke set for the guy who would be filling in for him. There certainly would have been no way for us to make that happen with a run!

With the time change, our ride picking us up, finding food, etc....we didn't get back to the hotel until after midnight. Having been up since 5:30, I was wiped. The run was postponed until the morning. Now, when we planned this trip, we were thinking of standard Florida weather for October. We were so wrong. The weather that Friday matched a previous record high. D'oh! Let's just say that wasn't so much a training run as a training walk. We tried to run as much as we could, but the 88 degree weather wasn't cooperative. We did hit our goal distance and decided we were as ready as we were gonna be for the race. After soaking our feet in the pool, we got ready and hit the parks. We decided to catch a bit of Animal Kingdom, riding Everest, and seeing whatever other sights we could. Upon arriving, it was decided food was in order. G pointed out that the Yak and Yeti seemed to have a menu containing food that I could eat. We found it and after perusing the menu, it was confirmed. We went inside, and the host seated us in a primo spot. The parade was starting, and we were right above it! I'm not huge on the Disney parades, mostly because I don't like the crowds, the screaming children...ugh. However, watching it from an air conditioned table whilst sipping a delicious cocktail gave it an all-new appeal! I decided to try a Yak Attack. I was concerned it would be too sweet, but upon its delivery, I figured its looks would at least make up for that. It was gorgeously swirled in red and orange, topped with a cherry. I took a sip, and discovered that not only did it look fabulous, it tasted fabulous as well. I looked over the Julie Taymor/Lion King inspired parade and grinned. We sampled wok fried green beans (thumbs up), and I chose tempura shrimp for my entree. So delish! I definitely give the Yak and Yeti a thumbs up!

Our bellies full, we went for a go at the Safari ride. Pretty low key. Of course, being Disney, every ride has a gimmick. In this case, it is a two week safari in which the riders must keep their eyes out for poachers. Our driver was mediocre in terms of tour guide talent, speaking a mile a minute, saying um, and so on. However, the animals were awesome! The elephants chose to stay in the distance, but just about everyone else was out and proud! I don't remember all the names of the animals, but some adorable little critters were close, the hippo was swimming about, and the wildebeests were strolling around. One came so close to the truck I could have touched him! He even had a bright pink flower casually tucked into his ear. We did come upon a recently abandoned poacher camp, but were relieved to find out that they had been caught. I generally like the silly things The Mouse does, but I thought that in this case, they could have just let the animals do their thing. At the end of the ride, we were collecting my MIL's wheelchair (she recently had surgery and the walking was a bit much), and there was a man and his young son also collecting a wheelchair. We noticed that, like me, the boy had a birthday button on. Wishing him a happy birthday turned into the dad insisting that we (the boy and I) could date. I laughed slightly uncomfortably. He said something about me probably being taken...I told him that it was too bad, I was married. Yet, he kept going. Gross. My MIL mentioned it was probably the guy's way of saying I was attractive. I still thought it was creepy.

We did a bit more walking about, and parted ways. The In-laws headed back to the hotel, and G and I went off to ride Everest. Still fun!! Then we had to head back so we could go pick up our race packets. The In-laws took us to the Wide World of Sports, where we grabbed our packets. I was expecting an expo, similar to what I experienced at the half, though perhaps smaller. Nope. It was pretty straightforward. Pick up the packets, pick up our shirts, get our party wristbands, done. There were a few souvenirs for sale, but no vendors or anything. I decided to get a long-sleeved race tee. On the front it has Goofy running in a Tower of Terror bellhop uniform with the ToT 13K & 5K titling. Down the sleeve it says, "The Final Race." G invested in a track jacket, with the same thing all on the back.

Armed with our purchases and packets, we met up with his parents, and headed over to the local supermarket to pick up some food to keep at the hotel. I opted to stay in the car while G and his 'rents went inside. I looked at my packet in more detail, and noticed an envelope inside with my name on it. I wondered what it was, after all, G hadn't mentioned seeing it in his packet. I opened the envelope to find a birthday card from the Disney Endurance Team. Hand-signed, none-the-less! I thought that was pretty thoughtful that out of the thousands of race packets they had to assemble that they noticed the race was the day before my birthday and put a card inside. It really made my day!

So far, the birthday week was off to a good start.

Would we finish the race? Would the temps begin to climb? Was terror waiting just around the bend???

Stay tuned for further installments of the birthday week recap!!

Posted by raven at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2009

NaNoWriMo, NaNoBloMo

So, I am officially signed up for NaNoWriMo. I've had an idea for a Novel floating around in my head for some time, and what better time than now to write it??? So, today I begin the odyssey of writing a novel, and hoping it doesn't completely suck.

Besides that, I have realized that my poor little blog has been neglected for a while now. So, I am resurrecting the NaNoBloMo I did a few years ago, and blogging at least once a day for the month! Some of it will be overdue posts about things I've done and forgotten to blog about, some will be musings on my work-related travel, some will be about running (I'm training for a marathon, kids!), and some will be about fashion, as I have also named the next three months wardrobe remix mania! As I will be traveling for work and I don't have to wear a uniform for the bulk of the next three months, I figured I should pay a little more attention to my clothes and photographing them and participating in the WR pool on Flickr. Holy buckets, that's a lot, isn't it!

So, I may or may not post again today, but I will surely post tomorrow....see you then!!!!

Posted by raven at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)