Views from the Beach

I realized that I never reported back on my time at the beach a couple of weeks ago.  And based on recent events, I think we could all use a little light fun beach time, yes?  Ok then . . .

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This was what I was viewing as I began my drive to the beach to join my family, already in progress since that morning.  Don’t worry, I didn’t eat all of this stuff.  Just the Ruffles and about 2/3 of the M&Ms. 

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This was my view the next morning when my lovely husband, knowing how desperately I needed some relaxation time, told me to sleep in and then take a bath, while he took the kids to the pool.  And, if after that, you still have any doubt as to his wonderfulness, I present Exhibit B:  he went to the lobby of the hotel and bought me TWO large lattes (and a cupcake).  Per him, “I just didn’t think one would be enough!”  God love that man.

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This was the view from our hotel room balcony.  Note the fun kid’s pool and also the adult pool, with a swim up bar.  Yeah, now this was a vacation.

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Unfortunately, we only stayed at that lovely hotel for two days, and then we had to move all of our stuff about 100 streets up the highway to the condo we were renting for the week.  It was very hot that day.  And my A/C was broken.  I drove up and down that very long street and packed and unpacked my car about 6 times that day.  Not very relaxing or fun.  Where is my bathtub again?  Oh, that’s right . . . back at the hotel.  Bummer.

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As per the norm with us, the condo we rented had some interesting accoutrements.  There were two walls full of paintings going up to the top level, and a painting on almost every other wall of the house as well.  I found it interesting that the artist was able to capture exactly how I would look on the beach in a bikini without ever having seen me.  Now that’s talent!

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This was some sort of crazy, flying, magic mirror holding, green mermaid thing.  I see Nemo, I see Dory, I see Ariel . . .

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This was my actual view of the beach.  Not bad.  Ignore the bright white knees.  They got a touch less flourescent while I was there.

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Apparently, there was some sort of theme on the beach this year of which I was previously unaware . . . matching swimsuits!

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FIREWORKS!!  Because . . . yeah, do you really ever need a reason for fireworks?  Exactly.

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On the boardwalk, I found this little ditty.  Yeah, as if I’m not going to have to try the fried cheesecake!  I mean, have you met me?

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Apparently, this is what happens when you put hot gooey liquid batter inside a fried dough shell and then try to take a bite.  Cheesecake explosion!!  It was a delicious explosion, at least.

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Much better than the original meaning, for sure.  Gotta love a place that has a tip jar with a sense of humor.

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This was the start of our annual family shenanigans night out as we were approaching the bar.  There weren’t really all that many shenanigans this year to be honest, but as we were headed towards the bar, we did pass this sign, and thus late night shenanigans were planned . . .

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That’s right . . . we were gonna steal the “west.”  Last year ended with a letter theft on a neighboring sign that transformed it from “We make custom shirts” to “We make custom shit.”  Good times.  So, we would be altering yet another sign after achieving maximum drunkenness.  Or at least, that was the plan.  This was before everyone got tired of hanging out at the bar and paying ridiculous sums for alcohol, and instead decided to go back to our condo, grab some booze, and sit out on the beach under the full moon, and drink the rest of the night away.  It was a lovely plan.  And a lovely evening to be sitting on the beach with a cocktail in hand.  Only problem with that plan, in regards to the sign . . . there are way too many people milling about at midnight to vandalize a sign.  Oh well.  We’ll just have to envision the beauty this would have been.

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The entire time I was at the bar, I had the strange feeling that I was being watched.  Spooky . . . . .

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Mmmm, beer.  The hubs and I went out for dinner one night at this place called The Taphouse.  As you might imagine, it had a bajillionty beers on tap.  While we were waiting for our table to be ready, we sat at the bar and ordered a sampling of those beers.  These were mine, and they were delicious.  Oh, and if you think I’m kidding about the bajillionty? 

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Yeah, seriously.  So much goodness. 

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Remember how I said the hubs was wonderful?  Well, it’s not every man who will give you a plastic faux-jewel encrusted mustache shaped mood ring, now is it?  Almost as romantic as the day he proposed. 

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Just because it’s my kids, and they are adorable, and I love this picture of them waiting to get their ride wrist bands.  Don’t mind me.  Let’s just move along . . .

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How about a picture of my niece trying to drown her brother in the pool?  Much more exciting, right?  Ok, you’re welcome.

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BOOBS!!  You know, because when I think family friendly train ride around the amusement park, I think girl pirates with huge overflowing knockers and a half-clothed, panty showing, pirate girl tied up on the ground behind her.  Fun!

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Well, just to give equal time, I figured it would only be fair to show a penis on display as well.  So, here you go . . . look closely (I mean, if you’re into that kind of thing).  Are you wondering why I have a picture of a lifeguard’s shlong?  Well, it was a very rough day on the ocean, causing this lifeguard to be seen numerous times running up and down the beach to help people out in the water.  Finally, he figured it was time to address it, so he called everyone on the beach over to his chair, and he told us all about what to do if we got caught in a riptide.  At least, I think that’s what he was saying.  I was a wee bit distracted by his little friend poking his head out at me and waving hello.  So, while I may not know what to do if a riptide gets me, the one thing I do know is that this man has been circumcised.  Mazel Tov!

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Sadly, after many days of fun and festivities, we finally had to leave the beach (and the boobs and penises) behind.  This was our view as we headed out into the sunset.  Bye beach!  I miss you already.  Sniff.

The Journey to Gilda

Fireworks over Rome

Fireworks over Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome by Jacob Philipp Hackert

“Dove e Gilda?”

We must have said it a hundred times.  The four of us, unlikely companions and fast friends, asking locals this question in our attempts to ascertain the location of a certain club.  Walking the streets of Rome after midnight in the very first hours of that new year, searching for our very own Gadot.

I’m not sure if anyone remembers how we gained the information that Gilda was the place to be that night, the four of us young and daring in a foreign land, looking for adventure and revelry.  But, despite the haziness as to the origin of the information, we were on a quest, and would not be denied the promise of dancing, drinks and debauchery.

It began after a delicious and lengthy dinner at a restaurant tucked beneath the Spanish Steps, shared with our newfound friends from Texas that we happened to meet on the bus from the hotel, two young and carefree couples venturing out into the great vast city of Rome.

The New Year arrived at the stroke of midnight, as it is known to do, and we rejoiced with champagne and fireworks above that immense square, surrounded by what seemed like every single Italian citizen.  Once the celebrated moment had passed, the crowds dispersed, allowing us the chance to wander the city streets, beginning our quest for Gilda.

“Dove e Gilda?” we began to ask as we wandered aimlessly.  We were met with uncomprehending looks, some shrugs, and some attempts to direct us towards our destination.  With each attempt at helpfulness, a different direction would be suggested.  And so, we walked.  And walked.  And walked.

We walked past the Trevi fountain, stopping for just a moment to gaze upon the wonder of those huge statues, the flowing water misting the air around us.  But we did not linger, for we were on a quest.

We walked past the Pantheon, almost not even realizing what the spherical domed building was, until it was pointed out to us by someone.  We dared not go inside to look up at the sky through the round hole in the ceiling, though.  There was no time for star-gazing when our eyes had to focus on earthly goals.

The Roman Forum almost went unnoticed as well, as the collapsing pillars and ruins of that open space were almost too difficult to see in the dark.  But there was no time to stop and view them, anyway.  We were determined to search onward.

The more we walked, the more determined we became to eventually reach our destination.  Spending hours walking the streets of Rome, only to make the occasional stop in a local bar, for shots of Grappa to refuel ourselves for the journey.  Craving the feeling of accomplishment and joy that the eventual discovery of our objective would bring.  Much like Columbus discovered our very own country . . . already occupied, but still claimed as his very own.  Such would we return the favor in his home country, staking our flag in Gilda, feeling as if we owned this sainted land after our efforts to suss it out from its secreted location.

But it was never to be.  The closest we came to Gilda was the question that repeatedly traipsed across our lips during our search.  “Dove e Gilda?”  We will never know.  We spent our night searching and not finding, yet we found ourselves experiencing the city and that New Years Day in a way we never would have expected.  And never will forget.



This is my first foray into the Yeah Write challenge universe.  Click on that badge above to read some amazing stories! 

Somehow, despite the multiple brilliant posts submitted to this week’s Yeah Write challenge, this little ole post right here . . . won.  Woohoo!!  I never would have expected it, but I am so pleased. 





Conversations with My FIVE Year Old

Well, today is 4’s birthday.  Making him 4 no longer, but a big, huge 5!  Are you getting that?  My youngest child, my baby, is now a 5-year-old and will soon be in kindergarten!!  Damn.  Way to make your mom feel old, kid!

Anyway, because today is 5’s special day, I decided to dedicate an entire “Convos with” post to him.  And since it’s been many months since I’ve posted one of these, I have plenty of material just from him, trust me!



5:  You know what’s inside pyramids?
Me:  No, what?
5:  Mummies.
Me:  Oh yeah?
5:  Yeah, you know how mummies hide inside pyramids, and then when people walk by, they jump out and scare them?
Me:   Um, sure.  Why not?
(Annnnddddd, cancelling my trip to Egypt, now).


5:  I wish my name was Fisafer.
Me:  Christopher?
5:  No, FIS-a-FER.
Me:  Why?
5:  Because I like that MUCH better than my name now!
(Everyone’s a critic).


Me:  When you finish dinner, we will watch the Disney World video.
5:  I bet Mickey Mouse will be on the video!
Me:  Yeah, I’m pretty sure you WILL see Mickey on the Disney video.
5:  That’s because Mickey is the BOSS of Disney World!!


5:  Do we get presents on Green Patrick’s Day?


Me:  You had a cookie?  But you don’t LIKE cookies!! (Said dripping with sarcasm).
5:  YES I DO!!
Me:  No WAY!  Since when?
5:  Well, I like candy!  Even though it sometimes feels all gloppy in my throat, I still like it.


Hubs:  What’s the difference between a chicken finger and a chicken nugget?
5:  The name. 
(Literal answer for the win!)


Hubs:  How was your day?
Me:  It was ok.
5:  Was it a longer day?
Me:  Longer than what?
5:  Longer than expected.
Me:  No, it was about as long as it normally is.
5:  Was it a lover day?
Me:  What’s a “lover” day?
5:  You know, did you love it more than you expected?
Me:  Um, no.  Definitely not.


Hubs:  You know not to drink the pool water, right?
5:  Yes.
Hubs:  And why is that?
5:  So I don’t swallow any criminals.
(And yes, we were apparently vacationing at Rikers Island.  Chemicals is the word he was going for, by the way).

The Magical Mickey Mug

Hey guys . . . anyone sick of hearing me talk about Disney?  Because since I’ve returned from my trip, I’ve talked about Disney here.  And then I also talked about it here.  And then, I even talked about it some more here.  Disneydisneydisneydisneydisneydisneydisneydisneydisneydisneydisney!!!

Well, if you are indeed completely and utterly over all discussion of that redundant D word, you may want to skip this post.  However, if you just stopped reading after that last paragraph, then you failed to realize that this isn’t any old post about ((whisper~disney~whisper)).  Oh no, this is a post-Disney supermegaspectaculargasmic . . .


That’s right.  While I was away with my family for a fun-filled, yet exhausting trip to the big D (and I don’t mean Dallas), I was thinking about all of you, my dear readers, sitting at work or at home, not getting to walk miles and miles and miles around 4 different parks.  And while I was scoping out which goodies to buy for myself and my friends, I also made sure to find something that I could give to one lucky reader.  And I did.  I found it.  I think it is super rad, and seriously almost kept it for myself.  But, as you know, I’m a giver.  So, I would never do such a thing!  That would just be wrong. 

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How freaking rad is that?  It looks like 2 mugs stacked together, but in reality, it’s just ONE!  Magic.  BAM.  Only the best for you, dear readers.  Only the best.

Ok, task time . . . this is where I tell you what small animals you must sacrifice special something you need to do in order to qualify to win this gen-U-wine Disney Perks Parks souvenir.

So, they say that Disney World is The Happiest Place on Earth.  Based on my experience there, I would say this is a highly idealized statement.  True, there is fun to be had at the numerous parks sprinkled about Orlando, but mostly it is exhausting and frustrating, if I’m going to be honest.  And not just for the parents.  The kids get worn out as well.  Every single one of us took naps each afternoon during the week we were in Disney.  It was necessary so that we didn’t end up murdering each other.  So, while I would say that the week we spent in Disney was enjoyable, if I were to be asked if it is the Happiest Place on Earth, I would have to say, at least for me personally, that it is not.

What is then, you might ask?  Well, for me, the happiest place on earth is my bathtub, filled with hot bubbly water, with me in it, relaxing with a good book and a glass of wine.  No hubs, no kids, no obligations or responsibilities.  Just soaking and relaxing, letting myself drift away into whatever fantasy world I am reading about.  For me?  That’s heaven.

So, in order to be entered into the giveaway drawing, I want you to tell me what your happiest place is.  Is it an amusement park?  A secluded island somewhere?  Your couch at home surrounded by your family?  It can be anywhere that you feel happiest.  Tell me all about it in the comments, and you will be entered to win that awesome mug up there.  I will have one of my kids pick a name at random.  And if you win, you can fill it with whatever beverage makes you happiest. 

Good luck to all.

The Quest for Mickey

On my recent family trip to Disney World, which I talked about here and here, there were many parks visited and many characters met and photographed.  Strangely, though, it seemed that one was more elusive than I would have thought.  A certain mouse, who some might call “the boss of Disney.”  (Some = my 4 year old son).

As we journeyed through park after park, visiting shows and rides and character events . . . somehow, we did not get to see Mickey!  Mickey, where are you?  It seemed as if a sighting of that famous rodent was as rare as seeing a well-mannered, sober and punctual Lindsay Lohan. 

Even though we couldn’t seem to get face to face with Mickey the Mouse, his presence was felt and sensed everywhere we went.  It was almost like he was mocking us.


Starting with the tickets to the parks.  There’s his smiling face right there.  Taunting us with the assumed promise of his eventual presence at the parks.  Drawing us in like a siren song, only to crush our hopes and dreams on the rocks of Epcot.


And then . . . Mickey-shaped pancakes!!  Ah, surely we will see him today, after such an auspicious start to the morning.


Topiary Mickey?  Nope, just not the same as the real thing.  But pretty, nonetheless.


Hmm, now I feel as if you are just teasing us, Hollywood Studios.  Just the outline?  Those ears kept popping up all over the place.  It’s like they were following us . . . teasing, mocking, calling us names.  For shame, Mickey ears.  For shame.


We finally thought we found him, but alas, it was only a tiny puppet sized Mickey.  Only even half of him.  Disappointing.


All of this incessant and fruitless searching, made me very thirsty.  Very thirsty.  So, I decided that I would take a break for a couple tropical drinks from the poolside bar.  Mmmmm.  Wait, who were we searching for again?


Back to the search . . . I knew I was getting closer when I found Mickey’s balls.


There he is!  There’s Mickey!  But . . . he’s so far away.  How on earth will I ever get to hug him and squeeze him when he’s up so high on a moving float that is travelling right on by me?  Oh Mickey.  We were so close!


Obviously, I needed another drink to soothe my poor battered searching soul.  This was one I had my eye on all week, so I figured what better time to have a relaxing brew.  Even if it was non-alcoholic. 


Wait, what’s this now?  Backstage magic with Mickey Mouse?  MEET the master magician?  Oh boy, I think I might have actually found him.  He’s been hiding in this secret room the whole time!!  I will finally get to meet the big cheese himself.  Mickey Freakin’ Mouse!


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It was everything I imagined it would be and more.  As you can tell from the above picture, I couldn’t stop smiling or hugging Mickey when I met him.  I felt like I was in the presence of greatness.  He was just a super nice and sweet little mouse, and I was so happy that I was finally able to track him down.  Even if it did almost take the entire week to suss him out of his little hidey hole.  Oh Mickey.  You’re so fine.  You’re so fine, you blow my mind.  Hey, Mickey.

The Disney Diaries: The ReDisneying

Continuing on from the first post about my exciting trip to Disney . . .

We continue our journey to the next park we visited . . . Hollywood Studios.

Wait.  I can hear what you’re thinking right now . . . “but Misty, didn’t you already do Hollywood Studios?”  (And if you aren’t asking that, you apparently didn’t read the first installment, or just weren’t paying close enough attention.  Hey!  You.  Yes, YOU.  The one over there just scrolling through to look at the pretty pictures . . . pay attention!!).

Ahem, where was I?  Oh, yes . . . the revisit to Hollywood.  The first time we visited was the first night we arrived, and we were only there for dinner and a show.  We didn’t get to actually DO anything, so we planned a whole day there later in the week.  We clear now?  Same page?  Ok, good . . . let’s move along.

This was one of my favorite parks, as it had lots of shows and activities and characters and events.  Not a ton of rides, but the one we did go on was a very popular and fun ride, and we only waited about 5 minutes for it.  Score!  We also went to a live action stunt show with car chases and motorcycles and guys catching on fire.  Pretty cool, especially with my crew of boys.  And speaking of my boys, they got to be Jedi knights in training and fight Darth Vader!  Well, one of them actually got to fight him.  My youngest was all for it until Darth appeared on the scene all big and bad, and that’s when he got scared and opted out of that activity.  There may have been some tears.  But he was proud of his brother and still got a little scroll thing for participating in the training, so it was all good.


But then again, he did have a brush with fame in that he got to shake hands with a real life celebrity during the Pixar parade!


The one thing we didn’t do at Hollywood was go on the one and only ride that I had specifically said that I wanted to go on.  The Aerosmith Rock & Rollercoaster.  This thing looked hella cool, and I am a fan of rollercoasters.  And although we were there for the kids, I figured mom should get one.  Just one.  But alas, it was not to be.  It was a very popular ride with huge wait times, and there was just never a good time for me to run off by myself and wait in line for 2 hours just for one ride.  So, maybe next time.


This was just the entrance to the courtyard IN FRONT of the ride. How cool is that?

That same evening we visited Downtown Disney.  This is basically an open air mall type place with lots of themed restaurants and Disney type stores, including the largest Disney Store ever.  Seriously, it was so big it was actually kind of overwhelming.  Like a funhouse of huge rooms filled with more Disney crap than you can imagine.  Somehow, I only bought 2 things.  Not sure how that happened.  Maybe because of the overwhelmedness of it all.  I kind of just wanted to escape.  Too much stuff.  Too many people.  Just too much.

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Our goal in going to Downtown Disney, was to go to this fun restaurant someone had recommended to us as something the kids would like, called the T-Rex Cafe.  Sort of like a Rainforest Cafe, but with dinosaurs.  So, the hubs dropped me off and went to park, so I could run through the pouring rain to put our names in.  But when I got up to the restaurant, I discovered it was a two and a half hour wait.  Um, no thank you.  Luckily, there was no shortage of restaurants around us, including a Rainforest Cafe.  So, I checked at the next closest restaurant, which was this huge riverboat replica on a lake, and the wait there was 2 hours.  Getting better, but still too long.  So, I went to the restaurant beside that one:


Now, if you have been reading this blog for a while, you might be familiar with both my love for Italian food, and my complete and utter disdain and hatred of all things mushroom.  And as you may know, Portobello is a type of mushroom.  So yeah, it took everything I had for my soaked to the bone and dripping self to walk inside this joint to ask how long the wait was.  But here, it was only an hour and a half, which was the best yet!  Fearing it wasn’t going to get much better, I gave our name, told the hubs where to meet me, and decided I would try one more . . . the Rainforest Cafe.  Which was all the way at the end of this huge area.  But, I figured it wasn’t like we didn’t have time.  So I trekked down there and asked them how long the wait was.  And that is where they had the audacity to tell me . . . three hours and twenty-five minutes.  Are you kidding me?   That girl is lucky I didn’t punch her in the face when she told me that.  There is no food in the world that is worth waiting that long to eat.  Especially when it is a kid themed restaurant and that would have us eating at 11:00 at night.  The fuck?

Anyway, while we were waiting for Portobello’s to vibrate me (What? They gave me a buzzer.  Sicko!), we visited some of the massive stores that were nearby.  I already mentioned the ginormous Disney Store, but there was also this super cool Lego Store there as well.  And they had all these amazing Lego sculptures (not sure what you would call them, so I’m going with that), in and around the store:

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Pretty cool, right?  How much time did those take, do you think?  Oh, and while we were walking around, I got buzzed by the restaurant . . . only a half hour after I gave them our name!  How awesome is that?  Oh, and in case you are wondering . . . my meal was delicious (spaghetti and meatballs) and free of all fungi.


Moving on to the main show . . . the Magic Kingdom.  I will admit that we actually went to this park three times.  The first day we were a little too touristy, what with all the picture taking at the entrance, then down main street, then in front of the castle, etc.  By the time we finished with all of that crap, the park was filling up and the ride lines were getting super long.  So, because we a) hadn’t hurried to get on the most popular rides first thing and b) didn’t have a plan, and figured we’d just wing it . . . we went on about 3 rides before it was time to go.  Yep, you heard me.  So, although we had planned to go twice, once in the beginning of the week and again on the last day, we had to rearrange the schedule and throw one more visit in there.  The next day, we had smartened up.  Enough of this laid back crap.  That was not gonna work at this joint.  So the night before, I spread out the Disney map, my list of activities and itinerary, and I made a plan.  And you know what happened the next day?  We got on a fuckton of rides, and the kids were happy, satiated and exhausted by mid-afternoon when it was time to go back to the hotel and take naps.  That’s how you do Disney, hubs! my friends.

Here is a picture of a pidgeon on Walt Disney's head.  Because . . . why not.

Here is a random picture of a pigeon on Walt Disney’s head. Because . . . why not.

The last day we were in Disney was to be our third and final trip to the Magic Kingdom.  The day started off with a torrential downpour.  But we were determined to go anyway, so I opted to buy an overpriced umbrella in the hotel gift shop before we caught the bus to the park.  I had ponchos in my bag, but figured an umbrella would be needed as well based on the massive amount of rain coming down.  It was one of the only things I forgot to pack, and I paid $14.00 for that neglectful thought.  When we arrived at the park, after a half hour bus ride, then a 10 minute monorail trip, it was still overcast and dreary, but the rain had abated almost completely.  Of course, I attribute this to the fact that I bought an overpriced umbrella first thing in the morning from the hotel.  If I had neglected that one detail, I’m sure it would have poured all day.  You’re welcome, everyone at Disney World!!

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Because of the rain, the crowds were definitely thinner that day.  Once we ventured a bit further into the park, it was eery how empty the place was, when the previous days it had been wall to wall people.


But don’t worry . . . once the weather improved, so did the crowds.  It was once again packed full of vacationing families by late morning, and we had finally had enough Disney by around noon.  So, we bid a fond farewell to the mousehouse, and headed on back to our lovely hotel (The Hilton – Bonnet Creek, for those of you who inquired on the previous post), so we could nap, take one last dip in the amazing pool (hubs & kids), and start packing up all of our crap (me).

However, we still had one more evening at Disney, so we decided we would have a nice dinner in the hotel at a place we had been eyeing all week.  A sushi bar!!  The hubs and I are big fans of sushi, and we were getting tired of the same old boring fare.  We figured we would find something for the kids there, and that we would finally get some sushi.  Luckily, they had a kids’ menu, so the kids happily ate chicken fingers and fries.  What was super fun, was that they also actually experimented with chopsticks and with sushi, and by the end of the night, my youngest was using chop sticks on a shrimp tempora roll all by himself!!  He is a natural.  My oldest had a bit more trouble getting it, and he also was not a huge fan of the sushi he tried, but at least he was game.  That’s really all I can ask.

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After dinner, we went to this little coffee shop next to the sushi restaurant for dessert.  They had various delicious ice creams to choose from (which I may or may not have tried about 4 of before deciding, and the girl working there may or may not have given me a bunch of snarky shit about it . . . loved her!), and we all got a scoop.  It was exceptionally good, but what I loved the most about it was the sign in the shop about the ice cream.  I like my scrumptious fatty foods to be completely and totally unapologetic, thank you:


But not just dinner and dessert . . . but a show!  We discovered on our last night that there was a convention in the hotel, and that there was a dance competition right there at the hotel.  So as we were walking around, we got to see all of these couples out in the hallways, practicing for the big event.  It was like being backstage at Dancing with the Stars, although with less, you know . . . stars.  Or maybe about the same, really.

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So, that wraps up my fun-filled tale of Disney.  Pretty short and simple, yes?  Yeah, sorry about that.  I tried to keep the first one manageable, but this one got away from me.  I just kept adding more things and realizing there was something else I needed to add, until you got . . . well, this behemoth.  Oops.

I’ll keep it short and sweet tomorrow (I’m going to reveal the winner of the old farts book), and then have another giveaway for next week of something Disneyish, so please don’t leave me yet!  I can buy your love with gifts.

The Disney Diaries

My family just returned from a week long vacation.   It was a whirlwind week full of fun and festivities at The Happiest Place on Earth.  No, we didn’t go to Target.  Nope, not to the liquor store, either.  Even though those are my happiest places.  We took a trip to the magical land of Disney World.

Our journey began at the ungodly hour of four a.m., where your intrepid heroine (that’s me), dragged her tired ass out of bed and into the shower, so as to leave her home surrounded by pitch black, in order to catch this plane:


Yes, that’s right, boys and girls . . . I had to entrust the safety of myself and my family to a plane which was coated in rival football team colors and emblem!  Seriously, we almost didn’t get on.  But, it was only a hop up to Philly on this abomination, so we reluctantly boarded this thing as dawn broke over the horizon.


As we were awaiting take-off, I happened to notice a very strange thing on the plane.  It seems that the gentleman seated directly in front of me was prepared for both cold and warm weather.  He had his sandals on . . . with socks.  But the truly noteworthy thing was . . . they were the same sandals that I own and expected to wear throughout our trip.  Only thing is, I would not be wearing socks with mine.


Upon arriving at our hotel, we inspected our rooms and looked outside to see a lovely view of some of the Disney parks, and also the hotel’s massive pool.  Complete with mile long lazy river.  The kids were stoked!!


But, there was no time for swimming at that point.  We had reservations for dinner and a show at Hollywood Studios.  So . . .  we were off!!


The dinner was a mediocre but wildly overcharged buffet, but the show was fantastic.  Actually, it was Fantasmic!


The next day we travelled over to Animal Kingdom and went on a real life animal safari, sans the actual Africa.  We took a vehicle through a huge animal preserve and saw all sorts of African animals just going about their little animal businesses.

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After the safari, we happened upon a live action Finding Nemo show, where the fish were these sort of big puppets being controlled by actors/singers on the stage.  It was actually pretty cool.  Or as one character would say . . . righteous, RIGHTEOUS!!

It was all perfectly cool, until the ginormous dancing penis came out . . . then it just got a little weird.


Later in the afternoon, we went to a “character lunch,” which is lunch at a restaurant where a bunch of characters walk around and meet everyone as they eat.  I know it is a complicated concept.  Try to follow along.  On the way out of the restaurant, there was some sort of street performance going on, and we hung out for a few minutes to listen and watch.  But then, the lead singer seemed to start leading everyone in some sort of mousekercize, so at that point, I was out.


After a long and tiring day of trekking across the African plains park, we decided to spend a little time at the pool.  So, we relaxed and watched a pool-side movie under the stars.  Not a bad way to end the day.


The following day found us at Epcot.  Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot to do at Epcot for kids, unless you want to wait 2+ hours for the most popular ride there, which we did not, thank you very much.  But we did go on a Finding Nemo ride, and afterwards, we visited something called Turtle Talk with Crush, where the turtle dude from the movie appeared on a screen and gave info to all the assembled kiddies on the floor in front of him, and even took some questions.  My 2 kids were in the very front.  And if you can believe it, Crush picked on 7 as his first victim subject to interrogate question. 


That’s my boy in the hat with the microphone in his face.

Which was all well and good with the “what’s your name?” and “where are you from?” questions.  It’s when he got to the “who are you here with?” and “parents, raise your hands . . . let’s talk to them” part where it got interesting.  And by interesting, I mean getting a microphone shoved into my face and having to answer questions from an animated turtle on a big screen.  Yeah, so there was that.  I guess that makes me a star?  Autograph lines start to the left . . .

After our brush with fame, we walked around the big lake at Epcot and visited a few of the “countries” there.  We even stayed to see the fireworks show, which was nice.  If you like fireworks, that is.  My feelings towards them can pretty much be summed up with a resounding, “meh.” 


The next day, we awoke to find a pretty cool site outside our hotel window:


Hot Air Balloons flying high over Disney.  You can also see some of the main Hollywood Studios buildings there as well (the Tower of Terror to your right, the big magic Mickey hat in the middle, etc.).  It was a pretty magical way to start the day.

And then we were ready to finally head over to the Magic Kingdom . . . the mecca of all things Disney.


And since I’ve probably lost most of my audience at this point, this having become a forced family vacation slide show of sorts, I will release all of you from further vacation stories . . . for now.

To be continued . . . . . . . .

Haaaaaaaave ya met VAL?

My friend Val, who blogs over here at Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi, is completely and totally rad.  She also lives in New Jersey, which is where I found myself a few weeks ago for a birthday trip fiesta.  We had planned on meeting at my hotel, since I was gonna be in her neck of the woods and we had been trying to get our awesome selves into the same place at the same time for months.  At first, she was planning a President’s Day weekend down to the B-more area, but alas, that fell through.  But then, when I realized I was gonna be in Joy-zee at the end of February, I asked if she wanted to try to meet there, and a plan was born.

On the drive up to Atlantic City, I texted her to confirm that we were still on.*  What follows is the epic conversation that ensued as I was on my journey to her home state:

VAL:  Can’t wait!!!  I hope you have a glorious bday weekend!!
ME:  Yay!!  I am so fucking excited for this weekend.  I’m gonna sleep SO HARD.  That’s right, I party like a rock star.
VAL:  I was literally just fantasizing about Sleep.  Sleep is the sexiest thing.  Perhaps ever.
ME:  I want to have Sleep’s babies.
VAL:  I love when I wake up with Sleep in the corner of my eyes.  Cuz I know it was a good night.  😉
ME:  I’m just glad Sleep is man enough for us to share without any jealousy.
VAL:  Yeah.  But . . . now that I think about it . . . Sleep is kind of a whore.
ME:  Total whore.  He really gets around.  And sometimes, when I’m craving him in my bed, he is nowhere to be found.  Probably shacked up with the neighbor.  Bitch.
VAL:  Right?!?  Here I am . . . all ready, willing and able . . .  and he’s off with my dog.
ME:  And then sometimes, sometimes he shows up wanting to hang when I just can’t do it.  Like at work.  INAPPROPRIATE Sleep!!
VAL:  That happened to me today!!  I’m no booty call, Sleep!  I’m a LADY!!!
ME:  Or like when I’m in the car.  I ain’t no car ho!  At least . . . not anymore . . .
VAL:  Exactly!  I’m done with conceiving kids in cars . . .  I’m not in my 20’s anymore.
ME:  Right?  I need a warm bed or hell even a couch, before I feel comfortable being with him.  I’m old.  Not like the college days where I would experiment and do him in the basement of the frat house!
VAL:  Sleep just thinks we will never age.  Well, I did age, Sleep!!  And now my neck gets a kink in it and I can’t turn my head to the right for days!!  So, be respectful and give me a fluffy pillow!!
ME:  I know.  I’m too damn old to do it on the floor anymore!
VAL:  I could totally pull a hammy!!  Gotta stretch it out first!
ME:  None of that legs above my head shit, either.  Damn.
VAL:  Seriously, I’m not a gymnast, Sleep!  Keep it real!
ME:  What really pisses me off is when he visits my husband and refuses to come over on my side of the bed.  I’m open for stuff, Sleep.  You can do us both at the same time!
VAL:  Sleep is such a prude whore!!!
ME:  Tru dat.

Unfortunately, my dreams of a restful, sleep-filled weekend were not to be, as I couldn’t seem to get comfortable in the hotel bed and tossed and turned throughout my restless nights there.  Which is completely adverse to my normal sleep like the dead even if a helicopter lands in your backyard mode of zonking out (yep, totally happened).  I think Sleep heard me talking smack about him and decided he was going to teach me a lesson.  Well played, Sleep.  Well played, indeed.

* Sadly, Val found out the day before our meeting that her beloved dog had a tumor in his leg, so she had to cancel.  I was very disappointed, but obviously understood that she needed to be with her family and handle this unfortunate situation.   
Of course, that means we STILL haven’t met yet.  It’s like the universe is fearful of all of our awesomeness being combined in the same atmosphere and that it’s magnitude will cause a shift in the space/time continuum or something.  Pfft.  I’m willing to take that chance.  It will be totally worth it.  Bring it!

What is YOUR favorite thing about Sleep?

***** Don’t forget to throw your hat in for this awesome giveaway!!  Not many people have entered, so either nobody loves me (most probably), or nobody wants the free stuff I’m trying to give out (who doesn’t love free stuff?).  Don’t make me take my toys and go home, people.  Show the love!!

Birthday Extravaganza

So, I’m not sure if you know this, but Wednesday was my birthday.  I don’t know how you would have realized that, since I hardly even mentioned it at all on any format, including my own blog, other people’s blogs or even on Facebook.  I mean, really.  It was practically a secret.

As with all of my birthdays, I was a bit trepidatious as to how the day would go.  Would there be slapping?  Would there be forgetfulness?  Would there be tragedy?  None of these are unprecedented events for that most holy of days . . . the day of my birth.

The day started for me before sunrise.  A most unwelcome turn of events, but not at all unexpected.  However, the reality was much harsher than the theory of “having to go to work on my birthday.”  When the alarm sounded, there commenced numerous slaps of the snooze button before the battle going on in my head between GOOD (Get UP!  You have to go to work!) and BAD (It’s my birthday!  I want to sleep . . . and this bed is so warm and cozy!) was concluded decisively by my full bladder.  So, once I was out of bed and pee-free, I figured since I was vertical, I might as well get on with it and get ready for work.  Screw you, bladder.  You vile betrayer!

Once I was marginally functional (showered, spackled, dressed) I proceeded downstairs to greet the onslaught of family members (sans my travelling hubby) for birthday wishes.  I was greeted by this:

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Hand-made banners.  Yes, that’s plural, there were three (third one not pictured in my super messy kitchen).  To add to that, my boys also assaulted me with hand-made cards:

Sticker card curtesy of 4.

Sticker card courtesy of 4.

Card by 7.

Card by 7.

Please note that I am “the best mom ever xoxoxo best mom.”  He says it twice, in two different colors, so it must be accurate.  Everyone else can just put their batons down now.  Sorry.

After the cards and hugs were all given out, it was time for me to go to work.  Horribly-made coffee in hand (I mentioned the hubs being out of town, yes?), I was off to see what this day of days had in store for yours truly.

Apparently, the immediate answer to that was . . . traffic.  Lots and lots of traffic.  Oh joy.  Wait, why am I not still in bed?  Oh yeah, work.  Goodie.

Finally arriving at work, I discovered a few things in my office.  First, a gift from my secretary (Costa Rican coffee and a brownie).  I believe I have extolled her amazing qualities previously ad nauseum, so I will refrain from rehashing, but she is seriously the best.  Then when I booted up my computer, there was an unexpected birthday wish:

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Aww, Google.  How sweet of you to remember!  I mean, I don’t even know how you knew it was my birthday, but it was a lovely surprise upon opening up Explorer on my computer.  A little Big Brotherish, but I’ll take birthday greetings where I can get them.

And then I happened to notice something a bit odd on my desk.  A manila file folder with a sticky note on top directing one of my colleagues to “sign and then give to Misty.”  When I opened the file folder to see what was inside, I realized that although the signer had in fact followed the note writer’s directions explicitly, she did not exactly follow along with the intent in which the note was meant.

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Not quite what was intended, methinks.

Another interesting thing during that day was that not one person at my office wished me a happy birthday.  Now, don’t get me wrong . . . I received tons of birthday wishes on both my personal Facebook account and my blog Facebook account, along with many texts from friends (including a couple of colleagues not at work that day).  So, I’m not trying to be all “woe is me, nobody remembered.”  And I mean seriously, how can you forget when Mark Zuckerberg so helpfully assists you with a reminder right there on your FB page?  But during the entire day of being in the office, not one actual person told me “Happy Birthday.”  I found it odd.  Especially since most of them had just signed a card for me, so it’s not like it was a big secret.

Once I was finally released from captivity work, (and when I say “released,” I mean I ran out of there an hour early . . . it’s mah birfday!!), I headed home to what I expected to be a low key evening of celebration.  I expected carry out for dinner (sushi) and a pie for dessert, per my request.  I also assumed there would be presents.  It’s how my family rolls.

I was greeted upon my arrival with both balloons and yelling by my children that I was home too early and that they were still working on a surprise!  Fine by me.  I took myself up to my room, changed out of my work clothes, and vegged in front of the TV for about an hour.  Ahhh, now this is my kind of birthday!

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Tinkerbell and Ariel . . . because I’m a GIRL.

Once my family deemed themselves prepared for the evening’s revelry, I was allowed to descend into the pits of despair den of iniquity celabratory spaces of my home.  This was also when I discovered that not only would I be receiving presents from my family, but TWO of my blogging friends had sent packages my way, which had arrived appropriately and timely on my special day.  The first was from Rachel, of bloggy brunch fame, who ordered a book for me that we had discussed this past Saturday.  It is her favorite book, and when she discovered I had not yet read it, she decided to right that wrong by sending the book to me.  What an amazingly sweet gesture.  Thanks so much, Rache!!

The next surprise was a gift from my bloggy buddy, Jules.  She and I share an unholy love for all things bacon.  She translated this bond that we have into a gift of a book celebrating this unholy love.

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I am SO making these for Thoughtsy.

I am SO making these for Thoughtsy.

When I unwrapped this gift, I laughed so hard.  My family wanted to know what was wrong with me what was so funny, and all I could do was hold up the book.  Seriously, though, this is one of the best things I have ever received.  Jules, it’s like you just know me or something.  Thank you so much for your gift, your hilarity, and your friendship.  They all mean the world to me!

Ok, on to the gifts from my family.  First . . . another book.  Truly, a perfect companion to the one above.

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It’s like he KNOWS me or something.

And now we have . . . joke giftapalooza:

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Please note that all of the above were handed to me, lovingly, by my small boys, and I unknowingly started opening them in front of said children without nary a warning from the hubs.  Bad form, hubs.  You stay classy, San Diego.

My oldest son then gave me a special gift which he assured me he had not only picked out himself, but also helped pay for.  It is some serious bling bling, y’all.

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The finest CZ allowed by law.

On to cake!  Well, cakes and pie.  When the hubs asked me earlier in the week what kind of cake I wanted, I threw him a curveball by saying, “I don’t want cake at all.  I want pie.  Key Lime Pie to be exact.”  But since no one has ever heard of a birthday pie, the hubs decided to get something for everyone.

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That’s right . . . two different cakes AND a key lime pie.  Booyah!!  Plus, the hubs tried to burn the house down . . .

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Anytime we seriously consider getting the fire department involved in our celebration is a good time, no doubt. 

And thus ends my thrilling tale of a birthday celebration that will go down in the history books as, “at least nobody died” and “could have been much worse.”  For my birthday . . . I call that a win!  So now, I am in Atlantic City, hopefully resting and relaxing, sans my lovely and adorable spawn.  What better way could there be to end a birthday week?  Except for that jackpot I’m hoping to win . . . none, I say!

It’s My Birthday . . . So I’m Phoning It In


Yep, that’s right.  It’s bad enough that I actually have to go to work on my birthday (the horror!), but I’m definitely not also going to try to craft a real post at the same time.  I mean, what do you people want from me?  Jeesh!

So, instead, I thought we’d just take a little walk down memory lane and revisit the post I created for my birthday last year.  If you are new around here, check it out as it is all about my past birthdays and the disasters that have resulted therein.  If you have previously read it, feel free to give yourself a refresher.  Especially since the hubs and I are going to Atlantic City this weekend just as we did last year, so it’s pretty much just last year’s birthday, redux.

Ghosts of Birthdays Past

And speaking of previous posts . . . also head on over to the lovely and talented Peg-O-Leg’s blog to check out one of my earliest posts, which is being featured there today on her “THIS one should have been Freshly Pressed” series.  While I’m not sure it is even up to the quality of most of her other submissions, I am nothing if not a shameless blog whore, so when I sent her my post and told her that today was my birthday, what choice did she have but to humor me and throw me a pity mention on her much too good for me blog?  She’s all class, that Peg.  So, check it out if you are feeling similarly charitable, and also make sure you read some of her stuff, as it is brilliant and thoughtful and wonderful.  Thanks, Peg!

I even earned this nifty badge!  Much better than those silly Freshly Pressed ones.  Pfft.  Who needs them anyway??  (If you are reading Oh Great and Powerful WP gods . . . I still do.  Love you!!).


The Last Straw . . . to My Heart!

Ok, off to work grumble grumble.  Happy Birthday to me?


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