Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sea Day #1

Welcome to the Rocky Road Cruise. Supposedly because the cold/rainy weather made it to our cruise route, it’s pretty bumpy and lumpy. It’s almost as lumpy as when Maribeth, Molly, and I did the transatlantic several years ago. It’s not too bad – since everyone is wobbling, nobody looks drunk or out of place.

Anyhow, today we lazed around (which is pretty much the plan for the week). We also had brunch at Palo, which contributes greatly to lazing around, mainly because you’re in a food coma. Anyhow, it was a pretty quiet day – if you don’t count the bumping into the walls in the coridors!
Just your average tree-lighting ceremony with your average tree-lighting gang!
The Rainforest Room - Molly's home away from home. Away from home ...
Today is a gift because: brunch at Palo and our server; Katie and Nancy catching up with their former servers; naps here and there and everywhere

Saturday, November 29, 2014

And We’re On The Boat! Again!

We managed to get the rental car, pick up Nancy and Katie (who provided Starbucks), and head to the port. Molly dropped the three of us and our luggage off and then proceeded to the Budget place to turn in the car. Naturally there was a long line there and she had to call a taxi because the shuttle wouldn’t arrive for another 45 minutes. But soon she was also at the port and we all waited for the desks to open. Which they did, and we all got checked in, and after a short wait, WE WERE ON THE BOAT!!

Now, when you officially step onto the boat, some of the crew is there and they announce your family’s name. Since we had two families, we decided to call ourselves “Go Bulldogs” family (while K&N are not bulldogs, but they were content to go along with this idea). So imagine our surprise when we were announced as the “Gabundas” family. Oh well, we tried, as did the MSU Bulldogs – unfortunately their efforts were about as effective as ours, since they lost to Ole Miss.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - on the Disney Fantasy!

This dwarfs my tree at home by about a billion ...
Just a little lunch ...

Nevertheless, we had lunch, got our rainforest room passes, made our Palo brunch ressies. Soon our rooms were ready, so we spent the rest of the day taking a nap, unpacking, going to the rainforest room, eating dinner and passing out for the night. With two sea days on the horizon, I think we’ll be doing quite a bit of the napping/eating pattern!

Molly on our verandah with our free Castaway Cay Club gift
I may just stay here for the next week!!

Today is a gift because: getting the minivan rental; picking up Nancy and Katie and the peppermint mocha frap; waiting for Molly to get on the ship and the dude with all the information behind us in line; seeing Ole Miss fans in the terminal; meeting our servers and having a table to ourselves (no creepy tablemates)

Friday, November 28, 2014


As I may have stated before, we are down here in Orlando for two reasons - for Steve and Molly to participate in holiday shopping and for me to go on a cruise. Today is the traditional day of mega-shopping, which I will not be doing. Molly and Steve did most of theirs yesterday, so today what shall we do?

Well, first Molly and I took Steve to the golf course where he will be spending the day golfing. The course was out in the boondocks, and by the time Molly and I took the incorrect exit back to civilization, it was very close to lunch, so we decided to go to Downtown Disney to dine with Wolfgang Puck. He wasn't there, but we ate there anyhow. And then we shopped and purchased lots of things that had nothing to do with any kind of Black Friday sales.

That being done, we headed to Target to purchase some cruise supplies for Molly and Katie (six bottles, to be exact) and headed back to the hotel for a quick nap before loading up the car with supplies for the trek back to the golf course to pick up Steve.

In other words, it was a pretty quiet day, especially when we observed the line of cars on the interstate, waiting to get off on the exit ramp to the outlet malls. Tomorrow we head for the port - now that's a line of cars I will be glad to get in!!
Today is a gift because: taking Steve to play golf; eating and shopping at DD with Molly; listening to Molly's call with DCL and WDW Reservations; dinner at Red Lobster with Steve and Molly; pics of Lindley and Everley sleeping because they did not take naps

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wing Tips

Today, on the day we should be grateful for anything and everything, I would like to mention wing tips. Not the old man type shoes, but for those little ends of the wings on airplanes that flip up. Here's why ...

Several (okay, so probably many) years ago, Southwest started changing over the wings on their planes. Instead of just being flat all the way to the end, the ends now had a little flippy-up part on the end. To me that signaled that the plane was better and newer and more looked-after than the other planes and their flat wings. And so, whenever I had to board a plane, I would always look out at the wings and note the presence or absence of wing tips. And usually got a dose of happiness if I saw wing tips. Of course that dose of happiness lasted until we got up in the air and my toes curled until we landed. Nevertheless, as time went on, the sight of wing tips became more and more common as flat wings sort of faded into the past. In fact, nowadays, I look mainly as a habit, because all the wings have wing tips - don't they?

Well, let's just hold on a minute. Imagine my surprise (shock, horror) when upon boarding today's plane, as I look out the window what do I see?  A FLAT WING!!! Oh my goodness - what in the world? How old is this plane? Why is it in service? Where has it been the past decade? In short - WHAT THE CRAP??!!??

Upon boarding the plane, the flight attendant announces that "these bins are smaller than usual" and proceeds to say a bunch of other stuff. And don't even think about asking about Wi-Fi. I personally had determined to have no electronic equipment (maybe I should turn off my watch), in order to make sure this dinosaur could get up in the air. The only thing worse would if I had looked out and seen propellers on the plane (because then I would be heading towards the Hertz counter).

Anyhow, we all got in our seats, fastened our seats, and were soon up in the air. I dutifully kept watch on the wings, listening to every sound just in case I needed to report to the captain. Remarkably (to me, anyway), the flight was uneventful. We land in Orlando, and as we are taxiing to the gate, what do I see out the window? Another wingtip-less plane waiting on the tarmac!!

So today, on this day of thankfulness, I am indeed thankfulness for all the gifts and blessings that have been given to me. But especially for planes without wingtips that made it to Florida - maybe to retire?
Today is a gift because: early morning safe and smooth flight to Orlando; rental car return fun; room ready upon arrival; day of watching Holiday Baking Championship and Business Dude on television; Molly and Steve bringing Mimi's for dinner; Molly's shopping success

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Since I will be out of town on Lynnette's birthday, we voted to have her birthday party tonight (and because I am not a fan of having birthdays post-birthday, especially since in this case, it would be waaay post-birthday). Anyhow, while I had planned to have a Thanksgiving meal for this occasion (and therefore checking that off the list), the remaining members of my family had planned to do that tomorrow, so instead we will be having hamburgers. And therefore, no leftovers.

So, in prep for tonight's party, I went about my tasks for the day. Yesterday while I was leaving Toys R Us, I decided to make an appointment at Massage Envy. Sure, I could get one on my upcoming cruise, but they costs about twice as much, and being the cheapskate I am, I opted for one pre-cruise (as I did a pedicure, for pretty much the same reasons). Anyhow, as I said, while I was walking to my car, I decided to make the appointment. I pulled up the number in my phone that said Green Hills Massage Envy, chatted with the receptionist, and got an hour and a half with Sherry at 8am. Fast forward to this morning at 8am when I show up at Massage Envy Green Hills. And find out that I do not have an appointment at 8am. With Sherry or anybody else at Massage Envy Green Hills. Why? Because I have an appointment with Sherry at Massage Envy Cool Springs. Which is about 20 minutes away. Which is why I changed to Green Hills, because it is only 5 minutes away. Anyhow, I get in my car and hightail it for Cool Springs, arrive about 20 minutes late (after answering a call from Joe at Massage Envy Cool Springs, inquiring about my whereabouts). Luckily I had made the appointment for an hour and a half, so I still got a good massage.

Next was the assignment of getting the pumpkin cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory that Lynnette had requested for her birthday party. I got there as soon as the place opened, just in case there would be a mad stampede for this particular treat. Apparently there was not, so I was pretty much next in line (if there had been one). Anyhow, upon my arrival at the register, I realized that I would have to make a decision as to the size of the cheesecake - a 6 incher, 7 incher, or the big size (I don't remember how many inchers). Anyhow I decided to split it down the middle and choose the 7 incher (mainly because I seriously doubt anybody else that is related by blood to me will eat it, and Lynnette will still have some leftover). I tell my order to the check out girl, to which she responds that they have no more of the 7 inch size. To which I respond and inquire as to which size they have. To which she responds and says she will check and then realized that they do indeed have the 7 inch - they must have been delivered. And so I purchase my (well, actually Lynnette's) desired cheesecake and head home.

So the moral of today is that sometimes you think things are not working out, but they do. You just have to be patient, or figure out how to make it work or deal with it, or just let it go and move on. Today I got a massage and Lynnette got her cheesecake - win/win for everybody!!
Today is a gift because: finishing up all my tasks before leaving town; getting the pumpkin cheesecake that Lynnette requested for her birthday celebration; picking up books at the library; Lynnette's birthday party; Massage Envy goof up and still an hour with Sherry; Steve's burgers on the grill; Lindley time

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Upcoming Plans

So, since some of you are interested in my travel plans (and maybe because I need something to write about), I thought I would share my upcoming travel itinerary. I'm hoping that this is the last trip(s) of the year, but who knows ...

Anyhow, on Thursday (yup, that's right - Thanksgiving Day), Steve, Molly, and I will hop on a plane at dark-thirty (which means 6:30am which means leaving the house at 5am) to fly to Orlando. And here's the crazy part (well, not that crazy when you finish reading this) - WE'RE NOT STAYING AT DISNEY WORLD. Nope, this is Molly and Steve's annual Black Friday shopping excursion. And don't bother getting up on your soapbox to preach about Black Friday to me - I refuse to participate. Not because I have any kind of morals of values or anything - I just don't want to be a part of that crazy madness. So, once we arrive at the airport and get the rental car, we will head to the hotel (again, not Disney) and hope that our room is ready so I can park it there while Molly and Steve participate in crazy.

The hotel we're staying at is across from Sea World. Which I used to really love until I decided that all the Shamu Orcas should be in the ocean, so I guess I won't be going there either. Which is another reason I shall park myself in the room.

Anyhow, we're staying at the hotel until Saturday, when Molly and I will return to the airport, pick up a different rental car (and Katie and Nancy at their hotel) and head for the port. As in Port Canaveral. And we all know what is there. Oh, you don't? Well, it's the Disney cruise ship, The Fantasy. Molly and I (along with Katie and Nancy) will boarding for a week to visit San Juan, St. Thomas, and Castaway Cay, with the rest of the week being sea days. We say it's our reward for doing all the Disney races - because we can justify anything!

Anyhow, once we get off the ship on Saturday, a week later, we will head to the Polynesian resort at Disney World (see - I told you not to get all panicky because we weren't staying at Disney for Part 1 of this adventure). While we will have been on the Fantasy for a week, Steve (I know - you were worried/wondering why he wasn't included on the ship outing) will have been in Orlando all week, playing golf and the like. The weekend we return, he will be volunteering for Tiger Wood's golf tournament. He clearly did not miss being on the ship.

Once Molly and I check in at the hotel (hoping our room is ready), we'll probably head to Epcot for some Christmas treats (and maybe poutine) until Steve gets done with his volunteer duties at the golf tourney. And then we'll all wait for Aunt Judy (Steve's sister) to arrive around 6pm. And then we'll all wait for Lynnette, Lindley, Maribeth, and Everley to arrive around 8pm. In other words, it's party time!

The group will enjoy Disney World Christmas time until Monday, when Steve and Molly return to Nashville, and enjoy more Christmas fun until Wednesday when Judy and Lynnette return to their respective homes, and enjoy the last of the Disney Christmas fun until Friday, when Maribeth, Everley, Lindley, and I return to Nashville. Which is where I hope to stay put until 2015 ...

Anyhow, now you know where I'm headed. And where are you headed this fine holiday season??
Today is a gift because:  getting stuff done like decorating the tree, picking up the house, packing the suitcase

Monday, November 24, 2014

It's A Start?

Yes, the tree is as small as it looks. I "downsized" last year without really thinking about how downsized this tree was. The good news is that it's small enough for Lindley and Everley to see all the ornaments and really enjoy it. The bad news is that as of this moment, there are no ornaments on it to enjoy.

My plan was to get it out, put it up, and adorn it. I guess two out of three ain't bad. I have to get the ornaments on it, because we leave for Florida on Thursday and I won't be back until December 12. And I have a ton of stuff to do before Doikmas (Davidson family Christmas) on December 20 (including a non-Disney half marathon in Atlanta on December 14). So in other words, the tree needs to be ready to go before I leave. And I'm hoping that the ornaments will still be on the tree upon my return.
And then there's this stack of Christmas cards. It's the stack of cards that we received last year, that I bundled up and put on the mantel. The stack of cards that I planned to respond to all during the year (since I didn't send out Christmas cards). The stack of cards that sat on the mantel and I never responded to all year. And so now I have to decide whether to send the senders Christmas cards from me this year.  So if you sent me one, don't wait by the mailbox waiting - but then, if we're close enough for you to send me a card, you probably know by now the probability of my sending you one back!!

Merry Christmas season, y'all!!
Today is a gift because: getting stuff accomplished and starting to pack suitcase for upcoming trip; new Pandora charm from Marilyn; completing details for girls March cruise; lower price on rental car

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bedtime Stories

This morning, Maribeth and Everley are headed to North Carolina to spend some time with Mathieu's sister and kids. Their flight leaves at 6:30am, so that means Mathieu and Maribeth will come by at 5am before going to the airport. Last night after the girls had gone to sleep, I got up and went back to watch some adult shows on television - before you get all excited and wonder what I would be watching (technically the end of the MSU-Vandy game), an adult show is anything that is not Jake, Sophia, Doc McStuffins, or anything on the Disney/Sprout television network (that designation is via Lindley).

Anyhow, at some point I went in to check on them, and I found Everley in this position - half on/half off the bed. Clearly she considered getting up and then decided against it - she just couldn't hoist herself back up on the bed before falling back to sleep. Yup, I know how that feels ...
Meanwhile, on another bed in the house, this happened. Which wouldn't be a big or unusual thing, except that this is a new bedspread that had just been delivered in the mail. I had just made the bed and walked out of the room. Upon my return, I see Minnie Cat testing it out. And probably leaving plenty of black cat hairs to mark her spot (and hopefully nothing else).

Clearly stuff happens when I leave the room...

Today was a gift because: Everley waking up happy and ready to travel; Everley and Maribeth's safe travel to NC; Steve's safe travel back home; Sam and Lynnette's safe travel back home; Lindley's hair-cutting experiment (at her house while under her parents' supervision); Molly's leftovers for dinner; vacay planning with Molly

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Everybody wanted chocolate rice krispies, but nobody liked them ...
Of course, Saturdays are for getting up early. My question is, what happened to network Saturday morning cartoons? I remember getting up on Saturday mornings and planting myself in front of the television from early morning until noon. Thank goodness we have cable and can find Jake and/or Sophia. Anyhow, that was our morning plan. And perhaps to brush hair and change into daytime clothes ...
Miranda the babysitter came at 9am. Maribeth asked me earlier this week if I wanted Miranda to come over, and I said yes. Mainly so Lindley and Everley could get a break from LaLa. And so LaLa could do a little retail therapy. Of course, judging from the bags, you can guess where and for whom I shopped for.  Anyhow, eventually I returned home, relieved Miranda, and took over the reins. Everley was supposed to go home and sleep, since she and her mom were going out of town the next day, but that did not suit Everley, so she stayed the night. And after a nice, long cousin bath time, it was time to watch a little television and go to sleep. Guess who got the middle?
Today is a gift because: Lindley and Everley time; Miranda coming over to play; lots of retail therapy; MSU win over Vandy

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekend In LaLa Land!!

This weekend Steve is taking GDiz back home, and Lindley and Everley are spending the weekend at my house. Their respective parents are either out of town or working early and long days, so the easiest thing on LaLa is for them to stay at my house.

I think I've stocked up on everything needed (mainly mac and cheese). I did get the message that Lindley told her mom that I would have new toys for the weekend (I think I mentioned something like that when I was getting one of them in the car, as an excuse for why they couldn't spend that night with me, because I had to go to the store and buy new toys). Anyhow, I do not have new toys, so it looks like a shopping excursion might be in order (we did go - Lindley got a little Rapunzel doll because while she has 497 Rapunzel dolls, she did not have this one. Everley got a purple ball, because she said she already has a Frozen ball).  Anyhow, since Steve will be gone, it means we will all be sleeping in my bed, again with me in the middle.  Everley tends to sleep sideways, and since there are moments that the mere touching of one on the other is grounds for Cousin World War III, I shall be Switzerland and sleep in the middle.

Anyhow, it should be a fun weekend. Especially since we now have a new Rapunzel and purple ball!!
Today is a gift because: MB picking up the girls and bringing them over; Lindley and Everley time; shopping trip to Wal Mart; Wendy's Frosty treats

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throw Back Thursday's Story

So these were some of our first medals of 2014. These were the full marathon medal, the Goofy medal (for doing the half and the full), and the Dopey medal (for doing all four of the weekend races). This picture was taken in January, which seems eons ago and yet just yesterday.

Of course, I had many goals and plans for doing all the Disney races this year. For one thing, I was going to train harder and more consistently and get faster. That did not happen.

I was also going to lose weight, what with my new sensible eating plan and my exercise regimen and my training. None of that happened either.

I was going to make cute running costumes, which would be doubly cute because I was going to be so thin after losing all that weight from working out and eating sensibly. Yeah, none of that happened either.

HOWEVER, I did manage to get through all of the Disney races, some at a snail's pace and some even slower. Even if I didn't accomplish all my goals, I accomplished the big one, and I have the medals (but not so much the stellar finish times) to prove it.

So what's the moral of this story?  That some goals are important and others not so important? That there's more than one way to reach a goal? That even if you don't make all your goals, making at least one is satisfactory?

Maybe it's all of them. Maybe it's that you're never too old to set a seemingly impossible goal and make it. Maybe that it's not the goal that matters, it's the journey to get there. And for me, as thrilling as getting all those medals is, it was the journey with Molly that truly was the best part.
Today is a gift because: MB's lunch soup; taking the tent down and getting caught up on laundry; pretty yard thanks to lawnmower dude; beautiful day to wash car

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yup, I'm That Kind Of Grandma ...

Of course, when you use this book (and it is an actual book)  as a guideline, what can you expect? I waver between the "good" and "bad" granny - mainly because it's only through this book that I realize what I thought was good seems to be a bad granny!

Anyhow, just so you can decide for yourself which kind of granny I am (and therefore be wishful that I was your/your kids granny or grateful that I am not), here are the Top Ten Granny Things that I do:

1. I do provide snacks for them on the way home when I pick them up from school. Usually an Oreo or M&M blast from Sonic (depending on Lindley's mood for a particular candy treat for that day). Today I stopped by McDonald's and got chocolate shakes (because Everley thought that would be a good idea and Lindley agreed. Technically there was a debate as to whether we should stop at McDonald's or Sonic, but when I mentioned that if we stopped at McDonald's, we could immediately consume them, then McDonald's easily won out). Today, upon pulling up to the drive-thru, I saw that shakes were buy-one-get-one-free. And there's milk in the shake (never mind what else), so it's got some nutrition in it. So I believe this is a complete win on all accounts!

2. I have toys at my house. A lot of them. Some of them were the toys that my children played with 30 years ago. Which means they are death traps and unsafe. Nevertheless, we pull them out and play with them. And I'm not even sure if they have ever been sanitized!

3. We watch television. Mostly Disney Jr. Because we never know what Sofia the First or Jake and the Neverland Pirates might be doing. And usually there is a lesson involved. Not that anybody who's watching tries to reiterate the lesson or discuss it. Mainly because Sheriff Callie is on next and we need to concentrate on her lesson.

4. When Lindley and Everley are over for a meal, we (or really they) eat a lot of mac and cheese. The kind you prepare in the microwave with all its dangerous microwaves. We (or they) consume a lot of it because Lindley likes it and not much else. Everley will eat almost anything, especially if you are holding it in your hand and are about to eat whatever it is in your hand. I also fix hot dogs (not really knowing or wanting to know the meat process involved in them). I do try to provide fruits (usually in prepackaged containers) and vegetables (Everley only on this one) and cornbread (which I count as a vegetable). In other words, I try to provide food and hope their little bodies can convert it into whatever their little bodies need.

5. When they spend the night, the three of us usually sleep in the big guest bed. We might read books or watch one more episode of the Disney Jr gang. We have to make sure everyone has the same amount of space and LaLa is in the middle (extremely important). And yes, when they finally nod off to sleep, sometimes I put my hand on their backs to make sure they are still breathing. Mainly because they're too old to hold a mirror underneath their noses to make sure they are still breathing (oh come on, you know you did it).

6. I buy they toys and clothes that are probably age-inappropriate and that they don't necessarily want or need. I buy them because I like whatever it is I'm buying. And I hope they like them. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. But it doesn't stop me from my purchases. I figure I might as well buy what I want now, before they have supersized opinions and I'm stuck with giving them money instead of presents. Because money's no fun (at least for me).

7. I do not provide them with a clean, sanitary environment in which to play and visit at my house. I figure the crackers crumbs/chips/sand/whatever they bring with them will just join their relatives that already exist on my floors and things. Once upon a time, I had a clean house. It was clean and stayed clean, but it wasn't that much fun.

8. I tell stories about how funny and smart Lindley and Everley are to everyone I know (and may not know). Because those two are incredibly funny and smart. Perhaps the funniest and smartest ever, and people need to know about them. And if those people are lucky, I'll even show a picture or two ... or a thousand.

9. I make them gifts. At their ages, they aren't really aware of my non-professional attempts at sewing or arts/crafts. Just because their sparkly skirt has the wrong color thread or no hem has no bearing on if they will wear it. It's sparkly and it fits around their waist (more or less), so it's a win. For everyone!

10. I take them to Disney World. I started taking them years before the age that I said I would take them. They will never remember their first trip. But I will. And for me, that's what really counts!
Today is a gift because: picking up Lindley and Everley at school for a sleepover; fixing GDiz's scraped arm; Steve bringing chicken home for dinner

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Enjoy The Moment!!

Yes, I am caught up! And rather than try to come up with a profound (or any, for that matter) blog post for today, I am going to enjoy the moment! Besides, I have house cleaning and unpacking and catching up to do.  So let's just dance a happy dance instead!!
Today is a gift because: catching up blog-wise; cruise last-minute planning; catching up on routine, mundane stuff; starting Christmas lists

Monday, November 17, 2014

What's The Big Idea?

At some point in 2013, Molly said, "One year we should do all the Run Disney races." I said, "Sure," because I am cray-cray enough to think that would be a good idea. And even cray-crayer enough to think that I would be trained and ready to do such a thing. And then the evil Run Disney announced the Dopey Challenge for 2014.

Ignore the kissing strangers in the back ...
For those of you not in the know, The Dopey Challenge is when you run a 5K, a 10K, a half-marathon, and a full marathon - all on consecutive days in one weekend. And so Molly said, "Let's do all the Disney races in 2014." And not having lost any of my cray-crayness, I said, "Okay." Even though I had sworn never to do another marathon. And even though this marathon would be my 13th (superstitious, anyone?). Nevertheless, we signed up for the Dopey and somehow I managed to finish all the races. And thus began our 2014 quest to do all the Disney races. And we did them.
And here are the numbers:  5Ks: 10  ***  10Ks: 4  ***  10 Milers: 1  ***  Half Marathons: 6  ***  Full Marathons: 1 
Total Races: 22     ***     Total Medals: 28     ***     Total runDisney miles: 170.6

These races represent races at Disney World, Disneyland, and Castaway Cay (Disney Cruise Line's private island). Several races were held on back-to-back weekends, which meant one weekend in Florida and flying out to California the next weekend. Some we did with family and friends, and some we did with just the two of us. Some races had perfect weather, some had rain, some had wind, and some were just plain hot. Some started in the early morning and some started late at night. A few had after-parties (which we skipped, preferring instead a hot shower and bed).

There were a lot of logistics involved. First, we had to make sure we got entered in each race, which is an ordeal in itself when it comes to Disney races. Some of the races sell out in an hour (yes - an hour). Molly and I would be on our individual computers with a couple of different browsers on, and on the phone with each other, seeing who could get registered first. On this last 5K, I had put the wrong birth year on Molly's registration and nearly panicked when I couldn't find her confirmation. Luckily we figured out my error and all was good again.

We also had to figure out flights (especially when she was out of town on business on the weekends we were headed to races) and hotels and transport. We planned (why, I don't know) meals and park visits and running outfits. We ordered and tried on things and looked at other people's ideas. And on race weekend, we started a race and kept going.

And the result? WE DID IT!!! (And here's hoping Molly keeps her next big idea to herself!!)

Today is a gift because: GDiz here for a visit; Lindley and Everley time all day; new Pandora bracelet

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

Today was the big day. After last week's miserable showing in the monsoon otherwise known as the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, I had more than my usual doubts about finishing today's race. But I knew finishing was imperative, because of THE BIG IDEA (more about that tomorrow). With all this in mind, I got up at 4am, got dressed, and Molly and I headed to the start corrals.

Molly and I got in place in plenty of time and chatted with more new Disney running friends. We talked with a couple who will be doing their first Dopey in January, and gave them whatever advice we could (which ain't much, I tell ya). We sang the National Anthem and waited as the early corrals were sent off. Finally it was our turn and we were off!

Now, in case you didn't know, I am a wogger, which means I walk/run (currently more walking than running). I stay to the right as is suggested, so that fast runners can pass me on the left. However, that does not stop people from trying to pass on the right. When our corral is allowed to start, there are countless people who think rushing past me on the right (even though I am hugging the curb) is an intelligent thing to do. Not so much this morning, when one dude almost wiped out on the temporary fencing - and nearly impaled himself on one of the temporary fence poles. Guess that will "learn-em, durn-em"!

Anyhow, after a quick pass through the two parks, we headed out to the streets of Anaheim, where we met with the wind (apparently last week's answer to the rain). According to the Weather Channel (via Molly) the winds were 20-30mph with 60mph gusts. Which wasn't so bad when the wind was at your back. Which wasn't ever. More than once I got hit in the face with flying debris - nothing huge, but even a twig or an acorn at that speed gives you a good slap in the face (like I needed that - the thought of covering 13.1 miles was a slap in the face enough)! Almost all of the mile markers were blown over and several were broken. At the water stops, volunteers were working themselves silly trying to keep all the cups from spilling and blowing all over the place - which they were anyway. We passed the Crystal Cathedral, and the grounds there were covered in paper cups - bless the volunteers who were on cup collecting duty!

Another great thing about Disneyland races is that even though we've done three half-marathons out there this year, each racecourse has been just a little bit different. It makes for a great race when it's not the same exact course. This time we saw the Cathedral and even though we ran through Angel's Stadium again, it was from a different angle. Another different aspect for this race was the presence of huge tumbleweeds that blew in from somewhere - right onto the path (and these were HUGE!). Eventually I managed to get through the winds and the tumbleweeds and find the finish. Naturally Molly and finished long before me, so she had already showered and was packing up when I got back to the hotel. We finished getting our stuff together and headed outside to wait for the shuttle to take us back to LAX for our ride home.

And of course, whose race is this? Why Molly's, of course! She's the one who came up with THE BIG IDEA (stay tuned tomorrow). She's been beside me in some races, I caught up with her in a few races (mainly because she decided to stop and read a magazine or take a nap), and she finished way ahead of me in most races. We flown to races together and met up at races together. We've stayed in several different hotels, consulted on race outfits (mostly hers), bought several race skirts (again, mostly hers), made a few race skirts (that would be mostly me), shopped and waited in line at many expos, and gotten up way to early on too many mornings to get through a 5K or a 10K or a 10-miler (well, actually that was at 10pm at night) or a half-marathon or a full marathon. But through it all, we managed to get it all done. Thanks Molly - and rest your brain before coming up with another BIG IDEA!!!

Today is a gift because: I finished the half-marathon and THE BIG IDEA; winds on the course; seeing Sharon and Tammy along the way; tumbleweeds; crazy shuttle driver; safe, smooth flight to St. Louis; snow on the ground at St. Louis; safe, smooth flight to Nashville; KB and Bud picking us up at the airport

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Avengers Super Heroes 5K

So we got up at 4:30am, got dressed, and headed to our start corral. One of the best things about Disneyland races is the fact that you can walk to the start line from your hotel room in about 10 minutes. We joined our fellow Avenger types and waited for the start. We quickly noticed that this is going to be a race where just about everybody is dressed for the theme, which really isn't too hard, since you can put on an Avengers t-shirt and go. Of course, there were a few that went a little further, like the dude that dressed up as Thor's hammer ...

Anyhow, after a jaunt through both parks, we trotted across the finish line and were done. Because the race was so early in the morning, we had plenty of time to go back to the hotel (another quick walk), shower, get dressed, take a nap, before early opening at Disneyland. Of course we had plans to eat places there for breakfast.

We arrived at the entrance turnstiles and got in line with the hundreds of other people waiting to get in early. Soon we were walking on Main Street. Since the MSU Bulldogs have a big game today, I got a picture with the closest dawg I could. So maybe he wasn't a "bulldog," but at least he had his festive holiday attire on!

We then headed to eat and to ride a couple of the rides that we had "planned" to make sure to do. We had not counted on the fact that early opening at Disneyland meant that only a few "lands" were open - not the entire park. Also only Starbucks was open for breakfast. We altered our plans and road "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" (only available at DLand) and went to Starbucks for a bite. Eventually the rest of the park opened, along with all the other guests for the day, and we managed to ride "The Haunted Mansion" which transforms into an entirely different ride for Christmas. It was really amazing, and I'm so glad we did it!

We shopped around a bit and went back to the hotel around lunch, stopping at Earl of Sandwich so that Molly could get another round of the Thanksgiving Sandwich. We watched MSU play football, and even though the outcome was not what we had hoped for, we are still so proud of the Bulldogs.

We had considered returning to the parks, but instead decided to eat dinner (at Earl's - guess what Molly ordered). We talked to a couple of ladies in line about Disney races and then found a table and ate with Sharon and Tammy, with whom we became quick Run Disney friends (I think it's a cult following). Molly and I returned to the hotel and called it a night - big race tomorrow (and it starts at 5:30am!).

Today's race is for Sharon and Tammy and the ladies we met in line and all the Disney runners I meet at the expos or having a bite or in the corrals or on the course. We always become immediate friends as we commiserate over the cost of the races, the process of entering the races, the outfits and shoes, the course, and just generally anything and everything about Disney races. We encourage each other, pass along valuable information, and take pictures of each other. It is like a family - and we get together at family reunions (aka races) and have a good time. See you at the start line, ladies!
Today is a gift because: Avengers 5K and medal; Disneyland with Molly; meeting new friends; watching MSU play on tv; getting my DL Pandora charm

Friday, November 14, 2014

To Plan or Not To Plan ...

Before we came on this trip, Molly and I planned (at least for us, we did) some of the things that we wanted to make sure we did while here. While those things included the races we would be "participating" in, those things also included some attractions we wanted to see and places we wanted to eat. So much for plans ...

First of all, we woke up super early this morning. Obviously we went to bed on Central Time, and so we woke up on Central Time. That would be a difference of two hours. Which means 7am at home is 5am here.

Good morning California Adventure. What - you're not awake yet?

Thanks for the pretty sunrise - I've been up a few hours waiting on it!
Anyhow, once the rest of the tourists and workers were up and going, we were ready for our day, which was going to start off with early entrance to California Adventure Park. We went downstairs and ordered a breakfast pizza (I think technically it was a breakfast flatbread or something fancy). We shared it and wandered around to find the line waiting to enter the park early. Eventually the park opened and we headed for the racers. Only once we got there, the breakfast pizza-flatbread was beginning to suggest that I not get all jiggly on a ride, so we opted out.

We wandered about the park a bit and then headed for the race expo. From past experience we know to get to the expo early to get in the lines to get the race merchandise (which will sell out in minutes). We got in line (and waited for 45 minutes) to get into the race merch area. After wandering in there for a while, I got in line with the magnet I wanted (another 20 minute wait to pay) and Molly went to get her race bibs and shirts.

Eventually we met back up, had some lunch (not at any place we planned but at a place we'd never eaten). We shopped a bit more and headed back to the hotel to dump our stuff and nap (those are never planned - just a given). We then ventured out to Disneyland to eat at some places we had "planned." Once inside the park, we observed the long, long line for the corndog kiosk (yes, corn dog, but they're supposed to be delicious). We nixed that and were in line for another place and reading the posted menu when some lady behind us said (in a not so nice a voice), "Are you going to eat here?" We promptly decided that we were indeed not going to eat there and left and ate at our old faithful, The Earl of Sandwich. Where Molly had the Thanksgiving sandwich and promptly fell in love. With the sandwich (we won't mention how many times she will have this over the weekend).

Anyhow, after all of this failed planning, we decided to return to our room and go to bed. Our 5K starts at 5:30am (yes, you read that right) in the morning, and we certainly don't want to be late for that!
Today is a gift because: beautiful sunrise over CA; good food, even though it wasn't what we planned; race expo and people watching (and listening); getting my Raw Threads shirt even though the dude told somebody else the shirts wouldn't be available; chatting with the RooSport dude

Thursday, November 13, 2014

And Here We Are

Here would be California - Disneyland to be exact. Molly and I are here for the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend and to finish THE BIG IDEA (more about that in a few days). We left this afternoon, flew for about a billion years, and arrived at LAX later in the afternoon (thanks to time zones and such). As the pilot told us, we would have gotten to LAX really early, but there was a big head wind so we didn't.  At least there was some pretty scenery along the way. It was pretty cool to see the top side of these clouds - it almost looked like ocean waves.

Anyhow, once we finally got off the plane at LAX (we had to hang around the tarmac for awhile because there was a plane at our gate - and at this Southwest part of LAX, there's a lot of construction and closed gates, so it's a big mess), we found out that the bathrooms were not working at baggage claim. We didn't have any baggage to claim, but could have used a bathroom. Nevertheless, we "held it" and went in search of our Super Shuttle to the hotel.

Eventually ours pulled up (this was after we saw a truck pull up with some porta-potties), we got on and proceeded to the other gates to pick up some more urine-holding passengers. The last group to get on was a family - two parents and three teenage daughters. The dad got in the front seat with the driver, and the mom got on the bench seat with Molly and me. They chatted up the driver for a bit and then when we got on the freeway, the mom went to sleep. On my shoulder. Yeah, how sweet. She did wake up before we arrived at our hotel, and managed to move out of the way so we could get out.

We checked into our hotel and had a nice view of the back of California Adventure. We decided to call it a day/night and got some dinner and watched the Disneyland fireworks from the pool deck. While they were nice, they certainly were no match for the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Of course that could be because we weren't down in the park watching ...

Anyhow, since it was past bedtime back home, we decided to go to bed (not a hard decision). Lots of things to do this weekend!!
Today is a gift because: I managed to get everything packed and the house in reasonable order before leaving; safe, smooth flight to LAX; finishing "Wonder" on the plane; great room location at Paradise Pier; dinner at Earl's; watching the fireworks

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Usual

Blah, blah, blah, packing ...

Blah, blah, blah, running race but not training ...

Blah, blah, blah, house not cleaned before leaving ...

Blah, blah, blah, hate flying, especially to California ...

Blah, blah, blah, behind and belated blogging ...

Got it? Need I say more? Didn't think so!!

Today is a gift because:  Taking Everley to school; getting packed for upcoming trip; realizing I paid for early bird on Southwest

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Tips For Doing A Disney Race

1. Apparel is everything. Dress the part. Because if you're not fast, at least you'll look really cute. And if a glass of bubbly is part of the finish celebration, that's even better.

2. It helps to have someone along who knows where you are supposed to go. And doesn't mind showing you the way, pulling you along if necessary.

3. Get over yourself and have fun. It's Disney. Sure, go fast if that's your thing, but enjoy the sights along the way. Because you're probably one of the sights!

4. Form a train. Be the leader. Be the one in back. Be in the middle. Just be and have a blast!

5. Have somebody willing to carry you across when needed ...
6. Because they may need to drag you across when needed ...
7. Always have a big finish. Even if somebody decides to zoom past you at the finish. Especially if she's your daughter. Because even if she's faster, you can still have the bigger and better finish picture. And that's what really counts.

8. Raise your hand in victory at the finish. Because you scored a victory by finishing. No matter what your time. And if you have no idea where you are, then have a friend (or a daughter) raise your hand for you. Because eventually you will regain your senses and will need to be reminded of what a fun time you had.

9. Port-o-potties are reality. And a necessity. And perfectly okay to use. So get over it and take advantage of the facilities. Because nobody wants to see an "uh-oh" finish picture!

10. And finally, try not to go so fast that you get arrested by the Disney police. Sure, winning is something, but getting put in the Disney pokey puts a damper on everybody's day!!
Today is a gift because: taking Everley to school; picking up Everley and Lindley from school; veggie soup for dinner

Monday, November 10, 2014

To Pack or Underpack - Which Day Is It?

So some days I have to figure if it's unpacking or packing day. One would think that by having two similar weekend trips two weekends in a row, it would be rather easy to pack. One should stop thinking. Instead, I have to unpack the stuff and get it washed, then determine if any of the stuff I took is worth repacking for the next weekend. Even though the next weekend will consist of the same activities, one needs to make sure.

In the end, I will probably just do as Mickey is doing - after all, I'm going to his West Coast location for this next adventure. He appears to know what he is doing. I'm glad one of us does ...

Today is a gift because: Taking Everley to school; unpacking the suitcase (mainly because I will need to repack it in a few days); getting caught up (sort of)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Well, That Was ...

So technically when do you decide the date of a race? When you start or when you finish? Yes, normally for a "regular" race, the start and finish are on the same day. Even some of those nutcase long 50+ miles races start and end on the same day. Even for most people, this half-marathon we did would start and end on the same day. But for me, and quite a few of my peeps, we started this race one day and finally finished the next. Let me explain ...

Before the race ... and the rain ...
This bleepity-bleep race started at 10pm. Yes, 10pm. Just like last month's Tower of Terror 10-Miler. The main difference in tonight's race? Three more bleepity-bleep miles. Not that makes a difference to the speedy people who actually run these races. But for those of us who woggity-walk it, three miles is another hour. Oh, and did I mention that it rained from start to finish?

Still before the race ... and after the rain started ...
Anyhow, Molly and I met up with Katie in the lobby of our hotel (Marilyn wisely opted out of this adventure). We then got in line for the bus, which eventually came (and we were entertained by a girl who talked the entire 30 minutes we spent in line). We got to the holding area and waited awhile before heading for our corral. Where we donned our ponchos because it had started to rain. And then we waited some more until finally the race started. And the we waited some more until finally our corral got to the start line and finally got going.

Molly and Katie went on ahead and I trudged along, down to the Animal Kingdom and back to Hollywood Studios. Molly had taken a bathroom break and was waiting for me at Boardwalk. She stayed with me through the finish, where I saw my Disney pal Aisling yell for me at the finish. It was raining pretty good at this point, so we decided to skip the after party and get on the bus. Which was way down at the other end of Epcot. Where we waited in the by-now pouring rain forever - or so it seemed. Eventually our bus came and we made it back to the hotel, in a hot shower, and in bed. All by 3:30am.

Wisely, Molly and I had changed our return flights to later in the day, in hopes of getting a few hours sleep. I got up to say so-long to Marilyn, whose flight was leaving early. After she left, we got a bit of sleep before we got up to pack up and get some lunch before heading to the airport.

The best part of the race? That it was finally over. I'm hopefully marking this one off my list. And you know how I am about marking things off my list ...
Last night's (today's?) race is for Melvin (Lynnette's dad) and Ann (Lynnette's friend). Several years ago, they came down during this race. We all did the 5K together (that race was the only one that started and ended at the MK) and then Ann did part of the Wine and Dine Inaugural Half Marathon Relay (back then the race was the half marathon and a half-marathon relay for teams of two). Anyhow, Ann consented to run the half of the half that Sam was scheduled to run, but eagerly opted out when Ann volunteered to do his spot. She donned her festive headgear and did her part. Which including passing me, singing all the way (she was listening to her iPod but singing out loud). She and Molly (who did the other part of the relay) waited for me at the finish - where participants were throwing up all over due to the late hour, the alcohol they had consumed, and the heat of the night. This race is for Ann and for Melvin - maybe we'll see you at another Disney race one day (minus the throwing up, though).
Today is a gift because: I finally finished the wet Wine and Dine half marathon; Molly finishing the race with me; seeing Aisling at the finish; chatting with Marilyn before she caught the bus for the airport; lunch at Wolfgangs with Molly; chatting with Nancy and Katie before we headed for the airport; safe, smooth flight home; Lindley and Everley time; sleeping in my own bed