Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year.

Today on her blog, Pat Sloan talked about Ali Edwards and her challenge to choose a word and live it in the coming year.  And after much contemplation, I have chosen my word.  It is "DETERMINATION".  Webster defines determination as 
  1. a firm intention
  2. the quality of being resolute; firmness of purpose
The trip to Disney made me realize that I really need to take off the weight.  I've known for years that I should, but certain aspects of the trip made me realize that the time is now.  Needing a seatbelt extender on the plane was the first eye opener.  I use one in the car, but never thought about the plane.  Having trouble walking from where I had to park my scooter to the table in restaurants, and needing someone else fill my plate at the buffets was another eye opener.  And so, in the coming year, I firmly intend to accomplish some seriously needed weight loss.  

The last two weeks have been spent in trying to decide how I will achieve my goal.  I bought a new book about a diet for Type II diabetics, and hoped that it would be my guide. But after reading the book and feeling  that the 650 calorie diet it proposed wasn't my idea of healthy, I put that idea aside.  I dug out my copy of the GI Diet by Rick Gallop, and have chosen it as my method.  It involves low carb, high fiber, sugar free meals, and should also help my blood sugar levels. I bought the Wii Fit Plus for our Wii system in November, and haven't even opened the box.  That must change.  To me exercise has always been a dirty word, even if it's more than 4 letters.  I will have to force myself to do some sort of physical exercise, which won't be easy since walking is often difficult.  But, I am "determined". 

In this photo, taken at the Grand Floridian at WDW, I am my heaviest ever -- a whopping 332 pounds (I'm ashamed to admit my weight, but feel it's necessary to keep me on track.)  I'm only 4 feet 8 inches tall, and so every pound is noticeable.  My stomach hangs almost to my knees, and I don't think I have ever walked without my thighs rubbing.  So, please bear with me over the next 12 months as I document my weight loss attempt.  I will certainly need your encouragement and support.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An Anniversary to Remember

We wanted to do something special to commemorate our 35th anniversary, and decided to do the trip to Disney World.  Although our actual anniversary was November 9, I wanted to see Disney at Christmas.  And it was truly an anniversary to remember.  I had always dreamed of staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and when Mary got a code for 40% off, that dream became a reality.   When we checked into our hotel,  the cast member gave us buttons that announced to all that we were celebrating our anniversary.  These chandeliers are in the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge.   If you look to the right, you can see a balcony.  Our room was on the fourth floor, on this side of the lobby.

When we walked into the room, I was surprised to see this vase of flowers on the table.  Seems that Rod and Mary had conspired to have those flowers in our room when we arrived.  There was a card from Rod with the flowers thanking me for 35 years and wishing for 35 more.  I thought these were so beautiful and was so sad when I had to leave them behind when we left.  I had wanted to take the vase at least,  but alas there was no room left in the luggage.  At least I have these pictures to remember the arrangement by.

This picture was taken the morning we left, and the bouquet was still so beautiful.  I have always loved flowers, and when we were younger and raising our kids, there was little money for flowers.  I never really thought that much about it -- that's just how it was.  But since Rod has been working good, and the kids are out on their own, he certainly makes up for the early years.  So many times when he goes to the store alone, he comes home with flowers.  I guess I'm odd, but I like carnations and chyrsanthemums more than roses.  They just seem to last longer.

This photo of Rod and I was taken in front of the Christmas tree in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  The tree was so beautiful.  There were woven baskets, dried seed pods and dried flowers, and the most beautiful animal masks used to decorate this tree.  I had hoped to purchase a small one similar to the large ones on the tree, but didn't find one anywhere.  I did buy a small wooden mask and a small woven basket to put on our tree, but still wish I could have found an animal mask.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Could I have your Autograph, Please.

That was the question I asked the characters that I met at Disney.  Before our trip to WDW,  I had made 50 appliqued character blocks.  I had posted photos of them in November.  Using coloring book pages that I had researched online, I traced the faces onto fusible web, and made the appliques. It was so much fun choosing the fabrics and colors and adding the details with fabric markers.

To prepare for the trip, Mary purchased crayola fabric markers.  There were colors in the set, and they had to be heat set.  Pretty much the same as other fabric markers.  So many people suggested what I should do with the blocks to make them easy for the characters to sign.  Most of the characters wear gloves, and needed something to hang onto.  Most people suggested ironing the blocks to freezer paper.  That meant cutting all the freezer wrap to fit the blocks, and that seemed like a lot of work to me.  Since the blocks would need to be taut for the signature to look good, I thought about what my options were.  I could use the freezer wrap and clip each block to a clip board.  Hmmm. What else would work???  I finally decided to purchase some spring loaded embroidery hoops.  I found them to be fairly inexpensive on the internet, and made my purchase.  Mary and I tried using them on some sample blocks, and they worked pretty well.

Here you can see that Minnie Mouse wears gloves, and didn't have any problems signing her block.  We found it was easy for us to hold the hoop and just let the characters do what felt most natural for them.  It was a real ego boost for me to see how the characters reacted to their blocks.  Most were very impressed.  Ariel asked me what I was making with the blocks, and then wanted to see some of the others.  She said that she wished she could see the quilt when finished.

Here's my buddy, Goofy signing his block.  He seemed to remember me and the block, because when I saw him other times in the park, he used his "sign language" to tell me that he remembered the blocks.  And in the one character connection, I blew him a kiss as we were leaving and he ran over, gave a hug, and then waved goodbye.  It was so much fun.

I loved the Toy Story movies.  As a kid, I wanted to be a cowboy, and had my very own holster with pearl handle six shooters just like Hop-a-long Cassidy.  So it's no wonder that Sheriff Woody is a fav character of mine.  I even have curtains in the travel trailer made with fabric of Sheriff Woody.  I had gotten Woody's autograph in the Magic Kingdom, where he was appearing with Jesse.  This picture was taken in the Pixar Place section of Hollywood Studios.  The rest of the group was riding the Toy Story Midway Mania attraction, and I snuck into the  photo opportunity across the "street" to get Buzz's autograph.  When I drove up, and asked Buzz for his autograph, Woody indicated that he remembered that he had already signed his block.

Even the kids got into the spirit of getting autographs. In the upper photo, daughter Pat is getting the signature from Tinkerbelle.  In the lower photo, Mary is holding the hoop while Mr. Frederickson is signing his block.  I loved getting the signatures, and can't wait to start putting the quilt together.

I got signatures from JoJo and Goliath, and two of the little Einsteins from Playhouse Disney.  I hadn't made blocks for them, but had some blank ones just in case.  So, counting those three blocks, I have 42 blocks that are signed.  I'll set the quilt up as 6 across and 7 down, and I am thinking about putting a thin sashing between the blocks.  I feel like I was pretty successful getting my signatures, and had a really good time doing it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Princess for a Day

Krissy loves the Disney princesses.  Always has, and as she has gotten older, it hasn't changed much.  She loves dressing up as a princess, and has several "princess dresses".  One dress that she didn't have, was Mary Poppins' Jolly Holiday dress.  Jimmy's Aunt Karen is a wonderful seamstress, and offered to make Krissy the Mary Poppins dress she had only dreamed about. She did an incredible job. We had breakfast with Mary Poppins at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian resort our first morning there.  And here you can see Mary Poppins posing with our little Mary Poppins.  Krissy was so proud, and Mary Poppins made her feel so special.  She asked Mary if she could borrow Krissy for a few minutes, and took her by the hand to several of the other tables to show that her "twin" had come this morning for breakfast.  So often, Krissy is overlooked because her brother is so cute, but at Disney she is made to feel like a princess everyday.

As a surprise for Krissy, Aunt Karen made her another dress -- it was Belle's country dress.  Not only did she make the dress, but also the large bow for the back of her hair.  Krissy has the gold gown that Belle is wearing in this photo, but she loved her country dress.  I hope that Aunt Karen knows how happy she made this little girl.

Krissy has a Mulan dress, Cinderella's gown, Sleeping Beauty's pink gown, but her dream dress has been Belle's Christmas gown. This year she got her dream gown before the trip to Disney.   Disney has the Bibbity Boutique where little (and big) girls can go for a Princess Makeover.  Krissy went last year, and loved the results.  So this year, Mary surprised her with another makeover.

Here's Krissy after her makeover.  The tiara was a gift from Aunt Karen.  We aren't quite sure why the stylist chose to put the white hair extension in, but Krissy was pleased as punch.  On her left cheek, is a jeweled "tattoo".  She really looks like a princess, don't you think?

Krissy's favorite "princess" right now is Tinkerbelle.  She wanted to be Tink for Halloween, and got this costume for Trick or Treat.  Here she is getting a hug from her idol.  All the cast members at Disney are so awesome with the kids.  Everyone who sees her in her    costumes, greets her by saying "Hello Princess" or calling her by the Princess's name.  And although Krissy is always smiling, she really beams when someone calls her Princess.

So as you can see, Disney really is the place where "Dreams come true".

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bubbs and Kisses

Today I'm just chillin' and watching the Steelers. Go Ben!!  I've been looking through the photos on our Photopass CD and deciding how best to showcase them.  Today's post is called "Bubbs and Kisses". Boy, that grandson of mine loves getting hugs and kisses from all the characters in Disney.  One of the first kisses he got was from Mulan. And she left a lipstick mark on his cheek.  He was so thrilled, and when Jimmy tried to wipe it off, he refused saying that princess kisses weren't supposed to wipe off.

Next came a kiss from Snow White.  Since Mulan's kiss was still on his left cheek, Snow White used the right one.  He's such a charmer, and no one can resist those big brown eyes.  He was so proud of himself because this year he used his walker to walk up to all the characters.  Last year he was in the stroller most of the time.  Watching him interact with all the characters was a joy.

Here he's kissing Minnie.  Since she couldn't leave any lipstick marks, he kissed her.  He also kissed Goofy, Pluto, Chip, Dale and of course Donald and Daisy Duck.  That boy just loves kisses.

Here, he's kissing Russell, the scout from the movie UP.  When we met the UP characters, he got a hug from Mr. Frederickson and Dug, the dog, got down on the floor to play with the tennis balls on his walker.

But he loves hugs too, as you can see from these pictures of him with Fairies Fawn and Tinkerbelle.  And that's our Bubby, hugs and kisses.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It's December 23 already???  Where did the year go???  I've done no baking this year.  You see, I'm a Cookie Monster.  No really.  I can pass up a cake or a pie, but  a cookie - well, that's a whole 'nother story.  I love cookies!!!  Hard or soft, sugar or ginger, cream filled or sugar sprinkled -- I've just never met a cookie I didn't like.  Not a good thing for a diabetic.  And my sugar has been bouncing around a little, so no cookies for me!!

Oh, you say, surely you've wrapped all your gifts since you haven't done any baking.  The answer there is a big NO.  I'm starting to wrap gifts today.  I don't believe in waiting til the last minute.  Oh, you say, it's because you've been sewing so much.  Again, the answer is a big NO.  So what have you been doing then, you ask.  I'm embarrassed to say that I've done very little other that playing games on Facebook.  Just wasting time and accomplishing not a thing.  Daughter Mary says I'm keeping my mind sharp.  She only says that since she's been doing basically the same thing.  So, she will lie and I will swear to it.

I do have my shopping done- thanks to the internet.  And all the gifts have arrived.  Don't I get some points for that??  Next year will be better, I promise.  Next year I will be a good girl and get back into the Christmas spirit.  But for now, I'm feeling like the old guy who sits on the water tower in the movie "Christmas Comes to Willow Creek".  I just don't feel a lot of Christmas spirit, and am waiting for some special sign that Christmas spirit is alive and well.  No, I'm not feeling "Bah Humbug", I don't know why I'm just not feeling.  Please Lord, give me back my Christmas excitement.  I miss it.  But a very Merry Christmas to you all.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Yes, I know.  It was a short week, but the day after we arrived home, I came down with a head cold.  I hate feeling all stuffy.  But, at least I didn't get sick until after we got home.

Today's topic is the decorations in the parks.  I have never seen so many poinsettias in one place.  They have the most beautiful poinsettia balls in the parks. The wreaths in the parks were so gorgeous.  And in Disney's Hollywood Studios, all the trees were decorated with tinsel -- you know, Tinseltown.  In Animal Kingdom (as well as in our resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge) the trees were decorated in an African theme with masks of the various animals, woven baskets,  and the like. 
 But the most magnificent lighting display was most definitely in Hollywood Studios, where we saw the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  You just didn't know where to look because there was so much to see.  And the lights danced to various Christmas carols.  The Spectacle of Lights includes: over 5 million lights, 32 miles of extension cables, 66 snow machines, 100 gallons of snow fluid a night, and 43 hidden Mickeys.  Disney at Christmas is truly a sight to see, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Disney Characters and the Quilt Blocks

I haven't counted the blocks that I had signed, but I have 9 out of 50 that aren't signed.  However, we had lunch one day with the characters from Playhouse Disney, and I got signatures from JoJo, Goliath, June and Leo. So, I think I have 44 signed blocks since JoJo and Goliath signed on one block.  Not bad, huh?  Hooping the blocks with the spring hoops was a great idea.  The hoop kept the block stretched tight for signatures, and also gave the characters something rigid to hold on to.  It was also quick to remove one block and replace it with another.  I had a total of 6 hoops - three small and three larger.  So I could hoop more than one block at a time.  It worked well since I could hoop all four Pooh characters at once for breakfast at Crystal Palace.  This is a photo of the grandkids with Alice.

The characters were very impressed with my blocks.  They see a lot of autograph books, so the fabric blocks must have been something different for them.  Ariel asked what I was making with the blocks, asked to see some of the others, and even put my name on with her signature.  Goofy, who is one of my fav Disney characters,  just kept kissing me and showed his approval of his block.  I got Woody's signature at one point with Jessie.  When I met him later with Buzz Lightyear, he indicated that he remembered signing his block.  It was so much fun getting the signatures, and the characters were so much fun.  This is a photo of the grandkids with Snow White.  Krissy has on a replica of Belle's peasant dress that Jimmy's Aunt Karen made.

But I think that the best thing about meeting the characters was watching them interact with Bubs and Krissy.  Bubby gets so excited when the characters approach him, and wants to kiss everybody.  Pluto even managed to give him a kiss with his fake tongue.  The Mad Hatter was certainly the most fun -- he just kept going around the restaurant yelling "Mary Poppins".  And everytime he shouted, so did Bubby.  He came to the table and was just the silliest I had ever seen.  This photo is Mary and the twins with the grandkids and Chip and Dale.  Pam is on the far right, Pat is kneeling in front of Krissy.  Mary is the one standing.

Jimmy's aunt made the Mary Poppins outfit for Krissy.  Mary Poppins was so impressed that she took Krissy by the hand and took her to some of the tables at 1900 Park Fare to show that today her twin was there.  Krissy was so proud.  So often she is overlooked because Bubby is so cute and uses the walker.  But at Disney she gets as much attention as Bubby.  Doesn't she look so cute with Mary Poppins in her matching outfit?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm home

Yes, I'm home -- with mixed emotions.  I'm glad to be home, but I loved Disney.  Mary asked me yesterday what was my favorite part, and I couldn't really pick just one part.  I don't have the pictures yet, Mary took most of the photos.

And I'm still so excited that I could go on for hours.  But I'll try to organize my thoughts and tell you a little bit each day.  Today I guess I'll discuss what was my biggest worry - how I would get around my disability.  I just can't walk very far, and standing for long periods of time is almost impossible. You guys were all right. Disney makes nearly everything easy for those with disabilities.  In fact, you are practically treated like royalty.
Those using scooters or wheelchairs are loaded onto the shuttle buses first, and their families go with them.  Then the other passengers are let onto the buses.  I only had one person who voiced their dislike of this procedure, and I just figured that some day I may be able to get around better, but he will always be ignorant!  And only one bus driver got nasty, and the cast member handling transportation for our resort overheard it and reported him.  Disrespect and cursing is just not tolerated in the Disney family.

Each show has special seating for those with wheelchairs or scooters, and you are entered in a separate line. (Your family is always admitted with you. They are never chased away to the other line.)  There is special areas for parking in each theater with seats separating each area so that your family sits with you.  There is special viewing areas for handicapped for the parades.  It was just so incredible to me that all these special accommodations are made for the disabled, and I applaud Disney's consideration.  I was so at ease at this amazing park, that we booked another trip for late October.  See you tomorrow.