Thursday, October 28, 2010

Making Some Progress

I'm finally feeling satisfied that I am making progress on my projects.  I told you about the Halloween wall hanging that I finished.  And finally, here's a photo.

While watching football last weekend, I traced off the appliques for the new grandson's quilt.  When I find a pattern that  I really like, I reuse it in different ways.  A few years ago, a girlfriend gave me an unfinished  cross-stitched baby quilt that she got at a thrift store for only $1.00.  I haven't finished it, but it's really cute.  I had traced around the cross stitched pattern to make a coloring quilt for one of Kristin's former roommates and his wife on the birth of their daughter.  But for my newest grandson,  I have traced the pieces in reverse onto fusible web, and have gotten them fused onto fabric.  I'm cheating a little, though.  In an effort to eliminate some of the smaller pieces, I have decided not to do the bunny with the fence, the scarecrow with the fence, and the chicks.  It's a more difficult project than I've undertaken before -- I have bought blue and green fabrics to use for the sky and grass areas, with a white on white for the large cloud.  Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to sew them together.  But, I will persevere, and get it to look the way I want it to. I always like to challenge myself. The fabric I purchased for the border is green with baby farm animals, and cute green tractors.  (His other Pap has John Deere tractors).  I don't remember how much I bought, but I'm hoping that I had the foresight to order extra so that I can make a car seat cover for him.  I'm sure that you've seen them -- they make the car seat look like a little papoose carrier with nothing but the little one's face peeking out.  It saves Mom the hassle of fighting to get a coat or snowsuit on.  Sure wish they had invented these when my twins were little.

And finally, I'm stripping the last 27 blocks for the log cabin quilts I'm making for another of Kristin's roommates from Penn.  She having twins any day now, and they are doing the nursery in pink and brown.  Once the log cabin tops are pieced, I'll post photos.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Things Change -- and Sometimes It's a Good Thing

Let me start with a story.  Years ago there was a little girl named Mary.  Mary loved to play school, but she always had to be the teacher.  And since she was the oldest of four girls, she most always got her way.  >>>>> Fast Forward.  Mary goes to college, and has to decide what her major will be.  It's not an easy decision -- will it be elementary ed. or accounting.  Since all the economists were projecting a bad future for teachers and good careers for accountants, Mary decides to major in accounting.  >>>>>>>> Fast Forward again.  Mary graduates, and gets a job in accounting.  But soon the job involves wearing many hats.  She does customer service, marketing, web design, and some accounting.  And suddenly her company is sold, and Mary must go with the new company.  Many days, Mary isn't happy, but she trudges along.  But life gives you many bum deals, and one November Thursday morning when Mary gets to work, she is informed that her job has been eliminated and she is laid off as of 10 minutes ago.  She is to pack her stuff and go home.  Mary is in shock, but has a good cry and then picks herself up, dusts herself off and prepares to move on.  But she doesn't find a new job.  Most jobs don't pay what she made before, and some even tell her that she is overqualified.  So, she becomes more active in the schools that her kids attend.  She goes to help out with learning centers in her son's class and chaperons school field trips.  She talks to administrators about new learning options for her son.  And she becomes his greatest advocate.  She builds friendships with her children's teachers.  And one day, she learns that her son's aide will not be returning.  So Mary researches what she needs to do to qualify as her son's aide.  But she doesn't have the necessary qualifications.  Just when she thinks there's no hope for a future in education, she learns that our local Intermediate Unit offers a class whereby she can obtain her Certificate for Emergency Substitute Teaching.  Mary signs up for the class, pays the fee, and then waits for the class to be offered.  In the meantime, she obtains all the clearances that will be required, and talks to the guidance counselor (a former high school classmate) and the administrators (some of whom she had as teachers in school) about the possibility of substitute teaching in our school district.  And finally, she gets the call that the class is full and is scheduled for October 12 and 13.  Mary makes all the necessary arrangements for her kids, and takes the class.  She gets the physical and TB test that is required, and submits her paperwork.  Last Friday, she received her certificate in the mail.  And last night at 10:00 pm, she got a phone call asking her if she could sub for the teacher that her daughter had last year.  And so, today my daughter's life is undergoing a serious, but exciting change.  She's returning to a career in education in the school district where she began her education.  And, her mother's heart is bursting with pride to see her daughter set a goal and then work to achieve that goal.  Today, life makes a big change, and for sure, it's a good one.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall is in the Air

My favorite time of the year is the fall -- the smell of burning leaves (which you don't smell too much anymore), apple cider, pumpkin pie, and lots of football.  I love the colors of fall -- oranges, golds, browns, and reds.  Rod and I were married in 1974 -- right smack dab in the middle of the crushed velvet era.  This is a photo of me with my sister and sister-in-law that was taken at our wedding.  Yes, those gowns are orange, bright orange.  Under the capes, the dress had a V-neckline.  My sister-in-law, Kathy said that with the cape on she felt like Batman, and with it off, she felt like Irma la Deuce.  The girls carried baskets of straw flowers, and even my bouquet was dried flowers.  Our wedding was on Nov. 9, yep in the fall.  My gown has long since met its end, but take a look at the veil. The Juliet cap ended up pretty crushed, but the veil is still as beautiful.

And here's the happy(?) couple just after the ceremony.  Don't we sort of look like a couple of deer in the headlights!!  Notice the dark green crushed velvet tux that the groom is wearing.  Hey, we were the face of fashion.  We were young, no gray hair.  And we thought we had all the answers in life.  Didn't realize that we didn't even know the questions!  But then again, had we known then what we know now, I wonder if we would have done it all over again. We've had quite a ride, and came through with just a few minor bumps and bruises.

And while I'm talking about weddings, this is one of Mary's wedding photos.  This wedding was done on a budget.  They told us in April that they wanted to be married in July.  She wanted to be married in Steeler black and gold.  I told her I'd make the dresses, but refused to put their names on the back.  LOL.  I made all the dresses in this photo. Mary's dress cost about $27.00.  Definitely made on a budget.  My girlfriend did the flowers, and Rod and I catered all the food.  His family all pitched in as kitchen staff, keeping the food table stocked, and washing all the dishes.  But notice Mary's veil.  Yes, it's mine minus the cap.
And here's a photo from Kris's wedding.  I made her gown, and the gowns for the flower girls.  Kristin always loved red and black.  In fact, she always said that she would be married in red and the attendants could wear white.  She compromised.  But the dress was trimmed with red and black, even the beads that I hand sewed onto the hem and the sleeves. Cost for her dress -- about $250.  It was brocade, and the trims were a good bit of the cost.   And see her veil -- mine again.  How cool is it that both my girls (and one of my nieces) wore my veil at their weddings.

But, now back to my love of fall.  There's a crispness in the air, the brightly colored leaves are falling fast, the garden is finished, and in the morning there's frost on the grass.  So, this weekend I'm having a mock Thanksgiving.  We've bought the turkey breast, I have leftover buns to make into stuffing, and the makings for  a couple of pumpkin pies are in the pantry.  And the squirty whipped cream is in the frig.  And I'm dreaming of turkey dinner, hot turkey sandwiches, and homemade turkey pot pie.  Wanna come over for dinner???

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Turning Sixty

On Thursday, I turned sixty.  Sixty. . . Sixty.  Just doesn't seem like sixty should be a word used to describe me.  I remember when my Dad was sixty.  I shouldn't be that old.  I don't feel old - at least not today.  But I'm sixty.  My granddad died at 56.  I've passed that.  My dad died at 66.  Will I make it that long?  My great grandma, on whose birthday I was born, lived to the ripe old age of 94.  And my wonderful granny lived to be 93.  Did I inherit those genes?

Turning 30 was easy.  I had just had twins. Add in a 3 and  a 4 year old, and I was too busy to even think about thirty. I had a really difficult time handling turning 40.  My dad was in intensive care, and although my girls had planned a special dinner, my mom and sister chose to go to play cards at my aunt's.  I was so hurt that day that told my sister that I would not celebrate her 40th birthday.  Should never have said it -- she died at age 37.  I learned that year to keep my vindictive threats to myself.  Fifty didn't seem to be a big deal.  And I just wasn't sure how I felt about sixty.  Other than a word, it didn't seem to matter much.  But everyone else seemed to think it should be a big deal, after all it was another milestone.

So, Mary and her sisters decided a soup supper/birthday party would be a good way to celebrate.  We've done soup suppers before and they are always a lot of fun.  Pam bought decorations and put them up on the back deck.  Mary sent the invites, and specified that each family was to bring a pot of their favorite soup.  And the planning began.  Mary made Carrot/Ginger soup, a soup that we had at Boma in Walt Disney World.  She also made chili and sangria.  Mmm.  A good start.  Pam and Pat made wedding soup and super large pot of hot cocoa.  Delicious.  Kristin made pumpkin soup with cinnamon raisin croutons.  Loved it.  Rod's sister Kathy and the two of her girls that she lives with brought kielbasi soup.  It has the kielbasi, potatoes, onions, stewed tomatoes and buttermilk in it and it was a speciality of my late brother-in-law's.  Niece Becky contributed her version of Olive Garden's Zuppa Tuscana, and her mother-in-law made homemade vegetable soup that tasted a great deal like my granny's (minus the fat on the meat).  I made a pot of hot caramel apple cider.  It was also a hit. And we had some really good breads - Italian, Pugliese, cornbread and cranberry walnut bread.  It was a good night for a soup supper, by the time everyone left we were into the 40's.  We had a really nice time and laughed a lot, which I think keeps one young.  We were all to stubborn to let the cold win, and the crackling fire that Rod built helped.  Pam and Pat had bought 3 kinds of sausage from our local butcher and some hot dogs to go along with the soups. They tasted good cooked over the fire.  

I had requested no gifts -- nobody listened.  Rod had gotten me the Kindle and Mary's family and the twins got me the orange lighted cover that I had asked for.  Kristin's family gave me two DVDs -- A Hard Day's Night and The Great Outdoors.  Kathy's family gave me a beautiful burgundy chrysanthemum.  Nephew Tim and wife Julie gave me a beautiful nutcracker for my collection.  He stands over 3 feet tall, and also gave me a Burt Bee's manicure collection.  Becky's in laws gave me a gorgeous fall wreath.  And Patti and Al gave me 5 scratch-off lottery tickets.  I've got to be one of the unluckiest people in the world -- didn't win a single dollar on them.  It was a great thought, though.  What kind and generous friends and family members I have.

And so another birthday has come and gone.  I'm sixty, and I don't feel one bit older than  I did at 59. But since it's supposed to be a milestone, how about a quilt pattern called Turning Sixty.  Hmmm, I'll have to get on that - someday.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Making a List. . . It's a Good Thing

I've always been a list maker. .   My dad was a list maker. . . My daughter is a list maker.  I think it might be genetic.  But I believe that making a list is a good thing.  First, you can see in black and white what you have that  needs to be completed.  Secondly, and probably most important for me, as you accomplish one of the items on the list you get the satisfaction of crossing it off.  But sometimes I cheat!!  If I do something that wasn't on the list, I put it there just so I can cross it off.  And after making my mental list on Sunday, I finally feel like I'm accomplishing something.  Yesterday morning, I put the final borders on the quilt that I started a year ago for my mom.  And I plan to quilt it myself, it's too close to Christmas to ask my favorite longarm quilter to squeeze it in. After finishing the borders, I neatly folded the quilt and put it on the huge pile of things on the buffet in the sewing room.  And what do you think caught my eye -- the Halloween wall hanging I started last year.  It was all appliqued  and it was sandwiched and all ready for quilting.  What better way to practice free motion quilting than on this wall hanging??  I love to quilt with variegated threads, and found one in my stash that was turquoise, yellow and orange.  And, I figured it would be perfect for quilting my wall hanging.  I quilted it yesterday with feathers on the owl.  Not bad for a first attempt.  So, I moved on to the other panels.  And I tried to quilt "bubbles" on the ghost.  They aren't round, but I like them.   I quilted stars in the stars, and tried to do a wood grain in the broom handle.  Again, not perfect, but I like it.  This morning, I ironed the binding that had already been cut and pieced.  The binding is on, and sewn down.  The buttons are added to the owl's eyes.  And my wall hanging is ready to be hung on the door that leads to the basement.  Of course, it means taking down Santa Claus.  If you've ever seen Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, you know that the characters sing a song "Keep Christmas with You all through the Year."  That's what I've been doing -- Santa Claus in the living room, a Christmas tree quilt in the bathroom.  Yep, Christmas all through the year That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Rod says he will miss Santa Claus, but I assured him that he will be back in less time than we want him to be.  Ho, Ho, Ho.

Monday, October 11, 2010

OK. . . OK. . . OK. . .

I didn't get my sewing room cleaned.  So, maybe I am a slacker!  But in my defense, I'm injured!!  Strange things happen to you as you get older.  Things that you have no control over.  Things that you can't even explain.
Sometime between the time Rod left last week and the time he came home, I turned my knee.  Not the knee that usually bothers me, but the good knee.  I think it happened in bed while I was sleeping.  I think some gremlin came into my room and just twisted the h**l out of my good knee.  It hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, and it hurt to walk. So, I never made it back to the sewing room after Tuesday.

Yesterday, I lamented to Rod that I had not cleaned my room as I had planned.  And I was trying to figure out in what order I needed to finish my current projects.  Rod (gotta love him) asked me if I was having trouble finding what I needed to use for these projects.  "No," I replied.  "I know where everything is".  And in his wisdom, he replied, "Then why would you consider moving any of it right now?"  See how smart he is.  And together we decided how I would proceed with my projects:

l.  Put the last border strip on my mom's quilt top, press it and then put it away neatly for now. I will quilt it after the new baby is born.
2.  Finish the two log cabin quilts that I'm making for Kristin's former roommate who is expecting twins any      day now.
3. Work on the special quilt that I'm planning to make for my grandson, who is expected in mid-November.  I may start tracing off the appliques this week.  (If I can put down Punkin, my new Kindle)
4.  Finish the Toy Story quilt that I started for Mary.

This seems like so much to get accomplished between now and Christmas, but if I just proceed one project at a time, I should be able to get it all finished on time. (Or close to on time)   And since all that was decided, the weekend could proceed.  Saturday morning, Rod and I played lazy, talking and drinking coffee.  Saturday afternoon we went to Krissy's last game, where our team was playing the teams on which my great nephews play.  Then, home for a quick bite to eat so we could take our pills.

And to daughter Kristin's for a bonfire birthday party for step-granddaughter, Jessica.  Isn't she a beauty?  She graduated from high school in May, and is currently attending a local college and working two jobs.  It was a costume party, although we didn't dress up. Jess was dressed like an Indian -- sort of.  I don't recall their dresses being that short.  LOL.  George was dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, and he really looked the part.  Kristin was dressed like a serving wench, and we all teased her about spending too much time on Captain Jack's lap. She's beginning to look like she swallowed a hot air balloon. But we had a good time, and Kristin made a really good guacamole dip that had egg salad layered with it - I know it sounds weird, but it was really delicious.  And so much other good food.  We left about 9:00, but the party went much later than that.

Sunday was an awesome day.  We Did Nothing!!!  I love days where Rod and I spend the whole day doing nothing.  Well, maybe not nothing!!  I read on my Kindle, played Facebook games, and then read more on my Kindle.  Rod watched football, played Facebook games, and checked his eyelids for holes.  The twins joined us (and cooked) BBQ'd pork chops, potatoes grilled with parsley and chives, and Brussels sprouts with cheese sauce.  Maybe not real healthy, but oh so good.  All in all, it was a great weekend, and I hated hearing the alarm go off this morning, telling us it was Monday.  Oh, well.  Time marches on.

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's My Birthday a Week Early

In a way, I love growing older.  Bite my tongue, you say.  But, let me explain.  When I was younger, money was tight, and Rod's idea of a  gift wasn't very imaginative.  Let me see, one year for Mother's Day I got a package of socks.  Oh sure, I needed them. . . but for Mother's Day.

But as I've gotten older, he's gotten so much better.  Like last Christmas, I opened one of my gifts to find a light box.  It was a wonderful gift.  I'd been using a home-made one (a wooden slat box with a Christmas tree kit from our ceramic days inside, and a piece of plexi-glass on top).  The new light box was something he thought of all by himself, and daughter Mary ordered it and had it shipped to her house so that it would be a great surprise.  And for sure it was.

My birthday is next week, no don't applaud.  Rod got home from his business trip a day early and was here yesterday.  And guess what arrived in the mail yesterday . . . a Kindle from Amazon.  I had never even considered a Kindle, wasn't even sure what all it could do, seemed like an extravagance.  Oh, boy!!Was I wrong.  It is a wonderful little electronic device.  I used to love to read.  However, when I hold a book or magazine now, my hands go to sleep.  Don't know why, but they do.  This Kindle is thin, very light weight, and can be held with just one hand. And as I read the directions (yes I do that), I found that you can download books directly from the Internet in just seconds.  I haven't paid much attention to what books have been published lately, but you can be sure that I will be from now on.  If you have any recommendations, please share.

What would be my first download?   I thought and thought, and finally decided to download a book written by one of my favorite people.  I love to watch The View because of Whoopie Goldberg.  And the other day, they were talking about her new book entitled "Is It Just Me".  So far, it's a great read, full of Whoopie's major pet peeves put across in a comic, yet thought provoking manner.

And now, I have an Amazon wish list.  The first item on my wish list is a light cover to protect my new Kindle, and provide a lighted area in which to read it. You know that orange is my favorite color, and so this cover is just made for me!  Daughter Mary suggested I download a cookbook to the Kindle, and then just take the Kindle to the kitchen with me.  Isn't she smart??  I looked at romance novels since I really love historical romances.  Wow, what a selection.  Although, I have to admit, some seem a little graphic for my tastes.  So, now I need to look for some historical novels that take place during the Revolutionary War.

But, there's one thing left to do and that is to name this little gem.  Hmmm, what would be a good name?  I'm thinking maybe Pumpkin, since the cover I want is orange, I got it in the fall which is my favorite time of year, and "pumpkin" is sometimes used as a term of endearment, not to mention one of my best loved things to eat.  Sounds good, maybe I'll just use "Punkin".  Yep, that's it.  Well, signing off now to go spend time with my new friend, Punkin.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Said It Was a Mess!!

and I wasn't kidding.  I have mastered the art of not putting fabric away as I use it.  It must be a skill, it can't be something you acquire!!  This is what I needed to tackle.  This is the trash can in the room and a shot of the floor.  I'm sure that to the untrained eye this looks like someone has missed the trash can when attempting to toss some unneeded fabric.  But, oh no, that is not the case.  You see, I learned to quilt by watching a show that Eleanor Burns used to have on our local PBS show.  She always just tossed her fabric over her shoulder, and so I, being the dedicated student that I was, still practice this method of disposing of fabric.  (Sure wish someone had told me that Eleanor had people to clean this up after filming, and that they don't work for me!)

A few years ago, Rod bought me a beautiful sewing cabinet. The one side has shelves in it, and the other has bins on the door and one large half shelf.  The is where you would sit to sew with the door open. When I moved into this room I intended to use this as an ironing surface, and for a few weeks, I did.  But now, as you can see, I can't find the top of the cabinet let alone use the iron here.  And there is so much stuff in front of the one door that I can't even open it.

Moving around the room, we find the buffet that I bought for storage.  The base for my Zune is here, but not the Zune. (I need to locate that bugger).  We were getting rid of our computer desk, and I figured this section would make a great storage rack for my AccuQuilt GO cutter dies.  Now, I can't see them 'cause there's so much stuff piled in front of them.  And there's no way that the cutter will sit on the top.  Tsk, Tsk.  I should be ashamed.

Still moving around the room, here's yet another view of the die storage and some very neatly folded (NOT) fabric on this shelf.  Sure wish that I could subscribe to the belief that there's a place for everything and everything should go in it's place.  Remind me to work on that!

And last, but not least, is the window sill.  I wanted these shelves so badly, because I could envision what wonderful chachkas I could put on here.  There's the candle lamp (I keep these in all my front windows).  My two large nutcrackers are flanking the window, however, one won't look anywhere but out the window.  (He hates messes and confusion.)  Somewhere on here is a beautiful, little glass paperweight that Krissy bought me at the Santa shop, and a reed diffuser that I got from Yankee Candle.  I really need to clean this off because I bought a refill for the diffuser that will be arriving next week.  And these shelves hold a multitude of sins necessary notions, such of zippers, binding, quilting pins, etc.  So, as you can see, I really have a job ahead of me.  I went back here yesterday and  had started to clean off the buffet, when I found the quilt that I had started for my mom about a year ago.  Knowing how badly she wanted this quilt, I decided that I needed to finish it.  I was really ashamed when I opened it up and discovered that all it needed was the final border, a good ironing, and the backing (the border was already cut).  Being the type of person who will do anything to avoid cleaning, I put on the final border, and am working on piecing the back so that I can get it ready to send to my quilter (well, not my quilter, but the one I use).  I will clean and reorganize this room, I promise.  Really, I mean it.    I do.  Honest.  For sure.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I've Changed My Mind . . . Guess the Wind Changed Direction

A few days ago, I told you about a swap I was in and about the fabric I had received.  I also said I was going to make a Rose of Sharon quilt.  Well, the book arrived, and the more I looked at those patterns, the less I liked them.  I really love doing Sampler Quilts by hand, and so have decided to make still another sampler quilt.  However, I have decided to do all new blocks -- ones that I have never done before.  So, yesterday I got onto my favorite block site:, and picked out some of the blocks that I thought would be pleasing to the eye when finished, and a little challenging for me.

This block is called "Linda's Block".  Can you guess why I picked this one?  My colors will be different from what's pictured here, but I love the star in a star.

This is another block that I chose.  It's called "Wheel of Time".  I really liked this block because it is a variation of Card Trick.  When Rod and I went to our very first quilt show, he was awestruck by a Card Trick quilt that was done in purples.  This block will be for him.

This block is called "Celtic Sunrise", and I think it's just beautiful.  My mother-in-law (God rest her soul) was of Irish descent, and loved everything Irish.  This block will always remind me of her

And this block is called "Birds of Paradise".  I had never seen this block before, and I think it really does look like the bird of paradise flowers.  My sister loved these flowers, as does daughter Mary.  This block will be for them.

I usually do 12 blocks with sashing for a quilt that measures approximately 45"x60", but I had a hard time just choosing 12 blocks.  So, it appears that this quilt will be maybe 20 blocks.  I guess it will depend on how much time I put into it since our finished quilt (size is our choice) is supposed to be finished and posted by March 1, 2011.

There they are. . . the first 4 blocks that I'm planning to do.  Rod is out of town this week, and I'm hoping to get the sewing room cleaned and better organized.  It's quite a disaster, and if I'm going to complete even half of the projects I was to do before Christmas, it needs to be spit-spot.  Perhaps later this week, I'll post before and after shots of the sewing room.  Have a sewy week.

Just wanted to add that the photos/drawings of the quilt blocks were taken from the website.  Didn't want any confusion.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sadly, Going Home

Wednesday would be our last day at Walt Disney World.  No breakfast was scheduled, since we had to pack our bags and check them for the airline at the baggage check in our resort.  We were required to be out of our room by 11:00 a.m.   Rod went to the resort food court and got each of us a danish and coffee to keep our strength up for the check-out procedures.  Bags were packed, and thank goodness I had bought a small luggage set in the hotel gift shop (a clearance price of $12.95 for two pieces) or we wouldn't have had enough room to bring everything home.  We checked our bags for the airplane, and then checked our carry-ons with the resort baggage check.  Pam and Pat were already at the park, so we boarded the bus for EPCOT.  We had a lunch reservation for 1:20 at LeCellier, and were meeting Mary's family there.  Pam and Pat had spent time at the aquarium before we got to the park, but revisited with Rod and I when we arrived.  After this we started the walk to Canada, where we would have lunch.  I wanted to visit the China Pavilion to see the tomb warriors.

The tomb warriors are miniature replicas of the life size warriors which were created for the tomb of China's first emperor.  Each face is different, and it is believed that they were actually modeled after real life warriors.  Rod and I had seen the real-thing on a documentary we had watched on TV, and I really wanted to see Disney's miniature version.

We stopped in Germany, where there was supposed to be a new candy shop opening, however it wasn't open.  I love chocolate covered marzipan, but with the temps being so hot, I didn't think it was a good idea to buy any.  The new shop opened this past week, a week late for us.

And then it was off to Canada.  I was really looking forward to this meal since I had heard so many good things about LeCellier.  Mary had invited a friend from the Internet to join us for lunch.  The steaks were to die for.  They are topped with "Bercy Butter".  I asked our server exactly what that was -- almost wish I hadn't.  It's a special blend of butter with herbs, shallots, wine, and. . . get ready for it. . . . marrow.  Ewwww.  Just the thought of it.  But it was soooo good.  For our appetizer, I got the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, and it was really good.  Then came my steak with some sort of potato gratin, which I didn't care for.  And for dessert, I got the maple creme brulee.  I've never met a creme brulee that I didn't like.  Rod, however, chose the chocolate mousse.  What else would you think this was???  It was the chocolate mousse with maple candy ears.  Mmmm, he shared a bite with me and it was as delicious as I had heard.

Yes, Mary's friend joined us.  He seemed to be intent on insulting everyone at the table.  I don't believe that making fun of people is funny, and that was his sort of humor.  He demanded the server to have the chef make something special for his special dietary need, even though she had already told him what was on the menu that he could eat safely.  And he totally monopolized the conversation.  Shortly after the meal began, I wished I could move to a different table from him. He couldn't understand why Rod and I didn't want our picture taken with him, and, of course, threw a snide comment about it.  We had to leave quickly as lunch took longer than we expected, and  we needed to be at our resorts for the Magical Express to go to the airport.  Boy was I glad!!  Had I had the time, I would have done a dance of joy.

We made it back to the resort in plenty of time to meet the bus, and soon we were on our way to the airport. We could see the Castle as we were leaving, and bid it a sad goodbye.  Our flight home was really incredible since we were in the air for the sunset.  It was a beautiful sunset, and then we could see lightning in the clouds in the distance.  Upon landing, we went to baggage claim to collect our bags.  Southwest advertises that they fly your bags for free, and that's the truth.  What they don't say is that they damage them for free also.  We had one suitcase that they broke the handle off of and lost, they broke the hard plastic luggage tag in half, and broke a mug that was packed in an insulated cooler inside the bag.  And, would do nothing about it.  So beware,  although bags fly free, they aren't treated with respect.

But, all in all, it was a wonderful vacation.  I'm glad to be home, but hope to go back someday.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ghosts, Goblins, and Trick or Treat

me getting a surprise hug from Pooh
Tuesday began with my very favorite breakfast - 1900 Park Fare.  This character breakfast takes place in the Grand Floridian, one of Disney's most elite resorts.  Breakfast guests are greeted at their tables by Alice, The Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Tigger, Piglet and the Pooh bear.  The Mad Hatter was one of my favorite characters from Alice in Wonderland, but meeting him in person was an experience of a lifetime.  He goes around the restaurant greeting the eaters, all the while shouting at Mary Poppins.  Usually the characters concentrate on the kids, but when Pooh saw our anniversary buttons, he surprised me with a hug.

Marys and Mad Hatters

SIL Jimmy has the most amazing relatives.  For our Disney trip last year, his Aunt Karen made Krissy this Mary Poppins dress.  And this year, with only a few days notice, she and some of Jimmy's cousins put together this incredible Mad Hatter costume for Bubby.  The Mad Hatter was so impressed, and kept shouting to Alice that "no one wanted to dress up like you, that just shows they like me better".  So here's our Marys and Mad Hatters.  Aren't they a hoot?

After breakfast we took the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Here, I managed to get Pinocchio's autograph.  The heat was really taking it's toll on us two old grandparents, so we decided to go back to the hotel for some cooling off and a nap.  We had tickets for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party that night, and knew it would be a late one.  The nap did us both good, and after a "lunch" of French Quarter's well-known beignets, we took the bus back to the Magic Kingdom.  From there we took the Monorail to the Polynesian, where we would have dinner at Kona.  Kona has to be one of all of our favorite places for dinner.  Their steaks are the best, and I love the duck pot stickers as an appetizer.  For dessert I had their chocolate-banana creme brulee.  Mmmm, doesn't just the sound of it make your mouth water???

The Castle at dusk
After dinner we were off to the Halloween Party.  As we started down Main Street, this was our view of the Castle at dusk. The Halloween Party is the one time that adults are permitted to enter the park in costume.  And to say this is a family environment, we certainly saw a lot of "hookers".  One family we saw was all dressed in costumes from Peter Pan; another was in costumes from Pirates of the Caribbean.  We proceeded through the park to Liberty Square, where we had found front row seating for the Halloween Parade.

Wow, how can I describe this parade and do it justice??

 The parade begins with the headless horseman riding the parade route.  There are beautifully lit floats featuring both heroes and villians.  

One of the most impressive entries in the parade, were the grave diggers.  They perform precision moves with their shovels, and when they scrape them on the pavement, sparks fly.


The specters from the Haunted Mansion made an appearance, looking surprisingly scary in their finest garb.

And of course, there was my beloved Captain Jack Sparrow.

The Party was great fun, the parade was just amazing, and the trick-or-treating to collect sweets from Goofy's Candy Company made me feel almost young again.  But eventually, it was time to say good night to the Magic Kingdom and it's Castle.

Good Bye to the Magic Kingdom for this visit.  But rest assured, we'll be back!