Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!!

Today is Mom and Dad's 47th anniversary. It's also their last day in Minnesota. The week went by quickly.

We went to a yummy restaurant called Northcoast in Wayzata off of Lake Minnetonka for lunch today.

Still happy after all these years (and having me for a son!).

You Betcha, We Went Up Nord

My Mom loves lighthouses. So when she and Dad decided to come for a visit, she asked if we could go see the Splitrock Lighthouse. Being the good son that I am in Minnesota, I said "You Betcha!"

So I found a cabin on the Northshore near Gooseberry Falls. Here we are on the shore of Lake Superior.

We were about eight miles from Gooseberry Falls. I just love that place. Isn't it pretty?

Another two miles away was the Splitrock Lighthouse, one of our Minnesotan symbols. Mom got her wish and climbed the 32 steps in the lighthouse to go to the top!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Disney Store # 415 Reunion

I'm getting ready for the cocktail reception we're having for my folks today, but I wanted to put this out here before anyone else puts theirs out! (So competitive!)

Every so often, a group of people who came together in a retail environment for the love of Disney "worked" together. But as we knew from the beginning, it was much more than that. Of all the people that I've met in my journey through life, none are so dear as the friends I've made through Disney.

We say it time and time again. It's amazing how we worked together, for a short time or many years, and after all these years, we still come together as if family. Some of my dear friends I get to see on a regular basis, and others I have to wait to see at reunions like this one. But I cherish these moments and these friends. They are a first-rate group of people. Heck, Dani's seen my underwear. (I'd better clarify that. Chris, her husband, saw them too, but only because they helped me move!)

So here's to The Disney Store #415 Team. While all of us weren't together last night, we certainly talked about you!!!! (And you know we did!)

Front row: Brynn and Karen; Second row: Peter and Mariah; Back row: Brian, Wayne, Dani, Tom, Julie, Tim
(More pictures to follow soon on my website. Or if you're on Facebook, check them out there)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mall of America Day with Mom, Dad and Flat Stanley

Today we spent the day at the Mall of America. I dropped off Mom and Dad at Starbucks while I ran across the street to work to attend a meeting. Then we went shopping.

Along the way, we had some photo ops. What I don't make my parents do, but you can see from where I picked up the "ham gene."

Here, you can see that Flat Stanley LOVES The Disney Store! (If you don't know who Flat Stanley is, go to http://www.flatstanley.com/)

After looking for souvenirs, we were hungry, and I knew Mom would love Bubba Gump's. So we we had a ton of shrimp and saved room for bread pudding. Dustin our waiter got a hefty tip for his outstanding service, especially having to put up with my Dad!

Hey! Can you guess what this is??? Guess!!!

It's a BEAR PAW!!!!
(Yes, I lead a sad life)
Tonight they stay home while I attend The Disney Store Reunion!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Will You Celebrate?

Well, Mom and Dad arrived last night on US Airways (Thanks for helping my parents out, Adam!!!)

After a good night's rest, we decided we'd head out to Downtown Minneapolis. As we walked through Macy's an omen appeared on one of the displays? Any guesses how much that t-shirt (I did say t-shirt) cost? Only $198.00!!!!

We started walking through the Skyway over to the IDS Center so I can show them where Mary Tyler Moore has lunch at Basil's in the opening credits, when we looked out on the street and saw it was Farmer's Market day! Since I don't work Downtown anymore, I had totally forgotten that Thursdays up until October they have this.

Then, what did I spot? Was that a Mickey Mouse balloon? Yes it was! Then I spotted a HUGE Mickey Mouse balloon!

Mike in California had told me that they were kicking off next year's Disney event in several cities including Minneapolis. A bunch of my Disney friends talked about it, but in the pandemonium of this week, I totally had spaced that they were having this event Downtown (REALLY!!! No one will believe me, other than knowing I'm an airhead.)

One-Two...Click. Dad's great with the camera. And I did not ask for a pink balloon.

So, not only on day one of my family's visit did I get some nice quality time with my folks, I was able to throw in some Disney magic too! Well, other than Dad's balloon popping on the bus and it scared the heck out of the passengers. (I can't repeat what one guy said). At least the bus driver found some humor in it. She said to us and the other passengers that it was like our economy: great at first and then it's a bust.
To learn more about the new Disney event, check out http://www.disneyparkscelebrations.com/ to enter a chance to win a vacation for four to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. (You know I'm the walking billboard for Disney.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's a Small Bus After All

This morning I was zoning out to random tunes, and "It's a Small World" came on. Normally I have a quick nap to and from work, but this morning I was wide awake. I also noticed that as "It's a Small World" was playing, that it was appropriate for my bus ride.

You see, the bus driver is from Togo, and there was an Chinese man behind me. To my right was an Eastern European man, and two Mexican ladies were off to the side. Then there was yours truly, who is of Dutch-Indonesian ancestry.

The ethnic landscape in Minnesota has changed a lot since I first moved here. And the bus I ride is a smaller bus (not the short bus), so I was amazed at the ethnic diversity this morning.

It truly is a Small World After All! (Have I said it enough so the song will still with you today?)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Evening Went to the Dogs

Last night I attended the Whisker Whirl Goes Hollywood benefit. It was a blast as usual. Last year, it was so cold, we couldn't wait to get into the tent. This year, it was so warm and sweltering in the tent, we couldn't wait to get outside. But it was great people and pet watching!

I can never keep my eyes open in pictures, but here I am with Dani.

It's hard to see in this picture, but if you look to the middle of it, you may spot a Great Dane that was taller than the table! She was wearing a feather boa.

Oh my gosh! Do you see what's hidden in my dessert???

That dessert was wonderful. In fact, it was better than "ex".

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Some Cookie

Guess how much this cookie cost? It's an average-sized oatmeal and raisin cookie. Go on...guess.

Mind you, I didn't buy this cookie. I tasted it a bit of it, and it didn't send me to heaven and back like an In-N-Out Double Double does.

A CEO (not mine) who likes bass fishing "needed" these for his birthday. Give up?

Ten ($10.00) US dollars. I'm sorry. But for 10 bucks, that cookie should have done my laundry for me, and like Paris Hilton, it wasn't all that and a bag of chips.

Friday, September 19, 2008


For the record, I did not do this on purpose. I'm going to blame waking up at 3:00 AM for the past week and my allergies for my lack of memory. My friends will tell you otherwise.

But I forgot one of the Disney "i" flairs, and it seems appropriate that I forgot...what's her name again???

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


In the previous post, I mentioned some of my addictions. Well here is something that combines almost all of them!

Out on the web, you can see what some clever people have done, based on the popular iPod/iTunes ads. You can find just about any character and person showing their loyalty to the iPod brand.

Here are some of my favorite iDisney ones, some of which you can also find on my flair bulletin board in Facebook. These are pretty self-explanatory. If you have others, please pass them on to me!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Everyone knows I'm the poster child for Disney. I'm every marketers dream of buying into something. (As the director of marketing, you 'd think I could apply some of the same brain-washing techniques to make our stock soar, but that hasn't happened yet.)

It's just like me having three iPods. Why does one person need three iPods? And yet I do. I can't give away the Mini; the 80G holds most of my music; the iTouch has a nice screen for my videos and podcasts.

Then there's LinkedIn, the professional networking site with over 24 million users(*1) representing over 150 industries, which I love and see at many of the trade shows I attend. Some joke that LinkedIn is the boring social network that won't land you a date, but could find you a job. It's a great place to stay in contact with business partners and associates and to ask for professional advice. So it wasn't a far stretch for my compulsive personality to be turned to the Dark Side and cave to my friends' requests to join Facebook.

Facebook, for those of you living in a cave, is the social networking site that has over 60 million members(*2). One of the big controversies, is that many people treat that site as their "personal" haven, despite the fact that 60 million people can become your "friend", and the site is a place where the boundaries between work and personal lives has become blurred.

For example, many of the recruiters and business partners with whom I work will look for temporary and career-minded individuals to fulfill a requisition. Some people don't like that, while others think it's a gold mine of opportunity. I myself struggle with having my business partners and even some colleagues seeing my wacky antics on my off time. Thank goodness for those filters!

But if you do find yourself on LinkedIn or Facebook, be sure to add me to your network. I don't want to miss out anything!



(*1) - The New York Times, September 17, 2008
(*2) - CrunchBase, September 13, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Going to the Dogs and Cats: Whisker Whirl

Wow, I have a lot of pictures on my camera that I've either forgotten to post or with some to do. But since next weekend I'm going to be attending the Animal Humane Society's Whisker Whirl, I figured I'd better post some pictures of last year's event before posting the ones I'll be snapping this year.

This is a great fund raiser where pet owners and lovers can get together for the evening and have a good time. They have pet food as well as human food. Sometimes, it's hard to tell which is which, but I was assured that this was the human dessert plate.

Last year's theme was Autumn in New York, and Tamar Geller was one of the guest presenters. The table displays reflected things we'd expect to see from the Big Apple, like Broadway. Hey! Do I spot The Lion King?

If you're in NYC, you have to go to Little Italy. Wait! Is that Lady and the Tramp?

Yes, some of the tables did have a Disney touch, but that's because friends Dani and Chris, who volunteer for the Humane Society, also provided some of the table decorations. They clean up nicely, don't you think?

This year's theme is Whisker Whirl Goes Hollywood, so that should be fun. But as we left last year, someone left their "auction paddle" on their table and I couldn't resist this picture. They had a Hollywood theme last year and didn't know it! Woof!

If you'd like to know more about this year's Whisker Whirl or would like to make a donation, check them out at:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Laughter in the Rain...Kind Of

You know that it's Fall when it's time for the annual Fall into the Arts Festival. Typically, it looks like this:
But not this year. It was so damp and rainy, I (wisely) didn't bring my camera. Checking the Weather Channel before venturing out, I figured I would walk over and around the festival before the rain would come through. But that was only after I had done my laundry chores.

A few nice things, and many of the same exhibitors were there. There was one "must have", but since he only took cash or check, I asked him to hold it and I figured I could run home, avoid the rain and becoming sopping wet, and then come back to pick it up. Even with an umbrella in hand that didn't happen.

As I was heading home, which is only a few blocks away from the festival, the heavens open up and the Minnesota rain came down. It's not the fun Summer rain that feels good. It was the cold, damp rain that came down. By the time I got home, every inch of me was wet.

I changed and let the storm pass before heading out again. I picked up my treasure, and guess what happened...again? Yep. Another storm cell came through, and I was drenched again. After getting caught up on laundry, my trip out today cost me two days worth of laundry. Oh well.

Here's what I have to show for it. It's a silver creamer with silver spoons as the chimes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Lunch Nightmare (the good kind)

I had to run a couple of errands at the Mall of America yesterday. Even though I can't let go of Summer, Fall's cool (no pun intended) because of all the Halloween stuff.

At Hallmark, the have a "Three Faces of Jack Skellington" tealight votive holder set (the clerk corrected me after I said candle holder) that was fun. And then through my traditional spin through The Disney Store, they have a few new pieces out (I was expecting more, especially for the 15th anniversary).

I was admiring the Jack and Sally candle stick holders (these actually were candle stick holders and the Cast Member was too busy pushing Sleeping Beauty and the Tinker Bell movie to correct me if I had made a mistake), when I saw this and thought, "What's This?" (NBC fans will be rolling their eyes at me about now. If you don't get it, watch the movie.)

This figurine lights up, and Jack comes with three interchangeable heads (Why are there so many things for Jack with interchangeable heads? Could it be because of his many expressions? I think so!) and was pretty tall. But for $100, I'd rather go for broke and get the WDCC Pumpkin King piece (which costs the equivalent to a roundtrip airfare to London, so you decide which one I'd take!)

I didn't pick up any of these pieces...yet!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Did I Just See That?

While running errands today, I passed a gas station near the condo. Did I just see that? I wish I had my camera! But my cell phone can snap pics, but very good ones.

This was on the side of the bus.And here's a closer look at it:
An important message to be taking to everyone, especially the universities, but I wasn't expecting to see that in Minnesota!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Noise Pollution

All day long, I had back-to-back meetings. I had just enough time to throw some food down my gullet at some point in the day. Needless to say, I was looking forward to my nap time on the bus ride home.

First, a loud person got on the bus to ride a block. Then some guy is was oh so important, had to make sure we all knew it as he carried on a conversation that was probably heard over at the Republican National Convention over in St. Paul.

But the kicker was a woman with five little kids got on the bus. They could see that I was trying to get some shut eye, but insisted on sitting all around me and were constantly yelling and screaming.

After a few looks that could kill that didn't work, I turned to the kids and asked them to keep quiet. The woman shot me a look as if to say she was insulted. I was about to give her a little piece of advice [Warning parents! Non-Disney comment coming up] that if you can't control your kids, you should keep a better job of keeping your legs together, when she rang the bell to get off the bus. I don't even think it was her stop.

I'm home now. It's amazing how a glass of red wine can calm the nerves.