Monday, December 31, 2012


Happy New Year! Well, almost at the time of this post.

And of course if you're at work when over half the office is out for the holidays, you intend to catch up on your work. What do you do instead? Goof around. Some of you may surf the Web. Me, well, I make memes to put on Facebook and my blog.

Some of my friends have already welcomed in the new year, while some of us are still awaiting it. Either way, I hope your 2013 is filled with lots of fun times, good memories, and lots of love from family and friends!





Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Very Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!

Another Christmas is here, and that means it's time for some annual traditions. One tradition of mine is to watch Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Christmas. I love singing along to the songs! This year I watched it before another tradition: going to the 11:00 PM service at church. This year I had to go, because earlier on Christmas Eve, I went into the 10 or Less line at Target with 14 items. Oops! (Yes, I became one of those people at whom I yell, but I honestly didn't know I had extra items. That's what happens when you just grab and go!)


With my family being across the miles from me, my Christmas morning tradition is to brew some chocolate peppermint coffee, shower, cuddle up in my Disney fleece robe, and then settle in to watch the Disney Parks Christmas Parade on ABC.

This year there are some fun things to see on the parade, like the new Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort, and the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. They even showed a clip of Darth Vader, which means a nod to Star Wars! (Does Christmas get any better than that?!?)

I should probably explain that I have two Christmas trees: one green and one red. I alternate them every other year, so obviously this is the 'red' year.

So from my house to yours, whatever you celebrate, remember the best of your family and friends, don't take them for granted, and put out there what you would like to receive back.

And yes, I do say, 'Merry Christmas!'


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flying High

Normally I will post something about travel, and I try to keep some of my "special" rants to my Facebook friends, since they know me personally. I don't know who will be reading my posts out here so without some context you may think I'm a monster. Having said that, I'm breaking my own rules with this post.

The background story: huge snowstorm hits Denver International Airport six days prior to Christmas. People, luggage, pets are everywhere due to overbooked and canceled flights. My flight was delayed three times already prior to boarding.


14C was my seat. By row 9, I heard a loudmouth in a center seat on his cell phone. Please don't be the guy sitting me. As I approached 14C, I discovered I was on Santa's Naughty List. Okay. I've traveled with other self-important, loud, obnoxious people before (I didn't blog about the flight out to Denver, but my FB friends will tell you about the three drunk ladies. Who was to know about the common thread?), so I could handle this.

Sitting with his feet on the seat like he was purchased on a branch talking about all the 'hot babes' me met at the airport, and perhaps switching seats so he could sit next one of the 'little ladies', I thought great. I'm sitting next to Quagmire from 'Family Guy'. Saying he was Barney Stinson from 'How I Met Your Mother' would have insulted Barney. Unfortunately for 14A, the young, attractive female college student would be the victim of 14B. More on that later in the flight.

Doors shut, announcement's made to turn off all electronic devices, safety spiel is over, and the guy pulls out his 1-quart baggy filled with mini liquor bottles. "Want one?" he asked. "No thank you," was my reply. Goodness knows how germ-invested those little vials were.  Plane is taxiing on the tarmac, and 14B whips out his flip phone (not even a current model), while sipping on his booze. The lead flight attendant walks by, I shoot him a look and nod my head to my neighbor. The flight attendant looks at me like, "Really?" and I nod.  "Sir, we've asked you several times to turn off your phone. Especially at this airport and with the snowstorm, it's imperative you turn off your phone!" was the curt lecture to 14B. I would have been mortified if I were given that lecture. He drops his phone, and 14A has to pick it up for him.

Plane takes off, and Larry the Lounge Lizard starts hitting on the college student. He's from 'Breck', which is Breckenridge you know. "Of course I know. I live in Colorado", she retorted. Score! She figured out this guy was a sleeze.

While the seatbelt sign was still illuminated, 14B flips open his phone and starts listening to voicemails! Hello! We're on a plane! My dilemma since I'm a rule-follower was we haven't reached cruising altitude and the seatbelt sign is still on, but this dude is using his phone! Fortunately, the liquid spirits were calling to him (not on his phone) and he turned off his phone in lieu of his little bottle friends, but drops his phone again. Seriously!

Some of you know may know that point where you are feeling fine and flying high, but then you have that one last drink that totally puts you over the edge and sends you into a tailspin? Well, I witnessed it happening right to the side of me in 14B. All of a sudden, he shut up, eyes glazed over, turned pale, and set the bottle down on my tray table. As if I wanted that!?!

Passing out, the college student and I were relieved that he was down for the count. At least he wasn't bothering her and I didn't have to hear it even with Christmas tunes blaring in my ears. But then, a thought occurred? What if he hurls right on my side of the seat? Could it get any worse?

Then it hit me as he was snoring with his mouth wide open. Let's see if I can put this into a Disney way to describe it: Supercalifragilistic Chronic Halitosis. And it was bad. Must have been drinking on an empty stomach or already had a technicolored yawn bowing to the Porcelain gods at the Denver Airport. Yowsers, it was bad!

Okay, well, thankfully they had cleared us to land. As if on cue, drunk guy wakes up, reaches over to the college lady's arm, and pulls at her wrist! She is mortified and yells, "What the &#$*! are you doing?!?" "I just wanted to see the time," he blurts out. Having enough, I said, "Hey, knock it off. We're about to land." He's a bit put off, but folds his arms pouting, and then pulls out the phone again. I'm tied to technology, but dude, get over it for a couple of hours! Here's the brilliant part. As he fumbles for his phone, he drops it for a third time.

He bothers 14A who at this point ignores him and has nothing to do with him. He bothers Rows 13 and 15, and finally I said, "Look. When we land I'll call your phone, since I know you didn't turn it off, and we'll find it. Just sit still until we land."

Flurry of activity in the cabin, and then over the PA we hear, "Everyone please sit. We're landing!" From the back of the plane on the PA we hear, "Does that mean flight attendants too?" "I should hope!" replies the front part of the plane. What kind of flight am I on????

The plane lands without issue, and I ask the guy for his phone number. "No wait. Let me start over." I dial it; it rings; no answer. We try three more times. Don't see or hear it. Lights come on in the cabin, and I ring the number again. Nothing. Tucked in between the seats, he find his Precious. Flipping the phone open (I think my parents may still have a flip phone, or perhaps they are more with it than he is.), he says, "I didn't get any of your calls. You didn't call me." Great. Someone who knows where is wondering, "Why is this person calling me and not leaving any messages?"

There ends the story. I've had some crazy adventures before, but I've never had anyone use their mobile phone during a flight.  And for those of you who are accustomed to me taking pictures of people in public, this is one of the few times I didn't get a picture of 14B. It would have been too obvious what I was doing, and like some of you have told me, you don't want to visit me in the ER.

This is why you want to limit your travel around the Holidays. You just never know next to whom you will sit.

Ho, Ho, Ho.

White (Before) Christmas

Wow. It's happened again. A huge snowstorm hits just as I have to drive from Colorado Springs to fly out of Denver.

I can't even tell you how many spin outs, accidents, and rollovers I saw. It took two hours to drive up, which was double the time. It's hard to see in this picture, but the blowing snow made it as bad to drive as the icy roads.


Now I know I'm going to catch some grief for this, especially for driving in blizzard conditions, but this gives a quick look at how bad it was driving through the snow. If you crank up your volume, you may here Josh Groban in the background. No, he was not in the car with me. Well, indirectly he was. (Open with iTunes otherwise it's sideways)

video


I am so thankful to have made it safely. There are some nutters out there who should not be driving.

After that nightmare of a drive, I guess I didn't mind the madness that I had at Delta and TSA. After all, it is less thank a week until Christmas. I'm bummed there's no Santa here like last year.

Oh well. I'm at my gate, but my plane isn't. Hopefully the two delays we currently have won't turn into three or more.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Phở Real

After satisfying the Dutch half of my heritage, it was time to address my Asian half.  Even though Phở Indonesian, it comes from the same part of the world. If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing Phở (pronouced 'Fa' not 'Fo'), go out and find a place. There are the Furbee, but hopefully will be around longer than Pogs. You may need to go into the Wayback Machine for those references.

Anyway, I took my parents to two restaurants that serve Phở. The first is simply called Fine Asian Cuisine in Colorado Springs. This was their serving, which I was able to gulp down with no problems at all.


Thanks to our friends at The Gift House in Lakewood, CO (See my review on Yelp), they put us on to this shopping area. Last time I was here with my parents was in September, but we missed Pho Ta.  Let's just say we were so glad to find it this time around.

The Spring Rolls are amazing. Much better than other places. Try the shrimp and the pork.

Mom had a seafood noodle dish, Dad ordered some kind of combo meal, and I had the beef Pho. Let me tell you this: if you are a big eater like I am and usually get a large of anything, don't do it here. It is LARGE! Check out my pictures. I had enough for lunch and the leftovers will be an entire meal for me.

The price for everything was less than if you went to an average sit-down restaurant. I would much rather come here any day over Applebee's or Red Lobster. And the service was first-rate! (One final item worth noting because it's important to me, the bathrooms were very clean!)

We'll be back for sure. It's worth it!


Check out these reviews and more on Yelp.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Herten in the Headlights

While visiting my parents in Colorado Springs, I always have to stop by the Dutch bakery to pick up Christmas treats that bring back fond childhood memories. But you have to get there early or they sell out!


These are called 'oliebollen', which translated literally mean 'oil balls'.  Blech!  Thankfully, they are far from being blech. Think about a marriage between donuts and Beignets, and you're pretty darn close. Some come with powdered sugar and others don't.

The other treat I had to pick up were saucijs brood, which means sausage bread. Heat up until the pastry gets a nice golden brown, generously slather spicy mustard, and don't burn the roof of your mouth!


After I left the bakery, I saw a group of deer across the street. I whipped my car around to take a picture, thinking they would run off. Nope. These well-feed 'herten', Dutch for deer, weren't even phased by me.

Now you've learned three (clean) Dutch words!


Tours Departing Daily

Thanks to my friend, Steve B., I just found a fantastic blog! It's called Tours Departing Daily, and I'm adding it to my list of blogs to follow. Fantastic photography of the Disneyland Resort in California.

They say pictures say a thousand words, so go check it out for yourself!

http://www.toursdepartingdaily.com/

Your blog tour guides, Kevin, Michaela, and Matthew.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where's IT When You Need Them?

Looks like someone isn't paying attention to the monitors.

A New World's Record

"What are '9 minutes' for $1,000, Alex?"

The answer: The amount of time it took to check my bag and make it through TSA this morning.

It was well worth it getting here at 5:30 AM. Having a scone and some tea before heading down to F12 while sitting in the Business Center.

I even downloaded this app. It's actually pretty darn good for those of you who travel a fair bit and especially those that don't.



Monday, December 10, 2012

Breaking in the Winter Boots

After my bout with black ice earlier this year, and it won by giving me a concussion, sprained wrist and bruised ego, I mean elbow, I heeded the unsolicited advice given to me by family, friends and doctors to invest in a good pair of boots.

Over the course of this weekend, we received over 15 inches of snow, making this the third snowiest December on record.

Well, I think these snow boots I purchased will work and are about 95% fool-proof to prevent falling on the ice. The 5% is unsure because a fool is wearing the boots.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Don't Get Your Undies in a Wad!

Doing my usual weekend Cinderella chores, I was folding laundry today. I know it's December, but there was an unexpected present in my no-so-fine delicates. Let's just say one pair of bloomers belongs to one of many senior ladies in my condo building, while the other is quite obviously mine.

Looks like I'll be heading back to the laundry room to return a pair of panties.


Friday, December 7, 2012

A Little Christmas Magic

From my little photo shoot below, you can't tell that I'm way too busy at work. However, a little levity is necessary for one's sanity.

What started out as an experiment with one picture for my Christmas newsletter has turned out to be something quite humorous, at least for me. And it will give me lots of mileage when it comes to needing profile pictures.







Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Christmas Find

I was running around doing errands. You know, picking up dry cleaning and prescriptions, going to Target to buy ink for the printer, etc. Well, I happened to stop by Walgreens to pick up more photo Christmas cards, since I didn't order enough after whittling the list down, and I found a must have.

Mickey and Minnie as snow people looked so cute to me, and I knew they would be perfect under my tree. The added bonus is they are on sale, so I was able to get two for the price of one!  They have extender bars inside of them, so you can make them taller or shorter. I liked this size, and they will be a welcomed addition to my Christmas decorations for years to come!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Skilled at What?

So I was telling coworkers that you now can endorse your connections’ skills on LinkedIn. Here’s a lesson to choose your skills wisely and to be careful of what you endorse.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pass the Gravy

I know by next year it won't be as funny, but maybe it will. It still cracks me up. Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pilgrim Mickey

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and while I'm buried with work, I'm thankful to have work. The Disney Parks Blog has a cute picture of Mickey on it today. Check it out!



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Magic of Fantasyland

I completely forgot to call The Disney Gallery on the day of the artist event, which was November 10th, but I just hung up the phone after placing my order for what they had left. While it's not signed by the artist, I love the colors and design of this piece.

Below you will see what I ordered. It's Disneyland Resort's Matterhorn Bobsleds, with artwork by Jeff Granito. For more information, head on over to the Disney Parks Blog. Be sure to check out comments #5 and #12 if you do read the blog to see posts by yours truly.

My litho should arrive in a couple of weeks!  Woo hoo!
 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Willkommen in Chicago

I always get a warm welcome when visiting Chicago. In fact, they make sure to greet me in many languages! 


Along Michigan Avenue, there are banners which make me smile, for obvious reasons, and remind me why I've chosen to stick around tonight to see the festivities.


Walking from the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue to the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Wacker Drive this morning, I stopped to snap a picture to send to Mom and Dad of me along the Chicago River. Glad today is a short(er) work day!



Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Got to be Disney

Well, I'm back in Chicago, and every year around this time, I go home immediately when the conference is over. And every year, I miss the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, hosted by Mickey, Minnie and the gang. This year, I decided to stick around to see it. Looks like some of the businesses are ready to capitalize on some residual business.


Read more about the The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get Out and Vote!

It's that time again, and hopefully you've done your homework, America. No matter if you think voting is a privilege or a right, just go out and do it!

For whom am I voting? Well, it should be obvious.



I need this image for my Microsoft Lync image. Hope it works!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

48

Today's my birthday, and while I'm not one to celebrate, I did have a great weekend. After church, I went to the Mall of America, and The Disney Store made me feel like a kid again with their special way of helping me celebrate!


And I decided to take the plunge and purchase something I've been eyeing for a while. Some may think it's not age-appropriate, but since when have I let that stop me???


Friday, November 2, 2012

Someday I'll Be a Jedi!

So many images are coming out because of the Disney-Lucasfilm acquisition.  I just found this one on Twitter and it made me laugh.

#StarWars #Disney on Twitpic

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This Is Halloween!

Today is Halloween! I thought it would be fun to go back in time and look at some of my Disney Parks Halloween pictures.

I just love how the Parks have embraced Halloween as much as Christmas and various other holidays. I was lucky enough to be in Walt Disney World Resort in 2009 during the Halloween season.


Notice that I was in shorts and short sleeves? I can't do that in Minnesota, especially this year!


Last year, I was at the Disneyland Resort D23, and so I got to pose outside of The Tower of Terror. Not really Halloween, but it "falls" into that category.


Then again this year, for my 30th high school reunion, I was back in California, so once again I posed at the Tower of Terror, but this time at night. Cool picture, don't you think?


This year, I brought my Mickey treat bowl into work. Mickey waves his arms and talks to you when grab a treat. What's funny is most of my unsuspecting coworkers are taking a treat, and when they do, Mickey scares the "candy" out of them. It's quite hilarious from my point of view!  Hey, no one said it was going to be easy. You get a trick before your treat!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Force Is Strong With This


By now you've heard the fantastic news of the latest partnership. If not, you're living on Tatooine or on an asteroid.

Disney announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Lucasfilm for $4.5 Billion! For a fan of both franchises (That term sounds so sportsy. Not a fan of that.) I'm so excited! Beyond excited! My two all-time loves are now under one company umbrella.


And of course, as soon as the announcement was made, countless Internet memes popped up everywhere. This one is one of my favorites.


So hopefully that means we'll not only see more movies with the storytelling of Episodes IV, V, and VI, but also we'll Star Wars Land at the Parks. And we may get the added bonus of seeing more Indiana Jones Attractions, too!

More to come on this exciting news!



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Travel Planner Kenneth At Your Service!

I'm so excited to announce my friend, Kenneth, is a brand new travel planner for It's All About The Mouse Travel! I can't think of anyone who is more qualified to help you plan your Disney vacation with all the Guest Service you would expect from a Mouseketeer. (See, how could you not trust a man with a smile like that?!?)


Kenneth is a native Georgian and true Southern gentleman, who at the ripe old age of 19, opened his store, Enchanted Gardens Florist & Gifts, in 1986. His love affair with Disney started in 1998 when he added Walt Disney collectibles to his merchandise displays. His store came alive for him when he hosted Disney Artists, Sculptors & Imagineers for in-store signing events. I'm sure Kenneth isn't a name-dropper, but I bet it was such talented sculptors like Bruce Lau and Kent Melton who graced the walls of his store.
From The Walt Disney Classics Collection, Original Animation cels, to pins and the Disney busts from Grand Jester Studios (I should know about this one. He personally got me hooked and has sold me most of those pieces in my collection!), Kenneth has added a little Disney magic for his customers. I happen to know personally he will do whatever it take to help customer try to find their special Disney collectibles.

Like many of us Disney fans, Kenneth has logged many hours at Disney Theme Parks and on the Disney Cruise. He recently graduated from the "College of Disney Knowledge" and is excited to share his years of experience planning special vacations. His goal is to make your Disney vacation a magical experience for you and your family.

You can contact Kenneth at ken@mickeytoday.com to start planning your magical Disney vacation! And as a bonus, if you book or transfer an already booked 2013 Disney vacation with Kenneth before November 15, 2013 you will receive a $25 Disney gift card with your travel documents! If you book or transfer an already booked 2012 vacation you will receive a $50 Disney gift card with your travel documents! 


Don’t delay; contact Kenneth today! And be sure to tell your friends about him, too!

(And while I endorse this candidate for Magical travel, I do not receive any kickbacks. But I approve this message.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Right On Target With Mickey


It's time for my annual business trip to Chicago for the International Municipal League conference. Because I ran out of time during my last two trips to Chicago, I was determined to find the new Disney Store located on State Street. That, and because it was raining and I forgot to pack a t-shirt to wear while setting up our booth, it was a no-brainer to buy Disney.

Like I mentioned, it was a rainy night, but thankfully not all that cold. I took the Red Line from my hotel up three stops to State and Monroe. As I was walking, the rain started to really come down, so I popped into a doorway to put on my windbreaker. I could hardly believe my eyes to see that there is a Target in Downtown Chicago now! (On State and Madison) Now I really was excited! I continued down the street one more block and found the new Disney Store.





While it's much smaller than its Michigan Avenue sister store, it still had the items for what I was looking.




I found this nifty umbrella, as well as a Chicago t-shirt with Mickey on it. I also had to pick up a few Chicago Disney pins for some friends.




I had to pick up this shirt, too, since it matches my Mickey bean bag plush.











Every time I go into a Disney Store in Chicago, I always have to look at the cute plush Mickey wearing that shirt. But since I have the bean bag version of it, and because my carry on is stuffed to the gills, I always pass. But you have to admit he's cute!
After I got my Disney fix, I immediately had to use one of my purchases, and out came the umbrella. Now I mentioned Target. Typically when I'm in Chicago, I have to find a Walgreens, CVS or 7-Eleven to buy bottled water, snacks, and something I forgot to pack, like shaving cream or toothpaste. Now, I can go to Target, which is exactly what I did! While the customer service is lacking, I didn't care, because it's Target and I know where to go to find things.

About this time, the tapeworm and my glucose were telling me it was time for dinner. I didn't want to go all the way back to the Chicago Hilton, drop off my goodies and head out again, so I decided to indulge. Have you been to Epic Burger? It's epic! It's along the lines of Five Guys. But being the big social media geek that I am, I like Epic Burger because you can Tweet and see your posts on their TV screen.

I ordered, sat down, posted a Tweet at #theepicburger, and my meal came. I looked up and discovered that their Twitter feed had frozen, so I couldn't see my Tweet! Drat! Oh well. What else was there to do but to dig into that juicy burger?