Sunset on Pensacola Beach

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Disney Part II

Yes!  I admit it.  I miss Mickey and Disney World.   The drive was 7 hours from our house in Gulf Breeze and it went quickly with Sandy and I talking and looking at the scenery.  But when you pull up to the Disney property all changes with flowers, green grass, and everything is as clean as could be.   Just as it is expected at Disney World.
The living seas area was very different than the last time I was there.  When you walk in, these sea gulls are out front saying "mine, mine mine"   and they have t-shirts with that also.  So cute!   I loved the attracktion talking with Crush.   He was so funny talking to the audience and his facial feature changes are a riot. 
Sandy and I ate at the Coral Seas restaurant on Friday night.  I had the lobster ravioli.  Oh my incrediably good!  And every restaurant started the meal with fresh breads.  Yum!
This picture of me is at the Magic Kingdom.  It was 91 degress  -   in February - hmmmmmm.  We picked February because it would be cooler and cheaper.   Cheaper it was.   Cooler it was not.
  This is a blurry picture.  Sorry.  I was standing up on the train station and took the picture. 
This is me in front of one of the many fountains in Coronado Springs on Monday night - the only time the weather was a bit cool.   We took off to the Disney Marketplace and shopped!
If you are going to Disney World to relax, HA!  It won't happen.   Be prepared to walk miles every day.  Be prepared to be up early to get to the parks before they are too crowded.   And be prepared for so much fun that you won't want to relax and take a nap because you will feel like you must keep going.
Some more of my Disney World thoughts:
1.  Take a picture of your parking lot name with your phone when you arrive so you don't forget where to go for your car.
2.  Bring several pairs of shoes and band-aids for your feet.    They will get sore.   They might get blisters (mine did) and yet you will continue to truck on.
3.  Learn when to hit certain areas during the day for the least lines.   We NEVER stood in any line over 10 minutes. 
4.  Visit the resorts.  Each resort also has a restaurant that you can make reservations at and enjoy with less crowds.
5.  Know you can't do everything in 5 days.  If you try, you will collapse.  Enjoy the beauty around you.
6.  I am amazed how polite most of the people are for the most part.  
7.  Bring your own water bottle in and fill it up to save money. 
8.  Stay on Disney property.  You will enjoy parking your car and not using it again until your vacation is over.
9.  Wear your Disney t-shirts.  Many people wear their newly bought Mickey ears.   You will NOT feel foolish and you will fit right in with everyone else.
Yesterday we ran over to Panama City to have dinner with Sandy.   She left Sunday morning for home but decided to stay on the beach for two nights.   I just think she does not want to go home.  Just kidding because I know Sandy loves the beach and wanted to enjoy.   Well, our next trip is to Indiana in two weeks.  I am looking forward to going to see everyone and Ron's new puppy, Sage.   

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Making Memories at Disney World.....Part I

A week ago my Aunt Sandy (Sandy Kaiser) and I went to Disney World.   Sandy had lived in Jupiter, Fl when married to my Uncle Bob and raised Tammy and Robin there but moved to Seattle when Bob passed away.  She was there over 10 years and has just moved to Atlanta to be close to Robin.  But that also means we are only 5 hours away from each other. So Sandy and I put our heads together and planned a week at Disney World.  And what a week it was!  I had so much fun and can't wait to go back.  Sandy is the ideal travel partner - we have such fun together and she is willing to do everything my way!  (he-he)
 Here is Sandy at the Mexican Restaurant in Epcot.  We ate there Tuesday night and the food was wonderful but when we walked outside a major thunderstorm began with all the loud bangs and wind.  We stood under a pavilion but that did not help much as the wind blew the rain in upon us anyway.   So we had to buy the Disney rain ponchos which was annoying because we had some in the hotel room.
Speaking of hotels we spent the first two nights at the Coronado Springs Resort on Disney Property.  It is a beautiful resort but so, sooooooo big.  I was impressed with how comfy the beds were and the decorations but just to get to the pool is quite a walk.   It is considered a moderate resort and I saved money with my Florida resident discount.  Yea for me!
The third through fifth nights we stayed at a condo that Sandy had point for through her vacation plan.  It was perfect for us - two bedrooms, living room, and two bathrooms.  Very pretty and tropical and only 5-10 minutes from Disney.

I can't tell you how many times I have seen Cinderella's Castle but it is always so breathtaking at night as it changes colors.  Cinderella is one lucky girl!
Sandy and I ate at the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort one evening and had our picture taken.  I have stayed at the Polynesian but never again I am afraid.   It is a deluxe resort and that means big bucks.   Big, big bucks. But that doesn't mean that you can't hop onto the monorail and have dinner there. 
Here are some quick thoughts.
1.  Disney is as beautiful as I remembered.  Perfection is everywhere.
2.  I love the attractions and am amazed at what they do.
3.  T-shirts are too much money.  $22-$30 a t-shirt.  Give me a break.
4.  The shows are unbelievable and worth it if you just go to see those.
5.  Be prepared to walk miles and miles.   I have the blister to prove that.
6.  Almost everyone is polite but there is that occasional line jumper that you would like to stick your foot out and trip.
7.  Food is over priced also.  Good but over priced.  I don't know how a family of four or more can afford to eat there.
8.  I love the Minnie hats and shirts.   Yes, I got one of each.
To be continued....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Last year...

This is my house in Portage and pics I took after one of the snow storms  last year.   Ha!   I remember getting rid of the snow so well.
No wonder Kacey did not want to go outside.
Dad used to feed the birds during the winter on the lake.   I am sure the birds have missed him this year.
Well, I just talked to Sandy on the phone and all is ok for our Disney trip.   I had the tires on my car checked and rotated today.  So we are now down to

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Things I Miss Since Leaving Indiana....

Today  is a fun list to put together because it brings back memories of people and things that I care for from Indiana.   So let's get start:
1.  Beautiful soft white snow fall during evening when I am safe and warm at home.
2.  I will miss the beautiful spring when the brown everywhere turns to fresh green grass and blossoms on flowers on trees.   Especially my tulips when they pop up in April.
3.  I have already missed Shafer Lake with the ice and snow but the problem is, so have the people that live there.   The winter has been so warm they haven't had ice yet.  Bizarre!  Also, we had several boats when living on the lake and we sold them prior to moving.   I sure will miss our boat rides and the lake!
4.  Working in a town that everyone is proud to be a Brickie!  What is a Brickie you might ask?  A Brickie is anyone and everyone that went to Hobart during their school days.  Brickies are proud of their schools and town, their sports teams, their bands and choirs, and all student activities. 
And this is Yohan.   He is the Brickie mascot.  His picture shows up everywhere in Hobart.  Yes, I miss Yohan.   How ya doing guy?
5.  Working with my bands.   I am a band director and had 36 years of teaching.   I loved my job.  Yes, loved it.  That is why it took me 6 months to decided whether or not to retire.  I taught in a great school system in a new band room with mostly new facilities.  Big bands with talented students and fellow staff members that become like family.  I miss this lots....lots......yes, lots.

6.  Family and friends.  We have family members that we left but thanks to cell phones, we talk lots.  Ron and Dave -my brothers - have been here every several months and we talk almost every day.  But I miss them.  Friends - I have always said you have "work friends" and "friend friends".  These are the people that are your friends through life.   You know even though you are 900 miles apart, you are always there for each other. 
Kelly is one of several of those friends and I just happened to have a picture of her turning around to yell at me when we were on a ride at Indiana Beach.   Mean Kelly.  Betty and Kris is coming down for Spring Break.

Yes, you do miss people and activities when you move far away.  I often think of the people and then pick up the cell phone and call and then feel better.  You trade the activities from the past for new ones to enjoy.  Again, this list could of gone on and one, especially when it came to the band program.   I have a great deal of pride in everything we accomplished those years and I will enjoy hearing all the successes that Kelly has with the program.

I am making a final packing list for Disney World tonight.  I have the Disney rain ponchos from previous trips but it would not dare rain on my trip. 
9 - yes, 9 days till Disney World. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

What I Don't Miss....

So I am home for the evening and thinking about my blog.   What to write about???  Well, Ron just sent me a a picture of the snow in his front yard.  The storm has just begun and it is suppose to snow all night.  I will tell you, having lived off of Lake Michigan most of my life, lake effect snow is the worse.  It just keeps falling and yet two miles down the road they might not get but a couple of inches.
Which brings me to things I don't miss now that I am in Florida.Snowing In Hobart.

Now to the topic of today's blog.....things that I don't miss from Indiana.  Here we go:
1.  Frozen roads and deep snow.  (Kacey doesn't miss the deep snow either.)  I did miss seeing that pretty first snowfall of the year when the snow is white and clean and beautiful.
2.  Waking up at 5:30 a.m. to get to school.
3.  Teaching on days that you feel too sick to be there but need to be there because of concerts.
4.  Trying to start my expensive snow blower that won't start - call Ron - he comes over and it starts right away.   UGH!!
5.  Trains and trains and trains.   I had to cross 2 busy train tracks to get to school.

6.  Taking Kacey out at 6:00 a.m. and the ground is frozen.   She does not like the cold, cold ground and I need her to do her business but she just wants back in the house.
7.  Living next to a town/city in which crime is a big problem.
8.  And yes, there are some things about teaching (very few) that I don't miss but I think I will not get into details.  Just know that teaching has wonderful memories and just like every job, some bad.
I am lucky though.   I have way more good memories than bad.

That is all I can think of things I just don't miss.  Tomorrow I will list what I do miss.   A much longer list.
Today I got my Keen sandals.  They came in less than 24 hours after I ordered them......I didn't think that was possible!  Sandy and I talked tonight about our trip.   I have warned her that I am reading everything I can about Disney world and I am going to give her a quiz when she gets here.  I have been reading Disney message boards and many people have great tips like get your pop and water at Walmart before you go to save lots of money.   Many suggest  taking it easy and enjoying all Disney offers - take an afternoon break - use fastpass - and more.  But some advice is silly.   One lady suggested not to buy any Disney souvenirs or t-shirts.  Yea, like that might be possible! We are excited and ready to go!!
10    10      10     10      10  Days till Disney

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Disney Preparations

I am getting more and more excited for Sandy and my Disney World trip.   Here are some Disney preparations that I have been taking care of this last week.

#1.      I ordered a pair of  Keen Venice sandals.  I was able to try them on in a store in Pensacola but they were $95 before taxes and black.  I have black sandals (Merrills) and did not need another pair in that color.  So I spent several hours perusing the Internet looking for these shoes and found a site that I could get them for $63.00 and that includes taxes and shipping.  That is for me!  This was in a tan color with coral trim.   Maybe not my first color choice but I like them and I saved $30.00.   I choose these shoes because of many Disney blog ladies said their feet did not get so sore and tire so quickly while wearing them.   Hope they work.   They felt great when I tried them on.
I will be getting them Saturday and gives me a week to wear them in before the trip.  

#2.     I am going to use the fanny pack.  I hate to go against fashion but I want comfort!  I have a smaller Vera Bradley bag but would not hold sunglasses, water, tickets, wallet, etc.   This bag will and I will not have to worry about a purse/bag when on rides.   So be it!

#3.    Photopass at Disney
I have read much on this and of course, would like to utilize photopass but even if you prepay, it is $99.00.   The pictures are suppose to be of great quality.  I think, unless Sandy would like it, I will not use this because of the cost.  I have a small camera that takes good pictures that will fit in the bag and one evening I will take my best camera into the park for pictures.  This will do for this trip.

#4.   Search for Disney tshirts.  
I have Disney tshirts to take so I am a true Disney fan while in the parks.  I just have to find them.   This is easier said than done.

And now to a new topic.   Our friends, Doris and Ben came to visit for the day yesterday and I hope they enjoyed the day as much as we enjoyed having them here.   We went to Hemingway's for lunch because the food AND the view is great.   Then I took them down to Fort Pickens, back through Pensacola Beach looking at houses, and finally a drive to Navarre.   We came home and had homemade pizza for supper.  Lots of laughing and memories where thrown about.

Last Saturday we went to the Navy Base and spent some time at the museum.  Dad loves that museum!   Then we drove over to the building that was used as the old band room when Dad played trumpet in the Navy.  So I took a picture of Dad in front of it.  Dad has many stories and many good memories from this time. 

Well, that is enough for now.   Dad is out golfing right now which makes Mom and I very happy.  
Finally he is back to golfing which he loves.  Mom is taking a nap - she is tired after having her heart shocked but she is doing great.  Kacey and I are relaxing right now .....I had lunch on Pensacola Beach with Nicole.   Sunny and beautiful!  So take care all!
  11 days till Disney!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Busy, busy day

Today was one of those days that when I got up I had no particular plans for the day.   Ha!   This is a short diary of our day today -
We took off for Perdido Key which is west of Pensacola.  It is about a 30 minute drive from our house.  We see the end of the key across the water whenever we go down to Fort Pickens.   There was a fort on Perdido called Fort McRee that was built in the 1830's to help protect the United States.   Today the fort is under water and sand and can't be seen at all.
This is a picture of the beach area.  If you didn't know it was white sand, you might think it was snow.
We stopped for lunch here at the Crab Trap and had a lunch special of shrimp and crab for $6.99.   Can't beat that, can you!
Our next stop was at the Naval Aviation Museum.  We could leave Dad there all day and he would be happy.  It is an incredible museum and worthy of your time.....and it is free!
The Blue Angels - need I say more.
Another exhibit.   They have aircraft used since the beginning of flying.  Also, a great deal of history on all the wars that United States has been involved.
Mom and I shopped in the gift shop.   We never miss a gift shop!

Next we went to the Pensacola Lighthouse which is also on the Navy base.  Lots of people were there also.  We were able to drive a bit on the base and stopped at the building that used to be the bandroom when Dad was stationed at Pensacola.   Also saw the building that was the hospital where I was born.

On to Disney again.  Only 16 days till we go.   While at Perdido Key, we stopped at a beach shop and I found a black leather fanny pack.   Now, I know that might not be very stylish but it will allow me to carry everything I need while in Disney parks without worrying about a purse.  I could even be able to put a small bottle of water in it, I think.  I also have been trying to decide which shoes to take.   My feet and ankles easily get very sore and I am so concerned about the walking at Disney.   I know I will take my Merrells, my New Balance, and again I know this lacks in style, but I will take my crocs.   I see many people blog that later in the day they switch over to the crocs to help tired and sore feet.  Hey!   When your feet hurt, you will wear any shoe to make your feet feel better.  
Maybe this is why Mickey wears these large, comfy yellow shoes.   Maybe his feet hurt also.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rain Today and More Rain

Flowers loved today.  It rained and rained and rained.  For a day that I had no plans for I sure was busy.   Kacey needed to go to the vet for a sore on her mouth and that took time since we went to two  vet offices to find one that took walk-ins.  I do love this vet and the office so this is where we will continue to go.  She is on some antibiotics - one pill a day.   This is a dog that can take a full mouth of food and you are sure she swallowed but then she walks into the living room and spits out the pill.  You have to trick her into taking the pill and sometimes she is just plain smarter than I am.
Mom is having a bad time right now.   Her heart went afib over a year ago and she had to have it shocked to bring it back.   It worked great.  Unfortunately last week it went afib again and the cardio put her on medication to bring it back but that did not work so they plan on shocking her heart next Tuesday.   We are hoping and praying that it will work this time again.   On top of that, she had a tooth pulled yesterday.   And yet Mom stays cheerful.  She is a real trooper and handles all this medical stress so wonderfully.   I love you Mom!   All will be ok.
New baby at the zoo.   Our Gulf Breeze Zoo just had a new baby arrive.   The gorillas had a baby boy.   He is so, so cute!  I know it will be awhile before we can see him but I can't wait. 
And that leaves me with Disney World news.  I got the tickets in the mail. So I am set.   I have some Mickey t-shirts that I need to go through and decide which to take.   As all great Disney fans know, you wear Disney attire while at Disney World.   I have been enjoying reading all I can read on the Internet about our trip.  Now, I have been there 15 times before so I know what I am doing but there is so much to Disney World that you keep learning more and more.  So here I am with days left -