June 14, 2015

Disney Theme Parks - Compare and Contast

I'm not a Disney fanatic.  I know some Disney fanatics, but I am definitely not one.  My life is quite complete with out Mickey, Minnie or any one of the assorted princess in it.  My son was not a Disney fanatic, though he did love Disney movies.

For the record, I have been to Disney World 6 times.  Two of these trips were great.  The rest were great because of the company, but not because of the park.

My first trip to Disney World was in 1977.  The park had been open for about 6 years the first time I visited.  It was with my parents, after my oldest brother's wedding in Atlanta. I had fun, riding rides, hanging out with the grown ups.  Back then, you purchased a book of tickets and each ticket was good for certain rides.  The lines were not bad - we visited in mid-April, after the Easter rush.

In 1995, my parents treated our whole family to a trip in late October.  It meant pulling 5 kids out of school, backpacks full of school books and work, but, again, it was fun. Short lines meant that we could ride rides over and over again.  I think we rode Splash Mountain 5 times in an hour - we were all soaked.  By then, the ticket system was gone and in it's place was a general park admission that included all the rides you could ride.  After three days of Disney, I was finished.  So we spent two days at Universal Studios.

Fast forward to 2007 and my third trip.  It was hubby and I and three friends in October.  The price of the tickets had gone up and the lines were certainly longer.  There were three parks to visit, beer to be consumed in Great Britain in Epcot, rides and my husband having to take business calls back at the condo.

In 2011 and again in 2013, we visited with our good friends Fly Boy, Nurse Nancy and Junior Birdman.  Ticket prices were getting outrageous and the lines were horrible.  On one trip, we spent three hours in line for Soarin', only to find out that the ride had malfunctioned earlier in the day and everyone in line had been given a Fast Pass. Those of us in line did not find this out until we were almost at the front of the line.  A whole day in Epcot and we rode Soarin' once and Test Track once. It was, in my opinion, a waste of a day.  Thank goodness, the company was the best and some Hot Passes to Daytona saved the trip.

In November of last year, we made what was, in my opinion, my last trip to Disney World.  Who would have thought that the park could be so crowded only two weeks before Thanksgiving.  And school age children weren't the worst of it - the number of children in strollers was unbelievable.  Stroller parking at any given ride was worse than any mall just before Christmas.  And rude patrons…ugh!

So last week, we were in California for a "business" trip - a reward trip provided by an insurance company.  We stayed a few extra days and, at my request, we went to Disneyland.  What a refreshing experience!0 hour

I wasn't sure what to expect with a smaller park - more crowded???  But much to my surprise, it was busy, but not awful.  The longest line was only about 60 minutes and that was an overestimate - I timed The Matterhorn ride - the entrance said that it was a 60 minute wait, so I hit the stopwatch feature on my phone and, low and behold, I was at the front of the line in 28 and a half minutes - clearly less than half the estimated wait time.  You can actually get Fast Passes at the park, something we could not get on our last two trips to Florida (now that you can get Fast Passes on line, there are almost none available at the park).

Our favorite was the Radiator Springs Racers - similar to Test Track but based on the movie Cars.  We tried to hit the things that they didn't have in Florida.  The two park pass, while a bit pricey at $150 per person, was worth it for a trip that may not be repeated.  We saw and did more in 10 hours than we could have in two days in Florida.

All in all, Disneyland in California is the clear winner for me in the Disney parks competition.  I would definitely go back. As far as Disney World, I think I would go if we are one day blessed with grandchildren, though I think I'd much rather waste time on a plane than time in a line.

January 13, 2015

2015 - Week 2

Last week I mentioned that I thought I was starting with a cold.  I was right.  A week of dealing with a sore throat that morphed into a head cold and I thought I might escape the dreaded chest cold.  Nope.  Not this time.  Got up yesterday morning with a nasty cough.  This time I jumped on it and saw the Nurse Practitioner who, because of my immunity deficiency that makes me more vulnerable to upper respiratory infections, prescribed an antibiotic.  And none of that sissy stuff - the hard core one that works.   An immunity issue and the fact that I am allergic to many antibiotics - not a great combination.  Yeah me.

Been working on trying to organize, purge, clean things around the house.  I started by tackling several bookshelves that are in the basement.  They had become a dumping ground for not only books, but anything else that made it to the basement with out a home.  Some major organizing of books, weeding through junk and actually putting some things away and that corner is looking better - not perfect yet, but much better.  I'm thinking that this will be a year long project in which success will be measured in inches and not yards.

Trees still need to be put away although they are devoid of decoration.  While I am looking forward to getting the house put back together, there is that little part of me that will miss them.  Oh well, only 10 more months and they will return.

January 07, 2015

2015 - A New Year

So last week we ushered in 2015.  A new year, a chance to wipe the slate clean, start over, make changes.  So what do I have planned for 2015?

Well, I've been trying to make some healthy changes in my life.  Been eating better in an attempt to get my blood sugar under control.  It's been a battle and some days are definitely better than others.  Let's just say, it's a work in progress.

In that same vein, I had fully planned on hitting the pool at the Y this week. Not happening.  I awoke yesterday with a scratchy, sore throat, swollen glands and feeling crappy.  Last year I found out that the reason for my severe upper respiratory infections is an immune deficiency so I take no chances on putting myself at risk by trying to limit my time in communal environments when I have a cold.  So, the locker room, the pool and the gym at the Y are out for at least this week.

At home, I am working on cleaning out closets, drawers and the basement.  It's time to purge all the things I haven't used in a while.  I've started collecting things to have a yard sale in the spring.  In the past, I've donated things, but the ones that benefit most are the executive of the non-profits, I think I'll try to sell things and donate money to a charity that will use the money to help others.

2014 was the year that we finally changed parishes.  I'm settling in more at our new parish, getting to meet some new people and I am once again reading at mass.  This was one thing that I really missed.  There are many opportunities for spiritual growth at our new parish and I hope to take advantage of them this year.

I have several projects that I hope to work on this year - to start sewing again and make some window treatments.  There are about 5 or 6 craft projects that I have wanted to work on and just can't seem to make the time.  If I can work on just a few I'd be happy.

I'm making no specific resolutions for the new year, only trying to work on the changes that I have recently made.  I think I'll start by picking one thing each day to accomplish and start there.  We'll see…..

Until later.

September 08, 2014

Can Can

Saw this on Face Book The Fifteen Can Challenge and I thought it was a worthwhile idea.  So I shared it on Face Book and Now I'm sharing it here.  Note, I think it started a few weeks ago since, including this week, there are only 13 weeks until the first week in December.

If you don't subscribe to Face Book, here are the details from the event invite:

Christmas Time for most is a time of great joy and celebration. For some, for many reasons, it's a time of sadness and going without.
This year we can change this for some.
Please join our 15 can challenge - it's simple and easy to do.
1. Every week when you do your groceries, purchase one extra item. It could be a can or something non perishable. eg soup, baked beans etc
2. Collect one item each week for the next fifteen weeks.
3. Drop them off to the charity of your choice, first week in December to various places in your neighborhood.
4.Invite as many of your friends as you can - remember together we can change someone's life
Many communities will benefit.
All Food Pantry's and Charities, will greatly appreciate any and all donations. It is your gift to give, we are simply attempting to source charities in great NEED.

What a wonderful idea to help those in need.  And spreading it out over a few weeks makes it easy on the budget too.

August 05, 2014

Starting Over Again

Six years ago I wrote a post about the merger of my parish with another parish in town.  I was so very unhappy with the outcome of the merger and the promise of equality, which, of course, never happened.  I threatened to leave after a year if nothing changed.  At the time, it felt a bit like an empty threat because I thought things would change.  So, about a month ago, after waiting to see if the pastor would be transferred (he wasn't) or if things would change (they didn't) it was time to take action.  We finally changed parishes.

The past year, we have been attending another parish about a 20 minute drive from our house.  Our first trip there was the first weekend that a new pastor was there.  For the first time in a long while (except for going to churches when we were away) I felt like I had been to Mass.  People participated in the mass, the homily was interesting and the people in church were friendly.  After a year of test driving it, we pulled the trigger and signed up.

It has been the right decision for us. We miss seeing our friends from our old parish at Mass.  But we can always make plans to see them.  We see more and more people from our old parish at our new parish.  And most of all, we are happy.

May 14, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

What can I say about Mother's Day this year, except that I am so thankful to have been able to celebrate it with my Mother.

This time last year, we were waiting for my mom to have open heart surgery.  She was diagnosed with a failing aortic valve and at least one blocked artery in April of last year.  She would need to have surgery to replace the valve and bypass the blockage or she would have about 9 months to live.  The surgery was considered high risk because she is a diabetic with high blood pressure and bad kidney function.  This diagnosis was sandwiched between the loss of one of her sisters and her remaining brother.

Her cardiologist sent her to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to consult with the chief of Cardiac surgery and her consultation was May 1.  He was wonderful.  Realizing that the procedure needed to be done sooner than later, she was scheduled for May 23.  We celebrated Mother's Day wondering if it would be our last.  Through prayer, wonderful doctors and nurses, therapists and all the other hospital staff, the surgery went very well and she was only in the hospital for about 8 days.

So this year I was so happy to celebrate Mother's Day with my mother who taught me the value of my faith in God and the power of prayer.  Because last year, my prayers were answered.

Photo taken in November 2013, six months after my Mom's surgery while we were doing our annual Nut Roll making.

April 24, 2014

April Showers

What's up with April?  Last year it was marked with my aunt and uncle passing away and my mother being diagnosed with congestive heart failure and needing open heart surgery.  This year, my father needed two surgeries just nine days apart (thank goodness nothing life threatening) and in the middle of this, my cousin has a massive stroke and passes away on Easter Sunday.

Next year, I think I'll just skip over April and go directly from March to May and hopefully we'll have  a healthy and happy spring for everyone.