29 December 2009

Rescue me...

I love animals. I really do! I have a West Highland Terrier, he is kind of like my hyperactive toddler dog. Kind of? No, he is actually my hyperactive toddler dog. It is like having a three year old in the house again. We had planned on getting a pair of Westies and having puppies grace our home occasionally, but about a year after we got Angus, we were shocked to discover he was actually a puppy mill puppy. We bought him from what we thought was a reputable local purveyor of pets, not an actual breeder, but we got papers for him and thought all was on the up and up. Turns out not so much. We thought we had to choose a hypo-allergenic dog for my daughters allergies, so we looked and looked until we found our perfect puppy. Well, I love my dog, but any thoughts of breeding went right out the window. He is all terrier, but we couldn't risk passing along any undesirable or dangerous traits to a batch of pups. So, we settled in to life with one dog. Occasionally, I would check Craigslist or the local paper for dogs, I volunteer for my local shelter as a foster family for kittens and cats, but never really happened upon anyone I felt I had to add to the fam. Until now. Then I found her. I went to meet her and do the paperwork yesterday and she is perfect. I can't wait to bring her home! I wonder what Angus will think.....

25 December 2009

Merry Christmas James May

...and David Tennant
...and Noel Fielding
...and God bless us, everyone!

24 December 2009

My first SWAP! I'm so excited!

I have gone and joined a Valentine's swap. I actually have been wanting to do this for quite some time, but wasn't sure I was actually up to it. I have looked at the stuff these folks do, and I feel a little intimidated sometime, but a Vintage Valentine doll swap popped up on my radar, and I have a LOVELY pattern for an angel with a heart full of vintage-y valentines, as well as a bag full of Valentine's from the 40's and 50's, so I am READY to PLAY! Because there is a blogroll of participants, I decided to post one of my dolls so folks could see what kind of dolls I make.
This is Stella. She is painted muslin with needle-felted hair and painted features. She is all decked out and was on display over the Fourth of July holiday at my house. I love her and my angel pattern is similar, so I am confident it will be swapworthy! I love all kinds of crafts and dolls actually, especially working with felt, but she is one of my faves. Wish me swappish kind of luck! I am so excited!

18 December 2009

Multiple Choice Weather

If you look at the satellite picture of Virginia right now, it looks like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man has been up to his old mischief again. All over the state. I am thinking this is a bad sign. From the border we share with West VA. to nearly Williamsburg it is one huge blob of melted mallow. Having suffered today from a blackout of my information gathering capabilities by a poorly timed upgrade by my friendly local cable/internet/phone provider, I am now able to see the radar picture and hear the forecast that I really didn't want to hear. The last time we had snow like this it took me 4 hours to drive home from work. This is normally a 25 minute drive. That is a ___% increase (math nerds please insert answer here...) in travel time which I am assuming I will have to repeat tomorrow. Geez. Can't I find a job where I don't have to leave the house? It would really come in handy when the weather outside is frightful. So, long story short, no Feel Good Friday today. I don't feel good, and it is almost Saturday, so we'll skip it for this week. I really wanted to post something crafty today in honor of my blogging bud RunLoriRun and her great success being in print and all. Give her a click and check out her totally awesome creations and drop her a Congrats comment. And I promise to post something craft next week. Wish me luck!

17 December 2009

Random Dancing! (in photos)

That is a reference to my lovely daughter's fave tv show. iCarly. Apparently it is THE BEST.
I love taking pictures, even though I am not terrribly great at it. I don't take the time to actually read any booklets or follow any directions. Oh no! Otherwise, I might actually GET good at it. I'd just have less time to take the pictures because I spent so much time READING about taking them. However, I do know what I love to look at, so I end up with pictures that others might not understand, but I totally get. I decided to share a few of my less recognizable shots from around Disney, as well as introduce you to a few new friends I made while I was there....

Alright already. If anyone has stuck in there with me till the end of this post, you should win something. Maybe you should win several weeks without me posting Disney pictures??? Tomorrow I will post pics my son took while we were there, which shows his budding skill and good eye, and I will mention that I had to pry my new camera out of his hand after I got off my first ride ever. I did NOT need that kind of stress on my vacation! I did start to feel that I was seeing my vacation through the eye of a handycam, though, so I slacked off a bit on day three. However, when I downloaded after getting home, which I think is a bit like a military debriefing, I ended up with over 900 pictures and something like 35 videos. Several times while watching them, my laptop sort of imploded and cut off. I can only imagine what would have happened if I hadn't paced myself as well as I did....

Disney continued...

Here's a few more pics from the vacation of a lifetime! The had this wonderful miniature village set up with several train sets running through it. We spent a long time there just following the trains, looking at the details on the little houses and sets. Take a close look and see if you can spot the filming of a Japanese monster movie...

In keeping with the "monster" theme, my daughter loved the Panda puppet, so I told her she could try it out, and lo and behold, here comes big brother with the dragon. aaaah....to be young, but not the youngest!
Oh if only I could go back for a day or five, or seven.....I told the kids today that when I do go back, I will get through those gates and RUN RUN RUN to the Haunted Mansion! They will not be able to keep up, but there will be no doubt about where they can find me...

11 December 2009

Brrrrrrrrrrr...it's cold out there!

There is no doubt that we are in the weeks leading up to the Christmas Holiday now! I am not sure what the temp is here, but it is physically painful to go outside. I got a wild hare (hare/hair, get it??) earlier and found a recipe for Chicken and Dumplings on allrecipes. I love allrecipes. I braved the elements to get all the necessary ingredients, and just happened to print off the recipe for Kentucky Butter Cake I had been craving. I swear it was an accident. Anyway, I got the necessary incredibly fattening ingredients for that as well. I then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen chopping and measuring and simmering. I kept thinking about the clip I was watching on YouTube last night. It was The Big Fat Quiz Show from 2007. It is worth checking out if you have never heard of it, though I will issue a language and content rating. i.e. make sure the kiddies are tucked in... Russell Brand and Noel Fielding are the Goth Detectives, they really keep the laughs a-coming. Jonathan Ross is on there, as well as Lily Allen, and if you have not heard her music yet, be sure to check out the "Bum-Bum Song". It's a keeper. Anyhoo, it is sort of a current events quiz show involving teams of celebrities. My next objective is to watch some of the older ones. The 2007 show is the only one I have seen all of, and it is, unlike to many things on tv nowadays, NOT time you will wish you had back. Somehow it hangs with you, and the strange thing is how endearing Noel Fielding is. I mean, he is obviously a wild thing. Not that those creatures can't be fascinating, but still, endearing? Not normally a word that comes to mind when referring to a person obviously familiar with illicit substances and LOTS of physical exploits under his belt, literally. Face it, you knew I had to say that. Still, his smile kind of gets to me. Anyway, as I enjoy my Chicken and Dumplings and Kentucky Butter Cake, I search for a photo to capture the endearingness of that man. Let's see what I can find...scratch that. The photos all appear to be of him leering at some woman, looking completely smashed, or wearing something ridiculous. While I don't have a problem with these, it doesn't do much for the "endearing" label. I will continue my search on another day! On a completely different note, I wanted to mention the Duggar Family on my blog today. Regardless of how you feel about them and their number of children, the fact is that they have had a precariously tiny premature baby this week, and the baby, born at 25 weeks is very much at risk indeed. I work with pregnant patients all the time, and I know that if they delivered her by emergency section at 25 weeks, then she was in danger as well. Not a good situation. I find them a very likable family, possibly a little overexposed, but so full of old-fashioned goodness that I can' t help but love them! Sort of like homemade oatmeal cookies. I know they have been in my thoughts and prayers today! Best wishes to them and their new babe.

The Photographic Evidence

10 December 2009

Back in the real world...

Great Googly Moogly! Has it really been that long since I have put pen to paper, uh, skip that, updated my blog??? Yikes. So much for habits.
Well, here I am back in the real world, still finding it feels familiar and unfamiliar simultaneously. We returned from a week at the House of the Mouse, aka Walt Disney World, a week ago tomorrow, and I no longer need a daily nap. This is, I assume a good sign. I have had a nice, easy, week, so I am thankful for the chance to recuperate. Being that this was my first trip EVER to Disney, I am still slightly amazed and awed at everything I saw and ate and experienced. It is like a dream come to life, especially for a girl who grew up on reruns of THE Mickey Mouse Club, watched the Wonderful World of Disney every week, and pored over Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge encyclopedias. I also spent an inordinate amount of time singing songs from my Official Disney Songbook. I could spell Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious without issue. I was a Disney kind of kid. I am not sure why my family never went to Disney. I guess we weren't very "travelly" when I was growing up. I have tried to do things with my kids. Give them memories and experiences...I imagine my daughter will one day take a trip back to WDW without me and remember our first trip. We had a BLAST. No really. We actually did. You feel a bit like royalty. They bring out all the great characters. Just for you. They throw parades in your honor. Fireworks every night. They feed you like calories don't count. You get to TOUCH the castle. How cool is that? Now, I know that I really didn't go on a European tour, but after two days at Epcot, I do feel that I got a little taste of that glamorous destination. Not only are the buildings beautiful and the shops filled with regional items and gifts, but the Cast Members in each place are actually from the countries they are working in. One particularly lovely little restaurant called The Rose and Crown had the coolest wait staff EVER according to my kids. British. Every one of them. For kids raised on Fawlty Towers, Top Gear and Doctor Who, this is as good as they have had it. I could only have made them happier if I got behind the scenes filming passes for the new Harry Potter movie. In England and Scotland. At real castles. One day, I will take them to England and let them mingle to their little Anglophile hearts' desire. But for now, Disney has made them happy. The CM's in Norway were actually from Norway. The CM's in France were actually from France. It was a great learning experience, and really between the employees and the guests from ALL OVER THE WORLD, you really felt Walt Disney's dream come alive, "...the things we have in common far outnumber and outweigh those that divide us." I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. I want to go back. Now, for all the silly lists!
Favorite Rides at Magic Kingdom:
1. Haunted Mansion- I loved so many rides, it was hard to pick a number 1, but this one I really felt a tug at my heart when I knew it was my last time. I loved it all, from the GREAT CM's who direct you into the front parlor, the creepy hall full of doors that knock on themselves, breathe, etc. The hallway with the floating candelabra, the dining room full of spectral partygoers and dancers, the special effects are completely amazing and if you suspend disbelief just for a few minutes, you will have a super spooky time!
2. It's a Small World- OK, I know this is goofy, but I just LOVED actually going on this ride. I had heard about it since I was a youngster, had sung the song over and over again as that same youngster, and had so wanted to see those little children from the world over. I adored the tiger with the parasol, the little French dancers, Oh, I just LOVED it all. Even if it was a little long. I never noticed. The 14 year old did notice the second time when his MP3 player had given out and he couldn't drown out the song with Muse or Breaking Benjamin. However, he did survive, and actually enjoyed it!
3. Dumbo- This was the first ride we got on at any Disney park, we made a beeline for it as soon as we walked through the castle, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. It was also, hilariously fun. Especially if you let someone else control the rise and fall. Just don't let a teenager do it if you have eaten recently. I'm just sayin...
4. Pirates of the Caribbean- the Hollywood Version- I so totally thought that Johnny Depp had actually snuck into the ride for our trip through this pirate adventure. The animatronics are THAT good. I say Hollywood version, because you will recognize a few characters from the movies, but since I never saw the previous version, I was perfectly happy with it as it was. Pay close attention during the ships battle scene. Again, if you allow yourself to relax and sink into the illusion, you will feel like you are right in the middle of the action! Totally COOL.
5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad- Wild and woolly, and the longest we waited in line to ride any ride in any of the parks. It was worth it! I wish we would have ridden it again on another day, but alas, we ran out of time. Or energy. Or both...

Best Places to Eat
1. Rose and Crown Pub- Try the Surf and Turf. It is smashing. The mini Yorkshire Pudding has made me want to make my own, I am still searching for recipes! The Toffee Cake as as rich and buttery as you would hope, and the atmosphere was completely gorgeous. The CM's were sweet and friendly and I actually left wishing I had taken pics with them! The evening we ate there we had an 8:30 reservation, got an outside table and had prime viewing spots for Illuminations. I could never accurately explain to anyone how AWESOME this whole experience was. Fine Food, Friendly Folks and Fantastic Fireworks. ahhhhhh.......highly recommended. Did I mention how much I highly recommend this?
2. San Angel Inn- This is a fantastic place for lunch or dinner. The scenery inside the restaurant is what sets it apart from any other, you feel like you are sitting at the foot of an ancient temple, with a smoldering volcano in the distance throwing off smoke and ash. The lighting is very low, but absolutely a beautiful place to spend an hour of your Disney time. The Mahi Mahi was terrific, and the Chicken Enchiladas Verdes was divine. The portions, like the ones everywhere in Disney are suitable for two lighter eaters, it is difficult to take leftovers with you, so plan accordingly!
3. Yak and Yeti- We ate at two different places in Animal Kingdom, YnY and Tusker House. The Yak and Yeti was by far the superior of the two, though they both had interesting decor, Tusker House was a buffet, the food was much less interesting and flavorful, and it was more of a depot type decor. Though, I found it charming, I found the food flat and uninteresting, but Yak and Yeti had very tasty fare, had a more upscale look to it, and was just generally more pleasant. I am sure it doesn't need to be noted that sometimes a more "authentic" environment can be interesting, it would have been nice if the food had at least been palatable. The best thing on the buffet was a tiny little strawberry mousse tart in a chocolate shell. And, lest you think that should signal that the food was exotic, it was mostly hummus (passable), breads (nothing I can't find at Kroger) cold couscous salads (kind of ick) a kids area with mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy and pb and j (wha?) and two kinds of sliced meat. I don't know. Maybe it had just been a long day, but I really expected more based on the description of the menu. If you can only eat at one, pick Yak and Yeti, walk through Tusker House, cause it really was cool inside, keeping the whole Safari theme going, and then spend about an hour walking through the park again before you brave that Expedition Everest again...
4- Everything Pop at Disney's Pop Century Resort- I have to mention this because we consistently got great food here throughout our trip. DO NOT MISS the Chicken Alfredo Pasta. It is busy, but runs pretty darn efficiently. The fruit actually had flavor, and don't forget to try the White Tea with Citrus and dog gone it, try one of the Frosted Crispy Treats from Minnie's Bake Shop. These packaged snacks put Rice Krispy Treats to SHAME. And I LOVE Rice Krispy Treats.
5. The Plaza- VERY lovely themed restaurant, very Art Nouveau feel, good food, spectacular ice cream desserts, and again, very large portions. MMMM!
We also ate at Casey's Corner Magic Kingdom (hot dogs don't agree with me), at the Backlot Express in Hollywood Studios (large portions of mediocre sandwich, but GREAT fries), and Tangierine Cafe in Morocco at Epcot (weird compressed meats, yummy hummus and bread, and really odd crunchy green stuff. Dessert was only Baklava, which I peeled apart to avoid the dreaded nuts, but which was good. Messy, but good. Anyway, I think that is pretty much enough info for tonight. I will continue tomorrow, I have the whole day off and will upload pics proving I was actually there!!! Thanks for looking in on me!