Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Florida trip: final days

The last 2 days of June were also our last 2 days to play in Florida. Some people were a bit worse for wear at this point. Tiff was covered in dozens of mosquito bites (despite wearing jeans & bug repellant) and poor Ray was developing a very unhappy tummy. Tim was weary, as well, so in the end we did not get to do all the things I wanted to do on this trip. Guess that measn we'll have to go back someday. ;)

On Thursday, Ray, Tim and I decided we should check out the other water park, Blizzard Beach. The theme of Blizzard Beach is unusual: a freak snowstorm hit Florida and disney, always keen to take advantage of a marketing opportunity, opened a ski resort. Well, the snow began to melt, of course, so now the bobsled and skiing courses are water slides. Good fun - especially when the rains poured down on us!

One of the wonderful things about Ray is that he will pose for ANY picture I want to take.

Thursday was the Davis Clan's last day in Florida, so we chose to meet up with them that night at the Magic Kingdom to watch the parade & the fireworks.

Slideshow time! Click on the little "View Show" buttons if you're having trouble seeing the images.

The archway through Cinderella's Castle is very pretty. Lovely mosaics. Not enough people take the time to appreciate it.


Here's dear Helen & my sweet Ashes. I miss them so much! Sobebody kidnap them & drag them to North Carolina. ;)

And then it was Friday. Our last day. We chose to spend most of it at Animal Kingdom. I had never been there before, but I must say that I liked it a LOT more than I thought I would. We didn't get to see half of what it has to offer, so I look forward to going back.

The very best thing was the safari ride. The road the truck drives along is VERY very bumpy & I chose not to take pics because I was sure my camera would be thrown from my hands! But the views we saw of the elephants and giraffes and other animals ... wow. Breath taking. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.

Since it was our last night together, those of us who were still in town got together for dinner. It was a nice way to close out the trip.

Tim & Tiff - aka "two peas in a pod" :)

Tim & his mother, Sylvia

That may have been our last full day in Florida, but I'm not quite done with photos yet! Next time ... Chicken Pics!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Signs from the road

We're back! Again! I bet it seems like I'm always going places, huh? Like I have some sort of fabulously exciting life & all. Yeah. You keep thinking that, will ya?

We went to Ocracoke Island - pronounced "Okra Coke". Sounds kinda gross, doesn't it? Perhaps a recipe for okra stewed in a big vat of Coca Cola. Eew. I prefer my okra fried, thankee. Anyway, we played in the surf & I ate local shrimp & took photos. Good times, of which you'll hear more later.

Favorite roadside signs from the trip (gotta love advertising):
"Try My Nuts"
"Have an ice cream or something"
"Nahunta Pork Center: America's Largest Pork Display!"
"Eat Here! Get Gas!"
And my favorite bit of graffiti - "START CARING!"

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Ya know, it is sad when I post more often than george. Really really sad. I think she needs to do something about that. Yup.

So remember that post I made about my parents' anniversary party? And remember those pics I posted of me and Tim on the back porch? One of my friends said that we look like we belong in a J. Crew ad in those photos. She meant is as a compliment (in fact, we've gotten tons of compliments on those photos which is sweet!) but it got me thinking. Maybe all of that worrying that the BMW would turn us into yuppies is all for naught because maybe we already are yuppies!!!!
How did this happen?! I mean, I know we're not extraordinarily edgy or fierce or whatever, but we're at least kinda cool ... right? Tim makes video games for a living. And I've stood on stage and said & done things in front of hundreds of strangers that would make yo momma blush. So that's cool, right? Maybe? But maybe now we're not so cool. Because now we have a mortgage & spend a lot of time debating whether we should get a sporty two-seater or the luxury sedan with the moon roof.

The last nail in the coffin is Tim's footwear in that photo. Look carefully, children, and you will see that he is wearing (1) man sandals and (2) socks. At the same time. Tim is somewhat dismayed that this image is now displayed on the internet. I told him that he has a good excuse because he had been walking around Disney World for days and his swollen feet needed a little extra cushioning. Our friend Clair said, "At least he isn't wearing white socks." But sadly Tim feels that he has lost the last shreds of his punk, combat-boot wearing street cred. The days of him wearing head to toe black on the streets of Sheffield are long gone. At least he can still listen to his angry, ranting-man music in his swanky car.

And speaking of cars, he's starting to look at Saabs. Again. Heaven help me.

Hmmmm ... what else.

My internet connection has been crappy which is why I'm not posting photos again. It has crashed on me 3 times today - once while I was writing a blog entry. I took that as a sign. Bah.

I finished Harry Potter & was not as strongly moved as other people. I liked it, but I didn't loooooove it. And I didn't cry like everyone else on the planet. It makes me wonder if I'm a horrible, unfeeling, emotionally stunted person who should seek counseling. Tim insists that I'm lovely & that I was just too smart for the book. Corey tried to make me see that the parts of the book that annoyed me weren't really meant to be so annoying because of X, Y, & Z. I'm not totally convinced.

Janine is in the hospital! I'm not sure which one, but I suspect it's the Pink Palace. She should be giving birth any time now. Unfortunately, she had to go in because she developed a terrible bladder infection that she couldn't kill. That happened just before she gave birth last time, so she's trying to see this as a good sign.

Veronica was not hurt in the big explosions in Dallas. However, she has been suffering from a terrible cold and the explosions caused her ears to pop, so she can hear again for the first time in 4 days. So that's good! Also, she just realized that sometimes we talk about her in our blog entries, so it only seemed right to, ya know, mention her.

Lastly, Tim and I decided on a whim that we're going to leave town for a couple of days. We booked a room at a cute little B&B on the outer banks. Now we just have to throw some clothes in a bag & pack up Tim's fancy telescope. Hopefully we'll get in some good star gazing since we're staying far away from the cities.

So that's where we'll be! Toodles!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Happy National Harry-Potter-Reading Weekend!

Yesterday evening I got a text message from Corey.
"And now I can sleep," it said.
This meant that he had finished the final Harry Potter book. The man had apparently chosen to stay up all night and read the book in one fell swoop.

Oddly enough, he is not the only person I know who chose this path. I have a lot of on-line friends who stocked up on caffeine-infused foods and beverages on Friday in preparation for the book's release & the long night of reading that awaited them. Ever head of "disco naps" - the naps that people take on Friday or Saturday evenings before heading out for a long night of drinking and dancing? These people all chose to take brief naps but, of course, they chose a more sedentary way to wile away those late night hours.

But not me.

No, I have decided to savor this final installment. I am not cramming the words into my brain as fast as I can. Instead, I am lingering over paragraphs, taking breaks between chapters to bake or do some laundry. Or watch an F1 race.

(By the way, that race? Holy crapulence, peeps. I had to take some Tums halfway through the thing ... and I never have to take antacids.)

So anyway. Feel free to mock me for participating in Potter Mania, but I actually read the first book before it had garnered much attention and, so help me, I gotta see this through to the end. I'm thinking I'll be done with the book on Monday afternoon - 48 hours after everyone else on the planet. In the mean time, I'll be avoiding spoilers as best I can.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ouchie wah-wah

We've all heard of fertility gods, but I am more and more convinced that there is some sort of infertility god as well ... or actually, a thank-goodness-I'm-not-pregnant god. The only problem with worshiping at the alter of the god of Thank-Goodness-I'm-Not-Pregnant is that s/he is very fond of blood sacrifices. And if I attempt to abandon one of the official sacred alters (which look mysteriously similar to the couch & the half-bath), the god of Thank-Goodness-I'm-Not-Pregnant feels that it is appropriate to give me an invisible kick to the gut. Just to remind me who's boss, ya know.


But I'll get over it. And when I do, I'll post more pics from our vacay.

Other happenings this week:
1. Last Saturday was our first dinner party at the new house! The ladies loved the house & I distinctly heard Shawna hinting to Kevin that they should buy a house in our neighborhood. Hee.
2. We saw Ratatouille. It's basically an animated foodie movie ... which is another way to say that I liked it. Now I really want to try making ratatouille.
3. We also saw the new Harry Potter movie. Hot damn, that was good!!!! Tim was still a bit confused (while discussing the finer points after the movie, the man said, "Wait a minute ... who's Snape?") but that's to be expected since he has not read any of the books and has only seen the last 2 films. Must fix this.
4. Tim briefly considered abandoning the Audi TT for the Infinity G35. But only briefly.
5. Now Tim is considering abandoning the Audi TT for a BMW 3 Series SomethingOrOther. The car can seat 4 adults, which is good. But owning this car will officially ensconce us into the realm of Yuppiedom. Hmmmmm.
6. Tim started a new job at work. There's no raise involved, but he's back to programming in C++ which is very good for his career. Plus, the company is very very picky about who they put in this area of the company, so it's a great compliment to Tim that they basically handed him the job as soon as he hinted that he was interested in it. So yay!
7. As of tonight at 6pm, Tim has a whole week off from work! Woot!

Hmm. That all seems very Tim-centric.
What else.
Ummmm ...
I bought some cream cheese.
That about covers it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mom & Dad's 40th Anniversary Party

Thursday was the big day - Mom & Dad's party. Mom had been planning this thing for months, so it was nice to see her hard work come to fruition. It took place at Leu Gardens near downtown Orlando.

It was a lovely summer evening in the south, so Tim and I took a moment to enjoy the rocking chairs on the screened porch.

There were 18 people there:
Mom & Dad, of course
My two brothers, Mike & Ray
Tim & myself
Tim's mom, Sylvia
My Uncle Buster & Aunt Fay
Cousin Tiffani (who is actually the daughter of my cousin Damon, so I guess she is my first-cousin-once-removed or something?)
Mom's best friend, Helen
Helen's daughter, Tracy, her husband Greg, & daughter Sam
Helen's daughter (and my sissy!) Ashlie & her son G'Rae
And two of Mom's old friends who now live in Florida, Jackie & Mike

First we had a little pseudo-ceremony outside. Since Tracy is an ordained minister, she ran the show. My parents stood underneath what appeared to be one tree, but was actually two trees that had grown into one another - wrapping around eachother over the years and basically becoming "one". Isn't that romantic?

Tracy started out by talking about how sweet and loving and generous my parents are & how they are a living testiment to what love can be. That got us all crying right away!

Then Tracy asked Ray to step forward and he talked about all the sacrifices our parents have made for us over the years & how they've always shown us nothing but love and support. More tears!

Then Mom and Dad spoke about the fact that they married just 3 months after they met & how they wer practically strangers at the time, but they would do it all over again. Aaaaaaaaw!

Next: drinks! And fun stories! Mom and Dad recalled the more ridiculous aspects of their wedding day.

For instance, Mom hadn't met Dad's mother before the ceremony, so she ended up meeting her mother-in-law for the first time in the receiving line after the wedding ceremony. My grandmother's first words to her new daughter-in-law?
"You must be Beverly."
Ummm ... ya think? :D

After drinks (non-alcoholic, I should add), it was time for dinner ...

... and laughs ...

... and perhaps a touch of insanity.

Oh no! It's catching!!!

The flowers in the centerpieces are daisies (which my mother carried on their wedding day) and yellow roses (which my father gives to mom on special occasions). Oh, and there was cake, too!

After we ate, Helen had some of us play a Newlywed-&-Not-So-Newlywed Game.
The Newlyweds: Me & Tim (2 years) and Tracy & Greg (2 years)
The Not-So-Newlyweds: Mom & Dad (40 years) and Buster & Fay (50 years)
Tim and I tied for last place ... with my parents! But we were just one point behind the winners, so that's okay.

We finished out the evening on the patio, watching the sun set over the lake.

In my family, card games are an important part of almost every family gathering. Luckily, my darling husband LOVES card games and was sure to bring his poker kit with him. So a bunch of us got together and stayed up late playing Texas Hold 'Em. Good clean family fun!

The happy couple ... and their growing pile of chips!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Disney con't: Day 2 & 3

It has taken me over a week to download all of the photos from Disney into my photobucket account.
Okay. That's only partly true.
I also took a break to host a dinner party. And I went out & took some more pics from around our neighborhood, but then I had to download those, too, ya see? And that took, like 1,337 hours. Fer reelz, y'all.

So where were we? Oh, that's right.
Day 2.
On our second day we arrived at Magic Kingdom shortly before it opened. We rode Space Mountain first thing (yay!), but our energy flagged soon afterwards. Too bad it was blazing hot.

Apparently, disco dancing is not allowed at Disney. But Rebellious Raymond cannot hold back! Somebody find a themometer because I think he has ... Disco Fever!!!!!!

This, dear friends, is why I have so few pics of my brother, Mike. Ask him to pose & he'll just give you the "Duh" face ... or worse.

I dare you to ride the monorail and NOT sing the Monorail song from The Simpsons. It's nearly impossible. At least it is for me & Tim.

See? Oodles of fun. [insert eye-rolling smiley here] Shortly after noon it was determined that we (Ray, Tim, Tiff, & myself) should go to a water park. Typhoon Lagoon was fabulous! Too bad I can't offer proof with pics. Did I mention that Typhoon Lagoon was fabulous? Because it was. I swear, I normally hate water parks (being as pasty as I am), but this place kicks much ass. So much lush vegetation, so much shade, and so much fun. Whenever we come back to Florida I think we'll be spending a lot more time there.

After the water park, we went back to Magic Kingdom, snuck out during the electrical parade, & went to Uno's for a late dinner. Mmmmmm ... deep dish pizza ...

Day 3
Early in the morning on Day 3, I woke up feeling horrendously ill. Unfortunately, this means that Tim and I left the condo long after everyone else. We got to MGM Studios at lunch time, so we got to meet up with my parents, brothers, & Cousin Tiff for a while. Unfortunately, though, we didn't do very much. I was still sickly and grumpy and suffering from shin splints. About 2 hours after we arrived we sent Tiff a text message asking if she was bored yet. Turns out that she wanted to go swimming at the pool at our condo. Sounded good to us! So we met up with the fam again, participated in about an hour's worth of group shopping, and then Tim, Tiff and I took off.

It took us a while to get to the pool. First we went to the Downtown Disney Marketplace because Tiff wanted a Finding Nemo towel. We found one of those R2-D2 postal boxes, which was super cool!

Then we had to stop and get Tim his daily root beer float. He ate one of these almost every day of the trip.

Tiffani is texting her friends back home. Tiffani is CONSTANTLY texting. The girl is going to get carpal tunnel before she goes out on her first date. Mysteriously, she still manages to participate in conversations with us while texting. Oh, these kids today ... amazing!

Okay. We've bought a souvenir towel. We've eaten ice cream. We've even pretended to put mail in the R2-D2 post box. Is it time to swim yet? Of course not!!!! Because we need ... goggles. Apparently. So we went to Target. I think we finaly got into the pool at around 7pm - approximately 5 hours after we decided it would be a good idea. But in those hours inbetween we played a few fierce rounds of 20 questions & had a grand ol' time.

Coming up next time ... Party Pics!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Pics: Epcot

I am terrible about taking photos when I am around other people. I'll click away when I'm alone, but when I'm with people, I get wrapped up in spending time with others & I tend to forget about my camera. Also, I usually don't like asking people to pose! So sadly, there are TONS of things I did not record for posterity with my camera. I just don't have nearly as many pics from Disney World as you'd expect. Oh well! I'll still share what I have.

We decided to go to Epcot on our first day. We rode everything & went everywhere, but took less than a dozen pics. Guess I was having too much fun. Or sweating too much. Or something.

Here's Ray about to board Test Track - the car-based pseudo roller coaster at Epcot. Ray will pose for anything!

We really enjoyed the Living Seas (which I think is called something differnt now, but I can't remember what). Tons of great fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins & manatees. Skip the Finding Nemo ride, though.
"Frogfish do not swim, tending to 'walk' or 'gallop' through the water instead."

"Frogfish have the ability to change their colors to blend in with their surroundings."

Cuttlefish! Mike was obsessed with these babies & captured some really cool videos of them swimming & changing color.

A living conch! This thing was simultaneously cool and gross. And it was covered in lots of tiny little shrimp-looking things. Or could they have been baby conches?

I tried to take pics of the sting rays and sea turtles and lots of cool fish in the ENORMOUS 30-foot tall wrap-around aquarium, but nothing turned out. Just believe me when I say it was fabulous!

Later we went on Mission: Space. In case you hadn't heard, some people with heart conditions have died on this attraction/ride/thingy. Now we know why. The G-forces were much stronger that I expected. It was fun, but frankly I feel less queasy on your average loopty-loop roller coaster. Seriously. Ray was so overwhelmed that he forgot his hat

Next we went on Soarin', a new attraction that is the highest rated in all of Disney World. I took a few pics while we waited in line. Seen here are Ray, Tim, my cousin's daughter Tiff, & me.

Soarin' was great! You know those films that are projected over half of a dome & are meant to make you feel like you're flying? Well, this was like that only MUCH better! We sat down on chairs that lifted way up off the ground! And a breeze was blown through the screen so it really felt like we were flying! And to top it off, subtle scents were caried on the breeze to complete the experience (pine while flying through a forest, orange while flying over an orange grove, etc). When it was over, everyone applauded! Good times.

And just so ya know, Soarin' is located inside "The Land" - one of my favorite parts of Epcot. I like how it's decorated & the food offerings are quite nice since the whole building is dedicated to agriculture & such.

Now is the point where I truly failed you, dear reader. For I failed to take one single photo of the world pavilion. All of those cool countries & great food & not one pic. How could I have done this?! Bah!

Epcot is actually the larges of all of the Disney amusement parks, so it's no surprise that we were all exhausted long before the fireworks that night. Tim, Tiff, and Mike all chose to go back to the condo to rest. Ray & I stayed behind with our parents & the entire Davis clan to enjoy the evening's festivities. It wasn't as good as in years past (I've been to Disney World 5 times, so I would know!), but we still had a lovely time together. Yay!