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I should get back into this, but for what purpose? General goings on of my life are boring, so I must think of something else. Hhhmmmmm.....

Product reviews?
Random factoids?
Destinations of interest?
Reflections of my earlier life?

Lunch in Paris

I think this book was written with me in mind.
Is it foreshadowing? *coy look*
(Of course, change Paris to London.)

In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman--and never went home again. Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak's pink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce? LUNCH IN PARIS is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs--one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world's most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate soufflé) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart. Peppered with mouth-watering recipes for summer ratatouille, sword fish tartare and molten chocolate cakes, Lunch in Paris is a story of falling in love, redefining success and discovering what it truly means to be at home.

Sigh of Relief

Huge amounts of satisfaction come from situations when I see middle school or high school acquaintances with 2+ kids scurrying and screaming and they are either miserably single or unhappily married. Those moments when they look at me with envy make me SO glad that my "plan" did not pan out.

I know that's not nice, but MAN, that is exactly why I am not married and nor do I have kids.

Mar. 20th, 2010

wooooo wheeeee! It has been a long time!

We've been back in our house since the beginning of August.
I'm still single.
My brother was deployed on his first anniversary. He will be in the States on Friday.
I might lose my job AGAIN this year, but this time there will not be any call backs.
My best friend gave birth to her 3rd baby in November - a girl named Lillyan.
I was addicted to the winter Olympics for the 2 weeks they were on. I still want to go to the London Olympics in 2012.
I still want to travel the world.
I can't wait for spring break in 2 weeks.

Life Goals

Steep and wishful? Totally. But that doesn't make me want to accomplish these any less!

~sightsee in the UK

~commission the London Symphony Orchestra to play music of my choice

~visit: Sydney Opera House, a Mediterranean island, Mexico during El Dia de los Muertos, New England in the fall

~hit all the major historical places in the US

~see a Wimbledon match live

~attend the Beijing summer Olympics to watch Paul Gensic pole vault his way to a medal. Lucky for my pocketbook I didn't have to. But I *WILL* attend the London Olympics even if it breaks my bank account.

~see a ballet in The Met

~ride a motorcycle, a crotch rocket one

~climb a rock wall Attempted, but failed to reach the top

~surf on the west coast

~rent a convertible during the summer, put the top down, and go on a road trip down a coastline

~ride in a hot air balloon

~kiss in the pouring rain like in The Notebook Heck, I think I'll just settle for being kissed at all!

~direct a choir

~have my music professionally arranged

~own a children's bookstore

~learn more sign language

~go on a misions trip to another country and/or start one in Fort Wayne

~just get out of the country for once!

~volunteer for one of the following organizations: Habitat for Humanity, Casas por Cristo, Extreme Home Makeover, or Special Olympics

~shop in an open air market

~eat at a posh restaurant called JRDN where a dish smaller than the palm of your hand costs $50 - just once though! I didn't eat at JRDN, but I have eaten at a couple uberposh, expeeeeensive restaurants.

~touch a dolphin or whale

~see a Broadway musical: Wonderful Town, Dreamgirls, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Wild Party (Lippa's version, even though it's off-Broadway)

~go scuba diving

~go on a horse drawn sleigh ride over fresh snow

~be in Times Sqaure on New Year's Eve

~take a walk in Central Park

~stand in the crystal clear water of the Caribbean

~own a blue Mini Cooper with the Union Jack painted on the roof ... or a black Hyundai Tucson with a sunroof. I bought a Sonata.

Summary of Recent Events

April - lost my job for the next school year. The district had prepare for a budget rearrangement, and in doing do 104 teachers were cut.

May - our house was run into by a car. The police report says the driver had a seizure. His kids (who were in the back seat) said, "This isn't the first time." No one was injured. Only the dog was home. 2 bedrooms were destroyed. We're STILL waiting for our house to be done. GRR.

June - the 3rd was the last day of school. We moved out of Residence Inn and into the second most expensive apartments in northeast Indiana. It's not the lap of luxury, but they are still very nice apartments (ours is fully furnished) and insurance is paying for it. Went to Disney World for an 8 day vacation with Whitney, a friend from high school. Wonderful food, very relaxing, and so much fun!

July - Rain on my favorite holiday. Booooo! But then fireworks. YAAAAAY! I was a bridesmaid in Emily's wedding on the 11th. Celebrated dad's birthday on the 12th. Didn't do anything for the Three Rivers Festival. Shot 2.5 rolls of film of downtown Fort Wayne, and that was only about 5 blocks.

Coming up...
~Hopefully FWCS calls me back with a job since they announced they will be bringin back 75 people from the laid off list.
~Going to see Nathan (and Jessica) in Tennessee while they're on their way moving to California. They live in Virginia for one more week.
~Cedar Point trip with Sunday School class.
~Church cook-off benefitting Rapha House. My Sunday School class is in charge of it all. I'll also be participating: salsa burgers, pesto burgers, and healthy salsa. Winners determined by donations in a "tip jar". All money goes toward this "halfway house" helping girls escape sex traffiking in Cambodia.
~School starts on the 24th. More than a week later than everyone else. We go until June 9th. Ugh.

Finalized Disney Schedule

WE LEAVE IN 31.5 hours!! :)

Wednesday: Land around 9am, Magical Express to Caribbean Beach resort, check in, Magic Kingdom for lunch and afternoon play time, swim at resort, shower for dinner, dinner at Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, play at Hollywood Studios, watch Fantasmic, Extra Magic Hours for us because we're resort guests!

Thursday: Breakfast with Mary Poppins (EEEEEEEE!!!!!!!) at Grand Floridian resort, play time and lunch at the Magic Kingdom, possible play time at Epcot, swimming, dinner at Le Chefs de France in Epcot, play time and Extra Magic Hours at Epcot, and my *FAVORITE* fireworks show - IlumiNations! ... and probably a bunch of snacking around the world.

Friday: Breakfast, play time, and lunch (Crystal Palace with characters!) in the Magic Kingdom, swimming, dinner at Spoodles on the Boardwalk, back to the Magic Kingdom for play time until 2am! And for SpectroMagic and Wishes.

Saturday: Breakfast with Donald Duck at Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom, play time and lunch in the Animal Kingdom, swimming, late dinner at California Grill (high atop the Contemporary resort) so we can see SpectroMagic and Wishes from way above, more play time at the Magic Kingdom (no kids at night - it's great!)

Sunday: Breakfast at Spoodles on the Boardwalk, play time at Epcot, lunch at Coral Reef, swimming, dinner at Jiko in Animal Kingdom Lodge, play time at Hollywood Studios, possible Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom

Monday (resort hopping day): Breakfast at 'Ohana (with Lilo and Stitch) at the Polynesian, monorail to the Grand Floridian, monorail to the Contemporary, boat to Wilderness Lodge, possibly over to Fort Wilderness, bus to DownTown Disney, boat to Port Orleans Riverside, walk to Port Orleans French Quarter, boat to Saratoga Springs (maybe Old Key West), bus to Hollywood Studios, boat to Coronado Springs, bus to Boardwalk, walk to Swan & Dolphin, walk to Yacht & Beach Club. Late dinner at Cape May Cafe at Beach Club in hopes of seeing IllumiNations during dinner. Boardwalk night life until sleepy.

Tuesday: Breakfast at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian resort, whatever park we haven't gotten enough of, lunch wherever, swimming, dinner at Nine Dragons in Epcot, Epcot play time until 2am!

Wednesday: Breakfast at Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge, whatever park we're not sick of, lunch wherever, back to Caribbean Beach around 3:00 to catch the Magical Express back to the airport. Leave Florida. Spend the night in Indy.

Thursday: Drive back to a house that will STILL not be done being rebuilt. 5 weeks. Grr.

2009's Disney Food Schedule

Day 1
Breakfast: Starbucks on the way to the airport
Lunch: Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station or Pinnochio's Haus
Dinner: Boma

Day 2
Breakfast: 1900 Park Fare
Lunch: Columbia Harbor House
Dinner: Le Chefs de France

Day 3
Breakfast: snack credits at Magic Kingdom
Lunch: Crystal Palace
Dinner: Spoodles

Day 4
Breakfast: Tusker House
Lunch: Yak & Yeti counter service
Dinner: California Girll (right before Wishes!)

Day 5
Breakfast: Spoodles
Lunch: Coral Reef
Dinner: 50's Prime Time Cafe

Day 6 (resort hop and Downtown Disney on this day)
Breakfast: at our resort
Lunch: Beaches N Cream
Dinner: 'Ohana

Day 7
Breakfast: Kona Cafe (must have Tonga Toast!)
Lunch: Boulangerie Patisserie
Dinner: Nine Dragons

Day 8
Breakfast: Boma
Lunch: counter service wherever we're at
Dinner: airport


Last Day of Vay-cay

Monday, June 9th

~Because I stayed up so late I called concierge and requested to be picked up an hour later. Luggage and I were whisked away to the Hospitality House at 8:45am. I checked out of my room with no extra charges. Did airline check-in. Ate breakfast. Shopped around: bought more soundtracks and started another round of Disney pins for trading. I had forgotten my other Disney pins at home and I'll never understand why I didn't start my new round on Day 1 of this vacation. Had concierge hold my carry on bag for the day.

~Jumped a bus to Hollywood Studios for what was left of my vacation.

~Immediately started pin trading with just about every Cast Member (employee) I came across - which is a LOT! Pin trading is this awesome thing where if you see a Cast Member wearing a Disney lapel pin that you like you get to tell that CM "I'd like to trade you my pin for yours." CMs are not allowed to say no. It's a one for one trade. Once you buy any number of starting pins of your choice (I usually start with the cheap ugly ones) you can begin trading. Then just walk up to any Cast Member (even people who work in regular mall Disney stores) and ask, "May I see your pins, please?" You have a look, if there's one you want, you trade! You never realize how HUGE pin trading is until you're involved in it! And you can trade with park guests, but they're allowed to tell you no. And, I didn't find this out until I got home and read a Cast Member's blog, but I ended up trading for this year's collector's pin - the 2008 one! Outside of pin trading, here is the story behind the 2008 pin (btw: it's sparkly Tinkerbelle on a cloud that says Where dreams come true...): Only a Cast Member can give away the '08 pin. And every time, they give away 2. The CM says 1 of 2 things: "It appears as though you're not having a good time. Why so? Here are 2 Dreams Come True pins. Keep one and remember to believe in the magic. Give the other to someone who looks like they could use some magic." OR "You look like you're having the time of your life. Here are 2 Dreams Come True pins. Keep one and keep believing in the magic. Give the other to someone who could use a little more magic." It's a pay it forward deal. When I read that Cast Member's blog I thought, "This is EXACTLY why Disney is the one and only class act when it comes to vacations."


~Got a fast pass for Tower of Terror. Hopped in the single rider line for Rock 'N' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. Less than a 15 minute wait, baby! Just before stepping into the recording studio all the single riders got a gift! FREE MICKEY EARS designed in this year's theme! Rock.On. Then I screamed and sang at the top of my lungs while music blared in my ears on the ride.

~Rode Tower of Terror. I loooooove rides, and this one makes me so giddy that I practically bounce off the walls. The anticipation that builds puts me in Euphoria Land.

*another story*

My senior year of high school I went to Disney World twice in less than 2 weeks. First for show choir, then for spring break. During the show choir trip I rode Tower of Terror with a death grip on Rachel Esther's hand. Fell in love with the ride. Went back a week and a half later with my family. Dad, Nathan, and I are sitting on the ride with other people who have never ridden. In my head I was thinking, "I can totally scare these people. Oh, this shall be fun." So we're riding and about halfway through (just before the dropping in the shaft) the ride stops. In my head, "Perfect. Begin scaring." I say to the people, "This isn't supposed to happen." Dad and half the people look at me and say, "You're kidding." "No. Really. This is not supposed to happen." Those people FLIPPED.OUT. My plan worked. Due to the malfunction we all got the next available car. We get to the place were we had previously stopped, but this time we didn't, so I said, "THIS is how it's supposed to happen!" Commence screaming like sissies. haha


~Got another fast pass for Tower of Terror. Walked around most of the park waiting for my lunch reservation. Continued to pester Cast Members for pins. Grabbed a coffee. Sadly, didn't have time for the brand new Toy Story Mania ride. Took pictures of the Chinese Theatre replica. Found an awesome display of my favorite movie ever - MARY POPPINS! So I took pictures.

~Lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby. Had their 2 signature dishes: world-original Cobb salad and grapefruit cake. Mussels and chorizo for an appetizer.

~Rode the Tower of Terror again. Rode the Aerosmith Roller Coaster again.

~Bused back to Old Key West for the last time. My luggage had already left for the airport hours before. Picked up my carry-on and boarded Disney's Magical Express to the Orlando International Airport. HUGE jet to Atlanta. Got owned while playing the in flight trivia game. Flew home to Fort Wayne. Boooooooo!

~All 5 days of vacation there was not a rain cloud to be found. I'm just that good.

Vacation Part 4

We now return to our regular programming...

Sunday, June 8

~Late breakfast at the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian resort. Tonga Toast with strawberry compote and ice coffee. Yum. Though I'm sure it was my entire week's worth of sugar intake.

~Stopped at the Polynesian marina to check prices for a jet ski. Only the Contemporary had them. They wanted $75 per half hour. (uh, NO THANKS!) I decided to come back later to use my Sea Raycer voucher. $45 for an hour and a half. Much better price.

~Ferried over to the Magic Kingdom. Rode the usuals for not long.

~Back to my villa to suit up for an afternoon on the water. Back to the Polynesian.

~1.5 HOURS OF THRILLING SPEED BOAT MADNESS!! Bay Lake was huge but not a lot of stuff to see. Seven Seas Lagoon - way better! I haven't been boating since elementary school, so driving my own watercraft was GREAT!

~Changed back into clothes right at the Polynesian. Monorailed to the Grand Floridian to check the night's dinner menu at Citricos. Disappointingly, only one thing appealed to me, and it was something basic. I grudgingly cancelled my reservation. Concierge couldn't squeeze me into any of my chosen restaurants that night. Bummer. So I choose the Hollywood Brown Derby for Monday's lunch.

~Dinner at the Grand Floridian - Gasparilla Grill. My and Nathan's favorite counter service restaurant. I grabbed all our favorite food and then called to rub it in.

~Monorailed to the Magic Kingdom, ferried to the Ticket and Transportation Center, monorailed to Epcot for the evening.

~Took some pretty good evening pictures at Epcot, rode Test Track twice (single rider line strikes again!), missed Club Cool this time around, did some shopping, but the real reason I was there: to see "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" AGAIN! It's my favorite Disney night show and my favorite Disney music.

~Monorail hopped to get to the Magic Kingdom (they had Extra Magic Hours). Played until 1:30 in the morning! I hit up all the same stuff as previously mentioned. The Magic Kingdom is totally different in the dark of night. It's so cool to experience the difference.

~Stayed up late packing for home the next day. Boo.