Weekly Wrap-up

I would say that this has been the Best Birthday Week Ever, but I’ve had some pretty good Birthday Weeks so I’ll simply say that I’ve had Another Best Birthday Week.  Starting on the 23rd  with the Monorail Crawl (going from the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian to the Contemporary stopping for Rum Drinks and Birthday wishes), and ending up on  the evening of the 28th riding the Rise of the Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge, it has been charmed.

Oh, the weather was cold and windy, but we Laugh in the face of Weather.

While we were in central Florida we visited Aunt Shirley in Melbourne, staying the night with Cousin Kim.  I want to visit them every month or so now, though their weather was no better.

I was thinking about all the different Jos I’ve been–a different person every year celebrating Birthdays 1-67.  Not all of mySelves were Great, but each one brought its own gift.   You couldn’t pay me to be 20 again…but 40 was nice…  Oh, well, she’s in here somewhere..

We cruised on home yesterday, already thinking about going back.  I haven’t gone through all of the pictures of the trip yet, so I’ll do a Travelogue-type post later this week.


The Casey-Jose’s take Toy Story Land

We met up with the Jose’ family at Disney’s Old Key West, both arriving 11am.  Our room was ready!! We carried up our luggage, jabbered a little, then set out for Magic Kingdom.  We did Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, then It’s a Small World.  We stopped for some food, then went to the Haunted House, then back to Buzz for another spin.  We were set up to watch the castle wrap and fireworks, when I glanced back and saw dark clouds throwing lightning blowing in.  I made the call–we’re getting outta here.  I have sat in the rain for less, but I have learned.  When a storm hits, the place is crazy, but not only were we just there last March, we will be returning next March, so come on…

Charmed, we were getting on the bus when the storm hit.  The fireworks still went off, don’t get me wrong, and we could see part of them from our balcony, but we were dry, cool, and we got to bed to prepare for an early start in the morning.

Friday morning:  We did it, just as planned!!  The park opened at 7am, but we were walking through the turnstiles at 6:30 and went straight on to the Slinky Dog Ride.

From there we went straight over to the Alien Space Saucers,

then into Toy Story Mania…no lines!

By 9am we were enjoying breakfast at Woody’s Lunchbox!  And the humidity was beginning to seep in…

Melissa, Emma, Casey, and I stood in a long line to ride Aerosmith Rock ‘n Roller Coaster.  I hadn’t ridden that one since the grandkids arrived!  It was just as fun as I remembered, though the G-forces involved with going from 0 to 57mph in 2.8 seconds permanently ruined my hair-do… Someday I may show you the picture…but probably not.

We ended up going on Slinky Dog and Toy Story Mania again, then shopped and headed back to the resort.  We swam until they shut the pool down due to an approaching storm.  Then we hopped a bus for Disney Springs, had some supper, and bought our final souvenirs.

We started home on Saturday at 7am or so.  Birmingham is the new Atlanta–we were delayed 30minutes for some unknown reason.  Olivia was delivered to her parents safe and sound (and a little homesick, if the truth be told) by 10:30, and we were fast asleep by midnight.

Camp Sonnystone starts today!  It’s going to be a blast.




I’ve been in a blather getting ready for our quick trip…  We are leaving tomorrow morning with Olivia and crusing down to probably Ocala, where we’ll stop for the night.  Thursday we will meet up with the Jose’ Family (who are already in Orlando for the Irish Dance Nationals) at Old Key West Resort, check-in, and head directly to Magic Kingdom and stay for the Castle Wrap. Friday morning, 5am, we will be in the parking lot of Hollywood Studios to hopefully get in the park early and ride the Slinky Dog rollercoaster and Alien Saucers.   If you are a Disney fan, you know that those rides, indeed a whole new Toy Story Land, just opened on 6/30 and lines have been as long as 6 hours!!!  We’re stoked for the Adventure, and we will use our SuperCuteness to charm our way through.  Weather is supposed to be horrific, but we laugh in the face of humidity!!  We are a Disney Family!  Saturday we’ll load up Melissa, Emma, and Eliza (and Olivia, of course) to drive back to Sonnystone.  Shew!  Isn’t that Exciting?

I have laid in supplies for Camp:  all new markers and paints, brushes, and lots of wood items and canvasses.  I still have to pick up an order of play-doh and accessories and a water-balloon launcher thingy.  We’ve got fresh new cornhole boards and bags, too.  Ready for Fun.  To prepare an art area, we brought in a table from the garage, and some benches from outside, then covered them in vinyl tablecloths…

It doesn’t sound like I’ll have time to blog while we’re gone, but I will report back as soon as I can.

Happy Fourth of July!  Be careful with those sparklers!




The week at Disney World flew by!  We arrived at Fort Wilderness campground on the 17th.  Our site was right on the corner, a little loud, but perfect for people-watching and listening from behind the trees…

We took in a nice sunset from the dock…

The Joses were due to arrive at 9am the next morning, but met up with faulty planes Twice, and didn’t arrive till 4 or so.  They stayed over at Wilderness Lodge, a quick boat trip away from our campground.  We met up with them at Disney Springs and bought our ears!! Then back to our homeplaces to rest…

(We use the Disney Memory Maker Photopass which pays for any pictures taken by the Disney Photographers who are placed all over all the parks, and even on the resorts…   These include the pictures they take from the rides and with many of the characters, and in the most iconic kodak spots.  Because I am an annual passholder, I get to keep all of the pictures forever in my Disney account, but that is a pain when you have to scroll through 400 pictures from our last trip to get to the new ones.  While Disney IT gets those deleted, I have to use the pictures taken from my camera.  Of course, this means you will have to endure the Movie made from the Disney shots later this week…)

On Monday we were in the Magic Kingdom…

Tuesday at Epcot…

Wednesday at Hollywood Studios, or as I like to call it, MGM… (Who knows what they’ll call it next)…

Wednesday evening, back to Disney Springs, where Eliza danced!!!

Thursday was All-Day-Magic over at the Kingdom…breakfast at 8am with the fellas from 100-acre Woods…

We had Terrific spots to watch the castle show and fireworks, but you’ll have to take my word for it, since I didn’t take any pictures this year.

After the fireworks, we braved the cold-ish temps to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train—this was the only time I could get a fast-pass, but it was a great way to finish off our trip! (pictures later via Disney)

We said our good-byes to the Jose’ kiddos  on Friday…


..but we stayed another day, so headed over to Epcot to dig in to the Flower and Garden Festival…  I’ll share those pictures in another post.

We haven’t seen the sun since we left Florida…






Whimsical Wednesday

Wow!  This has been the longest spell of not-blogging that I have had in 6 years…  Why? you ask?  4 days of travel, 7 of Disney World, and all of the activity that goes with vacationing, including the work, plus the nasty allergy-type coughing, snottiness that I picked up somewhere in Alabama.

We had a wonderful time at Walt Disney World with the Jr family.  We’ve been busy cleaning up and catching up, so part of the problem is that I’ve not taken the time to download anything from WDW and I’m still extremely challenged with uploading the phone stuff–they are in google pictures and wordpress cannot find them.

I took the Nikon along on the first day when we visited Animal Kingdom, but took only a half-dozen or so shots.  As I’ve mentioned, it is a done-for camera and most of the pics I took were out of focus.  This is what I’ve got to share.

We were the “Family of the Day” at the Satu’li Canteen…(our server took the picture)


Rivers of Light and the Tree of Life

I Loved the Rivers of Light Show because it is My Theme, My Mantra, My Faith…

It’s our rite, it’s our call  Every creature great and small

If We stand alone   We stand to lose forever

Raise your hands to the sky  On this journey you and I

We’ll grow stronger than we know if we stand together

Feel the Rain  Face the Wind  Touch the Earth

And take it in…

Touch the Sea  Feel the light  Live the fullness of this life

Sand and stone  Flesh and bone  We are one

We are One, with the Oceans

Free to run, through the sunlight

Everyone, pure as water

Flowing in the wilderness

We are one in elation

Sound the drum, a celebration

            Touch the earth  Feel the sun

     We are One

           Touch the earth        Feel the sun
We are One

And that’s it for now…   I’m all caught up around the house now—laundry, gardening, cleaning up the trailer—and I’ve re-stocked the fridge.  I caught up with the mail and received my Medicare notice, immediately going into a funk of feeling old.  Old, I tell you.

Still, when I look at all the fun we had, even with the weather being ungodly hot and humid down there, I’m pretty satisfied that I can keep up with the youngsters.

This is just a tease.  I’ll be back soon with the Real Pictures and True Stories…

Get out the tissues and listen to the music…




This WDW trip I bought the Photopass Archive Disc.  There are photographers stationed throughout the parks, especially in popular spots in front of the castle, spaceship earth, etc. who will take your picture and add it to your account.  Then you claim the pictures later and print what you like.  I was thinking it would allow me to get more pictures of the Entire Family, including the family photographers..!  Okay, so far, and we did get some of those family pictures…but.. 1) they’re not All good.  the photographers are often rushed and there are lines for the pictures.  2)  editing the pictures for download onto the disc is a pain-in-the-ass, requiring some cussing and threatening…   As a result, it’s taking me a lot longer to prepare the pictures for download.  I should have those done by this week-end, I hope.  In the meantime, here are the last I”ll post of my pictures.  I did rely heavily on the Disney photographers (and my kids) for these character shots, so I don’t have many.  Eliza, who loved all the characters when we visited in 2012, was hot and cold this year.  She would often get real excited, then at the last minute refuse to pose.  Even the all-family shots are often of Eliza’s back…  That’s okay, though.  We’ll tease her about it when she gets older..!

As I work on the editing, I still feel the magic of our Family-ness…  Did I mention we’re planning our return trip already?  Spring, 2015, we’ll be back.  Until then, we have such wonderful memories, terrific pictures, and a whole lot of dreams…

It would be nice to be Tinkerbelle…But then, being a Jo-Jo is even better!


almost the last photos…

The best part of our Disney Vacation was all of us being together.  Disney is great, but without the 9 of us it would be just another product.   I’m working on the follow-up survey and I won’t hesitate to let them hear about the rooms that didn’t connect, or the service at Via Napoli, the Photopass pictures that are not connected to my account,  or even the failure of Fastpass+ that first day.  None of that takes away the fun we have… When we are together, just walking, even with tired feet, becomes an adventure…

I  have today and tomorrow off due to the freezing temperature, but Casey’s been working all night and going back this evening.  I hardly slept last night, up listening to the creaking sounds from the house bracing itself against the frigid winds.   It was kinda scary, and has made me lazy, as well.  I’ll try to finish editing the character shots for tomorrow, then lay off the photos until I get that PhotoPass figured out.

Stay warm…

in-line, on-line…

The crowds were quite crowd-y at Disney…the days between Christmas and New Year are the busiest with estimated attendance 130,000 at all four parks, about 1/3 of that number at Magic Kingdom.  Humanity can be kinda crushing at times and the lines get long.  True to form, Disney makes standing on queue an adventure:

On line to meet Buzz and Woody

It wasn’t a super-long line, but there was enough time to do a lot of posing…

and even some running around…

We all love people-watching when we’re at TheWorld.  People-listening is nearly as fun.  Who can forget the snotty little brat that stood behind us?

And in this line for

Toy Story Mania

there was a toddler-type (not ours) intermittently screaming like a banshee:


The guy standing out in front of the Small World line was barking like Billy Bigelow, “worst line in the park, don’t stop here” or words to that effect;  in reality, it is Always a very quick line. That’s the kind of stuff we professional disney-e(a)rs know;  and we know where the characters are, too.  More later.

picture post

Back home, back to work, but still a little emotional about our trip.  I don’t know why this one is getting to me, but tears are just below the surface, sometimes overflowing, as I edit the photos.  My attempts to organize  them resulted in an almost-hour of trying to unlock them so wordpress would publish them…  As a result, I’ve spent most of the morning just trying to post these few…maybe those are tears of frustration???

First stop:  Teacups
3 from the carousel…

As our midwestern burgh attempts to keep up with the northeast, we’re expecting 6+ inches of snow tomorrow…so I’m going to get out in this sunshine before I’m trapped inside the house again.    I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to share with you then.