Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's a Jolly Holiday with Clarkie

Wow - the past few days have been brightened by the celebration of Clarkie's 30th birthday. Good Grief, how did this happen so quickly?! Those 30 years have been happier because Clark knows how to liven up any party, bring a smile to any face and by golly, he's just plain funny. As I think about it, God had to have a sense of humor when he created people.  We're the only one of his creation that can laugh.  Clark is one of his best creations and around him the laugher flows. Thanks for the joy you bring my life!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Just Keep Walking - Just Keep Walking"

Well, we walked all over the EPCOT center and it truly lived up to its name - Every Person Comes Out Tired. I admit that my feet hurt, but I really felt bad when we got back to our room and Aunt Nita took off her shoes and had - BLOODY TOES! I had been so happy because Nita and Rick have done everything I planned and been such trooper bunnies. We have seen EVERYTHING there is to see at DisneyWorld. And now Aunt Nita has bloody toes. She may never want to go on a trip with me again. I had no idea I had so much energy or kept such a strident schedule. Poor Nita. . Nonetheless, it was a great day. We had a lovely lunch at the Coral Seas where the aquarium is all across the wall. We had a lovely dinner at the newly renovated Mexico pavillion that was yummy. We were captured by the spirits of the Oaxacan animal carvings and it cost us a lot of money. Aunt Nita got an alligator - her signature animal. He is darling! Rick got an armadillo. We headed for the United Kingdom to watch the fireworks show. Apparently, an English/Columbian gentleman standing next to Aunt Nita took a real shine to her, because he talked to us for about the next 15 minutes before the show started and must have told us at least 8 times how we were about to see the best fireworks show in the world. Then the fireworks came and he told us "Beautiful! Beautiful!" Yes, they were beautiful. As was the Chinese pavilion where Nita and Rick tickled a Buddah and I coochied a 9 foot troll in Norway. Just more fun of a different color. Good thing we leave tomorrow. Our feet need a rest and Aunt Nita can get back to work where her toes can heal.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Walk Like an Animal

And walk is exactly what we have done. MY FEET HURT! Anita thinks we've walked at least ten miles a day every day we've been here, but we are all so excited to get to see everything and everythng is so worth seeing that who can complain?! I'm thinking I'll take some tylenol today - not for a headache but for a footache as we tackle the EPCOT Center. However, Animal Kingdom was the bomb. We went to see "It's Tough to be a Bug" -twice. Rick loved it and I got a great pic of Nita and Rick - bug-eyed. I still think the "Finding Nemo" show could be on Broadway. And this trip we encountered a white rhino on the safari ride. He weighs about 4500 pounds (so the guide said - who weights these guys?) and as our bus came through he decided to stand almost in the road. We went very slowly and I could of touched him, he was so close. As it was I just took a quick picture while pondering the nearness of my being to a white rhino. (They told us these were the nice rhinos, it's black rhinos that have grumpy personalities). Other fun animal sightings were Komodo dragons, large, leathery fruit bats, and tigers. Lots of tigers. They were close up and beautiful and active. Anita says they are developing a tiny tiger in Utah, called a toyger - pussy cat sized with tiger markings. One tiger we watched did his imitation of the Bitten. He licked himself all over, rolled over on his back exposing his white furry tummy and looked like you could just cuddle him. We walked the tiger trail in order to dry out after our spin down the Kali River Rapids ride. Anita and I were determined not to get our hair drenched this time. As soon as we got in our tube, we broke out plastic sacks and put them over our heads - to the laughter of our fellow passengers. True to form however, when the tube went down a steep incline and hit the bottom, Anita's sack flew off her head. I've included an "after" picture. I guess the reason I love Animal Kingdom is that right now the gardenia bushes are in blossom & all over the park you can smell the fragrance of gardenias - it's like walking up to a bush full of Mother's Day corsages. Oh, there must be gardenia's in heaven.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Universally Sennnnsaaaation

We toddled out to Universal Studios to check out Disney's competition. There was no shortage of people, although they keep telling us this is the slow season. Take my advice and NEVER come during high season. The crowds swept us over to Universal Studios where we promptly paid another $30 to "fast pass" into all the lines. It turned out to be a good investment we got into everything we wanted with short waits. For Clarkie's information, there is a new ride that replaced "Back to the Future" that was opening this very day. It is the Simpsons ride. You couldn't use a fast pass and the wait to get in was an hour - so you'll have to come back and try it for us. Things were going swimmingly until we determined that a cooling ride on Popeye and Bluto's Bilge rats was just the ticket. We came out looking like the original drowned rats. Aunt Nita did a reprise on her Las Vegas "bucket of water in the Head" routine that was quite spectacular. Fortunately this was late in the day. As we left the park it dawned on us that it would be a great idea to stop for dinner at one of the city walk restaurants. Everyone in the park had the same idea. There was an hour to 1 1/2 hour wait everywhere until we had the gall to check out the elite restaurant of the bunch, Emeril's. A very dignified gentleman overlook our "bilge rat" appearance and seated us right sway. Attentive waiters took very good care of us and we had a fabulous, expensive meal looking worse than I ever remember looking in a nice restaurant. I learned this lesson, that if you're willing to pay for a fancy restaurant they'll take your money no matter how bad you look.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spaced Out

Wednesday - a break from the intensity of the crowds - we took a drive up to the Kennedy Space Center. We didn't even get lost until we tried to find our way home and the road sign that said next left, really meant next left after the next left. Humphff. We got ourselves all up to speed on the international space station. We met astronaut, John Blaha, (in the picture with Rick) who told about living on the space station. We say a model of the space shuttle which is really big size-wise but just has a tiny bit of space for the astronauts - three on the top deck, 4 mid-deck. Have you ever heard of NASA - TV? At the launch briefing, a gentleman from Australia thanked NASA for NASA-TV. He watches it everyday. The NASA employee who was doing our briefing said that everybody who works there goes home and watches it. These guys really LOVE their jobs and you can hear it in their enthusiasm sharing things with you. We headed back to Downtown Disney for dinner at House of Blues who now qualifies to be part of our book on the the "Best Bathrooms of the world. Crazy paint job. We all ate baby back ribs and then took off for a windy ride across the Lake. The Water taxi lady told us about the huge black water birds that were hanging out in the trees. They are Commorants. They dive for their food underwater, but because their wings are not waterproof, they have to come up on shore and hold their wings out to dry. We saw all the shops that are filled with Mickey-stuff, except for the delightful LEGO store that sports a giant LEGOness monster on the lake. We were dazzled by "LaNouba" at Cirque Du Soleil. We had front row seats and were in danger at one point in the show of having the hopping bicyclist guy in our laps. The audience was super and the performers got an enthusiastic standing ovation. The fun just keeps coming at the Happiest Place on earth. Perky Aunt Nita (who is used to getting up at 4AM) and Uncle Rick (who is used to getting up at 3AM) are ready to go early every day - slacker Janet (who gets up at a balmy 6:30AM) is the slowpoke of the group.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Magic Kingdom

We're staying at Shades of Green, the military hotel on-site at Disney World.  It has a swimming pool in the shape of Mickey's head.  Yes, everything here is Mickey ad nauseam.  The Haunted Mansion has been updated with new spooky thrills and we loved it. Nita and Rick were such hot shots at BuzzLightyear's Space Ranger ride that we went on it twice.
Rick got a Disneyworld baseball and fraternized with some of the guys.
Do you think Rick was looking forward to that banana split or what?!
We waited and waited standing on very tired feet to watch Spectromagic - the electric parade.  Once those fab floats start coming by, you forget all about how much your feet hurt.  We remembered when we got back to Shades of Green - ouch!  We didn't stay for the fireworks because we've already seen them twice.  Our room has a balcony that overlooks the pool and on to where they shoot off the fireworks at Magic Kingdom nearby.  There are some great new designs in fireworks and we've seen them all - twice.

Siblings in DisneyWorld

It's been so fun being with Nita and Rick in Disneyworld.  We started off with my FAVORITE, MGM Studios.  We entered the park and made a PLAN.  Everybody agreed.  After lunch we made another PLAN.  We followed it to a tee. Everything went so great!  I just love to travel with a PLAN!
The plan included all the bes stuff and a Siamese cat encounter in the "famous Disney villians" store.  
Rick got a great new "Indiana Jones" hat after that stunt spectacular. 
In tribute to Robbie, we reveled in our lunch at the Sci-Fi Dine In theatre where Nita took note of all the great movies we have to get for Robbie (whose BMW's license plate reads "B Movie" in case you didn't know.  My personal favorite was "Invasion of the Saucer Men". Of course we returned to the scene of the Star Wars ride.  We took a picture of Tatooine Traders just for Nicole.  
We had dinner at the Brown Derby, which was a welcome respite after a day of "the Happiest Place on Earth".  I had a fabulous Cobb Salad, their signature dish, followed by a Bananas Foster dessert that was one of the best desserts I've ever had!  Wowsa!
We ended our day at the Fantasmic water and light show.  Man, Las Vegas doesn't have anything on Disney.  It is awe-inspiring watching famous animated clips on screens of water.  Electric-light adorned water floats and flaming canoes aren't bad either.  Not to mention an island-sized snake and dragon.  More fun to come! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Seattle Bound Toucan I know that I need-- lessons on how to use my iphone camera.  This is the only picture I got out of several I took - everybody's green except the Toucan!  Rob's lady friend, Debra, loves toucans!  As he and his dad were driving across Nebraska, they came across this beauty at a truck stop and as you can see, it is irresistible!  Hence, Uncle Bob got to share his seat in the car with the aforementioned toucan all the way to Seattle.  
Rick was delighted to have them visit and we made the most of their time here with dinner and a movie -  the Dodo in the Gateway complete with yummy desserts and then "Leatherheads" which had just opened that day.  
Saturday morning found us all congregating at Coachmans - where else?  Swedish pancakes were again the best in SLC.  Then they were off to Boise and a visit with Scott and Mitzi.  WE LOVED THE VISIT!  Come again anytime.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Who was that masked man?!

Last week I was out of town for Regents' meetings in St. George, leaving Dad home alone.  He was having trouble sleeping and ended up arising about 5am Friday morning.  He wandered downstairs to the kitchen.  I was still dark outside, but through the patio windows he could see a plump figure below the birdfeeder gobbling up sunflower seeds dropped on the ground by the birds.  I am so jealous!  In 30 years living here I've never seen one of these portly little fellows around here.  Maybe it's because the early bird sees the racoon!