Disneyland

I am dreaming of a vacation.

My mom and I have been tossing around the idea of a vacation with her, dad and me. No one else. I want a memory of just the three of us. No stopping the car to let my brother out for a run. No having to share a seat with a sister who hogs all the cuddle time with mom and dad. No grandmas tell us where they want to eat. Just me, mom, and dad on the kind of vacation we have never had before. But I also want a vacation together that we have had before…like Disneyland. 

I began going to Disneyland at the age of six. I have been upwards of 30 times to the various parks in the United States and France. This may seem surprising to many who know me but it has been years since I have darkened the doorstep of any Disney Park, years. My last few memories were tainted by situations and relationships that needed to be purged by me. Moving forward I will spend future Disney Park time with family. I want to recreate my first memory and make new ones. I want to have a great memory of the parks with my children and my parents. So I think this year will be that opportunity. 

My best memory of Disneyland when I was six was sitting on the corner of Main Street with my dad. We were holding spots for my mom and brother. They were shopping at the Emporium for warm sweaters for us. It was August and the evenings become cooler. We were waiting for the Main Street Electrical Parade. It was that parade’s debut that summer. A fun fact that I only know now because I am a fan. I was oblivious of that fact as a kid. 

Mom came out of the shop with grey sweatshirts with Mickey Mouse on the front. The park still sells that style only its called vintage now. We snuggled into the sweatshirts and munched on popcorn. We shared a box between all of us. I remember my dad being amazed by the lights and music. I was mesmerized. 

Fast forward to the year I brought my kids for the first time and we sat on Main Street wearing newly purchased sweatshirts watching the Electrical Parade. We didn’t munch on popcorn we had dole whips and Mickey bars instead but we were enchanted with the parade. It was as magical as I remembered. The next day we met Pooh and Pigglet and my son was transfixed. He whispered secrets into Pooh’s ear and was happy beyond words.

My children are now adults and my parents are seniors. I am not that little six year old who had crushes on Robin Hood and Thomas O’Malley, now I crush on Spanish Mode Buzz, Bert and Ramone who likes it low and slow as he cruises through Carsland. We have all decided we want to have a family vacation together in our old haunt. We want to explore Galaxy’s edge, ride the Matterhorn on the Tomorrowland’s side at night, ride Pirate’s and Splash and maybe even sit on a bench on Mainstreet and watch a parade or two. I want to pop into the Emporium with my mom and buy sweatshirts for everyone because the evening is cool. I want to share with my parents the secrets I have learned and make my dad take a photo with his doppelganger Han Solo. 

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I want to be amazed by magic. It’s been a long time since I felt happy there. I am ready to get that back. It will be 47 years since my very first visit. There is a theme park where the parking lot used to be. Rides have changed and evolved but there is still a lamp above the firehouse on Mainstreet that I am looking forward to seeing again.  I can’t wait for 2019 and all the vacation magic it will bring. 

500 Miles for SMA: The Finale Part 2 – My right arm is missing

So Thursday Joe crossed the finish line at the Disneyland Esplanade.

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I was there, his wife was there, his daughter was there, his team support was there and it was recorded live on Periscope for his mom and others to watch.

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It was pretty emotional for most of us. Not everyone understands what exactly happened or how incredibly difficult it was for him. Over $11 000.00 was raised and more donations keep coming in so a final tally hasn’t been completed yet.

We had big plans for all the DAWS team to be there, hang out and have a fantastic time. Fatigue and post event stress disorder took over and made the weekend less epic than expected, but lovely just the same.

I cannot express how in awe I am of this man.

Here is Day 1 and Day 17:

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I am guessing he lost around 20lbs and his muscles became more defined.

I am currently retracing the steps he ran, while driving home from LA. Lets recap: I drove to Monterey today. and it took 10 hours in my CAR, and I speed. Joe ran everyday without complaint and it took him 17 days…on foot. IT IS FREAKIN FAR PEOPLE!

I cried a lot these past few days. I knew I would be feeling post event stress and let down. It is better and worse than expected.

Better because it was a ton of work and I am exhausted, I am happy to not be doing it.

Worse because I didn’t anticipate how much I would miss him.

He is my pal. He apparently is also my right arm and it feels like its missing. It’s in New York tonight so I am typing this one handed. Not easy for me.

Also worse because we had an epic crew of 2, his daughter and my daughter. They are also great pals. A piece of my heart flew to Florida yesterday and the rest of my heart flew to Edmonton today. So here is me, homesick like crazy, still sleeping in a hotel, without my heart and right arm.

There is also the factor of the missing half of me who was my stress support. She also left for New York yesterday. She was my medical back up and sounding board. She calmed me down when I was hysterical and when I cried for no reason. I miss her like a sister. I am a disaster.

Post event fun came and went with unmet expectations and experiences that were unexpected. I think I was too tired for Disneyland to enjoy it properly. Effects of being in the car endlessly enhanced some of my symptoms that I live with and caused me to miss my races. I am a disaster in the truest form.

I miss things I never expected to and hate things I also didn’t expect to. I have the marathon blues in the worst way.

But wait: I just had a life altering experience. I learned things I never would have without this. I know myself better. I gained personal and professional experience on a level I had never fathomed. I learned that not everyone is good at keeping secrets and now I know who I can share with and who has my back. I learned that supporting your friend in achieving his goal is likely one of the most rewarding experiences I will will ever have. There were very few of us involved in this. Some were on the phone and some were in the car. Their  worth and contribution was as valuable as the next. I got to know people I never met before and had a chance to experience their perspective. I became part of a larger family. I also felt more alone that humanly possible.

My daughter said it best, you think you know what is going on and then you actually live it. Two completely different things. Amen sister.

Tonight I feel alone. Everyone is tucked up in their beds at home and I am frying in a Super 8…ITS SO HoT!

I miss my kids, I miss my puppy, I miss my bed,and I miss fall.

I miss my team and my right arm.

We did great team because tonight, plans are in place to change lives all because a boy from the Bronx decided to run 500 miles so people do not have to go through what he and his mom went through when his 2 baby brothers dies in infancy.

Here is to Jonathan and Robert, two young boys who lived a very short time but made a giant impact on those around them so their brother could do great things in their name.

500 Miles for SMA: The Finale Part 1

August 16 I arrived in San Francisco to Join my pal Joe as his support crew so he could run from The Walt Disney Family Museum to the Gates of Disneyland.

Fast Forward September 19, 2015. We are on Disney property, arrived yesterday. I have big giant bats in my belly because all the butterflies were destroyed by the bats. Nerves are killing me.

We made it this far and are not finished yet. We have about 10 miles left as of this post.

I think back over the the past 2 years when we began planning. We faced a lot of negative bashing. “You’ll never do it” “Its ridiculous to think its possible” “you’ll never reach your goal” “you are CRAZY”

If you know Joe like I do, then you knew he would do it. He is the one guy whose mental strength can over power his physical being. To be honest, I didn’t really know why I said I would help. I knew he could do it. It angered me that no one supported this idea and I knew he needed support.

So I signed up.

I wanted to quit a million times before we started but I stuck it out. Now I am one of 2 people on the planet who truly understand what happened out there. That reference when only people understand who lived it really applies here. TEAM has a new meaning for me.

I learned a lot about me. I learned a lot about Joe. We both learned a lot about the people closest to us.

I learned he hates White Food, is afraid of bears and cougars, and can bounce back from being run over by a car – 11 times. I learned his instinct is to do things on his own and asking for help is hard. I learned that karma is healing and paying debt is painful but necessary. I learned that some people don’t understand hard. I learned that some people are surprisingly supportive when you expected them to be jerks. I learned that past actions can be forgiven but not forgotten. I learned that moms are okay with waking me up but not him.

We are reluctant to celebrate because we are not done. For the first time I have been in Disneyland for 2 days and have not walked through the park gates. I am still working. I will relax once I get that final finish line hug. I am sure I will cry. I didn’t want distractions.

We had a final ‘family crew’ dinner last night, just the 4 of us. Our girls arrived last Friday to help and support and indeed they did. I am super proud of their efforts, their comic relief and the women they have become. Words cannot express my excitement for witnessing their bright future.

I am relieved this is almost over and I am devastated it is almost over.

$11 000.00 raised for the Do Away with SMA Foundation where will support families for the little things they need that funding just wont help with.

Let’s get this done Big Guy, I am proud to call you my friend and am sure this is that reason we talked about. I love you to the moon and back.

And I called it – I knew you could do it. Sucka….

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Running 500 Miles for SMA

There is an app out there called Timehop. I am not big on revisiting the past other than for purposes to mark achievement. I often speak to running/walking groups to talk about goal setting and maintaining motivation. I preach the basics of forgiving yourself, be kind to yourself and let the past go. Mistakes happen, move on. Except for measurement. I think TIME  is a marvellous tool for measuring progress. For example, 2010 I couldn’t walk up the stairs without major effort. Getting out of the bathtub was hard for me. As you all know, I started moving more and eating less. I am 117lbs further away from 2010. It amazes me.

I was flipping through TimeHop and came across a photo of my desk piled high in books and papers as I was writing my Capstone.

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This photo made me pause. I suddenly remembered all the steps that got me to this point.

I needed a project to work on for my final project. So I called my pal Joe because he often asks me the kind of questions that inspires me to think out of the box. We began talking about goals and future projects that would be huge or at the very least, take serious time and effort to complete. He disclosed that he would like to ‘one day’ run from the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco to the esplanade in Disneyland Resort. I said, “Lets do it!” So we started planning and this became my Capstone project. Project Planning on an epic scale. I got an A+ but something else happened.

We started a foundation called Do Away with SMA. Part of this adventure was because if you are going to do something big, do it for a great cause. Joe’s family was personally affected by SMA so we decided to make this personal and choose that cause to work for. Why? Because other charities that you hear about are just that…charities that you hear about. They have a name and are doing well and meeting their goals. Apparently, Joe and I are two individuals that who like to go big or go home. Starting from scratch is a big deal for us. So, with the support of our families and friends, here we are. Co-Founders with the help of our friends in the foundation DAWS. All because we thought it might be fun to run 500 miles for charity.

Boom.

Its suddenly a reality.

This August is when it all happens. The way my life has turned really makes me blink with shock and awe. Whose life is this anyways? How did I get to this point? This is definitely not the old me. The new me is a very different person from 10 or even 5 years ago.

I invite you to follow our adventure on our blog at www.doawaywithsma.org. I will post adventures here and we will have a photo gallery on Facebook. Here is a link to our Crowdrise page that is raising money specifically to support this adventure. We hope to secure corporate support and raise money to help us fund this run as well as raise money to for our foundation. The Foundation support is found here .  That Cutie on the page is Claire. Claire has SMA. We met her Aunt through our Running Team and we heard amazing stories and saw adorable photos and suddenly SMA became REAL to the board. It was always real for Joe, his brothers died from SMA Type 1, but Claire is a typical kid living with an Atypical genetic disease. Now it is more important than ever that we raise money to support DAWS. We want to support kids like Claire in making every day tasks easier and to support researchers so they may find a cure. We want SMA to be eradicated. That is why Joe is running 500 miles. For kids like Claire.

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Here is what I hope to achieve by doing this grand adventure:

Raise money for our Foundation DAWS so we can help fund research and support parents and children who are living with SMA. 

Support Joe as he runs really far. Between you an me, he gets cranky when he is tired so this may be a challenge for me. See how I make it about me? Because I am awesome like that.

Share all kinds of daily adventures because you can’t run a marathon everyday and have nothing happen.

See the Coast of California. I haven’t been there since I was a kid. It should be a beautiful scenic adventure!

Meet amazing people along the way both on the road and in social media. 

I suspect this will be one of those life changing moments that teaches you about yourself and your friends. Joe’s Road Crew has 3 of us on board for support, food and fights   companionship. The off road support has many more….who may get calls from me as I will need to talk to people who don’t live in the car with me.

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There are 2 ways to support.

1. You can donate directly to 500 Miles for SMA. When your donation reaches different levels, there are gifts that coincide with the donation level.

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2. You can donate DIRECTLY to the Foundation. We have lofty goals for finding a cure and supporting families and their children. That gets expensive. The great news is, Do Away with SMA is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. That means I copy the legalese here for your reading pleasure:

The Do Away with SMA Foundation is a public charity and is tax exempt under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations made to the foundation may be deducted from your federaly taxable income to the extent permited by law. You should contact a tax professional to determine whether and to what extent donations are deductable under your particular circumstance.

 

This August is SMA Awarness Month. I invite you to come and cheer Joe on along the route. Here are our projected dates and places.

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I will be posting our location with video and photos and stories of our adventure. We hope you will join us.

We simply want to help as many people as we can, and play a part in defeating this disease. When I run, I always remember the faces of my younger brothers. ~Joseph R Kolinksy

Look for us here:

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So, I hear you Quit: Deuxième Partie

A week ago I wrote this: So, I hear you Quit…

Since then I have had a lot of private messages come through from fat gals like me.

When I write, I get it out and then walk away. I haven’t given much thought to the blog post since I published it. But its resonated with readers, so I went back and re-read what I wrote.

I cried all over again. DAMN YOU TOURIST PEEPS!

Okay, not really, I appreciate you and the way you make me think and feel. Apparently, you appreciate me for those same reasons.

Lots of the newsy letters and comments from you had a common theme.

  1. People are judgey
  2. Boys are mean
  3. People like it when others fail
  4. Honesty is raw and strikes a cord

Lets just get this out the of the way and then I will answer questions and respond to your comments, okay?

First things First:

Write this out and fill in the blanks, sign it and date it. Put it somewhere to light the fire you are needing to get this show on the road.

Dear (insert the name of the person who hurts you most) ______________,

I am tired of crying because of the thoughts and words that you express about me. I am tired of you telling me that I am not going to make it or I shouldn’t even try because I was not (insert adjective of your choice – in my case its READY/FIT/PREPARED).

Without your help or support I will let you know I did a myriad of things that you deemed impossible. I succeeded in spite of you and I will succeed again. And when I do, you will be the LAST PERSON ON EARTH I will celebrate with. I will turn to those who high fived me, cheered for me, cried with me, gave me a hand up, quietly supported me and secretly knew I could do it. 

I am sick to death of supporting you and being the one you lean on in this one-sided relationship. Grow a pair, and I mean ovaries because balls are just too tender and delicate for this situation. You are my emotional vampire and quite frankly I just don’t need the drama. 

When I cross the finish line/graduate/lose weight/find a career, you being there won’t make a whit of difference because you didn’t help me get there in the first place. So stay home and sulk, because it’s not about you and you wish it was. Do yourself a favour and set some goals, then maybe you will finally understand what this whole exercise is about. 

For the official record, this is my plan for the year:

I am going to (insert your major goal here)

This is how I plan to achieve it (list the steps you will take to achieve your goal here)

This is how I plan to celebrate my success (insert the celebration of choice here)

Suckit.

Sincerely,

Me (sign your name here)

Now that you have filled it out, take a deep breath.

Your person who is blocking/sabotaging/jealous of your dreams/goals/abilities is honestly not thinking all that hard about you. They don’t think you can do it, the end. They don’t lay awake at night thinking about you. They lay awake at night thinking about them. They think about stupid stuff like, how can I get what I want by getting (you) to do it for me? Or I wonder if that sale on those great boots is still on, or damn its hot in here, I hate this Old Lady Hot business.

Truth.

We all think everyone is thinking about us but its not true. WE think about us. We dwell on comments made in passing and read more into things than are necessary…. well, I do anyways. And after reading so many of your stories, a lot of you do the same thing. If I am being honest, I much rather people be judgey to my face so I can fight back than if they silently click their teeth at me and I can’t defend myself.

So on that note,lets deal with the list of common themes from you.

1. People are Judgey. Hells yes they are! But you are too. You judge them right back for being judged. Its this never ending circular movement that makes my head spin. Here is what I am going to do about it.

Do my own thing with or without approval.

Boom.

My goal will be reached. Then End. Do I care that I don’t have the support I crave? Hells yes I do! But wanting it and having it are two very different things. I will carry on and complete my goals and Boom… I win, The End. So the moral of this story? JUST BE NICE PEOPLE!

2. Boys are Mean. No argument there. Boys are mean, but so are girls. That’s right, I called you on it. GIRLS ARE SO MEAN TOO! The big problem here is that males are different from females so it gets foggy in terms of hurt feelings. What one person calls truth another calls mean. its complicated. My boys were hurtful to me, but I was hurtful back. The End. Humans are stupid. Just BE NICE PEOPLE! 

3. People like it when others fail. This is human nature. I know a gal who yelled some smack that was shocking to hear. She said “someone is lying and it aint me”. True, but she was loving that the other person was failing. I wish I could say I am above this, but I heard that someone who annoys me failed and I felt smug… I didn’t want to admit it because I knew that it was shameful that I felt this way… but there was me feeling it anyways. At least I had the good sense to keep it to myself. Feelings just are. You can’t control them you can’t manipulate them, they exist without your permission. What you can do is control what you do with them. From NOT TEXTING stupid stuff, to biting your tongue when necessary. Kicking someone when they are down is inhumane and just plain cruel. You should be able to tell when a person is down, and not laughing at themselves. If you can’t, you need social queues to help you. There are books for this. But most people can figure it out. So whats the plan? JUST BE NICE PEOPLE!

4. Honesty is RAW and Strikes a cord. Hells ya! You know what annoys me? When someone is just plain mean and says “I’m just being honest” Really? Or are you Judgey, mean and enjoying the fail? Honesty can take a couple of forms, 1) your friend is being an idiot and you say “What the hell are you doing? SNAP OUT OF IT MAN!” Calling someone on their actions is not the same as calling them a douche bag. Its just not. And 2) so and so did this and blablabla… That’s gossip, not honesty. Gossip is hurtful. If you wouldn’t talk to your friend about it and can’t say it to their face, its not honesty, its gossip. Totally different. Honesty can be kind and painful, but not hurtful.

Here is what I mean, 1) you are a very thoughtful person. See how that was kind and true? That’s honesty. Now, here is painful honesty, 2) when you did this _______, I felt this __________. Ouch but important to know your actions cause pain. That way you can change your act.

The bottom Line? BE NICE PEOPLE! Why is this so hard?

I don’t have an answer, I just know its hard.

So here is my goal plan:

I am running Dumbo Double Dare the September long weekend.

I am doing strength training on my knee to get it into the best possible shape before I start running again.

I will run 4 times a week, include hill training, speed work and LSDs. Core and muscle work will continue as well as weight loss.

I will cross the finish line, get my photo taken and wear my medal around my neck all damn day, then drink to my success. I am dripping with confidence.

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There you have it, my goal. Simple and it doesn’t require help. I will not turn down support, but I have enough going on that I don’t need to search for support. Once bitten, twice shy and all that jazz. I know who my supporters are, they hugged me when I failed. They will hug me when I succeed.

Boom

The End

And for crying out loud…. JUST BE NICE PEOPLE!

A Long Time Ago…It seems like a Galaxy Far Far Away

Facebook this week has people tagging each other to post their original profile pic. I dug mine up and laughed my head off. I do not even look like that girl anymore. 10805809_10153052104311337_3776625163417669245_n Let’s examine this closely, shall we? Round face: check! Short curly hair dyed mouse brown to be inconspicuous and asexual: check! Hiding behind children to block the fat view: check! Extra large boobs resting on the belly for comfort: check! This is me 8 years later: 1937498_10152992100491337_432840494231829037_n Round face: yes but more oval, cheeks are still mine but I can no longer see them when I smile. Short curly hair dyed mouse brown to be inconspicuous and asexual: Nope! Letting the grey show through highlights and low lights. Not afraid to be proud of the age. I’m pushing 50 and earned all those greys. The highlights make the hair shiny. Grew out the hair to have more options. Running with long hair is easy and not as hot. Hiding behind children to block the fat view: Nope! I am not skinny, but I am sure happy with how my body has changed! Here is me and Coach at Disney Studios, sure I am still on the cuddly side, but I’m cool with that. I am a work in progress. I don’t feel the need to hide anymore. 10835140_10153038437086337_6177125536509154145_o Extra large boobs resting on the belly for comfort: NOPE! Those babies are gone and so is all that extra skin up top. Next on tap the extra skin on the belly. I am pretty motivated to keep moving forward in the progress. It’s always a great idea to see where you have come from, so you don’t beat yourself up in the now. I want to run the 10km at the Star Wars Weekend in Disneyland next year. I also want to dress up for it. Never before have I had the desire to wear a costume in a race, but COME ON people! This is STAR WARS! I have been a huge fan since I was a kid! I waited in line at the paramount with my little brother to see it, not once but 3 times! That took a lot of convincing my mom. The last time we didn’t even tell, we just took the bus into Edmonton and saw it ourselves. We had the action figures, well, my brother did. I was allowed to be Leia and the Sand People. Leia was the first time I saw a strong woman who didn’t need a guy to save her. She was kick ass from the word go. This is what I want to wear: Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 4.04.37 PM This gal wore this for the Princess Half Marathon in WDW. Things I love, the sleeves, the length and the slit in the skirt. Things I will add will be a hood because SERIOUSLY look at that hood! Its awesome! Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 4.07.27 PM I will likely wear shorts instead of leggings, white leggings are just…well…no. White compression socks and some sort of white gator over my running shoe. The belt will have my firearm and hidden pockets for running stuff. I will use a sock buns for hair. But that HOOD! That is the best part! One whole year to wait! Meanwhile I need to:

  1. Fix my knee
  2. Speed Work
  3. Get my sewing machine back from my friend
  4. Keep losing weight
  5. Post a photo of Leia on my dream board

CAN’T WAIT!

Mary Poppins and 365 Days of Fun

mary poppinsI have talked about this many times before, and I am going to talk about it again because I can.

This morning I was talking to my dad on the phone. We were conspiring about my mom’s Christmas gift and when we finished the conversation my dad said, “Thank you Sweetheart!” 46 years old and my Daddy calls me sweetheart and baby still.

And I like it.

After we hung up, my memory took me back for a flash of Dad helping me get my winter coat on so we could go see Mary Poppins at the movie house in Yellowknife, NWT (for the uninitiated, that is in Canada’s Arctic).

Things I remember about that day include singing the songs from the movie, walking past the town’s only parking meter, sitting in the damp movie theatre beside my Dad and my brother and visualizing myself as Mary Poppins.

My dad didn’t take me to as many movies as my mom did. But he did come with us to the “last day of school’ movies. We saw Superman, Goonies, Indiana Jones, Silverado, The Right Stuff, and countless other action/adventure movies with my dad and mom. I am not sure, but in my memory Mary Poppins was our first “last day of school” movie. I was in grade 1 and my dad finished his very first year of teaching. He was the local grad 5 teachers, so we had plenty to celebrate. AND we were driving from Yellowknife to Disneyland later that summer. For the record the drive is 4302 km. With me 6, my ADHD brother 4, and my aunt 12, in the back seat.

We saw a lot of cool and interesting things that summer but what stuck with me were two things:

1. Sitting on Main Street Watching the Electrical Parade right in front of the emporium. My mom came out of the shop with what are now ‘vintage’ Mickey Mouse Sweatshirts – but at the time they were ‘new’.

2. Memories of the Mary Poppins movie.

We sang every song a million times on our drive to Disneyland. Singing in the car was always a huge pastime.  I suspect it is why I know the lyrics to every song written before 1990.

Everything about that summer was magic for me. From visiting my Grandma in Sherwood Park before leaving to Disneyland – to driving through a giant redwood tree that was on the way.

This Friday is the “last day of School” celebration for Christmas. Saving Mr. Banks is on the menu for me. I am dragging my family to it because of the significance of Walt Disney and Mary Poppins in my life and because it was so important to me, my kids know everything about it and have become massive Disney fans in their own right.

I love walking around Disneyland tell stories of the place of when I was a kid. Showing them where Skull Rock was located, telling stories of the Short Cut to Space Mountain before it became a backstage area – or maybe it was then but my brother and I went that way anyways to be first in line. Then my children ask me to tell them stories of their first visit, like when The Boy whispered secrets into Pooh Bear’s ear or when Chatterbox wore the Mickey Ears that caused seizers from the constant flashing. We have been enough times to have a million memories of our own.

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Just the way I like it.

But I also value the memories of Dad singing Bert’s part and my singing Mary’s part.

I can’t wait for Friday…and Christmas because I asked for the 50th Anniversary Mary Poppins edition.

My days have been loaded with fun and anticipation. This 365 Days of Awesome has been awesome so far.

 

Riddle me this: Why can’t I have a ‘normal’ vacation like everyone else?

I have been away on vacation, and surprise surprise….I went to Disneyland!

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When most people travel and their friends ask them how their vacation was, normal people answer “It was great!” or with “It was fine!”

Not me…

My friends asked me how my vacation was and I answered, “Awesome but weird.”

Weird?

You betcha!

The weather was great by Canadian standards, but by local standards it was cold. It was hilarious to see people dressed in parkas and toques. Translation : winter coats and wool hats. I wore flip flops and capris…very summery attire for October apparently.

The people I met were super friendly! But why is it that once someone finds out I am from Canada, I hear endless stories about New Jersey or Philly? “Oh you are Canadian? Cool! It must be hot for you here…let me tell you about my Uncle’s fungus on his toenail.”

Yeah…. awesome. And being Canadian, I just can’t tell him to feck off…I listen politely and act all sympathetic. Poor bastard.

I went to my secret spot for Fantasmic! The Trusty Steed thought it was necessary to tell THE ENTIRE PLANET about the secret spot….so when we got there it was crowded…well played Trusty, well played. However, because I am friends with New Yorkers and a hockey fan, I have learned the time honored tradition  of ‘Elbows Up’ to secure a spot.  The great news is because I combine it with my ‘Canadian kindness’ I scored a super spot next to an off duty cast member who shared secrets with me. But UNLIKE like the Trusty Steed…I can keep a secret.

I made sure the littles (people shorter than me) were placed in front of me so they could see. I made room for a gal in a wheel chair so she could see and gave her niece crap about blocking her view. “I didn’t give up my awesome spot so an able body YOU could have it and block your aunts view…get out of there missy!” This act of kindness earned me a Jesus preaching about how kind I am and how he must smile down on me…truth be told, this was awkward. 

I learned that Latina grannies are scaredy cats. I was standing in the queue waiting to board Radiator Racers when this granny turns to me and tells me her daughter is making her ride this scary ride (for the record RR is tame, no loops, no drops, it is basically a faster dark ride that is AWESOME). She asked me how it compared to Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road, I replied that it isn’t a coaster, it is fairly tame but then the cars race at the end, but it isn’t as fast as driving on the I5. She accused me of lying. So I replied with, “I am Canadian! You can trust me!” She then smiled and held my hand.

Before I knew it she had climbed into my lap and was screaming like a banshee in my ear. She had a death grip that reviled Spock’s Vulcan nerve pinch.  I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard or had that many bruises from saving someone. I think I am ready for any Zombie Apocalypse.

I went to Mickey’s Halloween Party on Monday night. I had never been and it was fun! You line up to get your wristband earlier in the day. Mine was 11. I SERIOUSLY CANNOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP!!! Eleven is my number without even trying.

Seriously? 11?
Seriously? 11?

I personally know about a billion people. I can go anywhere and run into someone I know. It annoys my sister to know end. Seattle for the weekend? You bet! London in the summer? Absolutely! Calgary for the day? Of Course! So when I am in Disneyland? I ran into a great friend who I NEVER run into at home. I have to travel to a different country to see her! But it was all good and she looked fantastic! Hi Alisa!1077043_10152008043881337_474202756_o

There is something about me that attracts children and Disney Surveyors. NEVER MAKE EYE CONTACT with a surveyor…not that avoiding them helped. No less than 7 surveyors stopped me to ask questions. 7! I was in the parks 5 days! I would hide, look the other way, walk the long way around and was captured EVERY TIME.

I better get a promo code out of the deal…

Kids are another story. I love them to BITS when they aren’t mine. I can stand in a queue, minding my own business and kids will talk to me, reach out to me to hold them or ask if I how I feel about Ben Affleck as the new Batman (for the record, I think his wife would make a better batman. She kicks royal a$$). But the best and weirdest interaction, goes to the little girl who just left Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. She was dressed as Cinderella in a sparkly blue gown. Her hair was pulled up in a bow with a giant fake bouffant sticking on the top of her head. She was covered in head to toe in sparkles. She held one side of her dress, ready to twirl at a moments notice. She would not stop making eye contact with me. When I smiled at her, I said, “you look beautiful, Princess” Well, that earned me a full on SONG. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” She put Ariel to shame. WOW it was hard not to laugh until I cried. 

Why didn’t I laugh, you ask?

DUDE! She was SERIOUS! Never hurt a little kids feelings!!! She felt special and I honored it…however, it will remain my ALL TIME FAVORITE MEMORY  until my next Disney trip in January, where I am sure someone will top that.

 

The Edmonton Tourist’s Favorite Alternative to Oprah’s Favorite Things 2012

Appreciative Audience
Appreciative Audience (Photo credit: freelancing god)

Let’s be honest here for a minute Oprah, you know I love you but unless I am part of the studio audience that gets the lovely gifts from your favorite things episode, we both know I ain’t gettin’ any of those things under the tree this year NOR am I gifting them. Why you ask? Well Sweetheart, I don’t have sponsors (yet – I am leaving my options open) and I am not on Forbes wealthy women list either. I will give you this, you have fiiiiiiiiiine taste and I will leave it at that. I decided to give my readers some Tourist Options when it comes to your Favorite Things List 2012

  1. Lafco Soap Set for $238. Ummm no, it’s soap and ONLY 14 bars of it. for the same amount of money I can get a lovely key pendant from Tiffany &Co. Soap that smells nice is lovely. Dove smells nice and for $1.99 you can have a bath size bar! Dove also sends a positive message to women. Now I love Dove but for that special occasions when you need a little pampering? Put Bay leaves in your bathwater. It is relaxing and I am sure your granny will let you take one when you are at her house for Thanksgiving Dinner this week.
  2. Octane Fitness Q37ci Elliptical Trainer
    $3,099, now $2,789 with coupon (expires Dec 31, 2012) That is an awfully expensive clothes hanger. Walmart sells a bundle of hangers for $3.99 – plastic and functional.
  3. Jetson E-Bike $1800 but there is a coupon code if you click the link. It is a very nice bike. I like my bike to be a bit more functional and less pretty. Who are we kidding, I won’t ever ride the thing in the first place. I’d rather swim, walk or run. Bus pass is a nice green alternative $89 for the month depending which city you live in.
  4. Giro Sport Design Reverb Helmet $48. Now IF you give a bike as a gift, give a helmet. It is the law here but maybe not where you live. Safety First People! However, a bike helmet will look stupid with your bus pass so may I suggest a toque? My family’s toque of choice is the Jayne Hat (Firefly Geek alert) but any great hat will do! My sister will knit it for the cost of a ball of yarn slightly more maybe depending on how happy she is when you ask her. Let’s say $5.00, I am sure she won’t mind.
  5. H2O+ Marine Spa Gift Set $98  with coupon code. I think it is worth it. I use this stuff because when I stayed at the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel it was the hotel soap and shampoo. This stuff is so fabulous I paid $40 for shampoo when I left (after hoarding all the samples they leave in the room – and chocolate) So I will take advantage of this deal. the only alternative I can think of is actually going to stay at the Hotel in Disneyland and if you factor in airfare, theme park tickets and food, $98 is looking like a sweet deal! Buy it.
  6. Ralph Lauren Cable V-Neck Sweater   First of all, this is SUCH an Oprah sweater, don’t you think? For $198 I can buy 4 sweaters from the Gap, but they say GAP not RALPH LAUREN. That is a big deal to some people. I will wear a sweater forever and I am sure it feels fabulous. But I think no, not this year. Gap it is! $50.
  7. Coach Puffers  $458 for a Coach jacket. I am all about Coach but I shop Factory Coach because I can get 3 purses for $199. I don’t think $500 for a down jacket is that bad, except it better be rated for -40 and I think it’s not. I mean it’s Coach. It’s not meant to be functional. Down Jacket at the Sport Check $200 AND rated for cold Canadian Winters.
  8. Bougainvillea Bangles $31 sure they are nice but my sister can get those at the dollarama 4 for $1. How often are you going to wear them anyways?
  9. Tory Burch Michelle Tote $395. A great bag is worth it in my books but you can always get great bags at Winners. They had Tory Burch Michelle last week for $125. It’s Winners, go often.
  10. Julep Nail Polish Set $168? I don’t pay that for a mani AND a pedi. OPI $25 set of 5 colours you will only use once.
  11. Tusk Capri Double Zip Checkbook Clutch $138 for a bag that holds your wallet stuff and your phone to put in your bag? Whaaaaaa? If your purse is that big, re-think OR only buy bags with pockets on the side for your cell phone and wallet – all great bags have them! If yours isn’t a great bag, dollarama has makeup bags for $1 AND they come in fashionable-ish patterns. The best part? It holds your wallet, your phone and lipstick! You still have to fish around for it, but you were anyways for $138!

I am not going to go through Oprah’s entire list of 60 items, I think you get my point. Please feel free to contact me if you need an alternative for an Oprah gift, I am only too happy to help! Now, lets look at how much I saved you:

Oprah Top 11 Gift Total = $5787

The Edmonton Tourist’s Oprah alternatives = $516.98

That is a total savings of $5270.02!!

You’re welcome.