Road Trip-Disney World

As a longtime Bruce Springsteen fan, I learned many years ago that there are two camps. You either like him and his music or you don’t. I’ve never heard anyone say, yeah, he’s just ok.
I’ve found the same holds true with Disney, You either enjoy going there or you don’t. For many I think it’s impossible to be a take it or leave it type of person with Disney. Some people are made for it and some are not.

Look, Disney isn’t for everyone. It’s not. You have to believe. You have to have the mindset of a child, not be bothered by ridiculous crowds, brutal heat during  summer months and holidays, long lines, being cramped into shoulder width space during fireworks, long lines, exorbitant pricing, ridiculous crowds, and in your face marketing and commercialization. You have to be flexible, overlook and understand irritable kids, (most of whom are not your own), not blink at the price of a burger or drink, be patient with the transportation system and be willing to plan days and times for rides. Did I mention long lines and ridiculous crowds?

So why go? That’s a good question. One that everyone who enjoys Disney answers for themselves. You really do have to see it through the eyes of a child and not through the logical brain of an adult because logical adult brains would scream at you to stay away. But in some strange way, if you approach and plan it well, it can be a blast. For as much commercialization as Disney is rightfully accused of, they do so much well. Considering the number of people who move through the parks on a daily basis, I’m amazed it runs as well as it does the majority of the time.

When we went in November with one of our daughters, her husband and two young granddaughters, we caught the last few days of the wine and food festival at Epcot, which was a lot of fun. Crowded, but fun. The parks were being decorated for Christmas so we also got to experience that for the first time and it was really special to see. The music, the snow falling around you at night as you walk through lighted streets in different parks. Yes, it was crowded. But if you have the ability to overlook some things and focus on the magic through the eyes of children, it becomes very special.

Here are just a few photos of the different parks.

Outside of Magic Kingdom.

Hanging With a Friend in Animal Kingdom.

Boardwalk At Night

Castle During Fireworks Night (yes the crowds are crazy)

Christmas Tree In Hollywood Studios

 

Main Street After Fireworks

Making A Gingerbread Carousel

    

With The Following Ingredients

For me the best of both worlds would be walking the parks with Springsteen playing throughout. But I realize I can’t have everything I want,  so I’ll settle for Disney music, hundreds of characters and princesses,  smiles on the faces of children and Dean Martin singing Marshmallow World.

Disney is not for everyone and it doesn’t make you a bad person for not wanting to come. Just leave the bitter beer faces at home. You’ve been forewarned. My public service announcement is now complete.

You’re welcome.

Is This Our Reality?

I never realized how much our general population enjoys a good train wreck. As much as we say we turn away and try to shield our eyes, many still enjoy the drama. How else to explain the popularity of some reality shows?

I try to imagine someone sitting around their office or at home playing with their kids and thinking, I’m going to create a show where I place a man and a women in a dangerous, isolated jungle somewhere without any food or water for 21 days and see if they can survive the elements. Oh, and I’m going to make sure they’re completely naked during their time together. Then, I’ll get really creative with the title and call the show, Naked and Afraid.
Nine seasons running with Emmy nominations.

Then there was that person who thought, I’m going to ask a guy who is not married if he wants to meet twenty or thirty women, get to know them, romance them, share intimate moments with them and God knows what else, all while being filmed, in the hopes of meeting his future wife. I’m going to call this show, The Bachelor. It’ll be easy to find these guys and apparently easier to find a large pool of women who are willing to be jilted each week, participate in catfights, compromise themselves, all on camera,  with the hope of finding a husband. And fame, of course. This show is so successful it’s been on for twenty-three seasons and had several spinoffs including The Bachelorette, (of course), Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, After Paradise, and The Bachelor Winter Games. (Really)

Or maybe I’ll find some rich women who are apparently bored with their money and families and ask them if they want to document their lives with other rich and bored housewives  in front of television cameras. I’ll tell them that it’s okay to be as bitchy and selfish as they want, expose their impressionable children to this type of environment and their lives to scandal and scrutiny because really, at the end of the day they have more money than they need and it really doesn’t matter what anyone watching thinks. They can care less. They’re only interested in showing off their wealth and “good side.” Just show me the money because I can never have enough of that. Let’s see, this show will start  in Orange County, (because why not), then go to New York City, New Jersey, D.C., Beverly Hills, Miami, Potomac and Dallas.
Since train wrecks are not just popular in this country Housewives was also created for Athens, Vancouver, Melbourne, Los Angeles (in French), Cheshire, Auckland, Sydney Toronto, Hungary and South Africa.

Of course there’s also Jersey Shore, Temptation Island, Love Island, Here comes Honey Boo Boo, The Kardashians, and a host of others including your favorite and mine, The Apprentice, where careers go to die.

I know if I ever chose to get into a discussion with anyone about these train wrecks I would hear about the social understanding they derive from watching, how it helps them understand what makes people and relationships tick and survive. Yeah. To that I say, blah, blah, blah.

I’d stay longer, give you more examples and try to explain the strangeness of the public’s fascination with these shows but I’ve only been writing for a short period of time and I feel like I need to take a shower and take out the garbage.

I know I probably offended some people who enjoy these shows and I know you’re probably waiting for me to say I’m sorry but there is something caught in my throat.

 

 

Road Trip- Kennedy Space Center

I was eleven years old when John Kennedy made his famous, “we choose to go to the moon,” speech, fifteen when Grissom, White and Chafee died during a pre-launch test, eighteen when man first landed on the moon, 24 when Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff and 51 when Columbia disintegrated upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. So I’ve really grown up with the space program. Understanding the significance of the race to the moon with the Russians back in the 60’s and the pride we all felt during that time is hard to explain to someone unless you lived through it. It would be hard for younger generations to understand.
Strangely, there are those who still believe man never went to the moon; that it was all staged on a Hollywood movie set. To those conspiracy theorists , I’d ask you to watch a new documentary that was recently released in theaters, called Apollo 11. It’s fascinating.

I’ve always wanted to visit KSC and see some of the spots where history took place. So on a recent road trip we spent a day at KSC in Merritt Island Florida. There are quite a few exhibits, movies, and hands-on attractions that entertain and educate adults and children. They’ve also done a great job of turning this into a great way to spend a day away from Disney, if that’s your destination. (It’s only about an hour east of Orlando.) From the space shuttle that’s opened up for you to view, to the actual lunar spacecrafts to being able to sit and experience what a shuttle launch might feel like if you were on board at liftoff, to touching a moon rock, it was a fun and educational day.

So here are some of the sights, which only give you a glimpse of what you might expect if you choose to visit.

Entrance

As you enter, JFK fountain with a portion of his speech.

A portion of the rocket garden

The original seven as seen in the Astronauts Hall of Fame

The view across the water at the launch pad.

The Vehicle Assembly Building, at 129,428,000 cubic feet, it is
one of the largest buildings in the world by volume and the largest
single story building in the world. Designed to assemble
large pre-manufactured space vehicle components such as the massive
Saturn V and the Space Shuttle; and stack them vertically onto the
Mobile Launch Platform and crawler transporter.

 

Alan Shepard’s spacesuit with moon dust still on the shoes.

Standing under these rocket boosters at the Apollo/Saturn V Center
was pretty impressive. The photo doesn’t  do it justice.

Astrovans which shuttled the astronauts from their quarters to the
launch pad.

   

Hard to imagine spending any amount of time in something this confining.

   

What the control room looked like on February 20, 1962 as John Glenn
became the first U.S. astronaut  to orbit the earth.

Space Shuttle Atlantis

So if you’re in the area and would like to actually have lunch with an astronaut, think about visiting the KSC. If you’re lucky and time it right, you might even be there for an actual launch, which must be pretty impressive to see.

Oh, by the way…we’re planning to send man back to the moon in a few years.
That should be interesting.

Living With Dreams

 

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” 
James 4:14

Thirty-nine years ago today my father passed away suddenly, less than a day after we buried my thirty-two year old brother-in-law who died of cancer. When you spend a week and half sitting in a funeral home making final arrangements for two people of your immediate family, life has a way of changing you. Not immediately, and sometimes not even in ways you can understand or explain. But it does change you.

It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by and even more difficult to think about everything they missed and everything we missed sharing with them. We lost a part of our future and past in a matter of days. I don’t know if we ever really recover from loss or just throw a blanket over it to allow us to function each day. We carry on, we laugh, we welcome new family members, we enjoy life because there is no other choice. We live for the living and for ourselves. Still, there’s always a hole, always moment in days where we stop and maybe smile at a memory or what they might have done or said about a family situation. Or the way life has changed so much over the years.

Here’s the strange part of the story…

A couple of weeks before my Dad died, I had a dream. In my dream, I saw him in a coffin at the funeral home, exactly as he appeared after he passed away.
Ten years earlier, my grandfather, (my father’s father), died unexpectedly. A couple of weeks before he died, I had a dream. In that dream, I saw him as he appeared in the coffin. My grandfather lived in Brooklyn so I had never been to that funeral parlor. And yet, when I walked in, everything was as I had seen it. In detail. I remember it very clearly.

A couple of days after my father was buried, I told my mother about both dreams. For obvious reasons, I had never told anyone about them before. She wanted to know why I didn’t tell her. She wondered if there might have been something we could have done if she had known. But as soon as she said the words, she understood.

You can’t alter your life chasing those types of dreams, just like you can’t alter your life chasing what might have been. There’s no time for that, no secret recipe for the secrets of life.

So hold the ones you love close. Those that are here and those who are not. And if the ones who are here don’t understand, hold them closer.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Up With Language

I’m not sure if you plan to watch the Grammy’s tonight. After never missing them for years, I’ve only stopped in the last couple of years. It’s become a little bizarre for me and I hate to admit it but I don’t recognize many of the performers, plus much of the music sounds the same. I know that makes me sound old and I can hear the voice of my parents when I write these words but it is what it is.

Anyway, if anyone decides to watch it, I thought I’d provide a list of slang words kids are using these days along with their meaning. Sort of a cheat sheet for those of us in the out of touch crowd. It might help you enjoy the show a little more. Or not. (Apparently the days of OMG and LOL are long gone). Even if you don’t watch the show, it’s something you might use to impress your kids or grandkids, though you ‘ll probably embarrass them when you use the words. You know how that goes.

Anyway, here we go….

Bad

Bad means good, actually better than good. It’s often a reference to someones appearance.

Bet

Bet is used when you’re in agreement with something. If someone makes plans and you say “bet” that means you’re confirming said plan. Apparently the days of a simple ok isn’t clear enough.

Don’t Trip 

It simply means not to worry or stress about something. Easy one, right?

Fam

No, not your family, but close. It’s used to describe people in your life who you’re close with, good friends or homies, but not your family.

Flewed

You hear this when someone is bragging about getting “flewed out.” It means someone “bad” got flown out to a place. The difference between flown and flewed is that the latter applies to “bad” (really attractive) people. (See how we’re bundling this up?)

Get A Bag

A bag refers to money, so to get a bag means you’re acquiring money. ( I wonder where that phrase developed its origin). Must have missed that Breaking Bad episode.

No Cap

Basically it means no lie. When someone adds “no cap” to a sentence it means they’re not lying. Conversely, “cappin means lying. So when someone says, “why you cappin,” they’re asking why someone is lying.

OKurr

This is a word made popular by Cardi B, and if you don’t know who she is, it’s probably best if you don’t watch the Grammy’s. It basically means that someone is being put in their place.

Out Of Pocket

To be out-of-pocket or to say something out-of-pocket means that something is disorderly. If you say something “out-of-pocket,’ it means your comment was out of control.

Shade

You probably have heard this one. To throw shade at someone means to make an underhanded or critical remark about someone else.

Sis

Sis can be used in multiple ways. If someone asks you what happened and you respond with “sis,” it means a whole lot of drama went sown and there’s a whole lot more to the story. However, it can also be used as a term of endearment toward a friend. I guess it’s all a matter of context.

Stan

Stan is not just a fan, but a super obsessed fan.

Tea

There are multiple ways you can have your tea. You can sip it or spill it. If you’re “sipping your tea,” it means you’re minding your own business, basically side-eyeing the situation but keeping it moving. If you’re “spilling your tea,” or “having tea,” that means you have some gossip you’re ready to share.

Thirsty

Yeah, no it doesn’t mean that. Thirsty is used to describe desperation.

Weak

When someone thinks something is funny, hilarious or entertaining, they might say, “I’m weak.”

Woke

Being “woke” means to be socially conscious and aware of social injustice.

So I was going to try to be creative and combine a few of these words into sentence but apparently that’s not something one should do. Apparently too much of a good thing is not a good thing according to the users of these creative words.

So since I’m a bit thirsty and it’s cold outside I’ll just go sip some tea.

Then again, saying something like that to the wrong person might get me in big trouble. Maybe I’ll just take a nap instead. I hope that doesn’t have a sinister meaning.

Enjoy the show. You’re welcome.

Scattering Love

                   It’s not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you’ve lived.
Helen Walton

I was thinking about my childhood the other day and trying to remember how far back my memories went. I settled on somewhere between four and five years old but there were only a handful that were clear to me. That bothered me, especially when I took what was then and applied it to now.

Making memories with the people you love or care about is one of life’s greatest gifts. Some of the times we’ve laughed most were with our children and grandchildren, especially during their early years, when everything is on the table, learning is a daily adventure, innocent words  are a sound byte and your sense of wonder sometimes equals theirs. Those are memories that we’ll keep with us forever. Unfortunately, it’s all one-sided. Because in those early years it’s not anything they’ll remember. Influenced, yes. But all the things that were said or laughed about until there were tears in our eyes will not be a definitive memory for them.

That shouldn’t bother me because it’s just another cycle of life, but it does. I remember things that we did with our children and now our grandchildren that were special moments, and though we can relay the stories, it’s not the same as being there in our mutual minds. I sit and have conversations now with our grandchildren, play games, tell stories, laugh at the silliest things, hold them if they cry and sit back and wonder if they’ll remember any of it.

I’ve always understood this but I suppose as I’ve gotten older, Helen Walton’s quote has taken on a different meaning. You want those you love to remember every last laugh and cuddle and hand holding because you know that time of innocence, like life, is so short. Eight or nine comes too quick and soon they’re moving on. Parents will always be more invested in the lives of their children/grandchildren than the other way around. That’s just the way it is. It’s not a matter of loving or caring, it’s just the emotional investment that begins long before they open their eyes and never goes away.

So selfishly you want them to remember it all. Every amazing moment. Big and small. Hoping that you’ve scattered enough love and joy into their lives that one day they may laugh at something silly for no reason at all. You may not know it or even be there. But if it brought them happiness, then maybe something in their two year old lives stuck, and you’ve scattered enough.

And maybe, just maybe, the shade of a memory will not only be yours.