I was reading some of the WordPress recommended blogs. They were for the most part angry, hostile comments about politics and the world in general. I was surprised and a little put off. My blog is about me and my life and world. I also will be posting some short stories and perhaps serializing my children’s book. I plan to put up my trip to Paris journal also. I guess people have different needs and interests when blogging, I just can’t see blogging angry, it’s not my style. I find it much more gratifying to shout at the TV or radio .
I read a lot, I am sure there are people in the world who read more than me, but I do not know any of them. I love to read, I have since 3rd grade when I read a book called Brighty of the Grand Canyon. It opened a new world for me, a world where I could travel anywhere and know anyone and do anything. I have never lost that enthusiasm. Of course my friends know I am a reader and often ask me what I am reading. I enjoy talking about my current book(s) but I seem to disappoint with my answers. I will read most anything but I often read in the shallow end of the book world. I have read pretty much all the masters and a great many biographies, but oh how I love Regency Romances. I blame Jane Austin, if she had written more books I would not be reduced to poor imitations. I really like sci fi fantasy, and young adult books and children’s books and teen girl books written in the 30’s and 40’s. I always enjoy a good vampire romance also (not Twilight – I said good) I have several favorite books that I read one or more times a year. Two of these are by Jane Austin; Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. I never tire of them. I also read a small children’s book called Patricia’s Secret, I bought this book in 7th grade and love to read it often. There are 2 odd little books I enjoy, one is Mr. Wilmer and the other is The Magic Squirrel. So, if you want to know what I am reading, check the shallow end, if you want to know what I have read, then we can go deeper.
After two glorious days visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter we decided to go to NASA on our last day. We drove about an hour to the Kennedy Space Center and took the tour. This was a great experience. I have to say I get very patriotic while I was there. I wish we still fully funded the space program, I would certainly rather my tax dollars go there than to fight wars.
We took the bus tour and saw the craft assembly building It is the worlds tallest building by volume and has 8 acres of floor space. It was not open to tourists that day as it was being used by Space X. The tour bus drive had tons of information, unfortunately delivered in a monotone, but still interesting to me.
Do you see me peeking out of the rocket?
Here is some of the info that caught my attention; there have been 135 shuttle missions, 12 men have landed on the moon and the shuttle platform weighs 9 million pounds. Because this area is the lightening capital of the nation they have a giant lightening rod and lightening towers. When there is a launch the noise is too loud and to muffle it they release 4 million gallons of water in 30 seconds. They use kevlar to protect console operators from flying debris during a launch, debris can travel as far as 3 1/2 miles! The touch down speed of the shuttle is 250 miles per hour and the runway is as wide as a football field is long. Wow, lots of big numbers!
We were surprised to learn that though NASA owns 250 miles of land, most is a wild life refuge. There are manatees, eagles, alligators, dear and other animals. The fences are topped with a curved part so the alligators do not climb over, apparently if the fence is straight up and down they are able to climb it. We also saw a hug eagle nest that is over 50 years old.
The bus ride covered miles and miles and there were two brief informational movies shown when the driver was not talking.
When the bus ride was over we explored the open buildings and the rocket garden. I got to touch a moon rock, I found that exciting.
One of the displays explains all about how the astronauts go to the bathroom in space, not my idea of fun! We ate lunch in the Rocket Garden Cafe, the food was ok, and though the birds were very aggressive, none of them dive bombed us.
There were lots of gift shops of course, I bought book marks and a official guide book. They also sold Big Bang Theory items which I thought was pretty funny. Many people bought stuffed shuttle toys for the kids.
Our ticket was also good for the Astronauts Hall of Fame, a few miles up the road, but we were ready to head back to the hotel. It was fun and educational. If I am in Orlando again, I think I will go back.
Universal Studios and Island of Adventure
My 61st birthday was celebrated at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This world is located in Orlando Florida at the Universal Studios and Island of Adventure Amusement parks. Once all wizarding was completed, we took the time to stroll through the rest of the parks.
Universal Studios is very large and looks beautiful. It kind of reminds me of Disneyland Main Street, cute, decorated and things to look at in every direction. If you are a fan of California Universal than you will love this place and if you think California Universal is lacking, you will love this place. Instead of a simple ride, it has lands. The Island of Adventure has a Comic land and Dr. Seuss and Jurassic Park and of course Hogshead and Hogwarts. They sell a ticket add on which turns your ticket into a fast pass and the yearly premium pass is only $200 and has valet parking, hour early in and fast pass. Great deal.
Of course my favorite place was Harry Potter World but the comic area was pretty cool. We did not go on rides except the wizard rides. We did see a couple of shows, but nothing very exciting.
There are so many restaurants in the two lands it is amazing and there is also City Walk with all of it’s restaurants. We ate at the Monster Cafe and had a decent chicken plate and when we met Terry’s scooter friend we ate at Margaritaville. Both places had decent food and were of course over priced.
We both agreed that if we lived nearby we would have passes, there really is a lot to do. I will always be a Disneyland fan first and foremost, but a fun and AFFORDABLE place is a good alternative.
We did not stay at a park hotel, but instead spent less at a nearby Holiday Inn Express. It was within walking distance and the hotel also offered a limited shuttle. We took our car each of the 2 days, it was $17 to park. We could have walked there but it would have been hard to walk back to the hotel with our tired feet.
Our hotel was on International Blvd. and there were dozens of familiar and new restaurants. That was a bonus because we had dinner after we left the park.
Probably my main criticism would be about the no items on some rides rule. The larger and faster rides did not allow any purses, bags, or any items at all, so you had to put the stuff you carried into a locker that was right nearby. It was free for 50 minutes or you could pay for longer. The locker area, even on the not crowded days we were there, was packed with people, many of whom were confused and it took too long to get in, stow your stuff and then retrieve it after the ride. It made us not even want to go on the ride it was so annoying. I can’t even imagine what would happen when the park is crowded. Another issue for me was that the bathrooms were not very clean. I went into one just as an attendant came out and the trash cans were full and many necessities were out, I am not sure what she had done in there. On the other hand, the restaurants and walkways were very clean.
My husband and I do things together and we also have our own hobbies. He really likes scooters and has four. He is shopping for another as I type. I really like books and have several thousand. I can read more than one at a time and often do. He can only ride one at a time, but he gives them all a turn. I suppose it sounds like a lot to many people and maybe it is, but we worked for everything we have. I had my first job at 14 and Terry has worked all of his adult life. We both commuted to our jobs, did our best to put in a fair days work, and earned our pay. No lottery winnings, no gifts of money, no bequeaths from family, we worked. It’s a good way to get what you want.
I saw Annie at the movies recently. My friend Kathy and I like going to the “kids” movies together because we both enjoy them so much. I was worried about Annie because the critics hated it and a few friends did not care for it. Kathy and I liked it. It was a cute movie and I enjoyed the modern setting. While it is true that the lead could not belt out Tomorrow like the kids do on stage, I enjoyed her version. It was more like a real kid might sing. Many of the stage songs had livelier music in the background but the melody and word were still the same. There were 2 things about the movie I did not like. I thought the original songs written for the movie were awful. Worse than awful. Weak, crummy lyrics and melodies that were completely forgettable, even the actors seemed to forget. Also, the “bad guy” did not get punished, he was just ignored for the rest of the movie. So, should you go see it? Oh, I don’t care.
Kathy and I also saw The Theory of Everything. We thought it s a great story and had amazing acting by the leads. It was enjoyable and after looking up stuff on line, we saw that it was almost accurate in every way. i highly recommend it.
Janeen and I saw Into The Woods and then went to Farrells on Jan. 6 to celebrate my birthday. Wow what a great adaptation of my very favorite play. I am a big Sondheim fan and enjoyed the movie so very much. Sure, it was cut a bit, after all the play is more than 3 hours, but all the essential story and music was intact. Once it is on DVD I can see it whenever I want instead every few years when the play comes to town, now that is great! After the movie we went to Farrells with Alaina and Steven. My 3 friends had dinner and dessert. I had a chocolate shake, a birthday sundae and french fries and another sundae for dessert. (yes, I got a tummy ache) Farrells is fun and loud and yummy, very much how I remember it from my teen years. I missed the player piano that Marsha and I used to sing along with, but I did get a version of a Rockin Robin birthday song from the waiters. A very good birthday celebration.
Today Terry and I went to Universal Studios in Orlando Florida. We went to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After walking from the parking lot and halfway through City Walk and a slow bag check we were finally in Universal. A question to a nice worker and we were on our way to my destination! Soon we were in London! We passed Kings Cross but did not board the train, after all, school doesn’t start till Sept. 11. We spotted the Knight Bus, dark purple and 3 stories tall. Then we saw #12 Grimald Place. While I knocked on the door, Kreacher looked down at me from an upper window. He did not let me in….. Then we went to Diagon Alley. We did not go through a pub, but simply went through a hallway, but OH MY, once y we were really in Diagon Alley! I stood stock still, awestruck to see my beloved book come to life. I wanted to run wildly around screaming look, look, look, but I restrained myself, though my face got sore from smiling so hard. As we walked along, our heads turning in all directions, we saw a stage. We paused and Celistina and her back up singers came out. She sang my love is a hot caldron and it was wonderful. We passed a small off shoot of Gringgotts that was a money exchange but the rate for wizard money was much to high, $35 US for 3 wizard coins, no thank you. Then we saw the real Gringotts with a huge dragon sitting on the roof. Terry stalked that dragon and took a great picture of him shooting fire from his roaring mouth. We went into Gringotts to take a cart down to a vault. As we strolled along we went through a lobby with several working Goblins. One head goblin directed us to an elevator that took us to the carts. Once off the elevator we were in an office. A goblin was about to direct us when BIll Weasley came in. He greeted us and argued with the goblin a little. We were about to go to the carts when Harry, Hermione and Ron flew in on a dragon, they shouted to Bill that they were sneaking in and then flew off. We continued to the carts, each one had 4 rows of seats that held 4 people. We were in the front seat. (back to reality, it’s a roller coaster and I don’t want to be in front!!!) We had safety goggles (3-d glasses) and off we went. It was fast but fine until Harry and pals came flying by shouting they had been discovered, Bill appeared and just as we were about to be engulfed in fire, he cast the spell and shot water on us. Then the ride became wild, monsters attacked us, walls caved in and the tracks gave way. When safety seemed close, Bellatrix and Valdemort appeared and began to shoot spells at us and threaten us. Of course we were saved by the heros, Harry, Ron and Hermione flew by on the dragon and blasted open a wall so we could escape. We were all applauding and cheering as we pulled into the station. WOW! Once we were back in Diagon Alley we saw it all. The Owlery, Eyelops, The Daily Prophet Office, Flourish and Blotts, Madam Malkins and Olivanders. I did not buy a wand, Olivander was not there, why get one without him. We did see that many of the wands caused magic to happen here and there, but we still passed. ($35-$50). It was great inside Weasley’s Wizard Whizzes, I saw Puking Pastilles and all the other funny items the boys invented.I went to Florean Fortescues to get ice cream, YUM! I did not select the butterbeer flavor, but many others did. Terry spotted a narrow opening and it let to Knockturn Alley. We entered cautiously. many wand holders made spooky magic happen as they waved their wands at the various displays. We did go into Borgin and Burkes, it was filled with creep things including the Vanishing Cabinet that Harry hid in. They also had The a Hand Of Glory on display. We got out of there without any incidents. We finally found the Leaky Caldron, it was a large restaurant with long tables and benches, we did not go in. Butter beer was being sold in souvineer mugs, but I will wait to try it at Hogsmede. We walked through the entire alley two more times and then reluctantly (me anyway) left to check out Universal Studios. (info on this place is another blog). Tomorrow we will take the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts and Hogsmede, I can hardly wait.
SPECIAL INFO – when you go into the London phone booth, near the knight bus, and dial MAGIC it will connect you with the Ministry of Magic.
Harry Potter World, here we come! Terry and I flew out of John Wayne Airport this afternoon, heading for Orlando. We had a brief layover at Houston Hobby and landed in Orlando about 9:45. We picked up my suitcase and got our Ford Fusion rental car from Alamo. Our hotel is on International Drive and that is a super easy street to find, there are signs everywhere. We had to pay at two tolls to get to the hotel, the first was $1.25 and the second, only about 2 miles away, was $1. Terry hates toll roads, at least the kind that are everywhere. Once on International Drive, we had some trouble locating the hotel. We stopped at a 7/11 to get beer for Terry and coffee for me. Terry then turned on his GPS and we were soon at our Holiday Inn Express. We have a lovely room on the 3rd floor. There is a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave, a large bathroom and a decent air conditioner. International drive is filled with restaurants, we passed many we knew and some we have seen on cable commercials, but never in person. We are settled in our room, it is 9pm at home but midnight here. Tomorrow we are off to Universal Studios and then the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am wildly excited!
Here is a question; how many pairs of shoes does one woman need? My guess is about 5 pair? Sneakers, flats, heels, dress shoes and boots. That makes sense, but I have more than 5 pair and so does every one of my girlfriends. I wonder if someday we will discover a “shoe gene”? My desire for shoes is pretty strong, I try to buy them on sale and I try to wear them all, but many never see the world outside my closet. I have 4 cute pairs of flats I bought when I lived in Paris, I almost never wear them, but they are so cute and I can’t get rid of them. They would probably like to go out once in a while, they are not that familiar with California. I recently gave several pairs of shoes to a girlfriend, I have not been wearing them at all and she really liked them. Of curse, there are my black and purple heels, so beautiful and so uncomfortable. I often put them on, but since I can’t actually walk in them, I admire them in the mirror and put them back on the rack. I wonder if anyone is working on the shoe gene? Maybe there’s a cure? But, would I take it? Would you? How many pair do you have?
Note the cute shoe switchplate, it used to be my mom’s.
Today I am 61 years old and I will be celebrating my birthday the way I have for 55 years, by going to Disneyland! I will be with my BF Marsha and we will check into the extremely overpriced Grand Californian Hotel and then burst into the parks to laugh, talk, go on a few rides and EAT. Ahhhhh tradition. Check out tomorrows blog for pics and to see how our day went.
1-9-2015 – Disneyland was great!
Marsha and I had a great time at Disneyland. She had very recently stayed at the Carousel Hotel and felt we should try it, much cheaper than any Disney Hotel. We were on the third floor in a 3 bedroom, one bathroom suite. We had a big living room and huge windows overlooking the park area. It was very nice and though not new or fancy, it was close to the park and a good price and clean and the people were friendly.
Marsha gave me an annual pass for my birthday and then we ate and shopped and walked and talked and even went on 6 whole rides! We had corn dogs from the cart near Main Street first thing, those are easily the best corn dogs anywhere, if you have never tried them, you won’t be sorry if you do! Then we wandered over to get a fast pass for Star Tours, got popcorn, and took the train to Main street. We walked around and went to the Winnie the Pooh ride and The Haunted Mansion, which was fun, it still has the Jack Skelington decorations. We bought some snacks, munched a bit and dumped the rest. We went on our Star Tours ride, it was so much fun, it is my favorite ride in the Disneyland Park.I got a mocha frap from the Starbucks on Main Street, I was able to use my Starbucks card, and then walked back to the hotel, so very close! We hung out, rested and chatted and watched TV.
Later we went to California Adventure , sadly the Soaring Over California ride (my favorite in that park) was closed, oh well. We had soup in bread bowls and then went to the Ghiradelli shop for sundaes, YUM! We rode the floating tires ride in Carsland, it is such a fun and silly ride. Then we tried a couple of Paradise Pier rides, one called the Zephyer and the other was Silly Symphony Swings. I have always wanted to try those but was afraid, Marsha was brave and I am glad cause they were fun. Our last ride was the Little Mermaid ride, it is very similar to the Winnie the Pooh ride, only a different story.
And then….Shopping, first to the Emporium in Disneyland, with a pause to watch the fireworks. We also shopped in the big Disney store in Downtown Disney. I bought a few gifts for others and a cute Mike (from Monsters Inc) antenna ball. I got my evening coffee at the La Brea Bakery, it was quite horrible! It was well after 10 by the time we returned to the hotel and we were both pretty tired. We spent about 20 minutes on email and facebook and stuff and then decided to go to bed. Marsha took the bed off the hall, she felt it was warmest and I slept in the bedroom nearby so we could talk, but we fell asleep almost as soon as our heads hit the pillows. This morning we were up and out by 8am, no alarms, just the way we are. With big hugs goodbye we parted knowing that next Jan. 8 we would be doing the very same thing! What a great birthday.
Here are a few pics from our day and of our hotel.
Last year (2014)