Sunday, September 30, 2007

Grand Marshalls at the Magic Kingdom

Friday was a pretty cool day. Not the weather; that was perfect--low 90s, nice breeze, lots of air-conditioned shops and rides.

A and several of her pageant cohorts were awarded the honor of being Grand Marshalls of the "Dreams Come True" parade at the Magic Kingdom that afternoon. Even though A and B2 get to go to Walt Disney World fairly often, being in a WDW parade is pretty exciting for a kid. (Their MomMom, too.)

There were the obligatory photo ops, but they were gotten out of the way fairly efficiently, and we had a few hours to explore before the parade. B2's favorite rides are the People Mover and the Carousel of Progress, conveniently located adjacent to each other. While A, Jennifer, A's friend A2, and Tina, A2's mother, all rode Space Mountain (panic attacks, people. I will Never. Ride. That. Again. I decided that last time I rode it, and no amount of A's wheedling will get me back on that thing.), B2 and I did the People Mover and C of P.

The C of P was made by Walt Disney for the 1964 World Fair. It's nothing but a bunch of rooms with rows of seats that rotate around a core of vignettes of America's technological progress, from the early 1920s to, supposedly, the present (or was it supposed to be the future? The fixtures in the "future" are a little dated now.). B2 laughs and sings and would sit through the presentation over and over, if anyone would consent to it. I like it because there's rarely a line for it and it's always cool (temp-wise, that it) and there are seats.

The People Mover is just a bunch of conveyances that go around and through a number of Tomorrowland's attractions. B2 would ride it all day if he could. He always laughs and repeats "Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress" when it's announced.

I like it because it's covered and it has seats.

We also rode Buzz Lightyear, which is really a lot of fun for me, too. He's not so interested in the "laser" guns that blast moving targets in a series of rooms. He likes the colors, the movement, the noise, the lever that twirls the pod around in jerky circles. I like it because it's fun, it's got a/c, and I like to shoot the lasers. And I love to watch B2's excitement.

The parade was over before it began, pretty much. Here come the singing man and woman carrying the "Grand Marshall" sign, then the family who won a night in Cinderella's Castle's suite, then the buggy carrying the five girls. Boom, there they are, and there they go. I shoved B2 back into his stroller (he's already worn out one, and he's too big for this one, but for heaven's sake, he's only 3!) and ran to the front of the park so I could take some photos. A looked absolutely radiant and was so happy. She was given a certificate to authenticate the occasion.

We shopped a little, and A and A2 were chosen to participate in a "Magical Moment" (what, you don't pay attention to WDW commercials?). They got to accessorize a child-size Cinderella doll in the Emporium, then they waved magic wands and sprinkled pixie dust (Cinderella carriage-shaped metallic confetti). They were each given a fancy Cinderella pen with feathers and a light, with metallic turquoise ink.

Back into the park for more rides, then around 6 p.m. we left for home. It was probably my nicest day at WDW. We were all in good moods (even at the Happiest Place on Earth, there are a lot of screaming, whiny kids and screaming, pissed-off parents), the weather was nice, and the kids had a blast.

So did I.

Things I hate

1) Having to act like a semi-responsible adult. Making and having the money to do things I want to do is great, but it really sucks when I have to say goodbye to my grandbabies and see A crying as they drive away from the curb at the airport.

2) Crying. I always cry when I say goodbye to them. Good-type crying is okay, but even then I'd rather not, because my eyes puff up, my nose turns red and I'm stuffy for hours.

3) Getting up early. That means any time before noon. Unfortunately, school systems don't seem to want to accommodate my needs.

4) Going to bed early. Of course, since we get up before 6 to go to work, and since I need 10 hours of sleep to feel semi-human, I have to go to bed by 8:30 or 9, at the latest, on work nights. I still don't get enough sleep even when I go to bed by then, but it's better than coming straight home from work (we get home around 6-7 p.m.) and going to bed.

5) Having to work. I love my jobs, I love the money, I love the health insurance (when I'm not cursing the copays), I love what little retirement money it'll give me, but it would be so nice to be able to retire now. I think I have only 5 more years before I'll have enough time in with the schools, but since Tom still has 8 or 9 years, I'll probably keep working till then.

6) Cold weather. I really, really, really hate cold weather. I much prefer hot weather, and by hot, I mean not any colder than oh, 60 F for a few days in the dead of "winter" and at night. Even though menopause hit me with the hot stick and I can't stand to wear sweaters or even long sleeves most of the time, I'd much rather live where it's hot year-round. There's always air-conditioning. It's just as hot and humid in WV in the summer as it is in Florida, but there's no beach within a couple hours' drive, and the hot weather doesn't last long.

Okay, enough whining. Care for any cheese?

If I'm arrested, please bail me out.

I don't know how long I'll have an internet connection. I'm at MCO and, even though I keep getting a message that my identity can't be validated and therefore I'm not worthy of internet access, I seem to have some kind of access. It's unsecured, so I don't think I'm violating any laws, but who knows?

I don't want to leave Orlando anyway, but I'd prefer to stay out of jail if at all possible.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A dream come true

A and several of her friends will be grand marshalls in a Magic Kingdom parade this weekend.

What could be better for a child who wanted to grow up to be Tinker Bell?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Eyeball injections and flights of fancy

Well, I'm now an official member of the exclusive club, "People Who've Had Injections in Their Eyeballs", also known as "It Doesn't Hurt, But It Really Feels Weird".

Evidentally my left eye has gotten old without my permission. For the last 15 months, my retinologist has been calling it something else, but yesterday the RN who assisted him in holding me in the chair while I levitated called it Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Fortunately there is Lucentis, which is the medication in the 3-inch-long-needle-attached-to-a-shot-thingy (my mind has totally blanked out there, sort of like my left eye); Lucentis was approved shortly before I was diagnosed in July 2006. My retinologist claims that he helped to develop it, but I haven't found any proof of that on Google.

Okay, it wasn't a 3-inch needle. Actually, I couldn't see it. My right eye was covered, and I can't see out of the center of my left eye, which is where the needle was headed. The RN was very good; she narrated what the doctor did a split-second before he did it, so I was kinda distracted.

Originally I had a small blind spot just off-center in my left eye. I've had "floaters" (no, not that kind) in my eyes as long as I can remember, and this just looked like they were getting bigger. My optometrist sent me to an opthamologist, who sent me to a retinologist, who told me I'd lose the sight in my left eye. I didn't like that diagnosis, so I went to another retinologist in Richmond who said it was peripapillary choriodal (I think) neovascularization, and if it got worse, he could just shoot my eye with Lucentis and everything would be hunky dory.

Now he's claiming that 70% of patients who receive three of these injections 4-5 weeks apart (oh goody, I get to go back for two more) at least get no worse, and 30% actually improve. But people I've talked with in his waiting room(s) (and last time I did wait for 3 hours to be seen, but not yesterday) say that their eyesight cleared up completely. I'm hoping to be in that bunch.

Meanwhile, I can't read with my left eye anymore, or see much of anything. My peripheral vision is okay; that optometrist didn't trip me up when he asked "how many fingers" was he holding up. But it's scary to lose your reading vision, especially when reading (and knitting and so forth) is so important to you.

But it's okay for me to fly tomorrow. And I am. JetBlue (I think; it's whoever was cheapest last month) to Florida. Four whole days. A is planning a production number (dance moves to be rehearsed tomorrow night when I get there; I told her that I don't have any "moves", but she won't be deterred); I am to draw pictures of the clothes I want to pack so I don't forget anything. "Do you have anything with a sun on it? Good! That's perfect! Do you have any light-colored pants? Tan? Perfect! Bring those! Do you have anything with stars on it? Your nightshirt! Oh, that's great! We can cut out stars and I'll sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and throw the stars on you!"

Magic Kingdom, here we come!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

R.I.P., whoever you were

Every evening, as we're heading toward our driveway, I mentally steel myself--or, try to--to the thought that there might be a dead or, worse, dying deer nearby. Fortunately for my sanity, it's only happened a few times, and not to "anyone" we knew by name.

But last night, just before we turned into the driveway, we saw a dead, dull-brown large female; the only one that we "know" that looks like that is Stella. She and Stumpy have both turned from the reddish-brown that they all are as fawns and have become darker. Most of the others are redder than they are; Old Mommy is that shade, and the other mommies and Molly are becoming darker, but most are still that reddish-brown.

I felt so bad. I wonder if feeding the deer and playing games with their minds will get them killed. You know, they hang around while we feed them and then wander off on their rounds. Are we messing with nature?

So, anyway, I was moping around but went ahead and threw out some corn, calling Stumpy and Molly. Didn't call Stella, although it's habit to say "StellaandStumpy" when I yell for them. No one showed up until almost dark.

I called Tom to make sure that I was seeing what I thought I saw. (You know how bad my brain is, not to mention my sight.) There was Stumpy--and Stella! Alive!! Not injured!!!


The babies (Molly, JasonandKelsey) and their mommies weren't there last night, but we haven't given up on them yet.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On my desk

Just so I can pet it when stress gets to be too much. And for inspiration.

More deer

A passel of deer wander through our yard, some days more, some days less. Last night we had the usual (Mommy 2, Stumpy, and Stella) plus JasonorKelsey (they're twins, and if only one is there, we can't tell them apart. Heck, for that matter, we can't tell them apart when they're together.) and Molly, who's a little older than JasonorKelsey.

Molly was the first to show up last night, and s/he was hungry. The others straggled in and they all chowed down.

JasonorKelsey is less skittish than Molly and Mommy 2. S/he's not shy about pushing her way into the passel.

What we find tremendously entertaining is that they come when called for dinner. Either they're already nearby (usually down by the creek or on the hill) and show up before we finish bellowing, or they come tearing in a couple of seconds later. Even the babies come running, but they're usually a little shyer until their mommy shows up. One night Stella was already waiting when we got home (Stella is usually the first one there), but Stumpy wasn't anywhere to be seen. A little while later I yelled for him again, and when I went into the kitchen and looked outside, he was rushing toward the side of the house like he thought we'd take back the corn. He actually looked worried.

So, for your viewing enjoyment, more deer.

Molly, JasonorKelsey, Stumpy, Stella

Same bunch, different order

If you look closely, you can see that Molly has lost most of her spots, while JasonorKelsey still has plenty.

By the way, how many is a passel?

Gotta brag!

My faithful blog reader, ~tonia~, has just started dyeing and selling her own line of fingering-weight yarn, in very generous yardage, too. Click on her name to go to her blog so you can see her gorgeous yarns! That woman can really keep a secret!

Most sock yarns are sold in balls of about 440 yards, or, in singles, at least 200 yards per ball (She-For-Whom-I-Work sells hers in hanks of only 175 yards, which at $12 a pop, or $24 for a pair of socks, is kind of chintzy, in my opinion). But ~tonia~ is selling hers with 500 yards per skein, and at only $1 more than the less-than-generous yardage supplied by S-F-W-I-W, it's a good deal for such beautiful hand-dyed yarn. I'm hoping that ~tonia~ will tell me just how on earth she's able to make her yarn reliably self-striping. Sometimes, often, that's the look that I want. Real stripes.

S-F-W-I-W calls her yarn "handpainted", which generally means it's not supposed to stripe when it's knit. It may pool a bit (which I like, but isn't always desirable, although I think it's really pretty), but it doesn't make real stripes. If one wanted her yarn to stripe, one would have to carefully chose a pattern that would make wider stripes than those that show up in the socks I knit waaaaaay below and posted in June, I think. It's sort of a spiral type of stripe, and while it's okay, it's not what I'm going for in striped yarns.

Well for heaven's sake, I thought I'd posted a photo of the socks I'm knitting for Joan for her birthday (which was Sept. 2, but who's counting, other than Joan?). Now those are self-striping. I think it's an incredible striping effect. Someday maybe the lady who dyed this yarn will tell me the secret of how she got this effect.

So here's that photo:

Okay, so I didn't rotate the photo before I uploaded it and now I can't figure out how to do it. Turn your monitor sideways.

This yarn came from The Painted Tiger at I found several great yarns there this summer, right before I started working for S-F-W-I-W. This one was $25, 460 yards, and very soft; it's 75% Superwash Kona wool. The photo at etsy really caught my eye:

So, anyway, my friend now has her own line of handpainted, self-striping yarns. Go buy some! (And send it to me.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Finally, some knitting content

I have been knitting, although not nearly as much as I'd like. Having a second job really cuts into that knitting-in-the-car-while-waiting-for-Tom (which I enjoyed; I couldn't do anything else, so I'd knit and listen to Dr. Laura on XM), and we get home later so I'm usually too tired to knit at night.

I knit these socks from some yarn I bought in June from I knit them while I was in Florida, not bad while I was visiting my grandkids! Next time I'll make them a little bigger; I usually use 64 stitches for my socks, but I think I need to go up to 72, because with these--and others--the ribs stretch more than I like. It's only taken me what, three years of sock knitting to figure this out?

I bought this yarn from vieuxrouet at etsy. It's called Strawberry Fields and is 440 yards of soft fingering weight yarn, 75% superwash wool, 25% Nylon. This is what it looked like after it was dyed:

This is a doggie sweater that I knit this weekend. It's for the UYR (United Yorkie Rescue Organization); they've sent me enough yarn for probably 100 or more sweaters for little dogs. I don't like this one at all; it's too frou-frou, but I guess that someone will want it. Check out the Yorkie Shoppe page; that's where the sweaters will end up. All money goes to the UYR to vet and house Yorkies and Yorkie-wannabes and find them wonderful forever homes.

Zippy did not like the sweater; he's a little embarrassed to be seen in such a poufy sweater.

Chester was embarrassed, too, but then, he's a cat, what does he know about doggie fashion?

I'm also knitting a scarf using some of Claudia's fingering yarn, Peony, I think, but I couldn't get a decent photo of it. Later I'll link to the pattern (and blog) that I got it from. Funny blog, too.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Stumpy, Stella, and twins

Stumpy and Stella are over a year old now. They don't look like little babies any more.

For comparison, their twin siblings, about 2-3 months old. Jason and Kelsey, or Jason 1 and Jason 2, or Kelsey 1 and Kelsey 2.

Blame A; she named them!

More deer photos from August:

And Old Mommy came back a couple of weeks ago; she's only been around twice all summer.

Old Mommy and Stumpy:

And lastly, Zippy stole some corn out of the trash.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Oh yeah

Now I remember.

It's been 5 months since I dyed my hair last. Actually, I had it done in Ft. Lauderdale and paid much more than I usually would for something like that. So many hairstylists have ruined my hair color that for a long time I've done it myself, figuring that if it's going to be a mess, I might as well pay $8 instead of $40 (or, last time, $65).

The last one was worth it, though. My hair didn't end up brassy, and the color did pretty well for 5 months. It bleached out in the sun, but it still didn't get all red and nasty.

But, back to the real world. After 5 months it really needed some help. Two inches of roots that aren't the same color as the rest; just not that pretty. So, since school pictures will be taken tomorrow, I decided to bite the bullet and color it myself yesterday.

I waited till yesterday because I didn't want it to lighten in the sun over the long weekend. But oh, how I wish I had a week in the sun before those photos tomorrow.

I followed the directions--put on the roots first, then all over for the last 5 minutes. I timed it. I did not do a strand test; I know what my hair will do. All too well.

It still shocks me when I look in the mirror. The roots are a dark reddish-brown; the rest is black cherry. I was aiming for a medium-to-dark brown. I missed.

I love black cherry. Just not at school-picture time. I've dyed my hair red before, but most of the time it was on purpose.

For a fuzzy, more realistic look at the color:


And my hair used to be much thicker on top.

Post # 100

And I forgot what I wanted to say.