A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How do you spell...


That was my day at Disneyland yesterday.  Took my mom and - while we agreed we both dislike change in general - the changes in our day worked out splendidly.

We already knew that a half-block of Main Street, including our favorite breakfast place, would be boarded up and under renovation, but we left at our usual time anyway.  When we arrived we were directed to park in a space that wasn't even a real parking space, very much out in a Neverland within the Mickey and Friends parking structure up on the Donald level.  I was a little disgruntled as a handful of cars ahead of us had been allowed to park in the front of the first row in the second section and another whole row behind us was directed to the back part of the spaces in the front of the first row.  (If you know how the parking structure is arranged at DL, that might make sense.)  But we were directed to a non-space right by the exit.  Anyway, I was whining in my mind as I got Mom's wheelchair out as a young castmember approached me and offered me a "1st Visit" pin for being such a good sport about being parked so far out there.  I was trying not to be insulted (being a 57-year veteran and all) when he offered me a different pin from his bag.  I spied a "Happily Every After" pin and asked for one of those instead, which he gave to me.  I pinned it to my shirt and pushed Mom to the elevator which was - shockingly - empty.

At the tram station we parked as usual at the top of the wheelchair ramp, expecting to wait for the next tram.  A young family with a stroller was waiting to be allowed to board in the wheelchair seat, but the young mother motioned to us and told the tram operator that they would wait since he had a wheelchair waiting.  He misunderstood her and kept all of us waiting until the next tram.  The young family was confused and disgruntled and said something polite but questioning to him (he had allowed two other families to move ahead of them into the handicapped seat).  It turned out that he thought we were all together and since we all wouldn't fit in the area (there was already another family in the seat), he had us wait.  I commented that the young woman was just being kind to suggest we go first, but that we were not together.  It occurred to me then to give her the pin I'd just been given.  She was thrilled; couldn't stop thanking me and asking "Are you sure?"

Oh, yeah, I'm sure.  It was a kick to help such a nice young woman get her day off to a happy start.

It was a stunningly beautiful day at the Park yesterday.  Santa Ana winds are the pits in Southern California and we'd had a couple of days of them, but the growth around Disneyland does a pretty good job as a windbreak so the result for us was a crystal clear day and mild temperatures.  In fact, I was a little uncomfortable in my sweatshirt for a few hours in the afternoon.

After a breakfast at the Riverbelle Terrace (a painless experience) we started our day with the Disneyland Band at the front gate.

Usually when we're there to enjoy the band we also get to enjoy the antics of the Mad Hatter and Alice, but they weren't there yesterday.  Not disappointed, though, for the extra time that the band wasn't playing into the Hatter Show, they played some numbers we had never heard before.

After this performance, we moved to Town Square to wait for their next concert.  The flower beds in Town Square were full of Iceland Poppies, one of my favorite flowers.  Bees were busily collecting pollen.  Sometimes the oddest things pop into my head.  When  I saw these bees I was first grateful to be seeing bees at all (new data suggests we've been killing them off in the billions with pesticides and are on the verge of a food production disaster).  Then I remembered when one of my colleagues was preparing to take a few dozen eighth graders on the annual Washington, DC trip and was approached by a parent insisting that my colleague contact the airline used for the trip to inform them that they could not have peanuts on board the flight because her son was allergic.  I wondered for a moment if anyone had ever insisted that Disneyland make sure there were no bees in the park because their child was allergic.


While we waited we enjoyed the antics of Dale as he played with children wanting autographs and photo.

The DL Band did one of my favorite shows of Disney movie themes.

Disneyland, where even the poppies dance.

After this concert we made our way up Main Street.  Change - improvement - is coming to the Carnation Cafe, ice cream parlor and Candy Palace.  I don't know what is planned for the Penny Arcade but with all I've read about the renovations to the others I fear the Penny Arcade might implode.  The Refreshment Corner (aka Coke Corner) is also boarded up which means...


The Coke Corner piano corner has been a favorite hang-out for Mom and me since 2005 when I "discovered" Johnny Hodges there.  Well, seems we had work to do.

And we did it.

I love the Mark Twain trip along the Rivers of America and Mom and I enjoyed the "new" addition of the piano. 

Thank you, Ragtime Patrick.

I'm nuts about water wheels and manage to photo this one every day that I ride this boat.  Never get tired of it.

Well, here was something new.  I'm quite used to the ducks and coots that live on the river, but this is the first time I've seen one of these.  Double-crested cormorant, I believe.

After our trip around the island we headed for a break at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon and the fabulous Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.  We were early enough to get a great table, and by the time of the show the room was packed and everyone in high spirits.  Nothing like audience energy to guarantee an exceptional (rather than merely terrific as usual) show.

After the Billies we decided we wanted to hear some more piano, and the challenge was raised.  How do we figure out when this piano player was going to be on the Mark Twain?  We took three rides in a row then finally connected up with him on the fourth.

It was worth the effort.

This was my favorite number of the selection on the program yesterday.  Having fun with discord.

I have to say, though, that one of the things I love about this riverboat ride is the quiet among the chaos that can be Disneyland.  On a glorious winter day like yesterday the park can get very crowded - and it was - and this 15-minute voyage is a calming break.  I was grateful for the three quiet tours we took, and won't be sorry when the Main Street renovations are complete and the piano returns to Coke Corner.

By then it was nearly 3:00 and time to eat.  Our favorite lunch/dinner place is the Pizza Porte which I'd read was also closed for renovations, so we decided to try the new Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe (former Blue Ribbon Bakery).  Adorable Mary Poppins theme.  I had the Caprese sandwich and it was delish.

The restaurant is themed on the penguin waiters from Mary Poppins.  Aren't the windows adorable?

During the 2005 50th Happiest Homecoming I really enjoyed finding the Mickey icons throughout the park and, in the process of finding them, noticed for the first time the use of clever weathervanes throughout the park.  So I got a big kick out of this one on the new bakery cafe.
The yellow and white section of tables in front of the cafe is one of the best people-watching spots in Disneyland and we always enjoy the show.  As we lingered I noticed the scaffolding to facilitate the changes to the Matterhorn.  I've read they're installing new bobsleds to this old favorite of mine.  I've also read that they will be a new style, one, it seems, that will give a little more security to the rider.  I know some will grieve the loss of the cuddle factor on this ride, but the last time I rode this I nearly ruptured a disc in my back and I haven't been on it since.  It makes me smile to think I may be able to ride it again.

I am often dissatisfied with my job as a middle school teacher.  8th graders can be a challenge.  But when I consider what I might do instead, I guarantee anything that involves functional thinking on scaffolding like this is off the list.

It turned out that our table was also a decent place to enjoy the Soundsational parade, although we agreed we would return to our favorite spot on the sidewalk in Town Square in front of the railroad station in the future.

After the parade we did return to Town Square for the retiring of the flag.  Disney does a brilliantly inspiring job of this every day, but Saturdays are special.  Disneyland Band playing patriotic marches and tunes, Dapper Dans joining them.  A "real" color guard to bring down the colors.

My favorite part of the program, though, is the honoring of vets and military guests.  As the theme for their branch of service is played, they are invited to come to the flag pole to stand and let us applaud to thank them for their service and sacrifice.  I admit to getting goose bumps every time when one of the Dapper Dans joins them when the Army song is played.  I enjoy singing the National Anthem when the flag is lowered.  Everyone needs to take a half-hour from their Disneyland day at least once to experience this thrilling ceremony.

The poppies were especially pretty in the twilight.

After the ceremony we made the trip up Main Street one more time to do something we'd been promising ourselves for a couple of years now.

It was time to enjoy some SWING at the Carnation Plaza Gardens.

Sets were scheduled for 7, 8, 9 and 10, so the sun set while we were there.  By seven the floor had been cleared, swept, mopped, inspected and hand dried. 

Time to swing!

Here's a surprise for my older son.

I gotta learn this one.

And yes, I know I'm only showing their feet.  I don't want to violate the dancers' privacy too much by showing more than their feet without permission.

I can't believe how much fun this was!  I thought we would stay for one, maybe two, sets, but we couldn't make ourselves leave.  This is a "small" community of about a hundred people (as many as 40 couples on the floor at one time) dancing and watching and applauding and mostly just enjoying fantastic music and the closeness that comes when a community of people with a shared passion collects.  Just before the last set the fireworks played and it was my all-time favorite show, "Remember, Dreams Come True."

Our time spent here made our day complete.  We usually like to end our day tucked in with the piano at Coke Corner, but on Saturdays that became awkward for us.  Now we have a new and - frankly - much more fun hang-out for our Saturday evening visits.

I'd been wearing my pedometer all day.  Including the trek back to the Neverland parking space I logged five miles (and earned 5 WW points).  Once in the car I noticed the advantage to that space - a quick right turn and I was heading down the exit ramp.  Traffic was light, not too many drunks and we were home about 12:30 am.

Grateful for another terrific day with my mom at our favorite place.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I'm bombarded with it.

So, today's kind of low day.  Feeling blue.

It happens.

Brene Brown says we "numb" negative feelings like this with food, booze, drugs and meds.

My numb-er of choice is chocolate.

This started last night.  I'd had a pretty good day on Weight Watchers, but came home, crashed and inhaled several handfuls of chocolate chips.

So, today I'm fighting the urge to numb.  Again.

Reflecting on my sad feelings, trying to pinpoint the problem while I fight the urge to raid the chips again.  And this popped up on facebook:

There will be times when it’s tough going and you’ll question whether you can do it or not. There’ll be times when it seems fruitless and there’s absolutely no progress whatsoever. That’s when you take a deep breath, dig down deep, and persevere.”

Nancy Sathre-Vogel

Isn't that exciting.  The perfect quote pops up when I'm in my deepest need.  I took a couple of minutes to copy and paste it into my "Inspiration" Word file, then returned to facebook to find this.


So now, what am I supposed to think?

Monday, January 16, 2012


...the up side.

And sometimes purging is just delightful, especially when you run across something so full of memories as this sweatshirt.

My cousin has worked for the Hiawatha, Kansas, Walmart since it opened.  One year they had a contest.  Employees submitted designs for sweatshirts and the winning design would be made into a garment.  My cousin's design won, and this was one of the sweatshirts that was made with her design.

I love Hiawatha.  I love northeastern Kansas.  I would retire there in a heartbeat if all my immediate family didn't live here.

My cousin is only three weeks older than I, and we've been spiritually close since we were about eight.  In fact, now that I think of it, the first non-school writing I did was our correspondence over the years.

We used to to drive to Kansas about every third year to stay on my uncle's farm for a couple of weeks during harvest.  Dad would help my uncle, Mom would help my aunt feed the houseful plus.  And, as I recall, I would sit and giggle.  My aunt and uncle were two of the funniest people I ever remember knowing.  Uncle would come in from harvesting wheat or feeding hogs or whatever the work of the day was and recite poetry.  Oh, how his eyes would twinkle!

I remember one year during my cat-crazy days they had a couple of dozen kittens of various ages and I thought I'd hit the jackpot.  Another year uncle had been tilling my aunt's kitchen garden and came in with a nest of tiny baby bunnies cradled in his hands.

And fireflies.  I guess Californians should be happy that we have such nice weather all the time, but I would gladly trade some of our 70-degree winter days for a couple of weeks of fireflies.

The sweatshirt is way too big for me now, I'm happy to brag.  But it (and all the memories attached to it) stays.  I'm so thrilled to have found it.


...in process.

I love these little scissors.

Even at this moment, the fat bows (did you know that's what the handles are called?) against the short, squatty blades make me smile.

We are still in the process of purging the accumulation of 38 years from our little 3-bedroom home.  I am vacating our storage unit (rent = Japan trip) by March 1.  We've unloaded a lot of stuff, some of which I might have liked to keep.  My heart did a little skip when DS2's girlfriend shared excitedly about how happy people were to get the Disney Christmas pieces.

Yes, I'm sure they were.


Anyway, the scissors are the kinds of things I'm having a hard time with.  I think they're adorable.  They make me smile.  But they are the WORST scissors in the world.

First of all, they are not black metal.  The color comes from blacking on the device.  I learned it was blacking when it smudged on my stitchery the first time I used them.  It took forever to get the blacking off (no warning on the package to do this before ruining a piece of fabric).  Still, I do love the design so I figured it would be worth it.

Then I learned - again the hard way - that they don't cut.  I mean, c'mon.  One strand of embroidery floss (cotton).  They won't cut through one strand of floss.

So, do I pitch them out (they are non-functional) or keep them as art?


P.S.  The embroidery design was a freebie by Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches.  I love the whimsical nature of many of the Australian designers.  This is going to be part of a memo pad cover.  Someday.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Not a disaster.

Found the missing piece of chart and will not have to frog anything.  Got carried away with the highlighter and will have to stitch the area between the yellow arrows first, but that's OK.  I'm happy that I'm not facing a complete re-stitch of the green fairy.

The colors are pretty, aren't they?

I always did like to color.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012



2012 is going to be amazing.  I love my resolutions and celebrate the hopefulness that fills me almost every morning.

(Yesterday was tough after spending 11 hours gutting the garage with DS2 in preparation for moving out of our storage unit but even then, the idea of saving $130 a month is a hopeful thought.  $1560 a year is a trip to Japan, right?)

So, today has been a good day.  Worked out my sore, exhausted self for an hour last night at the gym and came home feeling great.  Good night sleep, good day at work.

Came home to my facebook friends and learned, sadly, that a former stitching friend can no longer stitch because of a new physical condition.  She reminded me that one of my resolutions for 2012 is to finish my "Firefly Faeries" cross stitch.  The last time I worked on it was the last time I visited Eden, Utah, which was about three years ago.

I have dozens of projects (cross-stitch, quilt, doll, embroidery) stashed around my house, waiting until I can retire when I will have the time to do them.

Naivete, your name is Debi.

It never dawned on me that 1) As I aged (arthritis, eyesight, attention span), it would be more difficult to do the stitchery that I've collected and 2) the economy would tank and I would have to postpone my retirement for possibly as long as 15 years, taking me to 70, when my body would have even more problems.

Hence the resolution.  I want to complete some of these more difficult projects while I still have the chops.

So, I dug out the faeries, my favorite of the UFOs.

Locate the project..

...and the fibers.

Snap it into a frame...

...and add the protective covering for the edges.

Mount the absolutely essential magnifying lens...

...and I'm ready to stitch.

All I need now is the chart.  Ah, yes, there it is.  I'll just mount it on its stand and...

2012 Resolution #2 - Clean up my language.  No more "f" word.  Actually I decided to replace the common "f" word with the word "forgive".  But "frustrated" seems more appropriate right about now.  "Furious," maybe.  "Fearful"?  "Faltering?"


Three years.  I have no memory of writing myself that note, so no idea what the problem is.  All I can do now is wait until I can "follow" the directions I left myself three years ago and make a new copy of the chart (or two or ten or maybe just "four") and highlight my way through the chart to see where the error is.

I know I left out two vertical rows in the blue dress but was able to make it "good enough."  Somehow - because I left myself that note - I'm thinking the green dress has more serious problems.

"Foolish" Debi.  It's 2012.  It's going to be "fabulous."

Keep moving "forward." 

Walt Disney never steers me wrong.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Poozies-Another Train

Climb aboard. It's yours this time.

Monday, January 02, 2012


It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me.

Yeaaahhhh... feelin' good.