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Day Trip to Los Angeles and Then Some

As I write this I am (was) aboard Virgin Australia Flight 12 from Los Angeles, CA to Melbourne, Australia.  It’s been an uneventful flight so far, which is exactly what you want when you’re flying at 30,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean.  The information screen in front of me tells me we have 5 hours left to go, and that it’s 7 a.m. in Los Angeles.  That means we have been flying for about 10 hours so far.  I feel fine; just the same as if I had not gotten a good night’s sleep.  Tony and I were able to catch a few winks, maybe about 5 hours, and Amy’s still sleeping.  Maybe in a while I’ll try to get a few more hours.

There is plenty of entertainment on board, you can pick from a bunch of movies, music, games, etc.  But the sound in Tony’s seat went out suddenly and we haven’t been able to get it back on.  If he wants to watch a movie he will have to move up to an empty seat.

Our day yesterday was really nice!  We got to do everything we wanted, we had a great day with my cousin Lizzie, her husband Jason, and daughter Sara.  They picked us up from the airport, and we went up to the Disney Studios in Burbank, where we met my new friend Tom Stauffer.  Tom walked us all around the studio lot for more than an hour and we finished up our tour with lunch in the commissary.  No stars to be seen, because everything’s on hiatus.  I did get to peek into the set of Flash Forward and see the lobby of the FBI Building, the conference room, Mark Benford’s office, and the stairs.  We also saw a couple of other sets, but no telling what they were for.  We walked through the old Animation building and went into the lobby of the new one.  In the new building we saw some art from the newest animated feature, called Tangled.  It’s the story of Rapunzel.

The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank is a whole different culture and vibe than anything we have in Orlando.  Not better or worse, but just so different.  The sense of company history and tradition is strong there, while at Walt Disney World we have different traditions, and different history, but we celebrate the new every day.

After leaving the studio lot, we drove down to Long Beach, and stopped in at Lizzie and Jason’s home.  They live in a cute bungalow with solar panels on the roof, a rain barrel and gardens in every nook and cranny of the yard.  It was great to see how they are practicing “green.”  Their electric bills are only about $7 a month with their solar panels.  Amazing.

We went from there over to the Queen Mary which was something Tony really wanted to do.  It was a fantastic self-guided tour of a really marvelous work of engineering.  It’s too bad there’s not a lot of the “real” interiors left any more.  In one of the main hallways, there were cheesy gift shops that reminded me of a flea market.  The exteriors, decks, and the Engine Room are still very much as they might have looked in the day.

I asked Sara what her favorite part of our day had been, when we were relaxing in the bar having a chat before leaving to go back to the airport.  She said the big boat was her favorite.  Sorry Mickey!  For me, the best part was re-connecting with Lizzie, meeting Jason and Sara for the first time and getting to know them, and making a new friend at Disney.

After getting to the airport we had a looooonnnggg wait in line to get through checkin and security.  We boarded our flight after a short wait and we were off to Australia.  At this point I still have 4 hours and 44 minutes to go so I might try to see if I can catch another sleep (even though it is 10:23 a.m. in Orlando – and my body says I should be wide awake).

Continued:  Now it is Thursday (for us) and we are in our hotel in Melbourne after spending the day out and about on the town.  It’s been a beautiful day, and we’re really tired.  Tomorrow we take an all-day tour of the Great Ocean Road.  When I get home from that I’ll update you on today’s activities and the tour.  Now I’ll just leave you with one impression:  Melbourne is a lovely city.  One thing that I have noticed is that we have heard almost no “city noise.”  By that I mean, honking horns, sirens, etc.  The people are so friendly and courteous that someone even backed up their car to let us pass on a sidewalk when they were exiting from a parking garage.  Amazing.

Stay tuned, and check out my pictures on Shutterfly that I have posted so far.


Winding Down, Gearing Up

Well, here we are!  I’ve just about finished work for the day, my last day before a fabulous month-long holiday trip with the family to Australia!

But before that, it’s Amy’s High School Graduation day!  Tomorrow at around 9 a.m. we’ll be meeting folks over at Heritage Park and the ceremony will begin at 10 a.m.  Amy’s about 2nd to last, (alphabetically not academically), but you know they always save best for last!  And last is what most people remember!  Then we’ll have lunch and I’m sure Amy will take off for a dizzying whirlwind tour of graduation parties, and much more.

I’ll be heading home to do laundry and packing for our trip!

Follow along with me here, where I plan to blog our adventures as we go along.  I’ll also be posting my pictures at my Shutterfly site, and I’ll have links over to them so you can go look if you want.

We leave bright and early Tuesday morning, and we will spend the day Tuesday in LA with my cousin Lizzie and her family, and will have an opportunity to tour the Disney Studios in Burbank, which I’m really looking forward to.

Hope you enjoy it, I know I will!

“Mini” Vacation!

I seem to blog a lot about relaxing.

This past weekend we went to St. Pete Beach and spent all day Saturday on the beach in the sun.  Wow was it nice!

We drove down in the Mini, since we got these tickets to a Beach Party from the Mini dealership.  It’s a tight fit with 4 adults and luggage, but we made it work.

We spent the evening at the pool party at a resort just down the beach, called the Postcard Inn on the Beach.  The music was hip, and a bit loud.  There was a naked lady (painted body) walking around.  I really must post that picture.

Amy and Alex came with us, and they had fun, too, just hanging out with us old folks. 

Australia — 2 weeks and counting!

Life in the Slow Lane

We are enjoying a day outdoors on this lovely April day at Blue Springs State Park with friends. Blue Springs is on the St. Johns river in Orange City. It’s very beautiful and peaceful.

I’m also trying out blogging with the WordPress iPhone app for the first time. That will explain the brevity and typos.

Blue Springs is nice, there are areas you can swim, kayak and canoe on the St. Johns and they do Scuba diving in the “boil” which is what they call the place where the water bubbles up to the surface from beneath the surface. It’s popular and small. They close the park when the parking lot is full.

We brought Turkey Dog with us. The park allows pets on a leash. All Florida State Parks do, evidently. He’s having a great time, bit he has to stay on the leash.

I will post some pictures later. Wonder if Shutterfly has an iPhone app??

Catching Up

I sure don’t write in my blog often enough.  I read a lot of other people’s blogs, and I wonder… how do they find the time?  I’m sitting here watching my favorite program, Dancing With The Stars.  So I have time to write a bit during commercials.

I know no one really reads this much, and if they do it’s because they probably landed here by mistake, but no matter.  Sometimes there are some fun things you can get when you read random blog posts.

I spent Easter with my family, and after dinner was reminiscing with my mom about cousins we don’t see too often any more.  I have cousins scattered across the US, from coast to coast.  There are a couple I haven’t seen in many years.  There are a couple I have literally just met within the last few years.  (That’s a story for another day.)  But I do so much like catching up when I get the chance.

I have a friend that I re-connected with a couple of years ago, who lives in Bulgaria.  I’ve made new friends who have moved here from Iraq as refugees.  I’ve literally grown old with my best friend who I married 28 years ago.  No matter how often I see my friends, my cousins, my parents, it’s always fun to catch up.

Are we caught up yet?  Not hardly!!  There’s always something new and fun to learn about each other.


So… how am I doing on my goals for this year?

  • Tony is enjoying his new-found freedom and is keeping busy working in the garden (the weather has improved) and has taken up kayaking in addition to his metal-detecting hobby.
  • I’m attempting to the the weight off, but not having a lot of success yet.  I must say I’m feeling much better and healthier, though, and I’m in better shape…that is, I can climb flights of stairs without getting winded.
  • I’m doing well at work and while I’m still not back to my level of organization I feel I should be, it’s coming quickly.
  • I am SO looking forward to vacation in Australia.  I’m going to do the bridge climb in Sydney.  That’s saying a lot for me, since I do have some fear of heights.  I’ll post a page with our itinerary so you can follow along.

Goodbye 2009 — Welcome 2010

I am soooo looking forward to 2010!  I can hardly wait to say goodby to this year, it’s been such a hard year to live through.  Many of our friends and family were affected by the lousy economy and it made me pretty nervous.  Needless to say we survived.  I think I should have a t-shirt made.

2010 holds a lot of promise, and we are eagerly looking forward.  First, Tony retires on January 8th.  He has been working for over 50 years, and he counted that the had 38 jobs.  Some of those jobs he must have held for about 20 minutes, because he’s been with his latest employer for 20 years.  Maybe he’s counting some of the progression within his number, I don’t know. 

Next, Amy is turning 18!  I must say there is no way she can have aged this quickly.  Have a kid, enter a time warp.  That’s all I can say.  Of course with that she will graduate from Osceola High School on May 29.

Then, we are off to Australia!  Watch this space for the Oz itinerary.  I’m working on it now, I should have it done in a couple of days.

In August, Amy moves into her new apartment and starts as a student at University of Central Florida.  Go Knights!

Let’s see, what can I say are some goals for 2010?

  1. Help Tony enjoy his retirement.  I’ll make him a nice long Honey-Do list.
  2. Get some of the excess weight off.  I know that’s a common one, but I really have to buckle down this year.  I really don’t want to have all my Australia pictures done in wide-angle.
  3. Be more creative at work, home, and church.  I know there’s a lot to do, and in order to be productive, I need creative ways to organize, prioritize, and task myself so I can get the most out of the time I have.  That probably starts with more self-discipline around daily schedules.  Early to bed, and early to rise, so to speak.

That’s it for now, have a fun New Year’s Eve, and hope I can update the blog again really soon!!

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A New Chapter

Well, finally!!  Great news, I’ve been tapped for a special project and will be working on a cross-functional team with a lot of very smart and talented people.  It’s like I’ve won the work assignment lottery.  I can’t talk about the project yet, but I can talk about my feelings and how honored and blessed I feel to be a part of it.

I think there will be some trade-offs and downsides.  The office arrangements, for one, may be a bit of a drag.  But looking on the bright side, I will not feel isolated or have a lack of company!!  Right now we’ll be sitting in a big room all together.  They lovingly refer to this as a “bull pen.”  Oh My.  Another minor detail is that the project has a life, so it will end, and with that means another transition.   The project has high visibility and to be a part of it can only be a positive thing.

I couldn’t be happier right now, and I’m looking forward to the new chapter in my career and work life.  Yay!!

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