Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category

So, I’m writing this from Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter resort. As I sit here in the half light, the gentle sounds of Supportive Partner Woman’s breathing providing a quiet counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of families getting ready to hit the parks, I realize just how lucky I am.

I spent a lot of time the past few posts basically whining about life in general. I have it pretty good. I have a job, a loving wife, a roof over my head… Ad yes, I do have a few friends. It’s funny how things work out. That united by a common interest I am closer to people I’ve known for a relatively short time than I am to people I’ve known my entire life. I’ve met people in this community who aren’t in it for the right reason, but I’ve also met people who simply ooze character and class from every pore. They give back unflinchingly and always put others first, without fail. I’m proud to call these folks my friends and their friendship is something that I treasure.

So, on to the meat of the post.

Supportive Partner Woman (World’s Most Beautiful Pack Mule!) and I come to Walt Disney World around the same time every year. Not only to meet up with the aforementioned friends, but to get ourselves into the holiday spirit. There are many special events going on with a holiday theme, each of which serve to increase our excitement. There’s the Candlelight Processional, in which an orchestra and massed choir perform while a celebrity narrator recounts the tale of Christmas. SPW and I were fortunate enough to see it on Wednesday evening, and it does not disappoint. Our celebrity narrator was Neil Patrick Harris for the second year in a row… However, this year was actually dry, as opposed to the biblical rains of last December. The orchestra and choir was wonderful, as always, and well, here’s a video clip:

I hope that works… Using the WordPress iPad app is not something I do often. I usually write it in Pages, then just copy and paste it into WordPress.

One of the other points of the Disney holiday trident is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. This event has some five million lights dancing to well known Christmas songs and is probably the one event that really gets me in the mood. SPW (Osborne fan!) and I had the opportunity, thanks to MEI and Mouse Fan Travel, to take in a private viewing of the lights last evening that was just amazing. I took a lot of video, none of which I’ve gotten uploaded yet, but here’s an example from last year’s Osborne Lights:

The third point of the trident is EPCOT’s nightly show called IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Every year, the holiday season adds an extra five minutes of pyrotechnics accompanied by the Boys Choir of Harlem and a narration from the late Walter Cronkite. This really finalizes the prep for me. Just hearing the soaring music of the whole show as the lasers and fire and fireworks burst over the lagoon, topped off with the extra tag just never fails to send shivers up and down my back. I know that one day, the current IllumiNations will go away in the name of change, but believe you me, that will be a sad sad day.

At any rate, I have much more to tell, but suffice it to say that as of now, the feet have shown no blistering. This makes me very happy, especially considering the amount of walking we have done. The only wound is from the first day, when removing the protective moleskin also removed a tiny chunk of Wayne. A little NuSkin and gauze padding has worked wonders.

Well, I’m going to grad a shower and wake up SPW (Sleeps like the dead!) and we’re off to EPCOT for another day of fun and camaraderie.

More in the next few days!

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Vacation…

Posted: November 25, 2012 in Disney, Exercise, Stress, Walking, Weight loss

all I ever wanted.

Vacation, had to get away…

So, Supportive Partner Woman and I are headed to Florida on Wednesday for our annual WDW Today Reunion trip. We’re really looking forward to it… Lord knows we need it. Between family stuff and SPW’s new job, she’s been under a lot of stress and I have, mainly because I stress when I see SPW is stressed.

It’s only been a couple of months since the last time we were in the World, but there will be a lot of new stuff. There’s been a massive expansion to Fantasyland that will officially open in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we look forward to soft openings (previews). In addition, it’s a chance to see our friends that we only get to see once a year or so.

I’m really going to focus on eating better during this vacation. I usually strap the feed bag on at Ohana. This time, I’m going to cut down on the amount of meaty refills. I’m also going to try and avoid the grazing that I often fall prey to. Ideally, I would like to actually lose a few pounds while we’re down there. I am prepared for the possibility of blisters, though… I have two huge rolls of moleskin and a box of gauze pads. I also bought a three pack of Nike Dri-fit socks. Supposedly, these should help keep my feet dry and offer some serious support while we’re walking. The other thing that should help is that the temperatures are supposed to be in the low 70’s.

Other things that we are doing include the Candlelight Processional with Neil Patrick Harris as guest narrator. We are dining at Ohana (as mentioned before), Artist Point and a dinner at the new Be Our Guest restaurant in the expanded Fantasyland. Other meals are as we can grab. One of our other events is a special dinner called the Meal of Fortune that should be a lot of fun.

I hope to get a couple more posts in before we jet off to sunny Florida. I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a peaceful Black Friday.

Mixed feelings

Posted: November 12, 2012 in Disney

So, word has come out that Disney is replacing the iconic Main Street Bakery with a Starbucks location. This really generates mixed feelings for me… on one hand, Starbucks is an iconic brand with good coffee (so far as I remember), but, on the other  hand, I think of this quote attributed to the late George Carlin:

The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the asshole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a “decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n’-Low and one NutraSweet,” ooh, you’re a huge asshole.

I’ll reserve judgement until I see the finished result… if it’s done right, I’ll deal. I won’t like it, because I’m never pleased when they mess with something iconic for the sake of a few more dollars, but if they jack it up, all bets are off.

Continuing with the Disney eating marathon, I had some food porn I was hoping to share and talk about some other high points of our trip.

Our flight to Orlando was scheduled for a 6:15 departure from Baltimore, or, as we call it, the asscrack of dawn. We left the house around 3:15 AM and headed south. Many of you might remember the issues that I had with Southwest Airlines trying to book the flight in the first place. This was that trip. We all queued up in the cattle chute and prepared to board. Supportive Partner Woman and I had coveted “A” boarding slots and we managed to snag two seats about three rows back. SPW (bestest wife ever!) took the middle seat and I had the aisle. It was cramped, but in the good news department, I did not require a seat belt extender. Yay me.

The flight took off on time and I had loaded Killer Elite on the iPad for in-flight entertainment. I spent about an hour watching that and noticed a lot of activity, namely a flight attendant racing down the aisle with the AED, followed by a general call for trained medical personnel. Soon after, the captain came on board to say we were diverting to Charleston for a medical emergency. He must’ve had the 737 firewalled to get us in to Charleston as quickly as he did. The passenger was conscious when he was removed from the plane, and after refueling, we continued to Orlando, arriving around 45 minutes late. Whatever issues I might have had with Southwest, the flight crew really exhibited professionalism and handled the medical crisis like it happened every day.

We split up at that point… SPW went to claim the luggage, I went to pick up the car. I had booked a midsize and in Alamo’s midsize row were 14 minivans. And a Dodge Avenger. Sigh. I got in and headed back to the terminal to pick up SPW only to find that she had claimed the bags and thought she could catch up with me. Turns out she went below baggage claim and I had no way to get to her as that’s only open for buses. I sent her back to the baggage claim and I circled the airport again. Turns out the escalator she went up on took her to the ticketing level, which necessitated another trip around the terminal. Quite the comedy of errors.

Earl of Sandwich tomato soup with Earl’s Club and the Original 1762.

Anyway, we headed off to Disney’s BoardWalk Villas for the night. For those who are not familiar with the BoardWalk, it’s a really nice hotel, quite centrally located and within walking distance of Epcot. That alone makes it a favorite. This time, though, we were determined to spend a day outside of a park, so we got ourselves checked in and over to our room where was chilled for a while, then headed to Downtown Disney to grab some lunch. The weather was quite muggy, which made things a little sweaty, but we made our way to the Earl of Sandwich for lunch. This is one of our favorite spots… the food is tasty and reasonably priced and they offer AAA discounts which are actually better than the Disney Cast Member discount. Our normal MO is to buy two different sandwiches and split them… this time, we opted for the original, which consists of finely shaved hot roast beef with cheddar and horseradish and the Earl’s Club, which consists of roast turkey, applewood smoked bacon and swiss cheese, with lettuce and Roma tomato. We each added a drink and a cup of tomato soup and the total bill wound up being under $20. Best value on property. We shopped a bit, then took a pontoon boat out on the lake.

If you are opting to rent a boat, the best bet is to rent it from one of the Magic Kingdom resorts. That way you have over 400 acres of water to explore. It was a beautiful day to be out with a nice breeze and very little lake traffic.

Following that, we went back to the room to change before meeting some friends for dinner at Raglan Road. We haven’t seen these folks in many months, but it was great to catch up and enjoy a lovely meal. I opted for Raglan risotto with grilled chicken. The portion size was very nice and the food was flavorful, but not outstanding.

That concludes the food post today. More tomorrow when we talk about LeCellier!

 

Greetings!

I know, its been quite awhile. I started writing this from the laundry room of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. I know… I go to such interesting places on vacation. What can I say? It’s a gift.

So, it’s been about a month since I scribbled anything down. Just been crazy busy at Chez T and, well, just nothing really interesting to report. Done some stumbling recently, food-wise, not a serious backslide, but enough that my last doctor visit resulted in just a one-pound loss. In a month. Granted, I wasn’t working out like crazy… trying to keep the tempo down to prepare for our trip. Fat lot of good that did me.

See, after one day of serious walking, with preventative measures in places (Stubby cocooned in moleskin, his counterpart wearing a gel pad), I get a freakin’ blister NEXT TO THE GEL PAD!!!! This, as you can imagine, did not make me happy. Especially not with five days to go.

Supportive Partner Woman (de facto nurse of unparalleled skill!) then decreed an easier pace and began a regimen of rubbing my feet with ammonium lactate cream, which, according to the surgeon, is good stuff. This, coupled with Betadyne and gauze and a lot of moleskin, really enabled me to stay upright. It’s the one blessing of neuropathy… I can’t feel the pain of a blister. Looking back, I thing the problem was due to the crazy high humidity. It made the air chewy and we usually wound up with two showers a day.

So, for us a vacation to Disney World is more about the friends and the food than anything else. We paid two visits to Ohana for meeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaat on a stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick! There’s an art to eating somewhat healthier at Ohana… that is to view it as a high protein meal. Just keep in mind that when the nice server brings a sizzling skewer of dripping meat, he or she will automatically adjust your request by a factor of three. So, if you would, in fact, like one more piece of steak, make sure you have friends to share it with, because you’re getting three giant pieces.

The food at Ohana is not bad… you start with the Ohana welcome bread, which is a sweet Hawaiian style bread that has a touch of pineapple flavor. Then you get a salad, which would be better with less dressing. It’s positively drowning. I’m pretty sure I saw a lettuce shred clinging desperately to a life ring as its mates all drowned in the Vinaigrette Sea.

The staff follows this with the chicken wings and dumplings. I’m not a huge fan of wings to start with and these are just meh, so I usually pass on them. The dumplings are awesome, though, and it takes a great deal of self-restraint to not totally strap on the feed bag. This is followed with the greens, which consist of snow peas and broccoli that are well prepared. The share a plate with some tasty lo mien.

After the BS is dispensed with, it’s on to the main event. The meat. See, Disney wants you to believe that Ohana means family, but in reality, Ohana means meat. Lots of meat. Lots and lots of meat. We’re talking meat with a capital MEAT. The room is dominated but an open wood fire cooking giant skewers of steak, chicken, pork and shrimp. I love the shrimp. It has a nice level of spiciness without being too much to numb the palate. The steak has a wonderful marinade… not sure what all is in it, other than garlic, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Makes it very bold.

The chicken is pedestrian… not a ton of flavor, probably kept mild for people who don’t care for spice. The pork, though, is not that great. It’s usually a little overcooked and the BBQ sauce is way too sweet for my palate. I think the open fire is simply too hot and dries out the meat. Pork, IMHO, should be done low and slow with just enough sear on the outside to keep the juices in. Here’s a view of the cooking fire in action:

After the gorging is over, they hit you with dessert. They bring a banana bread pudding topped with vanilla ice cream. If that’s not enough, they will dump an Exxon Valdez sized load of caramel sauce on top. I’m lucky, though… since I have dietary restrictions, they usually bring me a nice plate of fresh fruit.

I will provide more food details over the next few days, but suffice it to say that even with all the food, I still managed to lose 2.5 pounds while away. So, not a total loss.

Talk to you again tomorrow.

Song of the Day: Gangnam Style – PSY
Currently Reading: The Tombs – Clive Cussler

It was a half-decent day at the doctor’s office. My weight was up a couple of pounds, but I’m not too concerned about it, since my right foot was ensconced in the Boot of Shame, which feels like it weighs around 40 pounds. The BP was also a little elevated, probably from me being in full blown freakout mode.

The good news came as a result of my labs. One of the key markers for a diabetic is the hemoglobin A1C measurement. This measures the average blood glucose levels over the previous months prior to the measurement.

The ADA (American Diabetes Association) considers an A1C of greater than or equal to 6.5% as a marker for a diagnosis of diabetes. The first time I had this test run, during that fun hospitalization, my A1C was 14.3%. Three months ago, it was 10.9%. Last week, 6.6%. Guess there’s something to that exercise crap.

Cholesterol was another concern. Last August, my cholesterol was 211. Last week? 158. In 2008, my triglycerides were a nifty 257 (which is rather high). Last week? 102. Only weak point was my HDLs are still a little low. That’s something to work on for the next batch of tests.

On the Stubby the Wonder Toe front, Rachel was very pleased with the healing that has been done so far. She cleared me to go back to the gym, just no weight bearing cardio until the blister is healed. Guess that means the stationary bike. Woohoo. I’m not a huge bike fan… would prefer to be on a real bike, except for seat wedge. I’m also cleared to go back to weight training. I’m happy about that… I haven’t been since last Wednesday and I really miss it. Rachel indicated that she felt I should be good to go back to full steam next week, depending on what the podiatrist says on Monday.

One other really need thing is that since most of my doctors are all in the same health group, I’m able to view all my records online. It was pretty cool to see all my labs. The bad part was the pathology notes on the part of Stubby that is no longer. It’s one thing to hear it described to you, but when you read the descriptions, oh boy. There’s something so clinical and detached about it that makes it worse than when you hear it from a doctor. When you see words like osteomyelitis, well, that’s creepy. Just saying.

After the doctor, SPW and I went grill shopping. Sadly, the altar of meat is not in the best shape. I tried to use the side burner to saute some asparagus for SPW and I couldn’t get the valve to open. Found one that we kind of liked, but it’s not on sale yet. Soon. Just hope I can get one that isn’t assembled. I’m not sure I’d trust those brain surgeons with propane. I feel like I’ve accomplished something when I get to assemble it myself.

We headed out to Elizabethtown afterward to pay a visit to the library. I had a book on hold and I picked up a book about Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak. Post library, SPW and I swung by Sonic, where she really made me proud. She actually passed on a vanilla malted. I opted for a grilled chicken sandwich and tots, because, well, tots are awesome. Was it the best choice? No, but it was handy and I think we made the healthiest choice that we could.

So, I start back at the gym with Ryan tomorrow. I’ll have five weeks from that point to get my pudgy ass into shape for Disney touring. I feel a lot better about it than my last visit. I realize it will be hot, but probably no World Showcase Death March, so I have hopes that it will work out for the best. It will be a challenge, eating with a healthier slant, but it’s a life change that I need to make, so I’m going to stay on the straight and narrow. My sole exception will have to be our visit(s) to Ohana. Even then, I’ll stick to the healthier proteins.

I’ll keep you posted as to how tomorrow’s session goes. Even if I do take a bike ride to nowhere.

I mentioned that I write for Enjoying the Magic in addition to my scribblings here. The latest piece I did for them is available for reading. It’s a bit on the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society.

Check it out here!