Archive for the ‘Magic Meets’ Category

So, yesterday, Supportive Partner Woman and I joined a group of friends and spent the day at the Philadelphia Zoo followed by dinner at Jack’s Firehouse in the Fairmount area of the city.

I should explain a little about the group. See, back in  2006, SPW (carrier of plentiful camera equipment!) and I attended something called Magic Meets. This was a group of like-minded Disney fans who got together at the Allentown Crowne Plaza to meet each other and discuss Disney. The meet, organized by Fred Block and his staff afforded us the opportunity to meet such notables in the Disney scene as Deb Wills from allears.net, Beci Mahnken from Mouse Fan Travel and the WDW Today podcast, among others.

We left with such an awesome feeling of having found a home that we were determined to volunteer the following year. We’ve continued to identify ourselves as members of the Magic Meets community, although the meet itself is on hiatus. Periodically, though, Fred organizes little get togethers, like yesterday’s festivities.

The Philadelphia Zoo bills itself as America’s oldest zoo. It’s in a portion of the city’s Fairmount Park and is home to some 1,300 animals. Some of these are rare and endangered, including lowland gorillas, various types of big cats like Amur tigers, lions and snow leopards, among other endangered species. The zoo does not cover a large land area, some 42 acres, but offers a lot to see in that small area. I was pleased because I got to see one of my favorite animals… prairie dogs. I’m not sure why I like these little rodents, but I can watch them for a long time. They just crack me up.

We spent the majority of the day touring and while I’m pleased to announce that Stubby the Wonder Toe was not damaged or blistered, my dogs were barking. It wasn’t the walking that was bothering me, it was the actually being on my feet the entire day. This caused a lot of pain in my ankles… probably from the amount of weight I’m carrying around. The only solution I know of is to continue taking off the pounds and see what happens. In the meantime, it’s going to make tomorrow’s gym session a little on the painful side.

After the zoo time ended (with penguins!), we headed over to Jack’s Firehouse, which is located near the Art Museum and directly across the street from Eastern State Penitentiary. This foreboding edifice really sets a mood, especially after dark. The firehouse itself is exactly that.It was the home of one of Philadelphia’s first paid fire companies and many of the features are still in place, ranging from the main doors to the brass pole.

SPW (eater of tasty steak!) and I have been to Jack’s on a few previous occasions and this was not the best dining experience we’ve had there. Our group, numbering some 30+ adults and children, occupied the private room upstairs and I think the fact that everyone ordered off the menu at the same time might have taxed the kitchen staff more than they are used to. SPW and I split a pulled pork appetizer that was quite tasty, but found a rather inedible hunk of bone or gristle in it. For an entrée, I chose a chicken breast with a bacon mac & cheese that again was tasty, but not quite up to snuff. SPW chose the filet mignon in which she found a giant hunk of gristle, usually unacceptable in a quality piece of meat.

The company and sheer fun of the day was able to overcome any perceived culinary shortcomings. Whenever we have a chance to hang with our good friends and make some new ones, well, that’s a good day.

I’ll let you know how the gym goes tomorrow… today is going to be a resting day.

Good evening!

Hope that you are all enjoying the holiday weekend. Please make sure to celebrate responsibly.

The Management and I ventured to the wooly hinterlands of New Cumberland for a meet up/picnic with our Disney friends. We had a lovely time filled with lots of laughs, stories and yummy food that I managed not to go overboard on. Cindy, our gracious hostess, made some awesome sliders that included andouille sausage, beef and pecans of all things. There was a tasty buffalo chicken dip, mac & cheese, and much other goodness. I did a batch of my famous chocolate chip cookies that did not last long, and The Management and I brought along the frozen concoction maker, a selection of booze, and ingredients for various margaritas. One of these ingredients was a reduced sugar sweet and sour mix. Instead of 25g of sugar, this only has 1g. That’s pretty sweet (no pun intended) in my book. In this case, fresh pineapple and mangos. The first one we tried was avocado. The Management thought it looked like wheat grass. I was thinking more of a nuclear specimen, but maybe that’s just me. A little later in the day, one of the kids wanted a strawberry virgin margarita. Threw a bunch of strawberries in the jug along with orange and lime juices and it turned out to be pretty darn good. After the kids were done, the turned it into an adult margarita that got really decent reviews. I plan on making that part of the repertoire.

You may be asking what I was doing with all these drinks, because as a diabetic, alcohol isn’t my friend. That’s a good point. I’ve long since passed the point where I have to imbibe. I had a sip of the strawberry and of the pineapple. The nice thing is that our friends understand my condition and respect it so that there’s no pressure to drink. I’m not a total abstainer, but I know when to say when and these folks respect that. The downside is that it’s been over a year since I last had a beer. Temptation was kind of removed as we didn’t have any Sam Adams Black Lager in the beer fridge. Had there been, the previous statement probably would’ve been null and void.

So, getting back to our Disney crew… we all met through something called Magic Meets, founded by Fred Block. Most of us were volunteers who started helping out in hopes of meeting people in the fan community. At least that’s why The Management and I joined the ranks. We never dreamed it would pay off like it has, not just in the quantity of people we have met, but also the quality. Besides getting to know Fred and his family, we’ve met people who live locally and formed a strong bond with, even though we’re very different. Magic Meets is currently on hiatus, but through the friendships we’ve made, we’ve been able to keep the spirit alive.

Since we were on the West Shore, it would’ve been a horrible oversight to not pay a visit to Wegman’s. I swear I hear a choir of angels every time I walk though the door. Nothing groundbreaking except for a nice brisket that The Management is planning on turning into a shredded masterpiece. I can almost taste it! We also picked up a few other items. Not a major trip, but any trip there is worth mentioning. There is a rumor that they might be coming to Cow Country. That would make my socks roll up and down if it pans out. Keep your fingers crossed!

I have to go back to work tomorrow, but I’m headed to another facility for the week. I’ll be doing User Acceptance testing on a new version of our page management and design software. It’s always fun when you get paid to try and break the software. The week after that, I have my appointment with the psychologist and my first group session in the bariatric program. I’m looking forward to them both, but I’m strangely nervous as well. We will see what happens!

Until next time, have a great holiday and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.