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Archive for the ‘Walt Disney World’ Category

I subscribe to a lot of Disney related websites, blogs, newsletters, etc., because, hey, I am a Disney geek. That’s right, I love all things Disney. Well, almost all things. I’m not a fan of Dole whips. (more…)

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disney-memeBy now it’s no secret that I’m a Disney freak. Yes, that’s right, I love all things Disney. I never get tired of visiting the parks, reading the blog sites, flipping through the glossy magazines, watching the movies, wearing the t-shirts, all of it. (more…)

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So April is national poetry month. I’m a little behind the ball, but still snuck in just under the wire. I’ve never really been into poetry, but I do like some stuff. Since I’m a fan of Walt Whitman, I will incorporate a piece from his Leaves of Grass in honor of national poetry month. Here’s my rendition with photograph visuals to help you understand the meaning of Walt’s words (yeah right):

Electric Water Pageant. Seven Seas Lagoon - Walt Disney World. 2009

Electric Water Pageant. Seven Seas Lagoon – Walt Disney World. 2009

“I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear

Fire dancer - Polynesian Resort - Walt Disney World - 2011

Fire dancer – Polynesian Resort – Walt Disney World – 2011

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong

 

German Pavilion - Epcot - Walt Disney World - 2012

German Pavilion – Epcot – Walt Disney World – 2012

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam

Tea House at Vikingsholm Castle - Emerald Bay - South Lake Tahoe - 2011

Tea House at Vikingsholm Castle – Emerald Bay – South Lake Tahoe – 2011

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work

Jungle Parade - Animal Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2009

Jungle Parade – Animal Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2009

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat,

Captain Jack Sparrow - Magic Kingdom Park - Walk Disney World - 2012

Captain Jack Sparrow – Magic Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

Meerkat - Animal Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2012

Meerkat – Animal Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench,

Disney's Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World - 2010

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Walt Disney World – 2010

the hatter singing as he stands,

Brer Fox and friends - Critter Country - Disneyland 2010

Brer Fox and friends – Critter Country – Disneyland 2010

The wood-cutter’s song,

Draft horse topiary - It's A Small World - Disneyland - 2012

Draft horse topiary – It’s A Small World – Disneyland – 2012

the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning,

New Orleans Square - Disneyland - 2010

New Orleans Square – Disneyland – 2010

or at noon intermission

Cinderella Castle - Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World - 2009

Cinderella Castle – Magic Kingdom – Walt Disney World – 2009

or at sundown

Critter Country - Disneyland - 2010

Critter Country – Disneyland – 2010

The delicious singing of the mother,

Momma and baby - Animal Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2012

Momma and baby – Animal Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

or of the young wife at work,

Me and my washboard - Hoop Dee Doo Revue - Fort Wilderness - Walt Disney World - 2009

Me and my washboard – Hoop Dee Doo Revue – Fort Wilderness – Walt Disney World – 2009

or of the girl sewing or washing,

Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse - Main St. USA - Magic Kingdom Park - Walk Disney World - 2009

Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse – Main St. USA – Magic Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2009

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

Me at the Not So Scary Halloween Party - Magic Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2012

Me at the Not So Scary Halloween Party – Magic Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

The day what belongs to the day —

A scene from Mary Poppins - The Great Movie Ride - Disney's Hollywood Studios Park - Walk Disney World - 2009

A scene from Mary Poppins – The Great Movie Ride – Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park – Walt Disney World – 2009

at night the party of young fellows,

My sweetie pie after his first ride on Expedition Everest - Animal Kingdom Park - Walt Disney World - 2012

My sweetie pie after his first ride on Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2012

robust, friendly,

Donald Duck bronze - Mickey's Philharmonic - Magic Kingdom Park - Walk Disney World - 2009

Donald Duck bronze – Mickey’s Philharmonic – Magic Kingdom Park – Walt Disney World – 2009

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.”

So as you can see, sometimes I find poetry inspiring.

What about you – do you “get” poetry? Are you a fan? Who can you relate to?

Word of the Day: Jejune

Fun fact about me: With the exception of Alaska (which I shall rectify this fall), I have been in every State west of the Mississippi river. (And almost all of them east of as well.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt April 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode and C. Rickrode.

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Take It or Leave It Image courtesy Google Images

Take It or Leave It
Image courtesy Google Images

New year – new game. Last year you enjoyed learning a little more about me through a game called What Haven’t I. This year I’m going to ask you to determine whether or not I would accept or decline the totally random selection of things I list in a game I’m calling Take It or Leave It. That’s right, all you have to do is guess whether I would, well, take it, or leave it.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

My amazing powers of deductive reasoning led me to that awesome title and description.

The rules are simple, just post your guesses in the comments section below. I will post the choices on Monday and my responses on Thursday. The person with the most guesses is my winner, but you must re-post in the comments section in order to claim your prize. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited after one week from posting the answers.

Good luck and have fun.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

Here we go with the very first installment of Take It or Leave It.

1 – Sing karaoke at a biker bar
2 – Skydiving
3 – Deep sea diving
4 – Bungee jumping
5 – Spelunking
6 – Parasailing
7 – Ride a bucking bull (a live one, not a mechanical one)
8 – Surfing
9 – Ride the Tower of Terror at Disneyland
10 – Eat a bug

Word of the day: Wittol
Fun fact about me: I used to change my own oil in my car.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2014. Images courtesy Google Images

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That’s right folks, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney’s contribution to the 1964 world’s fair – his “little boat ride,” sponsored by Pepsi to benefit Unicef.

Disneyland's It's A Small World at Christmas. Photo courtesy Disney Parks Blog

Disneyland’s It’s A Small World at Christmas. Photo courtesy Disney Parks Blog

“When we completed ‘It’s a Small World’ for presentation at the New York World’s Fair, we felt that we had accomplished what we’d set out to do. We wanted to foster a better understanding among the nations of the world by showing the dress, the customs, the language, the music, and a little of the culture of our neighbors around the world – – and we wanted to show it to be a very happy one. And I think it’s safe to say that having fun has universal appeal.” -Walt Disney

Who would have thought that this delightful little one minute boat ride, complete with animated dolls and a musical ditty in multiple languages would have survived the test of time? Did you know that when Mr. Disney had the ride dismantled and moved to its permanent home in Fantasyland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California he called upon dignitaries from more than 50 different countries to help fill the water canal for his “little boat ride?” That’s right, 50 children from 50 different countries brought water from their native countries to pour into the canal that carries millions of people annually through the magical small world of animated dolls.

Now imagine if Walt wanted to complete this project today and asked 50 little kids to bring water to California. Can you just see them trying to explain to the TSA officers at various airports around the world, “Yes, it is only water that I’m trying to bring on board with me. I’m taking it to Mr. Disney to pour into a canal for a new exhibit that’s opening in Disneyland. No, I’m not going to make explosives with it. It’s sacred water, symbolizing the united bond between all countries around the world.” Yeah right. That’ll work.

But, I digress. It’s A Small World was not Walt’s first exhibit to be featured at a world’s fair. In 1958, in conjunction with General Electric, Walt debuted his “Progressland” attraction; a revolving theater that sent audiences on an historical musical journey through the evolution of electricity. That very same attraction still exists in the form of The Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom park in Disney World Florida.

Spaceship Earth at Epcot - Disney World - Florida. Photo courtesy Google Images.

Spaceship Earth at Epcot – Disney World – Florida. Photo courtesy Google Images.

Also appearing at the 1964 world’s fair were the magic skyway attraction, an aerial ride narrated by Walt himself that toured Earth’s past from the dawn of time through the age of the dinosaurs, culminating in a glimpse of Walt’s vision for a futuristic space city. Does this sound familiar to you Disney buffs? That’s right, a similar time travel attraction exists in the form of Spaceship Earth at Epcot at Disney World. And a similar time-travel experience can be had riding the Disneyland railroad around the park. The skyway ride at Disneyland, however, no longer exists for various reason, all of which are too discouraging for me to mention here. Suffice it to say, the sky buckets were a popular attraction for amorous lovers and bratty “camel-like” kids, if you know what I’m saying.

Abraham Lincoln, from Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln attraction at Disneyland. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Abraham Lincoln, from Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln attraction at Disneyland. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

And last, but not least, one of my all-time favorite attractions also got its start at the 1964 world’s fair; Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. I love this show and the similar show at Disney World – The Hall of Presidents. Very inspiring narrative and ingenious use of audio-animatronics, the first ever of its kind. If you haven’t seen Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln and have a few minutes to spare, or if you have seen it and just need to see it again, here’s a link:

So that’s my Disney history lesson and tribute to a family-favorite Disney ride (well one of mine, the hubs isn’t so keen on it), It’s A Small Word. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.

So, how about you, are you a Disney nut? Do you like to ride It’s A Small World? What’s your favorite Disney attraction? Come on, spill it. I’m dying to know.

Word of the day: Vermeil

Fun fact about me: My favorite Disney ride is the Peter Pan flight.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt January 2014. Photos courtesy Disney Parks blog, Google Images and Wikipedia. Video courtesy YouTube.

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Pop quiz – what are those lyrics from?

musical scroll

I used to think I knew the song. I heard it all the time and always hummed along. But, it wasn’t until about 3 weeks ago, that I actually listened to the words. Really listened. I almost cried when I finally comprehended their meaning. Somehow, all these years, I’ve never really listened to the lyrics enough to fully appreciate the message in the song. It was always just a catchy tune from a great movie.

If you’re still stumped, here’s a bit more:

From the moment we arrive on the planet, and blinking, step into the sun,
There’s more to seen than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done.

There’s far too much to take in here, more to find than can ever be found,
But the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky, keeps great and small on the endless round.

The Lion King

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Got it yet?

How about now:

It’s the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

Ah, yes. The Circle of Life. An amazing song by Sir Elton John. I heard that song a lot over the past couple of weeks. As you might have guessed (or already knew), I recently spent about 14 days at Disney World and I’ve got to say, there is more to be done than can ever be done at such a wonderous place. Besides the theme parks, there are two water parks, miniature golf, regular golf, a Nascar driving experience, bowling, movie theaters, dozens of restaurants, water sports, live theater performances and the list just goes on and on.

The House of Blues Gospel Choir

House of Blues Gospel Choir. Disney World 2013.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

This trip, my husband and I experienced two new forms of cuisine – Cuban and Norwegian. Both were fantastic!  I had my first ever experience with chicken and waffles at the House of Blues Gospel Brunch. Chicken and waffles? OMG. Delicious!

The Grey Stuff

“Try the grey stuff. It’s delicious!” Be Our Guest restaurant – Disney World (Fantasyland) 2013.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

We ate in the new Beast’s castle in the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom park and partook of “the grey stuff.” Yes, it really is a menu item and yes, it really is delicious. But, don’t ask the wait staff to reveal the recipe as they are under strict orders not to reveal the secret or risk angering his majesty – The Beast.

Try it. It’s delicious! Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes.

I also enjoyed my first ever water slide. I know, I know. You’re all thinking, “how could crazy Jansen, who’s crashed a snow mobile and eaten alligator, never glided down a water slide?” Well, I’ll tell you. I didn’t learn to swim until I was a teen-ager and after that, I never really became very proficient at it. And, I’m not crazy about having my head under water. It’s kind of one of my phobias. I always avoided water sports and activities. But, not any more. I am the water slide queen!

Typhoon Lagoon

Me at Typhoon Lagoon. Disney World 2013.
Original photo by C. Rickrode

I even took the plunge down the Humunga Kowabunga, a near vertical 5-story drop in the dark. Now that’s living my friends! Check out this link for all the 4-1-1. And to heighten your reading experience, scroll to the bottom first and click on the audio link. It’ll get you in the mood.

http://disney-pal.com/WaterParks/humunga_kowabunga.htm

Here’s how it would look if you were take the plunge:

We also experienced an up close and personal pirate adverture, complete with cake and other delicious snacks. Who knew pirates liked cake?

WDW 2013 159

My new pirate friend. Disney World (Contemporary Resort) 2013.
Original photo by C. Rickrode

WDW 2013 162

Yummy cake. Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage. Disney World 2013.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

So if’n you’re planning a trip to “The World” and are wondering if you can see it all in a week – the answer is NO! In order to fully enjoy yourself, you must stay at least 10 days. You really need to take the time to enjoy the details of your surroundings and the engineering wonders of the Disney imagineers. Trust me, you won’t regret staying the extra few days.

So, how was the end of your summer? Do anything fun? Try anything new? See anything that you’ve never seen before? I’d love to hear about it.

Word of the Day:  Jussive

Fun fact about me:  My three biggest toes are all the same length. (That might not be fun. That might be creepy.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt 2013. Original photos by Rickrode family. Stock photos courtesy Google Images. Video links courtesy YouTube.com.

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Welcome to April! April 1st is commonly known as April Fools Day. But for me, April 1st means that love is in the air. Especially this year. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the day I married the most wonderful man I know. Yes folks, me and the hubster will celebrate our tenth anniversary this Friday, April 5, 2013.

In honor of this very special man, I’m devoting this entire blog to him. I’m going to share some different sides of his awesome personality.

First there is the reluctant and I’m-a-little-bit-scared-but-still-willing-to-go-along-with-the-game side:

C. Rickrode - 2009 - WDW

C. Rickrode – 2009 – WDW
Photo by P. Rickrode

C. Rickrode birthday 2011Photo by P. Rickrode

C. Rickrode birthday 2011
Photo by P. Rickrode

C. Rickrode & Minnie Mouse - 2011 - WDWPhoto by P. Rickrode

C. Rickrode & Minnie Mouse – 2011 – WDW
Photo by P. Rickrode

Then there is, one of my favorites, the happy boy:

C. Rickrode - 2010Photo by P. Rickrode

C. Rickrode – 2010
Photo by P. Rickrode

C. Rickrode - 2011Las Vegas Motor SpeedwayPhoto by P. Rickrode

He has an adverterous side:

C. Rickrode - 2012Isle of Roatan, HondurasPhoto by P. Rickrode

C. Rickrode – 2012
Isle of Roatan, Honduras
Photo by P. Rickrode

C. Rickrode - 2012 - Animal Kingdom Park - WDWAfter (finally) riding Expedition EverestPhoto by P. Rickrode

C. Rickrode – 2012 – Animal Kingdom Park – WDW
After (finally) riding Expedition Everest
Photo by P. Rickrode

 He has a few rare silly moments:

WDW 2011 032

And even more rare romantic moments:

Carriage ride at Fort Wilderness - 2009

Carriage ride at Fort Wilderness – 2009

But mostly, what is so special about this fantastic man, is “The Look.” I tried to post several photos of this famous Look, but WordPress was being a butthead all weekend and refused to upload my photos. So, let me just say that I get The Look quite a lot. He’s often not on board with my ideas, suggestions, or requests. It takes him a while to warm up to my awesome ideas and until he does, I get, The Look. My day wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t get The Look at least once. That’s why I love him. He’s many faceted and delivers a good Look.

Happy anniversary my sweetie pie! I love you and hope to have many, many more happy years together.

Corey wedding day

P.S. This is NOT the look. This is handsome, pure and simple.

So how about you? Is love in the air for you this month? Does your significant other have A Look?

Word of the day: Udometer

Fun fact about me: I love, love, love sour candy!

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Today I’m honored to share with you all, a glimpse into the “other worldly.” Book cover Dead Letter DayOne lucky person who leaves a comment below will receive a copy of this awesome book! (Look right.)

My special guest today is Eileen Rendahl, author of Dead Letter Day, the most recent installment in her Messenger Series. In the Messenger series, heroine, Melina Markowitz, is a kick-butt kind of girl who serves as a go-between for paranormal/supernatural creatures and the human world. She is a regular human with, let’s say “heightened sensitivities,” who communicates with other-worldly beings but she has no real super powers of her own (other than those “heightened sensitivities”).

I’ve asked Eileen a few questions regarding her recent release. Here’s how our interview went:

Me: Melina practices martial arts. Do you personally practice some form of martial arts? If so, what form, and if not, how do you get your information on the subject?

Eileen: Years and years ago, I took about a year’s worth of martial arts. I remember almost nothing. My main source for the fight scenes was Stacy Desideri. Stacy was my sons’ 5th grade teacher and she happens to be a black belt. She spent hours with me helping to choreograph fight scenes and gave me a lot of information to help me write about them in the future. I also will watch fight scenes on DVD and slow them down as much as possible to see the movements. What I loved about Stacy’s input is that she would give me the “why” as well as the “how.” It certainly made it richer in my head and I hope it made it richer on the page.

Me: The Messenger series is set in the greater Sacramento area. Being familiar with that area myself, I’m wondering, what specific landmarks you had in mind when writing some of the scenes in the Messenger books?

Eileen: Well, Melina lives in Mansion Flats. Her parents live in the Pocket. The hospital she works in is located around where Mercy Hospital is located. I actually spent some time with a map of the delta trying to pick a specific island for the mermaid in Dead Letter Day to leave near. I usually try to pick a specific location for where she’s going and what she’s doing. That said, sometimes I do just make stuff up. The town near the wolf pack in Dead Letter Day is basically Mount Horeb, Wisconsin transported to the Sierras.

Me: I’d love to meet Melina, she sounds really cool. She has a very human roommate, a sexy human boyfriend, a werewolf guy pal, a vampire co-worker (at a hospital no less where there is an endless supply of fresh blood), and she has encounters with ninjas, kokopelli and other mystical creatures and gets entangled in voodoo and other dark forces. Tell me, what surprises can I expect to find in Dead Letter Day?

Eileen: I’m so glad you like her! I feel a little like she’s the little sister I never had.

Dead Letter Day has a lot of Norse mythology. I don’t want to give too much away, but that was definitely my main focus for this book. There is also a mermaid, some dryads and a few other beings thrown in here and there.

WDW 2011 076

The Tree Lady (Animal Kingdom Park – WDW)
Photo by P. Rickrode

Me: One of my favorite parts of Don’t Kill the Messenger, the first book in this series, is this combination of two partial paragraphs: “. . . (ninjas) who seemed to materialize out of nowhere and proceeded to kick the crap out of me. That may not seem like a great feat. I am merely one not terribly large girl. Five foot seven in my stocking feet and my weight is none of your damned business.” What is one of your particularly favorite parts of Dead Letter Day?

Eileen: There’s a dryad that figures in Dead Letter Day. I’m quite fond of Melina’s first meeting with her. They start out on a somewhat adversarial footing and become friends.

Me: The first two books in the series, Don’t Kill the Messenger and Dead on Delivery, both have similar covers, primarily reds, oranges and golds with an Asian flare and a warm glow. (Yeah, despite the use of Kill and Dead in the titles, I get a feeling of a warm glow from the covers and honestly, that scares me a little, too.) Dead Letter Day; however, is a beautiful shade of royal blue with black birds, dark trees and a cold sense of impending doom. Why the drastic change in color scheme and cover art?

Eileen: I have no idea what made the publisher change to the blue colors, but I do like it. I also really like the crow and the netting and the trees. I wish the woman on the front looked a bit more like the woman on the front of the first two books, but you can’t win them all.

Side note:

Me: Shows you how much I know about working with a publisher. Excuse me a moment – (Note to self, I may not have absolute control over my book covers unless I self-publish.)

Okay, back on track.

Me: Writing a series of books that involve the same location, characters, etc., is much more involved than writing a single title book. Are you a plotter or a pantser and how does writing a series effect that style.

Eileen: I’m a plotter, but only book by book. Plotting is very difficult for me and the idea of having to plot out multiple books all at once makes my head swim. I guess I’m forcing the series to be worked out the way I work out all my books rather than the other way around. It is fun, however, to know that the end of the book doesn’t have to be the end of the story. I like knowing I can come back to my girl and grow more with her.

Eileen headshotMe: In addition to this paranormal series, you also have several contemporary chick lit and single title romantic suspense books published under a different name (Eileen Carr). Which do you prefer writing?

Eileen: The chick lit books and the Messenger books are very similar in tone. They’re also all first person. The Messenger books have a lot more plotting to them, though. From the beginning, I’ve wanted them to be a little like those old hard-boiled detective novels. Instead of a dame walking into the office, it’s a dryad or a gnome or something else unexpected. Honestly, they’re fun to write. First person for me is like slipping on my stretchy pants. I’m comfy with it. 

The romantic suspense books are a lot harder for me. They’re in 3rd person which means I have a lot more voices to create and a lot more threads to keep track of. I kind of groove on the challenge, though. 

So I guess I don’t know what I like best! I think it’s good to have both comfort and challenge in my life. It makes me a better writer.

So there you have it. I hope you’ll all check out Eileen’s books. She has a sharp wit and great talent for weaving intricate and interesting tales. While I’m not a huge fan of paranormal fiction, I absolutely LOVE Eileen’s Messenger series. The writing is gritty, witty and . . . I can’t think of another rhyming word.

Eileen Rendahl was born in Dayton, Ohio. She moved when she was four and only remembers that she was born across the street from Baskin-Robbins. Eileen remembers anything that has to do with ice cream. Or chocolate. Or champagne. In addition to the Messenger series, Eileen Rendahl is the award-winning author of four Chick Lit novels. Her alter ego, Eileen Carr, released her first romantic suspense, Hold Back The Dark, in 2009. She has had many jobs and lived in many cities and feels unbelievably lucky to be where she is now and doing what she’s doing.

Send Eileen an e-mail any old time. She’d love to hear from you! Eileen@Eileen Rendahl.com. You can also connect with Eileen at EileenRendahl.com; on Twitter or Facebook. Her books can be found at Amazon.com or your local bookstore. If it’s not on the shelf, request that it be put there.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Eileen’s book. You’ll be glad you did.

I leave you with this thought-provoking question – what do you read when you read out of your comfort zone? Have you been pleasantly surprised when you ventured into that world? I’d love to hear about it.

Word of the day:  Tabula rasa

Fun fact about me: I know the 12 Days of Christmas (the song) in order. You know, lords leaping, pipers piping. I know the right order.

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Ah, springtime! Welcome back birds.

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

Hello flowers!

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

And babies!

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Animal Kingdom Park WDW

So many awesome things to enjoy. As I sit here daydreaming writing, I close my eyes and imagine how wonderful it would be to sit here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

and enjoy a cocktail write.

I should be doing this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

But I’d rather be doing this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Sailing on Lake Tahoe

Or even just this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

But instead, I’m working diligently on my 2013 vacation plans current work in progress.

Nothing sabotages a writing career faster than the advent of spring. We should be writing, we want to write, creative ideas are hitting fast and furious. But the temptation to go outside and play is strong. The lure of warm sunshine and fragrant flowers calls to our subconscious. Thoughts turn to gardening, sun bathing, long walks, dining on the patio and for me – vacation!

While I’m torturing my characters with attending funerals, mucking out horse stalls, and hiding from evil step-sisters, I’m really torturing myself with thoughts of being here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Yosemite Valley

Or here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Cascade Creek, Merced Co. California

That’s right, I’ve been visited by the ghosts of vacations past. They remind me that instead of sitting here gathering wool writing, I could be here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

Or here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode

Or here:

Photo by C. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode
Big Island, Hawaii

Or here:

Photo by C. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode
Maui, Hawaii

And what trip down memory lane would be complete without a visit from the ghost of Disney vacations past?

The New FantasylandWalt Disney World

The New Fantasyland
Walt Disney World

So as spring makes it way into my little corner of the world, I shall savor it’s presence and bask in the rebirth of creativity and as new life springs forth from the earth. My mood word count will improve and my house will get cleaned muse will awaken and all thoughts will be of vacation writing “the end.”

Here’s hoping you all have a very productive springtime!

Word of the day: Raffish

Fun fact about me: One summer I worked at a B & B.

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Welcome to 2013!!  We made it. The Mayans were either wrong, or they simply got tired of keeping a damn futuristic calendar. I’m voting for the latter. If they were as busy then as I am now, I’m not even sure what I’m doing tomorrow, so who needs to know what’s going on 2000 or so years from now?

2013 calendar

But, anyway, here we are. Another year stretches before us. So many possibilities, so many challenges, so many new things to try. I’m not a fan of resolutions, but I do believe in always striving to better oneself, exploring new things, taking risks and just living without sweating the small stuff.bucket on beach

So as we embark on this brave new year, here are some things you may want to consider:

Make a bucket list. Blogger, Myndi Shafer shares her list here: http://myndishafer.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/my-35th-year-living-with-intention/ It doesn’t have to be elaborate or even long, but write down some fun things you’d like to accomplish this year or maybe next year.dog and cat

Make a promise to be more like your pets. So much can be learned by following the examples set by our pets. Jenny Hansen tells us what she’s learned about her pets here: http://jennyhansenauthor.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/10-writing-lessons-i-learned-from-my-dog/

Pets are one of God’s many blessings that we often take for granted. Take time to enjoy the gifts your pet has to offer.

Keep a gratitude journal as suggested by Ginger Calem here:  http://gingercalem.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/writersbutt/ Ginger has many helpful tips and suggestions for leading a healthy and fit life on her blog. If you haven’t checked it out, I encourage you to stop by sometime for some kind words and positive advice for being the best you you can be.

Journal

cruise shipTry something new for vacation. Might I suggest a cruise? Debra Kristi had a fabulous time and tells about it here: http://debrakristi.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/spring-break-will-you-vacation-how-about-a-cruise/ I recommend resurrecting your inner child and take a trip to Disneyland or Disney World. There’s no place more magical than a world created by Disney Imagineers.

Every day we are confronted with a multitude of opportunities to make lasting memories if we simply slow down and take the time to enjoy what’s around us. This year I challenge my readers to try something new, something a little out of your comfort zone, a little outside your normal every day box.

Even if it’s as simple as trying a new recipe or experiencing a different type of food. Perhaps sushi, Thai food, Indian cuisine. If you’ve thought about it, but haven’t taken the steps to make it happen, I encourage you to join a writer’s group. The advice and uplifting support from other members are hugely rewarding. My gang at the Sacramento Valley chapter of RWA has opened many many doors for me and my creativity.

If you haven’t ever done it, volunteer at a food kitchen or other charitable function that gives back to the community. Volunteering your time is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever enjoy. And who can have too many friends? Reach out to someone, touch a life, enrich your own world. You’ll be glad you did.

holding hands

Whatever you decide to do this year, make it brave, make it awesome, make it you!

Tell me, where are you going to venture off to this year? What exciting things do you have planned? What goals have you set for yourself? I’d love to hear them and cheer you on toward attaining them.

Word of the Day:  Natatorial

Fun Fact About Me:  I love to make scrapbooks.

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