Souvenirs from Universal Studios, Orlando

Studly Doright and I were in Orlando, Florida, on Monday and Tuesday this week, prior to flying to Shannon, Ireland, on Wednesday. He had meetings to attend, while I had some time on my hands. Monday I treated myself with a trip to one of the outlet malls, but on Tuesday I decided it was high time I visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. 


I walked all the way back to where the map indicated Harry Potter’s world would be. I saw the bus, and I  took a selfie in front of #12 Privet Drive, but I was confused. Where was Diagon Alley? I walked all the way around the area, but was stymied. Was this all there was? 

I’m such a Muggle, but on a hunch I walked through a nondescript opening in an unmarked brick wall, and voila! 


Diagon Alley! Honest, one can’t see this opening from the area where the triple decker knight bus and Privet Drive are, even though they’re just a few feet away. How wonderfully magical to be forced to stumble onto it! 





Butter beer is pretty damned tasty; although, there’s no actual beer in it. Drat. 


I ogled the newest Firebolt model:


By far the longest line in Diagon Alley was formed outside the wand store. I spoke with a little girl who was still giddy that the wand she purchased had chosen her. I was tempted to join the queue, but I’ll wait until I can bring my grandkids. And a wand in my hands might not be a good idea. I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good. 

So, what were my souvenirs? 

A pair of scraped palms, and a skinned knee.


I fell, having failed to realize that the curb was about five inches higher than my bifocal lenses led me to believe. Fortunately a couple of young men rushed to my aid, and helped me to my feet. The part that’s the most injured is my pride. It could’ve been much worse, so I’ll take my lumps as a renewed call for caution. 

Packing Hell

 

I’m trying to pack for an eight day trip to Ireland with a two day stay in Orlando prior to the flight.  So, ten outfits should do the trick, right? Then would someone tell me why I’ve packed a carry on bag to full capacity along with a suitcase the size of Delaware, and I’m still wondering if I’m taking enough along.


Studly Doright’s side of the large suitcase contains exactly one pair of shorts or pants for each day and a complementary shirt, along with an equal number of underpants and pairs of socks. He’s not even taking a carry on bag; although, he will have his golf bag in tow. 


I’m stressing out, but I found this message tucked in with the packing humor in Pinterest. 


Thank goodness none of the above takes up space in a suitcase. I’m all out.

Peace, people.

Again, Dammit

Again Americans
mourn the deaths of
those lost to
gun violence.

Again politicians
offer their thoughts
and prayers and
meaningless
platitudes
whilst simultaneously
pocketing what can only be
described as
blood money
courtesy of the
National Rifle
Association.

Again mothers mourn
the loss of children
and children mourn
the loss of parents
while those
lacking in
humanity worry that
Obama’s gonna
confiscate their
fucking
guns.

Don’t talk to
me of prayers on
one hand
and praise
guns on the
other.
Your hypocrisy
is exceeded
only by your
utter lack of
compassion.

Off Again, On Again, Gone Again, Flanigan

Before every big road trip we take either Studly Doright initiates the phrase, “Off again, on again, gone again, Flanigan,” or I do. It’s part of our family culture. 

His PaPa Noyes taught him to say the phrase as a small child, back before Studly was known as Studly. PaPa dealt in scrap metal and would often invite one or more of his grandsons to ride along to Fort Worth. They couldn’t leave the “yard” in Hereford, Texas, until the words were chanted. 

Studly passed on the tradition to me, then to our children, and most recently to our grandchildren. Tomorrow as I head to Orlando to meet up with our niece CB and her family for a weekend at DisneyWorld I’ll say the words even though no one else will be in the car to hear them. 

  
I’m too excited to sleep! 

Peace, people!

The Day Before Thanksgiving

Studly Doright, the love of my life, is a bit of a horse trader. He doesn’t trade actual horses (dear Studly harbors an unnatural fear of farm animals, large and small); instead, he trades cars, trucks, motorcycles, basically anything that is motorized transportation.

On Tuesday he informed me that he’d bought a pickup truck. I nodded and smiled. “And, by the way,” he said casually, “We have to pick it up on Wednesday.”

Again, I nodded, like the dullard I must be.

Studly cleared his throat and I looked at him expectantly. “Um, it’s in Orlando….”

Normally a proposed trip to Orlando would have me jumping up and down like a small child. Universal Studios, DisneyWorld, tacky souvenirs, oh joy! But on the day before we are to host a Thanksgiving meal in our home? Nooooooooooo! For one thing  I knew there’d be no dawdling. We’d drive four hours south, in holiday traffic mind you, then turn around and drive four hours back to Doright Manor. But I had no choice. Studly can be an awful bully, I mean, awfully persuasive. 

The trip down was enjoyable. In addition to his gifts in persuasion Studly is always entertaining. Once again we drove right by the Cafe Risqué, Florida’s all nude cafe, even though we have a series of running jokes about what’s on the menu. Trust me, you don’t want to know the jokes. 

Traffic was interesting. One seriously aggressive driver came lane surfing around us, easily going 20 m.p.h. above our rather sedate 75. (Speed limit was 70.) As we neared Orlando we passed her after she’d hit another car. I’d have cheered, but she ruined someone else’s weekend. 

Once we arrived at the car dealership Studly took a test drive while I stretched my legs and looked at cars. The dealership had a gorgeous red BMW convertible that could’ve come home with me if I had just a few more (thousand) dollars in my bank account. After he returned, smiling like an idiot, Studly told me I could start for home while he finished making the deal.

I’ve officially been home now for an hour, and put together another pecan pie that should be done in 10-15 minutes. Studly got caught in a holiday traffic jam on the turnpike. I’m enjoying a Shiner Bock and the Thanksgiving classic Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Studly is probably cursing at rude drivers. Who knows, he might actually get to check out the menu at Cafe Risqué.

  
Peace, people!

Up the Down Staircase

Several years ago I worked for an educational non-profit foundation as a trainer. Every week during the school year I flew to different cities all over the U.S. and went into elementary schools to support teachers who implemented the foundation’s mathematics curriculum.

It was an interesting position and I had the great pleasure of getting to know educators in such disparate places as Albuquerque, New Mexico; Detroit, Michigan; Devils Lake, North Dakota; Newark, New Jersey, Flat Lick, Kentucky; and Orlando, Florida, among others.

Before taking the position I’d only flown once on my own, so I ran into a few awkward situations. Once I left my purse at the gate in Minneapolis. This was before 9/11, so before takeoff my co-worker (Patti), tapped the co-pilot on the shoulder and he radioed the gate. 

I fully expected them to hold onto my purse until I came back through in a couple of days, but before we started to taxi, out came a cart and my purse was handed to the pilot who passed it back to me. Of course Patti and I were the only passengers on the little 19 seater headed to North Dakota, but it was still nice.

I spent much of my time in the Denver airport running from one of the larger terminals to a small one. On one occasion I was being paged for my connecting flight as I deplaned, so the race was on.  Sprinting down one broad walkway I rounded the corner behind two adolescent boys. 

They were keeping up a good pace and blocking for me like a good offensive line should, so I didn’t even notice when they barreled straight onto a moving walkway going the wrong way. 

In an instant I found myself struggling to stay on two feet, my bag went backwards and I flailed my arms trying to maintain some balance. It occurred to me to stop fighting the flow and I rode backwards to the end of the walkway all to the applause of my fellow travelers. I bowed deeply and transferred to the correct walkway and managed to make my flight.

Oddly enough I miss the travel. 

Peace, People!