Archive | November, 2013

My Virtual Thanksgiving Table

28 Nov




Wordless Wednesday – 11/27/13

27 Nov

spreading happiness one family member’s car at a time…


Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

24 Nov

Have you ever walked into work and been surprised to see yourself on a poster? I have…. here, take a look!

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

As I have mentioned many times on my blog, I use to work at The Walt Disney World Resort®. My first role was as a Quick Service Food & Beverage cast member at Disney’s Restaurantosaurus  in Animal Kingdom from August 2010 – beginning of January 2011. One night after the park closed and we were cleaning the kitchen, there was a group of us who started singing Christmas songs as we worked, and we sounded GOOD, there were harmonies and flowing melodies! And from there our little choir of Resto Cast Members was born!

We would sign Christmas carols outside the restaurant with the guests at random times throughout the day! Nothing made me happier than having my manager come take over my position so I could go sing! (Have I mentioned I LOVE singing just as much as I LOVE Disney?) Sometimes other cast members would join us as you can see from the picture above. She was a character attendant for Pluto and Goofy and one of the places we would sing was along the path the characters took to enter and leave DinoLand. There was this one time Goofy stopped to “direct” our little choir! It was one of the funniest and most adorable things I had the opportunity to witness. The guests LOVED every minute of it!

My favorite stories though are when little kids would come running over and request their favorite songs just so they could sing with us. My heart swelled every time just knowing this little thing, singing Christmas carols at Disney would be a memory these families would take with them. And I was a little part of that magic.

I don’t recall having this picture taken. And I was honestly shocked when I came into work one morning and I found a smiling, singing me on the wall. But if there was ever to be an unexpected picture of myself hanging for all my coworkers to see, I’m glad it was this one as it so clearly showcases me in my element — singing, enjoying life to the fullest and making memories for perfect strangers. Who could ask for more in a photo?

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

Just Leaf it to us!

17 Nov

On Friday I stopped by my grandparents’ house and was greeted by this familiar sight…20131116-212605.jpg There was Papa, out there blowing leaves into huge piles that would need to be cleared away. And just like that, I was transported back 10 – 15 years to when I was little and my sisters, cousins and I would all “help” Papa clear the leaves. I’m pretty sure we destroyed more piles than we created, but somehow the leaves were always out of the yard by the time the first big snowstorm hit.

It’s no secret that I love fall! I adore wearing hoodies and sweaters (not the cold though), the food is delicious and the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon fill the air. But what I love most of all are the leaves, their changing colors and how they gracefully float down to the ground. It’s just a beautiful time of year and full of such fond memories. 20131117-132232.jpg So, Saturday morning I went to help Papa clear the leaves away. And if I’m being honest, part of me wanted to make sure he wasn’t out there alone and the other part really treasures the time I get to spend with him one-on-one, it’s special.

Let me set the scene for you. Here’s the pile of leaves…..20131116-213734.jpgAnd believe it or not, I couldn’t even get the whole pile, or I guess line, in one picture because it was so long. If I were to stand in the pile, it would have come up to my waist! My job was to take the leaves and pile them into the trailer while Papa cleared away the leaves from the side yard. Then he’d drive them back to the woods and dump them out. Easy enough. 20131116-215350.jpg Here I am rocking my headband and hoodie from my high school Alma mater, clutching two rakes that would soon be doubling as makeshift claw hands. And obviously raking could only be more enjoyable if you are dancing, singing and grooving along to your favorite tunes!

Papa told me to fill the trailer and then pack down the leaves and fill it again…. So that’s what I did. 20131116-220034.jpg Do not adjust the screen brightness, refresh the page or blink your eyes trying to decide if what you are seeing is correct. Yes, that is an old gutted pop-up camper dubbing as a makeshift leaf trailer. Genius isn’t it?! It was Papa’s idea, my uncle wanted to get rid of the camper and Papa needed something bigger than the little black mower trailer he had to haul the leaves away. And thus, this creation was made!! It took me about an hour to fill this bad boy – scooping leaves, dropping them in, spreading the pile, packing it down and repeat. This is what my pile of leaves looked like around 30 minutes… 20131116-220724.jpg 20131117-092530.jpg When Papa came back from dumping my first load of leaves he said he hadn’t realized how tightly I had packed them. Apparently I had about three loads worth in that one load. Whoopsie! One the bright side, three loads down in one huge load! We filled and emptied two more (single load worth, not triple) loads before stopping for lunch.

While I was filling my first load of leaves, my cousin Adam came to clear off the roof and to clean out the rain gutters. I will be completely honest, I was thankful he was up there and not Papa or I, as neither of us has the balance required for such a task. 20131117-130351.jpg We went down to the local community church where grandma was scrapbooking and had lunch with her and the other ladies there. My uncle even came down and joined us! After filling up on grandma’s homemade chicken noodle soup, veggie pizza and grape salad, it was time to return to the leaves with a strict order from grandma that I would make Papa stop at 4:30 PM.

By this point in the afternoon we were both a bit tired and feeling a little sore which meant we were both moving a little slower. While waiting for Papa to return from dumping a load I found the perfect resting spot against a tree. It felt nice to have something strong and sturdy supporting my back for a few moments. 20131116-221702.jpg 20131117-131301.jpg And that’s when my phone rang, it was Papa calling to say the tractor had run out of gas…Mariah to the rescue as I located the gas can in the shed and carried that heavy thing (okay, so it probably wasn’t that heavy, but my arms were sore!) back to the woods. At least I was able to catch a ride back! 20131117-131035.jpg20131117-131107.jpg We ended up clearing away 8 loads of leaves in six long hours – but if you think about it, my first load was really three, so our total should be more like 10 loads! Grandma had told us we needed to stop at 4:30 PM and I am happy to report we had finished a little after 3:00 PM. And that my friends was all of the leaves from the front yard! Looks a lot better now, don’t ya think?! 20131117-132007.jpg We decided to leave the ditch (which had just as many, if not more leaves in it as the front yard) for another day. Thank goodness!! 😉

The birth of a display case

7 Nov

I like to believe I’m a creative person. I dabble in the arts of writing and photography, once a year I dust off my scrapbooks and compile memories of days long gone, and on rare occasion, I have been known to tackle a DIY project or two. So when my boss at work asked me to change out the display case for November I eagerly agreed!

Obviously I decided to do something along the lines of Thanksgiving, but wanting to be politically correct because there may be someone who sees the case who may not celebrate the holiday for whatever reason, I chose to go with “What are you thankful for” because everyone is thankful for something.

Normally our display cases consist of 6 or so informational posters or flyers. Maybe an object or two representing an upcoming event (i.e. we had a 5K shirt to promote our Hospice 5K run/walk in August). But this time I wanted to do something different. Something eye-catching. Something engaging. Something unique.

The only problem, I wasn’t quite sure what that was exactly.

So I did the only thing I could think of to get the ball rolling. I started making a list of all the common things people would be thankful for. And then I started playing around with different ways to display the words in the case and came up with this awesome idea. (**Please note that drawing, and apparently spelling when I’m brainstorming, are not among my strengths.)


Then I had an even better idea. What if I compiled a bunch of random stuff that represented the words on my list and made little nameplates for what each item represented. No posters needed…. okay, so that’s a lie, the “What are you thankful for” needed to be on a big poster.

IMG_4075And yes, in case you were wondering, those are yellow sticky notes on some of the objects I collected from our office. As I located something that corresponded with a word on my list, I tagged it and crossed it off my list. I obviously had a system going, can’t you tell…because this mess turned into this chaos…

IMG_4077At this point I must share a funny story. My office consists of myself, our director and two other colleagues. Now, when I was coming up with my idea for the display case, I bounced it off one of my co-workers to get her opinion and then I took it to my boss to get her stamp of approval and go-ahead to move forward. If I recall correctly, my other co-worker was out of the office while all of this was taking place. Now, I had spent all morning working on finding objects and making nameplates and folding and taping and arraigning them just so on my little filing cabinet. When I am nearly finished with my preparations and about to pack everything in my bag to set up the display case, this co-worker walks by my desk. She pauses, back-tracks and pauses again, almost as if she’s trying to convince herself she wasn’t really seeing what she thought see was seeing (i.e. a 25 year old labeling things as if she were in preschool). Finally she flat out asks me what I’m doing and I can’t help but laugh as I take in her confused expression as I explain this is going to be a display case…eventually.   

Now I’m not sure if you could tell from my drawing or not (pictured above), but there were some words that I chose to have hanging from strings. These words were ones I decided/discovered were too hard to represent with a physical object because they either meant too many different things to different people or were feelings/milestones. Here’s how they turned out…

IMG_4078Finally it’s time to put it all together! Fingers crossed my poorly executed blueprint looks better in real life! It was fairly easy to assemble and I even had some help from our office intern! Tell me, how do you think we did?

IMG_4079I think it’s good, but the perfectionist in me doesn’t like it so much now. I see ways it could have been better – more color, the hanging circles could have been a bit bigger, some of the objects should have been sitting on boxes of different heights covered by fabric to give it a more interesting look and feel. Oh well, these are all thoughts and suggestions I’ll use to make next month’s display case 100% better!

So tell me, what are you thankful for? Is there something you would have added to my list?

**Side note: Yes, I did notice the nameplate for “employment” is spelled wrong. Unfortunately, I discovered that AFTER I’d taken my photos and was putting the finishing touches on the display case. But not to worry, it was quickly replaced with a correct version and no one was the wiser, well maybe you. 😉

Wordless Wednesday – 11/6/13

6 Nov

Even worn out and broken, my Mickey Italian charm makes me smile….20131106-061232.jpg