Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tag and Karen's Un-Spooky Halloween Show

Hubby and I put on a show at the library Thursday night for Halloween. I can't believe I actually did it! Hubby is the one who used to do library shows with his friend. I'm the one who is not used to performing in front of people.....especially in my own home town....AND on local television! Hubby had three original Halloween stories and four original Halloween songs. I performed three stories from my old preschool-teaching days. We had about a dozen kids...almost all boys! They were all responsive and fun. We kept the program moving pretty quickly and tried to keep the kids active and involved. We got thanks and praise from the parents when we I guess we did okay! The local access TV station taped us, and the guy already gave us a copy of the DVD. We were kind of afraid to watch it last night. Who wants to see all their mistakes? But it wasn't bad! The few little mistakes we made weren't obvious to the audience, and our singing was actually pretty good. We had a good time, so did the kids and their parents, and the library lady already said we'd be welcomed back next year. Hurray!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Aquatica and Discovery Cove

Our last day in Florida was spent at Aquatica and Discovery Cove. We went to Aquatica in the morning. This is a large water park located right across the street from Seaworld. They gave us a tour of the place before it opened and then let us go and have fun! They have two side-by-side wave slow, the other faster.....and both have beautiful white sand beaches.
We went on the lazy river and also on the "Raging River". The raging river was a blast!
This was probably the only slide I didn't go on. It looked a little too straight-downhill to me!
The children's area was unbelievable. There were more adults in the area than children.
I managed to go on almost every slide at Aquatica. I love water slides and could have stayed there all day. But it was time to go on to Discovery Cove.
Discovery Cove is not an amusement park - it is an all-inclusive day resort. The food, drink, towels, snorkels, sun-screen and fun are all included. I didn't take too many pictures.....I put my camera away in the locker they provided.
There were two cold-water pools - one for the manta rays and one for the coral reef. In the manta pool, you could just stand there and the beautiful mantas came up close enough for you to pat. In the coral reef, you could use the snorkel and mask they provide and swim around looking at the beautiful coral and the brightly colored fish.
They had a warm-water lagoon:
There was lots of places to get food and drink.
But their claim to fame is their "Swim with the Dolphins". This was a fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.
First the trainer showed us how to make the dolphin do all kinds of tricks. Our dolphin's name was CJ. He was very friendly.
He let us pat him ..... and even kiss him.
And finally, we each got a chance to ride him from the deep water back to shore.
That concluded my time down in Florida. It was a whirlwind experience I'll never forget.
I noticed the beautiful green landscape as we left Florida:
And the colorful foliage of New England when we landed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


We started off our day visiting the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Orlando. They gave us a nice buffet - although not as nice as the one at our hotel. The highlight of this breakfast was Krispy Kreme donuts made into french toast. Decadent! We got over to Seaworld and the first thing we saw was their new "Manta" roller coaster. It's a big, huge, scary-ass coaster that I was too scared to go on! They take you and strap you in tight, then lean you forward so you are face-down! Then they swing you around and around and upside down - supposedly mimicking the movements of a manta ray.
Luckily, they built an aquarium exhibit right under the ride, specifically for people like me. I spent the time gazing upward at the mantas floating around over our heads.
We went and saw the Dolphin show, which was outstanding! Besides the dolphins, they had people do acrobatics in the air and diving off a high dive.
Then we went to the Shark Encounter. This was an aquarium tunnel that you went into and stood on the conveyer belt. The tunnel brought you through the aquarium where you could see the sharks from every angle.
It was time for our "special treat". Our guide Kate had said it was a surprise that involved something black and white. I was sure hoping it was penguins, and it was! We each got to pat the penguin and see them up close and personal.
This little guy wanted to be my friend. He was fascinated by my camera strap that was dangling above him. As I wiggled it, his little head wiggled back and forth. I wanted to put him in my backpack and take him home!
Of course we went to the Shamu show. We got to see a newborn whale with her mommy before the show began.
Finally, at night we went to a luau. It was amazing! The dancers were perfectly synchronized and very, very energetic!
This guy was hilarious. He asked us to take pictures of him and posed for us.
After this exciting and exhausting day, there wasn't much discussion about going to the pool at the hotel. We were all so pooped we went to our rooms and crashed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Busch Gardens

After an unbelievable buffet breakfast at our hotel, we ventured out to our first destination, Busch Gardens. This park is "Busch Gardens Africa", so there were plenty of African animals there, including a beautiful Gorilla and her baby. One of the more exciting parts of our day was a ride on the back of a truck onto the "Serengeti Safari". We saw some giraffes up close and personal! This one's name is "Binti" and she just loved the lettuce we brought for her to eat.
We saw Elk, Rhinos, Zebras, Ostriches and a lovely two-week old baby rhino who ran across the plain with the gawkiness of a toddler while his weary mom chased after him.
Inside the park were some gorgeous white Bengal Tigers, as well as regular tigers and lions.
We were told this rhino is the "stud" of the pack......isn't he handsome?
There were all kinds of shows and attractions in the park as well. This big creature and I had matching outfits.
This crazy ride is called SheikRa. I didn't go on it (I'm not crazy) but a few who did came back white-faced. They start you going over the first plunge but stop and leave you hanging there for about 5 seconds.
I did go on the Congo River Rapids ride. I knew I'd get wet, and when the ride was almost finished I was just somewhat wet.....until the final soaking that was so strong it spun the raft around - the better to soak everyone!
In addition to our free entry to the park, we were given food vouchers for our lunch, and $20 worth of "Busch dollars" to spend anyway we wanted in the park.
We finished off the day with a presentation of all the Seaworld Parks, along with a delicious buffet supper, topped off with chocolate cake for dessert.
We did go back to the hotel and swim in the gorgeous pool.......something we would not have the strength for in the ensuing nights!

Back from my Fam

Back from my Fam trip to Florida and I am just exhausted! They sure do keep you hopping! Yes, it was a "working" trip.....with lots of fun and enjoyment mixed in. The idea of a Fam is to get you familiar with a certain area or certain places so you can bring that knowledge back to your customers. They sure did bring us on tours everywhere to make sure we became familiar with everything. I am breaking down my posts into several days, since we saw and did so much, and I took over 500 pictures, which are quite difficult to upload all in one shot! When we arrived on Wednesday, we went to the hotel that was hosting us; The Orlando World Marriott Resort. And it was gorgeous! When we checked in, they gave us a "goodie bag" filled with all kinds of things, including some stuffed Shamu whales and some little Elmo dolls. Perfect for the grandbabies. The Lobby: Being a resort, it had all the 18 hole golf course and a huge and gorgeous pool area: (this was the view from the balcony in my room on the 21st floor)
The pool even had a water slide:
My traveling companion Tasha and I on our tour of the hotel. We toured 5 different Marriott hotels, two of which were side by side!
After checking in, I had a little time so I headed straight for the pool. The water was bathtub warm. We re-grouped and our escorts took us to an art museum for a reception, then out to eat at a restaurant called Circa.
After coming back, we headed back to the pool. We swam the first couple of nights, but after that, we were too exhausted at night and headed straight to bed!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Florida Bound

Tomorrow I leave for my Fam trip to Florida. For someone who now works in the travel industry, and who travels a lot with Hubby, I haven't really been very far. I live in Southern New Hampshire. I've been as far north as Montreal and I've been as far west as Cincinnati. Both of these were driving trips. I've driven as far south as Washington, DC. The only airplane flight I've taken is to Myrtle Beach, and I was 42 years old when I took it. This will be my first time to Florida. The last plane trip I took was after 9/11, but I still don't remember all the rules and regulations for packing my suitcase, and checking through security. I've had to ask the ladies at work what's okay for me to pack, what can go in my carry-on and what has to be in my checked bag. It's a little embarrassing. Also, I bought a large suitcase, and I've already gotten comments from a couple of people about how big it is, considering I'm only going for four days. I think they may be right. I guess I'll find out when I start packing later on. All these details aside, I'm wildly excited about going. It's going to be a "working" trip. We'll be touring four different Marriott hotel sites, as well as Seaworld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica. But there are plans for a Luau (wow..had to look that one do you find out how to spell something when you don't know how to spell it?), a Serengeti Tour, and some free time at each park. I intend to suck up every drop of fun while I'm "working".

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making Strides Walkathon

Today was the Making Strides Walkathon for Breast Cancer. I was ambivalent about going. The first time we went, we did it in support of my Mom who was a breast cancer survivor. This time we were doing it in her memory.
My sister made us some visors to wear:
The whole team we belonged to was Curves of Hampstead. I was told the group raised about $7,ooo.
Our team in memory of my Mom;
In the back, left to right is me, Hubby, my daughter Jamie and my sister's friend Cathy. In front is my Dad, my niece Jessica, my sister Chris, and my niece Sammi. Dad came out to see us off, but did not walk.
We decided to forego the festivities and start walking early. The walk is a big loop, and somehow we went the opposite way of everyone else! Oops!
I hope my Mom up in heaven knew that she was in our thoughts all day today......we miss her and love her so much. Hugs, Mom.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Live Music Recording

Hubby was involved in a very exciting event this week. A friend of ours, GS Picard runs an event every Thursday night that she calls the Bull Run Thursday Night Soundstge Independent Music Showcase. She invites area musicians to come in and put on a night of entertainment. This week, our good friend Jane Fallon presented her show. And she chose to do it in a unique way. Last spring, while visiting her father out in Oregon, she decided to write Seven Songs in Seven Days. And she decided to present them during her showtime, and have them taped and made into a live CD. She invited many talented area musicians to join her in the show, and one of them was Hubby. He was asked to play keyboard on a couple of songs:
and to play "washboard" on another song:
The evening of entertainment was taped live, and will be made into a CD with the help of producer Jeff Root at his famous "Root Cellar" studio.
Below is Hubby, Jeff Root and Jane Fallon.
We had a fantastic time. The Bull Run has outstanding food, the place with packed with musician friends, and the music that came out of this night was fabulous.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Am I Insane?

Let me start of by saying that Hubby is multi-talented. He's an accomplished musician and artist. All self-taught. It's in his blood. I, however, am not. I really have no musical talent whatsoever. I have no rhythm, and I can sing only passably. Since I met Hubby 8 years ago, he's slowly talked me into performing at open mics with him. These open mics are very non-judgemental. The great singers and the not-so-great singers are all met with equal approval and applause. But now we're going one step further. We are going to perform a children's Halloween show at our local library. In front of people. People we know. Hubby and his friend Bill used to do library shows. They wrote and performed a bunch of original songs. And they had a great time. Apparently, so did the kids. I taught preschool for many years, and always loved telling stories. I've always wanted to be a professional story-teller. So we are going to combine our "talents" and present a night of songs and stories for Halloween. Am I insane? Yes, yes.....I think I am.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day Off

So nice to have a real weekend with more than 1 and a half days off! And something like Columbus Day, where there's no expectations of buying presents or visiting family or making a meal. I did a little housework this morning. Pretty nice to do it at a sedate pace without squeezing it in between work and making supper. Then I went to lunch with my daughter. We both just relaxed and took our time. We talk, talk talked until 3:30 in the afternoon. And then I still had time to go out and do errands. The good thing was I didn't have to get out of bed and rush to the grocery store in the morning before work. The bad thing was, I was at the grocery store at 4 o'clock in the afternoon with everyone else in the world. And now........I even have time to bake a nice apple crisp! And it's still light out!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Noah's Birthday

We went to our grandson Noah's second birthday party last weekend. Unbelievable that he could be two already! His Nana showing him his new tricycle: His Grampy (my Hubby) made him a boxful of Wiggles toys.....with hand-drawn Wiggles on the front of the box:
Uncle Kenny working hard to get a toy out of the box....with Noah "helping":
Mom and Dad made him a "Truck" birthday cake. Almost every gift Noah received had wheels on it, which was fine with Noah!
He's such a beautiful two-year old!