Sunday, April 29, 2018

Disney Here we come!!!! Day 1: Disney 2018

April 20th 2018
Leaving NY state to Ocala Fl

We left at 4am from NY. I had survived the 19 and all that the day had delivered me. 3 segments of HARP education and 1 role play. My very last Syracuse University course. (for now) and a very restless (only because I was excited) night of sleep....and we were ready! Mark dropped me off at Stefanie's house and we threw in the luggage and off we went. The day was still dark...and cold....and we had a LONG drive ahead of us....18 plus hours according to Suri....LONGER was the actual time.
4am and READY!!!!

First stop was the PA state line...
Only about 1.5 hours south of home. We were still excited and feeling like we were making great time to the warmer weather. Pennsylvania is ALWAYS the longest state, and generally the state with the MOST stop and go traffic. Somehow we made it quickly and we were onto the next state line. Next was Maryland.....No welcome center was found. But we had some dunkin. We had A-LOT of Dunkin on the way down. Every state we stopped we had some coffee.
After Maryland was West Virginia.....Getting a little restless by now...but still stoked. Stopped and had some lunch, where I nearly killed us all with EXPIRED Mayo. When I packed sandwich stuff, I grabbed a bottle of squeeze mayo out of the cabinet. Guess I was outdated, but had not reviewed the date until we had doused out lunch with it. Expired in December of 2017..ahhh not so good I'd say. Of course the girls had a laugh at me and thank goodness none of us became ill.

Virginia is for lovers...we are nearly 1/2 way to Florida....

The Virginia welcome center had tons of places to get pics.

 And even a triceratops to sit on.

I caught a selfie with the Rocky Mountain backdrop. BEAUTIFUL.....(Some other trip perhaps.)
And..... then we made it to North Carolina
We spotted these "Cousin It's" all along the side of the road....What are they????

then to South Carolina and we made a stop at South of the Border.....
Hello Pedro!!!!!

 It is always fun to stop at SOB for some cheep souvenirs and some silly pictures.
We simply had to get the Sombrero's pic.

After South Carolina, we were starting to fade.....Georgia was some time ahead....and we still had about 6 hours to Ocala where we would meet up with Caitlyn. We were all feeling a little pooped.
We started discussing finding a hotel for the night. We'll I found one just about 30 minutes outside of Georgia in the town of Walterboro NC. It was a Ramada Inn. Lets just say you get what you pay for. This place was YUCKY. "Bates Motel maybe????" Thank God it was only for one night, and all we were doing was sleeping. STAY AWAY FROM THE Ramada Inn in Walterboro NC. Eweee!!!!
So far, I have attempted to poison my traveling companions with expired Mayo and now I am booking us at the Bates Motel. Will we make it to Florida alive?

It was an early morning stop well before the Welcome center was opened when we hit Georgia.
and Zip a dee do da....we were in the Sunny State of Florida. We made it!!!!

Free OJ at the Welcome center and a pose with an Astronaut.

We finally made it. It was a long long long drive but we are here!!!!!!! Just about three more hours and we will be at Caitlin's for some visiting. See next post for Ocala Florida. TTFN

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Count down to Disney.....and is there a new continent trip in my future?

Central NY
April 13-20th

     On Friday, my co-workers were chanting "6 more days." Yes it is only 6 more days until Stefanie, Aimee and I make our way South towards Orlando and a week of Sunshine and Disney fun. As they were chanting....I was only thinking about the massive work ahead of me. Oh dear.... my school paper  is due the week we will be gone, and I do not want to do it on the road.
This means the weekend will be stuck with my face in the computer and my fingers tapping away at the keys. I MUST get it done before I leave and preferably before the weekend is up.
I dedicated both Saturday and Sunday to working on this last paper with complete success. I still have some kinks and some proof reading, as well as adding my addendum but I will be ready to send this baby in no later then my last class this Thursday. Then I can be done for the semester and on to my next big educational adventure. (What that is? It is not clear yet.)

This week will be difficult....the days before a vacation always seem to be don't they. We have a few things planned to roll out and I have to present to the staff at some point on Thursday. I have also apparently signed up to present at my son's school on Thursday as well. Lets not forget that Thursday is my last class too. I leave for Florida Friday morning at 4am. Yep...the week is looking better every minute. Thursday will be HELL!!!!!

On the other side of Hell is heaven and it looks like my mother has made some future plans for the two of us that sounds very heavenly. My mother turns 70 this year...I turn 50 next year. So it was discussed that a trip should be arranged. My mother stated she wants to go to Australia and New Zealand. Nice.....yes very. but like most grand plans, I thought this is just travel talk. Especially when I remarked about needing Xanax for the 22 hour long flight...... Well the talking has gone steps further and my mother has began plans. YES plans. She has apparently found some all inclusive 22 day adventure spanning over both the best of Australia and New Zealand including snorkeling at the great barrier reef. WOW.....This being said. I have some serious planning and saving, and thinking to do. SO WE SHALL See...

I made it through Monday...Tuesday was better, we celebrated Barb's Birthday early as some of us would be in Florida or the Care Managers Conference on her actual Birthday. (I am missing my very first Care Manager Conference this year) Renee is rooming with Stacey(my forever roommate) and both have been teasing me that I am not going and will not be rooming with Stacey. Next year.....I get her back!!!!
(Here's a picture of the two of them...they had stolen my phone for the shot!)
At dinner I got a seat next to Stacey.........

We celebrated Barbs Birthday at Delmonico's. I had never been there before, it was charming and the food was good.

 Happy Birthday Barb!!!!!

They even took a picture of all of us.....

We had a good time. I am so loving this tradition we have created with one another. Celebrating Birthdays......

I spent some time this week packing and re-packing. The truth summer clothing just do not fit the same as last year. Proof positive I NEED to get on that better eating thing quick. Mark and I had made a gallant effort to get to the gym each morning, but as happened to many times before, we have gotten lazy and missed several days. I have decided to focus on getting through this week (my paper and new job) and my vacation and PUMPING it up when I get back home. 
I spent over $75- on snacks for our road trip and I'll be damned if I am going to let those goodies go to waste. 
It has NOT felt like spring or warmer weather here. We actually had BIG chunks of snow falling yesterday and some schools were delayed on Monday. Its MID April for goodness sake. Mark had gotten the summer clothing out, and started a winter bin. I reported I still needed my winter coat, I was NOT wrong. 

I had a difficult time getting my paperback from my course and as I am leaving for Florida and missing my last class, I reported to my professor that I would need to have the paper to complete my next assignment. It took awhile and I had since finished my Paper. (Yippee) Due to the delay in returning my paper, she offered me an extension. I can hand it in before May 7th. I am a little Apprehensive..... Do I turn it in as is???? Or take the extension and submit it after I return from vacation? I soooo have this decision. On one hand, I will have an extra two weeks to iron out any snags, but on the other hand...I WANT TO GET THIS DONE AND OVER WITH!!!!
I still haven't decided. I have until Thursday at 1 pm to commit.  
For now.....I plan to address any bumps in my current paper so its ready to go.....I've got some things to address with my job this week before I leave too. I really just want everything to be done and set so I do not have to think about it while I am enjoying Micky Mouse....
Countdown it NOW.....just two more days and I will be on my way to VACATION!!!!!! BUT CAN I MAKE it through today and tomorrow? 
My next post will be post Florida.......until then. TTFN!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Another Weekend at the Lodge, April in Paris dinner and Dancing with the Stars; MVP.

April 7-8th 2018
Verona, NY

Mark and I have totally taken advantage of the Prestige Card holder Mark has become. (This is an honor only awarded to BIG casino players, and could be seen as PROBLEMATIC...maybe.)
At any rate....we have been enjoying the benefits over the last several weeks, and took another weekend to ENJOY the rewards. This time, we had a few changes in our plans.
We still stayed at the Lodge. Which is AMAZING!!!! I got another massage at Skana,also AMAZING we enjoyed the pool and hot tub, of course we did some gambling...but we also enjoyed a show and had a dinner from Mark's hostess (Natalie) themed April in Paris.

The views from our balcony of the hotel room. We were on the 4th floor doors down from the Presidential suite. (Maybe we would see one of the performers of tonight's shows.)
Still a little cold her in Central NY,,,,,is spring ever going to arrive?

After my massage and spa time, I met up with Mark and we had a late lunch. We skipped the buffet and had burgers and fries....with chocolate milk shakes. YUMMY

Some more gambling and a nap.(yes I needed one.)

Before long it was time for dinner.
April in Paris.....

 Dinner was scrumptious.....
 Good music...

and of course pictures set next to the Eiffel Tower.

I had gotten my new camera on Friday, still working the how to get the kinks out of using it. Somehow I had put the setting on auto and ended up with several pictures in one click. This went on the whole evening, by the time we got home on Sunday and I review the pictures I had taken over 650 shots. Several were of the exact same thing over and over. (I have since re-set the setting and can take one shot at a time.) These pictures were taken by the events photographer. She was probably thinking...what is wrong with this camera? Sadly the lighting is low and I wish the picture came out better. Should have just had her use my phone.I'm still trying to decide which one gives the best shot, for now I guess I will have three choices. My Cannon big boy, my Cannon little shot (I nicknamed him Freddy) or the camera in my phone. Oh well. Still nice.  

Mark had picked up the tickets while I napped and we went straight from dinner to the 8pm show.
I hadn't even been all that excited about the show.....BUT WOW WOW WOW!!!!
If you have ever watched Dancing with the Stars, then you may recognize the three hosts of this show. I have not been a follower of Dancing with the Stars so I was not sure who was whom, but apparently these guys and one gal are pretty popular.

Maks, Val and Peta. (Here is the link to the PROMO clip.)

We had great seats for the show....
As the show started out, I simply used my phone. The pictures looked great in my little viewing box, but now after looking over the ones from the actual camera, I am totally glad I have not decided to simply rely on my phone for pictures moving forwards. Sure its handy, and there are not 1000 settings and buttons to use, but I certainly do not like the pictures as much. Bet you can tell which are which.....

The show had a story line, so it was not just random dancing. It was Confidential after all, so the trio shared their personal stories. 

Mark reminded me of our own "dancing with the stars" moment. Well not really...there were no stars, just several left feet. He and I took a ballroom dance class several years back. NOPE....not even close to the dancing we were witnessing right here. Thank you Mark for at least humoring me and taking the class. I'm not Peta and your no Maks....But we can pretend right?

They did a little number with baby strollers. (Peta and Maks have a 1yr old son.)

Peta  told her story of ballet and reconstructive surgery of her ankle as well as her fear of never returning to dance. She instead found she had no pain in her foot when she wore the heals needed for the tango, ballroom dance became were calling. 

She won competitions and traveled around the world participating in a show called. Burn the Floor. (Which Mark and I saw on our last Cruise.) She met Maks......

...and fell in love.
Val had a different story to tell. He did not verbalize it, but he showed it through the dance. There was conflict in what he wanted to do. Music, dance, writing.....(Perhaps he still does all.)

They all thanked there following and success. (below) Peta pokes fun at an audience member who has yelled out several times his profound love for her,,,,Maks makes a joke about how he is standing right there!
They do a bachelor and bachelorette PARTY...and it gets wild.

They found an audience member to come up and enjoy....

Then the wedding.....

Happily ever after.....

Apparently Maks sings too...(He needs to stick with dancing,)

A series from my 650 shots...I think they look awesome, but I needed to have some control of what I was taking a picture of. While watching the show I simply just let the camera take the shots. It was taking like 10-15 shots at a time depending on how hard I pressed the button. In this series it looks pretty cool.

Then they say the goodbyes and thank you's.....

They invited us all up to dance with them. This was when using my phone would have been the best shots....but my phone decided to inconveniently UPDATE....WTH!!! So taking quick shots up close with my camera on over dive shot did not turn out as well as I would have liked.
Anyways...the SHOW WAS INCREDIBLE!!! I was impressed and what a wonderful day. We ended it back in our amazing room at the lodge with a dream catcher at the end of our turned down bed. Awe....sleep was welcomed.
On Sunday morning I made it up in time to use the facility gym....
 And after I had the pool and whirlpool all to myself....(views from my lounge chair.)

Another wonderful back to reality. Two more classes, a paper to write, some work to do.....a house to clean,,, some more work...some packing....some camera perfecting  and my next adventure awaits..... A girls ROAD TRIP to Orlando Florida to visit Micky Mouse!!!!!! I can't wait!!!! TTFN!