...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's A Small World!

It's time for another Disney World review.  Still in the Magic Kingdom and in Fantasy Land:  It's A Small World!  

As a person, who experienced this ride in the 70's as a child with my dad, who LOVED the music, this is a must do.  Yes, the song will stick in your head for the rest of the day, yes, it is a babyish ride, and yes, there is NO excitement or thrill at all.  It is colorful, cool (as in temperature), relatively easy to get on to, and sweet.  Sometimes a person has to give in to a good memory.  
My son and husband would rather eat tar and sit on tacks than to do this ride.  But I don't mind going it alone.  My daughter kindly went on it with me this trip and we enjoyed trying to out do each other with taking the best photos.  Fortunately for the rest of our boat mates we were in the back seat and we didn't use our flash.   
~Your Disney World Connoisseur, Hootie

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shock at the Disappearing Icons!

I am in shock thinking that Michael Jackson AND Farrah Fawcett are both gone.  

Say what you may about Farrah, I loved her!  She was so beautiful.  When she was on Charlies Angels I wanted to be her character.  I had the Farrah hair do.  Shoot, I still have feathered hair because of her!  What a horrible end of life she had.  Does anyone really need to go through what cancer has to offer?  I think not.  I am glad she is at peace and I hope her suffering has raised awareness to the fact that so much more needs to be done to find a cause for all the different kinds of cancer there are in the world.  

And darn that Michael Jackson!  Why couldn't he die on this own day!  I don't want people to forget Farrah.  

I was born in that same Gary, Indiana hospital as MJ.  I grew up in that area and can recall hearing him on the car radio singing Rockin' Robin and ABC.  He was only five years older than me.  In the 80's I knew all the words to the entire Thriller album!  I had a cassette and wore it out!  And dancing...well, who didn't dance when they heard Michael's music?  Seriously, he totally inspired everyone to get on their feet.  I cannot believe he is gone.  

Whatever happened in his personal life, happened.  I am fascinated by the stories.  But I am so sorry for the loss.  I hope he is at peace too.  At least his death will stop the stories from continuing.  How sad for his family.  Maybe he's hosting a party for Farrah today.  Wouldn't that be fun?  I'm envious thinking that my parents are probably there!  

R.I.P. Farrah and Michael!    

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Phil's Brother!

Well, that didn't take long!  

Phil either has a brother, a sister or a spouse.  

I looked out into the backyard today and this is what I saw.  Again, we just need to work on co-existing.  I don't mind the burrow at the end of the yard.  We kindly call that the summer cottage.  It's the winter residence that needs to be vacated - up under our porch.  

On another animal matter, while weeding yesterday I was stung by a bee.   I found out the hard way that there was a nest of ground bees in my front flower bed.  One little guy stung me through my glove.  It was so painful!  I can't imagine if I didn't have my glove on how it would have been.  This morning when I got up I found that something, and I assume it was the skunk, eliminated my bee problem.  That is one of the perks of co-existing.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Goodbye, Phil!

Phil received a ride down to the other side of Lake Monroe, about 8 miles away, over the causeway, from my FIL yesterday afternoon.  

Phil decided to move from our yard to the one next door, under my FIL's shed.  

With Hav-a-hart baited: carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli, it didn't take long to lure a hungry groundhog.  

Now the bigger question gets answered, do we have more than one groundhog?  Time will tell.  :)  You are a cutie-pie Phil.  I hope you enjoy your new home!  

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The NOT so Fatherless Father's Day

This is NOT my father.  
This is my FIL!  He's a pretty good fill-in, no pun intended.  

My own father passed away 24 years ago.  I met my in-laws a few months before that.  My FIL never had the opportunity to meet my dad.  I am sad for that.  They would have really liked one another.  I've never told my FIL that he's my dad fill-in, but I think he knows it!  Yesterday Dad, and I do call him Dad, and I went on a local garden walk.  I've got a few pictures to share from that, but since it's Father's Day, I wanted to just share this today.  This garden walk is an annual event and my MIL is very involved in it.  Almost always I get to go alone with my FIL on this.  :)  What a lucky gal I am!  
As my gift to my FIL for Father's Day this year, I made him these two coffee cakes below.  I was trying to copy a recipe that his mom used to make.  It's called Kuchen (pronounced: Coo-Kin) and it's a German coffee cake.  The recipe I used made enough for two coffee cakes so I made one Cinnamon and one Peach.  I am sorry I was never able to taste my GMIL's kuchen.  The whole family raved about it when she turned 90 years old.  Once my hubby returns from his travels I will make this again and get his opinion on the kuchen recipe.  He'll be honest and help me fine tune the taste.

  My in-laws and I shared coffee and these treats yesterday morning.   
It's kind of sad not having one's own dad to celebrate this day with, especially if you were close.  But, it's nice to be able to share special times with other important dads too!  

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cooling Off Chickies!

 Tonight we  are two chickies cooling off.  Thank goodness for less humidity! 

Our repairman found the problem.  It was due to Phil.  Phil is the groundhog who has a burrow under our back deck.  Apparently in his home building, he hit our control cable for the air conditioner.  Just a little hazard of owning an older home.  Old homes sometimes have wires more exposed than newer homes.  So is the case here.  Fortunately for Phil he didn't hit the 240 volt power cable.  Unfortunately for Phil, he, or she, will need to find a new home.  The new wire is out of Phil's reach, I think.  Still, the problem of a new home for the wildlife who co-exists with us must be addressed.   

I am glad the rest of my family comes home tomorrow.  We will work on this little housing problem this week.  

Until then, last girls night without the boys.  We are cooling off watching Chocolat.  Thank goodness for the A/C!  

Thank You Edison, Tesla, Wheeler and Mark!

According to Wikipedia:  "When Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla introduced electrical power in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for the public, the personal electrical fan was introduced. Between 1882 and 1886, Dr. Schuyler Skaats Wheeler developed the two-bladed desk fan, a type of personal electric fan. It was commercially marketed by the American firm Crocker & Curtis electric motor company." 

Yesterday I thought I was having a hot flash.  There was a heat advisory in place.  Still, my house felt pretty hot inside and I really thought it was just me.  

I went out for the afternoon and when I came back I suspected it was not me but really my A/C which had the hot flash.  

Thank goodness for my old box fans who usually just sit tucked away in my attic.  Thank goodness for the men who created them in the first place.  And thank goodness for repairmen who come to the rescue.  

At least I hope my rescue is coming.  

Stay turned for my next post, either "Melting Mama" or "Cooling Off, Chickie".  :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sprinkled with Pixie Dust!

I am about ready in my Disney Tips to "Park Hop" with my reviews.  I do enjoy the Magic Kingdom, but my mood and memories wander from park to park.  

Being in any of the parks during the day light hours is fun.  Though something magical happens as the sun sets.  I wouldn't be surprised if the team at Disney hasn't figured out a way to create pixie dust and then spread it via dusk rays.  
Cinderella's castle by day light.  

There are so many great Kodak photo spots (my brother and I share special memories of these!) around the Magic Kingdom and all the parks. 
 Don't forget to put yourself in these pictures!
NOTE:  Sorry about the underline.  It's unintentional.  
Cinderella's castle by night.  
The lights shining on the castle change color every 15 seconds or so.  It's captivating to watch!  Of course I tried to capture a photo of the castle in every color.  
Here is the castle with an evening view of the restaurant,
 Cinderella's Royal Table.

Dining in the castle is probably worth the $60.00 a person.  It's a character meal, which means while you eat you'd meet and get autographs from Cinderella, Belle, Snow White and Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty).  It's a Gothic/medieval atmosphere and there are complimentary photos with this price.  My kids are beyond this dining experience.  And with a soon to be 17 year old son, I wouldn't mind it if he started looking for a REAL princess!  I'm sure he'd tell me to mind my own business.  

But, a truly beautiful thing to see is under the castle.  Not below ground, just through it.  During the day these mosaic wall pictures are impossible to fully capture.  On my last trip I mentioned that we took full advantage of the Extra Magic Hours.  At 2 in the morning I made a point of walking through Cinderella's Castle as we headed back to our resort.  I was alone, something extremely rare at Disney World, as I walked here and I was able to pause and set my shots.  

Click on the pictures to see the detail, but better yet go see these master pieces in person!  

~Your Disney World Connoisseur, Hootie 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Fun! Just the Girls!

My husband and son are away on an adventure of their own so this week it's just been my daughter and myself.  What a treat!  

On Sunday night we decided to head to a nearby drive-in movie theatre.  
Although it may look like I am sitting on the ground, I am actually in the back of our van.  Before we left home, we put down the seats and rolled our our sleeping bags and packed our pillows.  
We arrived early to get a decent spot and brought some craft projects to work on while we waited.  
As the darkness approached, so did a little rain.  It was just a few sprinkles and no one seemed bothered.  
First we saw UP and then Night at the Museum II.  We arrived back home near 2 a.m.  Thank goodness we could sleep in!   If we head back to this theatre again, I'll take our own popcorn.  :) 

My reviews of the Movies?  I loved UP.  Two thumbs way up.  For NatMII, I am glad we didn't go to only see it.  It wasn't as funny as the first one, still I liked it and I am glad I saw it.  It's always decadent to see a double feature!  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Winner, Winner, Winner!

Wow!  A few weeks ago I had a lucky streak!  Being stuck on the couch after surgery, I was bored out of my mind, but had my laptop at hand.  I was browsing the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog and the other blogs I read and found out about a TON of giveaways going on.  I found a bunch of new blogs to my list of favorites.  That alone was a big win for me!  

I was lucky enough to win two of those giveaways and one that another friend was hosting!  

Here's my booty! 

From: Robyn at robayre
Some of the COOLEST handmade/recycled paper envelopes.  The first person I plan on writing to is my husband's Aunt in South Carolina.  She's not one with the computer age.  I hope you can click on my pictures to see up close all these wonderful treats!  Regardless, I hope you'll go check out these ladies blogs and Robyn's Etsy shops  
From:  Kendra at The Bead Goes On...
Is this awesome or what?  I know just the person I'm going to use the cupcakes tag  on when her birthday is here in a few months!  Cute, cute, cute!!!!!
And closer to home...From Steph at Steph's Cup of Tea
Steph is one of the most knowledgeable people I know in the world of tea.  As part of her giveaway she has offered me a tea tasting for four!  I am going to share this experience with my daughter and we both have plans to invite a friend.  The tough part will be whom to invite?  Steph included a handmade book mark with her treats.  You can see it has all ready found a home in my current read.  I thought the stamp Steph used on her goodie bag was appropriate too!  
If you check out my profile, you'll see that one of my favorite books is called Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.  Above is the second book I have found which is not by the long deceased author but about her characters.  I'm only 20 or so pages into the book so I'll report later on my thoughts about this.  

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not Minnie Mouse!

I didn't even think of her when I ordered these last month from L.L. Bean.  

These are my new clog gardening shoes.  I LOVE them!  One disadvantage of having children who are growing up is that at some point their feet may be the same size as yours.  I have to keep reminding my daughter that these are MINE!  :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Monorail or Boat?

So you finally arrive at Disney World and you aren't staying on site.  That means you have parked you car at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).  You now need to decide: Monorail or Boat?  You can't just park your car and walk to the Magic Kingdom.  Both the boat or the monorail are equally as fast in getting to the park, but here is my suggestion.

Take the MONORAIL!  But don't just be like cattle and herd up to the train...make your way to the very front and ASK an attendant if you can ride in the very front!  Sometimes you might have to wait for a train or two to pass, but four people can ride up front in the nose with the driver.  The driver will also give little ones their own "Monorail driver's license."  It's a great photo op and you'll feel very special riding up here.  

Save the boat ride for the late evening.  It's refreshing to be outside riding on a boat before you have to get back into your car.  It's also calming and less confining then the monorail...and they won't let people ride up front in the monorail at super busy times - like at closing!  
 Your Disney Connoisseur, Hootie!  :) 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Anything Boys Can Do!

Dark and early this morning...4:40a.m....I drove my husband and son to the airport.  They are heading out to Montana for a father/son canoe trip.  They will be meeting up with 16 other friends; all dads and sons.  The organizer of this event has three boys and this is his third time to do this trip.  His youngest is four years old and this is really because of him.  This is HIS first big adventure.  Everyone else is just lucky enough to be allowed to tag along!  

When the initial invitation to go on this trip came to my husband our daughter was very put out. She is an adventurous soul.  She'd LOVE an opportunity to show all the boys that girls can do anything boys can do.  In her attempt to make her point she had my husband help her set up our tent the other night.  She invited three friends over to camp out in the backyard.   
The girls arrived at about 4 p.m.  Two of the three teens were in my old Brownie Girl Scout troop with my daughter.  I took them camping on several occasions, so I know they can handle a little over night in a tent in our backyard.  

The girls went out to the tent at 10:15 p.m.  Our backyard is a bit like a park.  There are deep woods right off the back.  If you read my blog then you are familiar with the variety of wildlife we have strolling by on a regular basis.  My daughter's goal was to try to get as far away from the house as possible.  To make a long story short, a neighbors dog jingled by with his tags piquing nervous ears.  Then, the same dog must have found our resident skunk.  At 11 p.m. my cell phone rang and I was asked to turn on the backyard lights.  The chickens wanted to come inside!  My daughter assured me she wasn't scared.  I do believe her.  She's a tough cookie and has a great sense of adventure about her.  

The tent pictured above was the next morning.  You can't really tell, but it was pouring rain.  The girls were inside our house sleeping in the basement.  Good thing for them because later in the day my daughter and I found a huge puddle inside the tent.  Not sure what's up with that. 
Last night my daughter tried another camp out with a different friend.  When I got up to take my boys to the airport I didn't find the girls in the house!  Arriving home this morning before 7 I did find that the girls had company out back!  

The picture is horrible.  My boys have my camera for the next week and I couldn't find my daughter's camera.  I had to use my cell phone and take this picture through my living room window.  Still, I can't wait to show my daughter this morning when she wakes up!  

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Pampered Pets!  
Lily and Jack; aka Lily-Olay or Lilsbury and Capt. Jack
Lily and Jack are 7 years old, 
but Jack has about 6 months over Lily.  
Both were animal shelter adoptees.  Lily (black and white) was a kitten and 
Jack (orange and white) came into our lives when he was 2 1/2.  
Jack was originally named "Spicy,"  no offense, but YUCK!  
He likes the name Jack much more than Spicy.  
Jack was named after my favorite movie character: Capt. Jack Sparrow.  
Incidentally, Did you know...Johnny Depp's children 
happened to be named Lily and Jack!  
What a funny coincidence.  
Our babies are indoor cats, usually.  When I am out in my flower beds working, they will sit in the windows and meow like crazy.  I am a big softy and most of the time will let them out with me.  Jack is a big scaredy cat - afraid of his own shadow, and he usually hangs really close to me.  Lily on the other hand would take on any animal.  Even one 10 times her own size.  She knows no fear and needs to be watched because she is curious and will wander.    She's also diabetic!  
Being felines, they do have natural instincts.  
They are always on the prowl for something to catch.  Lily has been watched chasing butterflies, but can easily catch voles.  Impressive skills for an indoor, de-clawed cat! Jack still has his claws.  That's another story though. 

I do not know Jack's history.  I think he may have originally been an outdoor cat.  He quickly adapted to the indoor pampering he gets.  But last week he brought me a treat while I was out gardening!  He is a gentle giant.  He proudly came to show me the chipmunk he caught.  What a mouthful!  I did dote on him with a serious amount of praise.  After a good five minutes he decided to set his treasure down and reposition it in his mouth.  Unfortunately it was just playing dead and quickly took the loose opportunity to leap to safety.  Poor Jacky, lost his toy!  

I don't mean to sound heartless.  I do think all animals, 
who live around the Burrow, are cute and serve a purpose.  
But, since my cats are cats, they are just doing what comes naturally.  
A few nights ago, I went down into my basement and found Jack and Lily playing tag team with this little cutie-pie mouse.  It too was trying it's hardest to "play dead" and get away when it could.  Having two hunters on it's tail, its odds did not look good.  

After I scooped it up in this glass, I took it out to the flower bed farthest from my house.  I think I heard it breathing a sigh of relief!  :)

I am glad my hunters are looking out for me inside my house.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Evenings at the Magic Kingdom

Definitely one should plan on seeing the nighttime parade in the Magic Kingdom.  My suggestion is to pick your spot early.  This March was the first year we did NOT plan to see the parade.  In the past, we would be ready for a break from all the walking of the day at about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before the parade would start.  Surveying the parade route I knew we wanted to be near Cinderella's Castle.  After the parade there are fireworks which are very Disney-ish; I love fireworks too!  (Disney-ish defined by me = perfect, over the top, little details attended to, the icing on the cake, etc.).  

When we wait for the parade, usually we camp out for a bit on the edge of the sidewalk.  One parent goes to get dinner for the rest of us, brings it back and then we eat in our spot.  Vendor's do come by, but only with snack foods and colorful trinkets.  

This year we were able to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours offered by Disney.  Extra Magic Hours are a few hours either before the park officially opens or closes that allow guests staying on site extra access.  On this particular day we used our Park Hopper Passes and started the day at Animal Kingdom, went to Epcot for our dinner reservations and then met up with some friends at the Magic Kingdom at about 9 pm.  Thank goodness for caffeine and teenagers who can run on little sleep when necessary.  Magic Kingdom normally closed this time of the year at 11 pm.  The Extra Magic Hours kept the park open until 2 am!  That morning we returned to our resort at about 3:15 am!  :)  

When we arrived at the Magic Kingdom the parade had just started.  I tried to capture a bit of the color and sounds with my camera.  The first two pictures are good examples of just how dark the parade route can get.  Each float can change from white lights only to bursting with loads of color!  
Look closely above.  Can you see Cinderella's pumpkin carriage outlined in white lights?  The blurry picture below was the best example I could snap of the color transformation.  

Each Disney film is highlighted by a float or two during the parade.  Below is a video with a tiny bit from The Little Mermaid, Night on Bald Mountain (from Fantasia) and looking down Main Street towards the castle.  Try to imagine being on Splash Mountain as I described in my last posting as you watch this video!  

~Your Disney World Connoisseur, Hootie

Monday, June 08, 2009

Laughing Places...

"Every body's got a laughing place, a laughing place to go-o-o.  Take a frown turn it upside down, and you'll find yours I know-o-o." 
~from, The Song of the South, 
circa 1946

There is so much I LOVE about Disney World!  Each park has too much for me to single out any one thing.  I am going to try to highlight the many things I like about Disney World and all of it's four parks over this summer.  

My most recent trip to Disney World in Florida:  March 2009. 
Number of times in my life that I have been to Disney World:  11, I think.  

Tonight I will highlight the roller coaster ride: Splash Mountain.  You are just about guaranteed to get wet (and likely soaking wet) on this ride.  

Random facts:  Well, I can't recall if Mary Poppins or The Song of the South was the first movie my parents let myself and a girlfriend go to alone in the early 70's, but I recall going to both and totally loving them.  Splash Mountain is based on the animated parts of the controversial film, The Song of the South.  Due to its racial content, this movie has never been re-released here in the United States.  It's such a shame that people can't separate history and unjusts from the past with the current day.*  I loved Uncle Remus and wished he was in my life to tell me stories.  Of course I loved Mary Poppins too.  I wished she would come and visit and take me to her magical carousel horses.  Or to her uncle's house so we could have tea up in the rafters.  A child's mind...I loved everyone and believed in magic.  

Best time to ride Splash Mountain:  at night!  Especially during SpectroMagic's Electric Parade.  While on this ride, just before you climb the last hill to the top of the five story drop, you float outdoors, all ready three stories high, and look out over the park.  You can see Cinderella's castle glowing, the twinkle lights in the trees matching the stars over head and hear the music being piped through the park.  You won't see all the water your "log" has kicked up coming your way in that final plunge and no one in the park will really be able to see just how wet your bottom is as you walk around the rest of the night!  

Of course I recommend seeing the parade too, but serious parade viewers will want to grab their spot at least two hours BEFORE the parade.  This making it difficult to see the parade and do Splash Mountain at the same time.  
*Please do not comment about current day unjusts.  I am not claiming we live in a perfect world.  Yes, we as a society have come a long way, but we do still have a long way to go.  

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Humming in my Yard

Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds
My grandma, who really knew a ton about birds, used to tell me when I was growing up that hummingbird feeders needed to be put out around Mother's Day.  It's a good general rule to follow...if you live in Northern Indiana.  

In Southern Indiana I can have my feeders out longer!  If the spring weather breaks by mid-April I can put out my feeders by the last week in April.  By Halloween I can take my feeders down for the season.  
I love the hum these little birds make as they buzz up to my feeders.  In the past several years I have become more aware of the behaviors of hummers.  The male, when courting a female, will make fly in arcs, like the smiles of a smiley face.  Each arc getting bigger and bigger.  

I have not found any hummingbird nests at my house, yet.  But I have seen excellent sites on the web from others.  Our local newspaper had a wonderful link last week:  Hummingbird Nest, where one can see, in great detail, a nest and babies from these tiny fliers.  

Once a week I take down my feeders, clean them in bleach water and refill them with my homemade syrup.  
Hummingbird Syrup Recipe  - 4 parts water to 1 part sugar.  
Stir to mix and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute, then allow to cool.  

Fill clean feeders and store extra syrup in the refrigerator.  Change syrup in feeders once a week or as soon as feeder becomes cloudy.  

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Vicarious Living!

One of my favorite places in the world:  Disney World.  

My brother has his family down at Disney World this week.  I am living vicariously through him right now.  He's been sending me an e-mail photo from his cell phone each day.  I love postcards, but I am totally digging the instant gratification of his e-mails.  

I love modern technology!  :)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I'm Thinkin' Pink, Too!

I am so glad for another Tuesday to be here!  I have been playing along with Steph who has been encouraging others to think about colors in their lives for the past several weeks.  Check out her blog for more details:  Steph's Cup of Tea.  This week's color is Petal Pink!  

I checked out Angela's posting this morning, and was inspired by her title.  It made me recall a song my daughter owns.  It came with a Barbie she received one year.  The song is on a cassette - my daughter is only 14 and she all ready owns ancient artifacts! - so I had to go to iTunes and purchase it for my video.  

Some notes to share about my video:  
*I married a guy who doesn't really like fru-fru stuff in the house.  Like blankets, sheets, towels, dishes, wall paper...you get the point.  Not a lot of personal stuff to share.
*I do have a son too, but he's almost 17, hates having his picture taken and I value my life!  He is trained in Tae Kwon Do.  :)  

* The tea cup is from a pattern I inherited a few years ago.  I have a service for 8, but still need to replace two broken cups, I am registered on Replacements.com.  Although my honey doesn't particularly like flowery plates, he gave in to my needing this set.  He must be mellowing after 22 years together!  
*The cake was made by Sweetcakes for a baby shower we had for a friend.  It was chocolate and raspberry and tasted as good as it looked!  
*The T-bird is from a car show from my adventures in Augusta, GA a few weeks ago.  
*Lots of Disney World photos, dances and parties included, and flowers from nearby.  

Let me know if you have any questions.  

Enjoy!  :)
photos mostly by me
music by: Beyond Pink and called, "Think Pink"