Euphoria or Exhaustion? They feel kinda the same…

My daughter called me from Clearwater, Florida yesterday morning to say that she was enjoying day one of married life, literally at the beach. 🙂 Mom, Aunt Anne and I went to Downtown Disney yesterday afternoon. I had a fantastic fresh caramel apple and then we went to see Tropic Thunder. OK, I habitually fall in love with Robert Downey Jr. every time I see him. Even though he plays a couple of different people in the film, his presence is so electrifying. Especially near the end when you see him with blond hair and Siberian Husky blue eyes. Not his normal look but wow, a good one. The movie was shocking, funny, action packed and worth a second viewing. I found myself laughing at parts of it hours later. After the movie we went to the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurant, a place called Jiko or The Cooking Place. I had corn chowder with Meyer lemon creme fraiche, vanilla Rooibos tea and BBQ chicken flat bread. The chowder was light and flavorful with a garnish of slightly dehydrated corn that was a little chewy. It gave it a nice texture in contrast to the smooth base of the soup. It was nicely spiced with plenty of black pepper and a little fresh fennel. Vanilla Rooibos is my favorite non-caffeinated tea. Yummy!

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is a lesser known resort on Disney property, yet it’s one of the most magical. They have night vision safaris for the hotel guests and the property abuts the animal sanctuary of Animal Kingdom so your room can overlook the “Serengeti Plain” portion of the park. You can wake to see antelopes grazing. It’s built on a grand scale, similar to the Wilderness Lodge in its scope and the vaulting of the ceiling in the lobby area. Truly a destination even if you aren’t staying on property.

This morning we checked out, dropped off the rental car and then my Aunt Anne drove us to the Venezuelan restaurant called Q’Kenan I found online for lunch. It was heavenly. I had cachapas with Guyanesa cheese. This is a cheese that is native to Venezuela, in fact it is illegal to export. Luckily the owner of the restaurant knows how to make and its produced locally. I never thought I’d taste it again. I also had a little bit of an arepa with carne mechada, a kind of corn cake sliced open on the side with spiced shredded beef. We had yucca frita and cafe con leche, a strong Venezuelan coffee with steamed milk. I even had a little bit of Frescolita, a strawberry soda. I took home some Venezuelan chocolate for another day. It’s just been a fabulous time.

I look forward to church tomorrow. I’ve missed my ministers. I’ve also missed my little Tucker dog who I will see tonight.


Quick Note

Hello from Orlando. I am now a mother-in law of a wonderful son-in-law and of course still mother to my beautiful daughter. The ceremony was joyful and the party was about 6 hours long. She wore three different intricate, breathtaking dresses that were hand sewn in Morocco. I will post pictures of them soon. Mom, my Aunt Anne and I went to Downtown Disney after the party last night and had a stiff drink (Jameson’s for me) at the Irish pub to toast the happy couple. Of course, in the Muslim religion there is no drinking so they knew nothing about it. 🙂 The pub, called Raglan Road, had a live Irish band and step dancer. Tonight we are going to see Tropic Thunder, check out a restaurant at the Animal Kingdom resort and might go to the Adventurer’s Club one last time since they are closing it forever in September.

This morning I woke up and had a nice cup of Harney and Sons English Breakfast before going to meet my dear friend Aimee from Universal for lunch at Bubbaloos bar-b-que. One of our old faves. Unbelievably, our first boss at Universal who we had both lost touch with, just happened to sit next to us. Talk about serendipity. That was great. I loved catching up with both of them and hope to see Aimee and her family  more often now that Bonnie is married. I would like to try and visit a little more often.

My good friend Hugh let me know that Tucker attended the Community Living Club meeting, a social club for mentally challenged adults in our community that I volunteer at, that took place at church yesterday and livened up the party. I was so happy to hear that. He’s such a good dog. I am about to go to a gourmet dog bakery and get him a special treat.

I only have internet access at a local Panera and since I am always accompanied by my aunt and mom I am limited by my alloted time. I also forgot my cell phone charger so I am rationing my cell phone use. I picked up one of those battery operated quick chargers but it is sporadic and not entirely dependable.

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho!

Tonight is a big night and the summit of an already long day. The peak of the Perseid meteor shower is this evening, late, and we will be driving from Roanoke to Norfolk, VA with the top down to catch an early flight to Orlando. I will see my daughter tomorrow! 🙂

Tucker is tucked in with his new friend, a big chocolate Lab who resides with a friendly couple from church. He seemed happy to be there and I know he will get a lot of attention and play. No doubt he will be glad for some solitude when we return.

The big news of the day, and yes it seems silly to get so excited after some of the roles I have had in my life, but I am anyway darn it, is that I got a job today. Yep, just a little part time server job at the Hunting Hills Country Club, but they worked with me on my tight schedule so I’ll be able to contribute a little to the household which will make me feel a lot better. It’s hard enough to have given up every aspect of monetary achievement that I am accustomed to, I dislike adding to it by feeling like a slacker and having days off. School is a luxury. It may be hard work, but I am LUCKY to be going. I never forget that for an instant. The least I can do is use the free time I have generating some income. My talents as an Internet consultant are a little exalted for Roanoke. I can use them, but never make what I am worth or be able to invest as little time as this will require of me.

I will start a week from today. Yay!

In the mean time I get to go to Orlando, have a little vacation, see my daughter get married and go swimming. I love to swim. I am in a pretty good mood right now.

I went to Metro last night after all. I had shrimp tempura sushi with cucumber and avocado added, no tobiko and their sweet tofu and scallion sushi rolls. I also love their new Parker house rolls. They seem to be making the bread in house now and it shows. Yum. I had a much better experience this time. I made sure to have a reservation through Ben said hello (the server who was a little short with me) and I nodded at him. However I was fortunate to be waited on by Erin and Charlie. They worked well together and were a great team. Charlie answered a menu question, set me up with a drink, bread and all the knick knacks and Erin took the order. I was so happy and felt so welcome I went ahead and had Roanoke’s best dessert (In my opinion) the dark chocolate pot du creme. It’s to die for.

It was a good night.

Now I need to go eat dinner, and pack for my trip. *BIG GRIN*

Pineapple Express, Dog Kennels and Venezuelan Food

After seeing the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince preview, I happened to catch the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on HBO today. As it ended I remembered the ending of Deathly Hallows and got a little choked up. I think J.K. Rowling really is a remarkable storyteller and I am definitely putting her new book of stories set in the world of Harry Potter, Beedle the Bard, on my wish list. I think I will also re-read Deathly Hallows.
I went to see The Pineapple Express last night. The first few minutes had an intro set in the 30’s and featuring Bill Hader (Officer Slater from SuperBad) in a very funny scene. The director lingered on one obscene gesture Bill Hader was doing long enough for you to catch yourself wondering why the hell you were studying it with such fascination and laugh uncomfortably. Masterful. There are a couple of places where that happens. Actually I, and the audience, laughed a lot through the movie. You kind of just have to let go of rational thought and go with the reactionary, alternately mellow, laughing at everything, paranoid and on a mission vibe that pot seems to infuse people with. The movie captures that well. It also makes me wonder if all young men are like these guys to a degree. For sure some of moments in the film remind me of the young guys I’ve managed over the years. I used a free movie reward I had from the Regal Crown club to see it, but I wouldn’t have regretted paying.

Still, I think Tropic Thunder is going to be much better. I’ll be in Orlando when it comes out though so I’m not sure if I will see it until I come back.

When I got home I put on The Bank Job. It’s a heist movie set in 70’s London. Very crisp, fast paced and fun. Lately I’ve liked everything British. I hope I can visit there one day, especially to see some of the great Anglican churches. Like St. Georges Hanover Square. It’s been featured in many stories I’ve read that were set in London.

Bernie Mac has passed away. He was only 50 years old. How sad. How surprising. He died of pneumonia.

I’ve just remembered that I have to find accommodations for Tucker while we are in Orlando. I hate to put him in a kennel. Number one, he has to go and get a shot, he is due for a Bortadella. I hate putting him in a kennel. I think he gets traumatized in them. No matter how nice they are. Pet sitters are weird because they come to your house and who knows what they get up to. If we were flying anyone other than Southwest I would take him with us, but they don’t allow pets at all.

At least we will be staying at a nice hotel. The Wyndham Orlando is near Universal so I can surely meet my friend for lunch or dinner while I am there. I read there is a new Venezuelan restaurant there which I would really like to check out. I love Venezuelan food and have since I lived there for a year as a child of 12. There aren’t many restaurants in the US though. There was one in Boston and I think there are several now in NYC. There was a tiny one in Orlando called Rica Arepa but I couldn’t find it the last time I went. I’m not sure it’s still in business. The new one is called Q’kenan. I read that they have Frescolita, a strawberry soda and my brother’s favorite when we were little and they might have my favorite, a lime flavored soda called Chinoto! They have cachapas which are like a sweet corn pancake with cream and arepas, more of a corn cake filled with meat and or cheese, two of my favorites. They even have yucca frita, which are like french fries. I hope they are still open and I get to eat there. Mom would also enjoy it.

The weather is beautiful and mild today, sunny but not too hot. You can tell it is August. I saw three shooting stars last night. It’s the beginning of the Perseid meteor shower. The peak night is the 12th, which is perfect because mom and I will be driving to Norfolk in the early morning hours to catch our flight out. We can do it with the top down and see bunches on our way.

I’m watching the women’s fencing Gold medal bout for sabre. It’s Zagunis vs Jacobson (a Yalie). Zagunis won the Gold last time and she is up 12-8 right now and only needs to get to 15 to win the Gold. (First one to 15 wins the Gold.) Ahh, there she goes, she just won the Gold. Mariel Zagunis. So USA won Gold, Silver and Bronze. I wonder when Foil is. Ahh, it’s only available streaming on the web tomorrow. Well, I’ll have to see if I’ll be able to do that. I am doing my first Lay Eucharistic Visitor trip tomorrow after the 10:00 a.m. service. I will accompany someone who has already done it, to observe. Then I’ll be officially ready to do it on my own. That means I’ll be able to take the bread and wine to people who aren’t able to come to church for some reason, like illness or injury. Then at the 5:00 p.m. service I am serving as Chalicist.

Since my mother manages an industrial bakery that makes gourmet breads, they sometimes have spills of the ingredients. She will bring home batches of seeds, cranberries and raisins that have been on the floor and we spread them for the birds in the back yard.  I’ve seen so many different kinds here. We get finches, cardinals, blue jays, morning doves and robins. We get quail and other birds I don’t recognize. It’s nice to sit on the couch and watch the Olympics and look out of the french doors into the yard to see  dozens of birds of different sizes and shapes. We even get squirrels and bunnies. Tucker likes to chase them, but he never comes close.

I kind of want to go to Metro and get Happy Hour sushi. I am trying not to hold my one bad experience against them, especially since I’ve had so many good experiences. But I guess I need more time to forget.

Instead I’ll just go to the new Super Kroger and cook mom something home made. She got an unexpected night off.

Weekend Review

It’s Monday and it’s my day off. I just ran some errands and am taking a break at Starbucks. The weekend was very relaxing. We saw my relatives off at the airport and I watched a lot of Tivo from all the shows I’d missed while they were visiting. Yesterday I chaliced and read Prayers of the People at the evening service at church.

Mom and I took Tucker for a long walk after the sun was setting and it had cooled off some. We trekked along Tinker Creek. The water was very clear and the mountains were hazy and blue. I have only about 10 days left of my internship. I will be focusing on completing the web redesign with their communications coordinator. I direct, he executes. I will be gathering, re-purposing and writing most of the content. So I’ll be on my own more than usual.
Also planning my training for fencing at the beginning of August. It will take up a lot of time to get stronger and build up my cardio after a month off. I’ll mainly be doing cardio, arm work and lunges. That will help with foil. I can’t wait for the first practice.

The first trip this month is to DC on the 3rd for Coldplay. I am planning on leaving really early to get up to the National Cathedral for a.m. service and then one of my friends is out of town that night so I will crash at their place before heading home Monday morning.

Then mom and I will be going to Orlando the 13th-16th to see my daughter Bonnie get married. I hope to hit DisneyWorld if possible, but might only get to go to Universal. I plan on seeing one of my best friends while there, she is the Director of Advertising at Universal. We used to work together in the New Media division when I worked for Universal.

One of the parishioners who was on mission in Ghana came back Saturday and the other will be back in another 2 weeks. I heard that the remaining parishioner was suffering from stomach issues because of the food/water. The missioner who came back said it comes with the territory. But I increased the length of my prayers for the remaining missioner. I hope he is OK. Ghana seems like a wonderful place to go, but I’d dang sure be taking a case of power bars and a filter bottle/tablets with me to ensure I didn’t get sick.

Must be the GirlScout in me. I hope to know by the end of the month if my mom is staying here or moving to Richmond. I think I better apply at a school closer to it, and maybe to the University of Alabama just in case. They both only require a year of classes in residence.

Currently listening :
American Doll Posse
By Tori Amos
Release date: 2007-05-01

Better late than never

Wow it’s been almost a month since I last posted. My internship at St.John’s Episcopal is really time consuming. The Mary of Nazareth class went well, we had 10 attendees and the rector gave me an atta’ girl. Tomorrow is the big day when I will actually preach at the 5pm service. The bonus is that my aunt Anne, uncle Brian and cousin Amber are visiting from Florida and they will be there.

Some of what I’ve been doing lately: participating in Eucharist services at nursing homes; acting as project manager for Adult Vacation Bible school for the upcoming week. It will be centered around the Millenium Development Goals.
Working to manage the relaunch of the church’s website. Oh and the Diocese asked me to come and demonstrate a few things at the Parish Communicators Conference at the end of the month.
I got my plane ticket to Orlando for Bonnie’s wedding. I also went ahead and got that Coldplay ticket for August 3. It’s a Sunday, so I will just drive up to DC in the daytime and drive back after the show. I hope I have time to visit the Nat. Cathedral while I am there.
I saw Wanted which was underwhelming. Worth going to see for the visual effects, but not much more to it. Hancock was a little better. Hellboy II is next up and I adored Pan’s Labyrinth (same director) so hopefully I will also enjoy it.
The biggest summer movie left has got to be The Dark Knight. I’ll probably go to Thursday’s midnight showing.
Still no sign of The Fall. *sigh*
If I leave early enough on Sunday I bet I could catch it in DC before the concert. Hmmm. I will investigate.
I’m feeling better about my path. Not missing the corporate world as much lately, or the money that went with it. Touring Roanoke’s rescue mission was inspirational and powerful. Two friends from church are on the Ghana mission. I expect that must be a life changing experience. I hope to go to Africa one day. Ever since I was young and saw Out of Africa a dozen times…it’s been a longing in me.
I made dinner for the whole assembled family tonight. Beef Stroganoff, steamed broccoli and Parker house rolls followed by apple pie and super premium vanilla ice cream.
I miss fencing and can’t wait to get back to it.
I think I will try to get to the driving range soon too. Take the edge off.
I have been riding my new bike a bit and that helps but I still feel like I am not pushing myself enough.
I also just switched to DirectTV to feed my habit and now have twice as many channels as with regular cable. Still have TIVO!
Next on my toy agenda? First the scooter and then in October, the iPhone.

Currently listening :
Viva La Vida
By Coldplay
Release date: 2008-06-17