Tuesday, January 29, 2008

BNL, Music and Me

It's Tuesday -- I think -- and BNL, me and various others -- roadies, other bands, fans, buddies of fans who didn't know what they were really getting into, and a lot of Carnival cruise employees with funny looks or big smiles on their faces are parked in the bay of Grand Cayman.

The music has been amazing! There's been a lot of sitting in by musicians in almost every band's performances. The joy on the faces of the pure musicians is wonderful to see.

It's fun for them to get to play and spend time with each other -- that just doesn't happen in real life or when they are touring. (It's like us at MouseFest!!!!)

I've rubbed elbows with Kevin, Ed, Andy, Jim and Joe Pisapia from Guster. It's almost like we're friends! At first it was surreal, but now it seems normal to chat with them.

That's what's cool about Ships and Dip. It works because of BNL and the kinds of fans they have -- a lot of Canadians, some Europeans, and a lot of really devoted Americans.

That's my gushing for today -- leaving soon for bingo with some band I've never heard of!

(Oh, by the way Team Voice pals, I do hit the gym every morning, and so far we've been busy during most meal times, which limits intake!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cruisin' With BNL

On Saturday, my husband and I are heading to Miami to cruise with the Barenaked Ladies, and about 1,100 of their biggest fans. So, what does this mean?

First, a great time with limited sleep! BNL has leased the Carnival Victory, so the whole ship is filled with fans of BNL, Guster and Great Big Sea. They also invited about 15 other small, mostly unknown groups and comedians, to sail and perform. We did the cruise last year, and it is an amazing experience to hear lots of music from a band you love, and have occasional up-close-and-personal conversations with Ed, Steve, Kevin or Jim in the pizza line, elevator or at the coffee bar. It is just plain cool!

(You don't want to get me started on BNL, but on last year's cruise they posed for a picture with every single person as we were boarding the ship -- they posed for 5 hours straight -- and we didn't know they were doing it until we got to the front of the line to get on the ship! Now that is devotion to the fans.)

Second, it will be a little bit of a challenge to get in daily workouts and hold back on food intake! Last year was perfect, because the food on the Carnival Legend was pretty so-so. Other than the frozen yogurt machines, there was nothing tempting that I couldn't stay away from. And we had concerts we wanted to see every night during our assigned dining room hour, so we ended up at the buffet, selecting from the so-so choices. So-so food, along with daily trips to the gym, meant no weight gain.

Hopefully this year, the same thing will occur! My workouts, of course, will be longer than last year, because of the Disney Half Marathon training. Unfortunately, we have heard the Victory has decent food -- but I'm hoping it's just a rumor!

I'm going to try to blog from the ship! I apologize in advance for my gushing and raving about BNL and the experience! But I'm almost as crazy about them as I am about Disney!

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Milestone For Me

On Saturday I ran 3 miles for the first time ever in my life! Ran, not walked!

The first mile was pretty easy, the second mile wasn't too bad, but I really had to fight to keep going in that third mile. Breathing was fine and leg muscles were fine -- I just felt an overall weariness in that last mile.

Now in the old days, before Team Voice, I would have stopped running and been perfectly satisfied to walk. No problem with walking, it can be quite fun and really good exercise.

But this time, in the third mile, I just kept telling myself to "keep on moving", and that I'd have to learn how to push myself in order to be ready for The Race.

So I kept running, and was really proud when I finished!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mouse Station Made Me Cry

So I was listening to Show #123 of Mouse Station today, and along came a listener email that brought a tear to my eye. (Gotta love those segments every now and then!)

A listener describes a 10-week RV trip his family took when he was a child, complete with a stop at WDW. (Did you catch that I said 10 WEEK, not 10 days?!)

They got to Thunder Mtn and the line was huge, but a cast member noticed his family and the fact that his dad was in a wheelchair, and asked if they wanted to ride. Off they went to the handicapped entrance, at the front of the line. Yes, it was a magical moment like a lot of others.

But the listener goes on to say that his dad never did fulfill his dream of riding Space Mtn before he passed away, but anytime the listener sees a rocket with an empty seat taking off, he likes to think that his dad is getting his chance to ride.

I think I'll always think of that from now on, when I see an empty seat in Space Mtn, or in Thunder.

Ahhhh, the Disney magic is magical.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Registration and Shoes - Good and Bad

I registered yesterday! It was VERY, VERY exciting! Ever since MouseFest, when I got roped into this crazy goal, I've been supported by Team Voice. And I've been working towards something specific in the gym. It's really a unique experience! And pretty fun so far!

That was the good -- now the bad. I bought a new pair of Saucony running shoes this past weekend from a real running store. I have been wearing Asics, which I really like. But I decided to try the Saucony. So far, while wearing them around and in part of my workouts, they are not great. I really hope I didn't make an expensive mistake! But I'll keep wearing them and hopefully will grow to love them.

Monday, January 14, 2008

We CAN Do It

So, on Saturday when I woke up, one of my first thoughts was ... "A year from now I'll be there, running in the WDW Half Marathon, hopefully almost done!"

But then I thought "Can I really do it?"

A few hours later, after a really good 3-mile run/walk at the gym in a 15-minute/mile range, I thought "I CAN do it!" I've got 11 more months to train, and I've got Team Voice beside me and behind me and in front of me.

Piece of cake!! (Ooops, maybe I better change that to sugar-free jello.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy New Year

Yes, I know. I'm a little late with the thought. But last night, as I was trying to get to sleep because I had to get up earlier than usual today, I was thinking about the parks, and crowded times, and all of a sudden thought about New Year's Eve 1999.

Yes, we were there when the clock/calendar changed from 1999 to 2000. And wow, what a crazy adventure!

The first trick was to get a room at that time. Luckily we lucked out in the DVC lottery earlier in the year and were eligible to make a reservation.

New Year's Eve morning came and we headed for the bus at about 7 a.m. The Magic Kingdom bus driver told us that our trip might take 20 minutes, or 3 hours -- there was just no way of knowing what the day and crowds would be like!

The trip was a little longer than normal, and in we went. By 10 a.m. that morning, MK was full and closed to other guests. We had already planned that once we went in, we wouldn't leave. So now, what to do?

Our basic plan was to do attractions that we ran across with fairly short lines, just to pass the time. We did manage to ride a few things, and did low-line attractions like Carousel of Progress -- which was also great because you could sit for awhile. The TTA was also handy for a rest!

Mostly we just meandered around, trying to fill up what would be an 18-HOUR park day!

Now food was interesting. Because the park was full, every restaurant, counter and cart had pretty long lines all day. Our philosophy quickly became "eat whenever a line is not huge, even if we weren't hungry"!

After lunch, we really blew it by heading towards Splash/Thunder, and ended up in a huge, solid mass of wall to wall bodies, with no clear "lanes" to get out of the mass. It was a little uncomfortable, since I'm short and a tad claustrophobic. When we finally worked our way out to the edges of the mob, we headed back to the Tomorrowland side of ML and never left it again!

By late afternoon, people were laying on benches, on planters, anywhere there was a flat spot. We spent some quiet time on the path between Toon Town and Fantasyland.

Finally, darkness set it, another five hours passed and we were finally at the countdown. It was interesting to see that most cast members had flashlights, since no one was sure that all the computer systems were really going to properly change over to Y2K and not shut down whatever they were running.

But, the countdown was smooth, the lights stayed on and the cash registers still worked! And it was now a new century.

So, at about 12:15 a.m. a ton of guests starting heading out. Needless to say the hub in front of the castle was also gridlocked for awhile. We stayed over in Fantasyland, and I made a point to buy something so I could get my first cash register receipt with "2000" on it. That was cool!

Eventually we headed back to the hotel, crashed and got back to "normal" park days for the rest of our trip.

We're glad we did it -- we'll always remember where we were when the calendar changed to the new century!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

No Inspiration But Lots Of Miles

I can't believe how many days have gone by since my last post, but I haven't had any of those "middle of the night, I'll write about xxxx" inspirations! (But I have had really good workouts since my last post!)

It makes me wonder how in the world the podcasters come up with so many new subjects each week! You rock, podcasters!

Aside from All About The Mouse, The WDW Radio Show (oh, Lou), and WDW Today, I do listen to about 18 others. How, you ask, do I manage that?!!

I listen in the car every day during my one hour per way commute. I also listen for an hour or two each night while I am in our guest room beside my cat Chatter while he is napping.

During the winter, when he's depressed that he can't get go outside, he gives me that "poor me cat look" to say that he needs a pal! And since the guest room doesn't have cable TV, it's a great opportunity to listen to podcasts. Except for Chatter wanting to chew on my earpiece cord, it's a very enjoyable time! (Luckily I can Tivo my favorite TV shows while we're "napping.")

And, it turns out that there's another benefit to hanging out with Chatter -- I can't get to the snacks in the kitchen!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Where In The World Is Mike Scopa?

Helloooooo ...

Mike, we miss you!

I love to read the View From Scopa Towers blog on AllEars.net, and am happy that Mike is hopefully getting a little rest and relaxation after MouseFest.

But come back to the blog, Mike -- we need some more magic from you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

And So We Begin ...

I usually don't make New Year's resolutions. I know that I'm not disciplined enough to actually stick with them, and long ago decided to be realistic.

But this year is different. This year I am a member of Team Voice, and am training to run the WDW Half Marathon in January 2009. Wow. What have I got myself into?!

So, on Jan 1, on a day off from work, I got on the treadmill and did the first two miles of many to come this year!

And somehow this new year feels different, since I have a big challenge ahead of me, and other members of Team Voice counting on me -- Jonathan, Bryan, Rae, Kate, Jeff W. I'm excited about the challenge, and will be really excited if I can actually complete the Half Marathon.

The thought of completing such a big accomplishment (it's a big one for me) is a little scary, but mostly energizing!

So, two more miles tonight, and the night after, and the day after ...