Sea World

1 08 2018

Since the offices at the apartment buildings wouldn’t be open on a Sunday we decided to spend the day at Sea World.  With the humidity and the heat it was a bit warm at Sea World but nothing like the temperatures back home.  I think we topped out at about 85 at Sea World.  Back home it was closer to 110 or 113.  Given that 85 with humidity isn’t all that bad.

We saw many of the shows starting with the dolphins.  We only did one ride, the Sky Tower.  I saw the roller coaster while waiting for the dolphin show to start.  I can handle steep drops and upside down but the one thing I really don’t like is going backwards.  The roller coaster I saw went backwards so I wasn’t about to ride that thing.  I blame it all on a roller coaster called the Tidal Wave at Marriot’s “Great America” in Santa Clara California.  At least that is what is was called back when I lived there and was going to amusement parks.

We saw two different versions of the Seymore and Clyde show as well as the pets show.  We also did the shark experience and watched the penguins.  We also saw the Orca show which has definitely changed emphasis to conservation and protection of wildlife since the “Blackfish” documentary.

After watching the Orca show, we had dinner, did a little shopping and then decided to head back to the hotel in El Cajon.

Until next time…

Paul





The Loss of my Mom

30 07 2018

November 4, 1995 was a day that changed the trajectory of my life in ways that I wasn’t prepared to deal with.  Three days before, the Lord blessed us with a blessing that we didn’t plan for but are very grateful to have received.  November 1st was the day our fourth child was born.  On November 2nd, we were allowed to take our beautiful new daughter home.  Before we went home, we took her to see her grandmother.  My mom held her newest grand-daughter for a few moments and then gave her back to us.  Two days later my mother passed away.

Her passing was not unexpected.  Several years earlier she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had a mastectomy along with chemotherapy and radiation.  After all of that she was cancer free for almost 5 years.  This time when it came back it came back with a vengeance.  It got into her lymphatic system and then metastasized below the knee and into her brain.  At the time those were very rare places for breast cancer to attack.

Prior to her cancer returning, I was the designated executor of her estate and each of my kids, along with my sisters kids were to get $10,000 from her estate.  When the cancer returned, she decided to get married.  As I remember, and I may not be remembering correctly, a major reason for getting married was the medical benefits that he had.  This would mean that all of her money would not be spent on her cancer treatment.  After she got married, she changed the trust and put everything in her husband’s name. She did not have a will and based on what my sister once told me, I think she was coerced into making the changes.

While her cancer was in remission, she worked for a very famous financial advisor who also had an attorney working for her.  I went and talked with them as this whole thing about my mother making this radical change from providing for her grandchildren and children to leaving it all to her husband was not like her.  Unfortunately, I got nowhere with this meeting.  What really upset me is that they knew my mother and this was a radical change in behavior that I would thought they might have reached out to my sister or I and at least asked if everything was ok.

Two days after my mother held my youngest child, I got a call from my sister saying that our mom had passed away and that they were waiting for hospice to come get her body. I decided to drive up and wait. Not sure why I did that, it just seemed the right thing to do.

Before my mother passed away, she felt her current husband would not give my sister or I any of my mother’s money. She and my sister had cashed in a couple of her CD’s and given the cash to my sister. She had pulled a couple for me but didn’t/couldn’t cash them as she couldn’t remember my social security number. Within 2 days of my mother passing her husband called asking if I knew where two of the CDs were. I didn’t have them yet so I honestly answered no and to check with my sister.  Shortly after this my sister gave them to me and I tried to cash them.  However, it turns out I needed his signature to cash them and he wasn’t going to let me have both of them.  My mother’s fears were confirmed.

I wanted to have a memorial service for my mother and tried to set something up for a few weeks after she passed away.  I got lots of pushback from my sister and my mother’s husband.  With counsel from my church family, I went ahead and while my sister attended, it was very obvious that she was not at all happy that I had the memorial service.

I didn’t, or maybe haven’t grieved in ways that would seem normal.  Yes her passing made me sad and I miss her greatly.  However, I never really cried for her.   It just seemed a natural part of life and while I had a great loss in my life, life just seemed to go on.  Many years later, I sensed God prompting me to attend Grief Share.  This is a ministry for those that have suffered a loss as they try to adjust to the new season of their lives.  I learned a few things but I didn’t get the healing or closure I was hoping for.  I don’t know that there was anything wrong with the program or even wrong with me.  I just don’t know how that was supposed to impact my life.  About that time, we were preparing to adopt our foster daughters.  I thought that maybe God wanted me to go through this to better understand the grief my soon to be daughters would be going through.  However they were reunited with their mother.

Not too long after the memorial service, my sister moved to Idaho with no warning.  She left pots and pans she had borrowed from our mother on the doorstep and left with no other discussion.  It took me awhile longer but with no family ties to the San Francisco Bay Area and with the cost of housing being unreasonable, I found a job in Chandler Arizona and we moved to Gilbert, Arizona in August of 1997.

Living in the desert has definitely been different from living in the Bay Area.  However in the desert I have formed a much deeper relationship with God that I don’t know would have happened if I had continued with my life in the Bay Area.  Obviously I don’t know what would have happened had my family and I stayed in the Bay Area.  I do know that I would not have met the friends I now have.

Until next time…

Paul





Last Day In Florida

3 07 2018

This is our last day in Florida and the last day of our vacation.  It has been a great vacation but I am also anxious to get back home.

After breakfast we finished packing, left our bags at the Disney Springs Resort and went back to Epcot.

EpcotTinkerbell

There, four of us designed cars and tested the design in a head to head competition.  The car my youngest daughter and I designed, actually she did most of the work, won.

After that we road the Finding Nemo ride.  I had a beautiful companion for the ride.

FindingNemoSelfie

After you get off the ride you can walk around the various tanks in the aquarium.  I could spend hours watching fish swim around.

Afer we left Epcot for the last time this trip, we went and had lunch at the Whispering Canyon Cafe.  This is definitely NOT the place to go if you want a quite lunch.  It is quite noisy.  If you drink your soda or water too quickly out of the mason jar, they bring you an EXTRA LARGE mason jar of your beverage.

DaughtersLargeDrink

If you order something and you need ketchup, your entire table yells “WE NEED KETCHUP”  The folks at the previous table that yelled that then bring over all the bottles of ketchup from their table.

KetchupTower

Of course my daughter had to build a tower out of the ketchup bottles.

 

 

 

 

 

During our lunch they held a pony parade.  Yes two of my “adult” daughters rode stick ponies around the restaurant with other “kids”.

RidingStickHorses

After lunch we went back to Disney Springs to do some shopping and to stock up on snacks for the plane ride back home.  Two of my amazing daughters tried on dresses and my oldest bought the Minnie Mouse dress she tried on.

 

This is the last blog entry for our 2018 Cruise and Disney World vacation.  This is the first time I have done travel blog.  I kind of enjoyed the experience.  I learned a few things along the way and have made some new online friends.

During this vacation I ended up going through many different metal detectors.  Getting back on the ship and entered Disney World are the main times.  I learned awhile back that if I didn’t want a personal pat down from a TSA agent, I wanted to use the x-ray machine rather than the metal detector.  Having two metal knees, a metal hip and pins in my foot mean that more often than not I will set off a metal detector.  A couple of times getting back aboard ship as well as a majority of the time entering Disney World, I did NOT set off the metal detectors.  I didn’t mind NOT have to undergo the special “wand treatment.”  But I have to wonder who calibrates those things?  If I had carried my swiss army knife, or even my larger knife would they have gone off?  Maybe for me with the other metal in my body but what if my wife had carried one of those in?  I don’t want to try that as an experiment as I don’t want to lose the knife but it makes you wonder what folks are actually getting through the detectors with.

Until next time…

Paul





Animal Kingdom

2 07 2018

Before we started the day at Animal Kingdom, my awesome daughters wanted to give me their father’s day present early since we wouldn’t all be together on the official holiday.  They went in together and got me this t-shirt.

The words on the shirt say “I’m a Proud Dad of Three Freaking Awesome Daughters. Yes they bought me this shirt.”  Yes I am a proud dad of three awesome daughters and one awesome son.  Unfortunately, my son and his wife could not be with us on this trip.

We got parked and road the tram to the front entrance:

TramSelfie
GroupAnimalKingdom

As we were walking through Animal Kingdom, we did a group photo in front of the tree of life.  Everyone but me were pretending to be wild animals.  I played the part of animal keeper.

 

 

I don’t remember where my youngest was for this picture.  HomeTreeSelfie

We went and saw the Festival Of The Lion King show.  Afterwards two of my daughters posed with Pumba.Pumba

After the Festival Of The Lion King Show, the same two who posed with Pumba, walked with me on a walking animal safari.  We were most of the way through when it started to rain.  At first it wasn’t too bad and we were under the cover of trees.  Then it got really heavy and I had to put my DSLR away.  This is the only time on the whole trip where the weather prevented us from doing anything.  Here are a few pictures from that:

 

Initially when we went by the Dinosaur ride, partially to ride the ride and partially to say hi to Mat, the ride was closed.  We went back later and were able to go back 65 million years and retrieve the dinosaur.

DinoRide

We also got to see Chip and Dale dressed as dinosaurs dancing with kids.

ChipDaleDino

A few of us rode the Kali River Rapids ride and got a little wet in the process.  There used to be water guns near where this were taken which is why you may notice us taunting my wife and other daughter.  We didn’t find out until the end of the ride that the water guns were no longer there.

During the rain storm we decided to go on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride.  The truck has a canvas top so we were mostly protected from the rain.  There were about 11 total folks on the ride so when it came time to disembark, we asked our tour guide if we could go again.  She checked where the ride supervisor and we were able to ride again!  Here are some pictures from both times through the safari.

Finally it was time to head to Pandora.  I know that my two youngest were very excited for me to see this given my love of Avatar.  We rode the Avatar Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey.  I was a little hesitant about the Flight of Passage rides as there were warnings that those with a fear of heights shouldn’t ride.  I have a fear of heights.  However it seems to only manifest itself when I am standing near a ledge.  I had absolutely NO issues with this ride.  It was AMAZING!!!  My only issue with the ride is that it was over WAY too soon.  I could have easily “rode” for another hour.

Pandora land was fantastic.  I even got my own Ikran (Mountain Banshee) with perch.

Until next time…

Paul

 





Magic Kingdom & Epcot

1 07 2018

12 June 18

The day started off with a character breakfast where my wife and I finally got to meet “the boyfriend”.  While working at Disney World, my wonderful middle daughter has made some really good friends including Mat who thinks of her as his little sister and her boyfriend Andrew.  While we had breakfast with him and spent a little time with him, we really didn’t get to talk much.  I was hoping we would get to know him a little better while we were in Florida.

We started the day with breakfast at the Cape May cafe.  Given my Disney crazed daughters, of course this had to be a character breakfast.  During breakfast they got to see Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy.

 

Like her father, especially in his younger days, my oldest daughter sometimes doesn’t like to have her picture taken.  This is a picture of her mom trying to take her picture.

AttemptedPicOfKelly

We did several rides in Epcot before we had to say goodbye to Andrew.    While waiting for my awesome middle daughter to return, we went on the ride at the Imagination Institute where we saw Figment. ImaginationInstituteRide

We had lunch at the Garden Grill, which was also another character meal.  This time they got to see Mickey Mouse, Chip, Dale, and Pluto.

We went over to the Magic Kingdom and did some more rides including Small World and walked through the castle.

Castle

We had dinner at Tony’s.  What do you think of my “strawstache”?

StrawFace

I think I need to work on balance!  After dinner we did some more rides.  I watched some of the fireworks while the girls went on some rides in FantasyLand that I just really didn’t want to go on.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 








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