Tuesday, March 18, 2008

101- Now Complete!

101 Things to do in 1001 Days List- Now complete! (See previous post for info!)

1. Take photos every day for a year


2. Go horseback riding
It has been years. I can’t *believe* it has been years! I used to ride every day. Of course, that’s when I had my own horse, which made a difference. But still. Get thee to a stable!


3. Do another Blogathon


4. Enjoy Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian (again)


5. Ride a Segway


6. Take a yoga class


7. Kiss someone new


8. Buy a teapot


9. Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot’s Land pavilion


10. Eat crème brulee


11. Try 30 new things in 30 days


EDIT- I’ve been at this for a few days now, and am very much considering upgrading it to 365 New Things in 365 Days, it’s so fun!


12. Visit Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach, so that I will have officially been to every WDW Resort (And Fort Wilderness! I forgot it!)


13. Try the school bread from Norway at Epcot that everyone raves about


14.Clean up my Favorites folder in IE.
I have SO much stuff in there! Sort through, organize, clean out the sites that no longer exist or I no longer need, rediscover stuff I forgot about.


15. Blog every day for a month


16. Take an American Tribal Style bellydance class


17. Find at least one thing each day that makes me happy and record it everyday for a year- I saw this on someone’s list at 43things.com, and thought it sounded very good.


18. Attend the Orlando Fringe Festival


19. Visit London
I’ve been drawn to this city for as long as I can remember. Bill Bryson has a theory that everyone has numerous "homes" in the world, and we travel because we are in search of them. (Oh man, I think it was Bryson... it may have been Steinbeck!)


20. Do another "26 Things" photo project


21. Get a tattoo-
I’ve been trying to decide what I want to get for ages now, so if I don’t make up my damn mind within the next few years, I am going to kick myself. I might let you kick me, too.


22. Dentist! I have several things that I need to have done, and will finally have insurance soon!


23. Try the Rooibos "Miracle tea" at Animal Kingdom


24. Go to Jellyrolls


25. Catch a show at Comedy Warehouse


26. Go to the FL Keys


27. Eat pancakes at that place Katie told me about, the name of which I am too lazy to look up.


28. Take photos in a photo booth. Must be one that prints out a strip of photos, no lame 5x7s or anything.


29. Slow dance


30. Finish up my trip report on the DIS boards. Preferably in *less* than 1000 days.


31. Eat at the Sci-Fi Dine In at Hollywood Studios.


32. Try something new at Starbucks


33. Star Wars Weekends!


34. See a space shuttle launch.


35. Take a non-bellydance dance class


36. Do a 40s/50s Pin-up girl style photoshoot (not nude, just cute!)


37. See "Across the Universe"


38. Read something by Jane Austen


39. Get a massage


40. Go to I-Bar


41. Read a Shakespeare play that I haven’t read yet, or see one of his plays that I haven’t seen


42. Go on a cruise


43. Try a new fruit or vegetable


44. Stay up all night having a great conversation


45. Buy a reusable grocery bag


46. Visit a new state


47. Pay off at least one credit card


48. Back up my laptop


49. Watch Season 1 of Heroes


50. Catch up on Season 1 of Pushing Daisies


51. Read 10 books recommended by friends (Start leaving suggestions in the comments!)


52. Find out what my credit score is (Most likely it is something like 2.)


53. Do volunteer work through VoluntEars (or in general)


54. Eat/Drink at Raglan Road Irish Pub (preferably on a night with live entertainment)


55. See Todd
There’s something wrong about not seeing one of your very best friends for over 4 years!


56. See 20 live bands (Seeing Black Ship Sky 20 times does not count, sadly.)


57. See Cirque! (La Nouba)


58. Read 100 books


59. Actually use the pool at my apartment complex


60. Actually use the gym at my apartment complex (HAH!)


61. Finally read Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux (this appears on every one of my lists as a sort of running joke- for some reason, I NEVER get around to reading this book!)


62. Go to Universal Studios


63. Visit Islands of Adventure


64. Stand in the ocean (Hopefully both Atlantic & Pacific!)


65. Nap in a hammock


66. Play board games


67. Dance like nobody’s watching


68. Try ice wine


69. Walk the trail between Wilderness Lodge and Ft Wilderness


70. Read "Walking in this World" (the sequel to Artist’s Way)


71. Do the Sharon Kihara tribal dance dvd that has been on my bookshelf for months now


72. Have at least 5 friends teach me to do something they’re good at (Volunteers?)


73. Meet someone I admire


74. Get a great fortune cookie fortune


75. Attend a nerd convention of some sort


76. Actually write morning pages every day for a month


77. Either play Star Wars Galaxies or Matrix Online again, or try WoW or LOTRO


78. Attend some form of religious service- preferably one I’m unfamiliar with.


79. "Go to one of those target practice gun shooting things" (Katie and I agreed that this should go on the list with the exact wording in which it came about.)


80. Actually wear heels somewhere. (Bonus points for not falling over!)


81. Take a class at Ilham’s bellydance studio


82. Take a burlesque dance class


83. Visit home


84. Have photos I’ve taken published


85. Do some kind of acting, even if it’s just a job as an extra. It’s been fo-ever!


86. Flower & Garden festival @ Epcot


87. Food & Wine fest @ Epcot (again!) Try at least 10 things (not ALL wine…)


88. Go to another ren faire


89. Attend a film festival


90. Gatorland!


91. The Wine Room in Winter Park- they have machines that sell wine by the ounce!


92. Work our way through the martini menu at Blue Martini
92b. Apologize to liver for damage done by various numbers on this list


93. See white alligators, bears (1 threat to America!), and ride glass bottom boats at Silver Springs in Ocala


94. See the ducks at the Peabody Orlando


95. Eat fondue at the Melting Pot


96. See wild manatees (Or, as I call them in my conversation with Katie, "REAL manatees!")


97. Dine and dance on the tables at Taverna Opa


98. Enjoy the food and art at Café Tu Tu Tango

99. Buy a piece of original art


100. Buy/acquire a small digital camera that I can toss in my purse for easy everyday access. (My good camera is a little bulky to carry *all* the time)


101. Post blog updates about all of the above items!


The Bonus Items:


102. Celebrate the end of 1001 days on Monday, Dec 13, 2010


103. Write a new list to start over!


104. Donate $1 to charity for every item not completed


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

101!

While attempting to clean out my favorites folder (holy jumbled mess of links, batman!), I came across my old "101 in 1001" list. I had totally forgotten about it.

101 in 1001 is a project where you come up with a list of 101 things you'd like to do within 1001 days. It's similar to my infamous List of Things to do in my lifetime (aka the Adventure List), but on a more immediate, tangible scale, because things on the 101 list are ones I can actually see myself doing within the next 2.75 years.

I have around fifty days until my original 1001 are up, and my first instinct was to push and see how many of the items on the list I could accomplish by then. However, looking down the list, I was surprised at how many of them are no longer applicable, or just not that important to me anymore.

My new list is coming along, but while I'm working on it, I wanted to invite you guys to do one, too! I'd love to see your lists, as well as have people to talk about it with!

The official website of the project is Day Zero, which is a great place to look for more info. (They also have a link to a handy dandy tool that figures out what date is 1001 days from now!) But in short, the basic guidelines are:

-Your goals should be measurable: Will you be able to look at your list 1001 days from now, and say "Yes, I did that!" or "Nope! Didn't happen." "Be healthier", for example, is pretty vague. "Be able to run a mile", or "Stop drinking soda" are more specific.

-They should be realistic: You, like me, may want to be fluent in 12 languages before you kick the bucket. Or to travel the entire freakin' globe. But how likely are you to accomplish that within 1001 days? While I'd love to have "Travel to 100 countries" on my list, I know how financially impaired I am, so "Travel to at least one country I've never been to" is way more realistic.

-But they shouldn't be TOO easy: "Do laundry", for example, is fine for your weekly to-do list, but do you really want to waste one of your 101 on it? Nah.

(Just to see, I counted it up, and I accomplished 31 of my original 101 things without paying attention to my list. That's something, right?)

-Make it FUN! Sure, you'll have some stuff like "Pay off my credit card" in there, but it doesn't have to all be serious! Include all those things you keep saying you'll do, but never seem to get around to (road trips, girl's nights out, movie marathons, visiting fun local stuff, etc.) Throw in a few incredibly silly ones for good measure.

So go write up a list, and give me the link! If 101 is too many for you, how about 20 things to do this year?

Here's a sneak preview of a few things from my list to get you started:
-Blog every day for a month
-Buy a teapot
-Take an American Tribal Style bellydance class

What's on your list?

Friday, March 07, 2008

DSCN9334


DSCN9334, originally uploaded by crystalw07.

This is what the ground should always look like.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Not allowed!

Counting out loud in a room where several people are trying to count money should be illegal. Just sayin'.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I just woke up....from a seven hour nap. I laid down to read when I got home from class, and apparently was out like a light. Oops! Good thing I had no plans tonight!

Since I know that some of you are using my blog as a way to keep up with me (Hi, Jaimie & Rhonda! Come visit already!), I thought I'd use my weird hour awakeness to catch you guys up on my work transfer, and other goings-on!

Saturday was my last day at Speedway! Leaving was a little bittersweet, since I've really grown to like a lot of the people who work there. But since I can always visit, and still plan to pick up some shifts, it's not like I'll never see them again, which makes it easier! I celebrated my last day of Speedway at the Adv Club Saturday night with some friends (thanks for the drink, Lexi dear!). Okay, so I had been planning on going anyway, but it being my last MK day was a nice excuse!

I have most of my MK costume stuff turned in, just one turtleneck that I still need to hunt down. I lost a belt somewhere that I'll have to pay for, but I'm *really* thankful that's all I lost, because a belt is like $2. On my last day, I had costuming print me a list of the stuff I still had out, and dude, costumes are EXPENSIVE. A Tomorrowland Speedway shirt will cost you $42, and a vest from the Pirate Princess Party is $52! OUCH!

I thought that 4 days in a row of spending 8 hours in the classroom would be fairly boring, but it really wasn't bad at all. We only had two people in our class, as opposed to the usual large class of up to 30, which was really nice. The front desk system is incredibly user-friendly and easy to use. What's really cool, though, is that they have a lab attached to the classroom that's set up like an actual front desk for you to practice in. You take turns playing guests and checking people in, which is fun. I actually ended up having a little *too* much fun getting into character of the guests I was playing. After the four days, I feel really prepared for front desk. They gave us a ton of info, but also plenty of time to practice using it. Now if I can just remember to give people their IDs back (my worst problem!), I'll be fine!

Since there were just two of us, class went faster than usual, so we ended up with really long lunch breaks. It was SO nice to have time to relax for a change! On the first day, the Disney U. cafeteria was close, so I went over to MK, planning to grab something from the Mouseketeria. At the last second, I decided I'd rather head up to the park, so I went upstairs and wandered around. After some wandering, I decided that something sweet from the MS Bakery sounded amazing, so I headed for Main Street. Once I got there, I found a yummy-looking brownie, but when I went to pay, my bank card was declined! The lady at the register kept asking me for an alternate way to pay, but given that I was just in class today and didn't plan to be spending any money, that was all I had on me! (Apparently my account was $2 negative. Oops! Um, have I mentioned I'm REALLY poor right now?) I only had like $1.50 in cash with me, and my brownie was something like $4, so I had to leave it behind, and head back to class with no lunch. SAD!
The other days were better- I spent the second day down in the DU cafeteria reading (I've been reading "Savage Beauty" about Edna St Vincent Millay for MONTHS now- I'm finally almost finished, thanks to long lunches!) On Day 3, I decided to grab lunch at the Wilderness Lodge, and spent my time out on the balcony overlooking the courtyard. LOVE it there! Today, I spent my final lunch break with a brownie from Roaring Forks (one of my favorite Disney treats!), curled up in the lobby of the Villas at Wilderness Lodge with my book. I think my lunches are the most downtime I'v had in WEEKS- I'm constantly going! Just getting to sit and eat and read was AWESOME.

When I woke up tonight, I found that I had a voicemail from my sister and an e-mail from my mom. Turns out my mom was in a car accident today. She was driving through town and someone pulled out of Taco Bell *right* into her. She's okay- a little sore, but her car isn't so okay. She's only had that car a few months, so I'm really sad that it may not make it! MUCH better than mom being the one to need major repairs, though!!! I am SO glad that she's ok! I can't imagine what I'd do if anything happened to her right now! I talked her into going to the chiropractor tomorrow to get checked out, just in case anything is worse than it feels. It's scary to be 1000 miles away when something like this happens!

In MUCH happier news, Kelly will be here tonight!!! (ie Thurs night) She's flying in late tonight, and gets to stay for a few days to play at Disney! I am mucho excited! Plus my schedule even worked out that I get one whole day off during her weekend, and one day I'm off by 2pm, which is SO much better than I expected! Huzzah! There's been SO much going on lately that it will be great to kick back and have fun for a few days! (And did I mention that I get to sleep in a BED for two whole nights? Yay for the CM Disney resort discount! I miss furniture!)
I'm picking her up from the airport tomorrow/today night (It's 5am, so technically today, but tomorrow in my mind. Whatever!) Sadly, the rest of my day is incredibly dull: Do laundry, clean house, do taxes. All the stuff I've been needing to do for ages, but haven't actually gotten to. Whee!

I'll try to update after the Kelly weekend, but if nothing else, I'll have eight zillion new photos of our shenanigans to post. Until then, Kungaloosh!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Updateyness!

I'm still not used to being back to a life where actually having a night at home is rare. (And I'm still not 100% sure I'm staying home tonight. I may go get groceries, or go to the Club...or both...) (Case in point... I started writing this on Friday, got two paragraphs in, and am now finishing on Tuesday!)

I got home from work last Friday and was grabbing a bite to eat before the nap I had been looking forward to (since I knew I'd be out late that night). While I was eating, I noticed my tooth felt funny, and went to look in the mirror. I'd lost a filling! D'oh! And of course, I'd lost it at 4pm on a Friday afternoon.

I called over 15 different dentists, and NOBODY had an opening that afternoon. I was stuck for the weekend, so I ran to Wal-Mart and picked up some temporary filling stuff, popped it in, and was good to go. I got the abbreviated version of my nap, and set off downtown to catch Black Ship Sky's gig. Despite living here almost 2 months now, I had yet to venture downtown. I was fairly proud that I managed to make it there easily (Get on I4 and stay there for a while isn't that complicated...), but I did do a few circles around the general vicinity of the bar before I both found parking and a way to get there on the evil one-way streets.

The show was awesome, and if you live in the Orlando area, you seriously need to catch the next one, if only for the Quidditch song, which I love possibly a little too much. (See myspace.com/blackshipsky for your listening pleasure)

Some of us had to work early the next morning, so the plan was to leave fairly quickly after the band played, but you guys know the chances of me actually leaving *anywhere* early are slim to none. Fun wins out over sleep anytime!


Some of these people are in a band, some are not! Hint: the chicks are not. You can't tell, but we're sitting on a chair shaped like a tongue sticking out of a giant mouth.

We decided to be responsible little workers and call it a night around 12:30, and I followed some of the people I was with out to the parking garage, only to get inside and announce, "Hey, I don't think I'm in the right garage!" Not funny now, but at the time, (ahem, alcohol.) it was hilarious. I waved goodbye, and set off towards the garage where I had actually parked.

Or thought I did.

After a couple of blocks, I realized I had turned the wrong way. Oops! I usually have a surprisingly good sense of direction (surprising only if you've ever gone anywhere with my mom or sister..), but I think walking the wrong way to begin with totally threw me off. I remembered that when I walked to the bar, I made a mental note of "Okay, when I leave, I just turn right on Street X, and then left on Street Y. Easy!" Totally simple... if only I could remember what X and Y were! D'oh!

And that's how I found myself wandering around downtown Orlando alone for half an hour at 1am. Oh, poor security guards who were on their very first night on the job, thank you for being vaguely reassuring, if clueless, the three times I stopped to talk to you. And oh, lovely homeless man who wished me a happy birthday (a month late, dude.), I hope you are well.

After more than half an hour of wandering, I was starting to get a little freaked out. I'd been going in circles for so long that I'd totally lost all sense of direction, not to mention the fact that I think some of the people on the street were starting to notice that I'd passed them four times, I decided to head back to the bar to see if anyone I knew was still there. Luckily, I ran into a friend the second I walked in, and he pulled a knight in shining armor thing and walked with me until I found my car, which was much easier once I had him with me, because I was able to stop freaking out and think clearly.

Is anyone else noticing a theme of my car ending up in random locations around Orlando, and me having to set off on a quest to get it back? Let's hope that's the last time for a while!

So, that was last Friday! Which at least brings me up to date as of two weeks ago- woo! Let's try to be a bit quicker about the rest, eh?

Oooh, slightly out of order- the Tuesday before that, I had my interview to concierge. As you can guess, it was awesome. When the basic requirements are knowing how hotels work and knowing Disney World, I'm IN. I think that's the first time I've ever walked into an interview 100% confident that I'd get the job. (Although imagine the blow to my ego if I hadn't! Hah!) They told me it would be about three weeks before I would transfer (A few days to process the paperwork, and then 2 weeks of notice to my current position), which if you do the math, means I am transfering SOON! I have three days of Speedway left, and one Pirate Princess Party, and then I am no longer working at MK! Crazy!

There are things I will miss, a lot. And I don't just miss the addictive tangerine slushie things from the Mouseketeria that I am fairy sure contain crack, because I am hooked. Mostly, I will miss people. I plan to pick up an occasional extra shift there just to visit, because otherwise leaving would be much more sad.

I will not miss exhaust fumes, smelling like car, really hot days, really rainy days, or my tan lines of evil.

Think I'm kidding about how bad the tan is? Observe:



Um, yeah. And that is WITH slathering on SPF 70 every day. I didn't even know they MADE SPF 70 until I moved here!

Remember the tooth issue I mentioned about eighty paragraphs ago? THAT has been fun! Since I lost the filling on Friday afternoon, I was stuck till Monday. However, when Monday rolled around, I was feeling sick and didn't want to deal with it, so I made an appointment for Wednesday. To make a long and sucky story short, I waited nearly an hour and a half just to be seen, got an x-ray taken, waited another half an hour, was momentarily peeked at by the dentist, and promptly told that I need two crowns. Um, what? No, I just need you to replace the filling. I would get needing a crown if my tooth was worse, but this is a tiny filling that fell out, there's no way I need a crown. Nor does the tooth next to it.

We went around in a few circles of "You need crowns" "I just want the filling replaced", "There's no point, it needs a crown", "Dude, no, and also, I don't have insurance till April", "Fine, whatever."

So, I was planning to just have them fill it, until I got the estimate. $600 for two fillings. Dude! I'm not sure if dentists are more expensive here than in Missouri, or if they were just seriously trying to screw me, but there is no way I was going to pay that much. I've had more than my share of trips to the dentist (acid reflux is not so good on the teeth!), so I have fairly realistic expectations of what things cost by now. To get the filling replaced and take care of the tooth next to it should have cost (at the very most) around $350-$400.

So, $94 later, I left. ($94 for ONE x-ray and a thirty second exam!) I haven't yet decided if I'm going to try another dentist soon, wait till April 1 when my insurance kicks in, or wait until I'm home for a visit in April and go to my regular dentist (who hopefully takes my insurance!). I'm sure the temporary filling stuff I have in was inteded to be used for days, not weeks, but there's really not much else I can do right now. Luckily, I'm not in pain- I don't even notice it- but if that changes, I'll have to figure something out!

This is long, so I shoud shut up and post. Funny enough, the only way I actually found a chance to sit still long enough to write is that the sprinklers outside my apartment woke me up at 4am. It's now 6, and I want to try to sleep another hour or so before getting ready for an 11 hour day at work. I'm getting really good at working long hours on no sleep, but I'd really rather avoid it if I can!

Coming up in the week ahead: A day off! Which through awesome synchronicity coincides with a last minute Black Ship Sky show, so I'm totally going. (And drawing a map of where my car is!) Also, I'm picking up a Pirate & Princess Party shift, for which I get to wear a costume that is actually feminine for once! No steel-toed boots or anything! Squee! Then my last day at Speedway, followed by my resort orientation, several days of training, and Kelly coming to visit!
It's going to be a busy couple of weeks!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New photos on Flickr


DSCN8933, originally uploaded by crystalw07.

I've posted a handfull of new photos on Flickr- I don't think I've taken any that I really *love* since I've moved here, but I put up a few that fall into the "not sucky" category.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/casacrystal

Multimedia message


Multimedia message, originally uploaded by crystalw07.

This blurry cameraphone picture is a towel in my shoe.

It is there because of a ginormous rain/hail storm that decided to visit the Magic Kingdom while I was working.

I've seen plenty of hail, but always from the safety of home or car. This is the first time I've been whacked on the head by the stuff, I think! (Not recommended!)

The towels were in my shoes because after a few hours, I got really tired of my toes squishing around, so I took off my socks, and made this (not so effective) attempt at dry feet.

Still, I'll take crazy freak hail storms over Missouri's winter weather any day!

Now that I've been here a month, the aspects of my life involving moving and Disney have all sort of blended into "real life", so I am going to stop keeping a separate blog for the Disney stuff, and smush everything back together at:

http://www.lovemanythings.net/blog.html

See you there!
Maintaining 2 separate blogs (3 if you count myspace) has become a little silly, so I am going to smush 'em back together.

All of my posts about moving to FL/starting at Disney are at:

http://wdwadventures.blogspot.com/

All future FL-related stuff will be here, though, so sit tight.

Tea for One

I'm just home from work, with a cup of tea, and life is good.

After not drinking tea in months, there's a learning curve to remembering how to brew a decent cup again. I picked up a box of Monk's Tea at Animal Kindom a few days ago, and have been waiting to try it. The super-cute box originally caught my eye, but when I saw that it was a vanilla grenadine flavored Ceylon, I had to have it!

I seriously screwed up the first cup- even heaping spoons of sugar couldn't save it, but the second wasn't bad. Now I just have to avoid becoming a total tea addict again. (Admitting I have a problem is the first step, right?)

Multimedia message


Multimedia message, originally uploaded by crystalw07.

I almost bought one of these candy bars in the British food section of Publix just to be defiant.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Need for Speed...way.


What can I tell you about working at Speedway? (Other than that I now smell like car. All the frickin' time?)

For one, it's been interesting because it's so very different from anything I've done before. I'm sort of a collector of odd jobs (someday, my resumee is going to be a true thing of beauty!), so this one fits in well. It suits me just because it is so NOT me. It's not something I would have ever picked, it's not something I have a natural talent for or instinctual draw to. Despite countless days at MK before moving here, I'd never even *ridden* the Speedway until I worked there.

And yet, amazingly, I don't hate it.

I was going to go pro/con list, but instead I think I'll mix things up and go all chronological on you. Ooooh, ahhhh.

Frst of all, my schedule is insane. As someone who has worked basically from 3-11 for the better part of the past decade, having a mercurial schedule is hard to adjust to. One day I will work 8am-6pm, the next it will be 3pm-1am. I'll have a 6hr day followed by a 13hr one. There is no rhyme or reason to it, and when you throw in the weird times (5:15 one day, 5:30 the next), I never have any idea when I work. I carry a little moleskine notebook with a list of my schedule times, but I still have to consult it constantly.

But back to the whole day in the life thing, I've discovered that life works best if I leave my house an hour before the time I'm supposed to start work. Actually, trial and error has led me to find that about 53 minutes is the ideal amount of time, but I'm usually happy to be in the right ballpark. It's only 20 minutes from my house to work, semi-technically. In fact, it's only 10 minutes from Casa Crystal to Magic Kingdom gates. It's just that once I get through
those gates, I have to drive past a few resorts, hit the backstage area, turn towards
cast parking, *find* a parking spot (Has taken upwards of 5 mins before), walk from there to the bus stop, wait for bus, take bus to tunnels, walk to my staircase of choice, go upstairs to park, walk to Speedway, and hopefully clock in around 15 mins before start of shift.

Thus, leaving an hour ahead of time. Longer if I need to stop at costuming for new clothes/dropping off old laundry, because THAT can eat up 20 minutes before you can
blink.

Most days, I enjoy the drive. I make a habit of waving hello to Spaceship Earth, which I pass early on. I still find it novel that I drive past Epcot every day. My other favorite "landmark" of sorts is the spot I call "Boats, trains, and automobilles"- near the contemporary, I pass first under the monorail track, and then under the nifty disney-created water overpass. It's like a bridge where one highway would usually run above another, but instead of another road going above me, it's water- a system developed to let boats cross from seven seas lagoon into bay lake.



Bad cameraphone pic of the aforementioned transportation sensation. Except that you can't really see the water overpass.

I also enjoy just listening to music to get myself in the right mood for work. (Until
I got some CDs from home, I listened to the Finding Nemo Musical soundtrack almost
exclusively, because it was one of only two CDs I had. Most mornings I'd do the intro, Big Blue World, Just Keep Swimming, Fish are Friends, and Go With The Flow.)

When it comes to the actual work, the funny thing is that rather than liking certain positions in the rotation and hating others, as I would expect, whether I like or dislike each one depends on the day. Greeter is a great example, and one that I don't have to expain the technicalities of to use. Generally, it's the sort of thing I like- talking to guests, answering questions, etc. Occasionally, though, I've found myself wishing I was anywhere else. New Year's Eve comes to mind, because someone had the bright idea of handing out the hats and noisemakers 6 full hours before midnight. Yes, noisemakers. 70,000+ people in the park, with noisemakers.

Add that to answering eight thousand times in an hour that no, we do not have fastpass, and yes, the wait really is an hour, and I was *really* ready to be elsewhere.

Usually, though, talking to the guests is one of the things I really like. I like when I have long enough to find out how their day is going, what they've done that they've loved, where they're from, etc. I love how excited the kids are. I used to be a firm believer that MK should tear out Speedway, because dude, you could fit at least 3 awesome new attractions in that amount of room. But seeing how excited little kids get, and knowing that there really are some who want to ride over and over have (somewhat) altered my opinion.

Being a huge language and culture nerd, I also love that I get to talk to people from almost everywhere. I think that my record (so far) is speaking 8 languages in one day. True, I'm really, REALLY bad in almost every language I know, but sometimes just a few words or phrases can really change the level on which you connect with someone. My one word of Russian (spasiba) totally lit up a little girl's face a few days ago. I've loved getting to dust off languages I never have a chance to use and actually put them to use! Not to mention picking up bits and pieces I didn't know. (I can now say "no bumping!" in Spanish- woo!)

Let me also tell you about my newfound appreciation for powerade. Those of you who spend much time with me know that I'm a water-drinking kind of girl. It used to be water & frappuccino, but since I've mostly cut caffeine, it's pretty much all water. Sure, I like the occasional really great cup of tea, or scurvy-preventing juice, but 99% of the time, I just want water. I have no need of sports drink type beverages in my life, thank you. Their multisylabic ingredients and neon colors make me a little sick.

But let me share a secret: If you work at Speedway, you may find that lemon-lime powerade tastes like freedom.

Just behind the wall that separates the guest area of the ride from where the cars are stored are water and powerade dispensers. I mostly stuck with the water at first, but after my first really hot day, I found that the powerade actually made me feel a lot better, and managed to drink it with a minimum of hate. However, I've now developed a semi-Pavlovian attraction to it, because if I'm drinking it, it means I'm either on break, or have ducked behind the wall for a water break. (And it's amazing just how refreshing 30 seconds and a cup of liquid can be sometimes!) That faux lemony-lime taste means that at least for the moment, things are good.
One of my favorite positions involves standing out on track and watching the cars, keeping an eye out for any trouble. I like it because it's a quiet break, usually, but mostly because it makes for great people watching. I feel like an exhaust fume-scented Margaret Mead, making anthropological observations. I have narrowed the majority of the riders down into the following categories:

The Driving Lesson: These parents are taking this whole driving thing as an opportunity to teach junior how to drive. They're pointing out upcoming curves, giving advice on which way to turn, and taking the whole thing quite seriously.

Kickin' Back: These kids crack me up. They are laid back, arm straight out to the top of the wheel, and look like they should be wearing a backwards baseball cap. They are the mini versions of those "cool" high school kids that cruise around town blasting their music.

Morning Commute: These kids look like they should have Starbucks in one hand and a
Bluetooth earpiece on their head. They look exactly like they're on their way to work. It's a little uncanny.

WOOHOO!: I love these guys. LOVE. They have no cares about being cool, they are just having fun. They wave at me, giggle, and don't care if their car is running into the guide rail every three seconds. They're driving, and to them, that is *awesome*.

Cheeeeeeeeese!: These people are the main reason I have a real desire for one of those Nerf guns that shoots foam balls. They spend the entire ride turned around taking pictures of the people in the car behind them. Now, if anyone is a photo nerd, it's me. I go nowhere without a camera, and on an average weeklong vacation, I take upwards of 3000 pics. So when *I* am telling you to give the photos a rest, it's time to put down the camera, stop holding up traffic, and just do the ride, man.

I know there are more categories, but those are the only ones I can remember right now! Take a minute next time you're in Tomorrowland to see how many of the archetypes you can spot!

Before I end, I should probably mention how very sexy I am at work. I have hit some whole new level of awesome, I think. My skin is icky from sunscreen that promises me I won't get cancer or wrinkles from being in the sun 8+ hours. My hair is still rebelling against Florida water, so add frizzy hair. I am wearing polyester pants that NEVER fit right. My shirt somehow manages to make even *me* look flat-chested. I have the best tan lines EVER, from the great v-shaped neckline, and the ever flattering tan lines associated with the knee-length shorts/socks and steel-toed boots combo. My makeup all melted off three hours ago. I am very, very pretty. And I smell strongly of car exhaust.

And yet, there are these moments. Moments when I remember where I am, why I'm here,
and what it all means. Moments that make all of the less-than-great times worth it. I had one just tonight, when the park had just closed, and the fireworks were going off, and we were putting cars away for the night. I realized "I am getting paid to drive go-karts and watch fireworks. My life does not suck." Every time a kid gives me a high-five, or a little girl blushes and gets shy when I call her Princess, every kid who gets super excited about a Mickey sticker, every adult who still "gets" the magic... every moment that I can stop, take a breath, and drink it in- those are the moments that make it all worth it, make it all special, make it all magic.