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Picture Update

October 31, 2001

Happy Halloween, my faithful flock!! I, your beloved clanchief, have been very busy this past week but I have managed to organize some pictures for your viewing pleasure. In case you were unaware, the MDRF season is over for this year. There is a full MDRF 2001 catalogue of pictures. The most recent of which are Week 8 (The Rogueings of Ani and Keltik, including many by guest photographer, MrWhizzr of Lisa and John fame) and Week 9 (Final Weekend, including the infamous "Pooh and Tigger" shot!).

There are also pictures of Ani Moore and the Dread Pirate Russell's Halloween Bash. Be sure and view those with the lights on though!

~ 4 coins donated

Disneyworld: Day Four

October 25, 2001

WEDNESDAY: Magic Kingdom
I am awakened by a very excited CL because today is the day I said we'd go see Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom. This time we take a monorail from the parking lot (Minnie Mouse lot for those of you keeping score at home) to the front gates. After going through security (they make you open all your bags when entering any of the parks now) we look for a place to rent another motorized cart for Mom. They are out of electric carts so we rent a wheelchair instead. Unfortunately we have to do something as my maternal unit is not really capable of walking for any length of time.

From there we go up to board the train that will take us around the park and to Mickey's Country Fair. We get off the train and find the House that Mickey Built right away. We go in the front door and tour the different rooms of the MouseHouse. Then we go out the back and through the garden to another building where we stand in a long line. Finally we get admitted to the "Holiest of Holies" and meet Da Mouse!

We parked Mom in a restaurant and headed off to ride some rides (Goofy's Barnstormer rollercoaster, Mickey's Grand Prix racecars, etc) and tour Minnie's house. After about an hour and a half we retrieved Mom and headed towards Frontierland because CL (and okay, me too) wanted to ride Splash Mountain even though we kept getting rained on. The rain would only last for about 5 minutes at a time though.

On our way across the park, we happened to run into the afternoon parade of Disney characters in front of Cinderella's castle. A huge crowd had already gathered so it was hard to see, but I did manage to get pictures of some of the floats. The lines for autographs were too long for us to wait so CL didn't get to meet any other characters then, but we got close enough to see most of them. After a fair amount of time gawking, we continued on our way.

Once again, we parked Mom and went off to do Splash Mountain. The line was surprisingly short and we were sailing through Br'ar Rabbit's neighborhood. We got to sit in the front, which was cool for the picture they take of you, and CL kept reminding me to hold onto him lest he fall out. *g* He screamed going down the last big hill and we got pretty wet. That was fine since it was hot that day and we dried off fairly quickly. We went to the gift shop afterwards and bought the picture they took of us and a nice frame for CL's mother.

After collecting Mom, we headed for the front gate because everyone wanted to go to the Pirate Adventure dinner theatre. We did some more shopping on the way out. Instead of taking the monorail back we decided to take the ferry. From there we took the tram back to the parking lot (do you remember which one it was??). As soon as we stepped off the tram, the skies opened up and poured buckets on us. Luckily we were only about 30 feet from our car... but we still got soaked. We pulled out of the Minnie Mouse lot (did you remember correctly? *g*) and headed for home.

~ 1 coin donated

Disneyworld: Day Three

October 25, 2001

TUESDAY: The Pools

We woke up tired and sore from Monday's running around. Over breakfast, it was decided that this would be the day of rest and relaxation. CL didn't mind too much because he had been wanting to get into the resort's pools since he saw them.

Orange Lake Resort has seven pools in two locations. The North Clubhouse has a big U-shaped pool with waterfalls at one end and a waterslide at the other. It also has a 12 person hottub and two kiddie pools. The West Clubhouse has an Olympic sized pool, a kiddie pool, a small rectangular pool, one shaped like a blob and an 8 person hottub. We went to the West Clubhouse since it was bigger and also had a Putt-Putt Golf course next to it.

I spent the morning just sunning while CL played in the water. The interesting thing about the kiddie pools is that they all have big, 15-foot tall "mushrooms" in the middle of them. Water goes up through the "stem" and comes out the top, over the "cap" and creates a 360 degree waterfall. CL thought that was the coolest thing ever! *g*

We took a break from the pool to play a few rounds of Putt-Putt. The wind started to really pick up and I briefly wondered if we were going to have some serious weather hit us... all while replaying the lightening strike scene from "Caddyshack" in my head. The competition was fierce though. CL got several holes-in-one and was ahead of me several times. When it was all over though, age and craftiness won out over youth and vigor... twice. *g* Since he did so well, I bought lunch for us. Well, that and he doesn't really have any money.

We had about an hour to kill before the resort's scheduled 4:00pm "Kid's Pool Games" started. I decided to teach the Lad how to dive for coins. As you know, he's already taken three levels of swimming lessons so he's pretty comfortable in the water now. Which is good because a year ago he wouldn't even put his head under the water. Anyway, I find 8 pennies (they're easier to see in the water, y'know) in my pocket and challange him to see how many he can grab from the bottom in one breath. He started out with three and worked his way up to all eight. He couldn't quite get the hang of keeping himself underwater, so I had to go with him and sort of hold him down. The "Kid's Pool Games" consisted of seeing who could make the biggest and smallest splash, diving for tokens and water-relay races. When that was over, we headed back to our little bungalow to decide about dinner.

We looked through some of the brochures that we got at check-in and decided to try Medieval Times. I called and found out that they had spaces left for the 8:00pm show. We got the Royal Pass, which allowed us to sit in the front row and get in first. We sat on the long bench and practiced shouting "Green! Green! Green!" since that's the section we were in and thus the knight we were to cheer for. The show started off with some displays of horses and riders, then more horses, then the knights came in (insert much cheering... although to their credit nobody tried to start the wave or sing any songs by Queen), then the jousting, then the ground fighting and finally the Black Knight tries to take over everything -- but is soundly defeated and dragged off to the dungeon.

Dinner consisted of soup (drunk from a bowl), bread, chicken, ribs, baked potato and an apple turnover for dessert. Since we were a part of the Middle Ages, there was no silverware. The only thing that was messy was the baked chicken though and they gave us little moist towelettes.

What? That's period. Isn't it?

I know it was kind of silly and the only thing remotely period was the horse dung, but I've always been curious about what Medieval Times was like and CL just wanted to see the "horsey fights". If you can willfully suspend your disbelief and want to just have a fun and different sort of evening, then I would recommend Medieval Times. Just don't go there in garb and show up the nice people working there.

~ What's your 2 pence?

Disneyworld: Day Two

October 23, 2001

MONDAY: Animal Kingdom
Our luggage finally arrives at about 9:00 am. There is much rejoicing as we all get to take showers and change clothes. Sharon and Mawk (who is called so because CL can't pronounce "Mark" distinctly) decide to spend their first day playing golf. I forget now what UJ and AC decided to do, but that left Mom, CL and I to hit Animal Kingdom by ourselves.

We leave about 11:30 am and arrive at the gate to the parking lot before noon. (How cool is it to be staying that close to DisneyWorld?!? *g*) It cost $6 to park but when the money-taker guy finds out it's our first time in the Land of the Mouse, he lets us park for free. Bonus! We parked in the Giraffe Lot for those of you keeping score.

We take a shuttle tram from there to the front gate. We flash our 5 day passes and waltz in. It's pretty sunny and hot out so I buy CL a baseball cap with mouse ears on it and I purchase a tan safari type hat with a wide brim. We rent my mom a motorized cart because she has trouble walking. It takes her a while to get the hang of driving it without backing into things and running down tourists.

We see lots of animals (a turtle, an iguana, parrots) on our way to the Tree of Life. I remember seeing a documentary a few years ago about how they built it. It's manmade (they didn't actually carve up a live tree) and covered in animals. It sits in the middle of the park and you can't get any closer than about 100 feet. I'm not sure if it's on it's own island or what. I couldn't see an obvious way to get to it so I just took pictures from a distance. I hope you can see some of the animals in the pictures.

Once we were past the Tree, we headed for the Safari Tour. We boarded a big 20 person, open air bus for our "two week trip through the bush". Actually it's about a 30 minute bus ride. You may notice that most of the animal pictures are very out of focus and off center. This is because the bus was bouncing all over and the driver never stopped for pictures. There also seemed to be some kind of plot to the trip. Evidently we were supposed to be "helping" a Kenya game warden catch some "rahtha naesty poachas". Yes, our driver had the worst Australian accent in the history of bad accents.

From there we went to the opposite side of the park and entered... Dinoland! We had Dino-meals from the Dinoland McDonald's and then went to the Dino Playground. Okay, I don't think it was really called the "Dino Playground" but I was on a roll. Anyway, this play area had lots of things for CL to climb on and hide in. Then he found the Dino-Dig. Alright, so it's not called the "Dino-Dig" but y'know... that whole on a roll thing. After CL got a sufficient amount of sand in his pants, we all went to see the Tarzan Rocks! show. It was pretty good. Lots of acrobatics and swinging on vines. Since it's the off-season, the park closes at 5:30, so we headed for home right after that.

~ 5 coins donated

Disneyworld: Day One

October 18, 2001

SUNDAY: The Leaving
Due to some last minute packing and major tossing and turning the night before, I didn't sleep much Saturday night. I always worry that I'll forget something important. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, but I always worry about it. I had checked on the flight times already so I knew they were confirmed. Although they did change my original non-stop flights to ones with a layover in Charlotte on the way down and Pittsburgh on the way back. That's understandable though, so I didn't whine about it too much.

My brother and his fiance'e came and took us to Dulles airport. We arrived three hours early like the good little tourists that we were. I was surprised to find that they still had curbside checkin for luggage going on. We checked in 10 bags and with our receipts in hand boldly strode inside to wait in another line at the US Air counter.

Once we got to the counter, we find out that our flight is overbooked by 50 people. That's right... 50. When a flight is overbooked by 15, there is usually widespread panic and chaos in the streets. They offered to change our flight to a non-stop one on United leaving in an hour. They swore on their virgin mothers that they could transfer our luggage over too. We took the United flight and went looking for our new departure gate. If I had been more awake, I would have been more suspicious.

This was CL's first airplane ride so he was all about seeing out the window. When we took off, he was all excited about how small the cars looked and kept asking if we were flying over our house. *g* Then we passed through the clouds and he exclaimed, "Daddy! The clouds are made of cotton!"

Isn't that just precious??!

Anyway, we finally land in Orlando and what do we find? Not our luggage, that's for sure. We do however find the Dollar Rent-A-Car line and a lot of heat and humidity. It seems everyone is used to it or the A/C isn't working or something because I appear to be the only one on the verge of heat prostration. Once we get to the Dollar counter and try to get our car (which I reserved in 4 freakin' months ago!) we are informed that they have no more full-size cars. The girl did try to give us an upgrade.... to a PT Cruiser.

I don't know if you're familiar with these retro-style cars, but they have no trunk. Okay, technically they do have a trunk, however it's less than half the size of a normal car's trunk. I informed her that this was not acceptable and she freakin' argues with me! Besides the fact that we could never have fit our stuff in that trunk, I didn't feel comfortable driving that type of vehicle in a city that I had never been in before. So we waited... and waited... and finally got the type of car (Dodge Intrepid) that I wanted.

The whole thing reminded me of that Seinfeld skit: "I know you know how to take the reservation. You just don't know how to hold the reservation. And frankly the holding is the most important part of the reservation."

Once we left the airport, it was a short 25 mile drive to the Orange Lake Country Club and Resort. 25 years ago, my parents bought a couple of timeshare properties and my family has used them to go to places like the Poconos, Hawaii and Branson, MO. This is the first time I've ever been able to go along. Orange Lake is very nice with two full golf courses (the reason Mawk and Sharon came), seven pools (two with waterfalls and one with a waterslide) and oodles of wildlife (patience, I'll explain this one later.) We got checked in, thankfully without incident and went to find our new home. Since we didn't have any bags to unpack, we went grocery shopping. After procuring foodage, we called the airport again and found out our bags had been picked up by the delivery service and should arrive in two to four hours. Needless to say, we went to bed Sunday night without our luggage.

~ 6 coins donated

The Happiest Place on Earth

October 18, 2001

Since the redecoration of the castle seems to have run its course now, I figured I would put up some of the events from my vacation to the land of The Big Mouse (that would be Disneyworld in FL for those of you arriving on the shortbus). Now just so you don't lose track and get all twiddlepated, I have composed a helpful reference list for you, my beloved readers. Don't say I never gave ya nothing...

Me, myself and I = Your beloved host and Clanchief
CL = The ClanLad (my 6.75 year old son)
Mom = My mother (duh!)
UJ = My Uncle Jim
AC=My Aunt Carol
Mawk = Mark, my cousin's husband
Sharon = My cousin

And so, on with the story...

P.S. You can now see all the pictures (that were worth showing) here. I know I'm two weeks late with my vacation updates so what I'm going to try to do is write the update about what I was doing that day of the week while on in FL.


What are you going to do NOW?

October 6, 2001

I'm going to DISNEYWORLD!!!

That's right boys and girls, the Clanchief is off for a week to sunny Flor-ida with the Clanlad (and a bunch of relatives). Since I have no laptop, I'll be out of touch for until next Sunday. Hopefully I will have many pictures to post once I get back.

So until then, children, behave yourselves and no throwing wild parties in the castle while I'm gone!


MDRF Weekend the Sixth (AFR Invasion)

October 4, 2001

Well, I almost made gate. I was walking towards it when the cannon went off and car alarms protested. The cool weather thinned out the crowd some from previous weeks so I was able to walk directly in. On my way to the Dragon Inn, I stopped and got my faire brunch -- clam chowder in a bread bowl. With the temperature hovering around 60 that morning, the warm soup was just what I needed. I filled out my Secret Otter form (more on that later) and turned it in. I didn't even put any snarky answers down either. Oh like, for example, say in answer to the question about favorite body part. I could have written "Big Toenails" but I didn't. See? I can play nice!

I spent much of the morning just hanging around the Dragon trying to wake up and meeting people as they came to sign the Otter Guest Book. Danicia informed me of a Rogueing that needed to be done in the afternoon for a visiting Wench from CA. Once I heard who it was for, I eagerly agreed since I have been wanting to get my hands on her for ages. *ahem* Strictly in the spirit of Faire, you understand.


Anyway, about then the lovely Nicole showed up, sans Josh. We hung out in the Dragon for a while. So many new faces -- so many lovely lasses. I greeted and kissed on those that I knew. I noticed a couple that I would really LIKE to know *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* but figured they were out of my league anyway. It was getting later into the afternoon so I dragged Nicole off to shop. I picked up a couple of items for a Rose Hit later and then we headed up the Gatehouse Stage to catch Teatro performing Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew". (Excellent show! What timing! What daring acrobatics!) Just before the show, Ani brought over Anneliese, who made the spurious claim of having too much lipstick on and needing to get rid of it. Ever ready to offer assistance I graciously allowed her to cover my neck and face with kisses. Then, in the interest of being thorough, I bent her back and kissed her most soundly upon the mouth. *sigh* The things I have to do for my flock.

WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! I kissed Anneliese!! *ahem* Where was I?

After "Shrew" finished, Nicole and I waited near the gate for Josh. He had gone shopping for some new kilts at the Rockville G Street Fabric store. Now why he couldn't go during the week, I don't know. Once he arrived, the three of us headed back to the Dragon Inn for the aforementioned Rogueing. Since it was getting close to my time to guard the Meet and Greet Table, I made sure someone would be there in case the Rogueing went long -- which it looked like it would. You'd have to ask Kate or someone who counted noses to be certain, but I think there were about 20 of us. She swooned, she blushed, she shook, she laughed, she teared up. All in all I would have to say it was a pretty successful endeavor. Excellent work, Gentlemen.

I spent the next two hours sitting at the Meet and Greet Table, so there isn't really anything to tell about that. Once we cleaned off the table, I headed for the White Hart to catch the last of the Final Pub Sing. On the way, I found Sunni, Rusty and Sue getting their faces painted. Sunni and Rusty were done so I took a picture of them. Why they waited until 6:00 pm to do that, I don't know, but to their credit, they did leave it on all through dinner that night. After Pub Sing ended, everyone headed for the Hotel Otter or their respective Invasion Dinner restaurants. Several of us wanted to avoid the crowds and went to Mike's on Riva Road for seafood. There was much silliness and drawing on the table with crayons. Once we left Mike's, we proceeded to drive around looking for some kind of pharmacy. I needed drugs badly. We got back to the hotel around 11:30pm I think. I stayed up until almost 3:00 am crafting my "Secret Otter" letters for the next day. Hey, seduction takes time... *g*

I coughed and couldn't breathe for most of the night so I didn't get much sleep. Then I had to take Annette to BWI so I didn't get on site until after 1:00 pm. I ran into Godling, who was also running late, and Columbina with her Stupina marionette (See?? I didn't call her a puppet! *g*). I then headed for the Dragon Inn and sat down. At this point I was still kind of groggy from lack of sleep. I kept looking around for a rose person since I had my "Secret Otter" hits to send. Finally I found one, purchased the roses I would need, and set the hits on the Meet and Greet table. At this point, I still didn't know what my target looked like or where she was.

After some time spent flirting and chatting, Ani points out my "Secret Otter" (Mayven). Mmmm... cute and she's with Kate and another cutie (Celly). Then someone comes up and delivers my "Secret Otter" hit. It's a rose and piece of burgundy cloth. Hrrrmmm... do you have any idea how many people wear burgundy?!? I start looking around and just for fun hold up the cloth and compare it to Kate and her party's garb. They're all wearing greens, yellows and browns but I make a show of closely examining them. Then I notice the cloth that Mayven is using to cover her basket with. I make a comment about it sort of matching that.... then I stare harder and feel the texture, comparing the two. Suspiciously, I ask if I'm right and have I discovered my "Secret Otter"? Mayven says she doesn't know and I should examine it more closely. I start looking and finally she hold up the cut corner of the cloth. I place my piece against hers and it fits!

Oh, just stop it. All of you.... jeesh, a person can't even tell a simple story anymore without a parade to THERE.

I say "Yay!", hug her and do the "Secret Otter" Happy Dance. *g* We officially introduce ourselves and I inquire as to whether she's gotten her hit or not. When she answers no, I nonchalantly point out that I *thought* I saw something on the table with her name earlier. (Sneaky, ain't I??) She rushes off and collects her two letters, rose and bottle of Trask's Peach Mead. I watch from a distance as she reads the letters and then she comes back saying she has to go get help figuring out the clues.

About ten minutes later, she rushes up hugs me and calls me evil. :-) I guess she figured it out. While we're laughing about it, Kate and Celly joined us and wanted to go on the BIG slide. They asked if I would come along and take pictures or "catch us" as they put it. Naturally I eagerly volunteered. I mean, who am I to turn down three delectable wenches?!?

The four of us wandered over to the BIG slide and I waited at the bottom while they stood in line. Eventually they came down, one at a time of course, and I managed to snap a couple pics of each of them. We headed back towards the Dragon Inn and stopped to take pictures of the chapel. Kate said she would go over to the White Hart and grab some seats for Final Pub Sing, so the rest of us gathered our things and went to join her. I had been flirting with Celly so I made sure to sit next to her. (I think she made sure to sit next to me too. *blush*) The flirting continued throughout the show and at one point, Kate took a couple of pictures of us. Isn't she pretty?! And there was more kissing going on.

Everyone that was left from the Invasion went to an Italian restaurant near the hotel. I think we were the only people in there. The service was excellent and the food was wonderful. Still more kisses. People wandered from table to table. Lots of pictures were taken. Everyone turned to stare at Sunni (who was at another table) several times... I think to find out if it actually was possible to laugh yourself to death. *g* Just what WAS going on over there anyway??

After dinner, Kate, Mayven, Celly and I, Audrey and Renfoole, Danicia, Mercie and Rowland, Dave Lister and a couple others all went to Jim Noble's room for drinks and to wind down. Kate had been keeping a list of quotes all weekend but I think we doubled its size in the next two hours. It was close to midnight when everyone finally decided to head for their respective rooms. I had to work the next day, so I took the long drive home... after more kisses, of course. *eg*

Yeah, you could say that it was a very, very good weekend. :-)

~ 2 coins donated