Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Walt Disney World Day 1: Animal Kingdom

Annie and I just took a week-long trip to Florida.  In general, we don't support the state of Tim Tebow & Urban Meyer, but Annie had never been to Disney World.  She's been to Disneyland about as many times as you've ever gone to the grocery store.  So, she wanted to compare the two.

Anyway, the trip consisted of 4 days at a Disney World Resort, the Caribbean Beach Resort, and a park hopper for all four days, then 2.5 days with my aunt & uncle, who just retired to Ft. Myers.

When I hear the words "Animal Kingdom" in reference to Disney World, I honestly only have one ride in mind:  everyone piled into a jeep driving through the back lot of a zoo.  Apparently, the park was built around this concept.  The ride I'm describing, Kilimanjaro Safaris, is hands-down the coolest ride there.  Annie really liked the roller coaster, Expedition Everest, but I wanted the encounter with the Yeti to be way scarier.  We both enjoyed the Lion King show, too.

At Animal Kingdom, we also rode the shittiest ride of the four days.

Annie was excited that her Home was the top destination.

I was getting hot & thirsty, and I knew alcohol was going to be the only thing to help me survive the trip, so I was dragging Annie to the bar inside the park.  On the way there, we stumbled upon a South African wine tasting.  Nothing says ~RoB like wine tasting.  So we both did it, and it was really fun, and it was pretty good wine.  I'm changing my mind.  Wine tasting was the best ride in Animal Kingdom.  They only do it in Animal Kingdom for the month of June, and it's only 4pm to close.  The coolest thing we found was Jam Jar, a sweet Shiraz.  Highly recommended, check it out.

We ended the day with a ride on Kali River Rapids, which is a shittier version of Thunder Canyon, for all you Cedar Point buffs out there.  I got more wet than I wanted to.  Especially since we were heading to Cat Cora's new restaurant at the Boardwalk*, Kouzzina.  The food was great, the atmosphere is always fun when there's an open kitchen, and the amount of food we got was more than we could handle.

We rode a ferry from there to Hollywood Studios, where we showed up 5 minutes late to Fantasmic.  This was one of my surprisingly favorite things about Disneyland, and it held up at Disney World.  We were going to take advantage of a bunch of rides since it stayed open later for Resort dwellers, but the lines were still ass-long.  We snagged the Little Mermaid show, which sucked almost as much as Primeval Whirl.  That's sad, cuz Ariel is smokin' hot.  We got to ride the Star Wars simulator, then we went home to pass out, which finally happened at 2am or so.

Fuck is it hot & humid right now in Florida,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Granny's Eulogy

If you haven't heard, Granny passed away this past week.  I can't say I was surprised, after seeing her about 3 weeks ago (for her 70th birthday) and understanding the frequency of hospital visits over the past 3 years.  Everyone said she was in such a great mood when she went to bed.  She didn't make it to morning.

I was asked to give the eulogy.  Y'all should know that I'm very un-emotional, or at least, I hide them.  This was the big chance to see what I was made of.  Could I keep myself together and deliver a good speech?  Apparently not.  This is what I wrote.  What actually came out was a shaky, emotional mess.

Granny is the short one in the middle.
"I’m pretty sure that I’ve yet to spend more time with any other person on this Earth compared to the amount of time that I spent with my Grandmother, or as everyone knows her, “Granny”. She certainly had her faults and her addictions, but she almost single-handedly molded me into the person I am today.

She washed every dish I ate off until I was 18. No automatic dishwasher, just her hands.

She washed every piece of clothing I wore. That made my first week of college awkward, when a girl from down the hall found me searching for the lint trap on the washing machine. For those who are currently spoiled like I was, the lint trap is actually on the dryer.

She picked out this very jacket, which is so comically over-sized and out of style that I had to wear it one last time for her.
She was the lady that sliced every single grape in half when I complained about there being seeds in them. She cooked me a grilled cheese for almost every meal I can remember growing up, regardless of what she actually made for dinner.

She left seeds of herself in every aspect of my life. I ended up choosing to play the trumpet after her stories of playing one in the Salvation Army Band with her siblings.

She couldn’t help with my homework, but she made me sit down and finish every homework assignment before I could go outside. She forced me to do as well as I could in school, knowing how bright a future I had in front of me.

She taught me how to read people. She could look out her window and tell you exactly what everyone in town was doing.

She taught me not to count anybody out, regardless of their size or how smart I think they are or how much money they have. One scratch-off could change everything.

You always talked about how you wanted to see and know everything that I was doing, from the slopes at Lake Tahoe to the lights of Times Square. Well, now you’ll have the best seat in the house, for you will be with me everywhere I go, for the rest of my life. And in 70 years or so, we’ll meet up & talk about it.

I’m sure I speak for the whole family in thanking you all for coming to celebrate Granny’s life and wish her well on her new journey. Every person gathered here today has many stories to share about her, from driving around on her riding mower to partying 'til the wee hours. Hold those happy moments close when the times get difficult.

She always loved surrounding herself with Angels. Now she can become one. Up there raising hell with Uncle Rusty."

No amount of college education can prepare you for a speech like that.  You also can never really feel like you have enough time to write one.

Thank you all for your support over this past week.  She raised me almost all by herself, so her death will definitely have a lasting impact.  If you want to help, the best thing you can do for me is leave your favorite story about her below or on my Facebook wall.  It could be one that happened to you, or just one that you remember from me.

Sandra "Granny" Holdiman