A Room Full

It has been quite a while since I posted.  A LOT has happened but yet a lot still stays the same.  Let me fill you in on a few details…

I had a major surgery about 18 months ago and I stopped wearing my ears everywhere.  I honestly did not want people staring at me because I in pain and just grumpy.  There is a certain expectation about friendliness when you wear the ears.  BUT then the last month I really want to start wearing them again.

On September 1, 2017 I will begin wearing them again.  Everywhere except church and church type functions and anything where it would be obviously disrespectful.

Here is a couple pictures of my living room.  As my collection grew I was finding it difficult to display them nicely.  One day I said to my husband, “I would like to make my ears look like pieces of art.  I think I would like to frame them.” The idea of shadow boxes was born.  I really like the look of them.  I made it so I can just take them off the wall for easy wearing.  I started with 20 ears and made 20 shadow boxes, however my collection is well over 20 ears, that is just the headband kind.

A little bit about my collection.  I don’t just buy any ears with a Disney Parks logo.  I need to like them or they need to have meaning for me.  Some of the newer, “puffy” bow styles, I am not a fan of.  But there are others where I can not collect them fast enough.

In upcoming posts, I thought I would share with you the story behind each pair.  Just like the mouse ears you may have at home in your closet, they tell a story of how they came to be there.

Disney Night at the Ball Park

The other night my daughter Kate and I went to a #stpaulsaints baseball game. Right off the bat (no pun intended) we found great parking for $5 at union depot (2 short blocks away) and payed for 2 $7 standing room tickets (which allowed us to stand anywhere in the concourse area). 
We wandered around for a little bit and when the game started we ended up in front of a handicapped section. The very nice security guard offered seats to us in the padded handicapped chairs, with the knowledge that if those seats were needed by someone handicapped, we would vacate the super cushy chairs. Our feet and our backs thanked her. We were in the section along the third base line and had a great view of the field. 
We attended the game because of the evenings theme (princesses/Disney). We wanted to fit in with all the like minded Disney fans. Only one other person we found was wearing mouse ears, but we saw lots of little girls wearing princess costumes and young women wearing tiaras. 
Some of the between inning entertainment was dressed as “Disney princesses”. They were engaging and entertaining for the fans. 
We got the usual stares, whispers, and inconspicuous points regarding my mouse ears that we’ve grown accustom to. There was one bold gentleman who had a friend who wanted to hear about the ears. After the explanation about the blog and why I do it, he had me sign his friends shirt. So technically that was my first autograph. He does not truly know the value of that shirt. My goal is in 2 years to see the shirt on eBay. 
All in all it was a great night. Shout out to the #stpaulsaints and all the staff we encountered for an exceptional, accommodating, and family friendly experience that could fit any budget. 
Enjoy the pictures! 

I got mail!

Okay, so this is so exciting I can barely contain myself.  I feel like I just broke the rules and didn’t get caught.

I was due for a new drivers license this year.  So, of coarse I wait until I go to my salon to get the photo taken.  (What good woman doesn’t)  As I drive up to the DMV I wonder if I can get my picture taken with my ears on.  So I put them on in the car and confidently walk into the office.  Fill out paper work and then wait.  Once it is my turn I casually walk up to the counter and then proceed to pay and now it’s time for the photo.  The lady looks at me and asks if I wanted the photo with the ears on.  (phesh, she doesn’t know me well)  I said yes.  She takes it after conferring with someone. She them proceeds to tell me that they check everything at the state level so they will reject it there.

Then today, I GOT MAIL!

Have a wonderful day.  By the way, I am committed to this now!

The Worst New Year’s Resolution EVER!

Okay, believe it or not I am still at this.  I DO wear my Ears everywhere still.  However I am horrible about blogging about it.  So I thought to myself, “great, that’s my New Year’s Resolution!”  Well did you look at today’s date…January 8th.  I can’t even keep up with that!  YIKES.  Time to move on and let you know a couple of fun stories.  (That is one advantage of not blogging for a while, I have lots of them)

Since I last blogged I have made my way to Florida and Walt Disney World.  That was fun, I managed to fit right in and it didn’t seem all that abnormal to be wearing the Ears everywhere.  I was really looking forward to getting some new sets however when I went into the store, it was more of seeing all the ones I did have.  I found only one new pair there.  I did have to replace by “go-to” black and red sequined pair.  The stitching was coming off one of the Ears.  Who knew you could wear them out.  I went to grab a pair off the shelf at the store and tried it on and guess what:  They didn’t fit right.  I tried a second and third pair and each was a little off.  So I took all the ears off the display and laid them out to examine them.  I found the Ears to be very different from Ear to Ear.  Some were spaced differently, some were sewn with them tilted too forward, some were just too flimsy.  Who knew it would be so difficult.  After about 45 minutes I selected the best one and left the store.

Trying to find the “perfect Ears”

I need to give a “shout out” to the girl at the Aeropostle store at the MOA. She was excited to be a part of the experience!

I also have something upcoming where there is a gentleman who is so excited to be a part of “My Year in Mouse Ears” that he has written to me already.

Let me explain: My family and I are going on a Caribbean Cruise the first week of February.  We are doing our own independent shore excursions.  On a recommendation from my friend she suggested we contact “King David” for our excursion in Belize.  She had nothing but great things to say.  So I did.  His pre-arrival service and communication has been great.  I asked him if he knew who would be our guide for the day (I realize we are a month away however I am as bad as my worst client when it comes to this stuff) his reply was this;  “Angela, I will be your guide. … I am looking forward to serve you. i am looking forward to  Be part of my year in mickey Mouse Ears. cheers…”  Made me smile.

All in all we have had a great couple of months.  I look forward to sharing about the Christmas Day Parade on ABC because that was truly funny.

For those of you wondering…today is day 471!  WOW

At Walt Disney World watching the coolest parade EVER “Festival of Fantasy”

Day 328 – Are you Kidding ME?!

Can you believe it, Day 328.  WOW.  I always forget to update this.  Anyone know a good social media person who will work for free, maybe the occasional pixie dust?

Over the past weekend I had the opportunity to fully explain the EARS to some people.  They didn’t understand why I do it.  After a really long explanation, we were at brunch so I had plenty of time if I was willing to pause for trips to the buffet, they got it.  I even will go so far as to say they admire me for doing it.

So the next question I asked myself, Why WOULDN”T you do it?

I have come to realize that it does take a certain boldness in wearing them.  For instance you have to assume when you walk into a room every one is staring AT you, not past you, or at your friend, but YOU.  That doesn’t bother me anymore, it use to.  I was really self aware of it.  Now I think nothing of it.

The other thing you must be aware of is how you react when people approach you with comments.  I have talked previously about the comments I get so I won’t re-hash them here, but the one that my inner Disney Side does end up screaming at is the signing by adults.  They think they are being cute, but no they are not.  I smile and move on, but on the inside I am very unhappy.

I never realized how my reaction to things gets judged.  Not just with EARS either.  I have learned to be very intentional with my reactions.

Well we are soon approaching the one year mark.  I can hardly believe it.  between you and I, I do not think I am going to stop wearing them.  I am looking forward to wearing the Halloween ones in October, the Birthday one on my Birthday in November, and the Christmas ones in December.

This picture isn’t the best but my friend Joan surprised me and bought me a pair that I didn’t have, which is hard to do.  The best part is I have several shirts that match them.  Also they are VERY comfy, because not all Mouse EARS are made the same.  (Disney can contact me directly if they want advise.)

Final thoughts as we head home – Day 10 (A trip report)

I loved Norway.  There were so many great things about the trip, it is hard to put them all down. Just as I finish a thought, three more are begging to be told.  I hope you enjoyed reading my trip report as much as I have loved recalling all the details.

Here are a few more miscellaneous pictures that I wanted to share but did not want to overload the daily trip reports.

Just so dang pretty everywhere we turned.

Cody and Alisa – the best jumpers around!
Mike and Colleen Fjording

The Chicago Crew – the crew from Windy City Live

The stream in Geiranger

A great picture of the lock on a door

At first odd–most buildings in the villages have “green” rooftops

I thought their ambulance looked smaller than ours

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you.  Thanks to Storybook Trips for helping with details of Adventures by Disney!

Oslo here we come! – Day 9 (A trip report)

Waking up in Oslo was both exciting and a little draining.  Up until now we had spent the week in small, quaint villages, nothing near the bustling city of Oslo.  We showered and dressed and met Mike and Colleen for breakfast.  Oh my goodness, it was a buffet to behold.  So we got our fill and headed out.

Breakfast buffet at the Grand Oslo
Hot items on the breakfast buffet at the Grand Oslo
First stop was the Viking Museum.  To get there we would need to take a ferry, which due to some misunderstanding we were very early for.  We had gotten an Oslo card which gave us free public transport and free museum entry.  So off we went via ferry.  It was a short ride of about 15 minutes.  Once there we just followed others who seemed to know where to go.  About a 1/2 mile walk–uphill, we found the museum.  All in all it was very interesting to learn that the vikings were buried in their ships with their treasures, much like the Egyptians in their pyramids.  Not many treasures were left due to looters, but the remaining ships were surprisingly intact for their age.

Viking Ship Museum
Viking Ship Museum

After the museum, we took two public buses to get to the Vigeland Park.  Since nobody knew what this was, I nicknamed it the “Naked People Park” which rolls off the tongue much easier than Vigeland Park and pretty much describes it.  The Park was very well kept and had many sculptures.  I had fun posing in front of them hiding the swimsuit areas with my Ears to make the photos more family friendly.  Since I couldn’t find any names of the sculptures anywhere, I will improvise.

“Dad kicking the kids” sculpture
“Stressed out Woman” sculpture
“What are you looking at” sculpture
“Dad swinging the kid after he survived the kicking” sculpture
“Jazz Hands” sculpture
“I’ll itch your back if you itch mine” sculpture

Please realize I found this fascinating.  It really was amazing to see all these in detail and in various poses–some that caused you to wonder how it balanced).  So please don’t misunderstand the humor in this, it was amazing to see it all – even if it was quirky.

Since our next destination was to be zip lining, we needed to get to the Metro (subway/train) for that. On the map it mentioned that it was just two stops away, I said, “Let’s Walk,” thinking how far can it be?  It was about 3/4 to a mile. So once we got there, we were glad to wait on a bench 7 minutes for our train.  Our destination: Holmenkollen, the ski jump in Oslo.  It was just a quick 10 minute train ride and a hefty uphill walk from the train station.

At the bottom of the Holmenkollen

At the top of the Holmenkollen

Once we got to the top Colleen and I decided to let Mike do the zipline, and we would just watch. John would take pictures to capture it all for us.    I liked this plan, Colleen liked the plan, John liked the plan, and Mike LOVED the plan, because he was the one who had wanted to zip line.  We waited patiently for his turn and saw him go down snapping a few pictures.

Mike “flying through the sky” zip lining 

After this it was about 2:00 pm and time for lunch.  We headed back to the city center to a pub called the Scottsman. We had a good meal and were all pretty tired.  Mike and Colleen had a really early start in the morning. So we said goodbye to them, and John and I went exploring.  We found a couple of stores to buy souvenirs; we saw a park where they had set up a HUGE outdoor screen so people could watch the wold cup; we found a Franklin D. Roosevelt statue, and watched the crews take things down from the public concert the night before–lots of interesting things to see.

For dinner John and I ate at a pizza place across the square from the hotel.  This was one of my favorite interactions from others in Oslo.  We were seated at a table by the window so we could people watch.  As a result we had to walk through almost the whole restaurant.  As we were seated, the table next to us were talking in Norwegian.  All of a sudden in the middle of the Norwegian, I heard “Mickey Mouse”, and that’s when I knew they were talking about me.  I wish I could have video’d it, because I still grin as I write about it.

Table over my shoulder talking about me.

We took a few pictures after dinner, and then off to bed, as tomorrow we would head home.  I am beginning to miss the kids and the house a little at this point.

In front of the Grand Oslo hotel

Norwegian Farm Life – Day 7 (A trip report)

Today we woke to low hanging clouds.  I tried to capture it from the hotel room, but you get the picture.

The low hanging clouds in Geiranger

It was raining today.  We really can’t complain much as today has been the only day when our scheduled activity would put us in the rain.  Up until now, all inclement weather has been when we were transferring from one place to another.  Today we are to visit Westeras farm.  We could hike there from the hotel, it is just a “15 minute hike up the hill,” said Kira (who, thanks to our walk to Geiranger, we know measures time differently than our own walking speed) or we could take the provided transportation.  I readily did the later. Rain and uphill just didn’t sound appealing to me.

View from Westeras Farm.  Our hotel is toward the bottom of the hill.

At the farm we met Arnfinn Westeras, owner of the farm.  He showed us a fascinating way they gather and chop the hay and such for feed for their animals. He also told us how they tend to the animals when they are in the hills.

Arnfinn Westeras showing how they cultivate the feed for the animals.
Arnfinn Westeras showing his farm

Since it was raining we had the option of going to find the animals on a “quick 5 minute hike” or we could wait inside.  John turned to me and said, “I know what wet dog smells like, I can only imagine what wet sheep and goat smell like.”  So we went inside.  As it began to clear, I did venture out to see the animals.

Lunch consisted of a very traditional Norwegian meal–soup, either meat soup or seafood soup.  I had the broth of the meat soup, but it was too salty for my taste.  Then we had traditional Rommegrot (sour cream porridge).  I tried it, but that was enough for me.  I am not a fan of sour cream to begin with, and with it being warm, it was just too much.  They did have butter, brown sugar, and raisins you could embellish it with, but I decided my best bet was to politely decline.

Once back at the Union Hotel, we had the afternoon free.  John and I opted to look at the car museum they had at the hotel.  It gave a great history of Geiranger and the tourism industry there.  From very early on, tourism has been prominent.  Locals would take ship’s passengers in the valleys, first in horse and carriages, and then in cars.  When they made the transition to cars it was tough finding ones that worked properly in the hills; the transmissions took quite a beating.

One of my favorite pictures of the trip, getting ready for dinner.

Dinner was wonderful.  It was a BBQ in a small traditional building just outside the back of the hotel.  Very good food, atmosphere, and conversations.  For dessert we got to make out own traditional pancakes, which is a Norwegian dessert.  Don’t confuse Norwegian pancakes with Swedish ones, Norwegians are fluffy.

The traditional building where we had dinner

Inside for our private dinner BBQ
Making Norwegian Pancakes

It was rather late after dinner, though the sky would indicate otherwise, so we just went to bed.

Back to City Life – Day 8 (A trip report)

This is another travel day.  Truth be told, I was dreading this on many levels. The first was that I wasn’t feeling great, nerves mostly, but the thought of the curvy roads were the thing that was most dreadful.  As soon as I got on the bus, that was confirmed.  Nothing I could do would calm my tummy down, so I attempted to sleep.

Waiting on the bus to make sure I got a good seat.

The plan was to take the bus to Lom for a quick break and then onto Otta train station where we would board the train to Oslo.  In Lom the guides had a treat for us, they went to a bakery and got everyone rolls to enjoy the rest of the journey to Otta.  There was also a stave church on Lom.  John saw it and could report on it, I did not.

Lom Stavechurch
View form the village of Lom

Once off the bus and at the train station, my world was looking much better.  We got out for some photo ops.  At this point in the trip we knew everyone and were very comfy with others.

Getting photo bombed by Pam Hailey

Never having traveled by train, I did not know what to expect.  It was a lot of fun and very scenic.  I had the opportunity to talk with others about the trip.

John and I on the train

Once in Oslo we stayed at the Grand Oslo hotel.  This was the part I was most looking forward to.  This hotel is the one where the Nobel Peace Prize people stay every year.  It is centrally located, being across the street from parliament and about 2 blocks from the palace.  The lobby was smaller than I anticipated, but it was so beautiful.

Once checked into our room we had a few hours to venture off.  We walked outside the front door and there were about 25 teenage girls hanging out there.  Apparently the Norwegian equivalent of Justin Bieber was staying at our hotel.  Consequently we had to go through the crowd of girls every time we went into or out of the hotel all day.  (On a side note, those that stayed on his side of the hotel were privileged to hear their screaming at all hours of the night after the concert.)

The crowd of girls outside out hotel in Oslo

Dinner here was in a private room, where we were treated to traditional Norwegian dancers.  I was apprehensive at first, but it turned out to be very fun.  They showed us several traditional dances and then we all participated in one.  A great way to remember the “Adventure” part of the trip.

The traditional Norwegian dancers

After this, we all took pictures with each other and promised to stay in touch and share photos.

Team Awesome – John, Angela, Alisa, Cody, Colleen and Mike

Then John and I headed back to our room.  We started making a plan for the next day and I had a question for the front desk.  While there, I found Colleen and Mike also making plans for the following day.  Since our “official” tour was done, we had an entire day in Oslo; they also stayed another day.  We
decided to hang out together and see some sites. Something about zip lining was mentioned and agreed to, but I’m not sure….
Off to bed with visions of free falling.

The Freshest of Fish – Day 6 (A trip report)

This morning was one I was looking forward to, although it turnout out to be something unexpected. We went to a village called Loen and went to Loen Lake where we had what Kira called, “A family picnic morning”.  That meant there were lots of activities for us to take part in whenever we liked as we were to spend a few hours there, and were also having lunch at this location.  You had the choice of fishing, canoeing, rowboat, playing cards or just enjoying the scenery.

We choose to go fishing first.  Well, it was net fishing, and not what I was expecting.  A little disappointed, I boarded the boat with the others in Team Awesome and out we went.  Our driver told us that Lake Loen is the only lake in Norway where you do not need a license to fish; it is very well stocked with trout.  They catch over 2500 there a year.  Our lunch today will be trout that is caught in the morning.  Wow, that’s about as fresh as you can get!

Once are arrived at the nets, people took turns bringing the fish in from the net.  I did not.  I was more than happy to just admire those doing it.

Alisa getting the fish from the net

After a few minutes we went back to the dock so another group could go out.  John and I choose to stay ashore and visit with others verses going canoeing or row boating.  We were also able to watch some others attempt to get the perfect jumping photo.  That was very entertaining.

At Loen Lake

Lunch was at a restaurant called Kjenndalstova and it was very good, again fresh fish, although I must confess, once I had to dig all my own fish bones out, I was a little less then thrilled.  Yet the food was tasty.

Fresh trout for lunch

On the way back to the hotel from, we stopped at Briksdalsbreen, the Briksdal Glacier.  We rode up the path on little 4×4 type vehicles.  From the top of the path there was still about a 1/2 mile hike to the glacier. Once we arrived, we had special boots, helmets, and life vests to get on since we were going to paddle out to the glacier.  This was fun–for a bit.  Our guide wasn’t the best at telling stories to keep us interested.  Again, team Awesome was in the raft.  About halfway though the tour Alisa noticed that she was sinking a little closer to the water than any of us.  We mentioned there might be a hole in the raft but it was dismissed.  But by the time we made it ashore, Alisa had been sitting on her legs completely, and they fell asleep. So as she tried to exit the raft–she fell in!  She was wet from the waist down.  Poor thing.

Briksdal Glacier
Another waterfall and our transport vehicle up to the glacier
Then we went back on the coach to get to our ferry.  We were going to take the ferry back to Geiranger.  (I was smiling and jumping for joy as that meant no more curvy roads for the day.)  Once on the ferry, we settled in. The weather had turned, and it started to rain on us, not to mention it was cold out on the deck. The scenic highlight of this portion was the “Seven Sisters Waterfall”.  There is a spot in the fjord where there are 7 waterfalls clustered together.  This is a landmark which is known throughout Norway and the world. 

Seven Sisters Waterfall

Directly across from the Seven Sisters there is another waterfall called the Suitor.  Legend had it the Suitor is trying to “woo” the Sister with a bottle of wine.  If you look closely you can easily see the bottle, I was impressed it was so well defined.

The Suitor

Back at the hotel, we had an evening out on own for dinner.  We knew from yesterday that I was not going down to town–well I would go down, I just wouldn’t come back up.  We priced the buffet we had eaten at last evening, and it was priced at $80.00 per person.  So that was out as well.  We opted for the Lobby Bar food. It was a great choice.  A Chicken Caesar Salad, (with Bacon!) and a side of french fries.  So yummy, and just right.  Since dinner was leisurely, we had a chance to visit with others. And we went to bed afterward.