Turning Memories Into Gold

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

So you told your kids what?

You know I started work when I was 12 years old.  My next door neighbor was a cop. He needed a shooker and a stacker to make boxes. We made grape boxes, juice boxes and lug boxes. In the spring, we made cherry boxes. I got paid $.25 per 100. I also have the paper route. I delivered 140 papers every morning except for Sunday. On Wednesday, I delivered more than on 40 merchandisers. My grades in school were high enough that I could apply for a working permit. I worked for a landscaper and yard maintenance company. I mowed lawns every day after school and on Saturday. I also assisted with any landscaping, sprinkler, or rock sales project my boss had acquired. I worked that job until I graduated from high school. I even had the honor of cutting my fingers off in a lawn mower. After high school, I went to junior college. My family had no concept of what college was. My father was the youngest of 14 children none of my aunts, uncles, cousins had ever going to college. I had one cousin who Afters high school went to work for the Alcohol Beverage Control. He did go to college and finally became the first in our extended family to graduate college. Why did I go to college did I have dreams of higher aspirations. Hell no! If you didn't go to college, you were drafted. But that even changed when they took away the 2S deferment. But I continued to work and go to school. I worked at a furniture store call the Breuners. Furniture jobs were union jobs. But they sold linens and housewares and lamp, books, and other things. I continued to work until I decided to go back to school. Every one of those jobs including making boxes SSI was taken out of my check. Do I have more than 40 quarters of contributions to SSI. Yeah! And a lot more. I didn't finish college the first time. The draft became a lottery the only thing that I ever won. I got on number. But I went back to college because I want to become a teacher. Maybe it was a generative thing. I taught for over 25 years. Most people think they know teaching because they went to school. But! It is not like anything you knew sitting at a desk. God! I wish at the end they would actually sit in there desks. Now call me a Pollyanna. I thought retirement was going to be good. Yeah I got money but I also have two kids in college. What about that Social Security you ask?  Oh I don't get any of that.  You're welcome more for you. What about tax-sheltered annuities? 911 2001 ! half of that was gone. Didn't recover when the stock market recovered. Fees and sleight-of-hand of the managers made sure of that. Just as things were starting to look doable, George Bush allowed his buddies in the banks and Wall Street to steal the treasury of United States. It was perfect extortion. Either bail us out and make us whole of we'll destroy the economy. My dad always said, "A man with a briefcase can steal more than a man with a gun."  There went everything that I owned and every dollar that I had was a chase to save the little I had. Sadly, it didn't work. See banks didn't own your loan. There were only by something called hedge fund managers. I'll tell you right now if I ever find one I'm in a beat the shit out of them. I guarantee they run in different circles for me. So I probably will never meet one. So now I might as well be a undocumented worker. I get to stay home all day and clean house and do dishes. Do I get to do the fun things that I thought I was going to do when I retired, bowling, golf, travel.  No I'm not so much. All that's be honest here were all friends, not at all. Who has money for travel with the cost of gas? I'm  going to turn 65 years old in a few short months and I'm the most miserable person on the face of the earth. I know nobody cares they have their own problems. But I'm letting you know there's no American Dream. Of course if you're hedge fund manager yeah you're dreaming of next year getting golden balls. Did you see the Wolf of Wall Street. So I hope that I have enough health to last me another 10 maybe 20 years. So I can become the most miserable fucking idiot on the face of the earth. So just one word of advice don't ask me how it's going.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Look Out Disneyland Here We Come 7B

The First Thing to Do

My son's first thought when you mention Disneyland.
Proper planning prevents poor performance they say.  Part of the fun in going to Disneyland is the planning. You go on the website and figure out your plan of attack.  Which of the parks to visit first?  Attractions fly in and out of your head. You find yourself playing the game I Got My Place.  Seasoned veterans that my kids are, having gone to Disneyland since eighteen months and every year after, They knew every nook and corner. They have remembered every change since 1998 positively.  I Got My Place is a game we as a family played when we were out to dinner or driving in the car. One person would announce they have their place and the rest of us took turns in sequence trying to guess.  The place had to be in four categories: attractions, entertainment, dining, and sights (statues, fountains, and golden spikes).  Your place could be in Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, or the Disney Resort Hotels.  It is only natural that when planning a trip I Got My Place would be the game to play to attaining what everyone wants to do first.

Dad is your place in Disneyland?  Yes. Is it Jungle Cruse?  Oh, you guessed it. You always start with Jungle Cruise, Dad.
Welcome aboard! 
You would think since Jungle Cruise was an original 1955 ride, it would remain old and mundane. Not so because Walt Disney knew that changes had to be made to keep guest coming back. He called it "plussing".  This attraction has had many changes except some of the jokes. Many captains have their own style and jokes for some of the features of the ride. However some are still the same for years and if they were changed or experimented with we guests would feel cheated. One would be "this is the famous Schweitzer Falls. Named for that famous African explorer, Albert Falls."  Then as you progress and come to the fall again they still use as does a least 90% of the boat, "Look to your left and you'll see the backside of water."  Finally there is the famous "Trader Sam, he's the head salesman here in the jungle.  He is having a sale, two of his heads for one of yours."
One simple ride, with lots to see.

Son? Son? You playing?
"Ok, my turn I got my place. Is it in Disneyland? Yes. Is it a ride? Yes.  Is it in New Orleans Square? No.  Is it in Tomorrowland? Yes. Is it Buzzlightyear's Astroblasters.  Yeah.
Emperor Zurg - You're Toast!
As a family we love this attraction.  The first time we rode it, we said that all new attractions should be interactive.  With video action games now firmly part of our children's world, this type of attraction places them into the action.  Honestly, adults enjoy the action the Astro Blasters gives.  It is a perfect Disney experience where the adults enjoy the attraction with their children.  Other newer "Dark Rides" like Winnie the Pooh, Little Mermaid, and sadly Monsters Inc., the adult can just "ride along,"  But other than knowing your child is happily in awe, the experience is not as enjoyable for mom and dad.  The storyline of helping Buzz Lightyear try to stop the evil Emperor Zurg is so exciting for the kids and interactive for the parents.  Plus there is the friendly competition to gain the higher score.  
Mom says the points aren't that imortant. Yeah but look at her score and you'll know why.

When your waiting in the queue, look at the map on the wall.  One of the planets has a continent that is a hidden Mickey.

Mickey, you are truly everywhere even out of this world.
Ok honey your turn.  Is it in Disneyland? No. Is it in Disney's California Adventure? Yes.  Do you get wet? NOOooo!  Is it on Paradise Pier?  Yes.  Is it Toy Story Midway Mania? Yes. 
This is another one of those attractions that allow the guests to be a participant in the action and storyline.  We have all lost our corndog money at a fair or a bazaar trying to win a midway game.  Here we get to immerse ourselves in the world of sentient toys playing games like breaking plates with balls and popping balloons with darts and ring toss.  Plus it is done in 3-D as you are transported from game to game.  

I've done my hand exercises and now I'm ready you hockey puck.
I got my place! Yeah, yeah, we should of let you go first.  You want a churro.  Dad, I thought we were doing rides.  We are, is it in DCA? Yes. Is it a ride you've ridden on? Yes.  Well, that leaves out Cars Land.  Is it Grizzly? Yes.

It's perfect for a hot day and on a cold night.
For the longest time the only ones who took a chance on this attraction were my son and I.  We rode it day and night hot or cold.  We have been splashed, swamped, and drowned by the geyser. We once rode it one night late and there was no waiting line.  We disembarked and then were allowed to re board.  We rode it eight straight times.  When we were done, we were soaked head to foot.  We rejoined my wife and daughter, who had walked to get a churro, showing them how soaked we were.  I walked over to the fencing on the other side of the trail took off my shoe and dumped the water.  It was late so we walked to the Grand Californian Hotel entrance and headed up to our room.  

The bumps, twists, turns, and of course the drenching.  Bring on the fun.
We finally got to get the girls to ride on it with us.  My wife was going to buy a poncho.  I said son, "What do we call people who wear Ponchos."  He answered, " Weak sucks."  My wife was concerned about only one thing.  She did not want to ride down backwards.  We came to the first drop and she was facing forward.  Anyone who knows the ride knows it spins before the drop.  I don't think she ever has gone down forward in the many times we have ridden it this ride.
The next blog post will be from the Disneyland Resort.  We will be looking for another fun family time.  With the kids getting older it will be a different adventure.  We will no longer have to set the agenda.  But there is a plus in that.  We spent many times at Disneyland before they were born.  I'm sure we'll remember what to do.  Peace to you all and see you at the parks.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Look Out Disneyland Here we Come 7A

Our long time friend standing proud
to welcome us home.

I have a life long friend.  He has a special place in our family.  His name is Mickey Mouse.  I joined his club, The Mickey Mouse Club, when I was a kid.  I watched the show every day after school.  It was both entertaining and presented you with knowledge.  My mom insisted we went to Disneyland in 1955.  We returned every year to see the changes, the evolution and the 'Disney Plussing'. As the years went by and I grew up I learned that my mother was a big Mickey Mouse fan.  She too grew up with Disney only in the theater.  She was born in 1928, the same year as Mickey. Because of this she felt a special kinship. We are going go visit this friend really soon. We are heading for the Disneyland Hotel for a weeks stay.  If you have read any previous posts, you will know we are collectors of Disney memorabilia.  Not just collectors but maniacal collectors.  When we leave for our vacation we have  a prominent Disney presence.  Matter of fact we have to raid the Harry Potter room (the cupboard under the stairs) for Disney items that we take on every trip. Over the years, we have gathered many items that we carry with us on Disney trips and also on other trips.  
So many snacks so little time

The case we use the most on our adventures is what we call the 100 Year Bag.  It was purchased from the Disney Catalog by my mother.  The bag was a commemorative of a 100 years of Disney Magic.  This is not a shoulder bag, it is like a carry-on sized bag.  We use it to carry all our snacks for all our trips.  It holds bags of chips and jars of salsa.  Boxes of crackers for my wife can be put in one of the many pouches.  It holds hot peppers and hot gairdiniera pickled vegetables all for dear old dad. Is it full yet? No, we have plenty of room for granola bars and candy for the twins. My mom got this bag for us when she ordered many Disney items monthly from the Disney Catalog.  She ordered so much she had her own private shopper with Disney.  She was considered a Best Guest
Bless you mom you gave us so much!

When we first begin to get ready to go to Disneyland, we gather up things that we need for our visit when we get there.  For dad and mom that means backpacks.  When the twins were babies and toddlers, the carrying of a backpack was easier.  It could hang on the stroller.  Later, we needed to carry it backpack style.  In 2001 when Disney California opened, we found a backpack we loved. It had adequate pouches to drive security people crazy.  It has water bottle pouches on both side. Plenty of space for sweaters when the weather changes. This portable home had one drawback, it could carry so much it could get heavy.  To compensate it had a lumbar waist belt to help distribute the weight on your hips. 
An oldie but a goody
The next backpack does not have as much space or as many spots for carrying stuff.  It is more compact.  This means you'll have to go back to the hotel for your coats and sweaters.  It doesn't have zipper pouches or dedicated spots for water bottles, but it is lighter. We also have the matching carry bag which is good to bring to the pool.  Since we like spending time at the pool when we spend summer days at the Disney Resort Hotels, we need an extra bag.
I love the Mickey representation
Been to the many pools of the Disneyland Resort.
At the Disney swimming pools they provide everything you might need except a suit.  Their towels are large and lush.  When the children were young and not strong swimmers, we were happy to find that Disney supplied floatation vests.  This allowed my children to enjoy the many Disney pools. The first was the Olympic sized pool at the Disneyland Hotel that was removed when the expansion and rededication of the area for Downtown Disney happened. They have enjoyed the Redwood Pool and the slide and the Mariposa pool at the Grand Californian Hotel.  Not to be left out the old Peter Pan pool at the Disneyland Hotel because of these flotation vests.  Now they can swim.  Like the Treasure of Sierra Madre, if you asked my twins it they needed a towel they would in unison, "Towels! We don't need no stinking towels!"  That is because they had always brought their favorite Disney character towels.  A Princess or Arial for my daughter and a Buzz Lightyear for my son were most often chosen.  Of course, they had to have a bag. They left their first bag at home and it was replaced in December of 2002.  The new bags hit the store marked with the date of 2003.  We had to get one.

The twin's pool bag.  Thank you Nonna.
Back about forty years ago, I bought a camera strap for my 35mm camera.  It was sturdy 1 1/2" strap.  This made it very comfortable because it was wide.  It had an elastic inner storage which held three film canisters for 35mm film.  I used it for a year or so.  The only thing I hated was the length.  Standard for the time when around your neck it located the camera in the middle of your chest.  The next year when I returned to Disneyland, I went to the Kodak Corner to purchase another identical strap.  I figured I would hook them together and wear the camera Bandelero style.  However, they did not carry the black and white, they were now red and black. so I bought it anyway. Those straps were the pinnacle of form fits function.  It has lasted 40 years and has been on three 35mm SLR's and three digital cameras.
1000 of pictures & 1000 of compliments.
Who goes anywhere without a computer.  So many places offering WiFi.  Disneyland Hotel offered in-room computer connection early on.  Back then it was supplied to your room via ethernet cable.  We have always carried a computer to stay in touch with sports scores, world news, and emails from friends.  Now we have iPhones, iPads, and four computers.  I have one of each of these items. I needed a case to carry them.  A very good friend gave me the best computer case ever.  Not only because it has space for the computer, iPad, and power cords, it is a Mickey case.  I carry this case with double pride.  First, the person who gave me this is as big a Mickey fan as me, and it reminds me of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland everywhere I go.  So many people comment on this carrying case.

Too cool for school, thanks Mrs A.
Does anyone remember the Fly n' Buy?  Yes, you got it.  This shopping area was located in Condor Flats in Disney California Adventure.  In 2001, I purchased the most obvious symbol of a a tourist, a fanny pack.  I bought this because it held Fast Passes, batteries, insulin, and Park Hopper or Annual Pass.  When the the twins were young, I carried all their Disney related items too.
Best fannypack ever!
Too bad I didn't leave some money in it.
The Harry Potter room has yielded those items essential for another trip to the Disney Resort.  We will be there next week at this time.  Have you ever, when you planned your trip, wondered what will be the first thing that you will do?  Well the next post, we will explore what the different individuals in our family want to do first at Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure.  Until then peace and we'll see you in the parks.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Look Out Disneyland Here We Come Seven

I am excited to say those magic words, "I'm going to Disneyland."  No, I didn't win the Super Bowl, but I am traveling to Disneyland again.   We were last there for the first event of its kind, 'The One More Disney Day'.  This happened on Leap Day, February 29th, 2012.  
My daughter's favorite day!
Congrats to my twins!
Other than the cold after midnight, the crowds, and long wait for the attractions because no Fast Passes, the entire day was pure Disney Magic.  Upon reflection, blogging about Disneyland and Disney collectibles has the biggest enjoyment for me.  Oddly,  Disneyland holds an important place in my and my family's lives.  Well guess what, we are preparing another trip.  The last time, I found the preparation was also fun to blog about.   Well, this trip has been planned since that last trip.  There were reasons for the delay between this up-coming trip.    

First, my twins graduated from high school in 2012.  Grad Night at Disneyland is a exciting time for a graduating teenager.  For my twins there were several extra special reasons that this trip to Disneyland was rewarding.  They got to go to Disneyland alone, without parental units, and they got to show their friends the park.  How did it delay a family trip to the Magic Kingdom?  
A.) Parents knew their children needed to spread their wings. 
B.) Graduation is an important right of passage
C.) The cost of two trips and all the cost associated with being a senior.
D.) All of the above.
Yes, any money that might have been allotted for a trip to Disneyland was spent.  

We all sat down as a family and discussed when we would we all be able to go back.  The summer of 2013 was agreed upon.  Now you think that would be easy, not.  We were now four individuals.  My son went to summer session at college. My daughter moved out of her dorm and got an apartment.  Luckily and happily, I retired so my calender was completely open.  
One of the best places to stay.

So with all the possible dates we knew it had to be the end of July.  Does anyone have August 2nd on your calender I asked?  A chorus of No's followed.  "No one?" I asked.  It's our anniversary.  Won't it be a great to be there.  So that was a pivotal date.  Imagine four people each with their computer looking up what they want to do.  My wife said, "I'd like to stay at the Grand Californian."  We have stayed there several times.  The kids said, "No, we want to stay at the Disneyland Hotel because we haven't been to the new pools."

The new pool, splash time soon.
My new camera will capture the kids on the new slides.

We discussed and it was settled,  Disneyland Hotel was going to be location of our stay.  Excitement was now set free.  Disney web site was flooded with requests just from our home.  We checked the new Early Entry benefit for hotel guests. Types of rooms were investigated.  Services were thoroughly checked on.  "Hey, Honey I said they say they have cabanas that can be rented by the pool."  "They have WiFi, flat screen TVs, refrigerator, and dedicated server." "We would not have to fight for an umbrella."  

She excitedly said, "It would be so great to spend our anniversary lounging by the pool."  It was settled, we would go over to DCA and Cars Land for Early Entry then my wife and I would return to the cabana and the kids could join us later.  We'll let you know what this experience was like.
Transformation by going back in time.
When we were last there, California Adventure was a maze.  Construction walls were everywhere.  This caused miles of walking to get from one place to another.  The new Buena Vista Street was all blocked off.  The top of the building that is the Carthy Theater protrudes above the scaffolding behind the new entrance.  Cars Land was not open so we knew we had to come back to see what they did to retheme the old California Adventure that opened in February 2001.  
Look at that! Look at that! Look at that Cadillac.
Beyond the ocean's pier rose and island, a new land.
The planning is done. The date is drawing closer.  I bought a new camera to take pictures to post and share.  In 2001, I bought a MInolta DiMage 7.  It was top of the line then but technology changes fast.  Now I have a much better camera.  I have gone to Disneyland yearly since 1955.  I have seen so many improvements and changes.  I was going to share my photos and experiences on MouseWait.  However, sometimes inexperience can lead an individual astray.  So those of you that follow me or this blog will need to monitor this site for updates.

We are getting everything we need: Bags, hats, fanny packs, and everything that we nee to make our successful.  All of our items are a Disney Product, we love Disney so much we take them everywhere. The next blog post will show those Disney items that are coming with us to the Disneyland Hotel and the Magic Kingdom.  See you there friends and acquaintances.

Previous Links:
Lookout Disneyland Here We Come Six

Lookout Disneyland Here We Are

Lookout Disneyland Here We Are! Leahttp://www.midasgoldstouch.blogspot.com/2012/03/look-out-disneyland-here-we-are-leap.htmlp Day.

This in Education Senior Trip

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Look Out Disney We Have Cookie Jars Christmas

Party and Holiday Disney Cookie Jars

Maybe you don't have royal blood running through your veins.  As kids we all hoped we were some lost child of a King, Prince, Duke or other royal noble.  Take the cottage tale Cinderella, a daughter of a noble family, brought low to the mere housemaid in her own home.  We all hoped the someone someday would whisk us away to a Royal Ball.  At that Ball, we were finally noticed for our sure grace and regalness.  Huge Royal Balls where everyone arrives in a glamorous coach with stately coachmen. Cinderella's Fairy Godmother changed a garden variety pumpkin into her coach that carried to the Ball and changed her life.  The Cinderella Coach cookie jar displays the elegant magical transformation of a mere squash to glorious coach meant for a Princess.
Get those glass slippers on and go!
Where is the Footman?
Where does the gilded coach go on the night of the royal ball?  We all the know to a castle.  As I have written before my wife and I have been drawn to a castle for over fifty years not Cinderella's Castle but Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the Disneyland park.  On the 45th anniversary, a special cookie jar was released.  It was of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  Other than Mickey Mouse this was one of my first collected cookie jars.  
Center of our lives and the Magic Kingdom.
The view from Fantasyland.
Let's storm the castle walls and rescue a princess.
No matter what side you look at, it's still home of a Princess.
The Tinker Belle's view
Pumpkins riped to a bright orange in a household garden scream one thing, fall.  As the days grow shorter and leaves shed their life giving chlorophyll revealing flamboyant colors whose only function is to provide beauty to us.  The air chills to provides that proverbial "frost on the pumpkin."  Yes, fall whose days are brightened by leaves and a special first holiday of giving in our family, Halloween.  How can you not have a Disney Halloween cookie jar.  Disney characters dressing up and popping out all over.  Mickey in his Fantasia Wizard Mickey attire.  A Dalmatian dressed as a lion king, and our favorite pixie Tinker Bell riding a broom as a witch.  When the Moon is new, I told my kids that it was the hidden Cheshire Cat.
Grab a cookie if you dare!
From pixie to friendly witch, Tink can do it all.
Halloween. over the years, has become a large holiday but not as big as that later winter holiday Christmas.  However, Halloween characters wanted to have a larger involvement in Christmas.  That was especially true for Jack Skellington.  In Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack's heart felt desires to bring the World something other than scaring.  He involves all the other characters in Halloween Town to create a Halloween- Christmas hybrid.

Jack and Sally, Halloween love.

Zero and shinny nose so bright.

Put on a happy face Mr. Mayor, Jack's back!
To accomplish this holiday Jack enlists Lock, Stock, and Barrel to kidnap "Sandy Claws."  The three greatest trick or treaters go from Halloween Town to Christmas Town to bag the old boy in the bright red suit.  But instead of taking Santa Claus back to Jack,  they take him to the Boogie Man, Oogie Boogie, in a walking bathtub.

World's most famous trick or treaters.

Where have they hidden Santa? 
There is Sandy Claws, as he is called.
Then we come to "the most wonderful time of he year," Christmas.  Christmas and cookies are synonymous.  How can any Disney fan not have Disney cookies jars?  There are some fanastis things about Christmas,  The Christmas tree, the surprise gifts wrapped in colorful paper, decorations adorning a snow covered house are some of the most enjoyable things.  What is better than going out on an early December evening and shopping for that perfect tree.  The right height and shape with no major flaws. The smell will fill your home with the pine scent throughout the entire month.  Then it is wrapped in colorful lights and keepsake ornaments and topped with a star.  The Disney Christmas cookie jar tree is also a green tree. Only it is being decorated by our old pal Mickey Mouse and some famous Disney movie friends.

"Deck them Halls"
"Ring them Bells"
A struggle to keep the cat from the tree.
Maybe a flying elephant to pull the sleigh?
Mickey already has gifts under his tree.  Gifts are some of the best things of the Christmas holiday.  Sitting there under a tree with a name tag attached that says someone took the time to buy you something that they thought you wanted or needed. You are drawn as if by magnetism to that box.  You inspect it carefully.  You sneak over and pick it up.  Checking the weight and sometimes daring to give it a small shake to see if it rattles.  The Disney cookie jar that depicts a wrapped present is full of surprises.

It's all under wraps, the best place to hide the cookies.

How do those ears fit with all the cookies?
I think that's Mickey?
Yeah there he is!
Get out the ladder and that ball of lights that spent the entire last year entwining itself into a Gordian Knot, and climb up and hang the lights on the house.  Our family loves to display an outdoor illumination spectacular.  Also we love to climb in the car grab a Starbucks coffee or hot chocolate and cruise the streets of town at night enjoy the displays of other celebrants.  Mickey's house also needs decorating.  
"Karen in the Gifts"
Late for the party, hurry up Goofy.
"Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?"
Why does he think the chimney will get him in?
Christmas is tradition around the world and in our home.  When a couple gets married, they register for all manner of gift suggestions.  China pattern are often included.  My wife, whose birthday is close to Christmas chose the Lennox pattern Holly.  Over the years we have added to this collection.  Disney also has Disney characters in Christmas images on Lennox china.  Of course there is a Disney Lennox cookie jar.  

A elegant Disney cookie jar.
A Christmas Message.
Great filled with Fattigmann Bakkels!
This is the last of my cookie jars.  It has been a pleasure to share them with you.  The Disney cookie jars post continue to get hits every week.  This why they remain at the top of the popular posts selections.  If you are curious about these cookie jars please check these previous links.

To all of you from all of us Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Peace to the World.