Impending Lemons?

I had a horrible dream last night, in which some unknown evil person broke off all the branches of my little lemon trees. Although I guess as far as bad dreams go, that’s pretty tame. Nevertheless, this morning I went out to make sure my little friends were all right.

Trouble the cat accompanied me out onto the balcony, as always. She loves it out there, even though she’s the one who’s afraid of most people. On the flip side, Commie the social butterfly is terrified of the deck. He’ll stick his head out the door and sniff the great outdoors, but he won’t come out.

Anyhoo, the Meyer lemon looks great here. And hark, what’s that?!

One of my little buds has gone full blossom! And it smells fantastic. It would appear that not all flowers become fruits; in fact, relatively few do. But a girl can always hope.

Meanwhile, the Eureka lemon tree looks lovely, but not a bud so far. It would appear that Eureka is the lemon most commonly sold in grocery stores, while Meyer has a thinner skin and is slightly sweeter (possibly a cross between a lemon and an orange).

On a competely different topic, we partook of Taco Tuesday at the new Tijuana Flats nearby. As opposed to the one we used to live near, I really liked the mural painted on the wall.

Zombies and pirates and skeletons. It was fairly awesome.

And the tacos were great, too.

Photodump: Disney, Ducks, Dinner

We have some visiting guests this week, which meant voyaging out to a couple of Disney parks. Always nice to have a reminder that when you’re outside for a while in Florida in August, it’s REALLY HOT. Scott got a little pink on top of his head. But fun was had by all. (He actually beat me at Toy Story Midway Mania for the first time EVER.)

We saw the Cowboy Woody doll in a couple of places. But next to Jessie, it made a packaging peculiarity even more perplexing: why does Jessie get to wear her hat, while Woody has to straddle his? Awkward.

I was first drawn to this Tinkerbell because of her oddly stiff and large dress. Then I fell in love with her thousand-yard stare. I knew Tink was a little cray-cray in the head, but don’t let this one near a knife.

I think this Disney hotel is taking the penny-smashing machine trend a little too far. It’s like a mini-Vegas, but the only thing you win is a smooshed coin. Though to be fair, half of these machines were quarter-smashers. Which seems like a waste of a good quarter, if you ask me.

In other central Florida news, were you aware that we don’t do emissions testing on our vehicles?

That’s right — your vehicle can spit out as much stink and smoke as it likes; we won’t make you fix it. After all, the winds blow everything out to either the ocean or the gulf so fast, we don’t have to worry about pollution!

Yeah, it kind of disturbs me, too.

But the wildlife flourishes nevertheless. Remember the ducks from a while back? They’re getting bigger! And it turns out we have at least TWO families of ducks here at our apartments.

These were part of a crew of about a dozen. I think there were two mother ducks in the group (I believe the farthest-right duck in this picture is a mom) and ten or so slightly-smaller ones. And if you make the right kissy-sounds, they come waddling right up to you. Then they see that you’re not offering any food, and they stalk away in a huff.

Ah, an excellent segue into the topic of food:

We visited our beloved Texas de Brazil last night, because we finally got our anniversary 2-for-1 coupon. (The anniversary itself is Wednesday the 17th, by the way. 15 years. Unbelievable!) The food was fantastic as always. This was just the trip to the salad bar — fried cheese, bacon, salami, shrimp, salmon, artichoke, and some potatoes. And a bowl of the lobster bisque, which may be my favorite soup in the world. Don’t worry, I also wolfed down some sausage, filet mignon, flank steak, and parmesan pork loin.

Although I have to admit, the bacon on the salad bar was a little too … even.

Ah, that sounds better.

Last but not least, and completely unrelated to anything, I found this in the Target “1 Spot” section.

Pardon me while I turn my rant on. THAT’S NOT A MACE! THAT’S A FLAIL! ARRRGGHHHH!

Ah, better. They also had giant axes, also made of this fake Nerf stuff. Part of the “baby’s first LARP” line or something, I guess.

Fortnightly Update & Photodump

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve posted. Ack! It’s been a hustle-bustle fortnight here at the House of Meyer.

Workwise, I’ve just finished a week of training for my actual job. If you’ll recall, I’ve been doing some basic greeting and luggage-hefting until they had a classroom session available. I only had to wait a month and a half to start my actual training, which is apparently fairly fast. The five days of training consisted of one day of learning the two software programs, then four days of doing the job while under supervision. I’m sure I’ll still have lots of little questions here and there, but I have the gist down. I start doing the actual job tonight, although I don’t get to do the classroom learning until tomorrow, so I may only have half of the software I need available tonight. We’ll see. Three people do the job at the same time, so at least I’m not being thrown in all alone.

Since I have no seniority, it looks like I’ll be mostly working nights. I don’t mind it so much, except that Scott works mornings. We get to re-bid for schedules every 6 months, and I just missed the bids when I started, so hopefully in 4 months or so we’ll be able to figure out a way to see more of each other and maybe share a day off.

Medically, I’ve been down with a cough and some stuffiness. I’m also going next week to a brand-new gastroenterologist, hopefully one who actually listens to me and doesn’t treat me like an idiot. With any luck, he’ll agree to let me stop the double-dose of immunosuppresants, and go down to one for maintenance. Also with luck, he won’t make me wait two hours to be seen or make me cry or tell his staff what a pain in the ass I am when I’m standing right around the corner, like the old guy.

Scott’s getting ready for some medical whatnot of his own, although I don’t know for sure if he’s said anything to the general public yet. I’ll just say that he’s going to have a procedure done soon that I had done when I was five, and after he has it done, he’ll be able to eat all the ice cream and popsicles he wants.

Commie’s eye is doing great. A little weepy now and then, but for the most part back to normal. Here he is on top of the safety and side-effects sheet for Cimzia, one of the medications I take for Crohn’s. Mind you, it’s also printed on the back side. In fairly small type. This stuff packs some serious yuck.

In the world of little animals, we’re seeing a ton of baby frogs lately. When a friend was over visiting, she just had to pick one up. You can see how totally tiny they are.

Believe it or not, this was one of the larger tiny frogs. Later that week I saw some that were less than half this guy’s size. I’m making sure to step gently when I see them.

Here’s a question for you Oregonians and Portlanders. I saw this car in our apartment complex lot, and while I understand the two Oregon-related stickers, I don’t quite get how the “TURD” sticker fits in.

Perhaps it’s just another of this Portland-loving person’s fixations. Portland and poop, two great tastes that taste great together.

Lastly, we met up with some friends for dinner and mini-golf last week. First we went to Putting Edge, which is an indoor glow-in-the-dark place located at Festival Bay. For those of you who don’t know, Festival Bay is a relatively new-ish but spookily deserted mall. Over half of the stores are vacant, and the occupied spots are filled with weird stores like Black Market Minerals or the several memorabilia stores. When your mall’s biggest stores are Bass Pro Shop and Shepler’s Western Wear, you know you’re in trouble.

We peeked in at Putting Edge and decided that it looked cheap and cruddy, like a traveling carnival’s spooky dark ride. Everything looked like badly-painted plywood. Their price was the same as all of the other area mini-golf joints, so we just toodled over to the nearest Congo River Golf location. Same price, but far less creepy.

See? Much more civilized. The course was good, but it was mostly creative greens. I prefer a mini-golf course with stuff like windmills and buildings and other weirdness. I may be spoiled, since I grew up really close to a Putt-Putt that I loved.

It appears that Universal is building a pair of ’50s B-movie themed mini-golf courses, set to open in early 2012. Fingers crossed that they’re awesome, because the theme is right up my alley.

Photodump: Vistor and Early Summer

Summer has arrived early here in Florida. Although it was partly cloudy today.

Horrible, right? Right.

Temperatures are around 90 degrees right now, with humidity to match. I’m working outside, but at least I’m working in the shade, so it’s tolerable. As for the job, it’s going well. I’ve learned that (a) I’m physically stronger than I thought, and (b) I’m much stronger now than I was a month ago. Not that I’m all muscley or anything, but 50-pound suitcases are way easier to lift.

I’ve had more than one manager thank me for doing a good job. Which seems to me the only way to do the job, but if you’ve ever worked anywhere, you know that there are those dead-weight people around. I’ve also had someone mention already that I should become a trainer. I’ll totally consider it in five months, because you have to have been in a position for six months before you can train it.

We’re also getting some kids from the college program starting up, and they all seem like nice guys. I wish I’d known about the college program when I was in college.

Onward to our visitor! Our friend Kermet was in town for a comedy gig, and we were able to meet up with him for an evening. Of course, we dragged him kicking and screaming out to the Magic Kingdom.

He took pictures to torture our Seattle friends. Then we ate some dinner and rode some rides. The new Haunted Mansion interactive queue is a lot of fun! And the new hitchhiking ghosts at the end are a nice update.

We fought our way through the pre-fireworks crowd and headed out via monorail after the sun went down, over to the Polynesian resort to get a Dole Whip. I actually had the pineapple/vanilla swirl, which was a great move. The vanilla cut down on the richness of the pineapple. We caught the ending of the Wishes fireworks show across the lake.

Then we strolled past the luau dinner show, where (according to Kermet) they played three great songs in a row. He’s Hawaiian, so I’ll totally take his word for it. He was also amazed and impressed at one of the hula numbers they included, which was all shirtless men. I can totally get behind this dinner show. Someday I’ll have to check it out.

He didn’t find the Polynesian resort as horrifying as we all thought he would, which was nice. I still don’t think he’ll stay there, though.

The main gift shop at the Poly (called “Bou-Tiki”, I believe) had this horrifying set of mannequins in the window:

The dad has wonky eyes, and the little girl is something out of a nightmare. But at least they’re stylishly dressed?

Anyhoo, we had a lovely time catching up with a great guy. He’s coming back out for another gig in a couple of weeks, so hopefully we can spend another evening taking him to another park.

How Did That Happen?

Heard a bunch of sirens this morning, and peeked out the window to see several fire trucks heading to the other side of the apartment complex. A while later I looked outside, and then had to go over to the pond to take this picture:

It appears that some residents set fire to their deck.

This is actually a very impressive feat.

See, the deck planks are nice, solid 2x4s. And I watched these dozen-or-so firemen pry out planks and pass them over to the guy on the ladder, who passed them to some other guys who ran them over to the pond for a dunking. And most of those planks were burnt straight through. They looked like sharpened charcoal pencils.

There wasn’t much smoke at all. Just an occasional puff on the breeze.

Eventually, a couple of firefighters showed up on the 2nd floor balcony too. By then, I hopped in my car and took off on my errands. I guess they were checking to see if any embers made their way down and burned anything below.

I’ll make one guess as to what set this deck on fire: cigarettes. I had no idea when we moved to a building with balconies that everyone but us smoked. Some people even have elaborate smoking lounges set up on their balconies, with big squashy office chairs. Our neighbors both above and below are smokers, and sometimes we’ll find a butt that’s been dropped down to our deck. And in fact, looking across the pond a couple of hours after the big hullabaloo, there’s a guy standing up on the non-burnt part of the deck, having a smoke.

I love having the deck. It’s nice to sit out and enjoy the great outdoors, and our scaredy-cat Trouble will always come out and try to grab whatever sliver of sunlight she can.

But I’m making a concerted effort to not burn it down.

At least it gave everyone in the complex a little excitement on an otherwise boring Sunday.

Photodump: Feet, Tongue, Family Planning

Time for another batch of pictures from the ol’ cameraphone!

My buddy Allison has a pair of Dansko clogs, and she swears they’re the most comfortable shoes ever. I tried some on at The Walking Company, which is one of those mall stores full of really large, clunky shoes. Al’s right — these are some really comfy shoes (Pricey, but sometimes they’re under $50 at Amazon). While at The Walking Company, they offered to analyze my feet with their high-tech machine.

Apparently I’m very unusual, in that I stand with much more weight on my right foot than on my left. I wonder if that has anything to do with my inner-ear problems on the left side (which are getting better, thank you for asking).

Also, I have a medium arch. I wear a size 9. And not only do I have a pixel burnt out in my left foot, but that foot apparently doesn’t have a pinky toe.

Commie is doing really well. His eye is a little winky now and then, but otherwise it looks great! There’s a very small cloudy patch on the cornea that looks like it’ll be permanent, but it doesn’t seem to affect his vision.

He really became a snuggler when he wasn’t feeling well, and he’s stayed that way. He loves to curl up between us on the couch, or on top of me if I’m slouching down. He also loves, loves, loves to lick us. I guess we’re deliciously salty people. He’ll grab hold of an arm, or a hand, or a toe (gross) and lick like crazy.

It tends to hurt.

But since we love him, we just move our arms or hands or feet around so that when it starts to hurt, we move him on to a different patch of skin. I’m kind of amazed my arms don’t look like raw hamburger.

After over four years in Florida, I’ve finally seen my first specialty parking spot! These were all over in Seattle, whether they were for “expectant parents” or “families with children”. Florida doesn’t bother with such PC inclusive terms — they just worry about Pregnant Lady. Whoever she is.

I gotta say, that sign looks a little neglected. It’s as if they installed it during the big parent-based parking spot rush years ago, and have since forgotten about it.

OH! I think I found Pregnant Lady. She’s a Bulldogs fan.

Scars, Jobs, and Underpants

SCARS: My stitches are out! Of course, the wounds still look kind of angry. But I did get hearty kudos at the dermatologist’s office — they said I’d done a great job with my wound care, and had kept everything (everyone’s favorite word) moist. The stitches came right out, smooth as silk.

All that for a little mole. Seems a bit drastic!

The good dermatological news is that on all three things that were excised, the margins are clear — they got the whole mole out on all of them. I go back in three months for another lookie-loo, then settle into an every-six-months visiting schedule. Most people go once a year, but because I’m so massively freckled, I get to be part of the more frequent group.

Please note that the dermatologist’s office won’t “except” bills larger than a $20. With picture, in case you’re not sure which one is the $20. I was excited to find an except/accept gaffe, because they’re one of the more rare homophone mixups. (Are they really homophones, though? I pronounce them slightly differently.)

JOBS: It’s still kind of amazing to me how many places I applied to that haven’t said one peep to me. I’m sure they get tons of applicants, but even a quick e-mailed “Thanks but no thanks” (like I just got from Best Buy, to whom I applied 3 months ago) would be nice. I mentioned earlier a “working interview” I did at a vet clinic, wherein a woman brought in her deceased pet and called us all motherflippin’ beaches. Only she wasn’t that coy with the cusswords. Anyhoo, they never called me back with a yea or nay. Seriously, there were probably only a scant few people who went in for their half-day interview process; why not a word back?

This is my last glorious weekend of unemployment. On Monday I go in for orientation at my new Disney job. I’m scared and excited at the same time. This is going to be very different from the rest of my Disney experience — entertainment is such a separate beast from everything else. But I can’t wait to get into the front lines, actually talking with guests directly, going by my own name (And wearing my name tag for the first time!), and helping make the guests’ vacations better.

The hardest thing is finding shoes. Disney is very strict about footwear — my job requires “dress shoes”, black, polishable (no suede or stretch), no contrasting or decorative stitching, and no decorations (buckles, buttons, bows). You try to find shoes that meet those requirements. Not that easy! Every pair of plain flat mary-janes seems to have white stitching, or a big button or buckle on the side. I did find a pair that I think will work; they’re a little pricier than I’d hoped, but I have to remember that when you’re on your feet all day, good shoes are an investment.

UNDERPANTS: Those cold-hearted jerks at Victoria’s Secret have stopped carrying the hipsters I liked. Besides which, their entire underpant focus these days seems to be on being “cheeky”, which appears to mean showing the bottom edges of your butt. Which strikes me as damned uncomfortable. Exhibit A:

In what universe is that full coverage? Look at how much cheekbottom is showing! Even on that model, with her model-sized butt! That thing would practically be a thong on me.

So on a whim, and because they were having the same 7-for-$25 deal that VS often has on their underdrawers, I stopped in at Aerie. It’s part of the American Eagle family, and I used to think it was just for the young people. BUT NO! Not only do they have a great selection of undershorts with great ass-coverage, but they also are my new brassiere purveyor of choice.

Usually at VS, there are two models of bra that come in my “weird” size. Which is 32C (if you’re a 32 band, they expect you to only have size A or B boobs). That’s two models out of the what, 40 or 50 in the store. But at Aerie, they had eight models of non-pushup for me to choose from in my size. Add in pushup and other styles, and I could have chosen from 15 brassieres. They fit great, and cost less than VS.

Aerie is, right now, doing their 7 for $25.50 sale both online and in-store. So if you’re blessed with a junk-rich trunk, check out their boyshorts and boybriefs. Although I can’t imagine any boy or man I’ve ever met wearing underthings the shape of any “boyshort” I’ve ever seen.

Photodump: Ducks, Apostrophes, Fingerlessness!

First off, WordPress 3.1 is out. Its name is Reinhardt. If you’re a WordPresser, get some!

Secondly, The American Idol top 24 performances start tomorrow. In years past, over on LiveJournal, I used to run contests guessing who’d be eliminated every week. Is anyone out there interested in participating this year? Looks like there are some real good’uns, and some fantastic crapburgers this season.

Thirdly, as I’m previewing this post on my site, there’s an ad over to the side —> for a lawyer who looks like he wants to eat my face off. He’s staring me down with his crazy eyes. Sorry, Florida readers.

Now, to the photos. They are many.

Down below our apartment, there’s a pond and a nice stretch of grass. This trio of ducks has been waddling around a lot lately, but this was the first time our more chattery cat has been out on the deck to see them. It’s weird — normally Commie is the much bolder, braver cat. But with this new apartment with a deck, Trouble comes out to lounge around, while Commie sits just inside the door.

Like so.

Don’t mind the flip-flop; it’s my high-tech doorstop.

Oooh, I think I just came up with some rap lyrics.

It’s not a home, for me, until I have some edible things growing. Unfortunately, the deck faces north, so it doesn’t get any sun. But the kitchen window gets some nice afternoon sun. Hopefully it’s enough for these plants — our last place had windows that faced roughly west-ish, and I was able to grow some herbs there. This time I went with basil (I almost always grow basil, it’s my favorite fresh herb) as well as sweet banana peppers and a strawberry plant. I’ve never tried strawberries indoors before, so we’ll see how they do.

And now, sightings out and about in the big, bad world. Scott and I were both startled by the store name “Fairvilla’s Sexy Things”. I also noticed a Fairvalla Road the other day, although it was probably 10 miles away from this store. Which isn’t quite the same name, but it was an odd coincidence. Anyhoo, it’s just a weird sounding combo — to me, “Fairvilla” sounds like a town near the little house on the prairie. Which doesn’t make me think of any kind of sexy things.

Also, I totally want to get some sexy things, then a crazy costume, then finish it off in the middle ground with a light bulb. I think with all three of those, I could put together a heck of a package.

Saw this one at the mall the other day. This is Pottery Barn, where someone named All Hanging Canopy can be bought for 79 bucks. I guess if they’re all-hanging, they might be worth that much.

This is the back of a big truck with a big … crushing thingy. Seriously, it was a truck, then this thingy, then a flatbed. I don’t know what the thingy does, but apparently there are hidden gears that have at least two distinct methods with which they can crush your fingers clean off.

The mere thought of fingerlessness makes Spidey really, really sad.

Daytona Beeyotch

We took a wee road trip today. Recently we finished off our ginormous bottle of Red Robin’s seasoned salt, so I proposed a lunch voyage to RR. Not only is it a source of seasoning, but it’s also a chance to have a tastes-like-home meal. Since Red Robin is from Seattle. I also feel homey in Costco. But strangely, I don’t head off to Nordstrom that frequently. Hmm.

There are now six Red Robin locations in Florida. But the closest one to Orlando is around 55 miles away, in Port Orange, which is on the east coast out by Daytona Beach. So off we went.

There’s a new restaurant going in just down the way from Red Robin. At least I’m guessing it’ll be a restaurant. Bottom line, I think “sauce box” is our new insult.

I had the regular old Red Robin classic cheeseburger, with cheddar. And wrapped in lettuce leaves instead of a bun. I don’t know what it is about Red Robin, but there’s a very distinctive flavor to their burgers. You know you’re eating an RR burger when you’re eating an RR burger.

The lettuce wasn’t so much wrapped around the burger, as it was on top and bottom like a bun. Each side was 4 or 5 leaves of iceberg, which was a bit much lettuce. I stripped a leaf or two off each side, which made it easier to bite through. The last quarter or so of the burger, it was so messy and falling apart that I had to go in with the knife and fork. I have to say, I think Fuddrucker’s may win for presentation by just putting the patty on a plate.

The steak fries were fantastic, as always.

After lunch, we headed over to Daytona Beach. We’d never seen it, and since we were right there, why not? We took the main exit off the freeway, which put us on International Speedway Drive. We got to pass by the ginormous racetrack, which was busy as heck because of the “Gatorade Duel”, whatever that is. Anyhoo, it was cool to hear the sounds of the cars as we passed by, and we got to see a few really bitchin’ mullets.

We drove down International Speedway Drive until it ended at the beach.

Daytona Beach is, apparently, the world’s most famous beach. Is it? According to whom? What about Waikiki? Or Malibu? The sign didn’t give a source for the claim.

It’s a really unique beach, in that it’s incredibly easy to walk on. You can see the high tide line, and from the water to that line, the sand is packed hard and flat. You can stroll all the way down to the surf and not get any sand in your sandals! Of course, we had to check out the water temperature. The verdict: flippin’ cold!

Lots of seagulls everywhere, primarily hanging out in packs down near the waterline.

Lots of dead jellyfish everywhere, with all of their (arms? tendrils? stinging-bits?) broken off.

And lots of love for Beap.

Photodump: Catty Valentinemas, Whorini!

So tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Not a holiday I choose to celebrate, because I don’t eat candy and I don’t like flowers. Live plants are cool — I just don’t like a big handful of dying things.

Although there’s always a cupcake cake …

I think it’s supposed to be a heart. Covered with bon-bons. Which are made out of poop-colored frosting. It’s too late in the season to send this over to our friends at CakeWrecks, so here it is. This was at our nearest Target, where the bakery always makes things that look a little weird.

I’ll have you know, friends, it’s not Valentine’s Day everywhere. Especially over at the nearest Winn-Dixie grocery store, where they still have really sparse and sad Christmas decorations up in the parking lot. All of the light posts were as ugly as this one. The store was pretty crap, as well. I’ll stick with Publix and Target.

Onward to the cats! Trouble was splayed oddly, so I took a picture before I poked her in the hock. Poor dear, she’s much lesser-known because Commie’s been a spotlight-hogger, what with his medical issues. He’s doing great, by the way. Still just a tiny bit of cloudiness on the lens of his eye, which the vets suspect is scarring. Otherwise, he’s seeing well and the swelling is gone.

Trouble also likes the “garden tub” at the new apartment. Because she’s always had a thing for sitting on the ledge and meowing at me when I take a bath.

This tub has nice, wide ledges. So she can really settle in comfortably to bitch me out.

The first time I tried to take a bath here, I only got it filled up about a third before the water got cold. Turns out that when this complex was built, all of the water heaters were put on the absolute lowest setting. And nobody who’d been in this unit minded. Not surprising; there are probably very few of us in Florida who want a scalding-hot shower. The maintenance guy turned it up, so now I can have a luxurious hot bath. Complete with cat.

The cats are digging the pond that we can see from our deck. There are almost always birds to chatter at. Here in Florida, most ponds have a fountain feature (that’s the concrete ring thingy) to keep the water from becoming stagnant. And in the last year or so, I’ve seen a number of ponds with fake birds in them. Fake ducks, fake geese, and fake … whatever these cement-gray things are. I don’t know their exact purpose — probably to scare away some other bird or predator or something. But you’ll frequently see actual birds sitting or standing on top of the fake birds. It’s hard to see because of the colors, but there are two fake birds pictured here, and there’s a long-legged craney herony bird standing on the top of each.

Last but not least, I hear that Words with Friends should be coming out for the Android platform this month. I currently play WordFeud (and if you’re on Android, I’m always up for a match) but once WWF comes out, I’ll gladly play both games. One can never have enough pseudoScrabble!

(By the way, “Whorini” used to be the name of my stripper-magician act.)