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We ended up hitting some pretty miserable traffic once crossing the FL state line, causing us to be nearly two hours late getting home. At some point we left the highway to get dinner, very hungry and tired. We managed to pick probably one of the worst restaurants that either of us has ever been to. It's called Cody's. Don't go to Cody's in Florida.

Still hungry, we got back on the road and after a grand total of 20 hours in the car, finally made it to Jameson's apartment. Whew!

The next day was a busy one, so we got started with a tasty breakfast at Keke's. I decided to be piggy and got coconut pineapple stuffed french toast. It was so stinkin' good! But I forgot my phone so no pictures for you :P After that we went to Home Depot for paint and painting supplies. For today is the day we paint the kitchen!

That's a shot of Jameson's kitchen. The cabinets are a sort of purplish-red, and the walls are yellow (they had been minty green but Jameson painted them when he moved in). The kitchen has been this way for over a decade, so it's time for an upgrade! I did the walls while Jameson did the cabinets. We removed all of the cabinet doors and painted them separately, but made the mistake of keeping them on the drop plastic, causing problems later on :/ Oh well...live and learn! We painted for 4-5 hours, then called it a day. The next morning we finished the remaining cabinet doors and reinstalled them. Project complete!

And what better way to break in the new kitchen than by cooking a meal in it!

Jameson got a cookbook from him Mom for his birthday, and put it to good use! He made sesame-orange chicken. I loved the sauce! We were both pretty tired after all of the painting, cooking, and cleanup, so spent much of our day being total couch potatoes. As I type this I'm watching Jameson play Lego Star Wars.

The next day was pretty slow. We had planned to go to the gym, but Jameson wasn't feeling great so we skipped it. Instead we ran errands. We took some DVD cases to FedEx to be shipped to a recycling plant, then hit the grocery for some ingredients we'd forgotten. Back at home we ate lunch and worked on some music we'd brought along to study on vacation. I did bring a trombone to practice with, but with new music and especially audition stuff I like to play "air trombone" until I get the muscle memory down.

For dinner Jameson made burrito bowls!! It was adobo-seasoned chicken with a ton of veggies...beans and peppers and onions and sweet corn. We put it over rice and topped it with lettuce, cheese, guac, salsa, and sour cream. Delicious!

Since Jameson had done all the cooking, I did all the cleaning. I absolutely hate cooking, and he absolutely hates cleaning, so it's a nice balance we've got going. Teamwork! Later on Jameson played Overwatch with some friends. I like watching him play, but I'm a total motionsick wuss, so can only watch for about 30 minutes at a time. Anyway, I watched as much as I could and enjoyed it :)

On Thursday Jameson repaired his sink, which had a leak, then he took his car to get an oil change. While he was out I vacuumed and dusted, and then did a little goofing off on The Trombone Forum, and also watched some anime. I like to watch Wolf's Rain around this time of year, it seems to fit the season.

For dinner, Jameson wanted to catch a new holiday event, a drone light show presented at Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney). We drove out there and decided on dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Portobello's! We've eaten here before and it was fantastic. This time I tried the mahi mahi with polenta and zucchini. It was very good, although if I had to complain about something, this recent trend of dusting everything with sea salt is starting to get on my nerves. If not for that this would have been perfect!!

After our meal we discovered that we'd missed the first drone show, so we decided to kill time. A Disney employee told us that to have a good view we should probably reserve our spots on the lakefront, so we hung out there, watched the passerby, and listened to some live music. There was an acapella group that was VERY good!

A few minutes before the show one of Jameson's Disney buddies turned up! Greg was a sound tech for Jameson's band when he worked at Disney. Now Greg is in charge of running the drone show! He and Jameson caught up for a bit, then when it was time to start the show Greg got out a PC and fired up a drone control program. He faded out the music playing on the waterfront speakers (not without an evil "behold my powers" chuckle) and started the show!

It was very short but very cool. You can see that some of the drones are a little out of sync; Greg calls these Timmys after a certain cartoon character ;) But considering that there were around 300 drones in the show, few of them seemed out of line! They made some amazing patterns. Greg also told us that in the development phase, they'd found out that having the drones fly over water was a bit of a problem. The reflections from the smooth water confused the GPS navigation on the drones. So before each show, small boats are sent out the chop up the water. Neat!

Afterward we began walking back to the car, just sightseeing as we went. We found a Disney tree display that was pretty cool! There were Christmas trees themed for Disney movies and characters. Here are just a few.

I liked the Villain tree, and the Alice in Wonderland tree with the Cheshire cat's eyes and teeth on it!

We had a wonderful time together :)

We got home and went to bed early, because on Friday...

We went to Disney World! Just the Magic Kingdom, because that's what we could afford. It was a beautiful day, and since we're between holidays the park was not crowded! This is the first time I've been to Disney World since my parents took my sisters and I back in '96-'97. At that time the castle was decorated to look like a giant cake for the 25th Anniversary of the park. This time it was "normal", and also covered in lights to look festive (though in broad daylight you can't really see these). I remember not being able to get very close to the castle thanks to the huge crowds the last time we were there. This time, we got right up to the base! I was ecstatic!!

We met another of Jameson's friends, her name is Nicole. Sometimes she's in security/guest relations, and other times she plays Minnie! Today we found her in two places, outside the Muppet theater and also in front of the castle during a kids dance event.

She took a great pic of Jameson and I in front of the castle.

After that we went exploring! We went on many of the classic rides, including Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Carribean, and Jungle Cruise (for Christmas they were calling it "Jingle Cruise" and had decorated the whole ride for Christmas!). We also tried a few new rides...new to me at least! A Buzz Lightyear shooting game (Jameson won) and a Monsters Inc digital comedy club! The monsters were digital characters projected onto a screen and controlled by actual behind-the-scenes cast members, who could see the audience and pick people to make fun of, just like in an actual comedy skit. I was surprised when, partway through the show, Jameson and I were singled out!

That pic was taken by another of Jameson's Disney friends, Joy, who was working as one of the monsters. She had noticed Jameson, and decided to have her coworker heckle us! Poor Jameson got picked on for not being able to commit to a relationship!! "Where's the ring?" they teased. "You've got it with you now, right?" Lol!!!

I got mildly picked on for being from PA (so exotic haha). But I have to say the best part was when they asked what we do for a living. "We work for the circus," I answered truthfully. The comedian was genuinely speechless! It was pretty hilarious!!

This was one of my favorite moments of the day. Thank you so much for this experience Joy!

We rode a few more rides, including one called "Mickey's PhilharMagic Concert" that was sort of Fantasia-based (Fantasia is my favorite Disney movie of all time!). It was a 3D experience with some splash/wind effects, and even scent effects! Very cool! And I liked how the trombone was featured prominently ;)

As evening approached we made sure to get our Dole Whip Floats before leaving the park. What a fun and exciting day! I'm so glad we made time to visit Disney, and so grateful to Jameson's friends and all of Disney's cast members for making our visit incredibly special. Thank you!!!

We had a wonderful dinner at BJ's, then hit the sack.

Saturday was pretty slow, after a day of stomping around Disney we needed a little rest. Jameson found out that some of his musician friends would be playing at a restaurant called Rock & Brews, so we drove out there to check it out!

Their band is called The Hooligans, and the bassist and drummer are former Mulch, Sweat & Shears performers. They were fantastic! We got seats right in front of the band. They sounded awesome and the drummer did all sorts of crazy tricks with the sticks while playing. Amazing stuff!! These guys are all local Orlando musicians, so if youre in the area try to catch them!

We stayed for all of their sets. During breaks between sets Jameson got to reconnect with the band members and other Orlando friends who were there to cheer the band on. I got to meet a lot of the people who've had a big influence on Jameson's life. Really an awesome time!

After getting the Ringling distro pack (a sheet that tells us where the train will be and when), we saw that the train will not be in Nashville until Tuesday evening, so we planned on another two days at the apartment. We both had musical work to pursue, video games to play, and other activities to keep us busy yet relaxed.
Vacations are nice :)

For dinner, Chef Jameson was at it again with homemade enchiladas! They turned out very nicely. I know that this is all basic stuff I'm posting as far as food, but you have to understand, this is the one week out of the year when we'll have a real stovetop and a real oven. It's a treat!

Tomorrow (Monday) we'll probably pack up, clean up the apartment, and prepare for the overland to Nashville. See you there!

Other stuff:

While the Red Unit has had a break, the Blue Unit is on tour in Chicagoland! Recently members of the band got to participate in an event for visually impaired children. The kids were allowed to play some of the band's instruments. In this video you can hear them playing "Jingle Bell Rock"! (CLICK HERE to watch)

The CEC recently posted this video of three Red Unit elephants--Asia, Mable, and April--hanging out together. It's good to know the ladies are doing well :)

Two more Ringling elephants have been transferred to the Columbus Zoo for breeding. Transfers like this are quite common, not only for exotic animals like elephants but for horses, dogs, camels, and many other animals. Elephants are endangered so it's important that they breed, and to have strong offspring they need genetic diversity. And of course it can also be good for the elephants to socialize. Good luck ladies! CLICK HERE to read the article.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 5th, 2016 02:45 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your life in the circus. I'm curious, what happens to Jameson's apt when you guys are on the train? How does it not become full of cobwebs?
Dec. 5th, 2016 04:49 am (UTC)
Hi! Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog!

Jameson has a good friend who looks after his apartment while he's on the road. He also checks in several times per year, whenever we're close or there's a big enough break for him to travel there. For a little while he considered leasing it out, but he's too uncomfortable with that considering if something goes wrong he can't be there. He got the mortgage on the apt before going on tour, so it's been a bit frustrating to keep paying that. But on the other hand, he has a place to call home, and I know he really appreciates that.

Anyway, it's not hard to keep clean. He just cleans it each time he leaves and locks it up tight!
Dec. 5th, 2016 12:54 pm (UTC)
Yay, Disney! I love Magic Kingdom. We'll be there in January.

Thanks for the video and info about the drone light show, I had read about that a few weeks back. Very cool that you guys know the person doing the show and could get all the inside details. I'm looking forward to seeing it in person, hopefully they will have another queued up in time after Christmas for us to see.

Dec. 5th, 2016 05:32 pm (UTC)
Very cool!

Sorry it's kind of a spoiler video, but the thing is only five minutes long anyway :P Greg also told us that the contract with Intel expires at the end of this year, so whether or not they'll decide to make another show in 2017 depends on whether they liked the technology I guess. Hope you get to see something similar, it was pretty cool :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )