Thursday, July 24, 2014

Updated Itinerary

No big changes, just adding times as I get them... Disney doesn't have its hours up for our part of September, but the other parks we're visiting do. So I'll go ahead and add those as well as the times for our reservations.

September 14, 2014 –Travel Day!!!
Fly into SoCal

September 15, 2014 – Lazy Day and Disney!
9am - Erin's Pedicure - Mandara Spa (Grand Californian)
Aimee arrives ~ 2pm-ish
4:30pm  - Dinner @ Crossroads at the House of Blues (Downtown Disney)

September 16, 2014 – Disneyland!!!
9:40am - Breakfast @ Carnation CafĂ© (Disneyland Park)  
Tour parks
6:30pm - Erin & Wess Date Night - Steakhouse 55 (Disneyland Hotel)
6:30pm (ish) - Aimee & Toni - Dinner at Flo's (Disney California Adventure)

September 17, 2014 – Disneyland Birthdays! (Aimee & Erin)
5pm - Birthday Dinner! - Goofy’s Kitchen (Disneyland Hotel)

September 18, 2014 – Beach & Hollywood
Pick up Rental Car early.
Hollywood first? Beach?

September 19, 2014 -- Disneyland

September 20, 2014 – San Diego Zoo (Aimee leaves :’()
Park Hours: 9am - 6pm
7am - Head for San Diego (Erin, Toni, Wess)

September 21, 2014 – Universal Studios
Park Hours: 9am - 7pm
BubbaGump Lunch/Dinner

September 22, 2014 – Disneyland

September 23, 2014 – Travel Day :’(

"My favorite book!"

I've gushed about my all time favorite children's book multiple times. Danger The Dog Yard Cat was my favorite book to read when I was small. Libby won the Iditarod in 1985, and this book came about 5 years later. Libby won the year I was born, and I was a huge fan of all things Iditarod. To have the first woman win the year I was born meant I was instantly a huge fan of Libby. She was one of my sports heroes as far back as I can remember.

I had the audio tape that went along with the book (it's now on CD, I need to get me a copy!) and I wore the book and the tape out. I knew the book by heart, and could sing the songs without the music. I was obsessed. Danger looked like my cat, Scooter, and Mudshark was an interesting crosseyed dog. That these characters were all "real" (though the story is pretty near made up) made the story that much more fun.

I think every child from my generation living in Alaska had a copy of this book (as well as others written by Shelley Gill, one of the best children's authors EVER), it's so popular it's still in production 25 years later. If you have a youngster (past 2nd grade it's too easy a reading level) this is definitely a book worth having in your personal library!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"A dream is a wish your heart makes..."

My dream job since high school has been to be a tv/film director. I've pretty much given up on that dream as really I have no way of really learning the craft (or maybe I just don't have the drive it takes to learn). I have a lot of creative ideas and what not, I just don't ever have the focus to get something done.

So my other dream job is the one I have at present. It's not going to make me millions, but I get to tell stories through my pictures and I get to watch families grow and change through my lens over the years. So that's a joy in and of itself.

Still, if I ever could make a movie... it'd be a "biopic" of the First Iditarod. I'd want to do something Alaskan, and hey, the Iditarod's a great subject... I've had a few ideas for casting in my head for years... though I'm pretty sure the actors I have chosen would be very anti the project (Hollywood is the home of PETA afterall) but it's still fun to dream.

Joe Redington Sr. - John Krasinski

Dan Seavey - James Marsden (I've thought he'd be perfect to play a Seavey since 2007 lol)

Dick Mackey - Michael Raymond-James (and not just because I'm an obsessive fangirl)

Dick Wilmarth (first champion, controversial history lol) - Eion Bailey

That's all I've got so far in my dream cast ha ha... tell ya what, it'd be a good cast of good lookin' guys, that's for sure (a whole lot better lookin' than the actual group LOL). It'd be a whole lot of fun filming it in Alaska with actual sled dogs... stunt coordinator and stuntpersons would be real mushers... it'd be just... yeah... awesome.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Best thing to happen this year?

 Hmmmm, well... maybe it happened today? When one of my favorite actors retweeted one of my tweets (granted a gush tweet about the tv show he starred in, but still).

It's been a pretty lackluster year, don't judge me. It'll get better come September though! 54 days to go!

Monday, July 21, 2014

"I love a story with food in it..."

My waistline proves that I like to eat. I just don't like to eat healthy (healthy = no taste... at least none that I like). I'm not a foodie because I'm extremely picky. I like to cook even if I won't eat what I make (not because it isn't good, I just don't like it lol). But I do like good food, and I don't like exercise... so I'm a fatty. Ha ha.

So what are my top 10 favorite foods? (in somewhat random order):

1. TACOS/Taco Salad - I've said it several times now. I love tacos. I'd eat them multiple times a week if they'd let me. Taco Bell will do when I can't get a good ol' homemade taco. Mom craved them when she was preggers with me, so I guess that's where it comes from?

2. Biscuits and [Moose] Sausage Gravy - OMG, another one that I would eat all the time if they'd let me. But we only get so much moose sausage made a year, so that's a no go. Ha ha. Besides, I'm lactose intolerant. It's not good for me to eat so much dairy all the time. Which my body reminds me at the most inopportune times.

3. Pizza - I finally have a recipe that I like for pizza dough, so I don't always have to order for Pizza Hut or one of the other delivery services. I'm not super picky on where I get my pie (it's easier for me to list where I don't like than where I do). St. Elias in Soldotna, Alaska is one of the best... as is Moose's Tooth in Anchorage... but Pizza Hut or Pizza Boys works just as well.

4. Steak - Give me a good rare to medium rare steak and I will be your best friend. I love me some beef. It doesn't have to have fancy marinades or anything. Just season that puppy and put it on the grill. Serve it up with some steamed broccoli and some sour cream and Parmesan noodles and I've got one of my favorite meals of all time.

5. French Dip Sandwich - it's a toasted, hot sandwich that you dip in meat juice, what's not to love?! Chances are if we're eating out and this is on the menu, that's what I'm getting. I love me a good French Dip... heck I even love me a substandard French Dip. You really have to be trying to make a bad one.
Pioneer Woman's French Dip Sandwich
6. Pumpkin Pie - this is the dessert that I request for my birthday. I love pumpkin pie. Mom normally makes two of them any time she makes it so that I can just have my own and I don't have to share. There was only one time I didn't eat a pumpkin pie, and that was when Erin forgot to put the sugar in it. It was disgusting. Other than that, I'd eat a whole pie in one sitting if you let me.

7. Lasagna - Lalala-lasagna! I do love me some Lasagna! My absolutely favorite is the Lasagna that our local restaurant Paradisos serves. I rarely order something else there - not because their other stuff isn't good (their French Dip is bomb, as is their fettuccine!) but because the Lasagna is all I ever wanted in life! Ha ha! Dang, now I want me some Lasagna... they *do* deliver... hmmmmm....

8. Hamburger - I'm pretty picky so just mayo, ketchup and lettuce on my burger. Make sure to toast the buns (just a little, no charcoal on my bread) and don't over cook the beef. Interestingly enough I don't like fast food burgers, and I rarely order one when eating out. I do LOVE Burger Bus in Kenai, though. Yet another thing I'm craving right now. Whoops.

9. Soft Serve Ice Cream - I don't know what it is about soft serve that makes ice cream that much better, but I love the stuff. The 50 cent cones at McDonalds are a go to treat any time of the year. And if I'm feeling extra special I hit up DQ for a chocolate dipped vanilla cone.

10. Fried Chicken - I think I've figured out what I'm having for dinner to night. Fried Chicken. There's just something about that. It's wrong to fry it without the skin, though. Mom rarely keeps the skin on, and that's such a waste. What's the point of chicken without the skin?!

Man I should not do something like this when I'm hungry.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

You seem angry, are you okay?

I've gotten that comment a lot in the last year or so - closer to 18 months, now that I think of it. 2013 sucked on a lot of levels, but the biggest issue was one that I'm pretty much forbidden from talking about (by both the court system, apparently, as well as my parents). But, at the same time, I feel it's my right to let it out. So without naming names or going into too much detail, here it goes. I've been wanting to talk about this for a long time.

Late in 2012 the cops came to our door looking for my younger sibling. Considering his track record, they pulled him in for questioning. My parents had been completely in the dark as to what he'd been up to - the sneaking out of the house at all hours of the night that was keeping me up wasn't a big enough red flag. His angry outbursts and threats to harm me and others around him wasn't a big enough red flag. They were stunned when they found out what he was being charged with.

I was just shocked with how I was going to be treated.

I became the fall person. I had absolutely nothing to do with the crimes he committed. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. But I became the "reason behind it". Because I didn't "love him enough" as his older sister. That I went away to college and was not around enough "forced" him to act out. This excuse came to light only after the courts didn't buy his "my parents never taught me right from wrong" crap. Gotta hand it to his lawyer, he tried everything to save his client's neck. To hell with the truth or the people it hurt.

His crimes are of the unspeakable kind, but because he was "under age" when they started, they ignored that they continued after he hit 18. The courts basically bent over backwards to protect HIM and not the victims or people around him. They slapped him on the wrist, and put him on probation mandating that he had to live with us. At the time I was running my business out of the house - my "family portrait studio" was no longer SAFE to be there.

We are a small town, news spread. They weren't rumors, they were true. Not only was he (rightfully) vilified, but so were my parents... and me. I lost ALL of my summer and fall business. I'm still trying to rebuild. I am still convinced that I will never be out from under it. Our last name is forever going to be tied to his crimes. And that pissed me off.

Still does.

Family and friends took sides. A lot of people that are friends with my parents bought into the sob story the boy told - and because they aren't allowed to know exactly what he did, and it was whitewashed by my family, I became though of as the unloving, selfish sister. That I wasn't ignoring what he did, or what he continued to do (the sneaking out continued until finally my parents couldn't turn a blind eye and turned him in to his PO), was the biggest sin a person could do. I should just forgive and forget was the message I got over and over. Nevermind he was STILL DOING IT... nevermind that he threatened me daily, coming at me with his fists several times, and spent several afternoons telling my mother in detail how he imagined he was going to beat me until I was bloodied and dead.

It was so bad that several times I ran to a friend's house just to get away. I stupidly always came back once dad came to the door with a hurt puppy expression promising things would change. They didn't until the cops once again came calling because someone broke the court mandated curfew and had no explanation for it.

He's been gone about 9 months now. There's talk that he'll be out soonish. I'm not looking forward to it. At this point I do not trust what I've been told as what it all means for me. EVERY time I was promised that I would be safe, that he would not be a threat, it was untrue. Every time something new came to light or he got into more trouble I became the fall person. I was either declared a liar, "mistaken", or it was my fault because I was "acting like a victim".

I don't trust that anything will be different because I haven't been shown anything that suggests that it will. His therapists demand that I talk to him - I refuse. So he has to send letters. They are pretty much textbook apologies. They are just words he's basically been fed, because they're words I've never heard him use. EVER. And it's all laced with the whole "maybe if you loved me better" theme that he played out all through his trials. There is nothing sincere about them. So I do not respond.

Yes, I think this is my right. No, I don't care to hear you tell me otherwise. Because you don't know the story, and because we have to protect the predator, you never will.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Look at this stuff, isn't it neat?...

Wouldn't you think I'm the girl, the girl who has... everything?!

I collect a few things, I could easily be a hoarder as I do put emotional attachment on most of my things. I get that from my mother, who got it from her mother. For as much as I tease mom about it, I definitely can see the signs within both of us! Haha!

I try very hard not to collect an insane amount of things, but what I do collect is good stuff! No trashy trinkets for me. And, unlike my fishy nonfriend referenced above, I know what they are and how to use them.

I have a collection of:

Mickey ears - dating back to my first pair I got in 1990 (though I think mom has that hoarded away somewhere, I haven't seen them in years). I typically get one to two pair each Disney trip. Though, come to think of it, I didn't get a new pair last year. I think because I was trying to conserve money knowing it was going to be tight all of 2014 and I was still trying to pay off the trip I was on! LOL

Disney Trading Pins - I buy a lanyard and fill it with pins on each trip. The pins never get traded. I am not going to spend the kind of money those things cost to then trade it for a pin I don't know the value of. Besides, each pin holds a memory with it. I get pins of the new rides we went on, or one that was particularly fun for whatever reason, if we stay on disney property I make sure to get a pin from the resort. That sort of thing. And I always look for a new Maleficent and Donald pin.

Steven Speilberg Movies - If I had my own house I'd have memorabilia, too. But I am building my movie collection of his as I can find them. I've blogged about my obsession before. I own movies of his I've only watched once and never opened my copy because I was emotionally scarred in some way after my first viewing. I will not be satisfied until my collection is complete!

Disney's Animated Classics - I don't have all of them, yet, as Disney likes to "vault" movies. If you count both DVD and VHS then yes, I have them all. I'm trying to get them all on DVD. Disney is not cooperating, though. I'm mainly focused on the animated films and Pixar. Anything more than that would break the bank, and most of the old school live action films they did aren't really my style.

Donald Duck - I've got several Donald Duck dolls, I've begun my figurine collection, a few other things. I love Donald... so this should come as no surprise. I really wish I had my own place so I could display it all!

Scrapbooking Supplies - I have a lot of scrapping supplies. Not just paper and stickers. I have tools and inspiration books... I LOVE to scrapbook. I don't do it as much as I really should. I need to finish my 2010 book so I can start Haille's 5th birthday book (kid's half way to nine and I haven't even begun her 5th bday book. I'm awful!)

Snowmen - This was something that started when my grandfather (mom's side) died. My aunt thought I needed all of my g'parents' Snowdens, so now everyone gets me snowmen. Wasn't really something I planned on collecting, but it makes for great winter/Christmas decor in the bathroom every year!

Collections down in the basement that I don't know what to do with - Star Wars, horses, etc... if I wasn't so lazy I could see a good garage sale in my future.

We're 57 days from Disneyland and I got our last ADR made this morning. Goofy's Kitchen for Aimee and Erin's birthday dinner! w00t!

Friday, July 18, 2014

What's in a name?

"Thoughts By Tonichelle", not all that original or creative. I couldn't come up with something quirky that fit what my blog would be - which was just basically the random thoughts that I would have in the years to come. This blog has had many things, with no real concise focus or theme. I'm sure it would drive most bloggers mad as it's just not a well thought out blog (I admit it).

All one has to do is look at my menu at the top of the page and can see that the topics I have are many and they ebb and flow as to how much I talk about any one topic. Speaking of which, I should really update those pages.

So is Tonichelle my real name? No. It's a combination of my first and middle name. I've been called Tonichelle since I was a toddler learning my name. I couldn't say my full name, it came out Tonichelle (Toni-shell) and it stuck. When creating my blog I went with Tonichelle so that it would click with my Twitter and message board accounts. Now it matches my twitter and instagram accounts as I really don't do anything on message boards anymore.

In other (read Disneyland 2014) news, I've booked our next two ADRs - one for all four of us for a breakfast at the Carnation Cafe (my favorite!), and the other is a table for two for Erin and Wess to get away and have a hot date. They're eating at Steakhouse 55. I have one more ADR to book tomorrow and then I'm done with that! Whew!

58 days to go, baby!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Most Proud Moment

Gee I'm having a hard time picking one. I'm not trying to be humble or any such nonsense... I just can't think of anything that I was super proud of myself for.

I think any time I taught Haille Rae something new and she was able to benefit from it would be it. Her teaching her friend/cousin/not sure what she is relationship wise Hailee Elizabeth all about Disneyland was definitely a proud moment for me. So many of the things that I'd told her the year before, she remembered/retained and then passed it on. Hearing her say "Mickey doesn't talk when he meets you because he has to save his voice for his shows and movies," warmed my heart (and kinda embarrassed me that she remembered I told her that).

I am so proud of that kid. It kills me I'm not able to spend more time with her. She's just the most awesome person.

Happy Birthday Disneyland!

Disneyland turns 59 today! 59 years of the Happiest Memories in the Happiest Place On Earth! And the really cool thing is - our countdown has hit 59 days! It's a sign! Haha!

Walt Disney opened his dream park to the world on July 17, 1955. They had their share of issues, rides breaking down, a jerk who counterfeited tons of tickets so that the park was over flowing, the concrete hadn't fully set so women in heels were sinking through... it was a mess. Critics believed it a failure. Well, just take a look at them now!

Next year marks Disneyland's Diamond Jubilee - 60 years of magic. And my Aunt wants to spend her 60th at Disneyland. So I might be headed that way a little sooner than I realized. So much for 2014 being the last trip for a while. Ha ha! (I'm not really complaining.) We'll see if it happens. A lot can change in a year.

In other Disneyland news - I made our first ADR today. We decided to go ahead and book a meal at Downtown Disney our first full day there. Aimee gets in in the afternoon so we're going for an early dinner at "Crossroads at House of Blues"! One ADR down, three more to go!

Tomorrow I get to book our breakfast at the Carnation Cafe! Mickey Waffles all around! w00t!