Tag Archives: johnny depp

NINE Words That Come Up Often at ODNT

After my recent post this week about Johnny Depp’s birthday, I started thinking to myself about the other recurring subject matter here at ODNT. And wondering just how recurring some of it actually was. And after I was done wondering, I began worrying. “Good Gosh, Michele,” said my very dorky, Ned Flanders-y inner voice, “I’d hate to think that you’re a one-trick-pony. Are you offering a diverse enough menu to your readers?” (Again, my inner voice is a HUGE dork.)

So, in the interest of appeasing my dorky side, let’s take a look at how often some of my most popular keywords showed up around here, shall we?


  1. Alec Baldwin – 11

  2. Musical Theater – 14

  3. Johnny Depp – 19

  4. Hamster – 27

  5. Dean – 37

  6. Vivien – 43

  7. Ketchup – 66

  8. Cheese – 95

  9. Cat – 254

So Ketchup beat out the kids. Well, I guess that’s no big surprise. It IS a recurring theme around here. And, of course, cheese topped that. (distracted) Cheese-topped. (drool) Damn it. Now I’m hungry.


But that THIS freak show conquered everything to be my most recurring topic of conversation? Well, I guess we know who the cat lady’s gonna be in my neighborhood in a few decades.


June is Blog Post by Numbers Month. Wanna play with Mel and me? Just write a “listy-type” post with a number in the title (ex. FOUR Reasons I Love Mayonnaise, SIX Things You Can Do With A Paper Clip). Then link back to us and tweet us about it so we can include you on June 30th in our final list: (Number-Yet-To-Be-Determined) Great Bloggers Who Played the Blog Post by Numbers Game!

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Ten Things That Are Now 50 Years Old

    1. The Ford Mustang

    2. The Rolling Stones self-titled debut album

    3. Buffalo Wings

    4. The smiley face

    5. Acrylic paint

    6. Permanent press fabric

    7. Diet Pepsi

    8. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts

    9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

    10. And this man

How is that possible?!!?

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Johnny,

On behalf of the whole family, I want to wish you the happiest of birthdays on this … your FIFTIETH birthday. I am truly floored. You still don’t look a day older than Benny & Joon to me. Which is now an astonishing 20 years old! (We still need to make that sequel we keep threatening to make, by the way. LOL!)

Anyway, I just wanted to remind you about your party. As requested, we’re keeping things small with only the short list of friends we talked about last month. Ooh, and I found somebody to make that Caribbean Pineapple Upside Down Cake you mentioned. She’s a good friend of mine from school. It sounds amazing and it should complement the “Happy Birthday, Mon!” island theme you finally selected. (Yes, I know. “No surprises, Michele! And this time, I MEAN it!” Blah, blah, blah. Whatever, J.)

Please don’t forget to bring your guitar. I’ll have mine, too, so we can play that duet we used perform together in college. But don’t laugh! I haven’t kept up my playing as well as you have. And I fully expect to suck. But that’s sort of what makes it funny, remember? I mean … as long as we’re both wearing the Rastafarian wigs and all. And I forgot to tell you … Dave got his hands on an old karaoke machine. The kids are going to be so pumped. Tell Lily-Rose that Viv wants to sing Wicked with her. But this time in ENGLISH! 🙂

Have a great day with the kids at the church picnic this afternoon. Sorry it had to fall on your birthday. But we’ll make it up for it in Neil Diamond impersonations tonight! (HAHAHA!)

Can’t wait,


P.S. I’m wearing the red shoes you sent me from Madrid. You were right. They match my sundress perfectly. Thanks!


Happy 1st Anniversary, ODNT!

Yes, that’s right. Just one year ago today, I wrote a blog post

… then sweated buckets about it, sent proofs to half a dozen people, second guessed myself, ate a pound of cheese and drank a bottle of wine contemplating it, considered scrapping the whole thing, third guessed myself, cried quietly, berated myself in front of the mirror …

and hit publish.

It’s been a very interesting first year. CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW to see just a few of the highlights in my scrapbook.


If you’re interested in reading some of the stories in this scrapbook, I’ve included the links for you at the end of this post. Because I understand lazy. And I know I would NEVER bother to look them up on my own. And I’m assuming that, if you read this blog, you’re probably lazy like me. So I did your heavy lifting for you today.

Thanks to all of you for riding shotgun with me the past year. Here’s to year number two!

The Posts that Inspired ‘Things You Read About on ODNT (2011-12)’

  1. Man Boobs Quiz  & Answers *
  2. Hoarder on Wheels
  3. Naked Mole Rats Introduction & Tweeting Spree
  4. Norma Stitz *
  5. Bitchy Barbies Introduction, Playdate & Acquisition
  6. Red Hair Dye Phobias
  7. Drug Hallucinations
  8. Tumor Look-a-like Contest *
  9. The AMC Letters: One, Two, Three & Four
  10. Bag Balm
  11. Just Say No to Saving the Earth
  12. Paging Mr. Baldwin: The Appeal & The Response
  13. Hunger Games Prequel
  14. My Junior Novel (maybe)
  15. How does one say Goodbye to a Toilet?
  16. A Hairy Day at Disney World
  17. A Cow named Michele
  18. Creating a New Identity for my Class Reunion
  19. When Johnny Depp came to my BBQ
  20. Spray Cheese Delivered to your Door
  21. Things You Learn While Drinking Wine
  22. A Bloody Good Idea for Next Summer
  23. The Hamster’s Going to Need a Lot of Therapy

* These posts have been deleted for undisclosed reasons. And, for the record,  it is NOT because I’ve been served with restraining orders from John Travolta, Norma Stitz and Homer Simpson.


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (Hint: Johnny Depp)

Happy Fourth of July!

Trifecta challenged us to compose something between 33 & 333 words using the word and definition below. Honestly, I think I may have cheated a little since Mr. Depp did the writing for me.

* * * * * * * * * *

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Michele,

Yes, it’s true. Vanessa and I have split. This business of living on two continents and a private island has been difficult for years. And, quite frankly, when she caught me reading a website called “Old Dog, New Tits” … well, you can imagine the fireworks, right?

I tried explaining to her that we’re just friends. I told her we first met in 1990 and didn’t even really get to know each other until ’93. And she said, “What about Jump Street, Johnny? Or getting sucked into the bed during your Nightmare? She didn’t like THOSE, Johnny?” Of course, I shouted back that NOBODY liked those. I told her that you laugh at me every time we talk about those little blasts from the past … and that you call them my “Macchio years.” But she didn’t think it was funny.

So now, Lily, Jack and I are flying in for the 4th and we were wondering if you, Dave and the kids had any plans. Would it be alright if we tagged along? I promise to make my Tandoori Chicken. Yes, and the grilled corn, too.

Oh, and before I forget, I wanted to let you know how much I’ve been enjoying the blog. It’s such a great way to keep up with you guys. I promise I’ll get around to finally writing that guest post we talked about. And, yes, I know I just split an infinitive. That’s exactly the reason I’m afraid to write for you, you big grammar nerd. 🙂

Anyway, let’s talk soon. Let me know if you need anything else for Wednesday. The kids can’t wait to see you!


P.S. Do you think Mr. Kleinpeter would take the kids on another tour of the dairy farm while we’re in town? Lily is sooooo jealous that you have a calf named after you. And Jack’s really looking forward to milking a cow. Ask Virginia if she and her kids want to come with us again. I’ll treat for lunch after.

* * * * * * * * * *

1993 was a banner year for my friend, Johnny. He released two of my favorite films, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Benny & Joon, from which this tremendous selection was taken. Enjoy …


read to be read at yeahwrite.me

The 30 People Who Can Share My Birthday Crown

Writer’s Note … I had the post below written and ready to go for today, but then I woke up to the most amazing surprise. Two of my best friends out there wrote their posts today about ME! Stupid, boring, pain in the ass me. And I honestly could not be more flattered. My family wasn’t even awake yet and I was already smiling from ear to ear. So, you know, please read my stupid post but, even more so, please take a look at the posts of two of the sweetest people I know. And then keep on reading them. They’re WAY funnier than me anyway. Thanks, you guys!


According to Mags

El Guapo

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear ODNT Family,

Is it appropriate for me to write something about my own birthday? It feels weird doing it … but it feels even weirder ignoring it. So …

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday. June 11. There’s actually a lot of great people born in June along with me. So, I picked 30 of them to honor today, listing each one on his or her actual birthday (i.e., 1 = June 1st and so on). I also listed my reasons for honoring them, even when those reasons sounded a little off the wall.

So, without further ado, I give you …

The 30 People Who Can Share My Birthday Crown

1 – Marilyn Monroe Because she’s a not-stick-thin hottie and standing next to her might make me look skinny.

2 – Jerry Mathers Because he had to go by the name ‘Beaver’ all those years.

3 – Suzi Quatro Because I’m still copying Leather Tuscadero’s hair. Although I could never master the snapping thing.

4 – Russell Brand Because his voice alone cracks me up. Forgive me?

5 – Kenny G Because including Kenny G on this list is simply hilarious to me.

6 – Robert Englund Because, without him, we might not have our June 9th honoree. Plus I was too scared to leave him out.

7 – Michael Cera Because his ‘George Michael Bluth’ reminds me SO much of my boy. “Breakfast?”

8 – Jerry Stiller Because of Frank Costanza. Enough said.

9 – Johnny Depp Because … well, duh. Have you been paying attention at all?

10 – Ruth DeBlanc Because she’s my grandmother, she’s awesome and she would have been 100 years old yesterday.

11 – Gene Wilder Because of …“Blucher!”

12 – Anne Frank Because she’s incredible and helped to get me reading as a kid.

13 – Paul Lynde Because I watched Uncle Arthur on Bewitched every afternoon. And because he somehow, amazingly, never came out of the closet.

14 – Boy George Because I dressed up as that man more times than I care to admit. And even won a contest once.

15 – Neil Patrick Harris Because he’s a fellow theater junkie. And because he plays a lothario on How I Met Your Mother.

16 – Laurie Metcalf Because Jackie was always way funnier than Roseanne.

17 – Barry Manilow Because he is music and he writes the songs (that make the whole world sing).

18 – Paul McCartney Because he’s Paul freakin’ McCartney. Seriously?

19 – Mia Sara Because I thought she was cool as Sloane Peterson. What ever happened to her?

20 – John Taylor Because of Duran Duran. And this mention is my shout out to all five of them.

21 –Leo Sayer Because he wrote some of the super groovy tunes I played in my early guitar days.

22 – Cyndi Lauper Because I met her once when she was with her son and she seemed like a really good mom.

23 – Bob Fosse Because of … Jazz Hands!

24 –Michele Lee Because she was the first person I ever saw who spelled her name the same way I do.

25 – Mike Myers Because of So I Married An Axe Murderer. Rent it.

26 – Jeff DeBlanc – Because he’s my grandfather and the only one here giving my grandmother a run for her money.

27 – Captain Kangaroo Because he gave me something to watch on TV when I was a kid. BEFORE cable.

28 – Mel Brooks Because of Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles & The Producers.

29 – Bret McKenzie Because of Jenny and everything he and Jemaine do in Flight of the Conchords.

30 – Ken Olin Because I so loved Thirtysomething back in the day.

Assembling this list was no small task but I had fun doing it. There were a few hard choices to make on some of the days and I was forced to leave out a number of pretty choice people. But I could only pick one person per day. Without rules, THERE WOULD BE ANARCHY… or maybe just too long of a post.

Anyway, I need to go celebrate my birthday. When I was nine, my family surprised me with tickets to see Donny & Marie live in concert. Who knows what this year will bring? Honestly, all I’m really looking for is a stress-free day where everyone is happy and my face hurts from so much smiling. And cheese.

Thanks for listening,

The Birthday Girl



read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Five Ways to Keep Milo from Eating the Dwarf Hamster (by ODNT, Jr.)

My girl’s really starting to build her case for the stupid dwarf hamster I wrote about earlier this week. I think she’s even started interviewing sitters for when we’re out of town later this summer. And I’m sure her friends’ mothers will be lining up to take our family rodent into their homes for a week!

Now, bear in mind, we have not yet given her an answer. So, in an effort to address one of my biggest concerns, she designed this overtly pro-hamster propaganda and slipped it to me this morning.


She makes a compelling argument but …

The last I checked THIS WAS AMERICA! So, in the interest of democracy and … insuring “domestic tranquility” … and something about the 8th amendment which protects against “cruel and unusual punishment” (against me!), I offer the following rebuttal:

(1) Cover hamster in pizza sauce. Where there’s pizza sauce, there’s usually also cheese … which, as we all know, has a Svengalian hold on me. I cannot be held responsible for my actions where cheese is involved. So, while she may have solved her feline problem, she has ultimately created another. By associating the rodent with cheese, there are no guarantees that her mother, on a particularly dietarily-deprived day, could not also pose a threat to the small delicacy animal. Anyone know how many weight watchers points is in a hamster?

(2) Make hamster look scruffy and not delicious. As far as humans are concerned, this would seem an easy task (unless he’s covered in cheese … or possibly chocolate). As far as Milo is concerned, I can’t imagine that his feline tastes are so discerning that a little unkempt fur or stench of urine would hold him back. After all, I’ve seen him eat a roach.

(3) Close hamster room. Dear God, is she expecting us to dedicate an entire room to this smelly, little cotton ball? I don’t even have my own room. I wonder if I can convince her that a “room” is a rubbermaid container. Duh, with holes in the top. And kept in the toolshed.

(4) Close Milo in a room. Poor, poor, poor Milo. He’s put in his time and paid his dues around here for four years. Sure, we’ve all got a few scars that I treat with Mederma from when he was a kitten. And our furniture surfaces (also known as his landing strips) are all scratched up from his claws. And don’t get me started about the small fortune we pay to the vet for all of this check-ups, shots, flea prevention … where was I going with this one? Fine, whatever. Close him in a room. Duh, with holes in the door. And have it be the toolshed.

(5) Put too much food in Milo’s bowl so that he is always full. I see vomit. Loads and loads of cat vomit. And now I’m picturing the gluttony scene from the movie Seven. Gross. Wait, would this mean Brad Pitt would stop by to solve the mystery? Ooh, I’ve got an even better idea. If we can sub out “Brad Pitt” for “Johnny Depp” and “solve the mystery” for “mop up the cat vomit,” then we’ve got a deal!

I just know this won’t be the last pro-vermin appeal I receive. (sigh)


I saw a movie today but I’m not reviewing it, so why even read this post?

I did something I NEVER do today. I saw a movie (a BIG one, I might add) on its opening day. I’d give you three guesses as to the movie but, the way I’ve been carrying on lately, I’m sure you know it was Hunger Games. No, I did not stand in line with a bunch of teenagers at midnight. I went with a group of friends, the same ones I mentioned in my second prequel post.

We are adults. So, we did it in a very civilized way. We purchased our tickets in advance for a very upscale, modern theater in New Orleans, where you have to be 18 to enter. Their tagline is Gourmet Food. Full Bar. Luxury Seating.  I took advantage of all three.

We settled into our oversized comfy chairs (akin to the quality of first class air travel) and pressed a button for the waitress. Jen and I split the cheese plate, described as a selection of four cheeses served with breads and fig mostarda, assorted flatbread and crackers.  I also ordered the Angelo Brocato’s Italian Cookie Plate because I’m a sucker for fig cookies. And, for my beverage, I wanted The Dawn Patrol (house-made fig brandy, Patron Citronage Orange Liqueur, sour mix, splash of house-made vanilla cinnamon brown sugar simple syrup and satsuma twist) to complete my Trifecta of fig cuisine. But, alas, they were out of the necessary brandy so I opted for a Trivento Malbec and sat back to wait for the movie.

The food arrived for most of us almost immediately so we began eating (a difficult task, considering it was knife and fork fare and we were in near darkness) over the movie trailers.  I saw one for Dark Shadows, a Tim Burton movie featuring none other than Johnny Depp, that I filed away for my summer wish list. Then, I saw another, the most unusual today, for something called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Let me just say … I SO wish I had thought of this movie title. It would also be a great name for a band, wouldn’t it?

Anyway … jumping ahead majorly … I really enjoyed the movie, for which I sat on the edge of my seat the majority of the time.  Even though, unlike (almost) ever before in my lifetime, I had actually read the book first and thus knew what was going to happen. Except, of course, when the screenplay strayed from the original story.

The question … Was it as good as the book?  The answer … Is it ever?

There’s always far too much that needs to be omitted when something is culled down from the page to the screen.  Much must be sacrificed. But, then again, the movie affords you the delight of seeing some of the fictional characters come to life through real people like Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz. I so loved all of them in this movie.

Am I going to tell you anything else about the movie? 

Absolutely not. This story is one that no one wants spoiled for them.  I’ve literally shushed and been shushed by total strangers when discussing the book in public. It’s a cult. And I’m a kool-aid drinking, tambourine-beating, bald girl selling flowers at the airport.  I’m all in.

One last thing though … to the women in the ladies room after the show, the main character’s name is KATNISS EVERDEEN, not Candace Aberdeen.  If you read the book, you’d know that. (Look at me … getting all uppity about book learnin’.)

Haven’t seen it yet? Let me tempt you …

Thanks, Ashley, Vanessa, Jen, Melissa and Mignon, for bringing me today.


The Disney Trip with my Kids – A Vacation in Tweets

Today’s Weight … 123.2

Yes, that’s right.  We’re up. Almost three pounds.  I blame Mardi Gras. And the fact that Disney World had cheese far more readily available than I expected.  And fried snacks. That I personally didn’t order. But my kids did and then didn’t finish. Little rats.  And me, being the green-living environmentalist, not wanting to waste food and all, well … fine, fine. I’m back on the stupid, low-cal, fat-free horse.  Mmmmm …. horse.

Don’t get it? Check this post.

In the interest of sheer laziness (my LEAP for the DAY), I give you a very abbreviated version of my recent family jaunt to Disney World in Orlando, Florida with much of my girl’s 4th grade class. You have to admit … reposting (only my favorite) tweets from the trip is a geniusly-brilliant way of fulling my Leap to Laziness for the Day.

Now boarding flight to Orlando. Burly men with rabid dogs guarding my house. Plus land mines everywhere. Rob at your own risk.

Pushing it with phone. Me and @alecbaldwin. Powering off …

Landed. Call your mothers and tell them we’re okay.

How long do you give me ’til I take out a ceramic shelf of ‘priceless’ figurines with my backpack?

Why MAKE a reservation if you’re not going to KEEP the reservation?!!? Come on, Mexico!

Headed to Animal Kingdom to scare the crap out of the kids for a first ride on Everest.

And now my family is on the River Rapids ride. I’m hanging back. I don’t do wet rides. Except Splash Mountain.

How hungry must I be to be coveting my neighbor’s corn dog?

The large Diet Coke was a really stupid idea. Wonder how many adults have peed themselves on Space Mountain?

Use ’em or lose ’em. Bladder, don’t fail me now.


The seagulls here have massively big balls. And I mean that figuratively. Or is it metaphorically?

What I mean is that these damned birds are trying to snatch food right out of our hands.

Who knew seagulls liked churros?

Stupid rain.


The wind is so strong it blew over a full metal garbage can. LOUD crash. Shouldn’t this shit be bolted down?

Taking cover in a souvenir store. Bet Disney planned this storm.

Oh-Em-Gee. I could eat a horse. I wonder if they’ll be serving it at the food court.

My kid actually just said … “Are we there yet?” I am living the dream.

We’re about to become the Donner Party. #starving

Dave looks like a drumstick. #starving

I never realized how delicious my kids look. Is that wrong? #starving

Okay, fine. It’s VERY wrong. But I am STARVING!

Chicken sandwich, by the way. My kids are safe …

Just went ‘backstage’ in Haunted Mansion. Could’ve reached out and touched ghosts in ballroom scene. Very cool.

The SUPER pass – What you get when your ride breaks down. Good for ANY ride.


Oxymoron? (It’s okay. It’s my people.)




That is one big ass ball.


My feet. They are on fire.

No fruit or vegetables for the last 48 hours. This is going to wreak havoc on me internally.


Okay, my kids are starting to pick up on Song of the South’s racism.

Drinking through World Showcase with a dozen or so grown-ups.

If we count as couples, we’ve already conquered Mexico, France, England & Norway …

And Germany …

And Italy …

France. My order … Vouvray, Beaujolais & Pinot Noir …

I gotta sit down.

Singing @neildiamond very loudly.

Why didn’t anyone tell me what a bad idea the whole drinking through the countries idea was? #hangover

Leaving Hoop-de-doo. Last time I came I was puked on. Twice. Only once by my own child. Feeling lucky.

Our parking valet is named Elvis. And he’s from Tupelo, Mississippi.


Riding Tower of Terror alone. Lines down. Can’t resist.

Now riding Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. Creepy single rider. Again.

Fine. We bought into the pin trading phenomenon.

My boy just met David Robinson at the ESPN Zone on the Boardwalk.

I’m really wishing my last name was Disney right about now.

Um, I’m SO not getting on the scale tomorrow. And you can’t make me.

Security has never smelled footier.

“I taste pickles.” – my kid, walking through Orlando Airport, not eating or having recently eaten pickles

Where’s @alecbaldwin? My flight’s taking off and I want to play Words with Friends.


My internet is down, so I’m visiting an old friend. Wanna come with?

My internet is down tonight (said through tears and gritted teeth) so I’ve elected (pompously) to give you the ‘Best of ODNT.’ Those of you who are actually friends of my personal Facebook page may remember when I wrote about a family trip a while back. Last year, for Mardi Gras 2011, we vacationed in Southern California, briefly passing through Anaheim and Disneyland. Following that trip, I wrote about the similarities and differences of the older park to its younger, fatter-yet-more-popular cousin, Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida. Where, coincidentally, we just visited for Mardi Gras 2012, one year later.

And with my internet (and thus also my laptop) down for the evening, I can think of no better time to revisit this old friend than tonight. So, without further ado, I give you … Disneyland vs. DisneyWorld. Give it a read if you haven’t already. I promise it’s WAY catchier than the crap-assingly-dull title I just threw at it.

Oh, but before I go … I just want to say a very special thank you to my new internet & phone carrier for cutting off our OLD service before sending us the NEW modem enabling us to reconnect to their service. And for dropping our call THREE times when we tried to remedy this little snafu. Excellent first impression. I look forward to many, many more resolution-less incidences of fighting with your surly customer service reps over the phone in the years to come.

And now, on with the show …

Since so many have asked, I kept a list as we traveled and have the following observations to share about the two iconic theme parks.

(1) Transit – There is none! We stayed in a DL hotel (I don’t think there are many but ours was very nice) and, from it, you’re able to walk (Walk!) to both of the theme parks. There was no need for a shuttle, bus, ferry or anything. The only monorail there serves as a ride in the park! Loved that.

(2) Hours – Much shorter than WDW. Maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe it’s that our days there were weekdays. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m from NOLA. But I was really surprised the park closed at 8pm. And when I say closed, I mean some of the rides started shutting down earlier in different areas of the park. Kiosks went unmanned and were covered with tarps. Some areas were so desolate and dimly lit as it got later that we avoided them and found another route to our destinations. Employees were lining the streets waving and offering everyone a very purposeful ‘Good-bye!’ Shops were closing their doors. Shops?!!? They are SO missing out on revenue here. I was very stressed knowing we had to get to the stores to get our crappy t-shirts before 7pm! Of course, the flip side was …. we were NOT at the park until 11pm … only to arrive back at the hotel and have the kids beg to go swimming at midnight. With the early hours, there was PLENTY of time for swimming. Seriously, if you don’t want to stay all night, it’s your ticket out!

(3) Fireworks – In keeping with number two, there are none on the weeknights. Fine by me but seemed strange by WDW’s punctuating moment each night.

(4) The centerpiece – Both parks have statues of Walt and the mouse in the middle of their Magic Kingdoms. Behind each of the statues can be found the park’s Princess Castle. The Disneyland castle is associated with Sleeping Beauty and WDW’s with Cinderella. And not unlike Sleeping Beauty’s position as a cultural icon as compared to Cinderella’s, the Disneyland castle is WAY smaller than WDW’s … and it’s located on the same level as the rest of the park … making it very hard to use it as a landmark with which to navigate my directionally-challenged self through the park.

(5) And since I didn’t have the castle as my north star, I would greatly have appreciated signage … of which there is very little in the park … pointing me to the different lands. Seems like they’re on every corner at WDW but rare at DL. Maybe this is only a problem for a simpleton like me.

(6) Maybe it was the time of year we traveled (early March) but there – were – no – lines. I mean … you could literally walk directly on many, many of the rides. What took the longest was making your way through the long empty mazes clearly intended for the throngs of people who weren’t there. The longest we waited for any ride was 15 minutes and it was due to a problem in removing a handicapped person from one of the rides. We LOVED the short lines but I felt a little sorry for Disneyland. And perhaps because of the lesser number of visitors, there was also a lesser number of picture-worthy creatures. The only ones I saw there were Goofy and Chip & Dale. There were rumors of Disney’s newest Princess (Rapunzel from ‘Tangled’) but I saw no part of her or her long tresses while there.

(7) Space Mountain – DL’s was very cool. It seemed a little longer, possibly a little more intense and featured double-seaters, rather than the single file rockets available at WDW. Sidebar – Whenever I zoom blindly through the pitch black darkness of that ride, I can never get over my intense fear of decapitation. I fear that something could have gone wrong … in the dark … on the ride immediately preceding mine and thus my head will inevitably be ripped off with no warning, landing in the lap of the rider behind me. So, while the ride itself isn’t too intense a roller coaster ride for me, my irrational fears usually keep me pretty occupied on this one.

(8) Pirates of the Carribbean- DL’s is definitely longer. I’d heard that in advance as it’s the original ride. They say it’s 17 minutes. I didn’t time it and have no idea how long the WDW one is. There’s even a dining area that overlooks part of the ride, sort of like in ‘It’s a Small World’ in Orlando. It also features the new Jack Sparrow/Johnny Depp animatronics, which far surpass the technology of the original characters … and are pretty fun for the moms, too.

(9) It’s a Small World – DL’s is very similar but your ride begins outside which is a little different. From there, you cruise from room to room and see dolls from around the world just like in WDW. You also see characters from different Disney movies in each of their applicable countries. The kids enjoyed spotting Alice in Wonderland, Lilo & Stitch, etc. along the way.

(10) Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – Anyone remember the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride that was always broken down in Orlando and has now been replaced by a lame racetrack? Well, the submarine ride still exists at DL and it’s been renamed and retooled to incorporate Nemo. It was fun and different though it was the ride that had us wait the longest that day (see number 6). It’s not appropriate for anyone struggling with claustrophobia. It’s a tight squeeze in a little metal caplet for about 10 or 15 minutes. ( I tried not to focus on my entrapment while inside.)

(11) Storybook Land Canal Boats – Lame ride through one Lilliputian village after another of different Disney stories. Felt like I was in a Christmas craft store …which, if you know me at all, had me praying for death. Very boring for little children and their parents. We kept ourselves entertained with the caterpillar who stowed away on our boat … until the ‘cast member’ called us on it and took our little friend away. Skip this one.

(12) Matterhorn – Definitely wanted to ride this one as it’s considered one of the biggies at the park. It’s actually taller than the park’s castle (which, since it should be the park’s focal point, I found odd). It’s intended to simulate a bobsled ride for its passengers and thus NOT a ride to take on with anyone except your child or significant other. The chairs seat two with the passenger in the back literally straddling the passenger in the front. (I have to imagine that this arrangement has made for many a comical situation in the past, maybe even the beginning of a few relationships.) Anyway, the ride was fun but VERY jerky. Gave me a bit of a headache, and I have a pretty high threshold for these things.


Check out their beautiful haunted mansion. It looks so familiar that I’d expect to be served Mint Juleps and grits when I went inside. And I’m actually FROM the South.

(13) New Orleans Influence – There is a whole section of DL called ‘New Orleans Square.’ It was replaced at WDW by ‘Liberty Square.’ Seriously, just like WDW, you have Main Street USA, Frontierland, Adventureland, Mickey’s Toontown, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland … and New Orleans Square. Wonder why WDW dumped the idea of using NOLA for its newer park … or why DL selected it as its one and only geographically-named ‘land’ in the first place. (There’s also one more land in DL called Critter Country, FYI.) New Orleans Square is pretty big. It houses ‘Pirates of the Carribbean’ (for whatever reason) and ‘The Haunted Mansion’ (looks like a Southern Plantation home so this one I get). The architecture mimics ours pretty respectfully but the food, well … can anyone ever replicate it?


You will NEVER find “fritters” or “pot  foods” anywhere in my epicurean city. Nor would there ever be “steak” or “vegetarian” gumbos. Typically, the more exotic the meat, the more likely it’s going to wind up on the table.


Lots of things in DL are very much the same as in WDW … the Mad Tea Party teacups, the flying Dumbos (though the cars are over water), Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh, the Carousel (this one dedicated to King Arthur and not WDW’s Cinderella), the Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise plus they also have old school rides for Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio. Additionally, DL has Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain (the latter of which, my daughter’s favorite, was sadly under renovation for our visit) as well as the largely-ignored Treehouse (here it’s dedicated to Tarzan rather than the Swiss Family Robinson), Tom Sawyer Island and the Riverboat. Among the DL rides not found at WDW were Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes (operates on weekends only? Weird) and the Indiana Jones Adventure (it’s a ride, not to be confused with the show at Hollywood Studios). Clearly, this ride must bring in large crowds during the busy season as the large empty maze we navigated before boarding it was longer than the ride itself. But my son loved it. My daughter … not so much. Said the oversized snakes were too scary. Of course, my son also loves WDW’s Hall of Presidents (I know. Really?) which unfortunately for him, but not me, wasn’t at DL. Instead, they offer something called ‘Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln’ which I read is a one-animatronic-man-show but we somehow managed to dodge it. (Tough break, son!)

Disneyland Expansions

Like WDW, DL has now gotten into the business of expanding itself into another whole park called California Adventure, which is basically a compilation of some of the most successful rides of the other three parks at WDW as well as a few new additions. Among the familiar WDW attractions are EPCOT’s Soarin’ (with a specific California focus), Animal Kingdom’s ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug’ 3D movie and Grizzly River Run raft ride and Hollywood Studios’ ‘Muppet Vision in 3D’ and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. We forced (I mean, forced … threatened, begged, bribed) the kids to come with us. They’ve both ridden it at WDW so I don’t know what the big deal was. Anyway, it was, as always, lots of fun and no one vomited following the ride so I deemed it a success.

As far as new things at DL’s California Adventure, the best part of it was the Paradise Pier section of the new park. It features an outdoor, knock-your-socks-off roller coaster called ‘California Screamin’ – fast and twisty with no jerky motions (which I HATE, see number 12) and offering a beautiful view of the mountainous (well, it was to a New Orleans flatlands girl!) landscape surrounding the park. Another great ride on the Pier was Mickey’s Fun Wheel offering a different spin (pardon the accidental pun) on the traditional ferris wheel in that half of the cars weren’t suspended by a single connection but rather hooked to a rail that enables them to slide back and forth as the wheel spins around. (Anyone who remembers the Magnetic Gyro Wheel toy of the 70s and 80s knows what I’m talking about.) Truthfully, other than my irrational fear of decapitation on Space Mountain (see number 7), this ride is the one that shook me up the most. High altitudes + spontaneously sliding cars + large gaps in the doors to the car make for a very uneasy me. It was fun but I was pretty happy to get back down again.

After a nice dinner (and I mean nice, complete with wine) on Disney property, we cashed in our fast passes to watch the park’s night-ending show entitled ‘World of Color.’ I still think it’s weird that you need a fastpass for the show given that it appears outdoors in the center of the park. It’s a water and colored lights show featuring music and projections from Disney’s many animated features (and even a few live action ones like ‘Pirates’) over the years. Very impressive but the lure of the hotel pool was too great for my kids and we lost half our troops mid-show.

The Disneyland complex also now includes a Downtown Disney area outside of the parks featuring shops, restaurants and even a little live entertainment, much like its counterpart at WDW. I read somewhere that the monorail system does actually access this area from the parks, not that it’s really necessary with the parks being walking distance away. Still, it’s a neat way to get from point A to point B if you haven’t ‘monorailed’ before. And the hours for Downtown Disney are much more manageable… in that you can actually grab a bite or pick up that last minute Disney souvenir after you exit the park’s retiree hours during the week.

All in all, it was a great trip. I was raised on Disney and always happy to experience something new there. Of course, I am both a wistfully sentimenal, nostalgic person as well as a relentless critic in these situations so my brain often goes into sensory overload during my visits. I loved going to WDW as a kid and love bringing mine there now. I am equally glad to have had the opportunity to bring them to DL, where it all began in 1955. The long and short of it is that, if you find yourselves in Southern California with a couple of days to spare for the kids, you should really take in Disneyland. If nothing else than for the historical Americana of it all.


Stuff that happened this week that I thought was worth mentioning …

Today’s Weight … 120.8

It’s been five days since I checked in here. Glad to see that number down a bit. Pretty impressive considering the cheese consumption in this household this week. And we’re now headed into Mardi Gras weekend. The good news is … lots of walking. The bad … lots of food … and drink. Sigh. Promise to be honest with the stupid weigh-ins. Ugh.

Don’t get it? Check this post.

1. I attended a Polyphonic Spree concert with my brother and my friend, Vanessa. I realize most of you probably aren’t familiar with this band, so please allow me to pontificate. There’s something about their music (especially live) that elicits an inexplicable feeling of euphoria usually only indicative of a nice muscle relaxant. Or, well, something like that. Maybe it’s the 16 people taking the stage at once wearing choir robes and carrying with them an orchestra’s worth of instruments that sets them apart. I don’t know. And, because I’m a big dork, I stuck around after the concert to meet the band’s frontman, Tim DeLaughter (even his freakin’ name sounds happy) and snap a quick photo. I’ve included the picture as well as a shameless plug for the band (a video of their appearance on Scrubs in 2004 – Love this band. Love this show).


2. While Googling the above song for a good video for this post, I was reminded of a movie (in which the song was used) that I always intended but never actually got around to seeing. (Story of my life.) So this week, thanks to Netflix, I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Anyone besides me ever see it? That is one unconventional film. And it involves Jim Carrey in a serious (as opposed to manically stupid) role which (like Robin Williams) is always a good thing. I won’t ruin it for you by rehashing the whole plot. Just go see it for yourself some time and come back and tell me what you think.

3. Ellen DeGeneres used one of my jokes on her show this week. “ONE of my.” That’s funny. Like I have an arsenal or something. Anyway, she was seeking corny Valentine’s Day jokes and I tweeted her one. What’s that? Well, YES, I tweet. It’s 2012, McFly. (Great. Any hipness Twitter just bought me was erased by my cavalier use of ‘McFly.’)

4. I lost half of my face to a little snafu with a women’s skin care product, uncharacteristically cold weather and my own, full-on ignorance. Apparently, Retin-A does not double as a moisturizer. I’ll bet any woman worth her salt already knew that. In the area of cosmetics and girly savoir faire, I am not worth any salt, mine or anyone else’s. Which, apparently, is only about $2.99 per pound, thus rendering me pretty useless. Except that when I complained of my Retin-A debacle, one friend actually said I was ‘making leprosy cool.’ Um, thanks?

5. I made cheese. Yes, that’s right. I built it. From the ground up … or the milk up, as it were. There were powders, liquids, cooking thermometers and oversized, cauldron-y-looking pots involved. And then there was the whole curds-and-whey-separation, a rather tedious process. And kneading. Dear God, was there kneading. But, in the end, there was cheese. Mozzarella cheese. That we promptly used on a homemade pizza for dinner last night. I made cheese. (Sniff.) I may try walking on water later this weekend.

6. I watched my girl kick butt in her third year in the school talent show. She channeled a young Michael Jackson beautifully in her own take on ‘I Want You Back,” although I think she was going for Nickelodeon’s Victoria Justice who recently covered the old J5 song. And, as always, we got to see a lot of other kids strutting their best stuff on stage all evening. One of my favorite acts involved two nine-year-old white boys popping and locking better than a 1980s Alfonso Ribeiro. (Without googling him, please comment below if you actually know who I’m talking about. No cheating!)

7. With the help of a few friends, I compiled a list of of people we’d like to see cloned and sent it to @GeneticsView who (foolishly) decided to follow me on Twitter. They hung in there for most of my shenanigans but finally unfollowed me because, I think, I got greedy and asked for too many clones. Who was on the list, you ask? Using the input of others as well as my own ideas, we sent them the following names: Brad Pitt, Jane Russell, Johnny Depp, Julia Child, Bono, Ellen Degeneres and Orlando Bloom. We were really just getting started when they unfollowed. Cowards. What crappy customer service.

8. I learned that I am an unteachable monkey when it comes to the computer. As such, there will likely be many more ‘This is not a real blog post‘ blog posts until I get this crap straightened out. Feel free to ignore them.

9. I learned that I know someone who knows Paul McCartney. That’s only two degrees, people. Meaning YOU are only three degrees of separation from Sir Paul. Go run and update your Facebook statuses … now!

10. I accidentally emailed my kids’ teachers from my ‘tits’ email again. Bear in mind, my daughter’s teachers include a nun. Please say a prayer for me immediately.

11. I an effort to throw off the many cheesy porn autobots of the world, I tried reprogramming my Twitter account by using hashtags like #Osmonds, #GirlScouts, #PBS, #BillCosby, #7thHeaven, #milk, #Crazy8s and #Waltons. It worked, but only for about five hours.

12. I devoted a day of my life to thinking good thoughts about Doug Henning. Doug Henning, you guys! Am I the only one who misses his big, buck teeth? Did you know he was a magician, illusionist, escape artist AND politician? Didn’t see that one coming, did you? A moment of silence for Mr. Henning, please.

Oh, yeah. And we passed 25,000 hits on this six-month-old blog. Yay, us! Thanks to all for reading. Happy Mardi Gras! I’m off to THE paradeS.