I can’t believe six weeks have already gone by and we are leaving Orlando. We head out this morning for an 8 hour drive to Charlston SC to spend the evening with friends Bob and Lynn and then Sat. morning drive another 4 hours to Pickens SC, near Greenville SC. I don’t now how much internet access we will have so there might not be new entries until we get home around April 8.
We will be meeting with a real estate agent to look at property and some other towns (Greer, Travelers Rest and Taylors) around the area. Plan on putting our house on the market this spring.
For this visit we arrived at Epcot around 1 p.m. We planned on coming late and staying late so we could see the Fireworks display. Since we had seen most of what we wanted to see on a previous visit we wanted to spend a relaxing day and see the flower show that started March 19. The day was cool, about 68 and sunny and it was just perfect for walking around and enjoying everything.
The photos don’t do the topiary creations justice. The birds and butterflies above are all flowers and greenery. Peter Pan one was probably my favorite. You should be able to guess that Tinkerbell is my special favorite. Snow White and the seven dwarfs was also pretty cute.
Fragrance Garden – the most original idea I have ever seen for a fragrance garden was in Paris and done by Guerlain,s among the oldest perfume houses in the world. The only fragrance I was familiar with was Sharlimar. They had topiary in the shape of their famous perfume bottles with lots of other fragrant plants and flowers surrounding the topiary and then to top it off they had about a dozen stations (see photo) where you could actually smell the fragrances. We loved it.
China had a different type of topiary which was made of seeds and dried things. They had one for each month of the Chinese Zodiac. I am a tiger. They were about 18 inches high and two feet long. Very beautiful. Japan had many bonsai trees that we enjoyed.
Another highlight was watching Paul Revere and the Raiders perform. We had very low expectations and it was a hoot. They really played to the senior crowd. I forgot all the music they have done.
I enjoyed the US American Tribute but Bob thought it was too much pomp and circumstance. I also thought it was sad. What is the American dream today? Have we and our country lost it? Did we ever have it? Lots of philisophical thoughts on this one. Ask me about this when you see me.
The fireworks or as Disney calles it “Illumination” was fun but Bob and I both expected a little more. We would give a regular fireworks a 5 and gave this an 8.
We are theme parked out. Probably will not go to another one for decades!
After trying everything we could think of Bob ended up having to reinstall Vista. All my programs are gone and all my data is gone. Fortunately I could get the data backed up through safe mode and we had a second laptop with the essential software I needed. Microsoft was no help at all. Bob can play with it for awhile. Right now I have no desire to load any of my software on it any time soon.
We made two trips to Epcot. One when it was not so busy and saw all the major attractions and the second visit when the flower show started and staying to see the fireworks. In the past we have been to Epcot twice already so have seen most of the exhibits at least once.
We took a behind the scenes tour of their special garden research area. They are looking at ways to grow food in small spaces without soil. Pretty interesting. I want to try one of their ideas for an herb and edible garden in MN this summer.
The China and Japan exhibits are our favorites.
When we saw Taiko drums several years ago it started our interest in this music form and we have seen several performances in the Twin Cities.
We splurged and had lunch in France. Figured doing it at Disney was alot cheaper then the flight to Paris.
The Soarin experience/ride was pretty fun. It gives you the illusion of flying over the California. It felt pretty real. My great thanks to the 8 year old boy sitting next to me when he reassured me before the ride.” Just remember it’s not real. You are only about 18″ off the floor.” I found myself repeating that to myself a coule times.
We have had nothing but trouble with the latop that is running Vista. First the wired and wireless internet connection stopped. Had to restore the operating system but fortunately the date files remained.
Next it would not take the Windows patches. Did not get that fixed before the next breakdown.
Two weeks ago it lost the validation key so completely dead. We can get it to boot in safe mode so I could get my files off. Interesting that it won’t work if you boot in safe mode with network. Bob has had dozens of emails with Microsoft Support and still stuck. Will probably have to wipe out everything when I get home.
Sure won’t be my main computer anytime soon. I have lost all confidence in using the laptop. Bob and I decided to get Vista on the laptop so we could learn about it and be able to help other people. We have been baptised with fire and certainly hope we never have to help people with these problems.
I added a couple photos to this earlier post.
Quite by accident I discovered a gem. About 45 minutes from us there is an incredible historic garden with carillon bells. They have some special events and one happened to be a concert on Sat. night with Acoustic Eidolon, a husband and wife couple that play a rich blend of Celtic, folk, bluegrass and Latin music with Joe playing a unique double-neck guitjo instrument and Hannah’s playing the cello. We also signed up for the pre event of hors d’oeuvres and wine. We had planned on going early to see the gardens and here the bells but it was raining so we will go to see that another day, probably when we go back to Cypress Gardens since they are only about 10 miles apart.
The concert was fantastic and we got a little preview of the bells and one small garden. WOW! Watch for photos when we return. The park is in the middle of an orange grove so it has a very calming drive in.
Since it was such an accident that we found this place Bob and I are both wondering why we have been brought here. We don’t believe these things happen to us by accident so there is a reason, we just don’t know it yet. We also know it may take years for the purpose to be revealed to us but for now we will just enjoy the experience of a beautiful adventure.
Side note: The couple that we sat with before the concert when they learned we were fom Minnesota, immediately commented that Minnesota also had clarrion bell towers. I am going to have to find out more about that when I get home.
We celebrated Easter and our 34th wedding anniversary at the Arabian Nights show. A dinner show that brings the fairy tale to life on horseback. We had a good time. The show was pretty and fun. Food was nothing great. Seating was in long rows with the food in front of you. We had a delightful family from Montreal sitting next to us. Bruno was a flight attendant and very talkative. He bought us a glass of wine to celabrate our anniversary. I should mention that each glass of wine was about 1/2 a bottle!
The story was about the princess and the prince and the evil prince but they also managed to get in several acts that were about the Wild West.
The horse below was HUGE! His shoulder and rump were almost as tall as Bob so close to 6 feet!
Bob finally starts his last week at IBM. His last day is Friday, March 29. He sends his laptop, id, etc. back on Thursday. As you all know, this has been quite an interesting time. His severance package came out much better then we anticipated so that is great news. He has to wait 30 days before he can work with old IBM clients (ING) so will start consulting for ING on May 5. We think it might be close to full time for a while as ING transitions from IBM/ATT to Verizon and then will go to half time, I hope. We figure we should take advantage of the opportunity while it is here.
I just started using PICASA 2, a free service from Google and am pretty impressed with it. I have used snapfis, shutterfly, flicker and probably a couple others over the years. Try it out. I have not tried printing photos to other services yet.
On our drive down to Naples we spent some time investigating Sarasota. We are thinking that might be where we are “snow birds” next winter. Had lunch outside with a beautiful view of the water and then went to visit Selby Botanical Gardens. The following info. is from their web site. They also had an exhibit of carved masks that were stunning.
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida is a not-for-profit institution fostering understanding and appreciation of tropical plants, especially epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants), through programs of research, conservation, education and display. Selby Gardens is perhaps best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids.
The 9.5-acre bayfront property is an open-air and under-glass museum of more than 20,000 colorful plants, many collected in the wild on over 150 scientific expeditions to tropical rain forests by Selby Gardens research staff. Seven greenhouses are the heart of botanical research and plant identification, for which Selby Gardens is internationally recognized.
Watch the slide show. Don’t forget to click on the original view.