"You look like Career Doll Barbie!" "Oh sweet heavens, I do."

Today at breakfast we discussed beta testing, submarines, the mail system and the Musad. And then we ended up with watching a video of a dancing parrot. I love my family. 😀

The end-of-year has officially come for (most) of our activities. Brownies and Guides ended with a camp on the weekend, and Dance ended with The Show over the past five days. (If I could make that sparkly, I would. It’s Just. That. Big. They sell out the Arts And Culture Centre for three days. Ahem.) Now Cadets, which the Walrus is involved in, ends with a dance on Friday, which the Walrus may or may not attend. The jury is still out.

I was in dance class for four and a half years, and involved in the show for five, but I’d never actually been in the audience on a performance night. This year I was, and I was very proud. *proud smile* Fraulein and Slonner were in a total of six dances, (the best ones.) I’ve now been inspired to get back into dance, if I can scare up the cash and transportation. The show its self was epic, of course. The theme was Variations: Deja Vu, and they did repeats of the best dances over the last 11 years. That sounds rather feeble, but then you realize these were all excellent dances in the first place, in addition to the fact that much of the audience was looking forward to seeing their old favorite dances again. It was very good. Too bad you missed it. *shakes head*

My sister just walked into my room and shaved green glitter onto my head. This should probably disconcert me more than it does. My response? Let’s watch trailers on itunes! Something is wrong with me.
Anyhow! Let’s talk about camp! This was the first Camp I’ve gone to as a leader, and it was slightly different from the other side. For one thing, sleep seemed so much more important? Some how, when you’re a camper it seems fun to avoid sleep. When you’re a leader you’re more trying to avoid falling asleep on the lunch table. Also, limp french fries are less thrilling than actual salad with croutons and everything. This is a mysterious transformation, I wonder what could cause it? 😀
At breakfast the first day I was clutching a mug of weak, burnt coffee like the ambrosia it was, and one of the Brownies inquired as to whether she could have some coffee. Given that this eight-year-old girl never seems to suffer from a lack of energy, my answer was decidedly in the negative. “Why?” was the predicable response. “Because I’m an adult,” I responded- as predictably. The little Brownie, who by then had acquired a posse of interested followers, proceeded to inform me that I was not an adult. Cue blinking from Snazel. Oh, wait, this happens some times, they think because I am not a teacher or someone’s mom, I must still be in high school. “No, I am an adult, I’m 20,” I reply and drink more coffee. This isn’t good enough, according to the children. I’m not an adult because I don’t have a boyfriend. This is- not an objection I’ve had to deal with before. I throw out something about not having to have a boyfriend to be an adult. Brown Owl doesn’t have a boyfriend, and she’s an adult! Shaking of heads from the Brownies. Brown Owl is a teacher, therefore my argument is invalid. Ulp. Furthermore! They all have boyfriends, why don’t I? Wait, the seven, six and eight year-olds all have boyfriends? Yep, even the kindergartners have boyfriends. Cue disapproving looks from the Brownies. This is clearly an epic fail on my part. But I am not defeated! I go on the attack! My next question; do their boyfriends buy them things? No? Well, they aren’t much of boyfriends, are they now? The Brownies giggle madly about this, and I escape to get more coffee. Just another morning conversation with small girls!
The Camp was in a really lovely place, though. I should go back with a camera and less Brownies to control (which is approximately on the same level as herding cats) and take pictures. And I had a good time, though I wasn’t sad to go come and collapse into an unconcious heap.
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A Glimpse Into Renovations

Last week was Reno Week, which I was helping with, I think I may have mentioned. Of course, my helping was to run the kitchen, but it still counts, right? Anyhow, at one point I also wandered around with a camera, and this was the result.

Apologies are probably necessary. I’m sorry. *maniac chuckle*

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4158633&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
Reno Glimpse from Amber on Vimeo.

"Is this my thing?" "Sam, put down the poker!"

Let’s see, what’s going on? Let me think… Oh! Yes. Mommy and Daddy and Fraulien have gone into town for the weekend, so I’m in charge of the house. *chortles* The small ones are all being farmed out to family friends this evening, so it will be just the Walrus and I tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday morning. Should be interesting, no?

I will admit to being primarily frightened by the prospect of keeping the fires going, and managing the circulators for the radiant heating, but I made it through one night, and I can make it through two more, no? Yes, to anyone I was freaking out at on the internet last night, we did all survive, with absolutely no frostbite. 

"What are you doing here all by your eyelashes?"

Christmas is over, and I’m STILL tired. That may be attributable to the fact that I didn’t have coffee yet today, though. Hmmmmm…. 

Anyhow, Christmas. We had what was quite possible the most lavish and epic Christmas I have ever been witness too. We started at 8:00 am, with the unwrapping. And we went until 11:00 am, then took a half hour break for breakfast. The unwrapping commenced again, and continued till 1:30 pm, when we broke for lunch. After a long lunch, and some staring at the wall, we started again at 3:30 pm. We finished the unwrapping at 5:00 pm. Now, for some families that may be normal, but not this one. It took at LEAST twice as long as normal. People have been so incredibly generous, it just boggles the mind. 
So unwrapping took most of the day. Then PT, the Walrus, Fraulein and I watched Walrus’s new movie Transformers in the evening. It was a fun film, so long as I completely suspended all disbelief relating to the Military, and Law Enforcement, and the Intelligence Community, and how Relationships work. Oh, and massive transforming intelligent robots/vehicles. I mean, the SECRETARY OF DEFENSE was running things? And buddy broke an audio signal just by putting a thumb drive containing it in his computer? Blink, heartbeat heartbeat, and we’re seeing all these massive secrets-Right, suspension of disbelief. SUSPEND… *big grin* The Walrus really liked it though, and I thought it was fun, so twas all good. Oh and Moonunit called for 20 minutes, which was terribly jolly. It put me in a good mood. 😀
And now today I’ve spent most of the day sleeping, so I should really work on looking alive and going for a walk or something.

"If you spray me and I’m not on fire I’ve giving you to the community college."

We had the police in at work today. In an unofficial capacity. You see, we had a techie come in to upgrade one of our systems. (I’m not important enough to know the details. :D) And in the process of doing so, he set off our tamper alarm. We continued as per normal, ignoring the high-pitched siren that was emanating from the secure room where he was locked in with the senior cashier. After about twenty minutes of this, a very confused off-duty RCMP Officer poked his head in the door. “Do you, uh, hear that alarm?” So the other cashiers laughed at him and sent him away. 😀 Just a normal day in your local friendly financial institution! (Interestingly, my reaction to alarms has gone down significantly since spending time at McWork. I just blink at them.)

Ah, and yesterday I had my first ever conference call! It was magical! Actually, it wasn’t quite magical, but it was quite fun. The lady facilitating the training call was from Winnipeg, and everyone else was from Ontario. After about twenty minutes of general conversation we were told to preface our statements with our names, since we all had similar voices. Then she retracted that order, saying that Ali, (who moved to Toronto from Iran five years ago), and I (who apparently has a strong Newfoundland accent), wouldn’t need to state our names. Mainlanders. 😀 
Yesterday PT stopped by on his way to visit grandparents on the mainland. He and the Walrus are going out to help out for two weeks. Regrettably, I was at work all day. But I consoled myself with watching Ironman. Which is a good movie. A very good movie. My oh my. Everyone and their uncle, it seems, had been watching it and raving about it, so I had to preorder it on itunes so that I could watch it at the first available legal day. That was not even an option, really. (I sense disapproval oozing from those among us who do not have access to a theatre and are not fond of that fact, so I will qualify my previous assertion and say that everyone and their uncle who live in or near a city watched it and told me to watch it.) And it was awesome. Did I say that already? 
And I want Mr. Stark’s computer. Actually, I want his whole house, but that computer is amazing to the nth power. *stares at it* For those who are gearheads- you know who you are- it is worth it to watch the movie just for the computer. And if you’re a gearhead and don’t know it, this movie will show you. Also the dialogue is marvelous, as are the characters, the cinematography is lovely, the effects are beond cool, and the plot makes me happy, but the computer rocks my socks. *writes fanfiction about the computer* 😛
Now I need to go fold some laundry so I can jury-rig some more sudo-professional outfits. Valeo!

"Dr. Who did not help that experience to be more reassuring."

Day: 5
Date: 22/07/08
Event: Hollywood Studios

This experience is very fun, but my tendency towards cynicism in not lessening. In Epcot there is a general feeling of Quality to the structures, or at least of solidity. But Here the whole idea is that it is movie sets, so it all rings slightly false. 😀 Hah! I mean, false even after the significant suspension of disbelief required for a theme park. 😛

We started the day with Star Tours; a Star Wars Themed ride. It was quite fun, but we realised afterwards that Slonner and Walrus have not seen the movies, which made it slightly incomprehensible for them. They still enjoyed it, however, so all was not lost. After emergence from that ride, we were off to meet Lightening McQueen!

This was the thing Gid actually wished for. And I don’t know- when you have a 4 year-old palliative patient who has had a rush wish (which means he doesn’t have a lot of time,) come to visit, wouldn’t you try to do something special for him? A meeting in Lightning’s Garage? Five minutes uninterrupted? A sticker pack? That was what I was expecting. What we got was jumped to the front of the line to get our picture taken with Lighting and Mater. Two minutes, tops, in the middle of the public square, with other people crowding in for their turn, and music blaring.

Now, Gid was still delighted. When I asked later what he did today he said that “I saw Lightening and Mater- and touched them!” I, on the other hand, wanted to punch something. Hard. Broken glass and blood, please. Bah, I believed the Disney propaganda, which is always a dangerous thing. I’ve just got a jaded soul and Gid is so cute it hurts. I was holding him while we were waiting for Lightning, and he is so thin. Such delicate hands. His eyes are huge, and when he grins he’s infused with happiness. You beam to look at him. Mommy bought him Lightning McQueen shoes last night, and he was delighted with the. And the thing with Gid is that when you use words like “delight,” “joy,” and “beam,” it is the perfect truth. Even with all he’s been through, he is so full of life and happiness. My little brother is an amazing little boy. I wish I could see the man he would be. I have been truly blessed to be his big sister for 4 years.

[Here I broke off to bawl in the bathroom for 10 minutes]

Anyhow, the day. We went on a number or other rides, but probably the most noteworthy were the Tower of Terror and Rocking Roller Coaster. The Tower of Terror, because of the, (yes,) terror it inspired. The title is my reaction after we staggered out. The Rocking Roller Coaster is worthy of note because of its truly impressive wait line. ToT was fun, I’ll say, but I have no interest in doing it again. Been there, done that, sneered at the t-shirt. Seriously, why are all the good snarky t-shirts in guy’s sizes only? Even if perchance they have an acceptable design, it’s on a pink background!

I don’t do pink. I am the anti-pink. Pink is against my beliefs. So why do half of all female t-shirts have to be on that accursed colour? *bites a pillow* This is me, not impressed.

And on the subject of t-shirts, Fraulein and I noticed a distinguishing feature of Brazilian girls while in the interminable line for the RRC. There are a lot of groups of teenage tours from Brazil, all with official t-shirts. And the girls, almost without fail, have modified their shirts. The modifications range from “falling off the shoulder,” to “sleeveless,” to “bikini top.” I didn’t know you could fashion a bikini out of a t-shirt, but these girls manage it.

Overall, today was another very fun day, and I’m becoming acclimatised and accustomed, but I don’t think I’d fork out my own money for another ticket.

We’re in the SYSTEM now!

Day: 4
Date: 21/07/08
Event: Epcot

Disney is pretty much the embodiment of wildly successful capitalism. 47 square miles of wildly successful capitalism. Not that it’s not warranted, mind you. Today was kind of our test-day, to see ho our other days will be organised. And it was very fun.

After getting through the gates, (which required a fingerprint scan, (for Homeland Security? No one knows.)) We split up into two group. Mommy, Daddy and the small ones in one group, and Slonner, PT, Walrus, Fraulein and I in another. As we’re the oldest, we’re sometimes refereed to as the G5, and we were unleashed on the unsuspecting theme park! *evil laugh* We commenced a detailed and carefully considered planning session.

“What’s that golf ball?”
“I think it’s a ride?”
“Wanna go on it?”
“Sure!”
*enters the line for Spaceship Earth*

In fact, that was the best line experience of our day. We were in the official queue for approximately 2 minutes before we were taken aside and let in the exit. Aren’t we special? *preens* There was on spot on the “time travel” ride when we saw Michelangelo painting the Sistine chapel, with an Alleluia playing, and I got hit rather hard with a wave of homesickness for Augustine. I never thought I’d miss music class, but that time has arrived! 😀 Then we got stuck up at the top. PT spotted a pair of legs sticking out form under a car, so he was either fixing it, or we’re run over him and they were bringing up the body bag. It was dark; who knows?

Anyhow, fired with enthusiasm at our short line wait, we headed over to Test Track. 50minutes later, we got on the ride. I guess not all park employees are as zealous to give special treatment! I should explain at this point, that we were told, as a wish family, that we wouldn’t have to wait in lines. 😀 *shrug*

By the time we emerged form there, it was time for lunch. Whereupon we went to Morocco! For those not familiar with Epcot, it has 11 “international showcases,” which ostensibly represent Canada, UK, France, Morocco, Japan, US, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico. We lunched at Morocco, including some truly incredible coffee.

I have absolutely no inclination to close my eyes.

Then we did all the other countries. Well, not the US or France, but those hardly count, right? *ducks*

Among the G5, it was agreed that Japan, Germany, Morocco and UK, were the best, with Japan being “The place I most wish I had money for.” I almost bought a Kimono, as they were SOOO pretty, but by the time I would have bought one that wasn’t rayon, with the proper accoutrement, I could easily have spent $200. Therefore I decided to wait for my trip to Japan, which will happen someday! Why wait? Because I would certainly wear it on the street, and it would keep the cringe factor down if I didn’t have to say I bought it at Disney. So I bought Slonner a Parasol instead.

Then we went on the most successful ride of the day, which was Mission: SPACE. We were waved into the Fastpass line, but I’m still not sure if that was due to the Wish Uniform we were wearing or not. Anyhow, I tend to like anything vaguely space-related, and the ride its self was pretty awesome, so it was a general hit.

And now my legs are very tired. I don’t usually get to where it hurts to more. At last count, that took a walk of 15 km. So we walked at least that. Oh, and after the small ones were in bed, we went to a MASSIVE Wal-mart. Truly, this takes superstore to a whole new level.

Most of the time I don’t know what is an average price for Clothing, or shoes, or even media. But one thing I am very certain of is the average price of chocolate; and the bars at checkout were only 60% of the prices we get at home. Even with the exchange, that is still a significant benefit to the American shopper. I mean, no wonder the American students were aghast at Canadian Prices!

And one last discovery. I need to work on feeling more secure in public places. If I’m walking around in a basic state of insecurity, wanting only to retreat to my room, that tends to defeat the purpose of travel, no? Or maybe I can just go where there is an absence of crowds. 😛