The Land of Disney in Paris: Part I

The real reason I only spent one full day in Paris was… I wanted to go to DISNEYLAND! Spending all day in Paris was wonderful and I made the most of it, I really did! But for those of you who know me and those of you who don’t, I am a HUGE Disney fan, and I am talking HUGE! I have been to Disneyland in California well over 15 times. I have been to Walt Disney World Florida, twice. Now I have been to Disneyland Paris! 3 parks down, 2 more to go on the bucket list! The next series of posts will bore you if you are not a fan of the land of Disney. Sorry about that, but talking about the land of magical wishes is fun for me…so bear with me.

I understand there are people out there who don’t understand my Disney passion. I don’t expect you too. Just like I don’t get your need to go to Vegas every time you can, or pop off to London as often as it calls you. Nor do I get the need to go to Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver or THE LAKE.  I really don’t understand the need to go to Mexico every year, but you don’t have to listen to me say “Why do you do that?” with disdain on my face. You know why? Because I respect that you need to do things that make YOU feel fulfilled. It is YOUR mental break, not mine. My mental break is in the Land of all things Disney.

I love Disney Parks and here is why…

When I was 6 my parents drove from Edmonton to Los Angeles one summer. We were living in Yellowknife, North West Territories. So technically the trip was from the Arctic to California, with a giant rest stop in Sherwood Park to visit my grandparents and pick up my aunt ( who was 11 at the time). I knew we were going, but still han’t grasped the idea of what it meant. The trip itself was great, I remember traveling along the Oregon coast, seeing giant redwoods, the Pacific ocean for the first time, and I can remember vividly, oranges growing on a TREE! ON A TREE! This was the very first time I remember loving to travel. I loved seeing new things. I caught the bug. I was hooked. I was a traveler.

I remember small bits from my trip. Sitting on the corner of Main Street, in front of the Emporium, watching the Main Street Electrical Parade float by. I remember Robin Hood sitting in my brothers stroller and thinking I am in love! I remember how happy my dad was and how much fun he had. I remember my mom closing her eyes on every single ride because she was to scared to see what was going on. mostly I remember the feeling. The feeling of being swept away to a magical place, filled with details that will amaze you if you take the time to look for them.

Every trip after the first one was better than the last. The Land of all things Disney change. It never stays the same. The feeling is the same, details, rides and music change. This is reason one, why I like going back so often. I enjoy change. Hard to understand when I go to the same place as often as I can, but it is true. I love spotting the difference too. I love how small things change like tiny details such as light posts, or larger changes like rides who give nods to rides of the past that stood in their spot. It’s like belonging to an exclusive club where secrets are only given to members. If you plan to go for the first time and wish to know some of the secrets, I recommend you give Werner Weiss a visit at Yesterland. He will let you know what Disneyland use to look like. It’s a fun trip down memory lane for those who were there before.

I introduced my husband to the magic, he was hooked too. Although I suspect he puts up with my passion more than he loves it himself. The offspring were hooked. I’m sure my enthusiasm was part of the reason they loved it so much.  We felt we were ready to expand our horizons. We needed to move on to a larger space. Bring on Walt Disney World. The two places cannot be compared. Florida is as different from California as peanut butter and jelly. The two work together, but are very different. So please don’t ask me which I love more. Just like you can’t tell me which child you love more. You love them different but the same. Make sense?

Last spring my mom suggested we go and visit her, dad and Mrs. Stadler for a week while they were traveling around Europe. I thought this was a great opportunity for the offspring. I know Honey and I could not have been able to do this without their help and support, so thanks Mom and Dad! We spent hours looking a maps and a made a list of things we MUST do. Disneyland  Paris was on my list. I was willing to spend only a single day there. I am an experienced Disney Traveler. I know the other parks like the back of my hand, I understand the secrets only few know. I will not share all my knowledge but  dole it out as I think you could benefit from it. Therefore I was confident I could see Disneyland Paris in a single day. I could plan a day that would be memorable. I was ready. Life experience taught me what to ask, what I needed to know and where I would find the answers to my questions. Bring it…

Our last day in Paris, we had breakfast in the hotel with my parents. Kissed them good-bye, and walked to the Metro station 2 blocks away. We boarded the train heading in the opposite direction of every other commuter, who were heading into Paris proper. Two stops and we were there. Climbing out of the Metro and into, what would be known as the Esplanade in Disneyland, CA, we followed the hoards of Cast Members as we ready ourselves for rope drop. If there is one thing I know, be early for the opening or miss out on short lines. I was prepared. I couldn’t wait to start!

Around the corner, we saw the fist glimpse… The Disneyland Hotel which could only mean one thing, we were at the gate.

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The Mom Who Drank Wine on the Champs Elysees

Ever since I saw Charade (1963) with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, I wanted to sit on the Champs Elysees, drink wine in a quaint cafe and watch the world go by. In my mind it happened like that. In my mind I was dressed Hepburn-esq, in Givenchy head to toe, because that is all she ever wore since Givenchy designed her wardrobe for Sabrina in 1954. She always looked stunning. In my mind, so did I.

In reality I was chillaxing with the muppets at a pizza joint on the Champs Elysees. I hear you…ED, seriously? A PIZZA JOINT? French food is so freaking amazing and you eat pizza on the Champs Elysees. How disappointing! Agreed. It was disappointing if you look at it from that point of view. Let me explain…

As you know, our day started at Notre Dame, continued to the Louvre, then moved up the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was one of those “WOW” moments where you think about what you are seeing. It was the entrance to the worlds fair. Pablo Picasso looked out his window and could see it every day, the Nazi’s climbed to the top to fly their colours in a horrifying manner. The Eiffel Tower is an architectural marvel. It changed the way people built tall structures and bridges. It has stood in the same spot  since 1889. The iron lace work is beautiful. But it wasn’t the Champs Elysees.

We had seen more Paris tourist spots in one day then some people see in a week. By the time we walked halfway up the Champs Elysees, my feet were cranky. My shoulders were starting to get snarky with my neck and when my offspring are hungry they get crabby.  We were desperate for food. If anyone ever had muppets, you know how fussy they are when it comes to food.

Me: Look over there, a crepery!

Muppets: Ewww grosss!

Me:Look over there, a bistro!

Muppets: What’s Duck Comfit?

Me: Duck liver in fat.

Muppets: EEEEEWWWW GROSS!

Me: Look over there, a cute cafe!

Muppets: What’s Escargo?

Me: Snails in garlic butter.

Muppets: EEEEWWWWWW GROOOOOSSSS MOM NO WAY! Look its Pizza! I’m in!

Mom: eeww gross, FINE but I am drinking wine.

So, there is me drinking a glass of wine in an open air cafe/pizza joint, on the Champs Elysees, watching the world go by, imagining I am wearing Givenchy, pretending I had bags from all the shops we passed along the way Gucci, Prada, Channel,and Hermes.

After dinner, the muppets were satisfied and I got to walk father up the Champs Elysees and pass by Cartier. Everyone else was checking out The Arc de Triomphe and trying to figure out how the people crossed over to get to the top of the arch. There was me checking out Cartier and imagining I just bought myself a Laniers bracelet,  covered in diamonds. ($12600 if you must know).

Did I get to experience everything I had hoped I could? No, but I had the perfect back drop to my secret fantasy and I loved every minute. I am thrilled I was able to take the Muppets to the Champs Elysees!

And I drank wine…

 

 

 

 

 

January Schmanuary, Roll on Summer!

 

 

The Christmas Bills are in! And the winner is….. Master Card. Well isn’t that just priceless.

We strived for a leaner Christmas and succeeded, but Crimemany Crickets gifts are pricey. Did I get a Tiffany filled box under the tree? No siree bob! Was there a plethora of pretty boxes and ribbons under the tree? Nope. Are the Offspring left feeling hard done by? Nope. Am I?

Good Question. Am I? Maybe a little. There isn’t anything I really want. There wasn’t anything anyone really wanted- and if there was they got it. Doesn’t that sound like we are bunch of spoiled brats? To some extent I suppose we are. So why do I feel like I didn’t get what I want for Christmas?

I suppose it is all part of my tourist transition. Leaving the Caterpillar me behind and transforming into the Chrysalis. Eric Carle ( The Very Hungry Caterpillar) says 14 sleeps before I am a butterfly. He is a big fat liar. It has been 147 days since I have started this journey and today is a rough patch. Intellectually I understand that money doesn’t buy you happiness. But it does pay bills and take major stress away. I think I need to regroup and make a list of attainable items I need for my transition.

1> A Career Upgrade. I like my job. I REALLY like my team. I REALLY REALLY like how aspects of it make me laugh. But… Did you hear that coming? BUT my job is becoming mundane. For those of you who know what I do I know you are laughing. Maybe it is mundane because the challenge is gone. An Upgrade is in order. Before I can get an Upgrade, I need to finish my degree. Crap. That is taking forEVER. Next class starts Monday. I am maintaining an even keel. I guess that part of my life is on track – Check!

2>I suffered an injury on my vacation to Europe that has made me feel like I am crippled. It is holding me back and starting to make other parts of my body angry so they are hurting too. My Doc says, time is all it needs. Crap. I am giving it more love and coddling then I give my offspring. It still hates me and it is a big baby about it. This is the first time in my life where I wish I was younger so I could heal faster. I can hear my beloved Great Aunt Sister D “all it will take is three shakes of a dead lambs tail, then it will be right as rain” Dead Lambs don’t move very fast, I just noticed that. I am taking it slow. Check!

3>School is expensive. It takes a ton of time and money. I wish I could just go back full-time and be done with it. I noticed Genetic Offspring is a giant today. He grows faster then I can blink. Little Chatterbox isn’t little any more. She eats and grows too. I put my foot down yesterday. She asked for another pair of jeans. She has 4 that fit her. I have 1. I decided I don’t want to give up the possibility of having another pair of jeans so she can have a new pair. Time for her to get a job. Maybe I can get them to stop eating too. Check!

3> I need an intellectual challenge. School isn’t doing that for me. I thought it might. I have learned that I know a lot of stuff that makes my job easier. I have also learned it is the same stuff they want me to learn for my degree.The stuff I don’t know, is logical and easy to find. Then I know it and makes my job easier too. That is a win\win situation. It doesn’t help me intellectually. Blogs I read help. The Arts really help. Stranger friends I have met on FB help too. The Metropolitan Opera in New York is showing a series of operas at the local cinema this spring. They will be simulcast live in the theater. I think I want to go. If you wish to join me and then engage in conversation about what we experienced, I would love for you to join me. If that’s not your bag, that’s fine too. The internet has become a great way for me to meet people who also have the need to share thoughts and ideas. Check!

So where does that leave me?

I need patience. Rats, okay fine I will work on that.

I need my injury to heal. Rats, that needs patience.

I need money. Rats, okay fine, patience will help me out with that too.

I need an intellectual challenge. Rats, I see a pattern forming here. Patience will lead me to the intellectual challenge I need.

Stupid Patience! I am not liking you very much right now.

I can do this. Slow and steady wins the race. Patience is a virtue. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… Alright my dearest readers, start throwing clichés at me so I can get through the week. Thanks for being there for me xxx

 

Ok Mr. DeMille, I am Ready for my Close up

My 12 year old says to me: Look at all this room! I could get pregnant – but I won’t – and I would STILL have room.

WHAT?!?!?!

She bought new pajamas, women’s size large and way to big for her. Normally she is a size zero. 5’2″ and a size zero with gorgeous long blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes with a bubbly personality to match. So joking about getting pregnant is not what I am wanting to hear. I nearly had a heart attack.

I can see it now, dead from a heart attack at 43. No positive female role model for my daughter. Her whole world falls apart. Suddenly she becomes a statistic of teen pregnancy. THOSE JOKES AREN’T FUNNY CHATTERBOX!

Not that long ago she was telling the stupidest Knock Knock jokes ever. I would always drone on with a “whose there” and end with a fake laugh “ha ha”. Then she would ask if it was funny. I would always answer with an emphatic No. Then I would laugh for real.

When she was a little girl of 6, she always said, “no offense mommy, but I don’t like kids. Don’t expect grandkids from me.” I always thought that was adorable. Who knows at the age of 6 what they are going to be when they grow up? I was going to be an artist. She was going to be a STAR.

At Christmas she decided she needed a plan of action. How was she going to be a STAR with a fairly normal family. Chatterbox decided she needs dysfunction in her life so she can play the part of leading lady not leading lady’s best friend or sidekick. Over Christmas dinner we discussed the different ways we could traumatized her so she could be a STAR. Various suggestions came up like parents divorcing, locking her in a closet, forcing her to eat meat ( she is a vegetarian at heart). None of these dysfunctional suggestions appealed to her. Now we don’t know how she will be a Star. She has an audition coming up soon for a play in a theatre company’s theatre season. She has read the script, she will learn her lines and I am sure based on enthusiasm and personality she has a decent shot. We have talked about rejection and how that will feel when it happens. It will happen eventually. Chatterbox doesn’t care because rejection is part of the process. She may or may not be a STAR but it is still her dream and I will help where I can. I will try to be more dysfunctional than usual to speed the process. This may or may not help, we will have to see what the future holds.

After what she told me about her pajamas, I know I am traumatized enough to become a star. I can channel my inner Carol Burnett and be a mighty fine Norma Desmond.

I’m ready for my close up Mr. DeMille…

Welcome to Crazytown

I live in Crazytown.

As I flip through my favorite blogs, lots of my favorite writers are reflecting on this past year. As you may or may not know, New Years for me is the first day of school. Today is just the 3rd last day of my vacation. As I look at my life I realize my muppet family truly live up to their well defined reputation.

Yesterday The Evil Genius left us for warmer climates Down Under. He spent the better part of 5 or 6 weeks with us in Edmonton Crazytown. The cold wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. No one froze to death. The snow was deep, slippery and actually looked like snow from the movies. His excitement over the big giant flakes that were actually true to the myth –  different from one to the next – was adorable. Imagine someone excited over snow! This had to be from someone who doesn’t live with it from October to April. It isn’t the snow that makes us crazy – it is what we do in it.

When I was younger, my Great Grandmother shared with me tales of her younger days raising a family on the prairies of Saskatchewan. She was a widowed Teacher of 5 children trying to do laundry during the Great Depression without a tumble dryer! How did she survive? Well my dear readers, what you may or may not know is : There is NO MOISTURE here in the Great White North. You wake up in the morning and think you may have a cold. Your nose is stuffy, your throat is sore and dry, but wait! You have a beverage, maybe hop in the shower and voila! You are back to normalish. Just moisturize lots and often so your skin won’t crack and bleed and it’s ALL good!

Anyway….back to my Gram… She would wash all the clothes then stack the clothes flat in her laundry basket still wet. Out the back porch she would go. The colder the better. Gram would let the clothes freeze solid. It wouldn’t take long for the clothes to freeze in -30F. In 2 days or less, the clothes wouldn’t be stiff any longer. All the moisture would be evaporated out of them. Likely it was how the concept “Freeze Dried” was developed. She would bring them in, give the clothes a shake, then fold and put them away. DONE!

Here in Crazytown, December 31, 2010, Honey decides he wants to do this after telling Evil Genius a similar story about how his mom did laundry in the winter when he was young. (Clearly Honey is 100 years old and if his sister are reading this – please feel free to confirm or deny this history or your mom’s life on the prairies) So here am I sitting at the Kitchen Table, enjoying my morning coffee, watching Honey out on the deck taking pictures of the frozen clothes. Just so you know, we have a perfectly lovely dryer, Candy Apple Red LG with all the bells and whistles. Does he think it works well for drying things? ABSOLUTELY! Does he thinks it is fun to freeze clothes solid just like his mom did? ABSOLUTELY! Only I am willing to wager his mom didn’t find it so fun. The next step will probably be graph and chart the humidity verses drying time of the clothes. I have a feeling it will be a long wait for clean clothes this winter.

Welcome to Crazytown 2011.

Christmas Dinner Conversations with the Muppets

I kid you not, dinner with my Muppet Family is HILARIOUS! Our regular, everyday life is filled with bizarre and strange happenings that only seem to happen to us and Newfies. This always makes for interesting conversation.

The women folk were sitting around the dinner table last night visiting and catching up when Aunt Scooter asks Mrs. Statler, “Mom are you reading ET’s blog?”

Mrs. Statler “Hmmm? Sure I do.”

ET: “You know Mrs. Statler is you right?”

Mrs. Statler: ” What?!”

Later on in the evening, we sat with Cousin Animal. Now that he is balding you can see the scar on his head where he had surgery a few years back. He said he feels self-conscious when people ask him what happened. So being the kind and thoughtful Muppet family we are, we all offered suggestions:

“Tell people you brother pushed in your baby soft spot when you were little” or “I cut myself shaving” or “everyone has that scar, wait until you go bald” We are a kind and loving family.

Tonight at dinner, we were engaged in lovely conversation when my brother Gonzo (who is 41), was laying on the couch, suddenly jumps up, interrupts the conversation with: “I got a bookmark and a Qutluch for Christmas!” My Dad looks at him and asks, “What the …? Is a Qutauch?” “A Klingon war weapon!” The room went silent and we all stared at Gonzo for a good five minutes. He sat there smiling because he thought we were jealous. My Dad turns to Granny The Ukrainian Swedish Chef and says, “that’s why we keep him in the corner”.

Granny The Ukrainian Swedish Chef suddenly blurts out, ” I bought a 26lb Turkey I need to cook tomorrow.” My mom looks at her and said, “you live alone, why would you buy such a big Turkey?”

Granny The Ukrainian Swedish Chef said: “I thought it would be nice. I told the girls at Bridge about it and they kept adding 5lbs to the turkey as the night went on. Before you knew it they had accused me of buying a 75lb Turkey”

Mom: “But what on earth possessed you to buy such a big Turkey?”

Granny the Ukrainian Swedish Chef’s grandson said: “I am willing to bet she bought it because it was on sale AND double Airmiles. She will cook it up and send half on the Greyhound Bus to British Columbia and the other half to Saskatchewan and not eat any for herself.”

Granny the Ukrainian Swedish Chef shrugs her shoulders and said: “But it was a good deal!”

So there you have it, a very small but insightful look at my Muppet Family Christmas. Two family dinners down, one more to go. Boxing Day tomorrow with Honey’s Family. I know you are wondering if they are crazy Muppets too. My answer is, of course they are! Do you really think I would be a part of anything else?

It's time to play the music
It's time to light the lights
It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight.

It's time to put on makeup
It's time to dress up right
It's time to raise the curtain on the Muppet Show tonight.

Why do we always come here
I guess we'll never know
It's like a kind of torture
To have to watch the show

And now let's get things started
Why don't you get things started
It's time to get things started
On the most sensational inspirational celebrational
 Muppetational
This is what we call the Muppet Show

ARTIST: Jim Henson and Sam Pottle
TITLE: The Muppet Show Theme Song

The Face Painter

I read a blog this morning that reminded me of this story. Thank you Bokkie!

I was a Face Painter – when I say Face Painter I don’t mean Puddy from Seinfeld I mean I was really a FACE PAINTER. I say WAS because I don’t want Santa to call me and ask if I am interested in getting back into it. Dear Santa, NO THANK YOU! I know this does not make any sense to any of you but Santa, so I shall explain…

I grew up in one of those very lucky families where the mom worked magic and made Christmas sparkly and special. Every year, just before Christmas, our family would march around the city looking at lights, participating in special Christmas activities. We always saw the Teddy Bears at the Museum, looked at the Christmas windows at the Bay downtown, saw the Creche at City Hall. We would drive around the city at night singing Christmas Carols and looking at lights.

The best was the annual Christmas party. All of our family and friends would come to visit, laugh, sing and Santa came every year. I knew it was always my Grandpa, my sister did not. She was a Believer. It wasn’t as if I never believed, I did, but as I became older those beliefs change and morph into something else. The age gap between my sister and I is LARGE. I loved to help keep the illusion up for her. I knew who Santa was, but I sat on his knee anyway telling him how good I was that year, and he would reach into his sack and pull out a gift with my name on it. To: Edmonton Tourist Love: Santa. Written in my mom’s perfect script.

As we got older, cousins and friends moved away, the parties stopped. I missed them.

When the offspring muppets came along, and we moved into our new home, I decided I wanted to reestablish the Christmas Party Tradition. I walked around my block, knocked on doors of neighbors I did not know very well, and handed them an invitation. I invited people I did not know very well from the muppets school, and I extended the invitation to my family. It was a Family party, so there was food, special responsible drink, and Santa.

I asked each parent to bring a wrapped gift with their child’s name on it, about a $5 value, and leave it in a box hidden on the front porch. At 8:00, we heard Jingle Bells, Stomping on the porch and then the great loud “HO HO HO”! The children were enchanted! The older children were trying to puzzle out who Santa was. You could see them search the room, count the dads, look back at Santa with a quizzical look on their faces. They would never guess. I knew the REAL Santa because I was a Face Painter.

I use to Face Paint. Not the full face clown make-up. I specialized in cheek art. I drew unicorns, spiderman, puppies, you name it – I would draw it on your cheek. I had a booking agent who would slot me in great corporate venues, one for the highlight reel was The Edmonton Oilers Christmas Party. My booking agent also was an entertainer. He made/makes amazing balloon animals and hats. The big secret was, he was Santa Claus.

I would go to Christmas gigs, work for 2-4 hours, make obscene money, and come home. My children always asked who I saw. Every time I would say, Santa. He dressed liked the Coca Cola Santa, complete with the red coat to go OVER the red suit. Perfect! I would get phone calls from him to book my time, and my kids always ask who was on the phone, “Santa” I would reply. I would make arrangements for Santa to come to our home. He would always negotiate a plate of food and tin of homemade cookies. The food would be left in the box on the porch.

Santa would come and go every year. The same Santa, we have pictures to prove it. As the muppets grew older, they became more skeptical. One year we were at the Telus World of Science taking in the Christmas Lego exhibit when Chatterbox saw Santa. She knew there were fake Santas out there, but she maintained – just like my sister did years before – that SHE knew the REAL Santa. We walked up to Santa, and Santa KNEW my name. If there was a prouder moment in her life up until then, I was unaware of it. Let the bragging begin! Chatterbox’s mom KNEW the REAL Santa, so take THAT your stupid non believers. She had proof. Santa looked at my children, and thanked them for the art work they had made the previous year. It hung on his fridge and he described it back to them as proof. I had believers for a few more years because of that encounter. Thank you Santa.

Every now and then I get a phone call from Santa just to see how I am doing. When I hang up my kids say “who was on the phone?” I still answer “Santa”.

Baby Chicken Hawk is my Idol

I think I had a nervous break down today. I cried, I was cranky and…No – Wait a minute – I didn’t have chocolate!

I was watching Oprah tell Barbara Walters that Gail is the friend everyone should have. I don’t want to be Gail’s friend, but a friend like Gail would be awesome. Oprah talks to Gail everyday to debrief her day. They laugh and cry etc, etc, etc, bask in each others friendship glory and then move onto the next day.

I have AMAZING friends. I can call anyone of them up and ask a big fat huge favor and each and every one will say yes before I finishing saying “I need to ask a favor”.  I can call them for a minute and end up yapping for an hour or two – Gail & Oprah style! Just to have that moment in my day to debrief would be amazing. That would be huge! Seriously, who has the time? My schedule is tight. I need to fit sleep in there somewhere. I thought having my courses done for the semester would ease it a bit, but HA! No such luck. I am so incredibly thankful for Facebook! Facebook keeps me up to date with my friends, lets me know about the chaos in their lives, lets me see the MOST ADORABLE pictures of their kids, pups and vacations. When I say adorable, I really mean Baby Chicken Hawk. There was a picture today of her looking all ambivalent and with her fingers innocently arranged, flipping the bird to the world. The Babe is 4 months old and has serious ‘tude! This is THE BEST PICTURE EVER!

It is the best because A> She is EXACTLY like me – and when I say me – I mean my evil twin Chicken Hawk and B> She has no idea what it means, and by the look on her face she doesn’t really care anyways.

I want this picture to be my new Facebook Profile Picture. I want this picture to hang on my mirror to remind me about what’s important and what is not. I want to have this picture on my iPhone so I can remember to flip the bird metaphorically when I need to not care. This Baby is rocking my world.

Thanks Baby Chicken Hawk I needed this picture today. Between you, chocolate, coffee, my best girlfriends, my best guy friends and my family – I don’t think I need a friend like Gail.

Good News! It wasn’t a nervous break down after all!

We Aren’t Lost! We Just Don’t Know Where We Are Going!

Today was one of those days where “out to lunch” had several meanings. We eventually went out to lunch for a well deserved break. My colleague drove with me on the way to the restaurant. She mentioned to me that traveling outside of Canada had never happened for her, but it was something she was eager to do. That got me thinking about how fortunate I really am. I have been all over the world, seen amazing things and had unbelievable experiences. One of those experiences was looking for a campsite in Europe with our trusty GPS Phoebe. This was one of those times where “Wild Goose Chase” would have been more productive than the tour she took the Muppets on.

We had left the Black Forest and planned to stay one more night in Germany exploring the area around the French Border. Phoebe, in her Infinite limited wisdom, led us to a campsite that had just closed for the season. Fair enough, we were travelling during “off-season” but this was the first time we had encountered a closed campsite. We punched in new coordinates and off we went again in search of a camp spot for the evening. She led us down a country road, that turned into a village, that turned into a town, that stopped in someones driveway. Clearly this was not a campsite. Okay Muppets, fear not! We shall just try again! Entered in new coordinates and off we went again! Around the corner, up the hill, past a sports field and into…a closed for the season campsite! Swell. Again, we repeated new coordinates, and we were off! This time we just kept driving until the road stopped. Just like Phoebe told us too. No road left, just a ferry. A Ferry?!?! Knowing if we crossed the river we would be out of Germany. We had no choice, the Muppets were getting hungry, it was getting late, we needed to find a place for the night. None of us were too keen on parking on the side of the road for the night, we were willing to do it if we had too but, out first choice was a camp spot. Onward we traveled. Drove onto the Ferry deck, stayed inside and across the river we sailed.

Before we knew it, we were in France. The architecture was still very similar to Germany, but now the signs were new. Being Canadian, we are exposed more frequently to French then German, not that our merry band of Muppets could understand it any better, it did look familiar. Phoebe seemed to know where she was taking us, so we let her lead. Up another road she took us. There it was. ANOTHER CLOSED CAMP SITE! That was the last straw. My mother, hopped out of the front seat, grabbed a PAPER map and started looking. Then she realized where she was.

A month earlier, the two Lead Muppets and Mrs. Statler had arrived in Frankfurt, Germany. They drove to Obernai France and camped for the night. Mom knew where she was and saved the day! She led us to the very same camp spot they stayed earlier in the trip. Best news of all, it was OPEN!

Dinner time! We had FINALLY eaten the last of the Schnitzel for lunch and decided we needed a change. Franks and beans it was. just so you know, my mother is one of the best cooks you would ever have the good fortune to meet. Franks and beans is NOT her usual fair, but it was dark, Muppets were hungry and we were thrilled it wasn’t Schnitzel. Over dinner the Lead Muppets shared stories of their last visit to Obernai, claiming the younger Muppets would love the charm just as much as the previous villages we had visited. We then discovered, the next day was market day in Obernai! We had yet to visit a market. Everyone settled down for sleep that night, tingling with anticipation of visiting the market. The Caravan was buzzing with excitement. Come to think of it, the excitement may have been due to the fact it was the last night in the Caravan for the Muppets. The following night would be spent in a hotel, in a bed that was the correct length for Honey and myself, AND there would be a shower in our room and not down the block to be shared with 100’s of fellow campers! Either was, we were excited about what the next day would bring. We were not disappointed!

We found parking and walked through yet more donkey cart sized streets. The vendors were just setting up for the day. We had expected a dozen or so stalls filled with farm grown food. That was indeed there. But there was everything you could possible imagine! Mushrooms to Mattresses, Vegetables to Violets, Brand name clothes to Beniets, anything you could think of, it was available! There wasn’t just one street filled with market stalls, there were several streets, people filled the square and lined the street looking at things to purchase. The Church bells sounded to signal the start of the market and people filled the streets.

Once again we had stumbled upon the most amazing adventure. Purely by accident. Thanks for not being so helpful Phoebe, and thanks for being in complete control mom!