Humanius est deridere vitam quam deplorare

Epcot In Bloom

Epcot In Bloom

Life has been a roller coaster lately. While I am a firm believer in making lemonade when life gives you lemons, I think instead of lemonade I will try my luck at Limoncello. Instead of lamenting, I want to look back at all the wonderful things I have experienced in the past six weeks.

I visited Orlando twice, ran my third Half Marathon during runDisney’s Princess Half weekend, celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, discovered the new Spice Road Table restaurant, and saw the New Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom. Another highlight was taking time to smell the flowers at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival. Friends and family know that I love going South, and it was a blessing to escape brutally cold New York City. Soaking up the sun was wonderful, and my days at Epcot were among my happiest lately. What could be more relaxing than watching a heron resting on a floating garden and observing butterflies hatching? I was reminded of the days, unfortunately long ago, when I enjoyed regular visits to Juniper Springs, Florida.

Heron resting on a floating garden

Heron resting on a floating garden

Back in New York, family and friends provided solace and cheer while Mother Nature kept sending one winter storm after another. A surprise visit from cousins Bjorn and Tom brought much joy. On the other side of the country, Idan is working hard on a feature movie, and Laura is in Mobile, AL, working on a production with Bruce Willis–the stuff that makes moms proud!

We celebrated the wedding of Sergio and Nancy, and I can’t wait for our trip together with the entire family on the Disney Magic for their religious ceremony at Castaway Cay next month. I truly enjoyed making the bride’s bouquet, and I am thinking about what arrangement I can create for the Easter table.

Nancy & Sergio's wedding

Nancy & Sergio’s wedding

Spring finally arrived; while it is still rather cold, there is hope for warmer and kinder days ahead. There are still a few lemons lying around but not for long. I am working on the revisions for the 2015 edition of my guidebook, and soon the Facebook page of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids will reach 5,000 fans. There is so much to be grateful for. Even though the guidebook updates are lots of work, they are what keeps me going when things get tough. My freelance work, too, while labor intensive and not well paid, pushes me daily to move on, one word, one step, one day at a time. At the end of the day, it is indeed more natural to laugh at life than to lament it.

Countdown to Spring

Countdown to Spring

Run Merida Run!

The sun was lowest, the night was longest, but with winter solstice behind us I started my countdown to Spring. There won’t be a White Christmas, and the weather, just like me, has its ups and downs. Either way, the days are getting longer, and it is only 85 days till Spring and exactly 178 days till Summer!

Of course, another countdown has begun. In a few days, we will say goodbye to 2013 and welcome a new year. So often we wish for a good year, a better year, a successful one, but how about looking back and reflecting on the one that just is about to slip into the past? There are so many things I am grateful for. Exactly one year ago today (December 24), I received my Green Card, and my son not only graduated from film school, but he also went West to work in his field. I miss him, of course, but thank God for planes. Los Angeles has not seen the last of me.

In 2013, I set out to shed the weight I had been carrying around with me, and weight of all sorts it was. I started running and, thanks to the encouragement of dear friends, I ran my first race. It was a modest 5K that Laura Spencer and I set out to conquer, but to me it felt like climbing Mount Everest. I never knew what a runner’s high was until I experienced it and I got hooked on running. I discovered a whole community of supporting and caring running buddies; even when I did hit a roadblock, I kept moving.

So, minus a gallbladder, I did run a 10K in Anaheim, and it was simply heaven when at the finish line my son and my future daughter-in-law were waiting for me. Encouraged and cranking it up a notch, I did run 10 miles in Orlando in October. Eventually, I also did shed the physical weight, and I am now racing to my final goal, as far as my feet will carry me. I am training for my first half Marathon, and I shudder at the idea of how this will eventually feel.

Countdown to Spring

2013 at Disney

In the meantime, I have traveled in Europe, Canada, and the United States. My all-time favorite Mouse did see a lot of me this year and was the subject of 39 published stories, including Epcot during the holidays and Christmas decorations at Disney resorts. Last but not least, I am working on the seventh edition of my guide book to Walt Disney World with Kids.

I have been blessed to be able to report about my trials and tribulations, and I think 2014 will bring more of the same. Sometimes, more of the same is a good thing.

But I nearly forgot, there was one more thing I did in 2013 that was just unheard of: I learned how to drive a car. So going forward, may all who cross my path in the New Year be safe and may 2014 bring many more happy trails.