Plastic Surgery for School-Age Tots?

This morning when I was getting ready for work, I stopped and watched a segment on Good Morning America on a child whose mother had her go under the knife to enhance the appearance of her ears in order to prevent bullying.  Click this link to view the news segment.

After viewing this segment, I felt extremely upset over the parent’s decision. From an Education Professional viewpoint, one should ask oneself what kind of message does this send our children? If Billy is growing increasingly more and more overweight, is it okay that his parents send him for liposuction or gastric-bypass? Or what about those children who face racial differences? If those children get picked on, no one is going to give them a skin transplant.

The thing that really peeved me was when the anchor asked the little girl if she was ever teased about her ears, the little girl replied with,
“No.” This little girl wasn’t even a victim of bullying, yet her mother deemed it necessary to fix what wasn’t broken. Her cupped ears certainly wouldn’t hinder her ability to hear.

I think we have hyper-sensitized our children to hurt feelings and bullying. We remove children from potentially threatening situations and ever teach them what to do should they ever find themselves in a one. A quality like self-confidence can really change an outcome to a situation. Instead of trying to protect our children from every negative they could possibly face, perhaps it would be to benefit them if we helped them lay their differences out on the table to promote acceptance of diversity. Maybe if children were raised with ideas of acceptance of others regardless who they are, what they look like, and mental/physical abilities or disabilities they may have, we would be fostering a future generation who have a higher tolerance for diversity.

Do you believe the mother was justified in her decision to let her daughter get plastic surgery on her ears? Why or why not?


Attention all Educators!

Before you scold another student for doodling on his/her paper when they should have been listening, consider the following!

“Research from the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom shows that those seemingly mindless drawings help you to concentrate better and remember more information during meetings. “Putting pen to paper actually keeps you focused on what’s being said when otherwise your mind could wander,” says Sunni Brown, a consultant who teaches companies how to use creativity to boost the performance of their employees. “And because doodling naturally activates the right side of your brain, it encourages creative problem solving, helping you think outside the box.” –Shape Magazine, Doodle Do p. 40.

Back to the Grind

Today my alarm once again went off at 6:45 AM. As soon as I heard it, I realized two things. 6:45 came much too soon and it was back to reality. Having last week off to be in Florida was nice, almost a tease what with the nice weather and worry-free nature of the week. But this morning presented itself with the typical Monday morning throes–“Where is my lunch bag?” “Toby, please don’t drool on me” “What?! no forks?” “Where is….I can’t find…” “I HATE MY LIFEEEE.” And no sooner to I cause a commotion in the kitchen am I rushing out the door so I won’t be late for work.

It was nice getting to see everyone at school again. I rehashed my week a few times throughout the day, making me miss what I left behind all the more. I was in a first grade classroom today. It was a fairly easy day. The students had two specials–gym and music. We even had time at the end of the day to finger paint a lamb to accompany a cute poem to be written inside.

Afterschool, I decided  it would be a good idea to attempt to get back into a stable routine at the gym again. This being a new week, I thought it would be a great time to do so. And I did! I would like to start eating clean, but am looking for some support and guidelines for a novice Eat-Clean program. If you or anyone you know has any advice, please pass it along!

Anywhoos, time I go and relax!

Stay tuned!

More Specifics…

I was on a hunt for a peach, apple and strawberry cobbler recipe and I came across someone else’s travel blog who also experienced the Backstage Magic Tour. He gave a very detailed outline of the tour, but left out Animal Kingdom. Otherwise it is a perfect mold of what we saw. Here is the link!

All Good Things Must Come to an End

I am currently writing to you from 33,000 feet, thanks to WiFi onboard our MD88 plane.  Our original plan was to be leaving for the airport no later than 10:30 this morning. However, by the time we were all piled into the car and pulling out of the driveway, it was more like 10:50; we were running late, per usual. Our flight was scheduled to leave shortly after noon. After jostling the poor curbside check in attendant with five bags, throwing out 5 outstretched arms with IDs under his nose and then all running off into the building to go through the dreaded security line.

Once through, we waited for the rest of our party, (Jimbo Jones) to come back from returning the rental car. As luck (or the lack thereof) would have it, he loses his boarding pass, not once–but twice. Two tailspins, 4 shaking heads and 5 agitated people later, we were walking on to the plane. When I was walking onto the bridge that brings you to the door of the plane, my bottle of water fell out of my bag and started to roll down the bridge towards the plane. I hope you can picture this scene taking place. Three of us begin chugging along after this rogue bottle of water before one of us is able to snatch it up. And on to the plane we go.

Even though we were late, the plane was set to take off early, until…..

The captain informs us that in between flights they usually empty the lavatory bins and replenish the blue fluid. While carrying out this process, the blue liquid overflowed into the last cargo storage area in the back of the plane, causing our flight to be delayed twenty minutes so they could clean it up. The captain was also kind enough to tell us that not only is that cargo area used for luggage storage, but it also houses some electrical boxes that are vital to the plane’s functioning. SWEET. We were underway shortly, and that just about gets you up to speed.

Oh, and I almost forgot–because we were late taking off due to an error on their behalf, the flight crew awarded us with a free cocktail and snack that is usually for purchase. So, I think I will go back to enjoying my Creation by Tom and hope both I and my luggage arrive in one place, preferably the same one.

Every Person Comes Out Tired

Today we went to EPCOT to see some of the Flower Festival stuff and to just spend the day in Disney. We hit the main attractions in Future World–Soarin’ California Adventure and Test Track. Fun fact from Soarin’ is that while you are flying above the terrain of California, you can smell the orange groves and the evergreen trees you fly over. Wonder how? They use a Smeltzer to activate your senses. This is also one of Disney’s secrets they use throughout the parks to guide you into a shop or a bakery. Have you ever walked down Main Street USA and smelled the mouth-watering aroma of freshly baked cookies and other yummy treats? Mickey’s magic fooled you. Imagineers installed a Smeltzer facing the street to lure you in and make you buy! buy! buy!

When it came time for lunch, we couldn’t decide on one place to eat. I wanted Mexican food, my aunt and brother wanted pizza from Italy and my mom wanted just a plain hot dog. So, we did just that. My dad was feeling brave and came along with me for trip back to Mexico. We stopped at a place called La Cantina and sipped on margaritas and ate Taco de pollo. After eating, we walked back to America and arrived just in time to see the American Adventure. As part of our Backstage Magic tour, we thought it appropriate to revisit as much as we could to see if we could spot the differences.

Once we had our fill of the park, my mother led us on a wild goose chase for Wedding Mickey and Minnie cake toppers. Every store was scoured and our hands came up empty. We, instead, settled for Wedding Mickey and Minnie salt and pepper shakers. (Attn Wedding Attendees and Party: Do not scrutinize said Mickey and Minnie…their salt and pepper dispensing holes will not magically disappear.)

Feet burning from walking around all day, we stopped for some cold treats on the Boardwalk, one of my favorite places in all of Disney. People watching is always a must when on the Boardwalk.

Concerned about the time, we left and bid adieu to Mickey’s magical land and started driving back home until we pulled into….

Lowe’s to get a new screen door?!?!? Yes, my friends. We did. We stopped at Lowes to get a new screen door, which I had the pleasure of sitting tightly wedged against the door to make room for said door for the duration of the ride back to the house.

Once home, the packing commenced. This is the part of vacation I really dislike. Not only was I beat tired (if you were wondering the significance of the title of this post…look at the beginning letters and you will see it spells EPCOT…and yes, every person does come out tired from traipsing through all the countries!) but I had to pack. Ho-hum.

Stay tuned for the vacation recap and wrap-up!

L’ spectacular….Cirque du Soleil

Last evening, we went to see Cirque du Soleil, La Nouba in the Downtown Disney area. The show was phenomenal! If you ever have the chance to see this incredible performance, do it! It is one show that tests the limits strength, agility, stability and flexibility through engaging scenes and vivid colors. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed during the performance as it is a hazard to the acrobats and hinders the integrity of the show. This was a neat experience for me because the last time I saw the show I was probably ten years old. Viewing the show through older and more observant eyes, I was able to pick up on things that I didn’t see (or remember) from before.

There are elements of the ancient Greek theater within the show. For instance, the four muses provide comic relief and act in asides when the other performers are preparing the stage for the next scene. The other part of the show that was most jaw-dropping to me was the part when the acrobats would jump from one bar to the next in mid-air. My heart was on the edge of my chest throughout that whole part. To see what they are capable of and watch as they pull off some risky launches from swinging bars on to the other swinging acrobat’s arms is incredible.

After the show, we walked around Downtown Disney and people watched. It was a great end to an otherwise relaxing day.

Chill Day in the 407

Nothing much to report today. We got to sleep in this morning which felt incredible. I, however, woke up and got myself together to go work on my fitness for a little while. Now I am going to retire by the pool for the afternoon.

Tonight, we are going to Downtown Disney for dinner and then seeing Cirque du Soleil.

Stay tuned!

Calling All Disney Enthusiasts!

I have been to Disney every year since I was in first grade, sometimes more than once a year. Today I got the opportunity to look at the magic of Disney through a different lens with the help of the tour guides on the Backstage Magic Tour. Throughout the seven hour bus/walking tour we got to take a look behind the scenes at into some of the areas restricted to Disney Cast Members. We were each given a special lanyard with a backstage pass, protective eye glasses and a hearing device before boarding our “magic carpet” for the day.

I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in seeing what cast members do to make guest’s time at Disney magical. Here is an overview (and some trivia) of our day.

Epcot (Experimental Prototype Center of Tomorrow): Imagineers used forced perspective with the American Adventure Pavilion to make it appear larger to viewers looking at it from the other side of the lagoon. One of the ways they achieve this is by using oversized windows and doors on the structure itself. Imagineers also consider the placement of such a pavilion. They put it at the top of a slight hill (one not noticeable when guests are allowed into the park). This arrangement was decided upon since the United States was the host country. If they were to immerse the American Adventure Pavilion into the area where the other countries are located, it would take away from the essence of culturalism as displayed in the World Showcase and be a jarring transition for guests.

An interesting sidenote: The Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain audio-animatronics wear human hair wigs. Though part of an animatronic cast, Ben and Mark go through hair and make-up daily to keep them looking good and working properly. In fact, all wigs made for Disney use are handmade by individually knotting a strand of hair to a lace net for the wig.

Central Shops:  (image 2) This is where I would say the real magic is made. This was the first building to be constructed on Disney property and the same building where everything else was made from the carousel horses to the ride vehicles to the parade floats. Now it is home to the generation of new parts and refurbishment and repair of some stage props. Inside, they have an on-site electrical shop, paint shop (they created their own custom colors) an anamatronic shop, and character creation shop.

There are two different types of auto-animatronics: A1 and A100. A1 was the first generation of animatrons that were capable of rigid range of motion. A100 was the second generation of animatrons that were capable of the same general range of motion, but now had digital motion (if the auto-animatronic had fingers, it could move them individually).

Characters are only born here in Orlando in the Character Creation Shop. I asked how many new characters are born into the Disney family and our tour guide said that it depends on who the latest and most popular character is based on viewer ratings. I asked if there are any new ones in the works and although she was not able to give me a definite answer, she said that you might be seeing “Phineas and Ferb” characters sometime soon.

Magic Kingdom: Have you heard the rumor of underground tunnels beneath the streets in Magic Kingdom? Well, I am here to confirm that these tunnels do, in fact, exist. So if you are standing on Main Street USA, you are actually on Level 2 of the park. Think that’s all? Look up and notice that the buildings that line Main Street have second floors, which are home to offices of park management and cast services. The tunnels provide a convenient way for cast members to get around both on foot and by vehicle without interfering with guests’ experiences above ground.

One thing I have always noticed above ground in the parks are the numerous workers doing their part in keeping the land clean for all to enjoy. What I did not realize is that there are approximately 6,200 custodial workers working together to keep Walt Disney World clean.

Did you know that Roy O. Disney actually changed the name of his late brother’s Florida project? It was originally set to be called Disney World. But Roy wanted people to recognize and connect his brother’s name with the legacy and magic he left behind. If you think about it, how many times do we see a Ford commercial advertizing their cars, but often forget that none of the innovations of car production would have been possible had it not been for Henry Ford. So, Roy decided to rename the Florida property Walt Disney World.

Disney Hollywood Studios: We learned the reason why Disney changed the park’s name from MGM to Hollywood Studios for branding purposes. Many people, if asked where they were going, said that they were going to MGM. They left out Disney from the name entirely. Some people did not even realize that MGM was one of the Disney theme parks and believed it to be a separate entity. And so Disney’s Hollywood Studios it became. Disney’s Hollywood Studios were not designed with the same convenience for its cast members to get from one place to the next. It’s original design had it set up to become Hollywood East with room for recording and filming studios. Although it never came to be, the backstage area (off-stage) of Hollywood Studios is home to the production of thousands of props and over a million working costumes, both operational and creative that are used daily.

One of the most interesting Disney secrets shared today was about a popular attraction in Hollywood Studios. Tower of Terror, (also known for its ghostly story of how on the eve of Halloween a family went into the elevator and mysteriously disappeared into the Twilight Zone) does not actually drop its visitors from the thirteenth story. The ride operates floats through a corridor and into an open shaft where two pulleys pull the vehicle up and down to experience a random series of drops. During Phase 1 of the ride, guests experienced a single drop. Disappointed that they waited such a long time for a quick thrill, Disney Imagineers decided to increase the number of drops. Currently in the fourth phase, the ride now randomly assigns each group a different “free-fall” experience.

Animal Kingdom: I thought it was interesting that all the wild animals that currently inhabit the Safari Adventure portion of Animal Kingdom have been trained to work with Animal Kingdom Cast Members. When it comes time to close the park for the evening, different animals are trained to recognize different sounds indicating that they are going to be fed and brought into barns for the night. For all of you that are picturing a big, red wooden structure, you would be disappointed as these buildings are neither red nor wooden. They have been built to withstand hurricane weather.

Also located in Animal Kingdom is the Disney Color Garden. On site, they have oodles of greenhouses and garden beds with different species of flowers and plants and shrubbery ready to go. During the winter, Florida is vulnerable to some freezing temperatures. Not all the plants can adjust to such frigid temps and die as a result. To keep the on-stage park areas looking their best, cast members arrive early to the park to look over and replace any plant life that may not have done well overnight. There is one area in the Magic Kingdom that houses the most hanging plants, which are made up daily. I would never have guessed this to be the one area throughout the park to be the recipient of the most hanging basket plants. Any guesses?

The bus station. Why bus station? Well, if you were to arrive in the Magic Kingdom via one of the ferries, you have the ferry ride and the nice scenery along the way (the Lagoon, the surrounding resorts, etc). If you take the Monorail–well, that’s a pretty awesome ride in itself. If you come by bus, you are already taking a mediocre mode of transportation to get to the park. So, Imagineers thought to overcompensate for the negative stigma of bus stations, they would overwhelm guests with lots of hanging and sitting flowers to greet them off the bus.

And while we are talking about flowers and all things green–I bet you have all at least seen an image of the topiaries in Disney. They told us the secret behind those as well. Traditional topiaries take 7-10 years to fully grow into a trimmable topiary ready for production. Some of the topiaries used and seen around the parks are stuffed. A wire mold is created of the character to be made into a sculpted green bush. An irrigation system is also embedded in the mold. Next, moss is stuffed inside and then deer wire is wrapped around the outside to keep the moss from falling out. After the wire is secured and the moss is trimmed, holes are made in the moss where the vine seedlings will be implanted and then pinned  in the direction they want the leaves to grow in. Finally, they wait for the topiary to grow and take shape. Pretty neat, huh?  There is one topiary that was on-stage in the park but then quickly ushered away off-stage due to its attraction to lightning—Mary Poppins! Her umbrella stick was made out of metal and was a friendly invitation for bolts striking the Lightning Capital of the World.

I wish I could share everything I heard today while on the tour. However, somethings seem to have slipped my mind and others–well, you will have to come down and find out for yourself!

Stunna’ Status

Tonight the Borger brood had homemade pizza for dinner and then ventured out to The Loop for a little bit of shopping. I love shopping in Florida because they tend to have different styles here than they do back at home.

For all of my friends left wondering, “What is The Loop?” I am here to tell you! Picture a huge outdoor mall. It has JC Penney, Kohl’s, Michael’s, PacSun, Sports Authority, a book store, Jared Jewelry, Ben and Jerry’s, a movie theater, Johnny Rockets, GNC, Panera Bread, Macaroni Grille, a ton more restaurants including a brewery, and some other stores both clothing and miscellaneous. Take a look at what I found at Kohl’s….

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