Getting Back Up Again

When I started blogging again in April (was it really that long ago?), I had every intention of keeping up the blogging at least once a week.  I had topics I was going to write about and all that stuff that you need for a blog.

What happened?  Life happened.

Real life pretty much knocked me down and I’ve been fighting to get back up ever since.  Have you ever read the book, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst?  That’s what I’ve been calling my year.  Actually, I may have been using some profanities when I’ve described my year to others, but I’ll leave it at that.  Anything that could go wrong this year, pretty much has.

It all started at the end of March.  Actually, all the bad luck stuff started in January, but all the health related stuff started at the end of March with a cold and cough that lingered through April, wearing me down quite a bit.  During May and June I was in the hospital on 4 separate occasions.  Two emergency room visits and other visits to fix the reasons I had ended up in the hospital in the first place.

I joke that my July goal is to stay out of the hospital.  Honestly?  I’m not joking.  I don’t want to go back in.  No hospital visits this month.  Knock on wood.   

The only thing I miss about being sick is that I was losing weight like crazy.  Yeah, that’s not happening so much now, but at least I’m getting healthy again.  I still want to lose the weight, but it will probably be a more healthy weight loss now.  I haven’t gained all the weight back that I lost (thank goodness), but I have gained a few pounds back.

All of that health stuff combined with the school year ending, moving out of my apartment, looking for a new job, and other things that have gone on during the year, It’s been pretty stressful.  And I’ve feel like I’ve been playing catch up in life all this month.

But, at least I’m here to play catch up.  I’m working on trying to get things back together that felt like they were falling apart while I was sick.  And the year is half over, so my luck has got to start going uphill right? 

I still plan on blogging at least once a week or maybe more. I still have those topics I want to write about plus more that I’ve experienced in the last few months  I’m not sure what days I’ll blog yet.  Before everything happened, I had planned on Sundays being my blog day.  Obviously this is not a Sunday, but I felt like blogging anyway.

See you again, sometime next week.

Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, or even years when anything that could go wrong did?

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Taking Chances

On Friday night I found myself sitting at an outside concert with a group of people I knew from work watching a concert where Rodney Atkins and Lady Antebellum performed.  I love Rodney Atkins and Lady Antebellum is one of my all-time favorite groups.

I had a blast.  I danced and sang the whole night.

So why is this post called Taking Chances?

Because going to a concert is a gigantic thing for me.

I don’t talk about it a lot, but I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety.  Big crowds and loud music would have triggered panic attacks in the past.  They didn’t on Friday night. 

Slowly, but surely, I’ve been conquering my fears the past two years.  Stepping out of my comfort zone to do things that I sure as heck wouldn’t have done as little as probably five years ago.

The first big thing I did was learn to drive on freeways. Actually I did this one more than five years ago out of necessity of living near L.A. and wanting to be independent.  That was probably my first step of conquering my fears.

Next, I moved away from home.  I’ve always liked to be close to family members.  They’re my comfort zone.  But, with state of California’s economy, I found myself moving away from family two years ago (I’m moving closer to them soon…but that’s a whole other blog post).

In the midst of moving away, I had to find an apartment.   At first, my Dad went with me.  We found an apartment, I applied for it, thought I’d get it, and we left the area.  A week later, I found out that I didn’t get the apartment. Dad was on a business trip.  I could either wait for him to come back or just pick-up and drive the 5 hours myself and find an apartment.  I chose to go by myself, which was totally out of character for me, but I did it.  I found an apartment on my own.

Another fear I conquered?  Flying.  Planes have always terrified me.  Which is sort of ironic since my father flew airplanes in the military when I was kid.  But, being on an airplane has always freaked me out.  And I refused to fly on my own.   However, last May, I had two out of state family functions I wanted to go to and the only way I could get there was to fly.  And since I don’t live near my parents anymore, I had to fly on my own.  That meant 4 trips on airplanes all by myself.  I freaked out a little, but I did it.

Flying was probably my biggest fear I conquered in the past year.   And I’m so glad I did it.

This concert this past Friday night was another thing I’m glad I did.  When the ticket was offered to me, I took the chance right away.  In the past I would have probably said, I’ll think about it.  Then, I would remind myself about all the crowds and the loud noises, and I would have eventually said no.  Not this time.

Taking chances is worth it. 

Have you taken a chance lately?

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Finding What’s Lost

So, haven’t written in awhile.  I’ve been thinking about a lot of things, and some of those things deserve to be blog topics.  So, for awhile, you might be getting some heavy thinking blogs, just because I need to get some of this stuff out.

While I have lots on my mind now, this blog topic isn’t going to be as heavy as some of the things going on in my mind.  Or maybe it might.  We’ll see how deep it goes.

Have you ever  “lost” a really good friend?

What I mean by that is I had a childhood friend that I lost touch with years ago and recently found her again through social media.  (Score 1 for social media!)  Has this happened to anyone else out there?  Either losing a friend and can’t find them, or finding a friend after years of no contact?  It’s an exciting feeling when you find that friend again.

Maybe you don’t know what that feeling is.  The last two places I’ve lived in, many people have not left the area that they grew up in, so they’re childhood friends are either near or they know where they are.

I did not grow up like that.  I was a military brat.  And while my family may not have moved around as much as some families did, I still lived in military towns.  If you weren’t the one moving, someone else was.  I learned early on not to get too attached to the people around me that weren’t related to me.  But that’s a topic for another post that I plan to do later.

That’s what happened to my friend and me.  We were both military brats.  Somehow, I did let myself get close to her.  She was probably my closest childhood friend.   We met when we were in the fifth grade.  Her family moved when we were Sophomores in high school and my family moved a year later, when we were Juniors.  We did not end up in the same part of the country after we moved.  We kept in touch for awhile with phone calls and letters, but eventually those got fewer and fewer apart until we lost touch.  It happens.

Fast forward about 15 years later and I went on a hunt to find her through social media.  Actually, I’ve tried several times over the last few years to find her,  but didn’t have any luck until recently.  Found out, she’d been trying to find me too.  What an awesome feeling.

We spent quite a bit of time on the phone this past weekend catching up.   It was fun, exciting, and a bit awkward at the same time.   Don’t get me wrong, I loved catching up with her.  But we’ve gone through so much without each other that it was hard to remember what we did and didn’t know about each other now.  I guess we’ll have to have a few more phone calls to figure it all out.  I’m up for that.  Hopefully she is too.

I found out some really cool things, though.  We somehow ended up in the same career field (teaching Special Education to severely disabled students).  We both like Disney (I visit Disneyland quite a bit and she worked at Disney World for awhile.  Disney was not a topic we talked about as kids).  We both gave up playing the clarinet (although she says that I inspired her to try harder since I practiced mine more than she did – which, honestly I don’t remember).  Also, we found this to be funny – she remembers spending a lot of time at my house and I remember spending a lot of time at her house.  In reality, we probably spent a lot of time at each other’s houses.

We shared some of our triumphs and struggles over the years.  Some sad news as well.  Stuff I’m not willing to share on a public blog.

My advice to anyone out there who has a “lost” friend:  go find them.   And don’t give up until you do.  You won’t regret it.

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Thanksgiving and a Holocaust Survivor

It’s the end of the Thanksgiving weekend here in the U.S.  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend filled with good times with family, friends, and good food.  We had out of town family visit us.  Here’s a picture of our family dinner:

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The day after Thanksgiving, instead of going to Black Friday Sales, which I tend to avoid every year anyway, we went to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.  If you want to be thankful about your life and what you have, please go to the Museum of Tolerance and visit the Holocaust Exhibit.  It’s amazing.

I wanted to take pictures, but we weren’t allowed to.  We were told we would pay a fine if we were caught taking pictures, so we didn’t take any.  Although, I did see other people sneaking pictures on their camera phones.

The best part of the exhibit was when you enter, you’re given a card with a picture of a child that lived during the Holocaust.  Throughout the exhibit, there are computers where you can put your card in, and it will tell you a little about that child’s life.  At the end of the exhibit, you get a whole printout of the child’s life and whether or not they survived the Holocaust.  Out of the six people in our group, four children made it through the Holocaust and two died.  My child lived and is still alive today.  One of us got a child that is still alive and actually volunteers at the museum.

The best part of the museum was that they had guest speakers that day.  With time being a concern because the museum was closing soon, we had to choose between the floor of the museum that talked about Tolerance or go listen to a guest speaker that had survived the Holocaust.  Three of us had already seen the floor of the museum that talked about Tolerance (I recommend it if you have time), and all of us wanted to listen to the speaker, so that’s where we headed next. 

The speaker was amazing.  He had such an optimistic outlook on life even though he’d been through some harrowing times.  He’s spent time in a ghetto, in hiding, and in labor camps (including Auschwitz or Buna-Monowitz, the labor camp).  At one point he was on a truck that was taking people to Auschwitz-Birkenau (death camp) and Auschwitz – Monowitz (labor camp).  Without realizing it, he was in the group to go to the death camp, but something told him to sneak out of that group and go with the other.  So he did, which saved his life.  He was about 18 or 19 when the U.S. Army liberated him. 

After liberation, he spent time in Germany, then went back to Poland (where he was from), and then went back to Germany before he went to the United States.  From his family, two of his three sisters, and one of his two brothers survived.  He lost his parents, one sister, and one brother.  His remaining family all eventually immigrated to the United States.

In the States, he worked as a watch repair man and eventually as a jeweler. 

He applied to become a U.S. Citizen, which made him eligible for the draft.  Apparently, being a Holocaust survivor didn’t exempt him from the draft.  He was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War.  At one point he was stationed in Occupied Germany, which he found ironic as a few years before he was imprisoned in a labor camp there and now he was a part of the operation to occupy the country. 

As I stated earlier, he had such a positive outlook on life even after everything he had gone through.  Someone in the audience asked him about this, and he said that life was what you made of it.  There was no point in being bitter because that made you unhappy and it didn’t help your situation.

At the end, he shook everyone’s hand.  As my aunt said, it’s not everyday you get to shake the hand of Holocaust survivor.  And that opportunity is getting less and less as that generation gets older and older.

He says that he does these talks so that people know the story of the Holocaust and that people know that it really happened, because he was there.

So I thank him for sharing his story.

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Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse!

Today is the 84th birthday of one of the world’s best loved and recognized animated creatures.  A little mouse known as Mickey Mouse.  Sometimes he’s portrayed as shy, and other times as mischievous, but he’s always lovable.  Sometimes he has tail, sometimes he doesn’t.  Fans don’t seem to care, they just love him.    Since he debuted in an animated short called, Steamboat Willie, he has graced television shows, movies, merchandise, and all sorts of things.  Here he is on the face of a Ferris wheel at Disney’s California Adventure.

Mickey at Disney’s California Adventure   Photo from personal collection

Here’s a few trivia things about Mickey Mouse:

1.  Walt Disney originally named him Mortimer Mouse, but his wife suggested Mickey Mouse.

2.  While Walt may have drawn the first sketch of Mickey Mouse, Ub Iwerks animated the mouse.

3.  Walt was the original voice for Mickey Mouse.

4.  Mickey wasn’t the first popular animated creature that Walt Disney created.  Before Mickey, there was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.  However, Disney didn’t own the rights to Oswald, Universal did.  Mickey was created so that Disney could retain the rights to his own creation when he no longer had a say in what happened to Oswald.  The Walt Disney Company acquired the rights to Oswald in 2006 and he’s been making a comeback to Disney fans (myself being one of them).  Oswald, not surprisingly, looks like Mickey but has rabbit ears instead of mouse ears.  Go ahead and click the link above to see him.

5.  Mickey’s girlfriend, Minnie Mouse, shares his birthday, as she also debuted in Steamboat Willie.

6.  The Disney company consider Mickey’s debut to be Steamboat Willie, even though he appeared in two undistributed shorts earlier that year (Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho).  Steamboat Willie was the first Disney cartoon to feature synchronized sound, which may have lead to the success of Mickey Mouse.

7.  Besides Walt Disney, Mickey has been voiced by Jimmy MacDonald, Les Perkins, Wayne Allwine, and Bret Iwan.  Wayne Allwine, who died in 2009, was married to Russi Taylor, the voice for Minnie Mouse.

8. Mickey is the official mascot of all Disney parks.

9.  Starting with President Harry Truman, Mickey Mouse has met all U.S. Presidents except for Lyndon B. Johnson.

10.  I’ll leave with a video in which Walt says, “It all started with a mouse.”  The video also has different incarnations of Mickey through the years.

 

Do you know any interesting facts about Mickey Mouse?

 

 

 

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Disneyana Fan Club Convention 2012 Part 1

Disneyana Fan Club Convention 2012 Wrap-up Post 1

 The Disneyana Fan Club Convention was held July 19 – 22 in Anaheim, California.  I’ve been attending yearly for the past few years.  It’s always a good time with awesome speakers that teach us about all things Disney.  It’s an awesome time for any Disney fan.

I originally was going to do this in one post, but it’s way too long.  It’ going to be broken up into two, maybe three posts.

My group of Disney friends and I arrived at Disneyland on July 17th to help celebrate Disneyland’s 57th birthday.  We had lots of fun riding a bunch of rides.  Unfortunately, I missed riding my favorite ride, Pirates of the Caribbean because I almost fainted from heat exhaustion.  Thankfully my friend Sharon (thank you again!) grabbed me, found a cool place for me to sit and made me drink lots of cold water so I wouldn’t faint.  It was hot that day.  And heat is never my friend.  While I’ve never fainted because of heat, I’ve come close and that was one of those times.

Anyway, one of my favorite things during the day was watching fireworks go off along Main Street, USA as we sang Happy Birthday to Disneyland.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take pictures of the fireworks :(.

At night, we went to a special event to listen to some special speakers.  We went to a part of Disneyland I hadn’t been to before.  Shocker, huh? 

We were in Aladdin’s Oasis, which I’ve walked by but never explored.  Here’s the outside.

Aladdin’s Oasis at Disneyland

This is a lion statue on the inside.

Lion Statue Cave inside Aladdin’s Oasis

These are our guest speakers.  John Muskgee and Ron Clements who have worked together on many things, but they talked about The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.  Click on their names to find out more about their works.

Ron Clements and John Musker being interviewed

 One trivia thing we learned – The song A Part of Your World was almost scrapped from The Little Mermaid.   The animator of the scene went to bat for the scene and saved it. 

The next day, Wednesday, we stayed at the hotel getting ready for the Convention. We helped get things set up for the next few days.  We filled goody bags, got silent auction prizes ready, and cut out burlap chair scarves (I was covered with burlap for the rest of the day!).  My favorite thing I did was play with the hot glue gun.  I put together table decorations with the hot glue gun.  I’d never used one before.  It’s a lot of fun.  Does anyone need hot gluing done?

Thursday was the official start of the convention.  We checked ourselves in the afternoon and set up a silent auction for dinner that night.  The night’s dinner was a Goofy Celebration (Goofy is 80 years old) and a benefit for Ryman Arts.  Ryman Arts is a program that helps students learn about the arts.  We hold a benefit for it every year.  Click the link above to find out more about Ryman Arts.

Unfortunately, again, I forgot my camera for this event.

Our speakers for the night were a couple of Ryman students who told us how Ryman had affected their lives.  Both girls graduated high school and are currently attending college.  They were absolutely thrilled to be at the benefit so that they could tell us about their experience with Ryman and the fact that some Disney animators and legends were in attendance.

And on that note, each table had a special guest – a Disneyana Fan Club Legend.  The legend we had at our table was Dickie Jones and his wife.  Dickie Jones was the voice of Pinocchio.  Both of them were very sweet and lovely dinner guests. Also, Dickie Jones brings his own pen to sign things.  He keeps a blue Sharpie and a blue ballpoint pen with him because he doesn’t like to sign in black.  Why?  He says black can be altered in photographs or photocopies but blue can’t.  He signed a marionette doll of Pinocchio for the live auction – right on the legs so there would be no question that he signed it.

And since it was a Goofy Celebration, who better to be our main speaker, but Goofy himself?  Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, is always entertaining, and on this night it was no different.  He had us laughing throughout his speech.  He told us that as the years go by, he feels like he’s more like Goofy in a lot of ways.  He told us how he fell off his ladder while putting up Christmas Tree lights, had his pants ripped off on the first rose bush he fell on and continued on to fall into a second rose bush all while having Christmas lights tangle all over the place.  Isn’t that just something you can see the real Goofy doing?

We had a really fun night and start to our convention.  I’ll continue with the fun in later posts.  Have a wonderful weekend all!

Oh and that silent auction and live auction I mentioned we had at the dinner?  We raised $7,000 for Ryman Arts!

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Happy Fourth of July and ROW Goals…

Hello!

Happy Fourth of July for my American readers. I hope you’re enjoying your day. My town celebrates on the Third of July so I watched fireworks last night. The junebugs watched with us. Those little buggers like to run right into you. Anwyway, the firework show was nice and I must say that my town knows how to do a firework finale.

As I was watching the firework show, I was reminded it has been about a year since I packed up and moved away from the parents for my first teaching job. What a year it’s been. I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’m still sticking around. Summer school finishes up in two days and then I have a month off until the school year starts again.

I’ll be spending part of that month moving into a new apartment. The current one hasn’t been so friendly to me this past year. I’m hoping this new one won’t flood every time it rains. It’s probably a good sign that I don’t see tarps on the rooftops like I do on my current apartment.

I’ll also be going to a Disneyana Convention during my month off. I’m excited about that. It’s going to be a pirate theme. I’ll take pictures and share them here.

As for writing, I haven’t participated in a ROW round in awhile, but I have continued to write. I have close to 15,000 words on the project that I last reported I had 3,500 on. I’ve been doing by participating in #wordmongering on twitter when I have time. My ROW goal for this round will be to write for 30 minutes 5 times a week.

Do you have any goals for ROW or this summer? Do you have any reflections for the past year? Summer plans?

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