To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Friday, January 3, 2020

The Longest Lasting MySpace Relationship - did you just have a flashback to html, awful flashing graphics, your latest favorite song, the stress of organizing your friends in the right order for your Top 8??  If not - then you're too old or too young!

Well let's rewind THIRTEEN freaking years. WHAT?!? It was 2007 and I was sent a message with a link to a complete stranger's profile. The message was something along the lines of "you have to add this girl. You two will totally get along." It is worth noting that the one who sent me the message has still never met this girl she told me to be friends with. 

Why did we look like we'd be friends? As soon as I hit her page I knew. Clearly we were meant to be friends! Not only did we share a fandom for Buffalo Bill, but we also share a strong dislike for that little man known as Phil Collins. So in 2007 Jessica and I became Myspace friends!

Scared to meet someone off the internet back in the earlier 2000s? Well we clearly weren't. It was early 2008 that we finally got together for our first of many visits to the Enchanted Forest! To this day it feels so wrong if I am there without Jessica!

Later that year we celebrated Jessica turning 30 together. Oh my gosh. We could do the math, but let's just not say how old we are now! Aww youth.

Enchanted Forest wasn't enough for us. We needed MORE! So in 2009 we decided that we had hung out in Oregon a few times, why not just pack up and go to Walt Disney World together for over a week. What could go wrong? Traveling across the country, being trapped in a hotel room, navigating tourists, all of that ... with someone you've only spent a few hours with now and then!?!

Well guess what! We ended up being perfect travel companions! We were hungry at the same time, we had to potty at the same time, we were sleepy at the same time. AND we discovered another thing we both had in common.... a love of costumes! Oh man, we came home with so much candy after Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! That vacation was so freaking rad!

It was so rad that we thought we should do it again in 2010! We kicked this vacation's ass! Nasa, Universal and Harry Potter, Halloween Horror Nights, all the Disney parks and again another costume. Frankly we had one of the best group costumes of the night if I do say so myself! Plus, thanks to Jessica, we had props which aided in our theme and our constant search for Scooby Doo! Jessica gets 100% credit for that whole costume idea AND the costumes. Good job!!

Do you think we'd stop there after we were on such a roll? Heck no. This time we took a break from Walt Disney World and did something extra different for the two of us.... Viva Las Vegas! But this wasn't an ordinary Vegas vacation of two young girls getting drunk and dancing all night. Oh no. We DID go out one night -- to see Alex and Daniel in What a Drag! And we went to the Michael Jackson Cirque show with his actual family. That was awesome, and a mad house, and I cried through the whole thing. But what was the main event?? This is insane... we went to do the Las Vegas Rock'n'Roll half marathon together. If you ever heard any horror stories of the year everyone got sick and it was like a war zone and people throwing up every where.... that was this year. I was one of those sick people on the ground, too! Naturally I forced her to go to the Titanic exhibition, because duh!

That was a fun trip, and running is kinda fun.... so why not go back and do another race? But let's do Walt Disney World again! And in 2012 that's exactly what we did! Did I say we liked to wear costumes?? Brace yourself for what we pulled off this time!!

Costume 1:  the morning 5K. We were up around 4am this day, if not early. We ran 3.1 miles. 4am. Remember this. Wayne's World! Wayne's World! Party Time! Excellent!

Costume 2: the same day. Ready for a 10pm race. We ran 10 miles. Same day. Tower of Terror 10 Miler. We never napped. We did crash a Disney Mom's luncheon at the California Grill though! I'd like to note that this photo of our "Sister Witches" costume was actually taken by Disney and used in their publicity photos!

Costume 3: Yes, we did THREE that trip! How on earth did we fit all of this in our suitcases?? This time it was our 3rd time visiting Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party - dressed as gypsies. Another one Jessica came up with. This one was nice and airy for me, which was good because that whole vacation was HOT! Oh yeah, we also became "those girls" ... those friends that bought matching Mickey Mouse dresses and wore them together when we crashed the luncheon! I love that dress. I still wear it!

Remember the gymnast at the Olympics??  Here. We did in on Splash Mountain, too. We're fun.

In 2013 we sort of put a halt to our travels. Why? I got married, hence the "sort of" --- because we didn't skip a trip that year. We went back to Vegas so I could get married!! You didn't think I could meet a random stranger online, travel the country with her and then not have her in my wedding did you??

We haven't done any trips since this one.... but we had another good reason not to. This happened!

Jessica got married!! These two girls that met ages ago as singletons are now both old married ladies!

So what now? I don't know! I think we will still find fun things to do, like Enchanted Forest and maybe another comic con!

*For photo context, we were smelling our hands after fist bumping Zachary Levi TWICE!

The whole point of this is .... JESSICA IS AWESOME!! Thanks Myspace Tom!

So here's to 13 more years!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 - It Happened.

It's that time again .... time to look back at 2019 and see what the heck did I do to pass the time. Before even starting I can say it feels like a blur. I feel like I was dealing with medical nonsense for a majority of the year and it kept me from doing more of the things I'd prefer to do. But I bet it was still a busy one. Let's do this!

January - Yeah, that started as a medical mystery. I had an infuriating visit with a wannabe doctor boy that I will NEVER deal with again. But then I met with my new medical person that actually got the ball rolling in the right direction toward getting me fixed! I had attempted to run at home on a treadmill, but realized that was NOT going to happen given the medical disaster I currently was. There was one super exciting that happened this month... we booked our November Walt Disney World/Disney Cruise Line vacation! 

February - Aww, Katura turned three years old and started hula lessons! Sure, she was a drop out a few weeks later, but it was cute while it lasted. I got to see my cousin Christopher direct the Salem Orchestra, so that was pretty darn cool!! It was also this month I was seen by a neurologist and sent for scans which revealed I did in fact have a Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak in my head which was causing my intense pain and inability to do anything at all. Also, something all of us in my hometown area won't forget ... Snowmageddon! Man, all those days with no power and just an insane amount of snow. Maybe let's not do that again in 2020?!?

March -  We took our delayed trip to Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate Katura's birthday. And then all 3 of us got really sick from our visit. Ugh, that was the worst! A positive in this month was going to OHSU to see the neurosurgeon and then the ENT doctor that would send me on the path of further tracking down of my CSF leak and getting me fixed! The downside? Then spending a day and a half with things shoved up my nose and in my hears, a lumbar puncture, scans ... so much medical stuff!! But then the month finished on a fabulous note with Katura going to her first day of preschool! She has loved every day of it so far!

April - Backstreets Back, Alright! I celebrated avoiding brain surgery by dying my hair purple and going to Las Vegas! Backstreet Boys two nights in a row? Don't mind if I do! Making eye contact with Kevin as we sang together? Sure, I'll do that! Have a moment with Nick? You got it! Visit Vanderpump Cocktail Lounge for the best cake ever?? Did that, too! Katura had her Spring Program at school and it was just too darn cute. And then she and I had a lovely day together just us girls enjoying the fresh air at the Oregon coast.

May - What happened in May?? I think I was just in medical limbo waiting for a follow up appointment from my day in the hospital. We did the Wildlife Safari a lot. And Katura continued to really enjoy school and making new friends.

June - I started off the month learning that my brain was in fact healing itself and so once again I avoided any brain surgery! Hip hip hooray!! And an extra way to celebrate was by going to New Kids on the freaking Block with Amber Dawn. We had so much dang fun, I want to do it again! One of my highlights for the whole year happened when we took the motor home camping with my "twin" Sara and her family. It went by way too fast. Let's do that again, too! Remember the baby deer that was born at our house? That was in June, too. Katura and I also walked in the Pride parade this month. It was so hot, but a great day to be out for a great reason!

July - Swimming lessons began - and they haven't really stopped! July wouldn't be complete without running a relay, and that's what I did! It was my first time as a captain for a Ragnar race. Glory Daze was the best! So much fun, and it brought new friends into my life. Now I don't dare relay without Michael, and Dustin and I got to continue our streak of being hand-off buddies. What was the big takeaway from that relay?? DON'T LOCK YOUR KEYS IN THE VAN!!

We are over half way done. We can do this!

August - Katura and I started this month with our annual trip to the Enchanted Forest. She can do rides all by herself now! Swimming lessons continued. And running was happening. I was feeling great with training, and I was able to hit my fundraising goal for Hood to Coast. And it was at the end of this month that I got to feel the complete exhilaration of running leg 1 of Hood to Coast. Downhill for miles and it just flew by. I absolutely loved it! And I got to meet someone on the winning team, so that was pretty nifty, too!

September - First day of school time, and Katura got to move up to the next level in preschool. Her boyfriend and one of her best friends from the prior year were still in her class, so she was pretty happy about that. Ooh, I forgot about this!!! Comic Con!! The relay trio of Ronda/Dustin/Michael reunited, and introduced Jessica to the posse, so we could get our geek on. I met Tim Curry!! AND we all got to fist bump Zachary Levi TWICE!! This year was also my 10th running of the Prefontaine Memorial race. Always love it, but dang this was the hottest year so far!

October - October meant time in the pumpkin patch, decorating pumpkins, carving pumpkins, eating pumpkin pie and me whining about the ever annoying Great Oregon Shakeout. I seriously hate that day. Also we had front row center seats for Disney on Ice where Katura became good friends with Belle/Anna. A little while later I got a private message from Belle/Anna about how cute Katura was and how she made the skater so happy every time she saw her there in her Belle dress!

November - I did nothing. We stayed home inside our house and never did a thing. OR.... we had the most epic vacation in the history of my life! Walt Disney World AND a Disney Cruise??  WHAT?!?! It was pure magic. You all know I loved it. Absolute Disney perfection. And I flew the Millennium Falcon. This was also the month Katura got to go to a birthday of a classmate for the first time. She was so brave, braver than I'd ever be in my life! Oh and I got first in my age group at a VERY cold race!

December -  We pet George, an elephant! That was just way too cool, thanks Wildlife Safari! This month was all about Christmas gatherings, decorations and presents. I can add Kylo Ren's Shuttle to my Lego collection of the Millennium Falcon and BB-8, and Katura can now say she has a big girl bike!

Pretty much my CSF Leak and Meniere's Disease dictated this whole year. I kinda feel like a failure, but what can ya do. Can't change that, so I just have to continue to always adapt and function as best as I can.

What's in store for 2020? Who knows!?!?

Definitely some Ragnar Relay action -- this time on a mountain and trails, but NO vans!! What?!? We are a small team that will be camping in tents and running our way around Mount Bachelor. I have no idea what I've gotten us all into! No big vacations on the 2020 calendar, but that leaves more time for small getaways in the motor home. I've decided I can't register for races too far in advance anymore - thanks to that stupid Meniere's Disease nonsense. BUT I hope to keep myself running when I am physically able to so I will be ready for our trail relay! Comic Con is batting its eyelashes at me, so perhaps I'll be back at that as well - Michael Rosenbaum, I'm looking at You! And maybe I'll go milk a cow! Bovine? Cow? I'm overthinking now - Jill, I'm looking at You! ;-)

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

What's a Florida Disney Christmas Like?

It's that time of year again that I love.... Christmas specials on television, namely Disney Christmas specials! *At this time I'd like to give a huge shout out to Sarah (you'll see her in this post). She's been helping to make that television magic this year! We all see the shows and commercials showing how fabulous it is during the holidays in Walt Disney World. And it really is. I did NOT want to leave last month. When it started snowing on Main Street USA everyone was just smiling, happy and singing along with the Christmas music while putting their hands in the air to reach for the snow. On the ship we saw some Christmas entertainment and it felt like the most authentic, old fashioned Christmas event. Perfection!

But what is it like to WORK in Walt Disney World on Christmas Day?? In 1997 I had the day off and didn't have to brave the Magic Kingdom and cook an insane amount of burgers and fries. How on earth did I get so lucky? Although I did spend that day alone in my apartment because everyone else had to work. In 2001, however, that was not the case!

You think Disney, you think Florida, you think Sunshine! Here's a visual look at that Florida sunshine....

Eet was tough and just went with a warm hat. Meanwhile I stayed warm in our gigantic coats and a poncho. Those coats were the best. It felt like wearing pajamas to work. I loved when it was "cold" and I could wear it!

We had virtually no guests that day, which gave Laurie some time to clean rafts that came through with dissolving park maps in them.

Moniq, my future roommate, was NOT a happy camper! Perhaps in Indonesia they don't have to freeze on Christmas in the rain? Notice she has on the poncho.. AND long sleeves AND gloves. I'm telling you we really did have to bundle up some days!

Tina had fun with the day!

The sole three Americans working the ride that Christmas. We goofed off A LOT. Why not, we had NO guests!! It legit rained almost non-stop and was cold. I guess most guests didn't feel that was how they wanted to spend their Christmas day?

Poor Pim. I think this photo summarizes her feelings that day.

Beam. She always made me laugh! You might remember Beam from this post about her last day and jumping in the Chakranadi River! Let me explain this photo to you because I love it. The worst idea happened that year. A portable heater was brought to the exit area of our ride. It had a gigantic flame. It really wasn't intended to DRY guests off. Naturally with an open flame it had to have a babysitter. The guests were fascinating to watch, and I don't use "fascinating" in a flattering way. Assholes. They turned into complete assholes. And we had to babysit them. Fights almost broke out because people wanted to get dry at the heater and thought other people took too long. We all hated this spot. Thankfully this was short lived. Absolutely awful idea. Well, Beam was the one babysitting our guests and heater ... and was also noticing that a crazy thing was happening that maybe doesn't happen all the time in Thailand? It was so cold she could see her breath! I had to capture this moment!

Finally the park was closed and it was time to go home. That year we did something special at closing. We did the "good night wave". Other nights I had a cute scarf to wear, but I don't see it in this photo. Basically a few of us Cast Members were stand on the bridge leading from Discovery Island to the Oasis and say good night, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc to the guests as they left. Seeing as it was Christmas I was happy to be able to do it that night!

So working in the park at a water right on a cold December day? Quiet and silly!

What about when it is night time and you all work in a park that closes at 5pm? You come to my apartment! Robin had the summer holidays, I took the winter ones. I couldn't the main dishes, but my friends also brought things. Herb brought the best mac and cheese using his mom's recipe! I feel like Jeff brought peanut butter cheesecake, but I could be wrong on who it was. Anyway, this was normal for our crew to get together at either my apartment or Robin's and we would have game night!

Christmas 2002 was one of those nights. Tons of food and dessert... and games! Below you can see Herb and Sarah - previously mentioned for her awesome work with this year's Disney holiday shows.

Not sure what game this was, but clearly we were getting into it as seen by my hand gesture! Notice both of us in this photo double layered in shirts AND sweaters and we are INSIDE! Live in Florida long enough and you will get cold for a couple of weeks each year!

And lastly, here is one of Jeff and Lindsey before they created Hunter. Awww, they made a College Program baby, and that baby is NOT so little anymore. Makes me feel old! 

And there is a look at my Florida Christmas life. Each year was the same.... my apartment, food, and games with my Florida "family"! With all of us being away from our real homes I think we came together quite well to fill that little void!

Friday, December 13, 2019

I Want You To Know

That I'm happy for ME
I wish nothing but
The best for poor Shawn.

If you knew me senior year of high school and spent ANY time in my car you either listened to Gangsta's Paradise or Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. I still hold that as my all time favorite album in the history of all music. Ask who my favorites are and I will tell you without hesitation:
  • Alanis
  • Fiona Apple
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • *NSync
1996 high school grad party. Take note of the
super short hair and the shirt.
It will be referenced at the end.
I'm lucky enough to have seen all of these artists multiple times. Heck, just last month I actually talked to BBVD! Jimmy and I had a moment at his concert in 2010. I thank my coconut bra for that one. Fiona's guitar player used my pen. Don't even get me started on my Joey Fatone in Disneyland story! And then there is the goddess known as Alanis Morissette! I love her.

Jagged Little Pill came out and I instantly bought the CD. My mom will vouch for this fact.... every morning I woke up, went to the living room to crank up Disneyland's Fantasmic soundtrack. Then when that ended it was time... time for Alanis!! Every. Single. Morning. I love her.

I remember my mom brushing her teeth and coming out, toothbrush in her mouth, hands free and trying to ask, while making the hand motions, if she just said "scratch my nails down someone else's back". Yes, Mom, she DID say that... and so much more! I love her.

Notice my giant head on the screen behind me.
And that super short hair. But I got a trophy!
I found myself in Portland for the FBLA state skills competition. I had won the regional stuff so it was now the big leagues. Ha! I had done my competing and it was time to just chill. I learned Alanis tickets were going on sale the next morning. While everyone else was sleeping and getting ready for the awards ceremony I was up and standing in line at the Lloyd Center mall. All of us in line were given a raffle ticket. That then determined the order we stood in. I think I was number 12. I scored what felt like pretty awesome seats, especially since I was just some high school kid and we did all of this pre-internet! I felt like a winner... and then went to the awards ceremony where I won first place in my competition!

Earlier that year I chopped off my long hair. After that Alanis concert I completely regretted it. Her hair was so long and awesome. Hence, the long hair I still have. I love her. 

My second Alanis concert found me even closer to her greatness. I had General Admission tickets for the floor. I still have my wrist band. I was behind a couple that kept making out and one of them was really tall, so I had a hard time seeing. Lesson learned. Garbage was the opening act. They were so awesome that the next day I went to the store and bought both of their CDs. Shirley Manson was the epitome of cool. 

When I lived in Florida I was at the Virgin Megastore ALL THE TIME. Every Alanis import that came in I had to buy. I was looking at my iTunes the other day and just what I have in there ... 21 albums. They aren't all in there either. I love her. 

Ever had to deal with me and karaoke? You KNOW you heard me sing Alanis! (And if I had more than 1 song you probably got some of Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 or Fiona Apple's Criminal.) 

Well here we are, 2019. Next year JLP will have its 25 year anniversary. Twenty-five beautiful years! And Alanis is going on tour. Where is her tour starting? The Pacific Northwest!! Who signed up for the pre-sale code? This girl. I couldn't concentrate at all. I was logged in and ready. I found myself in a virtual queue. That made me sweaty. I am a pro at buying good tickets, this made me edgy. It took about 4 minutes and finally I was able to buy mine. I clicked on the tickets in the 3rd row. $399.00?? Um, what??? It killed me to not buy them. Tickets were going FAST! I made the executive decision, clicked on my seats and BAM... I'M GOING TO SEE ALANIS AGAIN!!! 14th row instead of 3. I can live with that! I love her!

I'll be at the opening night of the tour! And who else will be there? Garbage! It's all meant to be! And actually, now that I think of it, when I was at my first Alanis concert my mom and her friend were shopping while waiting and her friend bought a CD. Wanna guess whose? Garbage!

Now there is the issue of my date. Shawn. Oh boy. I remember my mom being my date for Fiona Apple once and she just sat there so confused at all of us younger women and our love for this angry, skinny girl. I can only imagine what Shawn is going to think, see and feel when I am once again reunited with my favorite. I wonder if I can crash diet and fit in my "I'm sick but I'm pretty" tank top that I got in 1996?? Probably not. In conclusion, I LOVE HER!!