Thursday, August 10, 2017

Surrounded by Incredible

I was standing in a kitchen with about 30 other people.  We were making a friendship salad.  Everyone brought one ingredient and then we all threw it together in this huge bowl. It was tossed and eaten.  Having a salad with over 30 ingredients is incredibly delicious.

Even more delicious than the salad were the people standing around the kitchen.  It was 30 people all in different stages of life, different religions, different genders, different sexual orientations.  Some had kids, some had spouses, some were widows, and some were single.

One thing they all had in common was that they are beautiful. Literally looking around the room, they each wore something classy and stylish. But it was even worse than that, they were beautiful inside and out. Everyone is clever and well spoken. You would think that being in a room with such wonderful humans would be intimidating and overwhelming, but they are all kind and approachable.  I honestly stood there confused how I got the privilege of being in this room.

I got there by doing one of the toughest interviews in my life which ended with my name being called in front of the Disneyland castle.  We were all Disneyland Ambassadors.  The women and men in that room were the resort representatives from 1967 - today.

We sat around and told stories that will never be told outside of that circle. We talked of embarrassing and overwhelming things we had to go through.  We talked about our worst interviews and where we failed.  I had a couple stories to tell that weren't so bad.  My stories are more funny.

Like, I was once walking out of the castle with Mickey to a stage in front of hundreds people.  I don't even remember what the event was now (there were so many). But as I walked over the draw bridge, my heel got stuck in between two boards and I walked right out of my shoe.

I had one second to decide; keep walking or stop and go get it.  Stand on stage with one shoe or jerk everything to a stop. I stopped which made Mickey look back at me.  I just said "I lost my shoe."  We walked back and Mickey knelt down as I slid my shoe on.  It was a perfect Cinderella moment and I'm not sure anyone else even remembers it.

But to me, every time I walk over that draw bridge I laugh. My life is weirdly phenomenal. It was such an amazing experience to represent the Resort and such a privilege to be a part of that group of unbelievably remarkable men and women. I hope that you find yourself surrounded by wonderful people that encourage you to be a better person.

I always thought it was cute when we both wore red.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Where Is The Blue Sky?

I was hopping from boulder to boulder trying to keep my feet out of the stream rushing below me.  It was a beautiful hike, beautiful weather and a beautiful life.

One of the reason I really liked the weather was because it was warm but over cast. I could wear just a t-shirt and a light button up.  Perfect.  I knew there wouldn't see blue skies today and that was fine.

As I got to the top of the hike, a strong wind blew through and just for a second there it was, blue sky.  As fast as it was there, it was gone.  The wind continued to blow, pushing the clouds around.  In another couple minutes the clouds parted again and there it was again, that beautiful blue sky that caught my eye and filled my heart.

Those clouds felt a lot like my life for the last year.  The clouds had moved in and settled over me and my life.  It felt like it was always going to be like that, but every now and then, the clouds would part and I would see the joy I remembered before my injury; the fun loving girl I was before fear entered my life.

I see the blue skies more often than not these days, but the one thing that really hit me was that the blue sky is always sitting back there waiting for the clouds to part and be seen. My joy is always sitting back there waiting for me.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The 12-year-old Compliment (Sort-of)

Today I waded into the ocean; flippers on my feet, boogie board in hand, and a smile plastered on my face.  Just getting into the water is a triumph.  I pushed myself into the water and started kicking.   I giggled, my body is getting back to normal.  I wave came and pushed me.  Colin grabbed me from flipping over.  We laughed.

A 12 year old girl, floated by on her surfboard.  A big smile on her face, she said, "I wish MY mom would come out in the water with me."  My heart sank.  Colin turned around and his grey hair caught her by surprise, "...or dad."

I know that's what she actually said, but what I heard was "Hey, clumsy chubby white lady. You're old and your boyfriend looks young enough to be your son."  I just wanted to sink into the water and let it pull me to shore, so I could crawl to the car and cry.

But I stopped.  I stopped beating myself up.  I stopped allowing lies to conquer my brain.  I stopped letting a 12 year old interfere with my greatness.  The truth is she was totally complimenting me.  She was telling me that it was fantastic that I was out in the water.  She loved that I was still having fun (at my real old age).  She thought my boyfriend was gorgeous. (Well, that's what I heard.)

I wish I could tell you that this is what happens every time I'm hurt by someone.  I wish I could tell you that I'm the queen of turning hurtful things into compliments, but I'm not.  But I am good at slowly learning and changing my thoughts.  And soon, purposeful choices of how to think about myself will be easier and soon it will just be a habit.  But until then, I will try my hardest to remember that I'm awesome and the lies are just that, lies.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

At Least It's Not Hell

The other day I was resting my head on Colin's shoulder, tucked into the curve in his neck and I was thinking about how Dinsey animators are just amazing. The things they do are surprising and wonderful. I found myself wishing I could do anything half as good as those animators.

I casually whispered, "I wish I was good at something." I unexpectedly began to cry. I honestly wasn't even feeling sad when thought it, but as the words came out of my mouth I realized very suddenly how very sad and confused I am about where I am in life right now.

I'm still writing but I'm sure it can't be published. (Side note: Can some one get sued for writing about behind the scenes Disney?  Asking for a friend.) My editing skills haven't kept up with the current level of amazing editors. My dancing is... well, most of my dancing was been temporarily removed with my disc fragments.

So, what do you do when you are a girl with a whole lot of half talents?

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what they call the desert. I'm not in agony. I'm not in hell. I'm just in a dry, flat part of life. I'm not really sure if there is any water around and I'm getting pretty tired.

I really wanted to end this blog post there.  In the reality of life, but the other talent I have is optimism. It refuses to give up on me. So I guess if I was to say one last thing, it's that I still have a bottle of water with me. I believe I have a purpose. I believe in a higher power. I believe that there is a reason I walk this earth. And there is even a reason I'm in this desert.

So, I will keep walking. Looking for the next turn that will bring me to my next adventure.

(NOTE: This was written a few weeks ago and life has seemed to turn a corner.  But reading back on this I realize a lot of people probably feel like they are in this place.  Just don't stop walking because the only way to get some place new is to keep going.)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Real Pain

I don't really think about the pain I went through last year.  In fact, I work very hard to keep it at bay, holding it at arm's length hoping to never experience it again, but one of those memories decided to show up uninvited.

Today, I was sitting on the floor in the guest bathroom, sponge in one hand and cleaner in the other. The smell of bleach proved I was already done with the shower. I pulled the toilet seat cover open and before I knew it, I was transported back 9 months to the moment when I was sitting in this exact same place. Screaming.

9 months ago, I had just gone to the bathroom and I couldn't stand up.  I literally couldn't.  The excruciating pain that would run through my body when I moved in any direction made me completely unable to move. I looked around to find a solution. The only thing I could come up with was maybe if I threw myself off to the right, I could put one hand down on the edge of the bathtub, use my momentum to turn around and push off to get standing.  This sounded like the worst idea of all time, but it was all I had.

So, I counted.  1.... 2.... 3.  And like ripping off the worst band aid of all time, I threw my body off to the right, only my hand slipped off the bathtub, causing my body to shoot forward.  My ribs crashed onto the edge of the bathtub and then I slid down to sitting on the floor.  My back blazing with pain, my leg throbbing and moving uncontrollably, and my ribs shrieking.  And I just screamed; out of anger, out of pain, out of frustration.

I slithered down to floor.  I laid there on my back and cried for a long while until the pain subsided to it's usual unbelievable level. I asked all the same questions.  Why me?  Who am I now?  Will this ever end? What if I never walk normal again?

And then I remembered, these questions don't matter. Getting up matters. Finding a solution matters. So, with that, I slowly rolled to my side.  I used my foot to slide my cane into my hand.  Then I rolled over onto my hands and knees.  With one hand on my cane and one hand on the toilet, I screamed as I stood up; hunched over as usual.

I looked at that girl in the mirror; 22 pounds heavier than usual and swollen red eyes. I never would be the girl I was, but I'm so curious to find out who I will become.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Just Ask For Milk

Yesterday I found myself sitting in front of a pot of melted gooey wonderful chocolate.  It was marvelous.  Colin and I dipped everything you could imagine in it; cheesecake, cookies, brownies, rice crispy treats, marshmallows, strawberries, even pineapple.

It was so good.

When we got to the end of all our treats, we still had chocolate left.  I asked Colin what we should do with it when he flagged down the waitress.  "Could we have a little milk?"  She looked a little confused.  With a smile he continued, "We have some extra chococlate and we were thinking about making some hot chocolate."  She looked a little unsure of us.  Colin asks, "Has anyone ever done that?"  


She looked at Colin, Colin just kept looking at her.

She then said, "I dont' think it will work, I think it will just get clumpy."

She looked at Colin, Colin just kept looking at her.

Then realizing it couldn't hurt to play along, she returned with a small amount of milk.  She watched in amazement as Colin slowly poured the milk in.  Then she was on board.  I don't know if was just interested to see what would happen or suddenly realized this was a brilliant idea, but she came over and turned the burner up under the pot to make it hotter.

Colin slowly added milk, taste testing as he went along.  Finally, he says, "It's ready."

He poured a small amount in a tiny little bowl and I sipped it slowly.  It was the second best hot chocolate I have ever had in my life.  (Napa Rose at Disneyland holds the top spot.)

"Oh my gosh, this is so good."  The waitress standing there waiting to see the outcome smiles widely and heads back to work.  I look at Colin "They could make a fortune if they added this to menu."

This is why I try new things.  This is why Colin and I believe in not always walking the same way everyone else walks.  Because sometimes you find something you never expected.  People will look at you strange.  People will try to tell you it won't work.  But once you do it - whatever it is - people who were scared will be standing by excited and glad for your success.

Be the one who asks for milk at a fancy chocolate restaurant.  You will be glad you did.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hire Me (to do awesome stuff)

I want to be hired by someone to do awesome stuff for people. Like, I could be that sweepstakes person who shows up at houses with huge checks. Or Ellen could hire me to give away cars. Or a morning news show could hire me to give people advice on how to live a freakin amazing life, The Happy Corner - Mondays on KTLA.

But no one has offered me that job yet, so I have to figure it out on my own. A couple years ago I did the How Can I Help You campaign. Where I just offered my free services to people. I chopped wood and made costumes. I drove in cars and did airport pick ups.

Then last year - as you probably know - I couldn't help.  I was stuck in bed; hurt, frustrated and annoyed. I wanted to be helping people and there was no possible way to do it. It hurt my soul.

So now, I'm finding my way back to regular Liz.  And regular Liz can't chop wood anymore, so I have to figure out how to help the world.  How can I do that?

I can write.

So, I will be starting a regular feature on here called "Just a Couple Pennies".  It will be the best piece of advice (or two cents, wink, wink) that people have been given.  If you have some great advice that you have been given that you would like to share with the world let me know.  Email me at  Let's do this!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Get on the Road!

When I was 16 my dad had a Datsun 280Z. It was silver like a bullet and it moved like a bullet. I learned how to drive stick in this car and I knew this car was a privilege to drive.

The day I got my license, I was looking for any reason to drive alone and there it was sitting on the kitchen counter. A rented VHS tape that needed to be returned.  (Yep, I'm 136 years old.) I picked up the tape, shook it at my dad, he tossed me the keys to the Z.  Yes!

I got in the car, pulled out of the driveway and started down the empty farm roads. I was about 100 yards from my house when I looked over at the empty passenger seat. I felt so much freedom and I pushed down on that gas pedal.

Soon after, the speedometer was easily sitting at 110, radio blaring. Man, it was so fun.  So free. I sped down those empty streets, not one car in sight.

I was about to see what this car could really do, when I flew through a stop sign. My foot immediately came off the gas pedal.  My heart raced.  I looked in the rear view mirror.  Was there anyone back there?  What if I had run into someone?

My freedom suddenly became very scary. I pulled over. Chills raced up the back of my neck. This freedom could literally kill me.  I breathed in. After a couple minutes pulling my newly 16 year old self back together. I turned on my turn signal. I checked my blind spot a few times before slowly and carefully pulling back onto the totally empty farm roads.

This is when I learned that you have to treat freedom with respect. It is a privilege. It is important. That is where I am sitting right now.  In a huge amount of freedom.  Because of my back injury, work slowed.  Because of the drugs I was taking, I stopped writing and didn't have my normal ambition. I'm no longer the dancer I was.

So, here I am.  With the freedom to be whoever I wanted to be.  The freedom to take whatever job I want.  The freedom to live where ever I want to live.  And the scariest part of freedom, the freedom to do absolutely nothing.  I have to respect this freedom.  I have to pull over and take a breath.  What do I want to do with this freedom?  Just sit around and do nothing?  Or check my blind spot and pull back into traffic and work on my dreams.

Here we go.  I'm figuring out how to get back on the road.