An Emotional Pilgrimage

Sunday, December 31st, 2017 (cont’d)

2017 was challenging for me, to say the very least.

Not only did my Granny pass away at the ripe old age of 96 years old, after a long battle with illness, but a dear friend from church was murdered in cold blood…senselessly, carelessly, confusingly.

It’s something that I’ve spent the majority of the past few months wrestling with. And something that has caused many a night of sleeping on tear-soaked pillow cases.

One night in particular, I was beating myself up about my grief. “Why can’t I move on?” I asked my cousin Sterling. She gently told me that what was happening to me emotionally seemed to be what I needed most, even if it wasn’t what I wanted! She suggested I give myself until Paris and to not even think about being hard on myself about my grief for one single, solitary minute…no, longer than a minute, months and months of forgiveness, even!

Murder is a heavy thing to deal with. Death is not something you get over in a day. Is there a time that can be devoted to “getting over it?” She thought NO and she is one of the smartest people I know, so I thought it best to agree with her. I let her clear-headedness and discernment guide me in a time when I could not rely on my own.

She also suggested that when I got to Paris, that I could try to do something symbolic, something that would release this emotion into the universe and let it go like a balloon on the back of the wind.

I resolved to take a ribbon to Pont Neuf (one of the many Love Bridges…not the original.) You may have heard about it and the locks that people flock there to lock onto the bridge in the name of LOVE.

I went with a ribbon because I’d heard the Parisians were worried about the locks eventually weighing the bridge down from the unanticipated weight. So ribbons it was for me.

Between the time of Wally’s murder and my trip to Paris, another thing happened. A secret emerged that really changed a lot of things for me. Something I can’t and won’t share. But what you need to know is that I was angry about it! Truly, deeply angry. An anger I don’t know that I’ve ever felt was constantly bubbling inside me, threatening to burn me up and leave nothing behind.

So, I made a vow to release this anger as well on the bridge and I offered the same to my family members who might be feeling sadness or anger of their own about this secret, about Wally’s murder, about the death of our Granny. All of these were big things to wrestle with and I wasn’t alone in needing a gesture to symbolize a new year.

What started as a small gesture turned into an emotional pilgrimage.

I wasn’t sure which day I would end up at the Love Bridge, so I kept my little ziploc baggie full of my family’s tokens, with me at all times. In case I happened upon it when I wasn’t expecting to be there, I wanted to be ready.

Lizzie Does Paris - Love Bridge locks
This is my ribbon for my Granny. I wrote her favorite saying on it, “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without.” I also wrote the initials MHROTD on there. Another favorite of hers. She faithfully wrote it on birthday cards and in the memo line on checks for years and years. I think I’ll get a tattoo of it some day! It means: Many Happy Returns of the Day.
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This is the ribbon I tied on for Wally Worman, my lost friend! I wrote “Farewell, Dear One” on there. “Dear one” was a term of endearment we’d often hear him call people. I thought that was a fitting tribute to that kind man!
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This is my cousin, Sterling’s contribution in honor of our Granny. You have no way of knowing this but, Florida oranges are a very fitting tribute!!!
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My father forgot to give me his ribbon, so I had to improvise. I always carry a hair tie on my wrist. So I took one and added it in honor of my dad…in honor of his mom (My Granny.)
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And finally, this one is more of a totem than a ribbon. My Aunt Beck (my father’s older sister) made this herself and sent it along to be added to the bridge. And let me tell you…this bridge has never seen it’s equal! Each piece on the totem is symbolic and personal. She sent this in honor of her mother (my Granny.)

I wasn’t prepared for it when it happened. I stumbled upon the bridge somewhere between Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle on Day 3 of my adventure. How interesting it was to find the most touching moment between me and God and have it not be in either of the churches I’d stepped in that day, but rather outside on a bridge full of locks. God met me there.

Lizzie does Paris - love bridge locks

As I tied each ribbon on, I let go of what I was holding onto.

Lizzie does Paris - love bridge locks

I symbolically let go of what each family member who’d taken me up on my pilgrimage was holding on to.

Lizzie does Paris - Love bridge locks

And when I walked off that bridge after fulfilling my mission…I felt lighter, like a burden had been lifted. I felt lighter, like a darkness had receded. I felt lighter, like a candle had been lit. I felt lighter, like the souls of those I came to honor.

On this, the Eve of a New Year, as I prepared to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018 with open arms, I let it all go. I forgave the secrets that had hurt me personally. I accepted hard truths about the world that I had been either unwilling or unable to accept. I remembered that these emotions, these big mountains cannot be climbed or healed by big symbolic gestures alone. Rather, the practice of forgiveness is something to consider each and every single day. Some days harder, some days easier.

The journey I took travels forward with me as I walk off this bridge and into the future that awaits me. The ribbons I tie here for me and my family…they stay, but we walk forward…lighter, better, bolder, brighter!

I think it’s fitting that I chose the word “Bright” as my word for 2018, because with this weight lifted from my shoulders…forgiven, not forgotten, I sure do feel Bright!

An American in Paris: Day 1

Ok, now you know how I made it to Paris.

Lizzie does Paris

Friday, December 29th, 2017

But I’ll bet you’re wondering what I got up to when I finally made it over there.

Before I even left for Paris, I created a very tentative list of things I wanted to do, along with a vague outline of when I might cross each thing off my list. Traveling with a strict schedule is just not how I do things. I wanted to leave a lot of space to change my mind, add new things to the list and choose days I thought would be best for each item.

Here’s the Master List:

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I landed at Charles de Gaulle airport at about 1:30pm on Friday afternoon, December 29th. I opted to rely on wifi in places and turn my phone on airport mode to avoid roaming charges while in Paris. This meant that simple tools like my GPS and the internet were not available to me, except when I was in my hotel or at a cafe that had wifi. It also meant that I had to rely on my scrappy travel skills (of which I have many!)

An excerpt from my travel journal upon arriving in Paris after finding my way to my hotel:

“Finding my bearings in Paris makes me feel like it’s my first time in New York City all over again. There’s a feeling that I truly have no clue where I’m going or what I’m doing. I don’t speak this language and maybe I’ve been out of the big city game for too long.

But, there’s also the absolute knowledge and confidence that I am capable of mastering this. Flying solo can be a little scary initially, but also exciting and energizing! I’d forgotten that feeling. It’s not something I feel very often in Winter Park, Florida.

On the plane, I sat next to Max, a very kind, young guy, probably a bit younger than me in age if not in spirit. He gave me some recommendations and we shared laughs throughout the flight. I was reminded that there are new friends waiting around every corner, if you’re open enough to look for them. Brave enough to talk to them.”

Interjection: This was the start of a flood of writing that began the moment I landed in Paris and has not stopped since I’ve returned home! And I was certainly grateful to be reintroduced to the writer in me, all over again!

“My hotel, Libertel Gare du Nord Suede on Boulevard Magenta in the 10th Arrondissement, is so charming and tiny. It’s the absolute perfect size for me and my solo adventures! It’s cozy and has the right number of hangars for the Paris wardrobe I brought with me. More than just coincidence, I think!

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I laid down to take a quick 30 minute cat nap, here on Day 1 of my adventure, and woke up an hour and a half later than anticipated. Apparently my body had other plans. Once I finally woke up, I felt rested and ready to walk and see and EAT. Above all…EAT!!

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Interjection: I just sat down to my first dinner in Paris and I’m implementing a new rule…wine and dessert will be ordered at every meal! No exceptions!

My neighborhood is charming! I think I’ll be using that word a lot in Paris. There’s a lot to see. Plenty of hustle and bustle and I find it surprisingly easy to navigate, given the language barrier. As I took the opportunity to get the lay of the land in my Arrondissement, I passed my hotel 3 separate times without meaning to. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding my way around. It really does feel somehow like I’m back in New York, but maybe all big cities have this energy and I’ve just forgotten what it felt like.

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Also…I feel like I’ve found a familiar part of myself, long forgotten and abandoned.

Continue reading

Used Cows and Crumpled Flowers

Let’s talk about sex.

A very personal topic, to be sure.

And I’ll be straight with you, internet. I’ve never had it. I didn’t have it on prom night or experiment in college. I didn’t have a Bradshaw-esque one night stand in New York City or make a really bad drunken decision. (Well, that’s not true. Bad decisions were made and alcohol was involved, but still…no sex.) I didn’t have a long term boyfriend who I wanted to share that with. And through a series of events, romantic missteps and my own personal choices I have kept my V-card. Sometimes not for lack of trying to change that status, to be even more honest with you (why stop now.)

Most of the time it’s been a decisive choice I’ve made not to share that with another person. But I have to tell you…the literature out there (Bible notwithstanding) is quite poor on reasons why a man or woman may choose to not have sex before they’re ready, interested, married, old enough, smart enough…the list of reasons goes on. And the advice about having it isn’t any better!

Let’s start with the worst advice out there and work our way through it!

“If he’s tastes the milk, he won’t buy the cow.”

Let’s keep being honest here…boys aren’t being told that they are cows that have to protect their milk. The double standard surrounding sex has been around for a very long time. Women wear white on their wedding day to signal the purity coming to the marriage bed…where’s that declaration from the groom? Not only is it nowhere to be found…it’s frowned upon for a young man to be sexually pure after a “certain age.” And women? Well, we cows have to protect our milk or no respectable man will want to…buy us? Who thought this was a healthy narrative regarding sexuality? I’m not sure when this phrase was born, but I know it’s long past time for this one to die out! And yep, I’ve had had someone tell me this before!!

“If you have sex your ‘flower’ will get crumpled.”

I think the TV show ‘Jane the Virgin’ handled this one really well. But for real…virginity is not a flower. It is not something that can be trampled or crumpled by consensual sex with another human being. There are plenty of ways that sex can go wrong. But deciding to have it is not the end of your world and you certainly shouldn’t be made to feel like a tossed gardenia after making such a choice. And what about people who didn’t make a choice to have sex…are they damaged goods too? Think about how harmful that phrase is to someone who has been raped!!

“You should wait because of the other person.”

This has always been one of my least favorite reasons to wait. Personally, I don’t want a pregnancy scare…I don’t want STD’s…and I don’t want the emotional attachment that comes with having sex (no matter what anyone says to the contrary) and all that has nothing to do with some imaginary future partner that I am definitely not waiting around to find. So the idea that a pivotal life decision should be made for anyone other than me, myself and I is just as absurd as the idea that I’m a prized cow with precious milk that needs protecting.

“Lady in the street, freak in the bed.”

Let’s not pretend that conservatives who believe in waiting for marriage are the only ones who’ve mishandled information about sex. The liberal side hasn’t done a great job either. The idea that a women should be one thing when you meet her and another thing when you sleep with her is ludicrous. And are men supposed to be gentlemen in streets, but turn into animals in the sack? This one is silly at best and dangerous at worst. If I’m a lady in the street, then you take me home and I Fatal Attraction you…is that supposed to be sexy? And what about those of us who are what you see? Yeah…I say no to this one!!

Look…sex is a messy topic. (This much we can all agree on.) And parents, pastors, teachers, politicians, news anchors, celebrities, liberals, conservatives…everyone has a hard time talking about it. I can’t blame them for that. I have a hard time talking about it too. Writing this post about sex on a blog that my friends and family read…uncomfortable. But it’s important and what I want to do is share with you what I wish had been shared with me when I was younger.

Here’s the really personal part…another reason I’ve never had sex is because it terrifies me. Can you blame me? I can’t let my flower wilt! I can’t let the milk spoil! I can’t lose my purity because that scares the “good guys” away! And even if I decided I wanted to have sex, I have to be one thing when a guy meets me and another thing when it gets intimate.

Here’s what I think…since you came all the way over here to my mind palace…Sex is good, great, exciting, WONDERFUL! I believe God made sex. I think it’s ok to want to have sex. The when, the why, the how… that changes from person to person. And if you are religious, then your beliefs may play a very important role in your decision making process (mine do!) One of the most important parts is that the people involved in the decision to have it are on the same page and should agree about having it. And above all else, we as a society should stop using phrases involving cows, flowers and freaks to describe it. Enough already!

For the love of all that is good…we have to change the way we talk about sex for future generations. We just have to!

Online Dating

It was my first foray back into the “wonderful world of online dating.” Actually, it was my re-introduction to dating after a very long time…period. And boy, was I rusty!

I flexed my dating muscles by downloading 2 of the most popular dating apps: Tinder and Bumble. Basically the same thing in different clothes. The Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde of dating apps, if you will.

 

Bumble dating app nerd bloggerDr. Jekyl…the seemingly normal, mild-mannered better half, who promises some semblance of humanity, but is secretly cooking up serums to hide the evil within.

Tinder dating app blog post

Mr. Hyde…the maniacal other half, not even bothering to hide in the shadows while it’s “nice guy” exterior is shed to reveal the inner beast!

In truth, neither app is to be trusted. And if you’ve ever had a good experience on one of these apps…more power to you, but you are the exception, not the rule!

But out of all the recommendations I was getting for online dating (and there were plenty) these were the two I decided to try. There was very little commitment to jump in and the minimalistic profiles appealed to me.

One of the things I hate most about online dating sites is the lengthy amount of information you’re given to sift through about a person all before ever meeting them face to face. And let’s be honest, some people may not look great on paper, but have great personalities. And some may look stellar on paper, but are rubbish in person. It’s a crap shoot.

So I had high hopes that at the very least, it was going to be a worthy social experiment.

IT WAS NOT!

I got ghosted by 2 separate men. One of whom I’m still not sure if he stood me up or if I stood him up. The other who asked a question, which I attempted to answer, then dropped the mic and never followed up. Why ask in the first place??

But the pièce de résistance has to be Ben. Ben was a Hyde in Jekyl clothing. Seemingly nice, unassuming, had been hurt by love and was looking to move on.

This is how the whole thing went down with Ben…

-A couple texts back and forth

-Interest was piqued

-Ben suggests we go for a hike in the woods

-I suggest a less secluded location (I’m not about to get human trafficked!)

-Reluctantly Ben agrees

-We make plans to walk around Park Avenue and get some ice cream

-Ben asks what I’ll be wearing….then offers “helpful” suggestions as to what i might consider as an option…

“How about stilettos, teased hair and a leather studded jacket?”

Yep, you read that right. Ben suggested I dress as Sandy from Grease, but not Sandy as she normally dressed throughout the whole of the movie. Sandy at the end of the movie, when feeling as though she isn’t “bad girl” enough for Danny Zuko dresses in stilettos, teased hair and a leather studded jacket to make sure she doesn’t lose her man!

Grease Sandy online dating blog post

This, ladies and gentlemen, was the actual suggestion Ben made to me. Because who wouldn’t want to show up on a date looking like that. Wonder if he was planning to show up in a letterman’s jacket or T-birds jacket.

We’ll never know because that was the end of that. I texted back saying I was not interested in going on the date, wished him well and blocked his number. I don’t ghost people, but I also don’t go on dates I no longer want to go on!!

Maybe you think the reaction to his suggestion a bit extreme, but it says a lot about what he thinks about women. And…no thank you!

After a couple other missteps on these apps, I decided enough was enough and deleted both of them. What I thought was going to be a fun experience turned out to be more excruciating than I was willing to put up with.

I was under the misconception that these dating apps would take you out of the text conversation hell hole that other sites put you in. But it just ended up being question after question with no follow through. Not to mention the number of guys who wanted boob shots and extra photos of me. I can only imagine what they would have done with the pictures if I’d had a much lower self esteem and had sent them.

Faith in humanity was at an all time low after this experience. But it did teach me a valuable lesson about online dating, or specifically these apps that promote a culture of hooking up and one night stands…it’s not for me.

Starry Night

Starry Nights Web Series So...This Happened Nerd in the City blog post

Starry Nights Web Series So...This Happened Nerd in the City blog post

When I think of starry nights, I think of one in particular. There was a girl and a boy and a perfect date.

A date so memorable that I made an episode about it in my web series a few years ago. Take a look…

You know what’s funny? Well, maybe funny is the wrong word. Tragic may be more appropriate! Back then I used to blame everything that happened on dates on myself. How I acted, what I wore, what I said, if I was nice enough, if I smiled enough. Maybe we ended up “just friends” because I didn’t let him kiss me that night.

Or hey…maybe it wasn’t me at all. Maybe the circumstance of his life left him unable to move onto someone new and I came around at exactly the wrong moment. Or maybe it was bad timing all around. Maybe I did nothing wrong at all and it was exactly what it was!

The older I get the more I find myself exonerating…myself from past “sins.” I think that’s called getting wiser.

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PS, this is the first gif that comes up when you Google “wiser.”

No matter what I did in my past, I learned from it. I grew and became a better person. Hell, I love who I am today and I had to get here by going through ALL THAT SH*T!!! By doing stupid things like sharing starry nights with boys who just wanted to be friends with me. Starry nights are something very special. Don’t waste them!

Moral of the story is…don’t stop dreaming because of one “perfect” night under the stars. I did. I changed when that weird, non-lationship ended the way it was always going to end. I put romance and dating and boyfriends and falling in love in a little box marked “DO NOT OPEN.” And why? Because one boy wasn’t someone I had a future with. Silly, Lizzie!

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I don’t blame him. It wasn’t his fault. And now I finally know, in my heart, that it wasn’t mine either. Maybe now I can stop putting that night on a damned pedestal and move the hell on! It’s time!!

From now on, I’m saving my starry nights for someone who deserves them!

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What Coulda Been…

Just be nice poster from Zazzle nerd blogger

On Saturday evening, I got rear ended. Thank God my car wasn’t damaged and I only ended up with minor whiplash, all in all not a big deal.

But here’s what coulda been…

The guy coulda pulled over, checked to see if I was ok, if my car was ok. We coulda exchanged numbers. It coulda been our meet cute. Cue the adorable plucky music for adorable plucky us…

(The scene opens on two cars pulling into a BP gas station. The heroine of our story steps out of her bright yellow punch buggy, her pink hair a little disheveled, her mood a little disheveled.)

(Cute guy steps out of his white Range Rover with an apologetic, yet charming smirk.)

“Couldn’t you see me?” She asks him.

“I am so sorry ma’am!! I was not paying attention. Are you ok? Is your car ok?” he asks.

She looks at his disarming smile and cracks one herself. “Looks like no damage was done. You’re a lucky guy!”
“That remains to be seen.” He steps closer.

“Well, we should really exchange information. You know, in case you find some damage.”

“Oh, we should, should we? Cause…uh…I don’t see any damage.” She takes a step closer.

“I don’t know…I think I see a scratch. you should come take a look.”

They both step closer to the car and to each other. Sparks fly.

They go on 5 dates, fall madly in love and tell the adorable story of how they met at their wedding reception!

Alas….what really happened on Saturday after I was rear ended was this:

As I pulled into the BP gas station to see if my car was ok, to see if his car was ok like a normal human being…he just drove off. Leaving me to wonder “WHAT THE HELL, DUDE?!!” And the adorable story of our potential romance was not to be…

What I’m saying is that it pays to be a kind person. And he will never know…what coulda been!!

Just be nice poster from Dazzle nerd blogger
Poster available at Zazzle.com

(Don’t worry…I’m as upset about the poster spelling “Its” wrong as you are!)

Unrealistic Friendspecations

Unrealistic Expectations from Friends TV show blog nerd

As a single, 30-something who was living in New York until a short time ago, I relate to the beloved TV show, Friends, on so many levels. Too many to count. There is no show that means so much to me and has influenced my life the way Friends has (with Seinfeld coming in at a close second.)

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I didn’t watch Friends when it first aired in 1994. I was only 12 and my parents did not find it appropriate viewing material for a 12 year old girl. They were right, of course. But that didn’t keep me from wanting to watch it and it certainly didn’t keep me from tuning in the minute I was old enough and watching it till it ended in 2004, when I was a junior in college.

Looking back, I now know that it played a huge part in my eventual move to the big city. The entire first year I lived in New York felt like a dream, like I was in an episode of Friends. I’d see a street sign or a coffee shop and dream of Central Perk and the 6 most quotable characters in the history of TV. Tell me you don’t say this in Chandler’s voice when you read it “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?” Well, Joey doing Chandler’s voice, but I’ll bet you knew that too.

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As much as Friends will always have that place in my heart and that finale will continue to make me cry even after I’ve seen it dozens of times, I do think that Monica, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel created some unprecedented expectations of what friendship could look like, but usually doesn’t. Where most shows up to that point (again, besides Seinfeld) were about family units or couples getting together, Friends was something altogether different. A set of 6 inseparable Friends who created a family away from family. They did everything together and remained connected for 10+ years (we know they are still together in TV land somewhere.)

Think of all the Christmases and Thanksgivings they spent, not with their nuclear families, but with each other. Think of their trips to Vegas, Barbados and London. The jobs that were forgotten the minute something came up. The family that was forgotten in lieu of the family unit that was created in New York City. Shared life stage and values bonded them in a way that has just never been seen since Friends left the small screen. How I Met Your Mother touches on those element and at times feels similar, but it doesn’t manage to touch the level of nostalgia and love that people (and I) have for Friends.

At the same time, what was created between the 6 of them is as unattainable in real life as a Ross and Rachel friendlationship is. People don’t drop everything to go to Barbados with you, much less for a work conference they have no interest in. You’d be lucky to have one or two good friends show up at your destination wedding, much less the whole pack (minus a pregnant Phoebe.)

I can’t even get some of my friends on Skype most days, much less entice them away from their families, their jobs and their lives to come play with me at Disney. It’s less a complaint and more a realization that real life is just that much harder sometimes, than an episode of Friends (realization may be a little strong.)

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I miss what I found in New York and the brief moment that I grasped onto what it was like to have capital F, Friends. A group of people who were pursuing things the way I was. People who were bonded together in the face of a strange, transient city like New York.

Sure, we didn’t drop everything for each other, every single day. And because New York is so expensive, we all really did have to work most of the time, making it very difficult impossible to sit around in a coffee shop all day, talking about relationships and about our feelings. It just didn’t happen. That’s a beautiful dream that only can live in TV land.

But I think that’s what made Friends so popular and such a strong show with staying power. That kind of Friendship is what we all hope to find. The kind that can last 10+ years and weather being on a break and children and marriages and stuff. When you find that kind of capital F, Friend…hold onto them and never let them go!!

And now…my favorite Friend, Chandler:

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A House Divided

Star Wars fans divided blog post nerds

No, I’m not talking about the current state of American politics. I’m talking about Star Wars.

I am an…avid lover of Star Wars, this you know. So is my cousin. But when it comes to The Force Awakens we have vastly differing opinions. Mine is one of love and effervescence, his of skepticism and tentative acceptance. My love of the Star Wars Universe is not more fervent or deep or borderline obsessive than his and yet, get us talking about The Force Awakens and Disney canon novels and we seem to be at odds.

He is not alone in his opinion and neither am I. And yet, he and I sat in the same living room when word came down the pipes that there were going to be more Star Wars in our near and extended future. The excitement, the childlike joy in both our eyes was the same. That nerdy, little twinkle lives in both of us. So what gives?

I recently came across a new Twitter friend who was as equally dismayed about The Force Awakens as my cousin, but unlike my cousin, who is very excited about the upcoming Rogue One, this friend was not at all excited about it.

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His Star Wars lives in a glass box. It’s incased in carbonite, in perfect hibernation, not to be touched or tainted by the outside world. Many fan people experience this when their favorite things get rebooted (i.e., Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, JEM, and most recently Ghostbusters.) Just like the mint condition toys that remain in their boxes with no scratches or scruff, so too should the movies remain. In some instances I agree and yet when it comes to Star Wars, I absolutely do not.

Star Wars is not the pristine tale of a perfect world. It doesn’t live high up on a shelf never to be touched by human hands. The Force is messy. The Jedi are flawed. The Dark Side is tempting. The stories of Star Wars are as scratched up as the humans who enjoy them.

Some poor sad soul out there might tell you that even the original trilogy is imperfect. Most fans will openly admit that the prequels are far from perfect. And there are some that call the new age of Star Wars an abomination, nothing more than a ploy by the House of Mouse to sell toys and keep us all tethered to consumerism.

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One could argue that all art, once it becomes popular, wrestles with that very dilemma. Make money and “sell out” or retain “freedom” by appealing only to the cult collective. Star Wars manages to walk the line between mainstream and absolutely nerdvana. No small feat.

Perhaps some of the fanboys and fangirls who aren’t excited about new stories from the Star Wars Universe are afraid. They’re afraid that what they love will be tainted by Muggles who don’t have the deep abiding love of that galaxy far, far away and are only in it for the pop culture references.

To be honest, I do have to bite my tongue when some poor little Muggle girl, who knows nothing, starts misquoting my beloved Star Wars.

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But it also opens the door for me to maybe make a new friend and to be a part of her story, even if it’s just to say “So, you like Star Wars, huh?”

Star Wars is and has always been about bringing people together. It’s a story of family and heroes and darkness and light. It’s all the best things put on a screen. And I count all Star Wars as my top favorite movies because they’re all connected for me. Sure, I have favorites. But the connecting story and the greater world of the Star Wars Universe is what I love. And if I get to see any part of that world, I find myself to be incandescently happy!!

After all, I am, at times, as poorly written as the love scenes in Episode II. I am, at times, as annoying as Jar-Jar Binks in Episode I. I, at times, obtain moments of triumph and victory like in the Throne Room in Episode IV. And I even, at times, experience heart break like with Han’s death in Episode VII.

We are human. And it’s easy for us to pick things apart. It’s easy to read into everything and see the bad and miss the good. I’m saying…be messy with me. You don’t have to love all Star Wars equally. But keep an open mind for what the future of the Star Wars Universe might hold for us. Allow it to play in the mud.

Don’t you think there were fans out there who were not eager for a sequel to Star Wars? People who thought it would suck? People who thought George was just out to capitalize on his success and make more money? Who cares if he was, we got The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi out of the deal. What would have happened if Star Wars had stayed in it’s glass box, high up on a shelf? Perish that thought!

Lizzie’s Solo Ride

Disney World Scavenger Hunt blog

Lizzie's Solo Disney Adventure Blog Scavenger Hunt Nerd

I LOVE Disney. If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know this. That being said, I’ve never done Disney on my own before. I’ve always gone with friends or family. And the day is usually very mapped out. Everyone has their top picks and there is lots to cover in a short period of time. I love to go with a plan and I love to go with people, but this day was different.

There was something really freeing and exciting about a solo adventure. Just me, nerdself and I.

I did have an agenda in the form of Crazy for Disney’s scavenger hunt. It kept my day just organized enough without feeling rushed. And since I only paid for parking and dole whips, I didn’t feel like I had to “get my money’s worth.” There is no shortage of Disney adventures in my future, that’s for dang sure!

So take a look at my adventures and if you want to do a scavenger hunt of your own try Crazy for Disney’s. But also, keep an eye out for my own scavenger hunt. There were some things I definitely wanted to add on the list (and some that I did add on the list!)

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First up was Hollywood Studios:

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What I found at Hollywood…

  1. A Movie Theater
  2. Large Green Army Men
  3. 1950s Diner
  4. Giant Guitar
  5. Kermit the Frog
  6. Star Wars Characters
  7. Tower of Terror
  8. Giant Letter Blocks
  9. Woody or Jessie
  10. Mickey Mouse Balloon
  11. Handprints in Cement
  12. An AT-AT
  13. A Potato Head

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…A Giant Ant or Bug, Mater, Pizza Planet, Giant Mouse Ears, A Spaceship.)

Next was Epcot:

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What I found at Epcot…

  1. Giant Silver Sphere
  2. Someone Wearing a Sombrero
  3. Boat (Monorail was on the list, but I substituted it for a boat ride.)
  4. Characters Made of Plants (this picture is actually from Magic Kingdom, I couldn’t find plant characters at Epcot to save my life!!)
  5. A Planet (BAM! I found 2!!)
  6. Statue of a Viking
  7. A Chinese Building
  8. American Flag (I spent way too long trying to get a picture of the flag flying. Alas!)
  9. A Clock Tower (thanks Germany!)
  10. A Park Bench
  11. A Street Band
  12. Coral Reef
  13. Nemo
  14. A Sea Turtle
  15. A Live Disney Character

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…Statue of a Horse, A Double Decker Bus, A Kidcot Sign, A Dinosaur.)

Then, Animal Kingdom:

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What I found at Animal Kingdom:

  1. Tree of Life
  2. Statue of a Disney Character
  3. A Dinosaur
  4. Live Elephant
  5. Live Gorilla
  6. A Large Mountain
  7. A Train
  8. A Safari Vehicle
  9. A Stream/ Flowing Water
  10. A Bus
  11. A Live Disney Character
  12. A Large Set of Bones
  13. Someone Wearing a Safari Hat (Bonus for finding someone wearing a hat and a vest!)
  14. Someone Wearing a Vest
  15. A Truck Selling Ice Cream
  16. Street Band
  17. Rafiki (Got a two for one on this one with #2)

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…I only couldn’t find Flik from a Bug’s Life and it was only cause I was running out of time.)

Finally, Magic Kingdom:

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What I found at Magic Kingdom:

  1. Monorail
  2. Someone Wearing Mouse Ears (so many to choose from including myself!)
  3. Statue of Walt Disney
  4. A Horse
  5. A Map
  6. A Balloon
  7. A Train
  8. A Castle (Correction…THE Castle!)
  9. A Popcorn Cart
  10. A Big Treehouse
  11. A Flying Elephant
  12. A Pirate
  13. A Princess
  14. Turkey Leg (I added this one to the list)
  15. A Spaceship
  16. A Former U.S. President (Lots to choose from but I went with good ole Abe)
  17. A Teacup
  18. A Flying Carpet
  19. Mickey Mouse (sorta cheated on this one and used #2 twice…time crunch)
  20. Dole Whip (I also added this one to the list, Dole Whip is an absolute must!!)

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…I only missed Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom and it’s because I was trying to find the Pooh himself. Oh, well…next time!)