MMC’s Got It Going On…Funky Style! (Long, Multimedia)

I know I have blogged about this before, but watching YouTube today brought it back to the forefront of my mind.

When I was in high school, I LOVED LOVED LOVED the all new Mickey Mouse Club. This is the show that spawned Britney Spears, Keri Russell, and Justin Timberlake. I was a fan from the beginning–well, once we got The Disney Channel installed in my house. Back then, I had to beg and plead for us to get cable in the first place, and The Disney Channel was a premium channel, like HBO or Showtime! My parents knew how important Disney was to me, so they sprang for the premium. Back then, my cable life revolved around The Disney Channel, MTV, BET, and VH1. I loved music videos and there was no shortage of them in the early 90s.

I started watching MMC when I saw the video for Summer Vacation by The Party on MTV. I thought Damon Pampolina was the hottest thing on TV. I was ready for a new crush–I was over my New Kids on the Block phase, Joey Lawrence and Kirk Cameron did nothing for me, and Dino and Glenn Medeiros were just too old. I am not sure how I figured out that The Party had to do with The Disney Channel, but once I realized that The Party was made up of Mouseketeers from MMC, I was hooked. My crush on Damon was short-lived, though. I started watching MMC in its third season, and that’s the season that Ricky Luna started. More on that later.

The show, to me, was so different from any other show. It wasn’t a typical multi-camera sitcom filmed in beta. It was a variety show, with skits, singing, and dancing. My favorite was the musical numbers. I liked learning the dance steps and I liked singing along. The cast members used their own names, and at the end of a taping, they let the audience come down and dance with them, which made them seem more approachable than say, the kids on Blossom. I really wanted to be friends with all of them.

My life back then mostly consisted of school (ugh), an after school job at the deli, marathon phone conversations with my best friends (our record: 13 hours), writing (mostly fanfic), and music. I wasn’t getting out much nor was I participating in a lot of school activities. My life was MMC and those kids. I wrote fan fiction about them before it was cool. If I wasn’t planted in front of the TV at 5:30pm Monday through Friday, then the VCR was recording the show. That show was the reason I got up some mornings, the reason I got dressed and did my hair. Maybe I was just going to be in front of the TV all day, frantically rewinding the VCR so I could learn yet another dance step, but I was up and moving. And that was a good thing.

There were two Mousketeers who inspired me the most. One was Mylin Brooks. I thought she was absolutely beautiful. She had this gorgeous dark hair, this beautiful face, and she was on a TV show that was filmed at Disney World. She was smart and talented and I desperately wanted to be her.

It was this video here that started my fascination with Mylin:

Please refresh if the videos aren’t showing up. YouTube is being a pain in the rear.

Ah yes, Disney Channel’s watered-down pop lyrics. I didn’t care. I watched the video all the time. I even learned the steps. I can still do most of the steps. I NEVER in a million years would have imagined that one day, this would happen:

Me and Mylin

Through the wonders of the Internet, I reached out and asked Mylin to be my friend on MySpace back when MySpace was cool. She accepted, and we began talking back and forth. When everyone moved to Facebook, she and I kept in touch on there. I was part of her “American Girl” street team back in 2006. It was amazing to get to work with her.

In July of 2010, I finally got to meet and spend the day with this woman, and let me tell you, she is just as sweet as she is beautiful. My mom is tickled pink because she knew how important MMC was to me, and she knew how important those kids were to me.

The other Mouseketeer that changed my life was Ricky Luna. I had an obscene crush on him when I was a teenager, and I didn’t care. Every single day from 5:20-6:00pm, I would sit in front of my TV, VCR remote in hand, ready to tape anything with Ricky in it.

When the MMC came on, the Mouseketeers would pop into a circle and say their names. He popped into his circle, yelled “Ricky!” and I was instantly head over heels. Well, as much as a girl can be with a guy whose first name is the only thing she knew about him. But we don’t need to worry about that. Look at this video:

He’s the one in the red shirt and the suspenders. I dare you to say you don’t understand how teenage me could have fallen for that total Mr. Hottyness.

I got to meet him for the first time in 1993, when MMC came to Cleveland to do a tour. Boy did I make a fool out of myself. I grabbed him and yelled “I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU.” Mortifying. Forgive me. I had no social skills and I was face-to-face with the object of my teenage fantasies OMG what was my life??? Don’t judge me.

Here are a couple of pix from that weekend:

MMC in Cleveland 1993 MMC in Cleveland 1993

Forgive the blurriness. I scanned these back in 1997 when I had no idea how to really work a scanner.

In late 1997, Geocities came out. I could make my own web page, what! So I did. I made a Ricky Luna fan site. If you google “Ronni’s Ricky Luna Fan Page” some old, old, old mirrors of that site will come up. Good times. I made that site in hopes that Ricky would do a search of his name and find it. He did. That site was the top hit in all the search engines. He contacted me and we kept in touch on and off over the next several years. MySpace and Facebook kept us even more in touch. Back in 2009, this happened:

Ricky Luna & Me

Yeah, it was pretty awesome. I got to hang out with him and his manager’s family. It was a really fun day. He lived up to the crush that 17-year old me had on him and then some because he’s just an awesome, kind, and warm human being. We laugh about my declaration of love for him at Tower City mall back in 1993. I still can’t believe I did that. Anyway, now he’s a super talented producer and he makes really good music, which you can download for free from his site. I recommend the Electro Bomba mini mix. You can get it here. :)

I’m proud to call him my friend.

I leave you with this video. I just watched it again and it gave me chills because I loved it so much back then. And as I belted along with it, remembering all the words, I realized that I still love it today.

If only The Disney Channel was still this awesome. Oh well. At least they have Phineas & Ferb.

This post is cross posted at my Disney blog. Feel free to visit and follow!


Staying Positive

I try to make it a point to stay positive. I went through a pretty bad few years where it seemed like one bad thing after another was happening to me. I kept a lot of it under wraps–only the closest people to me knew the details. It was hard to pull through, and I had to work SO HARD to try to stay positive, and I usually failed at it.

The other night, my anywhere-is site did a wonky thing and wouldn’t let me into the admin panel. I was able to access my sites, so I wasn’t too upset. I just moved everything to the main directory, which I’d been meaning to do for a while anyway. I was going through some old journal entries, and WOW. Just wow. I ended up deleting quite a few of them (from anywhere-is; they’re still on Live Journal) because they reminded me of those bad times, and many other bad times. It was like I was two people. There was the happy Ronni presented to the world, the f-locked entries that expressed rage, sadness, deep depression, and the private entries that were just…. very sad. I knew that if I read them or dwelled on them, I’d get sucked into that emotional mindset. I don’t want that.

I’m not a huge believer in The Secret, but I do think that if you put out good energy, you’ll generally get good energy back. And that if you put out bad energy, you’ll get bad energy back. Not to say that everything bad that happens is anyone’s fault. I just remembered how I worried and worried and worried, and the stuff I worried about was the stuff that kept happening over and over and over with extra random bad stuff tossed in. Almost like I imagined it into existence. So, now I work on imagining GOOD things into existence.

It’s not easy. It’s not in my nature to be as upbeat as I have been. It helps that I have an Adam and an Aidan and a Crookshanks and a Helena. It helps that I have friends who have been there forever and during those really bad times, and will keep being there. It helps that I’m making friends and discovering new stuff and getting inspired every day. It helps that I’m not worrying about surviving. It helps that I am comfortable and everlastingly grateful for all of it.

Sunday afternoon, Adam and I headed to my car to go out to do some errands and hit some vintage shops in Pilson. Upon getting to the car, I noticed that the back window was broken out AGAIN. This is the 3rd time since I’ve lived here that someone broke into my car. (If we count the time in Columbus, this is break-in number four.) First thought was “WTF? Didn’t they know it was unlocked?” Second thought was “Ha, there was nothing in there for them to get. BAHAHA. Oh crap, did they do something to the McDonald’s drink I left in there?” Third thought was “I hope this isn’t the start of a downward spiral.”

It’s that third thought that set off warning bells. If I fall into that way of thinking, it WILL become a downward spiral, and we do not want that at all. I LIKE feeling happy. It’s weird but it’s nice. I don’t want to be showered with bad things/emergencies/problems. I REFUSE to be showered with them. I’ve had enough of it, and it was only by the grace of God (and some good, true friends) that I made it through. I will keep an attitude of gratitude, and I will keep sending that out in the Universe, because I’ve learned that when I truly appreciate what I have, then even more goodness will come my way.


One Month In (Reflection)

I’ve been 35 for one month. Most people tell me that I don’t look 35 at all. :) That makes me happy. I’m glad I still look pretty young, although definitely not as youthful as I used to look. And I’m noticing other things.

I’ve filled out surveys for companies for years. Now I’m clicking the next bracket of age tick boxes. The 35-40 bracket. When I hear about health risks for certain things, the “Women 35 and older–” thing kind of freaks me out because that’s ME now. If Adam and I decide to have a baby, I’m going to have to get loads of extra tests because I’m in the “at risk” part of my life. I remember watching TV and everyone was so grown up. Now, I’m older than almost everyone I see in commercials, on shows. People born in 1990 will be 20 this year!

One month into age 35, and I am a homemaker. An avid reader (I’m up to 16 new books for 2010 so far). I haven’t published a novel (yet). I have a seven year old son who is awesome. I live in Chicago (did NOT see that coming five years ago). I was once stick thin with a belly button ring. I’m definitely not stick thin anymore, but people still tell me I’m “tiny.” The belly button ring is long gone, and now I wonder if the way I dress isn’t too youthful. I like my jeans and hoodies and Airwalks, that’s for sure. I’m growing my hair out and will eventually chop off all the relaxed stuff and be completely natural. It’s challenging because well, I have no clue really of how to take care of my hair in its natural state. It’s been relaxed or straightened since I was a little girl. But I have not had a relaxer put in since May of 2009. But when I see women with before and after pictures, they all look way more amazing with natural hair. I hope that’s the case with me!

As I grow older, I notice that I am more sensitive to loud noises. I am becoming more of a homebody, preferring to hang around the apt with a stack of books, a glass of juice, and some comfy pillows than go out. Although, if someone mentions a trip to Target, I’m there. (I once told Adam that if he asks me if I want to go to Target and I say “no” to take my temperature. Seriously.) I am way more sensitive to smells. Certain scents I used to love, I can no longer stand. And bad smells drive me up a wall in a way that is not normal. I can smell things that most people don’t even notice, and bad smells stick with me for hours after the source is gone. I still like hanging out with my friends. I’m becoming a bit more frugal… by CHOICE this time, which is nice, although I do splurge on books too often. I’m debt free, I still love spaghetti, and bacon, and Cream of Wheat. I still get cold all the time. I’m still a night owl!

I don’t think too much about my mortality. I try not to, because death is so final. It’s not like I’m exactly “living it up” these days either, but I’m enjoying being restful for now. There were too many years when life was anything but.

I don’t have a five-year plan in place, because I’ve learned that a LOT can happen to blow even the best laid plans out of the water. I do have dreams, though. I’d like to move to a nicer, bigger place. I don’t know where yet. It could be somewhere else in Chicago. It could be a Chicago suburb. It could be back to Columbus. I’d like to have a book published by 2015, but I’m not going to stress myself over making that goal. I’d like to get a tattoo. I want to see Aidan a LOT more. I’d like to be working from home, as I do now, but more regularly and lucratively. I’d like to be comfortable financially. I don’t need to be super rich (although I wouldn’t turn it down!). I just want to be happy and healthy and secure and comfortable. Those are my main dreams. I’d like to travel too. Ireland!

Right now, I am content. I mean, the apartment has some issues, but it’s warm and keeps me sheltered. I don’t get to see Aidan as often as I’d like, but I get to see him a lot more than I used to when I first moved here. I like proofreading. I live in a cool city even though the taxes are ridiculous and some of the costs here are unnecessarily high and inconvenient. I have friends and I’m making new ones all the time. I love my husband like crazy. How could I not? He’s so CUTE!

Life’s OK at 35. I have a feeling it’s just gonna get more fabulous.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Happy New Year!

:) It’s 2010! I rang in the new year with friends, loved ones, and Martini & Rossi Assi. It was good.

Many people are doing those year in reflection things–I did that already. But here’s my decade in reflection. ‘Cause you can’t go forward if you don’t know where you’ve been.

– I bought This domain will be ten years old in November.
– Married Chris in August.
– I got obsessed with scrap booking.

– Lucy came to live with me.
– First flight ever.
– First trip to Disney World.
– 09/11/2001.
– Attended Britney Spears concert.
– Saw Janet Jackson in concert.

– I find out I’m pregnant. WHOA!
– Aidan was born in December.
– Chris and I buy a house.

– My life was seriously shaken up in 2003, and not in a good way. My “Christian” faith hasn’t been the same since.

– I got my driver’s license and my first car.
– I turned 30 in December.

– Disney World with Chris and Aidan!
– I quit my job at Nationwide after being there for five years, and became an editor at McGraw-Hill.
– Flew out to Los Angeles to spend time with my friend Amy, and to go to Disneyland!
– I got really serious about writing, and immersed myself in the writing world. Met many great authors and people.

– I got an agent for my book ONLY YOURS (ONLY YOURS did not sell after being on submit for two years. I still haven’t quite recovered from that blow, even though I know now that it wasn’t the right time or book for me to debut.)
– Attended my first writer’s conference.
– Met Adam.
– Went to Vegas, Grand Canyon, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Hoover Dam.
– Went to the Smokey Mountains in TN.
– Quit my job at McGraw-Hill to become a copy editor for Zaner-Bloser.
– Attended first Bob Dylan concert, in Ft. Wayne, IN.
– Saw Bob Dylan in concert in Philadelphia, PA.
– Chris and I separated.

– I got divorced.
– Had a year of sucky money problems, depression, and losing friends, but Adam and Aidan were my bright spots. I also learned who my real friends actually were.
– Met Laurie Halse Anderson!
– Flew out to San Jose to attend Rosa’s wedding. ♥
– Car got broken into, iPod and sunglasses stolen.
– Flew to Atlanta to meet Adam’s family.
– Attended my first Sci-Fi Con–Dragon*Con in 2007.
– Flew to San Francisco to hang out with Rosa!
– Atlanta for Thanksmas.
– Went to New York City with Adam; saw Rent!
– I got engaged to Adam in September.

– Aidan was in a very serious car wreck and needed 48 stitches. He bounced back well.
– Chris revealed a big secret (but it really wasn’t to all of us who knew him well).
– I moved to Chicago.
– Got to play on the set of Wicked.
– Lucy passes away May 30, 2008. :(
– Adam and I got married in July. ♥
– Helena joins the family July 11, 2008.
– Disney World honeymoon in September!
– The U.S. gets its first black president… HOLLA!

– Went to Los Angeles, Disneyland in January. Visited friends and family. Pretty awesome.
– Met Meg Cabot, Peter Yarrow, and Sharon Draper in February.
– Saw Rent in April. Got to play on the set!
– Bought first American Girl doll!
– I decide to go NATURAL with my hair. For real this time.
– Attended DucKon for the first time.
– Michael Jackson dies. :(
– Met SARAH DESSEN holy cow I still can’t believe that happened. Also got to see Laurie Halse Anderson again. :)
– Adam, Aidan, and I went to Disney World.
– Hung out with my teen crush Ricky Luna, whose new album is beyond awesome.
– Met many new and awesome people.

So many people have come in and out of my life. Some people I thought would be my best friends forever dropped me without a second thought when I made choices they did not agree with, and in all fairness, I have done the same to people. New people have come and gone. Some of the loss still hurts a bit, but I am moving on and I am embracing all the new friends I have made. Or the old connections that have rejoined.

When 2000 started, there wasn’t a Facebook or even a MySpace. FarmVille? If someone had told me I’d be addicted to a farm game, I’d have probably laughed. Then again, maybe not. I was into the Sims pretty hard core. Broadband internet was a new thing, and blogging was done mostly with Blogger. Then Greymatter. Then b2. There was definitely no Twitter, and LiveJournal was just getting its start. People could take full bottles of shampoo and body wash on planes, and we didn’t have to remove our shoes to go through security at the airport. Britney Spears was just blowing up, and there wasn’t yet a Hannah Montana or a High School Musical. People were breathing sighs of relief that the Y2K bug hadn’t destroyed the Earth, or at least all of our computers. The iPod came around. Everyone began carrying cell phones that became more and more sophisticated. Now our phones are like little computers, doing everything except going to the bathroom for us!

So many things have changed personally. I’ve gone through at least five computers. I’m living my fifth dwelling since 2000. Aidan’s grown from a tiny little seed in my body to an intelligent and kind little boy. He’s turning into a booknerd like me; once he starts reading, he will read for hours. My life is… well, I could not have imagined it being where it is now. It’s amazing what God can do. It’s amazing how life just… well, how you can’t even EXPECT anything because really, what do you know? I am filled with so much gratitude for my friends, my family, MY LITTLE BOY, Adam, the blessings I have that are way above and beyond what I need. I live in a great deal of comfort and I try my best to keep a gracious heart at all times. It’s important, and it helps my emotional well-being. :)

What’s in store for 2010? I don’t know, but it’s going to be fabulous and Legend… wait for it… DARY!

Here’s for a successful, prosperous, happy, secure, exciting, and amazing 2010 for all of us.

‘Til next time!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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