Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Ring Story - Part 1

In 2008, I landed the best job ever. 
I became a regularly published author.
And not for just any old newspaper or rag.  I began contributing for a brand new regularly published ground breaking specialty magazine. I took up a position as a contributing author for Celebrations Press, a magazine catering to Disney World fans of all ages.
In case you didn’t know, I’m a lifelong Disney fan. In fact, I began to rely on Disney travel podcasts (as well as a few choice others, like Mail Order Zombie) to help me get through my regular work day. Due to the high stress nature of my job, a sense of humor and wonderment is a necessity to keep from becoming completely jaded to the human experience. One of my favorite podcasts is Lou Mongello’s WDWRadio. It’s a podcast mostly appreciated by hard-core fans who are interested in enhancing their Disney Park experience by learning Disney trivia, fun facts, and stories behind the attractions/lands/characters we’ve come to love.
When Lou started taking about doing a Disney Fan magazine with his co-host, Tim Foster, I was immediately interested. I’ve been a Disneyland fan since I was about 2 years old. (According to my parents, that was the year of my first trip to the Park and my eyes just about popped out of my head. Here I am, 28 years later, and they still haven’t gone back in. In fact, I’m more marveled by the place each time I learn something new – and let me tell you, there is ALWAYS something to learn. ) So I submitted an unsolicited blog post to Tim Foster, one of the editors/owners/producers of the magazine. (I know.  Gutsy move – and one that is not usually rewarded.) The article was about my experience at the 2007 Danskin Women’s Sprint Triathlon – which just happens to be the one and only Triathlon to take place on Disneyland Resort Property.

Tim was impressed enough to hire me on as a regular contributor to the magazine. Though it’s a Disneyworld based magazine, Tim gave me a 2 page spread in every issue. I use it to highlight the history and trivia of some of Disneyland Resort’s best and most unique attractions.
 My first real writing gig - and I get to write about something I’m passionate about.
 Does it get more perfect than that?
 It has been a wonderful experience and it created a need for me to do more and more trips to Disneyland. Since I’m a Premium Annual Passholder, and Disneyland is (currently) only a short drive away, I’m able to slip into the parks whenever I need a break from the real world, or when I need a “research trip”.

Research trips involve a lot of walking around, talking to Cast Members, and waiting for the perfect shot of whatever attraction I happen to be researching.
Unfortunately, last summer I had major surgery. This severely limited my trips of any sort, whether they were to Disneyland or to the grocery store. As soon as the MD cleared me, I went back to Disneyland one weeknight after work for a more casual Disneyland trip…
This is where The Ring Story comes in.

It was a cool September evening in Anaheim. Walking around the parks had a joyful, meditative feel to it this time.
 I began my usual “research” patiently waiting for the opportunity to take the perfect photos and to meet up with one of my trusted Disneyland informants. I strolled into the neon-lit Tomorrowland and into the Star Traders store. I was investigating any changes going on since Star Tours. So far, there wasn’t a story to be had there other than what the fan world already knew – that Disney was about to close the attraction for a serious (and LONG overdue) upgrade.  Star Traders doubles as the exit to Star Tours, so I started my hunt there to see if there would be any tips regarding the changes to come.
The merchandise was largely the same as it had been on my past visits. There was a rack full of candy and snacks, a room filled with Disney Star Wars merchandise, and another room filled with what most tourists would expect to see at a theme park gift shop. Mickey Mouse t-shirts of every color lined the shelves. Plush characters of every shape and size dominated an entire wall. Near the checkout area were small racks with jewelry.
There were sliders for bracelets, children’s jewelry, and a myriad of other nick knacks.  As I browsed the racks, a specific ring caught my attention and wouldn’t let it go.  It was a silver ring with a crystal Mickey head in the center.  On either side of the Mickey design were 2 colored stones. They had rings with stones representing just about every birthstone. For some reason, the blue stoned ring jumped out at me.
I look it off the shelf.
I tried it on. A 6 was too small, but a 7 was just a bit too big.
I turned it over to check the price. It was definitely affordable, but the thought of spending money on something so optional when significant medical bills were looming gave me a moment’s pause. Also, the ring wasn’t available in half sizes. Assuming I’d lose it, as I’m prone to do with jewelry from time to time, I settled w/ taking a photo of it on my cell phone. I put the ring back on the rack for some other lucky tourist to take home.
 I sent it to a few of my Mouse-friendly friends, saying something like, “This might need to come home with me at some point.”
I would visit The Ring on subsequent visits, but it never made it into my modest Disney jewelry collection.

Fast forward to January 16th, 2011.
 Sean is scouring the jewelry in Mouse Gears in Epcot while I look at t-shirts, sweatshirts, and kitchen goodies, considering bringing something home.

Later that night, he proposes. Unable to see The Ring in the subdued lighting, I say yes.

On our way out of the parks, I stop under a lantern in the Mexico pavilion to check it out. Even in the yellowish light, I know recognize the ring on my finger and start to laugh.( In fact, I think I had just stopped crying and the laughter brought tears to my eyes again!) The ring on the finger, the one that he said just seemed to be most “me”, was the exact same ring that over a year earlier, I had picked out for myself.
This ring will always have a special place in my heart and may just be my “something blue” on our wedding day.

Well done, love.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – when the more traditional ring comes in!

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