Welcome y’all! I’m so glad that by some stroke of luck you’ve found your way to my blog. Whether you’re here because you’re dealing with low vision, you love Disney, we went to high school together, or you took a wrong turn and are here by mistake, I hope you’ll stick around for awhile. Since you stopped by, why don’t you get to know a little bit about me and the things that occupy my brain 90% of the time (because like most people, the other 10% involves distracted by cute animal gifs).
As the title of this page indicates, my name is Theresa. However, most people call me Tree (or Gertie, but you’ll have to read the rest of page for the story behind that). Central Maryland has always been home; currently, I am a 15-minute drive outside Baltimore. If the Orioles are playing, you can be sure I’m watching, always wearing black and orange. I’ve spent the past 15 years working in non-profit and higher education. I do a little bit of everything from fundraising, events, data management along with the usual “other duties as assigned.” Lately, my evenings have been spent taking classes to finish my degree. I’ll end 2018 with a B.S. in Digital Media & Web Technology. I guess that means I finally have to figure out what I want to be when I grow up….
Myopic Macular Degeneration
In February 2014, I was diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration, caused by pathological myopia. A lot of words that essentially means I am so near-sighted that the strain on my retina is resulting is progressive loss of my central vision. Although this has prompted me to make a lot of adjustments in my life, it’s also made me recognize how few resources exist for those who have been recently diagnosed and want to know more about living with this condition. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, as I learn a little more with every appointment. But I do hope to provide some guidance and encouragement for anyone else who has ever felt overwhelmed or isolated after receiving a similar diagnosis. In addition to providing general explanations about what myopic macular degeneration is, I also intend to use this site to share my own personal experiences and life hacks I’ve discovered that help make my day-to-day living a little easier.
Despite only visiting Walt Disney World once as a child, it has become a huge part of my life as an adult. I even listen to background music from the parks while I’m working – shout out to the Grand Californian Lobby track. I’m also a sucker for Disney-themed outfits. Planning what I’m wearing during my trips is almost as much fun as choosing my FastPass+ and dining reservations! I’ve been fortunate enough to make several trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and attend the 2017 D23 Expo, but it’s a bucket list item to experience all of the international parks!
Although Disney Parks are my most frequent vacation spot, I’m always mentally planning my next excursion to a new location. Day trips to week-long adventures; solo, girls’ trips or family travel; all I need is a destination and I’m ready to start exploring. I have a particular fondness for the Outer Banks in North Carolina, as that’s where my family vacationed every summer growing up. But San Juan, Puerto Rico stole my heart when I first visited on a cruise a few years ago. Hiking, animal excursions(especially if sloths are involved!), theme parks, street food, MLB stadiums, national parks, quirky museums. I want to see, do and eat it all!
Growing up, my dad always had Turner Classic Movies on in our house (usually on more than one tv at a time). So it’s no surprise that the majority of my top 10 favorite films were made in the 1960s or earlier. But that doesn’t mean I’m stuck in the past! I’m a former theatre major, so I take in all the film, television and live performances that I can fit into my schedule. I lean towards indies, comedies, superheroes, Storm Troopers, and whatever Laura Dern has coming out next. This is in addition to my 50th rewatch of Parks & Recreation and Doctor Who, because Leslie Knope and David Tennant are LIFE, y’all. I also apologize in advance if you ever watch something with me because I cannot help myself from pointing out “Oh, you know what else that actor was in?” It does make me a huge asset at trivia nights though, so give me a call.
I feel like this is also the place to brag that Jessie Maltin has listed me as one of her favorite “film/movie buff/cinephile nerd accounts” to follow on Twitter. So if that’s your jam you probably be following me too on my personal account, @GertieTheDino89.
I have few vivid memories of my first trip to Walt Disney World in 1990: The rainbow tunnel above the Journey into Imagination attraction in Epcot. Being utterly terrified of the Haunted Mansion and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Magic Kingdom. And a glorious, blue, ice-cream serving dinosaur in MGM Studios named Gertie. When I was finally able to revisit Walt Disney World on my second trip 18 years later, I was most excited about seeing that dinosaur again. While everyone else rushed to Toy Story Midway Mania to get Fast Passes, I bolted to Echo Lake. The moment I saw Gertie, tears came to my eyes and I was transported back to my childhood, reliving the emotions associated with my first trip to Disney. To me, she is the physical representation of how the joy and wonder and amazement of Disney imprints itself on your heart.
These days, I have a miniature Gertie the Dinosaur who travels with me when I go to Disney. You can even follow her adventures on Instagram. As a result of my unabashed love of Gertie on social media, I know that’s what people associate with me. So yes – if you see me and yell out “GERTIE!!!!” I’ll probably turn around, with a giant grin on my face and dinosaur in my purse.