Sunday, April 7, 2013

Farewell to an old "friend".

This car. Oh this car.

This car has taken me wherever I needed to go A and B wise. I got Bridget (yes I named her) while I was in college working at a grocery store on a shoe string budget. Unfortunately, because I was not yet very wise, I also paid for Bridget in cash. (Never do this people)

And I didn't think to get the car checked by my local mechanic, because hey, it rode fine when I took it out for a test drive. (Never do this either)

As a result, it turns out that This Car was a victim of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It had previously been flooded, someone cleaned it out, got it to run and shipped it to New Jersey to be sold. I was that buyer. I was quite surprised when I began having problems six months after purchasing Bridget. Odd smells (like a gas smell) coming through the vents. The radio not working at all or shutting off after 15 minutes of driving. I took it to my mechanic, who was stunned that I was even driving Bridget.

"This car is so rusted I'm shocked your foot didn't go through the floor when you hit the brakes." he said.
Well. That's not good.
The rust went all the way throughout the car. I even found rust in the gear shift. My dear dad learned of my problem, and paid to have new parts installed to replace the rusted ones, which gave the car new life, and it clunkered along for about 6 more years. But, problems began steadily springing up a few months ago. 
I found rust in my coolant. (Yes. Really.)
The battery died.
The radio still didn't work.
My tailpipe was falling apart.
More rust found in the gear shift.
That smell started coming back.
My windshield wipers randomly starting turning on. (This happened on a date. Luckily, the guy didn't notice since he was following me in his car and when I told him months later, he was a good sport about it and thought it was funny)

When I learned that I needed a new transmission, I'll admit I began to hate Bridget, even if she did take me to many college get togethers. When Dad picked me up at midnight after breaking down, everyone decided Bridget just wasn't safe for me anymore. Dad began secretly looking for a different car for me, as I silently cursed out my old one. (Bridget even made me swear.) Lo and behold, my parents found me THIS:

Not bad eh? Bridget who? The best part about this new car was that I purchased it the right way this time, through a trusted mechanic and friend. The car is like new too.

And so, I've closed an old chapter in my life and entered a second, grown up chapter. My new grown up car. (This time with a working radio and CD player! Thanks parents. I'm about to party like it's 1996.)

Thursday, February 21, 2013



Wait, let me write it again.


I'd been debating on whether or not to take my writing to the next level for quite awhile now. I've always identified myself as a writer, but I wasn't sure how to make my dreams a reality. After taking some writing courses (Read, A TON.) I decided to sign up to be a Yahoo contributor. There's a lot of courses through Yahoo as well to better your writing skills and I thought, hey why not? I'd build a portfolio that way, that's for sure.

Turns out that freelance writing is the best thing I've ever done and it's a job that suits me well. I can work from home, and I love it so much that it doesn't even feel like work. The best part is that I now have a purpose, which is something I believe everyone needs. After some hemming and hawing, writes and rewrites, the first article I completed was about my mother. I didn't expect to get so personal right off the bat, (if at all) but once my fingers hit the keyboard, I could feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders. 

The second article was a little tricker. I decided I wanted to interview someone I've admired for quite awhile, took a big leap of faith and contacted her directly. Her name is Schuyler Fisk and she's a beautiful singer/songwriter. I even went to one of her concerts a couple of years ago. After some corresponding with her publicist, I got my first interview gig. I submitted both articles on the 7th, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. 10 painstaking days later, I got a response back on the first article and--stunned--read the e-mail over and over that my material had been published Yahoo. It was fitting that the first article was about my mom. Maybe she was watching over me, making sure that my dream was realized.

I didn't have to wait long for my second article to be approved. The next morning, I was informed that my interview with Schuyler would be on Yahoo too. I was happily shocked by the latest turn of events and thanked her for the opportunity. Her response was lovely and she encouraged me to write more.

I never thought that this would happen simply by taking the plunge. More writing opprotunites are in the pipeline for me that I'm excited about and I can't wait to show them to you all as well. If you want to read my articles, "Lessons my Mother Taught Me" can be found here: Lessons My Mother Taught Me.

My interview with singer/songwriter and actress Schuyler Fisk can be found here: One on One with Schuyler Fisk

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Me.

I've been a little bit blue lately. So I decided that in order to feel better, sometimes you need to look better. 

For Christmas, I got some wonderful new (and very much needed) clothes from my parents. I can't tell you how relieved I felt. But I've also been looking a bit frumpy in the hair department lately and I haven't put on makeup since July. So I did some things that I rarely do:
First, I got a haircut. (See above.)
Then I got my eyebrows all glammed up (I have two again.)
Then, I got some new makeup.
THEN I went really drastic.

I dyed my hair.

I'm a natural redhead. (Some say strawberry blonde) It's a dark auburn shade though, so depending on the time of year, it can sometimes turn dark blonde due to lack of sunlight. I decided to go for a higher redheaded hue, not straying TOO far from my natural color. I must say I like it.

I definitely feel better, I'll tell ya.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year, big changes.

I've been slacking on my blogging lately and other writing avenues, I'll admit it. Part of it is because my family and I have had quite a tumultuous end to 2012. It's been rather up and down and time consuming. The other reason is simply my lack of motivation lately to write. I'm finding that anything I put to my word processor has been overwhelming. Should I go in this direction? Should I write down that word? My friend Gretchen has lovingly gotten me back on the right path and her advice was simple: "Just write what you love to write about! You can always work on the mechanics later. Nothing is set in stone."

And so, I've returned to work and the tide has turned, albeit slowly. I've been forming my novel bit by bit, starting to enjoy the process, rather then becoming overwhelmed. My resolution is to get my book out this year and I'm thrilled about it. I'll let you know more as the final product comes together.

I've also signed on as a freelance writer for Yahoo! I can't wait to get my articles out there and share them with you guys.

I hope you all are doing well. What are your New Years resolutions?

Monday, October 29, 2012

You had me at Hurricane.

Remember this post?

This was last year, when Irene hit. (by my friend's neighborhood in NJ)

My parents were at a dude ranch in Colorado and I was staying in their apartment (in flux still from my Hawaii trip.) My brother stayed with me at night. While he was working, it was up to me to move all of my parents essential items from their furnished basement, drag furniture to a higher location (they lived by a river at the time...and they were on the first floor), go grocery shopping and make sure I had flashlights, batteries, cash and gas for the car.

This was me, prepping for my first hurricane.
By myself.

Sandy is supposed to be much worse, combining three storms together. It's also hitting NJ directly, something Irene did not do. But this time also feels easier. For one thing, I'm staying with my parents this time and it's nice to feel that comfort of family as you batten down the hatches. For another, they no longer live by a river, but inland towards Philly. (I drove an hour west from where I live) It was also nice to know that buying supplies was not entirely up to me this time around. That was a good thing, because by the time I wandered into the local Stop and Shop, this is what the scene looked like:

Good thing the parental unit planned ahead eh? 
Meanwhile, by Seaside Heights, I found this photo sent in by a viewer to our local news. A part of the boardwalk broke off and has floated away. (And Sandy is still 300 miles off shore.)

To all my fellow NJ'ians, (and some friends who are Virginians) stay safe and sound. Anyone reading this who is in Sandy's path, you stay safe too you hear? :) Time for a Hurricane party.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


12 years ago, an abundance of change occurred in our family. We lost a valuable member a year earlier and gained many more the following year. One of those members included a man who would make an impact in ways I'd never expected.

On a quiet weekend afternoon, I spent the day with new people who would eventually become family. Dad had been dating someone new for months, but this was the first time I would become acquainted with her relatives. I shyly entered the foyer at Lynda's, unsure of what to expect. It's well known that I have trouble with change, and I'd definitely had a bit of anxiety over the slew of it. I greeted Lynda, then various members of her family, until I came to a towering, booming man with huge hands and silvery hair.

"Is that a good book?" He asked, gesturing to my tiny elf hands. His voice was warm. Maybe he wasn't as scary as I thought.

"So far," I replied quietly, my voice not nearly as audible as his.

"She loves books!" Lynda told him.

Boy did I. I had everything, from children's series books, to fairy tales, to classics. You name it, I had it.

His eyes lit up. "Do you?" he said. "So do I." I smiled. Anyone who was a book lover was a friend of mine.  I walked into the living room, a bit closer to home. "How many books do you have?" I asked, curious.
"Oh, I lost count! I have a whole room of them."
A whole room? I had a whole closet of them, sure, but never an entire room of treasures.

From there, we took off, conversing back and forth so much that Lynda suggested we sit in the dining room, then she got drinks for us. I learned he was a special education teacher at the high school I was attending. (he retired two years before I began going there) He was a fantastic storyteller. I loved listening to his teaching adventures and and I could hear the joy in his voice when he talked about his "kids." I told him what I loved about school and admitted what I didn't. Eventually, as the sun set and our voices became hoarse, I realized I'd forgotten one key question in our conversation.

"What's your name anyway?" I asked him.

He looked at me over his silver rimmed glasses and smiled. "You can call me Pop." I'd had no idea I was talking to Lynda's dad. From that moment on, The booming man with huge hands who loved books became my grandfather. His wife was Nannie.

As I lived out the remainder of my adolescence, Pop became one of my biggest champions. He always made sure I had everything I needed, and stood up for me during the rare moments I wasn't able to. I, along with my brothers, fit right in with his other grandchildren, Danielle, Pat, Betsy and Bobby. Then, two more grandchildren arrived in the family: Jade and Jamie, now beautiful young ladies. Six years ago, he got to meet his first great-grandchild, Dean, followed by Matt, two years later.

On September 19th, Pop left this Earth peacefully, exactly the way he wanted to: With his children and as many grandchildren as he could have by his side. One key thing that I'll always recall about Pop is that he loved his family and being enveloped by that love was all he needed. Yesterday was his memorial service, as well as Nannie and Pop's 63rd wedding anniversary.

 Godspeed Pop. I will always remember your warm smile, your unconditional love, your generous spirit and kind soul. Thank you for treating my brothers and I as your own without the slightest hesitation. Thank you for loving animals as much as I do. Thank you for being my book buddy. Thank you for being the best grandfather I've ever had. You go soar the clouds, and one day, we'll meet you there.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Meeting Carly Findlay, Part 1.

When I first began writing this blog, my world was very small. Oh sure, I had my friends and I had my family, but I was definitely a creature of habit. I was stuck in a rut of nothing, doing the same things day in and day out on a regular basis. I was full of dreams, but that's all they were. None of my goals had yet to become reality and a tiny part of me believed they never would.

Two years ago, as I lay in bed sick with pneumonia, I started this blog. I told myself to do one thing everyday that scared the crap out of me. Going to the movies alone. Driving. Meeting new people. Bit by bit, my goals got bigger. Saving for an apartment, moving out, traveling somewhere new. Never would I have imagined that I would achieve all of my goals in such a huge way. Because of this blog, I have met wonderful new people--online and offline. I have traveled to Hawaii on my own. I've driven everywhere. I have moved into a house with friends. I have been in a relationship. I have begun writing my first book. The best thing of all are the friendships that have formed through my blog. A few days ago, the opportunity to meet an amazing young woman became reality. Last year, I stumbled across a blog titled Tune into Radio Carly. Having no idea what her blog was about, I researched her About Me page and immediately became intrigued and inspired. Like myself, Carly faces the everyday challenge of having a disability. Similarly, she also finds that there is no time or need in life to sit and feel sorry for yourself. Unlike me however, Carly also finds no time to be fearful. In Carly's world there are no what ifs. There are only hurdles that you clear, sometimes with ease and sometimes not so much, but no matter.

Carly is from a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. She's traveled half way around the world to attend BlogHer 2012, a conference for women's writers and bloggers. Last year, as she lay the hospital, she decided to plan her big trip to America. When I realized the conference was in NYC, I knew only of two things. 1) I had to attend the conference in some way, shape or form and be surrounded by others who loved writing as much as I did. 2) I needed to meet Carly. We kept in touch through various forms of social media and I realized we had a lot in common. Quickly, I scheduled a train trip to meet her in the city.

After confirming the date and time and buying my train ticket, I realized quickly that I would be crossing off another one of my fears, which was traveling by myself in the biggest city in the world. I got up early on Monday at my parents, after dog sitting. Because of this, I had a train ride that was over an hour long, instead of my usual half hour. Dad of course, was worried about my boarding the train myself with my balance issues, moving through big crowds and meeting semi strangers. I suppose I wouldn't always recommend meeting people from the Internet, but I assured him that I would be fine. After a giving him quick hug, I slung my new bag over my shoulder and began my journey to New York.