Weekly Internet Finds: Take 19

On Monday, A.J. O’Connell interviewed Linsey and I about Spry Literary Journal. Today the interview goes live on her blog. You may remember A.J. from my Defining Moments Series, or from the interview I posted about her novella (Beware the Hawk)  that came out in January.

Speaking of Spry, have you submitted your writing yet? There is only about one month left to submit!

Facebook reached the 1 billion active monthly user  threshold in September. I read this through a work email so I can’t really link to it, but I can link you to my third-semester project, The Story Behind the Status, so you can learn more about my interest in social media and how it relates to writing.

Want more Weekly Internet Finds? Check out my past posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

June Observations

June Highlights:

  • We put in our air conditioners! That deserves its own bullet point.
  • Tball. I just love it. I was bummed because there were a few rainouts and Wolverine was sick for one of the games, but I have a blast watching all the little kids play. Wolverine is much more into it this year versus last year, and its fun to see him excited and into something.
  • Father’s Day. I’ll celebrate Mr. O for any reason, but I especially like to celebrate him as a father, because he is an incredible dad.
  • Wolverine got a reading award at school…
  • and even better than that…. he graduated kindergarten! He is so grown up now!
  • I’m actually keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 148.

Stinky June Moments:

  • The few bad weather days in between the awesome warm and sunny days.
  • Everything happening at once. Every project I am involved in between work, school and my personal stuff is all HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. I have no clue how I am going to accomplish everything.
  • Getting excited about a possibility only to find out it is no longer possible. Sigh.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My friends Thien, Amy S,  Audrey, Daisy, Chris, Trueblood and Trish all celebrated birthdays. My brother and his wife celebrated a wedding anniversary, and so did my good friend’s E & C.
  • J and J are getting married tonight! And I am very excited about getting dressed up and spending time with my friends.
  • My friend Linsey and I are working hard on our business venture. It is a LOT of work, but I’m enjoying the process.

I’m looking forward to____ in July:
I’m graduating! This coming residency will be magical, I’m sure. I get to spend ten days on an island with incredible like-minded creatures. I can’t wait to be with my friends again and absorb everything possible from my last residency of graduate school. I am so excited about being a TA, giving a seminar on my third semester project- The Story Behind the Status, doing a public reading, workshopping my newest story and giving a graduation speech. I’m excited to celebrate the birthdays of so many people I love. I can’t wait for Wolverine’s party. I’ll be happy to come home from residency and jump back into my “normal” life with Mr. O and Wolverine. I’m also pretty pumped to make the grand announcement about my new business venture.

Overall Thoughts:
I liked June a lot. There was a lot of nice weather, a lot of time spent outside. It was a busy month filled with errands and birthday parties and school/work/business/life stuff, but I can’t complain about being busy. It was overwhelming, but filled with mostly good happy things. I consider myself very lucky.

_________________________________________________________________________
Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May

survey says!

Days Until 2012: viaIt is time for a MEME! I used to love filling out those silly survey emails when I was a kid. The other day I got a tweet from Erin that just said Tag! I was like huh? Then I read her blog and realized she tagged me in the meme she completed. Holy, super excited batman! I’m in!

Here’s the rules.

  1. You must post these rules.
  2. Each per­son must post 11 things about them­selves on their blog.
  3. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post and cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.
  4. You have to choose 11 peo­ple to tag and link them on the post. Go to their page and tell them you have linked him or her.
  5. No tag backs and you legit­i­mately have to tag 11 people.

11 Facts About Myself

  1. I am afraid of bees.
  2. I quit smoking on November 1, 2007. Woot Woot.
  3. I’m learning how to cook now by cooking once a week and I have LOVED it every time.
  4. I love anything crafty. DIY projects are the highlight of my day (when I have time to do them).
  5. I’m trying to buy a house. This process is not as fun as I assumed it would be.
  6. However, decorating for my future house on Pinterest IS ABSOLUTELY so much fun.
  7. I just did a critical project on Facebook and Writing. Check it out.
  8. We have an Elf on the Shelf named Logan. I fricking love this thing.
  9. I thank the universe every single morning for the amazing relationship I am in.
  10. I just started my second 101 in 1001 project (You can check out the blog, but it hasn’t been updated in FOREVER!)
  11. I plan weddings and other events. Hire me. Oh, and I create flower designs too.

And the questions from Erin.

  1. Where is one place (city, state, or country) that you are dying to visit?
    I don’t think I could fairly narrow this down. I’d love to go to Italy, Ireland, Vietnam, ehhh. I’ll stop here, but basically, I want to go EVERYWHERE!
  2. What is your bed time?
    Damn, I wish I had a set bedtime. Honestly, it is whenever I fall asleep. For the most part, that is between 10:30 and 12:00 usually.
  3. What is one resolution or goal you have for 2012?
    I try not to set specific resolutions, and I always have goals going, but I do have loads of intentions. I’d like to be a better student. It is my last semester, and I have so much writing to do. I’d like to be a more patient person, I’d to let other’s actions/moods affect me less than I currently let them. I’d like to blog more, and with better content.
  4. What would be your last supper?
    Lobster, oysters, dumplings, pho, ice cream cake, sour patch kids, banana cream cheesecake, and some steak
  5. If you could eat a meal with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
    A bunch of people jumped to mind, but I think in this very second, I’d like to meet Martin Luther King Jr. and just chat about our beliefs.
  6. What is your favorite animal?
    Alligators
  7. What is your dream job?
    Professional napper or stay at home mom(who got paid for it) or college writing professor or writer
  8. Who is your hero?
    My mom and my boyfriend
  9. When you need a snack, do you reach for sweet or salty? (Bonus points if you list your favorite snack.)
    Sweet. Favorite snack is just about everything. I do love ice cream. Oh, I just made some smores pops (marshmallow covered in chocolate–the white chocolate ones surprisingly taste best!– and then smothered in crushed graham crackers). But if I wanted a mix of both, I do love me some chocolate covered pretzels, and some chocolate covered potato chips.
  10. Does your style have a signature? (For example, I’m known for bold colors and loud prints.)
    Hmm, my signature varies through the years. If you ask my best friend, she’d say that I love prints. I guess I can admit to liking low cut shirts, but I can say its has been a while since I’ve worn one!
  11. What is your favorite book?
    Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

Okay here is where my questions come in!

  1. Where was your best vacation?
  2. Do you have a lucky #? What is it? If not, why?
  3. What is one job you’d never want to do?
  4. Favorite household chore? Least favorite?
  5. Who’s style do you admire most and why?
  6. Do you fall asleep with the music or tv on (or anything else?)
  7. Favorite fast food meal?
  8. If you could have any animal as a pet (esspecially the kind that aren’t usually pets though) what would you choose?
  9. If you won 100 Million in the lottery what are the first 5 things you would buy/pay off?
  10. Do you like receiving gifts? What was the best present you’ve ever gotten?
  11. Can you keep plants alive?

I’m tagging…Erin, Elizabeth, Angela, Kate, Phil, AJ, Holly, AshleyLexah, Daisy, and Lisa!
If you play along, be sure to let me know. I’d love to see how you answered my questions.

thoughts, but mostly questions…

Days Until 2012: viaSo there have been a bunch of food, pictures and Christmas trees on the blog in the past two weeks. It’s time for some words.

  • I think I completed my goal this year in regards to buying all my presents before my brother’s birthday (12/13). I’ve got 6 important birthdays and Christmas all within one month. It is not easy financially. I’ve got to be organized when it comes to shopping.
  • I think I mentioned that I finished my 3rd Semester Project: The Story Behind the Status. I was so excited for it to be complete, but I felt so strange the next day. Like, “What now? What do I do now that is complete?” Well, I have quite a bit that I can do now, so I’m not concerned, but it is sad to see the project completed. I know I can do more with it in the future, I just need to buckle down and finish my thesis now.
  • Thesis? Ugh. What shall I write about in my thesis? Here are a bunch of possible ideas that I have: 1) I could have written a memoir if I didn’t spend my time doing ________. 2)The process of buying a house 3)The important of integrating grapefruit, yogurt and cookies and cream chocolate into your diet. I could really use suggestions. What would you guys like to see me write about?
  • There are a lot of blog related things I need to do, like redesign this blog, or launch my new self hosted 101 in 1001 goals blog. Who wants to help me?
  • Also, does anyone have any suggestions of things I can try cooking for dinner? How about a chicken or pork recipe? I haven’t cooked with those much, so send them my way!
  • Anyone have freelance writing opportunities they want to share with me? I need to beef up my income a little, so point me in the right direction guys.
  • My anniversary with Mr. O is next month. What should I get/do for that dreamboat?
  • I love the tv show The New Girl.
  • I miss me some Gray’s Anatomy. I haven’t watched it once this season.

randoms

  • I’m not a big fan of waiting. I’m an action girl. I like to make things happen, not sit and wait for them to happen.
  • I am a very positive person, and believe in the power of intention.
  • I really need to type up and post my new 101 in 1001 list that went live 10/2/11.
  • Even more than that, I need to post all the updates for my original 101 challenge that ended 10/1/11.
  • I need to organize my entire life… because it isn’t.
  • I also need to see Michaela soon, because it has been ages since we have been together, and that, well that just doesn’t feel right.
  • I am addicted to Pinterest. It’s true. I can’t stop pinning. I just want to do it all the time.
  • I’m getting a coffee this weekend with Kristen, the fantastic Season 5 Statejoy blogger who happens to live near me. This will be epic.
  • I’ve cooked a whole lot since I started the new 101 challenge. At least once a week. So I need to get those blog posts written and posted.
  • My graduate school project is coming to a quick end, and I’m already wishing I had more time to develop it. I loved studying social media and its relation to writing. I definitely want to do more with this project in the future.
  • Speaking of school, my kick ass mentor Porochista won a NEA Grant! And so did two other amazing teachers in my program. Great job ladies!
  • Oh, and the Director of my MFA program won the Best Fiction Connecticut Book Award for his novel Beautiful Assassin.

 

Edit: I never finished this post yesterday morning. I had plans of finishing it when I got home, but instead I watched some X Factor and fell asleep. This morning I woke up to a comment from the aforementioned Michaela, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy, because we were both thinking of each other yesterday. I really miss her.

living with intention

Last week I had a mini breakdown.

And by mini breakdown, I mean that I pretty much freaked the heck out from Thursday am to Friday night. This happened last month too, and while I very much wish I could pin it on PMS or something of the sort, I just can’t (although there was a full moon- just saying). I’m the type of person who likes to understand why things happen. I believe that there is a “reason” for everything, and it honestly makes me feel so much more comfortable and calm to know how things are related. For example, if I don’t take my vitamins or I start eating food with a lot of whey, my joints will begin to really hurt. So, when I feel like my world is crashing down, I like to understand why I feel like that.

The problem is… that there are no problems. I’m very, very fortunate to be as happy as I am in my life.

I am head over heels in love with my boyfriend and his son.  I love every single moment of our lives together, and cherish every single step we take towards our future, like buying a house with Mr.O or reading stories and bedtime kisses with Wolverine. Even more than that, I couldn’t ever thank Mr. O enough for the support he gives me in times like this. He is nonjudgemental and loving and kind. More importantly, he doesn’t make things easier for me (which drives me a bit crazy, but this might be the most important aspect). When I am sad, I want to immediate relief. I want Mr. O to play Prince Charming and have him swoop in and make everything better. But he won’t. This is what I’m grateful for. He is smart enough to understand that I need to fix my own emotions; he can support and encourage me; he can hug and kiss and hold me, but I am the only one who can change my life. This is what makes my heart flip and flop for him. He probably hurts to see me sad, but he doesn’t bandage over the sadness, he lets me experience it and move past it. He makes me feel confident enough to know he won’t leave me, and he firmly reminds me that I am absolutely not “crazy” when I claim that something is really wrong with me. This true love.

I am a student in the greatest creative writing graduate program ever. I am working with a kick ass, incredible mentor this semester and am very proud of my critical project I’ve created this semester (Side note: today is the last day to submit to The Story Behind the Status, so if you’re interested, get a move on!) I will be graduating in less than 8 months, and I’m kinda bummed about it. I wish I could get my MFA, but stay in the program forever (and not have to pay for it). Thank goodness for our Alumni Association!

I have some pretty amazing friends and family. I’m lucky to have people around me who support me and usually do not question my decisions, etc. It is nice to know you have people in your corner. I’m so glad to have friends that I can pick up with easily even if we haven’t spoken in a while. I went out last Friday night (which is what helped kick me out of my melt down) for my best friend’s birthday, and was able to spend time with a handful of other friends who mean so much to me. Plus, I had a FANTASTIC margarita.

I work for a great company in a job that I’m good at.
I changed jobs the month after I started graduate school I went from working in the HR field for 8+ years to a medical software company where I would be training clients. There was a pretty major pay increase and I love to teach, so I thought it would be perfect. There were a lot of people who didn’t think this was the best decision, and I do understand why. I needed to devote my brain to school, and by changing careers, I couldn’t give school the attention it needed. It felt like I went to school during the day (for work) and then came home and went right to school (for school). There was a LOT to learn in my company before I could start training clients, and by the time I got home, I felt mentally EXHAUSTED. The company is great, and the friends I made there are great, but it isn’t where I needed to be in my life right now.
However, I know now that going to work there was one of the best things that ever happened to me. In my time there, I completely paid off my credit card debt, and I met the man I will spend the rest of my life with.
But, I needed a change. So my “fairy godmother” (aka my current boss- who also happened to be my old HR boss) contacted me one day in May and presented a golden opportunity- a job that was the next city over from my house (meaning a daily commute of about 30-40 minutes total instead of the 3 hours daily at the medical software company), with a salary that I was very pleased with, a job that I’d be creating from the ground up and best of all, in a field where I KNEW MY STUFF. Did/do I have a lot to learn here? Absolutely! I’m actually working soley in one area of human resources that I was never involved in before, but I GET it. That is the amazing thing. I understand it all, and the things I need to learn, well I absorb them easily. It isn’t my dream job. I want to be standing in front of a college classroom challenging them to WRITE! But for now… it is exactly what I need. I feel safe and secure here. I love having my “fairy godmother” for a boss. She teaches me, pushes me, trusts me and is a really great friend too. Do things get hectic here? Every Single Day. Does it work for me right now? You betcha!

So why the meltdowns? Actually, why the multiple meltdowns? I had one last week, one in the end of September and then again a week later in the beginning of October, and umm, I think I had one in June. Why?

When I breakdown, I feel like my world is crashing around me. I know that it isn’t. I mean, I’m rational enough to understand that things are great, but then acknowledging that makes me feel even more nuts. If things are great, then what the F U C K is wrong? Am I crazy? Like legitimately, I mean that. Is something wrong with me? My thoughts are like a carousel and I obsess and I freak out and imagine all the bad things that could happen and then I imagine how I would feel if they would happen and then I think about all that is wrong with the world and then I think about how nuts I am being and then I think about how much I don’t like myself sometimes and then I just cry.

and cry…

and cry…

and do some more crying.

Mr. O made a very valuable point on Friday. When I get in freak out mode like that and cry like a nutjob, it is as if I’m a little kid who is inconsolable. You know when kids start to cry for whatever reason (they don’t want to eat their dinner, someone said something mean to them on the playground, it is bathtime, etc) and then they can’t stop crying. And the crying gets louder and the breathing gets all crazy and they get themselves to the point where they could almost throw up? Yeah, that is what happens to me. I was so interested when he said that. He is SO correct! Let me tell you one thing about Mr. O… he gets me to THINK sometimes. That is EXACTLY what I do. I get to the point where I am absolutely inconsolable, and because of this, even if I pull myself out of a crying fit, the sadness will linger for a good couple days.

Now, the freak out at the end of September was justified. I understand why I cried like a maniac. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the one in October was probably the remaining emotions from the September freak out. But I do not understand my freak outs last week and in June.

Do you think I’m being nuts writing an extremely long blog post about four crying incidents? Because if I didn’t make this clear enough, these incidents didn’t FEEL like temporary moments of sadness. They FELT like the end of my world as I knew it. Dramatic? Yes. But was that how it felt? Yes. I am extremely uncomfortable feeling like this (I’m also extremely uncomfortable with the amount of adverbs in this post). A few years ago I had a period of pretty severe depression that lasted almost a year I’d say. Obviously depression is unexplainable, and just happens. But it feels horrible and scary (actually terrifying is a better word) and unending. So, for the record, I never, ever, ever want to feel like that again, and take my mental health very seriously. These four mini breakdowns felt like that depression. And THAT is what terrifies me.

I don’t want to scare you guys. I feel remarkably better. I feel safe and normal. But I do feel cautious. Was it a mini bout of depression? I don’t know. Probably not. It was probably just an overwhelming moment. While my life is truly blessed, I do have a lot of stress. All of the blessings I noted above can be overwhelming. I’ve got deadlines for school and projects I’m behind with at work. I’ve got houses to look at and disappointments when my favorites go off the market. I’ve got friends I don’t see, things I don’t do.

It all adds up.

And then I usually break down.

Why the hell am I writing all of this? Who knows. I guess I just want to be real. I can’t do everything. I can’t be everything. I’ve got to take everything one day at a time. I just want you to know that this is who I am. I wrote a post a week or so inspired by Ashley of all the things I don’t do. I’m not Wonderwoman. To me, my life is perfect…it is everything I could have ever wanted. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get overwhelmed at times. Because I do.

I wish I could sum this up better– present you all with the key to managing life, paint a pretty picture– but I can’t. If there is anything that I have learned this whole year is that our life MUST be defined by ourselves. Am I crazy? Not by my standards. Am I happy? Yes, by my standards. Is my life where I want it to be? By my standards, you betcha. I’m still going to have tough days here and there. I won’t always understand why. But it’s a part of life I need to accept, acknowledge and experience. And once I learn how to do that…. I will feel better.

Oh, and side note. I want to thank you. My blog followers always amaze me. You guys are some of the most supportive, caring individuals. You too make my life better every day. I couldn’t do it without you.

on overwhelming myself

I tend to overwhelm myself. I do this by waiting until the last minute to complete things or by taking on more than I can handle.

Now, that last sentence is all relative. At different times I have been able to “handle” more or less, depending on what is happening in my life.

I bet if I looked back through this blog since I began graduate school, I’d find a post like this every time my writing packets were due. I wish I knew how to change this fact about myself. I’d like to say it has gotten better every semester, but I’m not sure that fact is true. Well, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I have gotten better. I just want to be a lot better than I am right now.

Here is what I need to have written (at a minimum): 18 pages of nonfiction, 5 pages of nonfiction, 1 poem, and a bunch of my own writing for my 3rd semester project (you should submit too!!!!). This all needs to be completed by Friday. Yes, Friday. And in truth, I should have had the 18 pages completed and sent out YESTERDAY to my writing group, which meets TOMORROW. Yes, tomorrow. Which means, I need to HUSTLE and throw something together. Which also means my submission to my writing group is going to be half-assed. Which means, I’m shorting myself the good critiques I need.

I want to do fun stuff like bake oreo cheesecakes and search online for houses and watch movies with my love and upload pictures to Facebook instead of doing my homework. Oh, wait… that is all I did this weekend.

One thing I can say that I’ve been doing a good job with is writing every day for 15 minutes straight. It has been very helpful. The problem is that what I’m writing is much more journal-ish than nonfiction-ish.

Enough whining. Today I’m going to go to work and get a lot done, then Mr. O and I will walk Fenway, pick up Wolverine (my new blog nickname for Mr. O’s son) and we will go grocery shopping together. Then we are going to go home, I’m going to cook them Chow Mein for dinner and then it is going to be a night of writing for me.

Speaking of food, last week I decided I want to start cooking for Mr. O and myself one time a week. I dont’ have the greatest cooking skills, and the only way to change that is to start cooking. So for my first week, I made spaghetti and meatballs and garlic bread. I didn’t take any photographs, boo. Today I’m making Chow Mein. Both dishes are easy for me, but I’ve got to start where I am comfortable. Oh, and on Saturday I made an Oreo Cheesecake (my first cheesecake!) I will try to remember to take photos, and I’ll be sure to do a blog post about it all soon.

help a girl out…

Alright, folks. I am asking for help, which I don’t do very often.

As most of you know, I am in graduate school. I’m currently pregnant with my thesis (read that sentence carefully!) which means I’ve got 9 months until graduation. From now until my “due date” (Mid July 2012 woot woot!), I will be writing a collection of nonfiction linked essays.

But right now, I am working on my (creatively) critical thesis. I’m spending my 3rd semester in graduate school studying the connection between social media and nonfiction writing. Specifically how we can use Facebook posts and Tweets as prompts to write the “true” story.

I’m collecting and editing an anthology of creative nonfiction (in the forms of essays, letters, poetry, lists, etc) based off social media posts.

Not only would I love if you wrote and submitted something to my collection, but I really need help spreading the word. The submission deadline was originally set for November 1, 2011. I’m hoping I can convince someone of you to share the link to my project website ( http://thestorybehindthestatus.com ) or possibly even write a blog post about it. I know that is a lot to ask, but I also know I have some pretty amazing blog friends out there.

In the meantime, would you please take a moment to see what it is all about?

You guys are the best.

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