Mentors

I am forever grateful for the kind, inspiring mentors I had while a graduate student at Fairfield University. I’m specifically thankful for my semester mentors:

And to Baron Wormser who was my second reader of my thesis.

But not just those five… I’m also grateful for the mentors who taught my workshops: Marita Golden, Leila Philip, and Da Chen.

I learned so much under the auspices of these incredibly talented individuals, and for that I am eternally grateful.

There Is An Elf On My Shelf

The best thing in the world happened yesterday. Logan, our Elf on the Shelf came back to us for the holiday season. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this little guy and all the trouble he gets into. Last year he was all sorts of trouble and at the same time, all sorts of help. He ironed our clothing. He found his way into the car and buckled himself into Wolverine’s car seat. He also poured flour all over the kitchen floor and made a snow angel, and we woke up one morning to him playing poker with some stuffed animals.

I’ve missed this little guy so much since last year, but he did make one surprise appearance in the middle of the year. Wolverine’s birthday is in July, and after we came home from celebrating his birthday, we found a present on his pillow. Logan must have stopped by while we were gone, taken a photo next to our birthday countdown and left a video game for Wolverine!

Who knows what kind of trouble this little guy will get into this year. I promise to share some pictures throughout the holiday season. I’m just glad he’s back around.

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Simple Thanksgiving Celebrations

Today I will be brief. I am so grateful to spend the holidays with my family. I remember missing my family party when I lived in Virginia and how much I missed being around my siblings, parents and grandparents. That was a fantastic holiday with my friends though. This year, like last, I’m thankful to eat lunch at my grandparents’ house and dinner at Mr.O’s parents house.

And on top of all of that greatness… Logan, the elf is going to find his way back to us tonight!

Pre-Thanksgiving Gratitude

Today I am grateful…

  • for a day off tomorrow (yes, I am working on Friday!)
  • that I’m healthy.
  • for the chance to see old friends tonight
  • to make appetizers and desserts for my Thanksgiving meals.
  • for scarves in cold weather.
  • for my Keurig.
  • for my friends
  • that I finished a big project at work today!
  • for having ideas of what I can get Mr. O for Christmas
  • for completing a lot of our holiday shopping already.

Creative Friends

I’m so glad to have such creative, helpful, insightful people in my life. I know I’ve been talking about Spry a lot, but I’ll probably do quite a bit of that until it launches on December 15th. Last week I wrote about my co-founder/editor Linsey Jayne. Today I am thankful for our friend Cisco Covino who has been helping us with most of our designs for issue #1. This is his most recent design, and we absolutely love it. How cool is this?

Spry Submissions

I can’t believe this moment is actually here, but the reading period for issue #1 of Spry Literary Journal is officially over. As of 11:59pm EST on November 15, 2012, we stopped taking submissions for issue #1.

I’ve begun accepting submissions and I can’t tell you how fantastic of a feeling it is to let someone know you’d like to publish their work. Rejecting work is HARD. Accepting work is great though. I can’t wait to work with the authors and polish their submissions. More than that, I can’t wait to publish! Less than one month until the issue goes live.

I just want to take a second and thank everyone who submitted their writing to us. It takes a great leap of faith to submit your work to a place that hasn’t published anything yet. I am forever grateful to the people wo took a leap and submitted to us. We are so appreciative for the chance to read your writing.

Now to make some more decisions and accept more writing!

Trying new things

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to try new things. Not only that, but I’m grateful for my own motivation to try things. I’m specifically talking about cooking in this post, but it do still mean it generally. I used to be convinced that I probably wasn’t a good cook. Why? I’m not sure, because I never cooked regularly. How can you judge talent when you aren’t even trying. Then, when I decided I wanted to learn how to cook, I was so fearful to try anything. But I did try, and the more I cooked, the better I became.

Tonight I cooked two recipes I found on Budget Bytes that looked incredible: Sriracha Chicken Strips and Dragon Noodles. Let me tell you, I am so glad I found this website and I can’t wait to try EVERYTHING. I took the leap tonight with these two dishes and let me tell you they turned out pretty great. The dragon noodles were Mr. O’s favorite (mine too!). The sriracha chicken strips weren’t too great, but not because of the recipe…because I cooked them too long and didn’t follow all the instructions. They weren’t bad though, so I will definitely attempt the recipe in the future.

I want to make sure that I don’t live my life-even with the very small moments/decisions-being afraid to do things. I’m proud that I keep trying new things.

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Health and Wellbeing

Today I am grateful for my health and wellbeing. I’m also very grateful for my family and friends’ health and wellbeing too.

In 24 hours I’ve heard so many sad stories. Someone is dying from multiple myeloma, another person has to have a double mastectomy, Phil found out that a previous roommate committed suicide. It all jus makes me so sad.

2012 has been a difficult year, especially in regards to health. Good people I know have passed away. Others have beed terminally diagnosed. I’m really looking forward to starting fresh with a new year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for 2013.

I’m just so grateful to be as happy and healthy as I am. I’m beyond thankful that my family members and friends are healthy and happy as well. We all have our daily struggles, but we should take a second and recognize how great things actually are right this second.

Weekends

I don’t think I would trade having a weekend off with going back to working on weekends…ever.

I’ve had a myriad of jobs in my life. I’ve been a cashier at a supermarket, worked at Family Planning, been a psychiatric case manager, worked at a few bars and a liquor store. I’ve planned weddings and other major events; I’ve worked at a floral design studio. I’ve been around. (I guess I should make a major point here that I am not a job-jumper. I’ve actually worked multiple jobs at once, and held most of my positions for multiple years.)

Anyway…all of those jobs required me to work on the weekends. My last two jobs (and my current job) afforded me to work a schedule of Monday-Friday eight hours a day (8:30-4:30, 9-5:30, etc). So you’d think that at least since 2007 I’ve had free weekends. This is so far from the truth. 2012 is the first year that I haven’t worked on the weekends. From 2007 until January 2012, I’ve worked (almost) every single weekend at my part-time position as a psych. case manager for adults with mental illnesses. So for the most part, I was working 7 days a week (or 6 days for those weekends I treated myself to a day off). Truthfully, I didn’t mind this schedule.; I actually kind of liked it. There were definitely times it was overwhelming, but I loved my part-time job, and on most days, I was able to do homework there or just relax (i.e. have ice cream parties) with my clients.

I didn’t realize the necessity of weekends until Mr. O came along. There is the obvious factor: I needed time off of work if I wanted to spend time with him. There is also the semi-psychological factor: I needed to decompress. I needed some time to be “off.” I am always “on,” always. It’s nice to chill a bit. I didn’t realize that I was never relaxed until I was forced to take some time off. Also, we have Wolverine all weekend, so even though I can bond with him a few days a week, it is so much cooler to hangout with the little guy all weekend. So I started taking weekends off in 2011. I still worked a lot, but I probably averaged about two weekends off a month-which is a lot if you are used to working 7 days a week. I started liking time off, I mean really liking it. So I started taking more and more time off.

Honestly, I used a lot of the time off for school. But at least I could do my school work in the same building (or even the same city) as my two guys. I made the conscious decision not to pick up any shifts during my thesis-semester (Jan-July 2012). It was tough. I missed my clients so much; I still miss them, but I did what I needed to. And now that I’ve graduated, well, I’m just trying to spend time with my guys. (That, and I haven’t slowed down one bit since school started. All I’ve been doing is Spry-related activities in my free time).

I love my weekends. I love having those weekends where we have no clue what we are going to do, so we just go with the flow. I love having those kind of weekends where we are ridiculously busy with too many plans. I just love my weekends with my guys.

So, yeah. It might be Monday morning. Yeah, I might be a little whiny when I get to work because a Monday is usually busy. You know what though? I just had a great weekend. And in four more days, I will have another great weekend. You tell me I’m not lucky… I certainly won’t believe you.

Side note: I write this on a morning where a huge amount of people have a long weekend (jerks), and I’m stuck going to work (sigh).

Veterans Day

Today is an easy one. I’m so grateful for the veterans who serve our country.

Some of my newer readers may not know this, but my friend Robert was killed in Afganistan by a suicide bomber while serving his country. I don’t need a holiday to remind me of him, but especially on a day like this, I want to take a moment and remember him for the young man he was. I remember when he died, I made a promise to myself to try to really live as if every day could be my last. I so easily get so consumed with the day-to-day minutiae, that I don’t think I live well enough up to this promise. But when I think of Robert, I think that we are all here to live a little bit harder and love a little bit longer and he isn’t… So let’s do it for him.

I also want to acknowledge my wonderful grandfather who retired from the Navy. He served in multiple wars and was the most handsome sailor I’ve ever seen.

And to my friends who’ve served overseas. Thank you so all that you’ve done.

Date Nights

I know I already posted today but at this very moment I wanted to write and say how grateful I am for date nights. Mr. O and I try hard to get out once a week, and I love it. That’s it, folks!

My Co-Editor at Spry: Linsey Jayne

Today, I want to introduce you to Linsey Jayne. While I cannot link to her online (we should all rally so that she will start her own blog), I can tell you a bit about her…

Linsey and I met while both attending Fairfield University’s incredible MFA program. We started in the same cohort and by fortune of circumstance found out that we only lived a town away from each other in Massachusetts. Linsey is a kick-ass poet who also studies/writes flash fiction as well. Her third-semester critical project studied the line between a prose poem and flash fiction. It was incredible. Her thesis blew me away. I still remember some of her poems so well, because they just stay with you once you’re done reading them. (Seriously though, they ARE that good).

I can’t begin to describe how fantastic of an editor Linsey is. She has a sharp eye, but not just for poetry. She will point out so many incredible things in the fiction, creative nonfiction and flash genres as well. She also has the kindest heart, and will make it a point to personally reject submissions that she was fond of, even if we decide not to use it for this issue.

I couldn’t do this without Linsey. She is creative, driven, energetic, kind, and just a great business partner. Thank you, Linsey.