Sleeping In Hotels

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This weekend we went on a mini family vacation to Springfield, Massachusetts. We went to the Basketball Hall of Fame, ate at a few restaurants, and visited the waterpark at the hotel we stayed at. It was a nice mini-vacation that we didn’t need to drive very far for, or take time off of work or school to go to. Our hotel was okay. We’ve been very Hampton/Hilton brand-loyal for a while now, only straying when there isn’t a property near where we are staying. This time we didn’t stay at a Hampton or Hilton. Part of the reason was because we wanted Wolverine to have fun with waterslides or at least a great pool.

This isn’t going to be a hotel review, but here are my basic thoughts: The reception area was beautiful. The hallways were cold. The hotel room was small, much smaller than we are used to, but comfortable enough. The room looked nice, but it really appeared as if the “renovation” was just covering over poor conditions of the old room, not a proper renovation. The waterslide are seemed great. My only issue was that we all had to pay for entry. All in all, it was a safe, clean night away from home. I can’t complain abut that.

I didn’t get much sleep. Isn’t sleeping in hotels the strangest experience? In a really great hotel, rooms are pretty soundproof, and generally you can’t hear too much of your surroundings. I don’t know why, but I feel like most of the hotels we’ve stayed at this year we’ve been able to hear guests in neighboring rooms, guests in the hallways, doors slamming shut, conversations through bathroom vents. This experience was somewhat similar. The entire hotel was smoke-free, but after the bathroom got steamy from showers, it smelled mildly of cigarettes. The door slamming from the hallways was so very loud. At one point in the middle of the night I heard two gentlemen in the hallway having a conversation about wearing condoms and how important it was to not catch anything. We also had double beds, and while I am a serious cuddler, I felt as if I couldn’t turn over without waking up Mr. O.

Sleeping in hotels is either one of the greatest experiences or one of the weirdest ones.

Tonight I’ll be happy to sleep in my very own bed and roll around as much as I please without having to worry about walking up Mr. O, slamming doors, cigarette smell, or men chatting about prophylactics outside my door.

This entry was posted in Travel.

Wake up, Wake Up, Wake Up, It’s the First of the Month

20121220-132546.jpgI have a lot to catch you all up on. I don’t even know where to start, so here is a sloppy, quickly-written bulletin post:

  1. The government shut down. What the heck? Are we for real here? So sad. If you are wondering what has been affected by the shutdown, click here.
  2. Spry, my literary journal, held its first reading in Boston, MA. It was a fantastic evening. Briefs, the Spry blog, will have a post up soon about the event.
  3. We met a fun and awesome accordion player from Berlin who happened to stop by the event. Here is his post about meeting us, but the Spry blog will also have a post about him this week.
  4. The Red Sox are in the playoffs, and I will be attending a ALDS game!
  5. Mr. O and I both celebrated our birthdays last month.
  6. I’m going to PaintNite this week with some of my girlfriends. I can’t wait to show you my artwork!

My plan is to put aside time to try to get some of these stories on the blog.

Update: I needed to include the following video on this post. Honestly friends, this is what our country truly believes. I feel very fortunate to live and work with benefits, such as health insurance, in the state of Massachusetts. Much of what is in the Affordable Healthcare Act is already in place in Massachusetts. There are no preexisting clauses, all companies with a certain number of employees must offer health coverage, etc. I’m not going to argue politics here, but I’d love for everyone to put politics aside and do some research. When was it that people stopped researching things and started adopting what they hear from others or making assumptions. I know you’ve probably seen this video a bunch of times today, but I honestly can’t help but reposting.

Before I say goodbye (for the second time), I’d like to redirect you to my friend Becky’s blog from today. She talks about the government shutdown and shares her thoughts so eloquently. I fully stand behind her post.

Summertime and the living is easy…

I like new beginnings. Remember how excited I was to start the new year? I think it is just the idea of starting fresh.

The idea of 2013 was super exciting for me. I had big plans, and so far it has been a pretty good year. But I feel like I’ve been so busy this entire year trying to do so many things that I haven’t quite experienced the past 5 1/2 months. I’m not a fan of that. I’ve spent too much of my short life rushing through things, and starting in 2010, I really learned to absorb and experience the moments in my life. I need to find a way back there.

So today, my friends, is a new beginning. There is nothing like the beginning of summer to start fresh, to relish in the upcoming moments. I love summer and I can’t wait to refocus my life and my priorities.

I can’t wait to spend time with Wolverine and Mr. O. This summer we have our big family vacation, weekend camping trips, baseball games, and so many other activities planned (like Wolverine’s massive birthday party). I really can’t wait for every event, but I’m going to make every effort to be as present as possible during all the activities.

I plan on taking the summer to enjoy time with my friends and family, work on Spry, kick-start my own writing and focus on my career track.

October Observations

October Highlights:

  • Mr. O and I took a mini-vacation by ourselves to Plymouth, Ma. It was a quick vacation, but so nice to just get away from our normal routine. We stopped by some touristy sites briefly, ate some incredible food, went to a few antique shops, took a haunted tour and cuddled quite a bit.
  • Not only did Spry Literary Journal keep receiving great submissions all month, but we hired our first two interns! We also added a new reader to our group. Our reading period ends on November 15, 2012, so if you plan on submitting your writing, make sure to do so soon!
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 271. Nuts.

Stinky October Moments:

  • Work has been a bit overwhelming. I cannot seem to stay organized or get projects completed. There is a bunch of change happening at my organization, so besides working on my normal responsibilities, I’m trying to figure out/take on more. I’m not complaining about work, and I know I very rarely discuss it on the blog. I’m just indicating that it has been a tough month at work. I am still so grateful for my job.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • Wolverine has been trying harder in football. This past Sunday was actually the last game of the season and they tied 0-0. He does have a “championship bowl” on Saturday, but since the kids are so tiny, they’re doing it for fun, not to keep score.
  • After a brief hiatus, my girlfriends and I actually managed to make it out two months in a row for our monthly girls’ night.
  • We carved our pumpkins which was fun. Wolverine actually carved his first pumpkin on his own (well, with minimal help). I’ll post pictures soon.
  • Hurricane Sandy. I was fortunate to be relatively untouched by the hurricane, but it still effected my work days and the electricity at home too.

I’m looking forward to____ in November: Thanksgiving: I’m a huge fan of the holiday. Also, I’m even more excited about Logan coming back to our house (Logan is our Elf on the Shelf!). I cannot wait to see all the mischief this little guy gets into. There is a chance that I like Logan even more than Wolverine does, but who cares.  I’m hoping to continue getting quality submissions for Spry, especially in creative nonfiction (my favorite) because our submissions manager is low on CNF.

Overall Thoughts: October was a nice month, but there really isn’t too much to report. I feel like I am working my butt off and can’t keep up, but that happens from time to time. It was a great month for Spry and the journal got a lot of exposure. I’m looking forward to November and the start of holiday season.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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

September Observations

September Highlights:

  • Mr. O and I celebrated our birthdays. What was really nice about this year is that we kept it pretty simple. For my birthday (it was a storm outside like usual) we picked up some Pho and ate some ice cream cake. For Mr. O’s birthday, we went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, then came home to relax and play some games.
  • Mr. O and I had a joint birthday party/my graduation party and it was nice to have our friends over for a cookout. It was also pretty nice to see our friends and family mingle. Ideally, I’d like to have a cookout every year in September. That way we don’t need to make a big deal of planning a night out with friends, get babysitters, spend loads of money, etc. People can just come over for the night with their kids and eat lots of yummy food.
  • Spry Literary Journal continued accepting submissions all month. Linsey and I set a goal for the amount of submissions we hoped to receive in our first month of our first reading period. We were so fortunate to receive a number that was far more than our estimate. We love the faith writers have in new literary journals. However, we’ve only gotten a small number of creative nonfiction submissions, so if you write CNF, send us your work!
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 240. Nuts.

Stinky September Moments:

  • I don’t have much to complain about this month. I had a head cold that lingered, a few cranky/miserable days and work was a bit nutso, but overall, nothing particular stands out which is nice.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • Baby Dylan was born. One of my closest friends had her baby boy on 9/26, and I am so in love with him.
  • Mr. O’s mom retired! Congratulations! She had the best surprise retirement party last weekend. It was a great night.
  • Wolverine has been trying harder in football. He’s had a game every weekend, so we spend a few nights a week at practice and then the weekends practicing/playing another team. Go football!
  • Mr. O and I went to see Gabriel Inglesias at Foxwoods and the show was great.
  • After a brief hiatus, my girlfriends and I reunited for our monthly girl’s night.

I’m looking forward to____ in October:
What I like most about October is pumpkin coffee and hot apple cider. Oh, I also love to see the kids in their costumes and I’m pretty pumped because we will have Wolverine for trick-or-treating this year. I can’t wait to decorate our pumpkins. I’m hoping to continue getting quality submissions for Spry, especially in creative nonfiction (my favorite). We are about to hire an intern, so I hope that process goes smoothly. Wolverine has a few more football games. Mr. O and I are going away for a weekend, which is our birthday gift to ourselves. It will be nice to spend some quality time with my love away from our apartment and normal surroundings.

Overall Thoughts:
September was a nice month. I’m a fan of birthdays, so it was nice to celebrate me and Mr. O. It went by quickly. I spent much of the month worrying about work and Spry. I feel like I’ve been on a go-go-go type of outlook. I don’t have much to say about September. I always get a bit anxious this time of year, because I don’t like when it starts to get darker at night; I don’t like when it gets colder. I wish it could stay warm and bright outside. But I do love cuddling up to Mr. O and stealing his body heat, so I guess I can’t complain. What was nice about September, was this it was a normal month. There were no crazy or dramatic moments, and the calmness of the month was nice.

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

August Observations

August Highlights:

  • Mr. O, Wolverine and I went to DC and VA on a road trip for our summer vacation. This was a fantastic trip, because not only did we get to do fun things with Wolverine (the National Zoo, Smithsonian’s Museums of Natural History and American History), but we also spent a few quality days with one of my closest friends who lives in VA. She just had a beautiful baby girl last month, so it was so nice to be with mommy, daddy and baby (and puppies!).
  • Wolverine started playing football this month. He is such a little stud. He’s the youngest guy on the team, and he has a lot to learn, but he’s trying hard. It is so damn cute to see him at the water breaks, because he takes his helmet off and his face is all red and his hair is sweaty. He’s going to break so many hearts when he gets older.
  • Spry Literary Journal began accepting submissions! I can’t even describe how I felt when we got our first submission (and it was a GREAT submission too). It was incredible to read someone’s work after all the effort we put in to this journal. If you are a writer, please consider submitting your work to my literary journal.
  • We went to Mr. O’s work “picnic” in the middle of the month. When I say picnic, I really mean carnival. It is always so much fun. I held an alligator while I was there!
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 210. TWO HUNDRED AND TEN!?!

Stinky August Moments:

  • I’m no longer a graduate student. Weird, I know, because all I did was complain about school while I was in it. I just miss it.
  • I’ve felt pretty busy and disorganized this month. I expected things to slow down a bit after graduation, but that didn’t happen one bit. In fact, I feel as if I was working even harder to catch up, and stay on track (or close to the tracks at least).
  • I only spent a few days with my friends from VA! I know I mentioned this as a highlight, and it truly was. It is just hard to leave such incredible friends. Especially when they have a new addition to their life. I love babies. So now, I’m saying goodbye to three people (and two dogs), not just two people. Sigh. It’s hard to live far away from your friends.
  • Dr’s appointments. Between my primary care, my dermatologist and my dentist, I feel like all I’ve done is go to appointments this month..

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My parents and my brother and sister-in-law celebrated anniversaries this month.
  • I cancelled my graduation party because of a horrible weather forecast, and then the day ended up being pretty nice. Oh well, I rescheduled it for September and combined it with my and Mr. O’s birthdays… So it will now be Erin and Mr. O’s Birthday and Graduation Extravaganza!

I’m looking forward to____ in September:
September is a fun month for Mr. O and I, because we both have birthdays in September. We’re going to a comedy show at Foxwoods, which will be fun because we both like to eat and gamble. We have our party which I just mentioned. I’m hoping to get a lot of submissions this month for Spry too!

Overall Thoughts:
August was a nice month. I was busy, which made the month go by quickly, but overall, it was a good time. I felt crappy for about two weeks of the month which is never fun. All in all, I’m kind of glad to start a new month. I’m done with August. The only thing that stinks about being done with August is that the nights are getting darker earlier (which bums me out) and the weather is getting chillier. I love summer. I like fall too, but I hate winter and I can never enjoy fall because I’m always bummed about the upcoming winter. Oh well. Here’s to September!

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

July Observations

July Highlights:

  • I graduated from the best MFA program in the universe.
  • My last residency was incredible. I loved meeting the incredible incoming class. I loved spending time with some of my mentors. I loved teaching my seminar and giving my reading. I loved it all.
  • I am very happy with my graduation speech. It went so smoothly and I think I did a good job of involving the whole class in my speech. I’ve been toying with posting it here, but I’m not sure if I should.
  • Wolverine’s birthday party was a blast. The weather held out all day, which meant no rain until the party was over! Our water slide also worked the entire time. Mr. O put a lot of hard work into patching the holes on the slide, and the kids loved playing on the slide.
  • Announcing Spry Literary Journal. (Ha, I didn’t quite announce it yet, but the big announcement should come tomorrow!)
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 179.

Stinky July Moments:

  • My dad had a heart attack while I was away at school which was very scary. Because of this he and my mother couldn’t come to my graduation. I’m very lucky to have a great boyfriend who videotaped the whole thing so that they could watch me graduate from the comfort of their living room!
  • Everything happened at once. Between school, work, the literary journal, another editing project I’m involved in and my personal life… everything happened this month. Oh, well. All good stuff.
  • Running into people I’d rather not see.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My fantastic friend gave birth to a healthy little baby girl. Welcome to the world Isabella.
  • Wolverine, my dad, Lauren, Kerri, Linsey and both of my grandparents all celebrated birthdays. Those same grandparents also celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

I’m looking forward to____ in August:
August should be busy! Mr. O, Wolverine and I will be road-tripping down to DC and then heading to Virginia to visit some great friends and their new baby girl. We are also hoping to go camping this month. We’re going to a carnival and my brother’s annual cookout (which I’ve missed the past two years). August 15th will be the first day my literary journal will be accepting submissions.

Overall Thoughts:
July was incredible. I’m so happy and proud of the fact that I graduated from my MFA program. At the same time though, I will miss it terribly. I’m so grateful that my dad is okay and I hope his healing process is smooth. I’m glad that Wolverine loved his actual birthday and his birthday party. I’m tired, but happy.

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

March Observations

March Highlights:

  • Vacation! Mr. O, Wolverine and I went to New Hampshire for a long weekend. I love vacations.
  • The Emerson’s came up from GA for a week, and Mr. O finally got to meet the Mr. and Mrs. I wish I could have spent some time with Toddler Emerson seeing as how it has been over a year since I’ve seen him, but I can’t complain. It was amazing to see my friends. I love them so much.
  • Actually writing new material for my thesis. Not only that, but I’m pretty excited to find new uses for old material which I wasn’t planning on including. Even if the essay doesn’t appear in its original form, paragraphs have been brought to life in new essays.
  • My eye doctor is extremely pleased with my healing after the Lasik surgery last month. I’m pretty pleased with it too.
  • My friend Doodles (not her real name) had her baby! A healthy little baby girl was born on 3/22/12.
  • I’m actually keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 57.
  • I went to the Blog Better Boston Conference at the Google offices and FINALLY met my blogger friend Kate. I also met new friends like Sara and Lindsay and Germana.

Stinky March Moments:

  • My boss’s husband passed away…and her dog too. Her husband was young and healthy and loved and he died too quickly. I was incredibly moved by his death, and wish there was something I could do to change the past few months in her life. I can’t. Then her dog died. This sucks.
  • A few other acquaintances–family friends–passed away.
  • I got a vicious migraine at the beginning of the month. I haven’t had a bad one like that in quite some time, so it was very scary.
  • This is my thesis semester. Boo. It is a lot of work. (I’m thinking this might be here every month until I graduate).
  • I had to get an old filling fixed. I like my dentist, but I don’t love dental procedures. Actually, I had a whole bunch of doctor appointments. Same goes for them. I like my doctors, but I’d rather spend my time elsewhere.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • March 12 made one year since I was hit by a drunk driver. I’ll be honest. I was happy to make it home unscathed that day. I’m proud to admit no one under the influence has driven into me this year (so far- fingers crossed.
  • My god-daughter/niece turned two years old this month.
  • My wonderful friends Ashley, Michaela, Jessica, Jim, Gail, Mr. O’s mom and three of our friend’s children also had birthdays. This month was full of birthday parties and baby showers.
  • Mr. O did my taxes for me. I mailed them in, and then they mailed me a refund! Woot Woot.
  • Wolverine built a pretty fancy Leprechaun trap. We actually thought it worked and we caught a leprechaun, but when we opened up the trap door, we realized the leprechaun was too smart for us. He somehow stole all the gold and escaped! We will get you next year, Lucky!
  • I finally got a massage that Mr. O’s family bought me as part of my birthday present (in September). That was nice.

I’m looking forward to____ in April:

  • Mr. O, Wolverine and I are going to the Museum of Science in Boston. I’ve wanted to go for a very long time now. It even found its way onto my current 101 in 1001 goals list.
  • Another one of my pregnant friends is due to deliver in April… on my brother’s birthday actually. There are a lot of birthdays coming in April.
  • I will be reviewing my first book for TLC book tours. Look for it at the end of the month.
  • Finishing my thesis. Or at least being SOOOOO CLOSE to being finished. It needs to get approved during the month of May, so I pretty much need to be 100% done editing my creative writing and my critical introduction before I turn it in for approval. I can do this (fingers crossed).

Overall Thoughts:

Like February, March was just an okay month. I felt pretty overwhelmed all month, but I survived. I am so thankful that winter is over. I love Spring and I look forward to the days getting longer and the temperature getting warmer. I’m actually so done with this month. It’s not like I hated February and March, I just didn’t enjoy them. I loved cuddling on the couch with Mr. O, building the leprechaun trap with Wolverine, going to the hospital to meet and hold (I love holding newborns!) Doodle’s new baby and the Blog Better Boston Conference. It’s not like there weren’t good moments. I’m just glad the month is finished. I’m ready for April.

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Want to know more about my year? Check out the previous months: January and February

a look back, a look forward

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Happy New Year Y’all!

I hope you had a safe and happy New Year’s Eve. The lovely Angela Noelle was kind enough to share these 1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Polar Bear Plunge on 1/1/11. Broke my foot. Traveled to PA and VT. Ate pho. Got my first real grown up tree. This list could go on an on and on.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t really make NY resolutions. I followed a Cuban tradition of eating 12 red grapes and making 12 goals or intentions as I like to call them. I think I did really great with my intentions. I did the same tradition again this year with Mr. O. Thank you Daisy for bring that into my life.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, actually, I don’t think so. But I do have two nieces who turned one this year, and now I have three close friends to me pregnant, and another real good friend too!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My sister-in-law’s grandfather. He was close to our family, and I do miss him when we have family gatherings. Plus, I didn’t like to see her hurt.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the United States in 2011!

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you didn’t have in 2011?
I have everything I need. But one thing I will get in 2012 (well, unless something goes drastically wrong) is a DIPLOMA!! I’ll have my MFA 🙂

7. What dates from 2011 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
The day I first saw Mr. O, and then every day between that and the first time he told me he loved me. It was the perfect beginning to a relationship.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
My 3rd semester project. I also felt very proud when I was elected by my peers to be our graduation speaker. Losing a little weight (to a # I hadn’t seen on the scale in a decade) although, I haven’t checked my weight in the past few weeks, and god knows I’ve gained a few pounds.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Failure? Hmm. Nothing. If there was any time that I “failed” I definitely learned from those moments, and I can’t consider learning moments failures.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I broke my foot on 1/4/11.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Vacations? I like the iPhone, although I wish I didn’t drop my Droid in the ocean.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Mr. O. He is kind and loving.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ha. I get appalled by people who are disrespectful. I sometimes feel sad FOR people when they act pathetically, but I’ve learned to not give any emotional response to people who don’t deserve it.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The house fund. Or: school, vacations, Christmas and birthdays

15. What did you get really excited about?
Being in a happy, healthy relationship. Surprise presents from my guy. Our vacations, especially when Wolverine came with us. Learning how to cook.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
A song I love from John Legend

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier
b) thinner or fatter? 
Thinner
c) richer or poorer? 
Richer. House money safely in the bank and no credit card debt (well, after I get paid this week to finish paying the damn Christmas gifts)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Write more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Care about other people’s actions/thoughts. I only want to care about my own actions, and those of the people who are vital in my life.

20. How will you spend Christmas?
I spent it with Mr. O, Wolverine and both our families.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
Oh, yes, yes I did. And if you couldn’t tell that from reading this blog, please get your vision checked.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I don’t like television that much, but surprisingly, I loved New Girl and XFactor.

23. What was the best book you read?
Oh goodness. I read so much for school, I honestly do not know. I think my favorite thing I read was an essay at school in a workshop. I’ll remember the name and edit the blog when I do.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
SAde and John Legend together in concert. YES!

25. What did you want and get?
Two fantastic guys: Mr. O and Wolverine.

26. What did you want and not get?
In 2011 I received more than I could possibly ask for.

27. What was your favorite film of 2011?
Tough one. Well, we went to the theaters to see Transformers and Hangover. Those were good.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 26 and went out with a bunch of great friends. Mr. O, my bestie and I went to lunch and the batting cages on my actual bday.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Buying a house is not as fun as it seems 😉

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2011?
Stop trying to look “pretty” and feel “pretty” in what you already own. I guess I’m learning to dress in my own style, and not feeling like I have to wear the same thing as everybody else? Does that make sense?

31. What kept you sane?
Having great people- especially Mr. O and Wolverine- around me.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Osama Bin Ladin getting killed. After you have a friend die overseas, it is tough to understand the “War” as well as you thought you once did. Then to have the #1 Most Wanted person killed, it’s kind of like…What Now? Does his death justify my friend’s? And I personally can’t celebrate easily in another person being killed, so I had mixed emotions about that in general.

33. Who did you miss?
I missed Mr. O while I was away at school. And Wolverine, especially him this time around. People talk about the quirky things their kids say and do and it really makes me wonder what he is doing, and how school is and what books he is reading at night etc. I miss Poppa (my SIL’s grandfather) around the holidays and family parties. I miss Robert a bunch. I miss my dog Khiva here and there even though it has been 4 whole years since she has passed away.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Every single thing is a choice. Everything.

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
In this life, we all know
Friends may come, and they may go
Through the years I know
I will stay

been a while…

Hello friends!

So very sorry that it has been so long since I’ve posted on here. Life crept up on me in September and I am still trying to catch up with everything. Last week I announced my graduate school project, The Story Behind the Status,  and I’m glad to say that the reception has been really good. I’ve got a lot of questions and comments about the project. I still need to work on the website a little and post some links, but I’m happy to announce that so far, everything is working out.

So my first 101 in 1001 challenge is officially over. I finished it on 10/1/11. One of my goals was to complete a new 101 goals list, which I am currently working on. My plan was to start challenge #2 on 10/10/11 with a completion date of 7/7/14, but unless I can finish the list by the end of the day, I might have to find a new date to begin.

What I really need to do tonight is organize my life. I have so many things to do. Between work, school and my personal life, I feel as if I have this ridiculous, scary, insurmountable to-do list. It gets worse though, because I don’t actually have all these items written down, which is paramount for me. If it is not written down, then it doesn’t get done. Unfortunately, that is kind of a life motto for me. I survive with the help of lists. If I don’t have them, then it is as my brain/body assumes I have nothing to do.

Both my birthday and Mr. O’s birthday was in September. I promise to share all the juicy details soon, which include batting cages, sickness, waffles and pho.

Also since I’ve last written, I vacationed in Vermont and New Hampshire. Both vacations were short trips, but I think they both deserve their own post. Plus, I take fun photos.

This was the first year I didn’t plan or do floral design for any weddings. I was a bridesmaid in one wedding this year, and a guest at another wedding (both of which were amazing weddings), but I didn’t make any weddings (or special events) happen. I’m not really sure how I feel about this. Part of me feels a little refreshed and relaxed. In the past few years between being in weddings and planning/designing weddings (or both), I got really burnt out. My love for all things event related never went away, but it just took a lot out of me. I do miss it; I enjoy being involved with important moment in people’s lives. Times like this though, I need to realize that I can’t be everywhere, and I can’t do everything. My focus needs to be on school, my relationship, friends and family and work. Everything else that I can fit in to my life is just an added bonus.

Speaking about focusing on school, I will be graduating (hopefully) in 9 months. I’m going to call this new phase my thesis pregnancy. I have 9 months (well technically less, because I need to submit my thesis probably a month or more before graduation) to complete a creative thesis for school. I’m writing a memoir of linked essays. I still don’t understand how I will have a book completed in 9 months, but I’m going to stop worrying about it and start working on it. I do have the freedom to take an extra semester to study, but ideally I want to graduate with my class, and I want to start teaching at the college level. So, I hope you’ll be here for my throughout my thesis gestation period, because I am going to need all the support I can get.

Also, tomorrow I will be posting the next installment of my Defining Moments guest blogging series. You’re not going to want to miss this one!

just thinking…

  • So last week I wrote about a horrible man, whom I thought was a pretty evil character. Mr. O was kind enough to send me this article about an even more horrible human being, so I figured I would share it with you.
  • My MFA Big Brother Phil has put me to shame. When he first started blogging, he asked me if I had any suggestions. My advice was: Write often. Who cares if you think that you have nothing to say, just say anything…eventually you’ll have a lot to say. Well, folks. At this point, Phil’s blog has evolved into what I’d like to call a Rock Star Blog. He’s posting pretty much every day, and people get upset with him when he doesn’t say anything. I think I have to take some of my own advice.
  • Two nights ago I had three wonderful humans come to my house for a writing group. We’re called the Masshole Writers, and I’m so grateful to be part of such a rad team. When we get together we chow down; this time we had a Chinese and Lebanese food buffet. Then we settle into workshop mode and go over each other’s submissions. There are two fiction writers, a poet, and me- the nonfiction writer. It is refreshing to workshop with writers out of your own genre.
  • Woah, I don’t think I made a super amazing announcement on my blog yet! (What the hell is wrong with me?) Porochista Khakpour will be my new faculty mentor for this semester. (Cue the parade and confetti and balloons!) I am F-ing PUMPED, folks. I’ve always admired Porochista, but assumed that because she was hired as a faculty member for the fiction genre, I wouldn’t get the chance to have her as a mentor. Well, this is just another lesson that nothing is impossible. I’m fortunate to be in my 3rd semester now for graduate school, and we spend the majority of the next few months working on a “project.” I needed a spunky, funny, enthusiastic teacher to advise me this semester and Porochista is my gal. I’ll give you details about the project in a future post, because I might even need your help!
  • Mr. O and I want to go on a mini vacation in September, but our choices are very limited. Both of our birthdays are next month, which also happens to be Hurricane Season. So cancel almost all southern states and Caribbean locations. Any suggestions?
  • On Friday, I’ll be attending my last wedding of 2011. I am pretty excited because I have a dark purple dress I have been DYING to wear somewhere. One of my close friends from high school is getting married to a fabulous guy. I’ve heard this is going to be a good time. Can’t wait to find out.

august awesomeness

I like to have goals, to have things to look forward to. So, I’ve decided that from now on, every month I’m going to try to post a monthly “wish list” and also a “check up” at the end of the month.

August Awesomeness:

Books: I’d like to read a few books this month. I’d also like to sell/donate an extreme amount of books in August as well. I have well over 400 books. Yes I love reading. Yes, I love owning books. Unfortunately, I just have too many, and I don’t need even half of what I own. I’d like to have a booksale on the blog…would any of you be interested in this?

Travel: I plan on going camping this month. Mr. O and I would like to go this weekend, but I don’t think there are any sites at the place we wanted to go. Either way, we’ve reserved a site mid-month, so camping will more than likely happen. I also want to plan a weekend get away in September and then a weekend somewhere in October that Mr. O’s son will enjoy. There are a few family resorts around here, so I have some ideas, but I just want to make some definite plans this month.

Blogging: I’d like to make some more time for this blog. September will be one year since I launched Reinventing Erin. I’m happy with the blog, I just want to give it a little more attention- especially on the design front. I neeeeeeeeeeeed a new header. (Does anyone want to design one for me?) There is a blog I’m not happy with though, and that is my 101 in 1001 goals blog. My first 101 in 1001 challenge is going to be up in less than two months, and I seriously need to update the list now so that I can figure out what else I can do before it’s too late. I’d also really like to get out there and find some new blogs to read. If you haven’t introduced yourselves yet, now is a good time to do so!

Cleaning: I started to get into this with the books before, but I need to purge. I’ve got so much crap in my apartment, and I feel like my life is turning into an episode of Hoarders (Okay, so I’m being dramatic). I feel overwhelmed when it comes to cleaning, because I have so much stuff and I don’t know what to do with it. I’d like to change this around. I found a few ideas on Pinterest I really like in regards to organizing. I’ll try to post some before and after photos if I remember. I’m starting this tonight with my bathroom, so fingers crossed.

Writing: I’ve got so much writing to do for school. I procrastinate so badly, and I am really desperately trying to stop that. I need to learn how to write daily, or at least every other day. I don’t care if my writing is crap, but I want to get words on the paper. New goal for the month: write at least four times a week.

I think that is enough for now. I don’t want to overdo myself; I just want to make sure I’m accomplishing the goals I actually want to complete over the next 30 days.

welcome new friends!

49 go on a cruise (9)Ola, amigos. Have you recently found your way over here from Kyla’s blog? If so, welcome! Make yourself at home. I bet you’re wondering, “Who is this Erin character?” That’s a good question. The easiest way to get a brief overview of who I am is to check out the “About the Girl” tab at the top of this page. However, I’ve provided a short list below cause I like to make things nice and simple for you.

  • I’m afraid of bees. However, alligators are my favorite animals.
  • I am a graduate student studying creative nonfiction and I do a lot of whining about how I procrastinate too much. (I also don’t have good grammar on this blog, beware!)
  • Besides my day job, I have a part time gig as a relief worker for adults with mental illnesses, and I also coordinate and plan events such as weddings and concerts.
  • If I told you that I was a great cook then I’d be lying to you, and I really am an honest person. I can however tell you that I want to be a good cook one day. My boyfriend makes fantastic meals; he’s teaching me what he knows, and the rest we plan on learning together.
  • I think everyone really should have a lucky number and a favorite color.
  • I also really want to know people’s middle names.
  • If it wasn’t for 20 Something Bloggers, I don’t know if I would have continued to blog since I first started in 2008. I also owe a lot of my blogging gratitide to my 101 in 1001 goals list and NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo and Grace in Small Things as well.
  • I love everything about home improvement. However, I do not own my own home. Still, I fantasize about home design projects and knocking down walls and painting and everything that could have to do with houses.
  • I love to travel. Anywhere.

And here are some of the key players on this blog:

  • Mr. O: The most wonderful man in the world (at least in my eyes). As corny as it may sound, Mr. O is my boyfriend and my best friend. I tend to profess my love for him on here. Sorry, folks.
  • Fairfield University MFA Program: I write a LOT about my grad school experiences, and on top of that, you have the chance to get to know some of my classmates, like Phil and AJ and Reuben and Brooke.
  • Fenway: My Chihuahua/Terrier mix. She’s a rescue dog I adopted while living in Virginia. She definitely keeps me on my toes.

Oh…and these things happen often around these parts.

  • The Defining Moments Guest Series: So far Amanda, AJ, Phil, Brooke, Reuben, Heidi and Kat have all posted about moments of reinvention or inspiration. This series has been a big hit for my readers, and I am always looking for more people to write a guest blog on this topic. You don’t have to be a regular blogger to do this. Kat wasn’t a blogger when she first wrote her post for me… now she has a Tumblr. There are two more guest bloggers that will be coming up this week. One of them has never blogged before, and probably won’t again (unless I can convince her to write another guest post!).
  • My Lessons- The Thoughts on Love Series:  Now, I’m not an expert, but I’ve been thinking a lot about love this year…what it takes to be in a relationship, choices people make, how other people can affect your relationships, etc. I started this series to share my observations, thoughts and feelings.

wrap up

It is not as easy to write a “wrap up” of my winter 2010/11 residency experience as it might seem. My brain is so fuzzy, I still don’t know what day it is. AJ and Phil do a pretty good job of summing things up on their blogs.

Good news: I’m working with one of the teachers I really wanted for my mentor: Joan Connor! Woot Woot! I am very excited about this. Phil worked with her last semester and in every conversation we had about the semester, he had something great to say about his experience with her as his mentor.

Bad news: I broke my foot. Seriously, I did. I broke it. The second to last day I needed to be taken to the ER and left with crutches and a strong warning to stay off my high heels for a good 12 weeks. (It hurt just to type that sentence. No… my foot didn’t hurt- my heart did) I’m also under strict restrictions for the first two weeks. Pretty much everything is outlawed. No driving, dancing, walking, ice skating, skateboarding. No nothing. If I behave the first two weeks, then I might be able to get a walking cast, but still no driving, dancing, etc for 6-8 weeks. No heels for the whole 12 weeks. No heels?  I still don’t quite understand. I am so lucky though to have an outstanding friend at work who is literally going to drive me to and from work for the next two weeks. Have I mentioned that she and I live a good hour away from where we work? I appreciate her so much.

Conundrum: Whether or not to attend the regular 10 day residency at Ender’s Island in July or a 7 day smaller residency in Galway, Ireland. At first glance, I’d tell anyone they would be silly to not jump at the chance to go to Ireland, but I’m confused. One thing seriously holding me back is the strong community we have on that little island. I know I could visit for a day or two if I chose the Ireland trip, but its not the same. I really don’t know what to do. All I do know is that I need to make this decision quickly.

Exciting news: I’m the Nonfiction Student Representative for my entire program! I will be working with Taryn and Colin over the semester to make sure the student’s needs are being met and questions are being heard. I’m pretty excited about this. I think I have a pretty good relationship with the administration, and I really care about the future of this MFA program. Also, I will be working with Aaron Perkus to develop my own page on Digication (Fairfield’s professional networking/storage/experimental/educational website platform). I’m excited because I think both him and Michael have some interesting ideas as to how we as students can utilize this for professional, educational and personal reasons. I’m excited that I can be one of the first students to mess around with it.

Searches: Someone found my blog after searching for “Trueblood Award” on Google. Umm, I thought I was the ONLY person who googled the TB Award? Well, out yourself. Who wants more info on the Trueblood Award? And what did you find about it on my blog?

I’m going to Atlanta to see the Emersons next weekend…. with a broken foot. I’m not quite sure how I will manage the airport. Wheelchair? Oh, no.

i’m not a newbie anymore!

So, not only have I finished my first semester of graduate school, but I have also finished all my training at work! Technically, I’ve got a lot to learn still, but it will be more of a on the spot training. I’m moving on up in the world, folks!

So lets just put this out in the open: I did not finish NaBloPoMo OR NaNoWriMo….wah. I have no one or nothing to blame but myself.

The next 20SB Blog Swap will be on 12/20 and I am so very excited. My swap partner is actually brand new to me; I’ve been a bad 20SB blogger. Not “bad,” I’ve just neglected my membership. I’m actually very glad I got paired with a person I’ve never communicated with before, because I am looking for some new people to follow! Make sure y’all tune back here on the 20th so you can read what my swap partner has to say 😉

I’m going to Atlanta in less than a month!

Over the course of my first semester, I came across some article or blogs I found interesting or helpful. I figured I would share them, in case any of you budding writers (or readers) might be interested.
Check out Sari Botton’s Conversations With Writer’s Braver Than Me. Her first interview is with Vivian Gornick. How awesome is that? She’s done 4-5 more since then that I can’t wait to read.
Also, you might want to check out this random post I found about Joan Didion. I love the quotations on here.
The Forums on Nathan Bransford’s Blog are kind of fantastic. Don’t forget to check out the actual blog as well. It’s pretty great.
For writers (like me) who find the idea of writing 15-20 pages (on deadline) daunting and scary, you should check out this site.

Will someone please get me this shirt or mug? I found this on Sari Botton’s Tumbler, but it can be purchased in The Rumpus Store.

I still have yet to put up my Christmas Tree or send out my holiday cards or decorate for the holidays (besides some garland on my desk at work, which I will make sure to photograph and post). I’m thinking next year that I will do all this stuff after Halloween, because November and December fly by for me, and I am always upset that I have not completed any of these tasks. Oh well, I’ll put up my tree (its a wire tree) and I’ll keep it up til Valentine’s Day. Who says you have to take down a tree right after Christmas, anyway?

So, I’m doing the Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day. Has anyone else done this before? Any suggestions? I’m getting nervous about it. I think I’m going to start jumping in the shower without putting the hot water on, and then gradually work up to the hot water. HA!