Reverb 2012 Catch Up: Days 21-28

Prompt for December 21:  Look.  Sometimes you are left standing on the outside looking in.  As you stood there, on the other side of the glass, were you thankful for the boundary?  Or do you wish you could’ve been on the action-side?

No, I don’t think I would have changed anything in this regard for 2012. Sometimes when I was super busy with school, I wished I could have been more involved in the social things happening around me, like spending time with friends or other activities. Looking back, I know that I wouldn’t have been able to do both successfully. There were a few projects that I would have liked to be involved with, but the same thing goes; I’m already over-involved. To get tangled up in more would have been too consuming. I haven’t worked at my second job as a residential case manager for adults with psychiatric issues this whole year– this was a touch one for me, because I really did (and still do) miss my clients. But I had to draw the line somewhere. I needed the time to finish schoolwork and actually be around my family. I think I was standing exactly where I should be to be successful in the ways I was in 2012.

Prompt for December 22:  Song.  What has been your theme song this year?  Have there been several?  Make us a mix tape and tell us the meaning behind it.

I don’t think I’ve had a theme song for 2013. When I think back over the year, the music that stands out are more recent finds: fun and Alex Clare. I also listened to a lot of Adele, Anthony Hamilton, TI, Michael Buble and John Legend.

Prompt for December 23:  Appreciate.  For what did you find a new appreciation this year?

Time to do nothing. This was a very busy, time-consuming year for me. So I really cherished those moments that I could just lay down and do nothing or zone out in the midst of bad television. This isn’t a normal statement from me, but I did cherish this time.  I also cherished moments when I was cooking, especially when trying new recipes.

Prompt for December 24:  Change of heart.  Did you have a change of heart about something or someone in your life this year?  What or who was it?  Why?

I don’t know if I’ve necessarily had a change of heart. I think I’ve just had a bit of a shift of attitude. I can’t accomplish everything and I certainly can’t please everyone either. I think I’ve just chose to try to accept that and deal with it situationally. I know there have been people I’ve let down in small ways, and there are also people who let me down in small ways. Nothing drastic. Every relationship- coworkers, friends, etc grows and expands and changes over time. I’m just very grateful for the people who are in my life.

Prompt for December 25:  Traditions.  Do you follow old traditions or do you work to create new traditions?  What role has tradition played in your life over the past year?  Are there traditions you hope to create or embrace in 2013?

I love traditions. I really, really do. I think one big thing I learned in my 20’s is how much I do love celebrating and honoring traditions and cultivating new ones. I don’t think I appreciated tradition before my 20’s (as much as I do now), but every year I seem to grow more grateful for them. I think that’s why I enjoy holidays so much, because they all have some type of tradition associated with them: a new year means I’ll be doing the Polar Bear Plunge; we relive our first date on our anniversary, Valentine’s day we eat lobster at home, Father’s Day we update Mr. O’s scrapbook Wolverine and I made him in 2011; camping in the summer, decorating our tree for Christmas and getting new ornaments every year. Mentioning what we are thankful for at dinner time. I’ve left a lot off this list, but I do love traditions.

Prompt for December 26:  Typical day.  Describe a typical day in your life.  What do you think would surprise most people about your ordinary day?  How do you cherish and appreciate the everyday?

My ordinary life is just that: ordinary. I wake up when Mr. O goes to work and steal a hug and a kiss before he leaves (and Wolverine too if it is a morning we have him before school.) Then I lay back down and fall asleep for another 20 or 30 minutes before I need to get up and go to work. I’m almost always a few minutes late for work every day, which is why I should never ever lay back down after Mr. O leaves. I developed the habit in mid-to-late 2012 to make my own coffee in the morning which is saving me loads of money. At work, I do work-type stuff. I work late and then head home. My nights usually consist of cooking dinner and relaxing with Mr. O and Wolverine. For the first half of the year, I did a lot of schoolwork at nights and the second half of the year I did a lot of Spry-stuff at night. My weekends are a blur of cleaning and kid-related activities. They are usually tiring but loads of fun….and repeat and repeat.

Prompt for December 27:  Hidden talent.  Do you have a hidden talent?  Dazzle us.

Hmm. I’m a pretty good parallel parking. I didn’t learn that in 2012 though. I make a mean Chicken Mozambique. I think perfected that this year, though I started to attempt the recipe in 2011.

Prompt for December 28:  All grown up.  What did you want to be when you grew up?  Are you that thing?  If not, are you working to become it, or have you chosen a completely different path?

Oh, good questions. Am I what I wanted to be when I grew up? No, not right now. Am I close to it? Well, maybe. Growing up, I wanted to be everything. I wanted to be a singer, a teacher, a writer, a mother, a wife, the president, an astronaut, you name it. If it sounded like a challenge, I wanted in. I no longer wish to be an astronaut or the president. I’m certainly not a famous singer, though I do sing quite a bit in the car. I just graduated and that opens the door to be able to teach at the university-level. I wrote a thesis this year, so I think that makes me a writer. I’m not a real mother or wife yet, but I’m helping my boyfriend parent his incredible child, and THAT my friends is one of my favorite things in life. The role I play in Mr. O and Wolverine’s life. I think I’m very close to being at the place I though I wanted to be as a child. Right now though, I’m exactly where I am supposed to be in life….and that feels good.

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Reverb Catch Up 2012: Days 11-20

Prompt for December 11:  Small pleasures.  What small pleasures did you discover this year?

Is food a small pleasure? I pretty much live for pho. I eat it weekly and it makes me so happy every time I have it for dinner. Another small pleasure? Introducing people to pho (my parents, sibling, friends) and having them fall in love with it. Besides food (everything I want to add to this list seems to revolve around food), I love cuddling before bed and morning goodbye hugs and kisses (though I’d much rather just cuddle in bed then be separated by work!). I love reading at night with Wolverine. Small pleasures for me are in the little moments.

Prompt for December 12: Unexpected passion.  What new hobby or interest piqued your passion this year?  Or did you think about an old passion in a new way?

Project Life was something I really embraced and enjoyed this year. So I guess it is a new and old passion at the same time. I’ve always liked scrapbooking, but never really delved into it. Now that I do weekly spreads with my Project Life binder, I find myself being more and more graphically creative. Creating a literary journal took a lot of dedication and passion. I’m glad Linsey and I really put ourselves into this project and think Spry will have a great successful future. Finally, finishing my thesis. Getting my MFA from Fairfield University was one of the best choices I’ve ever made in life. Being a graduate student is never easy, especially when you are a procrastinator with a lot of work to do to finish a thesis. I was fortunate to have the best faculty and students to help me through that process.

Prompt for December 13:  Do-over. Of the things that happened this year, if you had the chance to do X all over again, what would it be?

Residencies at school. There is a big part of my heart that is really missing this current residency which started today. I know I will be there a few days this residency (alumni day, watch my MFA little sis do her student reading and graduation!) In 2012 I attended two full residencies. I’ve always loved being away at school, but I’ve always been a but whiney about missing Mr. O and Wolverine while I’m away. And then in July, at my graduation residency, my father had a heart attack, and my head and heart seemed to be in two different places. I’m pretty jealous of the students who get to spend 10 glorious, yet exhausting, insanely-creative days on an island with other writers. I wish I could do it again.

Prompt for December 14: Family.  Did your role in the family shift or change over the past year?  How?  Why?

I love my family. The biggest change in my most immediate family (Mr. O, Wolverine and I) is that we now all live together. So yes, in some ways my role shifted. It has been a nice transition living with my guys. We love spending time together, and I look forward to every moment we have together.

Prompt for December 15:  Friendship.  What was it like for you to be a friend to others this year?  Did you rekindle an old friendship?  Strengthen a current friendship?  Make friends with someone you didn’t think was “your type?”

2012 was an odd year for friendships. Lots of stuff happened in all of our lives this year. Friends had babies, others were in graduate school, some were buying houses, etc. I can’t quite say that I spent an extreme amount of quality time with my friends, but I did enjoy every second that we did spend together. Here’s hoping we get more chances to be together in 2013.

Prompt for December 16:  Choice.  Being an adult means making your own choices.  What choices were the hardest to make this year?

Choices. Hmm. I don’t know if there really were any difficult choices to make this year. Naming my thesis wasn’t easy for me, but I’m quite pleased with the end result. I wasn’t sure whether or not I should have a tiny medical procedure, but I did and it went well. That’s all I can think of! I honestly think the most difficult decision was simply what to eat for dinner, especially on date nights. Mr. O and I think about food a lot.

Prompt for December 17:  Surprise.  The most surprising thing that happened this year was…

My dad had a heart attack while I was away at school for my graduation residency. My dad is a pretty healthy guy, and while he does work a bit too hard (which I’m sure leads to stress), I certainly did not think he would have a sudden heart attack. It was sad and scary, but I’m so grateful that he is doing really well and taking great care of himself.

Prompt for December 18:  1000 words.  There’s the old saying that a photo is worth 1,000 words.  Give us a photo with that impact that sums up some significant event of your 2012, or give us 1000 words about a pivotal moment in 2012.

 20120813-133105.jpgI graduated from my MFA program!

Prompt for December 19:  Crap.  What was just absolute rubbish for you this year?  What would you do to change that? Describe something, or some moment, that was just hopelessly awful, and tell us how it could (or could not) be made better.

I’m not sure that either of these moments could be made any better. The only way they could have been better was if they didn’t happen. I think the crappiest moments in 2012 were when my boss’s husband and Mr. O’s grandfather died. I was completely devastated for my boss, someone I’ve known and worked one on one with since I was seventeen. She and her husband loved each other deeply, and I still can’t quite wrap my brain around the situation. I think it’s bullshit that he passed away. Same goes with Mr. O’s grandfather. He had been suffering for a while, so I’m glad that he is no longer in pain, but I just wish some things were different.

Prompt for December 20:  Stuff and things.  What products have you discovered this year that you love?  Tell us all about them, and why you love them.  Become the celebrity spokesperson of whatever it is you like!

Project Life, Hershey’s Cookies and Cream chocolates, Netlix, Xbox, Apsara, Pinterest, Spry Lit, Del’s Lemonade, Grapefruit.


Confused by Reverb12?  For the month of December Meredith, Kat, and Sarah are answering a prompt a day.  Learn about the project here and join along.

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Reverb 2012 Catch Up: Days 1-10

I’m a little late on the Reverb 2012 bandwagon, seeing as there are only a few days left in the month and I haven’t completed any of December’s daily prompts. (If you want to know more about Reverb, here is a great introduction by Sarah.) But I love many of the prompts so I’m going to try to answer some and reflect on my year.

Prompt for December 1: Where it began.  Review and reflect – how did 2012 begin for you?  Tell us how the year kicked off; start your renewal by beginning again.

2012 began for me in Mr. O’s old apartment with him and Wolverine. We played some games, stood up late, watched some Super Hero Squad cuddled up in bed and fell asleep early. I set an alarm for 11:45 though, and Mr. O and I woke up, watched the ball drop, shared a New Year’s kiss and fell back asleep shortly after. It was a great night spent cuddled by the Christmas tree and in bed. The next morning, we met up with our friends in Portsmouth, RI and Polar Bear Plunged! It was Mr. O and his friend’s first time and my second. I am a strong believer that plunging into the cold water on the first is a perfect way to begin a new year.

Prompt for December 2: Help.  Asking for help can be the hardest thing we ever do.  When and how did you ask for help?  Alternatively, did someone ask you for help, and how did it play out for you?

2012 was a year that I needed a lot of help, and I think I gave a lot of help as well. However, most of this help was unspoken. Mr. O took the lead when it came to cooking and cleaning in the final months of my thesis. When he was stressed, I tried to step up more. I had to pick up a lot more at work. Creating Spry was a collaboration between myself and Linsey. There was a lot tn general that would have been unsuccessful if it weren’t for teamwork in 2012.

Prompt for December 3: Beautiful things.  What brought beauty into your life this year?  Was it a tangible thing or something intangible?  Tell us about it in detail.

Beauty for me was being around my guys, my family, my MFA colleagues and my friends. I am so lucky to have such incredible people in my life. Beauty is all my friends’ babies who were born in 2012. Beauty was in Christmas trees and birthday parties and vacation. 2012 was very beautiful.

Prompt for December 4:  Place.  What places anchored you this year?  Or were you in search of new places and spaces to call your own and call home?  Describe the place you love and why it means so much to you.

Place was big in 2012. The biggest place for me this year was moving in with Mr. O, which has been a blessing. We cohabitate nicely and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. I love waking up and falling asleep near my love. I love living with Wolverine and enjoying all the time we have with him. The only thing I could wish for in 2013 is that we are fortunate to find and purchase a house that we love. We started looking for houses in 2011 and after a few unsuccessful attempts to purchase, we haven’t found “our” home. We’ve made a home for ourselves in the apartment, but its a bit cramped, and I’d love to have a bigger home to call our own. That all being said, our housing situation has been incredible and I’m so fortunate to live where we do. There have been a few other places that stick out in 2012. We went on a few vacations: North Conway, NH, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Plymouth, MA. Ender’s Island will always be a special place for me as that is where all my graduate school residencies were held.

Prompt for December 5:  Letting go.  For the next year, I’m letting go of…

Gosh, I just don’t know. This is a tough one for me. The first thought that popped into my head was stress, but that is unrealistic as stress will always be in every one of our lives… It’s how we handle it that makes a difference. I think that in 2013, I’m going to let go of my anxiety about working out. I’ve been working on exercising for the past few months, but I never try hard enough. I hate feeling uncomfortable in my clothing, and there is no time like the present to do something to change it. It isn’t just that I want to lose weight, I also want to have healthier routines. I need to incorporate exercise into my daily rituals. In 2013, I will let go of the extra baggage I’ve stored on my body, and let go of this mental block I have surrounding working out.

Prompt for December 6: Intention.  What were some of your mantras from 2012 and how did you come by them?  Will they remain the same for the next year – if not, what new ones will you set?

I guess my unspoken mantra for 2012 was “this will all get done.” 2012 was a crazy busy year between school, work, Spry and life in general. There were so many times (at least once a month, probably) that I truly thought I wouldn’t be able to pull through whatever it was I was currently working on. I didn’t think I’d finish my thesis: I did. I didn’t think I’d finish my graduation speech: I did. I didn’t think I’d get all my other school stuff done: I did. I didn’t think I’d publish Spry in 2012: I did. Basically, I just kept reminding myself that no matter what, things have a way of working themselves out.

I didn’t have a word for 2012. This is one big thing I will change for 2013. I had a word for 2011 and it was a great year. While I didn’t pick a word at the beginning of 2010, I did name it at the end, and that too was a great year. In some ways 2012 was incredible, in other ways it was trying. I’d like to follow 2011’s example in 2013, so I do plan on picking a word to live by next year.

Prompt for December 7: Feast.  Hopefully you’ve had more than one spectacular meal in 2012, but what is the first one that comes to mind?  Were you surrounded by family at the dining room table?  Sitting on a bench by the lake?  Bring us there.

2012 was quite a feast. If there is one way Mr. O and I spend (and save) our money, it’s on food. We love eating out and cooking in. Our food of the year will definitely be pho (and dumplings and sushi and desserts)… though I’m sure that answer would have worked for 2011 and in the future. We cooked new recipes and are really excited to continue trying new food in 2013.

Prompt for December 8.  Art.  What was the most moving piece of art that you saw/experienced this year?  This could mean a painting or a sculpture, or a performance you took in, or even a book that you read – tell us about the kind of art you encountered, and the way that it moved you.

Spry! Spry was every possible beauty in 2012. It started out as a concept, a possibility. It was a creative endeavour that Linsey, our staff and I worked so hard to bring to life. And now… Spry is alive. The literary journal’s first issue is beautiful and everything we could ever dreamed up. We are beginning to work on issue #2 and I’m so grateful to see Spry thrive.

Prompt for December 9:  The Plank.  It has been said that you must learn to take care of yourself before you can be effective at taking care of others.  How did you take care of yourself in 2012?  How will you take care of yourself in 2013?

Gosh. I think I did a lot of maintaining in 2012. I did a great job with my health by making and attending doctor’s appointments. Taking sick days when I was actually sick. I obviously will continue to do that in 2013. I hope to find more time to relax, because I feel better emotionally and physically when I’m calm and relaxed. I think a lot of this will be helped by being better organized and creating new routines.

Prompt for December 10:  Scars.  They leave marks, and sometimes you can only take what you can carry.  What will you, by choice or by chance, carry into 2013?

2012 brought me a new scar after a small procedure that I’ll always carry with me, and I’m okay with that. To me, the scar symbolizes health, and I think it is a nice reminder for the future.

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