family

Playing Catch-up

welcome to maineI realized that it’s been nearly a month since I have logged on to give you an update. It’s been a hectic month indeed! I’m not making excuses, I’m just saying I have been neglectful. So I’m going to do this post as a general what’s happening one and a second one for all the books I have been consuming, which I’m sure is the real reason most of you read this.

In the last few weeks, I have moved back to my home state of Maine. Hurray for no longer being a displaced New Englander. Whether or not the move is permanent, we will have to wait and see. But I’m relatively certain I will be here for the next six to eight months. And thankful that it is cooler here than the D.C. area. Plus I was able to go strawberry picking and picked about 30lbs of them with my dad!ย strawberry picking

I have also completed a summer course on YA literature, which was pretty phenomenal. We were allowed to choose almost all of our own books for the course from a wide range of genres. We studied how teens choose books and why certain themes might be appealing to them. We also wrote a final paper on the topic of our choosing and I am proud to say that I earned a very high grade in the class.

I started a new job!! Yay me! I officially have my first library job at a smaller, local library and it’s going pretty well. I’m still in the learning process and a lot of what I do on a daily basis is a bit repetitive but I’m enjoying it. I get to talk about and look at books all day long plus interact with the regulars who are all very nice. It’s great to be back in an environment where people who aren’t your coworkers know your name, I’ve missed that.

Additionally, I have been dealing with all three of the weddings in my life again. First and foremost was my best friend’s bridal shower which went very smoothly, I am happy to report. Next on the list will be dress shopping with one of my sister and my friend’s bachelorette party ๐Ÿ˜‰

sconeI am planning on using the next six weeks or so to really have some “me” time and focus on getting back into a healthier lifestyle, reading books for fun, and maybe doing some puzzles. I’ve also taken up cooking, well, baking, again and my first two trials (scones and garlic cheese biscuits) went pretty well. No complaints from my taste testers aka mom and dad.

I’ve been really busy settling back in but now that I’m more or less settled, I want to get back to this blog and my other writings. After all, NaNoWriMo is only 4 months away! So hopefully, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me in the coming months. But I make no promises once September hits, that’s sure to be a doozy.

Oh and did I mention that I was able to see Monticello, Colonial Williamsburg, AND Mount Vernon before I left? I am definitely one lucky nerd!

mt vernonmt vernon panorama

SPRING BREAK!

Hi all!

My most humble apologies for my absence in the last three weeks. I had some crazy days leading up to my spring break and then by the time it was all over and I was able to go back home to visit my family, I pretty much swore off technology and the internet so I could really enjoy my time in New England. But I’m here with an update and maybe I will even post a new work for you tomorrow to make up for it. Forgive me?

Here are a few of the things I did while on hiatus:

-had family Pi(e) day including at least a dozen different pies and gamesspring break irish bread

-went bridesmaids’ dress shopping with my bestie (we’re still deciding)

-met a couple of adorable new kitties but I wasn’t ready to adopt

-went wedding dress shopping with my older sister (she said yes to the dress!)

-also picked out the bridesmaids’ dresses at the same time

-spent some quality girl time with my mom and sisters

-made Irish soda bread (with black currants) from scratch for the first time

-made my first boiled dinner all by myself for St. Patrick’s Dayspring break boiled dinner

-went swimming (indoors, obv) with my mom

-had dinner with my grandmother and great aunt

-helped my mom pick out mother-of-the-brides dresses

-went wine and cheese tasting with my mom and her friend

-watched season 8 and 9 of Smallville

-watched season 2 of Eureka

-avoided all schoolwork

-snuggled cats

-drank non-French Vanilla coffee

-slept in as much as possible

-went snowshoeing for the first time…and wanted to die after 2.5 hours and 5.5 miles

-ate freshly made donuts minutes after they were done, still warm

spring break hikeSo I think that mostly catches you up on what I’ve been doing. I have also been totally swamped with schoolwork, four classes instead of three in grad school is A LOT of work. I apologize if I disappear again to deal with that. I’ve also been struggling with some OCD flairs and some depression and anxiety. But I am so thankful that I had the time off to go home and be surrounded by love. And grateful that I have such an amazing support system that takes my calls any time that I need them to.

Thank you for your patience and I promise, I will try not to neglect you for as long in the future. But just in case, here’s what I’m reading right now:

currently reading 3.26.15

I have also been drawn back intoย The Chronicles of Nickย by Sherrilyn Kenyon and am currently on book 2: Invincible. I was just in a mood to read about a sharp-mouthed Cajun who fights evil while trying to figure out himself, girls, and puberty. Good fun. And builds off of her Dark Hunter series…so, pick up one of these if you want something interesting to read.

Until next time, take care and as always, feel free to leave comments and remarks!

Timeout

I need to take a minute to write some of this down. I am feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment and need to get it off my chest.

As many of you know, I am currently around 600 miles away from my family. Something that has been made infinitely harder by the fact that I have recently decided to move back to New England to be with them this summer. Another thing that has made my time away even harder recently has been the engagements of not one but both of my sisters. It has come to my attention that I am one of those people that can’t be without their family, especially not for long periods of time. And with all the family joy spilling over, it’s becoming even more difficult.

wedding bellsAnd currently, my little sister is trying on wedding dresses.

I wish I could be there so badly and it absolutely sucks that I cannot. Instead, I’m stuck in what I’ve come to think of as my dungeon, also known as my bedroom, attempting to do the mountains of homework that are required of me to pass the four grad classes that I am taking this semester. (For the record, three is the recommended maximum amount of classes.) But my concentration has been totally shot all day, especially now that I am receiving pictures and wondering how much better everything looks in person.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m miserable because she is getting married and I am not. On the contrary, I am very happy for her, for both of my sisters. But not being able to be there is one of the hardest things. It’s one thing to miss the snow and the weather, it’s another entirely to miss out on events that I would love to be there for.

I’ve tried all my normal avenues of distraction: my favorite tv show, a book, homework, music loud enough to shatter an eardrum. So far, nothing has worked. I’m hoping if I tell you about it, that might help. Or you might have some other suggestions.

Although I guess I should give that book thing another try since I know you’re expecting a review this week ๐Ÿ˜‰

I guess that’s all I can say and just hope that it gets easier.

An Extreme Tale

An Extreme Tale.

As much as I hate Dickens, I have to admit that this opening line pretty accurately describes my life at the moment.

“It was the best times, it was the worst of times.”

Let’s start with all the reasons it is the best of times:

  • I am officially less than 2 weeks away from (successfully) completing my first semester of grad school
  • I was granted two great groups for the projects I have to complete for class
  • I’m all done with homework for the semester
  • Christmas is in less than a month!! which means that everyone is in higher spirits and just generally being nicer than usual
  • Speaking of which, I already have most of my Christmas shopping done
  • I scored tickets for myself and my family to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s new show in 19 days
  • I was able to complete NaNoWriMo for the 2nd year in a row (while in grad school!)
  • I’m healthy compared to the other germ infested creatures that dwell on this campus
  • I get to see two of my best friends on the same day, 10 days from now

Now on to why it is the worst of times:

  • I am so homesick that I’m having trouble concentrating on my work here
  • On that note, I want all the snow that is currently residing at my parents’ house
  • It’s the end of the semester which means that I have lots to do in terms of final papers, etc., resulting in a higher stress level and quicker boiling point to my temper
  • I have been recently (and extremely) distracted, for multiple reasons, by the appearance of someone from my past
  • Winter boots are nearly impossible to find at this time of year and I need new ones

Overall, I’d have to say that I have more to be thankful for/happy about than things that are frustrating or stressing me out. But it’s still pretty split on best times and worst times.

Weekend Roundup

Friday night was Halloween and as such, it saw me sitting on the couch watching Beetlejuice with my cousin’s grandmother awaiting the few trick-or-treaters that were sure to grace the house. Mostly, I ate candy and listened to some pretty amazing stories. My cousin’s grandmother (my aunt’s mother-in-law) has lived a great life, full of rich experience and life lessons. She is sweet, caring, and entertaining. And I really enjoyed spending that time with her. And of course, we got less than 20 kids come for candy and the ones we did see were either a little too old or a little too young to be partaking in the tradition, but everyone got candy nonetheless.

After the triumphant return of my cousins from their trick-or-treating adventures, I once again retreated to my room where I spend most of my time. I pawed through the combined seven pounds of candy and picked out a couple of choice items when no one was looking but I hate to eat it all at once so half of it is still scattered across my desk in the usual haphazard fashion. I went to bed pretty late, deciding however not to stay up to usher the beginnings of NaNoWriMo into the United States east coast.

There was a loud pogirls gingerbreadunding on my door seconds before it opened at 8am on Saturday morning. And who should it be but my older sister and her boyfriend! To say I was overjoyed was putting it mildly. Although I couldn’t get too excited on account of the fact that it was early and had yet to have my coffee. Luckily, they had thoughtfully stopped by Dunkin Donuts and procured some essentials: coffee, donuts, and bagels.

I spent the morning sitting around, chatting with the pair of them as the rest of the house went about its business. It’s been about 3 months since I’ve seen my family and always feels so good when I do. Plus I got a proper hug which is always nice. Seeing them on skype (like we did for pumpkin carving) just isn’t the same as seeing them in person. Even if we do nothing more than talk. But we went out exploring to my campus briefly before adjourning for lunch at a Chinese buffet. Now that was a damn good deal. The three of us ate for about $25 total! Can you believe that?

Happily full we made our way back to the house where my sister’s boyfriend immediately went into the bedroom and passed out. He had been driving all night to get here and they still had another 12 hours to go before they arrived at the final destination: Florida. So we let him sleep while my sister and I caught up a bit more. The rest of the family went to church and we took naps which was quite pleasant.

After, the rest of them went to a Halloween party and my sister and I watched “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” on Netflix. I was so happy to just be in her company and so relaxed. It was better than my night out contra dancing. Unfortunately, after the movie, she woke up her boyfriend who showered and they prepared to hit the road again. It was nice to see them while it lasted, even if it did put me a bit behind on my homework ๐Ÿ˜‰

They left around 10:30pm and I decided it was time to get a jump on my NaNoWriMo. I sat down and banged out about 1,700 words before 11:50pm and sat back to bask in my glory of awesomeness. Then I promptly changed, brushed my teeth, and passed out in bed.

Sunday was definitely designated to be homework day and I was up and at it by 8:30am to make up for lost time. I complete a paper due on Tuesday and found the appropriate movie clips to accompany it. I also read everything for my Monday class and half for my Tuesday class, counting on having today to finish up. After that, I wrote another 2,500 words or so for NaNoWriMo and then officially gave up on doing real work so I watched an episode of Sherlock. And as much as I love that show, this episode made me sob like a brokenhearted fool so it was probably a poor decision to watch before bed.

So I dragged myself away from my laptop and curled up with Snow Like Ashes, which I am really getting into. Sure it’s about civil war in another realm and there is lots of death and destruction but the main character is interesting and the idea that she hails from a land of permanent winter makes me jealous. Oh, and on that note, I found out that my little sister’s city had about 8 inches of snow on the ground by the end of the day yesterday. Also making me jealous. The best we’re going to get down here for awhile is rain and that’s not nearly cold enough for me.

Now I’m off to finish Tuesday’s homework and possibly write more for NaNoWriMo. But that should help explain why I didn’t have any postings this weekend! Lots to do, I’ll be back again soon.

Is it just me…

halloween

…or does fall keep coming earlier every year?

Not that I’m complaining because I love fall and I’m sure this is something that people complain about every year, but why can’t we just let seasons happen when they are supposed to?

It’s literally over 2 months until the Feast of the All Souls, the Day of the Dead, Halloween and already stores are lined with pumpkins and ghosts, candy and costumes.

I enjoy my pumpkin beer as much as the next (former) New England gal and I live for pumpkin coffee but does that mean that I need to see it in August? Definitely not. September would be just fine with me, thank you very much. (Unless you want to give it me year-round which I would be totally okay with.)

As someone who has worked in the retail world for several years, I know why it’s done. I know that they want to catch the consumers at prime shopping time, i.e. back to school and before the month of the actual holiday. It’s the same reason you can’t find winter boots in January and you can buy a bikini in February.

But at the same time, as a big advocate of making memories and enjoying the moments I have on this earth, I can’t help but be against this blatant “sell, sell, sell” mentality. I love to shop and I love to decorate my home for the seasons/holidays but I can’t enjoy my last fleeting moments of summer if I’m already being bombarded with and seduced by the temptations of autumn.

So let’s just stick to the summer sun for at least another week. Then we can start sleeping with our windows open and making sure we have a sweater for those chilly fall nights. And sure, we can buy our Halloween candy at the beginning of October and go apple-picking in September, but let’s focus on the here and now before tomorrow catches up to today and we’re wondering what happened to August.

Because, let’s face it. Before you can say “Halloween”, stores will soon be bringing out the Christmas decorations. Which are sure to bring out the worst (Black Friday) and the best (family traditions) in everyone.

Promote This Star: Kalie Garrett

A coworker of mine just showed me this ah-may-zing photographer/artist that she went to school with and I am dying of overload.

The images alone are breath-taking and her art, while strange, is very intriguing. I have spent at least an hour on her flickr page alone and still can’t stop.

Here is the link to her Web site. Her name is Kalie Garrett and she now designs window displays for Anthropologie in NYC. She might already be Google-able but it never hurts to get a promo from another supportive source!

Promote this star!

Before you read the title and think this is a celebrity gossip piece, keep on reading.

I’m writing this post to promote one of my favorite people in the whole world, and one of the most talented that I am privileged to personally know, my little sister.

Sara and I have been joking around for years about how when I finally get my book published, if it gets picked up to be made into a movie, she wants to direct it. In the meantime, while I have been trying to promote myself (see post: Greek Fire), she has been hard at work in school to get a degree in New Media. And if you have no idea what that is, there is a link to a video by Rick Phillips via YouTube that attempts to explain it.

But this post is about Sara. She has some really spectacular talent and I would love to get the opportunity to work with her one day. In the meantime, she is looking to get more real world experience so I’m going to show her off. sarawebber.nmdprojects.net/portfolio

Browse through her pictures and portfolio and if you like what you see, comment here so I can let her know! ๐Ÿ™‚