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Showing posts from 2014

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year! As the final hours of 2014 tick by, I'd like to share my 2015 Mantra:

"The Courage To Change The Things I Can"

You may recognize that line from the serenity prayer. It is my mantra for the new year. This has nothing to do with resolutions. Seriously. These words to live by come from an asseessment of my life: what can I change right now? As mentioned before, I've set some big goals for 2015: moving, dog, new job, car....I think I'm going to add "become a Mummer" to the list. 

I can move to a bigger apartment with an oven, access to laundry that allows me to adopt the dog I've been wanting. That I CAN do. That I CAN change. So I WILL. 

I challenge you to come up with your own mantra for the New Year. For the past two years I've tried to enter "the New Year as the best version of myself." Tonight, after viewing some fireworks at the River, I'm going home to my warm apartment with some good m…

2015 Is Going to Be a Year of Change

Everybody does it. They say, "I'm gonna do X, Y, and Z this New Year!" Most of the resolutions involve losing weight, cutting spending, and doing what you love. Some people make bucket lists, some people make resolutions. Almost always, these things go to waste. The New Year has the tendency to feel like a fresh start. Calendars are reset and the next 12 months feel full of possibilities. By week three of January....you're starting to fall off the wagon. Most people give up by February. 

I used to work at a gym in college. It would always be packed as the New Year began. For most of January there would be a wait for elliptical and treadmills. January is the busiest time of the year for gyms. Then the attendance would taper off. The gym resumed normal capacity. 

I joined a gym last year in January. I am proud to say that I attended said gym faithfully for 10 out of the 12 months. August was a bit of a wash because I went to Boston and also went home for my birthday. Sep…

2014: A Year in Review

For some this may seem a bit early. But I assure you, I'm bound to be swept away in the good tidings of great joy...aka the Holidays and forget to post this before January 2015. So here we are, 2014: a year in review. What a year it has been. 

It was New Year's Eve 2013, I was sitting in Painting with a Twist by myself with a bottle of wine. I accidentally stole someone else's plastic cups because I thought the gallery provided cups for patrons. They do...just not the ones I stole from other participants. I apologized but it was still embarrassing. 

I went on to paint an exploding champagne bottle on a canvas. My instructor helped me make it look a little less phallic. I met a fabulous couple and shared my snacks with them. We ended up cheering each other on for the duration of the class. This was all because I had to move seats. I was sitting next to an empty seat when a couple walked in. I was the only one not in a group so I relocated to the solo seat on the other side of…

Journo Obsessed

You know you want to be a journalist when the opening credits to "The Newsroom" give you chills. It is a show about a broadcast news network and the ins and outs of the office but every time I hear that powerful opening and see the montage of past broadcast journalists, I get chills. I don't even want to do broadcast, I want to do print. Basically, I just want to write. 

You know you want to be a journalist when you love watching the news unfold via Live Tweets, and you still question the authenticity of each 140 word informational bite. When you take a huge news event and read about it on a variety of platforms to determine the differences between the event coverage. 

You know you want to be a journalist when a job at the Newsuem sounds like you're dream job. When you find endless ways to formulate stories in your head. When you ask really detailed questions in bizarre settings because you just have to know the answer. When you can almost feel the neurons in your brai…

And the World Spins Madly On

I'm pretty sure I have used that title for a previous post within the past five years. I'm almost certain.

So, there is a lot going on in the world right now. Racism is at the height of everyone's mind. Protests are breaking out across the country. Ebola is now a story of the past (though it is still an issue). Conspiracy theories of tyranny and government control are running rampant on Facebook and Twitter. All the while, many of us are just thankful that we're not white male cops or black males. Admit it, you're thankful too. Unless you are a white male cop or a black male.

It makes me wonder where all of this is going to go. Will people keep protesting into 2015? Will groups of people band together and try to overthrow the government? I mean, we did it once with the British. I wonder how many friendships have ended because of opposing viewpoints on these issues. I wonder how many people don't feel any type of way about these magnified issues yet participate …

Open Letter

Dear Whoever,

I curse like a sailor and I have no inclination to stop. I'm pretty good at putting on the censorship around children and most of the elderly...but I have been known to curse in front of nuns and my parents. That being said, it isn't because I am not intelligent or my vocabulary lacks the large and smart appropriate words. It is because cursing, in context, feels good. I feel a release of tension when the words roll off my tongue. I like it. My words are typically in context. I curse in my texts too. I'm sorry if this makes me unladylike. I'm pretty sure my parents are disappointed but have reached the point where they've given up on me in respect to this issue.

I hate wearing heels. I seriously would rather tromp around barefoot in mud than wear heels. I can do a kitten heel (1-2") and a chunky heel (found on most boots) but that is about it. I am usually in flats, sneakers, boots or ballet flats. I'm pretty sure my inability to wear heels h…

The Way to My Heart

A new Dunkin Donuts opened a block away from my regular Dunkin Donuts. I am such a regular that I am pretty sure one cashier has officially nicknamed me "Skim Milk," for he yells that with a big smile when he sees me walk in. Yes, I take my iced coffee with skim milk and splenda.

Anyway, so this new Dunkin opened up and I have the opportunity to get free and discounted coffee via special coupons. The catch is I have to walk a block further than I normally do. It is worth it. Just today I got a .99 large iced coffee. It was heaven. Since they are new, they still have Pumpkin Spice too. Yep, I'm being basic.

So I cracked a joke about how I was cheating on my regular Dunkin with new Dunkin. Because let's face it, not all Dunkin's are equal. The cashiers were really nice and thought it was funny that I was so obsessed with discounted coffee. Let's face it, Dunkin Donuts iced coffee or iced coffee coupons are the way to my heart. A lot of friends gift me Dunkin D…

Arctic Tundra

I'm sitting at my office desk, my heavy winter coat draped around my shoulders. It is cold today. It is cold around most of America today. It is a little ridiculous.

Anyway I'm sitting at my office desk and all I hear is the howling of the wind outside my window. Like, "Day After Tomorrow" style. I think this might be what it is like to work in the Arctic Tundra where everyday is below zero and the wind whips and nips at the side of your dwelling or place of work daily. It is part creepy and part depressing. Why? Creepy because the wind is quite literally howling. Depressing because I know in about 6 hours I'm going to have to go back into the tundra to get to the gym and eventually to get back home. Ugh. Winter, I hate you.

Everything else is pretty much the same. I had a friend from high school visit me this past weekend. We haven't seen each other in almost 10 years but we picked up where we left off. I got to play tourist/tour guide in my own city, an act…

Autumn is the Season of Change

Oh Autumn, the season of change. Old leaves change color and fall off the tree and die. The trees remain cold and bare until the spring when life begins anew. 

I know, it sounds like a Hallmark card. 

I haven't written much lately because my life has been full of "almosts" as of late. Almost opportunities. Almost chances. At the end of the day I am still a social worker and I still live in my little apartment in Center City (4 year apartmentversary last week btw) and I am still NOT a full-time journalist. 

Fear not, I am not giving up. I'm just reassessing my strategies. I'm trying to formulate a new game plan and find opportunities in lesser known places. Maybe I can figure something out before 2015. Also, there are still many pending applications in the bucket for numerous opportunities.

I'm still writing for Main Course. I just celebrated my 1 year anniversary with the magazine. This past Friday I went to F.A.N. art gallery in Old City for First Friday. I had …

Seize the Moment

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip? - Eminem


Adulthood makes you do some pretty uncomfortable things. Like interview for important opportunities, negotiate with potential employers, be confrontational and take risks. I find it funny that those carpe diem people run their mouths on taking risks and never looking back. You only got one life to live so go out and shake things up! These mantras are simply idealistic. They aren't words you can really live by. I consider myself a pretty outgoing individual. I think I take risks but when given the opportunity to actually take a huge risk...to define what you want in life and fight like hell to get it...I'd prefer to dream about it. Dreaming is safer. You fly in dreams. You don't fall. You don't make regrettable life decisions. 

I'm not going to dream though. I am going to do. I'm going to shake things up. I've been the …

The Tweet Heard Around the World

Two Thursdays ago I was watching my beloved #TGIT shows by Shonda Rhimes. As you probably already know, Ms. Rhimes owns Thursday nights on ABC. 8pm is Grey's Anatomy. 9pm is Scandal. 10pm is How to Get Away with Murder. 
I've been watching Grey's Anatomy for years. I own all but last season on DVD. I have seen every episode. I dominate Grey's trivia. I got into Scandal about a year ago and binge watched seasons 1 and 2. It is that good. I love HTGAWM because it is set in Philly and let's face it...Viola Davis. 
Well, Chicago Fire on NBC does live tweet chats during their show (Tuesdays 10-11pm est). I've dabbled in a tweet here and there and most of the time they go unheard and unread. So last Thursday when you could tweet the cast of the #TGIT shows, I didn't think much of it. I sent a random comment here or there. But one Tweet caught the attention of the Twittersphere. It started with a little ping from my Ipad which quickly grew to rapid fire pings. Pe…

The Kids Make It Worth It

I know that I complain about my job sometimes, because I'd rather be writing articles full-time and finding stories to share...but once in awhile really good things happen that remind me the past five years have been worth it.

My workplace is in the news! A few of our kids participated in a photo project called Pictures of Hope. They were each given a digital camera and were told to photograph things around our Olde Kensington neighborhood. A lot of the kids took photos of murals, their reflections, playground and storefronts. The photos were then used to create greeting cards with "wishes" from the children written on them.
"I want my brother and sister to grow up happy" one child wrote. 
I invite you to read the follow-up article by Maria Panaritis in the Philadelphia Inquirer here:
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20141017_In_words_and_pictures__homeless_children_tell_their_dreams_through_art.html
I know the kids in the photo really well and when I'm tir…

Sweet Validation

This isn't unusual. There are many times when a source reaches out to me post article publication and says "damn. that was epic." Sweet validation.

It is that rare acknowledgement that you do, in fact, excel in the world of journalism/writing. That people appreciate the words you string together into sentences, ultimately crafting an interesting story. I love it. It comes naturally to me. I just pop on some music and BA-BAM.....out flows the story. I know I keep saying it, but I want to do this for the rest of my life.

This sweet little brag has nothing to do with the fact I applied for a Staff Writer position with Nerve.com. (If you are reading this, HI GUYS! WELCOME! STAY AWHILE).

I'm serious. It has nothing to do with that. I've been thinking about that journalistic validation for awhile now. I had that validation, well, for a long time but I particularly recall multiple times when I rubbed it in people's faces during graduate school. "I know exactly…

What a Difference a Change Makes

Last night instead of binge watching Hulu or Netflix and raiding my cabinet for snacks until my tummy starts to hurt I decided to do something different. Actually for the first time in many weekends I did something different.

Lately I've been in a bit of a funk. The journalism job search is the world's greatest cliffhanging teaser. It actually feels like fishing. You get a bite, you're hopeful there is a fish on the other line. Your heart races as you slowly pull the line up. You're trying to play all your cards right. You don't want to take too long and have the fish jump off the line. You don't want to race the line up and scare the fish off. You find a balance and you reel it in.

Only to find out the stupid fish ate your bait and swam away. All that excitement for nothing. THAT is the BEST way to sum up the journalism job search/process.

So when I'm not writing for Main Course I find myself curled in my bed until ungodly hours of say 2pm. I'll get ou…

Idiosyncrasies

When given the opportunity to sit against something (such as a wall or window) or have a wall behind me, I will always choose that seat. I like the corner seat at Starbucks, the window seats on planes, trains and public transportation. I like the security that comes with being a little boxed in. I don't spend every waking moment fearful someone will creep up behind me, I just like the added security of knowing nothing is behind me.

I'm anal retentive on things like projects. I care too much what others think of me. I'm highly organized yet can thrive in a disorganized environment. I'm almost always late...for everything. Doctors appointments, work, meetings, social gatherings...you name it. I will make it in a reasonable hour/minute but I assure you, I'm always late. People get on me for walking so fast all the time. I tell them it is because I am always late.

Ever heard one of those really beautiful, multiple arch, highly complex symphonies? Pretty much every acti…

Everyday I'm Hustlin

I don't think I have busted my rump at work so hard in over two years. I mean seriously. It is like someone literally lit a fire under my desk chair and I can't stop moving, running, making things happen. Mind you, this is all a distraction from real life. I do not enjoy my job any more than I did a week ago. I'm grateful for my job but I still feel unfulfilled because it is not journalism. It is social work. Social work is a nice, helping field. It is also a field that leads to massive burnout which I am well on the road to.

But today my boss called me "the hero of the day," which is huge coming from the upper ranks. I had children happily hold my hand, hug me, be happy to see me. I'm halfway through my epic to-do list. I'm exhausted and barely sane, but I'm getting the work crunch done. I even made time to give a co-worker a pick-me-up card after she had a tough day yesterday and thank the co-workers who have given me more work to do. I've learn…

As My Body Breaks Down

Enter the cool down period from a very emotional and anxious three weeks. With my anxiety on high alert and my body tense at every moment, what do you think happened?

I got sick of course.

My defenses were weak and the season of illnesses is rapidly approaching. I got a cold. I nicknamed it a death cold. It started with G force level sneezes. Then congestion and runny nose at the same time. Plus a burning sensation inside of my nose. It was just your average nasty cold, but it knocked me on my butt. I called out sick yesterday from work but felt a little better and decided to come in today.

After commuting in the pouring cold rain this morning, my condition has regressed. I feel out if it, like my head is in a giant bubble. My nose hurts from the pressure. Also, I can't hear very well. It must be the sinuses. At least my throat feels a little better. It is difficult to swallow but it doesn't hurt so I'll take extra swallowing effort over pain any day.

Yesterday I spent the…

Ok, I lied

I lied. A lot has been going on. I just couldn't really write about it until it came to a resolution.

Long story short, in my quest to find a journalism job, I actually found one. A news organization reached out to me within 24 hours of my application being submitted. I had a phone interview. I wrote a "test story" which got published in one of their papers. Then I waited. I waited and waited and waited.

This three week process was filled with hopes and dreams. I could finally get a dog. I could buy a car. I could have an apartment that has outdoor space, an oven and laundry in the unit. Basically, all of the things I want in life I could have with the exception of not living quite where I want. Its no secret that I am in love with Philadelphia and I wish I had a rowhome in South Philly, a journalism job, a boxer dog named Bronx and a green Kia Soul. However, I was willing to sacrifice my surroundings for the sake of having almost all of the things I want in life.

If th…

Obligatory Birthday Post

I ate so much more than a cupcake. I ate Arby's and a McDonald's milkshake and funfetti cake with orange icing, bbq chicken, cheese curls, and beer...lots of beer.

I "allegedly" have not spent my birthday at home with my parents in 11 years. I don't know if the math is correct but what I do know is that is has been a long time. The past few birthdays have been great. Four years ago I went to a Mexican restaurant with some coworkers and then we all got mani-pedis. The following year I went with my friend Anne to a Phillies game. Last year I went with my friend David to a Phillies game and did the whole name in lights thing again except this time I was calm enough to take my picture on the jumbotron. The past two years I also went to Ray's Happy Birthday Bar to get my free birthday shot.

Something was different this year. I had no friends. I know that sounds really sad and pathetic but it is actually pretty true. My work best friend just moved to Georgia the w…

Loss and Change

Tomorrow marks one of my best friend's last day at work. She just so happens to work at the same place I do. It is going to be a rough Friday.

My department has seen a 30% turnover in the past few months. We've lost key players who have direct contact with our clients. We've onboarded some new people too. Basically the whole agency feels like it is in a state of flux. It is a weird feeling. Like, I've been on the same island and now we have a ton of different types of trees that were not there before. Same place, different foliage. Now I just have to get used to it.

I've seen some not so great days. Between losing my best friend/support/comfort and watching many friends move away/move on with their lives...I feel stuck. Quicksand stuck. Watching everyone move on while I stay rooted in the same spot. It is tough. I'm doing everything I possibly can to move up or move on as well, but I'm not so lucky.

I've been doing the same thing for five years. I'v…

The Downside of Being a Late Bloomer

After I graduated college, I applied to a year-long volunteer program in Philadelphia. I spent abut 11 months, working for free, gaining "real world" experience and establishing myself at my place of work. After the year was up I was hired full-time.

That was five years ago. I have, exactly, 5 years of hands on, front line, social work experience. But we learned something while supporting oneself in Philadelphia. We learned (we as in I) that social work wasn't my passion. I love my kids, my clients and a select group of coworkers, but I could not spend my entire life social working. I'd burn out too quickly.

I think about four years ago I wrote a post about how choosing what you do right after college could forever impact the rest of your life. You reach a point where you can no longer experiment with a certain field, you have to take ownership of it and be prepared to potentially advance in that world.

Ok. So. I graduated college, spent a year volunteering as a soci…

The Butterfly

Yesterday was a difficult day. My whole psyche just wasn't having it. Everything hurt physically. My head felt as if were about to explode. I was under-motivated. Every day is a precious gift and I wanted nothing to do with it.

The ink has dried on my Masters Degree and I've reluctantly applied for jobs all over the country. With every "send" I hope "this could be it." I start researching apartment prices in Wyoming, see if the condo in South Carolina accepts dogs. I calculate preliminary moving costs. I make a mental checklist of everything I would need to do from getting a car to changing my address on everything.

Then I go to work and do the same exact work I've been doing for the past 5 years. Thank you paycheck. Thank you health insurance. Thank you cluster of co-workers that have become like family. However, I'm wasting my potential. I'm worried with each passing day my journalistic skills are going to fade as I carry out daily social work…

What Now? And Other Self Discoveries.

If you want to learn more about yourself as a person, book a short trip to a city you've never been to before and build up a ferocious optimistic momentum fueled by hopes and dreams. Analyze results.

I have never been to Boston and I decided shortly after graduating Temple University that I wanted to try and shoot for a job at a BIG newspaper. You see, the Philadelphia Inquirer is on such unstable ground that it is near impossible to get my foot in the elite door of the uncertain newspaper. So I "dream big" and do some digging. I decide that I want to write for the Boston Globe. It is a huge New England paper with a huge staff that is successful both online and in print and is thriving. It is one of the top 10 news organizations in the country.

But wait, we should go to Boston and scope out the area before we try to secure a huge career change there, right?

Sort of.

I booked a trip to Boston for July (this past weekend) and I found tickets to a free tour of the Boston …

Greetings from the Fishbowl

I write to you from a fishbowl, or rather, through my new glasses. I love them. The frames are lager than I'm used to but they look fantastic. There is one tiny problem: they are causing distorted vision. Like... the walls are warped and I can't walk up or down steps straight distortion. The Internets say to let it ride and my brain will adjust accordingly. I say, take them back to the glasses place and double check the prescription to make sure we're not an axis off or something. I just hope this doesn't cost me more money. My boss complimented my glasses today and I was all, "If I stumble around like I am drunk today, I assure you I am not drunk. Its my new glasses."

In other news I went on a healthy adventure yesterday. I took the RiverLine train to Bordentown, NJ and biked the Delaware and Raritan Canal trail. It was a little hot but a beautiful sunny day for a ridiculously long bike ride. I biked a little over 8 miles yesterday. The ride to the marina wa…

A Little Stroke of Luck

I'm alive. Everything and nothing have been happening at the exact same time.

This past weekend I went to Jersey to hang with my best friend. We had a terrific beach day and then went to our favorite All You Can Eat seafood/sushi place in New Brunswick. On Sunday we traveled to the Columbus Farmers Market which is always fun. They have tons of stuff both old and new to browse and well..buy of course.

Yesterday I started back up at the gym again. After gorge-fest 2014 (aka my weekend) I knew it was time to cut the sugar/fats and get my fat ass back to the gym. I just set up a circuit training schedule so I'll mix and match cardio with the circuit training. This should yield results along with the portion control and influx of vegetables/lean means I've been consuming. It is summer and the world is half naked. I can't be jiggling around in my shorts/skirt. No one wants to see that.

Another awesome thing happened yesterday. The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. Every…

Today is Brought To You By The Word "Slump"

I did everything right. Almost. I unfortunately missed yoga yesterday because a client scheduled with me at the last second, thus forcing me to cancel my enrollment in Weds night's yoga class. Such is life. But after that, I did everything right. I went home, I got my things in order for early morning spin class for this morning, I cooked a nice healthy dinner of chicken, carrots and quinoa. I watched a show, ate my dinner, and got ready for bed. I was asleep by 10pm. Bam.

Slept through the night, had cinematic dreams. Like, my dreams were a movie. I didn't recognize the characters or understand why they were happening, but I basically watched some random movie in my sleep. At one point an elderly woman's kitchen caught fire.

I woke up at 6am. I went to get out of bed. I heard the rain pounding on my ceiling. Crap, torrential downpour this morning. My gym bag has a leather base and I have to walk from the gym to work which is about a 20 minute walk. I was going to get soa…