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2015: A Year in Review

Per tradition, I post a year recap close to New Years. Well, this time it is with about 20 min left of 2015 but I'm pretty sure I'll make the cutoff before 2016. 

January: I set off to make this to be the year where I would "have the courage to change the things I can." I took inventory of the things I wanted to change, things I thought would bring me happiness and I set out with a plan to change them. The year started off rough, after a high school friend suffered an unspeakable tragedy, an accident that took the lives of her two sisters, her niece, nephew, sister's unborn child and other sister's boyfriend. I can't imagine what she went through, but it set me off. I felt immense grief and hopelessness for days. It was all for her and her family and I know my feelings are a fraction of what they felt, but it made me think this year was going to be awful. That and my neighbors were getting on my nerves and I was in desperate need of a new job. 

February: As…

Little Moments

An end-of-the-year review is due, but I'll save that for another week or so. My blogging has been less frequent due to my continued demanding work/life schedule. Longer days, less hours to do the things I need to do and being a dog mom. This morning as I hustled to get myself ready for work, I laughed thinking how there was no way I would be able to be a functional human parent. My kids would never be on time for anything. 
To cope with the stress of it all, I've been doing yoga every other day and running. I'm noticing the yoga has improved my mindfulness. Like just yesterday as I was in the middle of the practice, I looked around my living room and noticed a few things for the first time. Like how the bottom ring of my grandfather's Irish flag was rusted or how there was a little bug, dead, trapped in my ceiling light. These things seem innocuous but I felt aware, like in the moment. That was the important thing. 
As 2015 comes to a close, I'm trying to be mindful …

Alive and Well

I'm alive, I swear. I've been working at my new job for a month and a half and am starting to get the hang of things. I've been given full editorial responsibility for our wellness blog and I've been maintaining all social media platforms. So far so good!
I'm getting used to the commute as well. It's about an hour in and a little over an hour back. Bronx has adjusted to the new schedule and I try to take him to doggy daycare once a week to mix up his week and give him some daytime interaction. 
That's pretty much my life. Work. Bronx. Kickboxing. I did go to William and Mary's Homecoming for the first time since graduation. That was a lot of fun. I dressed Bronx up in a W&M shirt and paraded him around campus. Everyone loved him! A lot of people took pics of him. :)
I finally got to go to the W&M Rec Center tailgate! Six years ago I told my bosses that I wanted to adopt a Boxer and name him Bronx. It was such a joy being able to show them that I ma…

Greetings from the Corporate World

I'm back where it all began. Literally. Today I had lunch in the same gazebo I sat in while talking to my parents on the phone about my Redeemer Ministry Corps interview process. I remember looking out across the field in front of me seeing nothing but possibility. I'm pretty sure a "don't get your hopes up" was thrown into the conversation. 

My office sits in the same building I interviewed at (and stayed in) 6 years ago. The dwelling rooms have been turned into offices. Construction is ever present. Oh, if you're just tuning in I work in a former convent. The Provincialate used to be the headquarters for the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer. It is now Corporate headquarters for Holy Redeemer Health System. The Sisters have relocated to the Province Center and I'm over here with the "big wigs" trying to make magic happen. So to speak. 

While I work in the marketing department I get to do a lot of journalism things. Today I wrote an article for our em…

The Time Has Come/I've Arrived!!!

It finally happened. It took a year and a half. There was a lot of tears. I ate horrible things. I drank...a lot. I sat on my roof and looked to the sky thinking there has got to be more than life than this. I wrote about existing instead of living. I got rejected...A LOT. I got my hopes up and watched them crash and burn. I felt stuck. It was an awful feeling. 

Then I got unstuck. Nothing is at random. 

I finally have a full-time paid journalism job. I'm going to be the Social and Digital Media Manager for the health system I currently work for. The ENTIRE health system. I'm going Corporate! 

The process took a little over a month. It felt like forever during the wait but now it seems like everything happened quickly. I applied, was the first interviewed. Waited for the rest of the applicants to go through. I checked back. I got a 2nd interview. I got an HR audition. They called me with an offer that afternoon. I accepted. 

This new position will be a major life upgrade to me. I …

Birthdays and 5K Races with Kevin Hart

From the Crabfest adventures of mid-August to my healthy journey of eating more vegetables and participating in FitBit challenges, August has been a good time. 

Mary Anna's Non-Monday Birthday was a success. I made this fun Etsy-like sticker that read 336 months for the amount of months I am. You know, how they put those stickers on babies "3 months," "5 months," etc. I'm 28. Someone asked me how long it took me to do that math. I said "12 seconds, I used a calculator." I met up with my best friend and we caught up with my other friends at Morgan's Pier for dinner and drinks. They had this delicious concoction called "Mango Shandy" and it was made with apple cider and mango puree. I could drink those all day. Then I'd get diabetes. 



After dinner we went to Penn's Landing Summerfest and caught up with Jschool bestie, Alexa. Alexa and I tried our hand (or feet rather) at skating. I put the skates on and thought "nope." …

The Road to Health

I'm back on the green smoothie kick and I'm eating a lot more kale than I ever have in my life. It's summer and I wasn't too happy with how I looked in some of my vacation pictures. I felt I could benefit from some healthier decisions. I realized one thing really helps me make the healthiest choices: accountability. 

I am now back to using my FitBit on the regular. I've joined Wellcoin, an app that gives you coins for completing healthy tasks. The coins can be redeemed for actual gift cards and merchandise. I'm checking in with coworkers about their fitness journey. So far I'm doing pretty well with the eating well part but definitely need to step up my exercise. I'm finding that after work I'm just too exhausted and it is too hot outside. I just want to enjoy my parking space on my block and hang out with Bronx. I need to start training soon because the Broad Street Run is a 2016 goal I have. I finished the race under two and a half hours this year …

The Whirlwind Tour of August

Today is August 11th. There are 31 days in August. We are on the 11th day. When did that happen? August has always been a good month for me, mainly because my birthday is August 24th. I've got some fun plans with good people in store for that birthday weekend. Sadly my actual natal day is on a Monday. I'll make the best of it though. 
Where do we start? Well, the reunion I suppose. I coordinated/planned/shelled out my own cash and collected cash to pull of Nandua High School's Class of 2005 10 Year Reunion. It was an anxiety inducing process but at the end of it all, the reunion turned out well. I had some no-shows and we didn't have the faculty guests we expected (which proved to be a huge bummer). However, everyone had a great time. It was so good to see some people I haven't seen in 10 years! Almost every knew about Bronx and many asked about him. haha It was like he was my son for real. 

The highlight of Reunion Weekend was undoubtedly the night prior to the big …

Getting Closer to Everything

Huge sigh of relief. I, as well as some of my fellow classmates, managed to secure 51 individuals to attend our 10 year High School Reunion! That is a great turnout for an equally great event. All the prepwork is done, party favors have been created/bought (just need to assemble gift bags). My DJ is an alumni and he's confirmed and everything is just waiting to go down. I can finally say I'm excited about the event now that the whole attendance situation has settled. There are a lot of great people going, many of whom I haven't seen in 10 years! Plus my three closest high school friends will be there as well so our little crew is reuniting for a weekend. I've got a really cute dress, matching toenails (pedicure this past weekend) and have a good idea of how the evening is going to go. After all, I'm am the emcee!

Once the reunion is over, I have one day to collect my thoughts before driving up to the Poconos for a week-long vacation with my family. I'm excited B…

Little Accomplishments

The past two weeks have been peppered with little accomplishments. Last week I helped our agency get Sanctuary Certified! I contributed by giving our assessors tours, participating actively in case management meetings and teaching my weekly class about feelings and feeling poems. It was exhausting and the pressure was on ALL of us, but we did it. Took three years but now Drueding is Sanctuary Certified. It is a big deal and we are relieved. 

As I recovered from that I got invited to a luncheon on behalf of one of my volunteer's. She had received a grant for our agency to help purchase enrichment materials for our school age tutoring programs. I got to go to a nice lunch with her, and speak for a video that will promote our program and volunteer opportunities throughout the community. Being on camera made me realize how much I love the media/journalism world. I had the communications crew cracking up and delivered a solid, flawless, no stutter answer sequence to the questions. I eve…

Jittery July

This month is proving to be quite stressful. First, my workplace is being evaluated by a trauma-theory Institute to see if we have indeed reached accreditation with them. For two days two assessors will inspect every facet of our program to determine if we are worthy of certification. Personally, I think we will be certified. We've done everything from paint the white hallways fun colors to increasing signage, preparing a structured but relaxed schedule and provided multiple opportunities to see just how we run things around here. It doesn't make it any less stressful. Especially because I liaison for an outside group coming the same day the assessors arrive. And that group has requested a mandated attendance of 3. You see, we don't mandate anything at our agency. I'm hopeful I have at least 3 families and that I can do well with my four to five pieces of the evaluation process. 

Tack on the final countdown to my 10 year high school reunion that I'm planning. Enthus…

From Sea to Shining Sea

Whew! What a 4th of July week/end!

Adventures started for me on June 30th when my best friend and I scored suite seats for the Phillies Brewers game. We got free food and free beer, a private bathroom and a great view of the game. A guy in the box next to ours caught a Ryan Howard foul ball. (If only the wind worked in my favor). It was a really neat experience to be a VIP for a night. Of course the Phillies lost because let's face it, they resembled the 90's Phillies. It was still a good game. 

Wednesday night my friend Hillary and I went to watch Rocky on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps (where Stallone famously ran up in the movie). It is one of my favorite Philly traditions. The 4th of July is my favorite holiday so I have all these fun little things I like to do every year. Rocky is one of them. Hillary hadn't seen Rocky prior to that night so she had the best first experience of the movie. 

Thursday I kidnapped my co-worker and friend, Erin and we trekked down to In…

Road Trip with Baye

My joke was that I want hiking with "baye" this weekend. Baye is actually my dog son, Bronx. On Sunday we decided to be spontaneous and take advantage of the no-humidity weather. We drove up to Bushkill, PA to hike Bushkill Falls. It was the perfect day for it. The park was pretty muddy so we got wet and dirty hiking for 3.5 hours, but it was worth it. Bronx did really well on the leash. I am convinced he is part mountain goat because of how well he handled walking on the jagged rocks.


He barked at his first waterfall. He walked up to it, all curious and cocked his head to the side. He decided to bark at it. It was kind of funny even though he startled some visitors next to us. He hates water and is afraid of loud noises but he was pretty brave throughout the whole hike. He didn't slow down, not even after I realized we missed one of the falls and had to double back to go see it. It was wet and treacherous, (think uphill slippery rocks and mud) but worth it. I had his por…

Books

During my second year of graduate school at Temple University, I was enrolled in this nearly impossible class: Editing the News I. You'd think we'd just be copy editing existing articles or learning the ins and outs of the editing world but it was so much more than that. For starters, we had to bring all 14 of our textbooks to class every day. Yes, 14. All of us had rolling bookbags to accommodate the load. I remember having to take SEPTA with my stupid rolling suitcase of books, resenting the world as I rolled my way down Girard Ave into work. We never used all 14 books in one class. At the most, we used 3 or 4. But we'd get called out if we forgot one. It was ridiculous. 

Our assignments were also unreal. We'd have to read a chapter and summarize it. Hey, not a big deal. But we'd also be given some huge task like creating a double truck layout on whales or collecting and identifying leaves. THEN we had to find time to study for the following quizzes which took pla…

Awards and Accolades

I have arrived. Or something like that. 

After six years with Drueding Center (one as an RMC volunteer), I have been awarded Employee of the Quarter. I was recognized for my endless creativity, ability to go above and beyond and take on many tasks outside my job description. I also fostered a meaningful professional relationship with one of our volunteers that got us a $1,000 grant for our tutoring programs. BAM. I have arrived. 

That is as high as it gets. Granted, I am in the running for Employee of the Year now. However, that usually goes to someone who feeds their neighborhood kids or rescues baby animals in their spare time. I'm not quite that worthy. But, that is as high as it gets in a work environment that can't afford to give raises and has no room for promotions. I'm chilling at the top of the mountain, metaphorically speaking. 
I'm grateful. Recognition and appreciation always feels great. Plus I'm someone who maps out my life by awards and accolades so thi…

Wiggle Butts and Parking Spaces

What can I say, he is pretty precious. This is what Bronx looks like after a day full of car rides and hiking in the suburbs. He sniffed everything so hard, a white foam formed around his nose. He had a really fun time and as you can see, he is dog tired. 

We're in a good place. He was exhibiting some recent separation anxiety. In the mornings as I'd get ready for work, he would get really antsy, start whining, charging the front door in an attempt to run down the stairs. Kind of like a "well, I'm down here so you HAVE to take me with you." I think the whole getting a car thing threw him off. Mom has a rolling box that I can ride in, therefore I can go with Mom wherever she goes. haha I don't know if dogs can reason, but I think there is a connection between my new car and my dog. 

So mornings were rough. As were afternoons. My otherwise angel of a dog was finding new things to get into like...the trashcan. This dog is scared of my trashcan. For three months he…

Life Update No Updates

Hey everyone. Nothing much is really happening. I've been adjusting and enjoying life with a motor vehicle. Bronx and I went down to Virginia last weekend to visit my parents. We had a great time and Bronx loved the "country." He got to run around and lay by screen doors all day. I just tried to rest and relax and plan my next goal. 

No news on the job front. I have a few applications out but I'm not getting my hopes up. I'm not trying to be a pessimist but I know I'm trying to enter a dying field without an internship to show for it. I can either work for below living wage, try to take on an unpaid internship in addition to my full-time job, or keep hoping and praying something will come along. Why did I have to fall in love with Journalism? Couldn't I have picked something more lucrative like accounting or law? haha No regrets. 

I've got some fun things planned for June including a Phillies game where they're giving out "Runner's Shirts&q…

Revisiting "The Courage to Change The Things I Can"

As 2014 came to a close I began wondering what kind of resolution I'd make for 2015. 2014 had been a pretty epic year. I graduated from Temple with my MJ, ran some really good races, got exceptional high pass on my comprehensive exams, visited Boston. Good year. So, if you've been following along you know I designated 2015 to be the year where I find "the courage to change the things I can." 

January was rough. It made me sit down and think about what I have control over and what aspects in my life are completely out of my control. My one bedroom apartment in Center City was beginning to feel small. I really wanted a dog. I wanted to live in a neighborhood where people actually talked to you. I wanted an oven so I could cook actual casseroles and eat them throughout the week. After four years, it was time to move. 

I haphazardly looked up some Craigslist ads and found two apartments in South Philly, the neighborhood I wanted to move to. The first apartment was a little…

10 Miles

Yesterday I did something I never thought I could do: I ran/walked 10 miles in the Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run. I along with about 40,000 other people made the epic trek from North Philadelphia to South Philadelphia. 

I got up at 5am on Sunday morning, got dressed and took my very confused dog out for an early morning walk. He isn't used to being out so early but he got up and happily went out. We took a brisk walk on our morning route. It was a little chilly but I knew the day was going to warm up. We got back home, I gave him an early breakfast, then ate a bagel thin and peanut butter and banana myself. I tape up my legs with KT tape, put on my compression sleeves, fastened my bib to my shirt and gathered my race supplies. 

I made it to the subway around 6:05 and was happy to see it wasn't crowded. The SEPTA attendant wish me luck and several other runners exchanged smiles or small talk with me. We were all there for the same thing and there was a strong sense of …