Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year In Review

It is December 31st, 2012. Looking back, as we tend to do during this time, I realize it has been quite the year. I'd say this has been one of my better years, but like any cycle of 365 days, it had its ups and downs.

I lost 30+ lbs though the dedicated fervor of kickboxing once or twice a week in South Philly. Sadly, this was the 30 lbs I lost during my stint with fat class which I lost, gained back and ultimately lost. Point is, I'm healthier and much more into fitness than I used to be. I started running at Temple's indoor track. I started running outside, to the art museum steps and along the river. I'm going to call about a new kickboxing/martial arts studio in my work neighborhood to see their rates and if they're too high I'm taking up dance fitness for a month.

I lost a gallbladder and experienced my very first serious surgery in my life. I got to spend 5 days in a hospital and get rid of an organ that had caused me a lot of pain in 2011 into 2012. I've been healthier and happier ever since and my employee discount/insurance made the financial aspect of my stay and surgery a miracle.

I somehow made it through the worst semester in my entire academic life. I had a horrendously tough J School class that made me cry as I went home each night due to the pressure and the assignments and the expectations. While this class destroyed my 4.0 GPA by 8 tenths of a point, I look back and realize that an A- isn't that bad considering I missed 3 weeks due to surgery/recovery and half the time I had no idea what I was doing. I think that class made me a stronger person but it came dangerously close to breaking me.

I lost a good friend, someone who I considered one of my best friends. I think both of us may have changed from when we were last together and that change was too hard to bear. I'm still struggling with it because I miss my friend, but much like the ebb and flow of the tide, friends ebb and flow in and out of your life. I'm always going to want to fix what is broken but I know it is probably beyond repair.

I may have lost one of my best friends, but I also gained a new friend. While covering an assignment for a school project, I met a fantastic young woman who shares similar interests as I and we have had a blast hanging out. The trick to maintaining this friendship will be managing our crazy schedules but as I have not hung out with her since before Thanksgiving, I still feel like it was yesterday and our friendship is great and will grow in 2013.

I almost had to move out of my apartment and had a nervous breakdown because of it. I was so upset that I accidentally dropped an egg out of my fridge which somehow led to all my eggs falling out of the fridge and cracking on my floor. That led to me sobbing uncontrollably on my kitchen floor. Alas, I learned the power of negotiation after a rent raise and won the negotiation. I'm terrified to negotiate and tend to take what is given to me but this experience taught me what wonderful benefits you will receive if you try. I may move sometime in the summer to a bigger place, but for now I can stay snug in my little apartment on top of a pizza shop in Center City.

I went though a very difficult period of time when I was depressed for months and couldn't figure out why. I suspected it was due to work stuff, but I wasn't sure. I was a sad, angry, pathetic excuse for a worker. I got called out for it and told to seek help and that in and of itself was a wake up call. I became very close with a few select co-workers to the point I'd consider them as family. I started journaling again which proved to be helpful and I worked things out a bit on my own. I realized that my attitude wasn't a solo in a bubble thing and that many of my co-workers were going though similar ruts. The dynamic of our work community has changed and not for the better and I'm not the only person that realizes that. This isn't the same place it was 1 or 2 years ago and I hope changes will be made to build it back up to the powerhouse of a community it used to be.

I had always dreamed of falling in love around the Holidays. I think I've wanted a holiday romance for years and years. After months and months of online dating, awkward dates, year long crushes on guys who didn't care if I lived or died, single desperation, I finally fell into what I had been looking for. I randomly reconnected with an old high school friend in a very platonic situation and somehow at the same time we were shot by Cupid and realized there was more there. We had both given up on "love" and were focused on our own lives but bumped into each other in the process. Much to my surprise I will be entering 2013 with my heart belonging to someone else and their heart belonging to me. It is an exciting feeling.

In 2012, I got to go to a college friend's amazing wedding which turned into a pretty sweet reunion. I rented a car for the first time. I flew for the first time since Nicaragua to visit a friend in North Carolina. I spent my birthday with my close friends and even got my name on the Phillies Jumbotron. I met Cliff Lee, a Phillies pitcher and through my job that I complain about sometimes, scored baseline seats TWICE for free. I found my "Cheers" bar and visit there often. (They have great wings). I had a successful fall semester in J School and some unique opportunities in that field have been flying by my way. I lost a dear Sister of the Holy Redeemer friend who is in a much better peaceful place now.

It has been an up and down year. My new friend says she likes to enter the new year being "the best version of herself." I tend to be the best version of a drunken mess each New Years Eve, so I decided to try something different. Tonight I will be participating in a New Years Eve Bikram Yoga class and vegetarian potluck/non-alcoholic toast. Naturally, I'll have a travel mug of champagne ready for the walk home, but I'm going to ring in 2013 in downward dog, sweaty and healthy. I can't say the same for New Years Day because that is bound to be full of day drinking and Mummers, but hey...its that transition to midnight that counts.

My resolution for 2013 is to take more risks. This may seem crazy or stupid but I don't mean life-threatening risks. I play it safe all too often. I'm too scared to make major life changes. I'm too scared to fall in love. I'm too scared to fulfill my dream and do a stand-up comedy open mic night. I want to try new things this year. I want to travel as best I can on my limited mobility/time/budget. I want to take risks that will make 2013 one of the best years of my life.

Until next year...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sweet Nostalgia

When I'm home on the Eastern Shore, I tend to get realll nostalgic. I guess it is my way of reminding myself where I came from and this place that made me who I am today. That is how I look at it. So I decided to browse through my old yearbooks from high school, a very sweet and awesome time of my life. I reviewed what people wrote about me and thought about it all.

I got a lot of "to a cool and crazy chick" "bubbly" "full of potential" "big things are coming your way" "great friend" "funny" "great stories" "entertaining" "hilarious friend to be around" "good times" and even a few "hot" "sexy" "sweet" and "nice" comments as well.

Many of these people have come and gone. There are even a few names I don't recognize since I asked EVERYONE to sign my yearbook whether you rode the bus with me for a year or had one class with me or we just passed by each other in the hall. Looking back, I think I had more sex appeal than I thought I did at the time. hah I mean, everyone thinks they are awkward as hell in high school, but I think I may have been a lot more appealing than I thought. Especially since when I randomly bump into people from the past, usually one or two admit they either had a crush on my in high school or thought I was amazing and sexy. Wierd, right? I was literally that smart, pompass ass, goody two-shoes girl who happened to also be decently popular, a favorite with the teachers, hilarious, and....pretty? I didn't know. I really didn't know.

A lot of the comments stated I was ambitious, which I think couldn't be more true. I wonder what these bus riders, lunch sharers, once in a classroom commenters would think of me today. Did big things happen? Am I still that quirky, funny, entertaining girl? I think for the most part, I've maintained a hold on those qualities. A lot of hilarious stories at work start with "One time, Mary Anna...."

I help homeless kids, that is a pretty big thing. I live alone in a large city. That is big. I'm in graduate school maintaining an "A" average in Journalism. Ah, journalism, that is another thing. I was thinking about how I've had to spend a pretty penny on some jschool gadgets and how I'm one of those people who never finish what I start. I tend to jump from hobby to hobby without really investing in one basic thing. But journalism? I look at my digital voice recorder and my notebooks and my textbooks and ponder getting a Macbook and think....this is what I want to do with the rest of my life. This isn't a hobby, this is my career. Rise up.

I get ego-centric on the Shore. Thanks for bearing with me. Merry Christmas Eve!

Until Next Time...

Monday, December 17, 2012

One Friday Morning in December

On Friday, December 14th, a troubled young man opened fire in a Kindergarten classroom and killed 20 innocent, young, beautiful children. He also managed to assassinate several staff members including the school principal and the school psychologist. The entire nation and world knows about this incident. People all throughout the country are grieving with Newtown, CT. The quiet, close-knit community is having a hard time preparing for Christmas with the thick fog of loss hanging in the air.

This incident sparked major debates on mainstream media channels, social media outlets and even in little coffee shops. "We need more gun control. This violence has got to stop." "Do we really value guns over children?" "What is the point of having a gun anyway?" "It is just a tool to injure or kill people."

"According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did)."

If your recall some of the most tragic, senseless acts of violence involving mass shootings, you will remember that the majority have been carried out by white males with severe mental illness. Yes, most of these weapons of death have been purchased legally or borrowed/stolen from someone who purchased them legally. How many mass shootings have been carried out by young males of any other race who bought their firearm from some guy on the street?

My city has a really high homicide rate and small scale shootings are a daily occurrence. This is where gun control is needed. These teenagers who aren't even old enough to own a gun, buy them off the street and then pop the first person that pisses them off or says something negative on Facebook. That shit needs to be "controlled."

I'm sure our nation's gun policies could use revision. This senseless violence needs to come to an end. There is no good reason for innocent bloodshed because of a troubled or disturbed individual. Our mental health care system needs the biggest revision and our political figures need to take a closer look at THAT.

I get so frustrated when people say "no more guns! Get rid of guns! The 2nd Amendment doesn't matter anymore, that was for back in the day when you needed to protect yourself from others." We still need to protect ourselves from others and it is sad. The flip side to the gun control debate is: what if the principal was allowed to conceal carry? I know, its terrifying to think of your elementary school principal packing heat in the school, but think about it for a second.

It may come as a surprise to many, but I am a gun owner. I use my firearm for hunting whitetail deer, but I own a firearm. The thought of "getting rid of all firearms" makes me sad because I purchased my gun legally, I routinely go over safe handling procedures with my dad, and I know the ins and outs of my gun. Not everyone has the point of view of "get rid of all guns in America," but many people do.

THAT is why I'm on this side of the debate. Gun owners and gun activists are going to shake their fists at those who do not own a gun. The gun-less debaters wouldn't be effected if all of the guns were confiscated or taken off the streets. They'd feel safer, maybe, but they don't lose anything. Gun owners would lose something. I doubt our nation would resort to such an extreme measure, and the truth is, you could stop selling guns and people will still find ways to obtain them or carry out their tragic plans.

The trick is finding a way to control the sale and distribution of guns so that young teens can't get them illegally, the mentally ill are treated before they can gain access to them and the responsible gun owners can continue doing their thing. But you can't predict when someone will snap. That is part of the problem as well.

The bottom line is: gun control is tricky. But no matter what side of the debate you are on, it is going to be extremely difficult to coax someone from the other side to join yours. Gun-less individuals want guns gone. Gun owners want to maintain their Constitutional right. No matter how much you debate, you're going to stick to your side and refuse to see the other.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? What came first, the gun purchase/motive or the mental illness that made an individual crack and form a plan of massive violence? You decide.

Until Next Time....

If you'd like to help the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting, you can donate money to their United Way fund. There are many ways to help, monetarily or otherwise. Please continue to keep their community in your thoughts and/or prayers. It is going to take them a very long time to recover and they could use all the good thoughts and peaceful wishes they can get.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gray Thursday/Black Friday

So today was Thanksgiving and after a delicious meal and a traditional Thanksgiving movie, my family and I decided to venture out into the world of Gray Thursday. Now, this was all my doing because a) I love to shop and b) I enjoy competition. I got dressed in my motorcycle boots and army dress, ready for anything. I even listened to some music to pump me up (just for fun).

"It’s not that serious" my parents said. They rolled their eyes and joked about leaving the house so late (7:30pm).

Oh, but it was that serious. The parking lot was full. We had to park next door at the YMCA. I ran ahead, walked into the store, and BOOM. The ENTIRE EASTERN SHORE OF VIRGINIA was in the store. I grabbed a cart and headed towards the Tupperware. I soon realized that wasn't happening. So I ditched the cart and continued to find the Tupperware. That was the main thing I wanted. I soon found it and then tried to locate other items.

You had to get a ticket to get a TV. There were people huddled near pallets of dvd players and blu ray players. Fights nearly broke out. I really wanted the 1 Terabyte external hard drive which was on sale for $59 at 10pm. I couldn't find out where they would be selling it so I decided to check where hard drives normally are sold. Sure enough I found the sucker sitting on a shelf! I grabbed it and waiting until 10pm to pay for it.

During the wait, I tried to secure a $20 printer for my parents and a big flash drive for myself. I planted myself against a pallet thinking that people would have to knock me out of the way if they wanted to get one (unless they were a store employee in which I'd kindly get out of the way). I really wanted two flash drives because they were on sale but I couldn't get the printer and the flash drives. So I made friends with a guy who got the flash drives for me and I got a printer for him. It was a fair trade. At one point a pallet of phones was removed from our area and placed at a different location. Fortunately with the pallet, went all the people looking for the phones.

Being the awkward magnet of odd, this short little guy comes up to me and says hello.
I said hi, because a lot of people say hi as they try to squeeze by. Yeah, shouldn't have, because this invites him to have a conversation with me about where I'm from, what I do, did I come to the Shore alone, what kind of movies do I like, la de da
He actually kind of hugs me and puts his hand on the small of my back and tells me to have a great Thanksgiving. I want to be like "SHUT UP I'M STALKING THESE PRINTERS" and I was trying to watch my guy on the flash drives so I didn't have time for chit chat.

At about 9:55, someone started ripping through the plastic of one of the boxes. "NO IT IS NOT 10 o’clock" the employees shouted. So they put the merch back but a few seconds later, everyone started ripping through shit. Naturally I joined in, I mean...if I sat back and watched everyone I wouldn't get the printers. I managed to get the printers and the guy got my flash drives. I was so thankful to get out of that section, for people were getting crazy and the short guy was probably about to ask me out on a date. After buying my goods, I went to fetch the car since it was far and I walk the fastest. On my walk to the car, a bunch of guys slowed down and hollered at me "Hey mama, don't walk so hard. I'd eat that ass up." In my ever classy way I yelled back "thanks anyway, but I'm a lesbian." Needless to say, I didn't get a response. I should have said I was married because in small town USA, my false comebacks could be spread around as fact. Oh well, I was tired and cold.

So nothing like getting hit on. Getting bumped into. Fighting to get cheap deals and wishing everyone a "Happy Thanksgiving" along the way. (Except to the ignorant woman who was pushing past everyone even when a woman in a wheelchair was waiting to get by). Crazy, that one Wal-mart on the Eastern Shore.

I made away with a portable Ipod stereo, my hard drive, my flash drive, some shirts, a few dvds and a convection oven and of beloved Tupperware. I'm not sure if I'll be going out tomorrow for Round 2, but if I do...I doubt it will be as crazy. :)

Until next time...

Friday, November 2, 2012

It is November 2nd, and I have no idea who I'm voting for

The 2012 presidential election is in four days and I am an undecided voter. Over the past several months, I've had strong feelings about each candidate, to the point where I thought "I know who has my vote." However, I've changed my mind over and over again. You see, I HATE politics. I love democracy but I HATE politics. Personally I believe both candidates are full of empty promises that they make just to get elected. They're not really going to DO anything. If Obama gets re-elected, it will be four more years of the same. If Romney gets elected, he'll realize it isn't so easy to undo every Obama policy ever made and might even be swayed to continue certain pre-existing policies. I still haven't looked at my PA ballot to see what else we're voting for. I've paid attention to the campaigns, read recaps on the debates, I know where the candidates stand on the issues, or at least where they think they stand, but I still don't know who has my vote.

I consider myself a political moderate. I'm for gay marriage and gay rights, for some of my dearest friends are gay. I'm pro-social services due to my job. I do think the welfare and public assistance system could use some reform. I'm pro gun rights...the crazy people shooting up things? A lot of them obtained their guns legally. There were other issues that made them go off the deep end and cause widespread tragedy. The "thugs" on the streets? They get guns illegally. I highly doubt stricter gun laws will prevent or reduce the number of gun violence incidents.

I'm pro-life except for incest, rape, or if the mother is in terrible danger. I know as a women I am expected to praise "a women's right to choose what is best for her body" but honestly, wear a condom, take birth control, practice safe sex. So many women out there just get laid because their man says "I love you. I want to have a baby by you." Then the man leaves, they are pregnant and they want to just erase their "mistake" because they've found themselves in the middle of a life-altering reality. Every woman has her reason and I can't judge the whole world of women, but there are measures to prevent pregnancy BEFORE it happens and I don't understand why more women don't use it. Note: I'm not including rape or incest in this generalization.

I don't think Planned Parenthood is the anti-Christ.

I think marijuana should be legalized. I'm grateful all companies must provide birth control for their female employees. Some people are on birth control so they CAN have kids someday. Perhaps certain organs don't work the way they should and women are prescribed birth control to make those organs work. I know from experience.

I'd pro-Equal Pay Act. Just because I have ovaries doesn't mean I should be paid less than an equally educated man.

There needs to be more federal aid and financial assistance for post secondary education. There is no reason why graduate students should be barred from obtaining subsidized loans. We need more jobs. Gas needs to get cheaper. We need to protect our environment better. I'm for taxing the wealthy a little bit more, but maybe that is because I am not wealthy. I'm for tax cuts and I do think our national debt is ridiculous.

I hate getting into political debates because you always run into someone who feels so strongly about their beliefs that they will knock down all of your beliefs and try to force their agenda on you. Which is why, I stay mute when people talk politics. I don't feel like being called an idiot for my conservative ideals or a "bleeding heart liberal" for my more liberal ideals. I'm a moderate. I sit on the fence. I wait to be swayed.

I will vote on November 6th. I will read up on other ballot issues. I will stand behind whatever decision I make. But its November 2nd and I don't know who I'm going to vote for yet.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Eye of the Tiger or Something Like That

When I'm running, lets say...up a very huge flight of steps...I start to get winded. I don't think I get winded from the exertion, I think its from looking up at how far I have to go. My shortness of breath kicks in when I look up. I find when I run but look down, concentrating on each single step, I can last longer and don't get as winded so quickly.

I guess life is sort of like that. Lately, I've been getting emotionally winded by my job. The pay is decent, the benefits are pretty good, I like most of my co-workers. I have an excellent supervisor and I'm not just saying that because this is a public blog. However over the past month and a half I've had a piss poor attitude the second I walk through the door. As Sunday comes to a close, a feeling of dread and disappointment crashes over me like a tidal wave. "I have to go to work tomorrow," I think.

When I wake up in the morning, I do a mental check to see if anything hurts or if I am physically ill so I can call out sick. I just went on vacation in August, I shouldn't feel like that.

Or should I....I work late at least two nights a week...a pattern that I've been told will not change. I've been sharing an office for 3 years, the past few months with another full time employee and we share a computer and a phone. I've been putting up with a lot of other people's crap and feel hopeless and helpless because I can't professionally direct my grievances to someone in a productive manner. I serve on almost every committee we have at work. I run very successful programs. I'm a "yes ma'am" in that when you ask me to do something, I'm 95% likely to do it. But I feel stuck. I feel I've got nowhere to move but from my office chair to the one on the other side of the desk so my office mate can use the computer.

My patience for everyday annoyances has run thin too. I find myself trying not to get into physical altercations with people on the street who test my once ever abundant patience. I used to politely decline persistent panhandlers. Now if they touch me, badger me or aggressively try to get me to give them money, it takes every ounce of Jesus in me to not punch them square in the jaw.

I didn't always use to feel so violent and angry. As of this Monday, I felt that my personal life and academic life were in check, but my professor gave me some harsh critiques on what I thought to be, an excellent audio slideshow project. After that happened, I started to associate my negative feelings towards school too. I thought "well if I can't even create an audio slideshow to my professor's professional standards, should I even be in this program?"

I'm not going to quit my job. I'm not going to drop out of school. But something has to change. It used to take a whole lot of stuff to get me angry. Now I can curse out inanimate objects just for being knocked over by my aggressive behavior.

I need to focus on the stairs. Focus on each day and not look at the long and painful month ahead. I need to find if there is any opportunity for change and cling to that hope. I need to get over myself.

I may also need good anger management classes.

Until next time...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

When the Grass Under Your Feet is Actually a Meadow....

Prepare for a post of vulnerability.

So, as few may know, I entered a weight loss challenge at work rightly called "The Biggest Loser." In the past three weeks I've lost 6.5 lbs...a small but very normal and healthy amount of weight to lose. I kick box twice a week, and get the gym one to two more times in addition to that. I've been jogging, learning about what happens when my muscles decide they don't want to work that hard (ace bandages are my new best friend) and eating very healthy. I'm not "dieting" I'm making a lifestyle change. I eat very little to no processed food/fast food/sodas/sugary snacks..etc. I'm conscious of what I drink and I try hard to work out all parts of my body. I've fallen in love with kickboxing and have seriously developed an addiction to eating right/exercising/becoming a healthy person. I've become so addicted that I've lost sight of other things in life...

Like my social life. Granted, I've been busy with various things, including a lot of work special events...but I've sort of pushed my social life to the side. Going out drinking all night sounds horrible after working out AND I've become a lot more tired (despite the energizing feeling you're supposed to have) by all this work/working out. I'm not a total bum, but I've made plans and cancelled with my friends a few times due to injuries and exhaustion. I feel bad, but I'm just focusing on the fitness right now.

Life isn't like that though. I'm coming up on my 25th birthday and can't help but shake my head when I think about how long I've been single. I'm not getting all whiney or anything, I actually had a self revelation this evening. See, I'm not single and alone because no one wants me. I'm single and alone because lately, I've stopped putting myself in situations where I could actually meet someone.

I decided to go out to my favorite bar for a drink and maybe strike up a conversation with a lone male patron if possible. This was a stretch for me, because when I go to bars alone (which is not that frequently) I am struck with a sense of self-conscious vulnerability. I'm thinking that everyone thinks I'm desperate because I'm that big girl, alone at the bar with a drink in her hand. Granted, no one is paying attention to me because they are with their friends. But still, I over freak out about it.

Well, I went to the bar and there weren't a lot of patrons there anyway. At first I was discouraged. I knew that I looked a helluva lot better tonight than I did two months ago. I knew that my stomach was narrowing, I was getting an hour glass figure, that I didn't have to worry about a double chin sneaking in my DMV picture today, that my arm fat jiggled less and my legs were getting really strong. I knew all of this, but I still got down. I figured that I didn't measure up to the super petite hot bartender and that I was still a long way from my personal health goals and an even longer way from the societal standard for beauty. I don't want to be a supermodel. I just want to have a nice clear bright face, shiny hair, white teeth and a non-obese figure. These are perfectly attainable goals!

A group of guys came into the bar and ordered drinks. The male bartender said "there is no one sitting from her on down." He was just exhibiting good customer service, but that is when I lost it. That’s right fellas, no one is sitting near me on either side. Then another terror ran through my body. What if one of these guys tried to talk to me. What would I do? What would I say? I began to freak out about this as I watched the women's Beach Volleyball match play on the flat screen in front of me.

As I picked up my Long Island for a sip, condensation ran down the glass and spattered on my leg. After about 10-15 spatters...I began to wonder if by the time I left this bar it would appear I peed myself.

I finally gave up, finished my drink and left...stopping at CVS for a sugary pick me up...nothing that would destroy my hard work but just something to induce endorphines.

As I walked home....alone...I thought about a few things. First of all, there weren't that many guys at the bar. It wasn't that I wasn't attractive, it just wasn't a good night for putting myself out there. Second of all, my looks weren't the problem, my attitude was. Granted I sat there with great posture, shoulders high...deep down I was worried about what others would think about me and if someone talked to me what I would say. I'm known as a master of words, I'm witty, scarcastic and can make even a surley elderly person laugh...but at that moment I was weak. I'd probably resort to my defense mechanism which involves me "bro-ing down" with the male speaking. I'd prolly look at him and say "this is my shit" and point to the Olympics or something. Because that is what I do. I bring myself down to the guy's level because that makes me feel more comfortable and yes....less attractive.

I over-thought it. I then decided that it wasn't just my body that wasn't in top shape for being on the prowl, it was my mind too. I'm doing the best I can for my health right now, but I still STILL feel the sting of hurtful words said to me by strangers who have called me fat, big, and considered me a grenade. Those days are way behind me but I can't seem to shake them. I'm not that girl anymore, but I'm also not the super sassy girl who thinks she's out of everyone's league.

I hate it when people patronize me with the usual “you’ll find someone when you least expect it” bullshit. I no longer wander the streets, staring into the eyes of every attractive person wondering if they are my soul mate. I quit online dating because I was typecasting every guy who messaged me and ruling even the average ones out due to several glaring flaws in my head. I’ve been focusing on self improvement and health and personal happiness and letting life take me where I need to go. However, I haven’t had opportunities to even accidentally find someone. I shouldn’t expect much since I look like hell after a workout and work with homeless women and children. Haha

Honestly, after all of this, I learned that I need to work on building confidence. I’m already repairing my body to make it better and stronger. But I need to repair my heart. For the longest time no one would even look in my direction unless they were elderly or homeless because of the way I looked and the attitude I had. Its time to change that. I need to convince myself that I’m not that big girl anymore. I’m healthier and getting sexier by the day. It’s just going to be a long process, however I’m grateful for the lessons learned tonight.

Until next time…

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 got pregnant ON PURPOSE?

A few posts ago, I ranted about the velocity in which my friends are getting engaged, married, and popping out children. Today I will focus strictly on a rant regarding popping out children and of course, a philosophical take on FaceBook.

Every 20-something is going through this phase where pregnancies among one's social group is now a normal thing. I mean, let's face it...everyone is having babies. Its kind of funny, lately I think I'm being stalked by pregnant people I don't know. I think its because I'm hyper aware of pregnant women these days. Last night I had a dream about my pregnant college bestie (who is due a few days before my birthday). Pregnancy is EVERYWHERE.

Clearly that study on the news stating the US birth rate is declining was WRONG.

Anyway, it or hate it, our society is ADDICTED to it. You stalk people from Kindergarten to see if they're hot or follow your college friends and post annually on their wall for their creepily check out family members...etc. But Facebook is a megaphone for good news. See, users can filter the bad shit out of their lives and only post positive things on Facebook. This makes viewers believe that individual's life is PERFECT.

Think about it, you're on Facebook and all you see are pictures from vaycay in Europe, your ex-roomate's hot boyfriend, a very extravagant wedding, oh...yes...and ultrasound pictures with status updates like "OMG +1 SO EXCITED" followed by 50+ comments which all say "holy shit, congratulations"

Now, what you may not know about your "friends" who seem to have it all is that their dear Aunt Susan has cancer (unless they status a prayer request) or that their trip to Europe has now put them in a state of debt where they have to move back in with their parents. Or that their hot boyfriend just cheated on them with another guy. These are the updates you DON'T get to see on Facebook, rightly so because that's not classy.

So, back to babies. I have a point I swear. When damn near all your friends are posting positive pregnancy test pictures and ultrasound pictures of tiny fetus like peanuts or using the famous BABY TRACKER APP which states "3 baby is the size of a pencil eraser omg" you start to I doing something wrong?

There is an age old experiment where people get in an elevator and face the back wall. The one person that isn't in on the joke feels self-conscious and is like "but the doors are here...." Pressured by the need to conform, that person faces the back wall as well. They don't want to be an outsider and perhaps the wall facing riders know something he or she does not.

Conformity. We're at an era where people are having kids in their 20s and that is great, however Facebook makes it seem like EVERYONE IS DOING IT which is not so great. I have a decent salary paying job, I live in a 1 bedroom apartment in Center City Philadelphia, I'm in graduate school studying a craft I love and the only baby I see myself having anytime soon is my writing career....but am I doing it wrong? Like, should I be trying to nail down a man and pop out kids? DID THE INTERNAL BABY CLOCK SPEED UP AND NO ONE TOLD ME???? I'm in the elevator, knowing the doors open to the front but wondering why everyone is staring at the back wall.

Fear not friends, I am not going to go out and get knocked up. The majority of my "friends" who are preggers are actually in love with someone and want to raise a family. I'm in love with Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee and I want to raise the world's awareness of myself. But it does make you wonder.

In my engagement rant post I stated I'll probably be that drunk grandmother sneaking martinis before noon...but perhaps I'll be that woman that has no family but many lovers. I'll have an annual lover name Gustavo who I hook up with every time I go to Italy. I won't get married....(or divorced) and I won't have to support kids (just my Boxer dog, Bronx and parents). I'll write until I die, drink until my liver gives out, and try a lot of things that my soon to be homemaker friends will never experience until their kid go to college. That sounds good to me.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The MisAdventures of MA

Groupon. I love it. I'm cheap as crap. As a social worker in the poor urban jungle, I make enough money but not enough where I can afford extravagant things. Which is why if I want my hair did, or my nails painted, or to go on a trip somewhere, I rely on Groupon, Living Social, Eversave and Deal You.

Which is why when a $45 cut, blow dry and color Groupon popped up I jumped at the opportunity. I've been dying my hair a Medium Chestnut Brown for the past few months. I love it but the color fades quickly, and I think salon color might last longer. Plus girlfriend needs to cover up her five-head with some bangs. So after researching the website and the Yelp reviews, I decided to go for it!

Today I went to schedule my appointment. I'm flying down to Ashville, NC in late August to visit a bestie of mine, so I wanted to look good. Welp, an African American lady answered the phone. I was like "oh shit."

Why do you ask was I like oh shit? Because after more research it appeared that I had purchased a Groupon for a black hair salon...which specializes in ethnic hair...which my hair is not. I panicked and consulted my co-workers. The lady that answered the phone had to call me back anyway. I could imagine her saying to her coworkers "There is a white lady on the phone!"

I don't care if a black lady does my hair. I just can't get a wrap, twist or weave. :) However, the lovely Groupon featured a blond haired blue eyed white chick as the picture on the ad. Also the website and Groupon stated that the salon SPECIALIZED IN ALL HAIR TYPES AND TEXTURES. Which made me think I was included.

Long story short, they called me back and I've got an appointment for August 11th. :) They do specialize in ALL hair types, it seems. I just thought it would have been an embarrassing conversation if it was an exclusive ethnic hair salon. "Hey, I'm cheap and wanted to get in on this Groupon but didn't realize it wasn't for my type of hair."

What can I say, I'm a magnet for misfortune. At least everything worked out for the best. To make it even better, I schedule a massage for that Sunday so I'm making it a self-care weekend. Can't beat that!

Until next time....

Monday, June 4, 2012

PinStaTwitterBook - Bucket Lists of Summer '12

Ever since I finished my first year of graduate school, I find that I have a lot of time on my hands. Since I spent months reading 100+ pages a week, writing little essays to prove to my professors I read the content, learning about Twitter, reporting on local stories, memorizing every country and capital in the entire world, spending 6+ hours creating double trucks, and working a full time job....I feel the need to fill that time with something that will enrich my life.

Sadly, Happy Hours with coworkers don't count...because that has been the latest trend. That, and looking back at Summer '11 and how miserable I was. I had 2 friends, I spent a lot of time alone, and I was sad all the time. This summer, I've been hitting up happy hours, cultural events, free concerts and every weekend gets booked with fun activities both with friends and solo before it even arrives. I've become quite the social butterfly again and I love it.

In addition to a very alive social life, I've also spent some time learning things and paying attention to the world around me. I have a Twitter account where I follow major news stories and try to contribute something of value to the Twitterverse. I have 140 characters and I don't want to use them saying things like "out for a walk, what a beautiful day!" I wish I had more followers because then I'd feel more relevant. haha I've also taken to following Philly Twitter accounts that tell me when fun things go down in the city. Now I'm a walking Zagat guide that knows where to eat, where to drink cheap, and where to party.

I'm also in love with Instagram. I find that any picture you take with Instagram (mainly self portraits) are instantly more flattering than regular pictures. There is something about a blurred sepia tone that makes me look skinner and healthier. So that is a new addiction.

Pinterest is an elite club for people who want to post their wants and likes for the myself. I now find myself pinning books to read, my Summer bucket list, books I've read, My Style and finding endless things to cook, bake, mix, and enjoy. Kind of love it and its addicting qualities.

Facebook has been around for awhile, and while I hate Timeline, I've gotten used to it. To celebrate the obnoxiously hard to stalk format, I decided to create my own little Facebook game. Remember those 30 day song challenge games? Your friends would post a song or a photo every day for 30 days under some theme. Like "A song that makes me cry....My heart will go on, Titanic." That sort of thing. Well, in the spirit of originality, I decided to create my own 30 day photo challenge. For 30 days I'm taking pictures (one a day) and posting them to Facebook right after capture. I'm taking photos of interesting, beautiful, funny and creative things. Its sort of turning into "People of Philly" (like People of Wal-Mart) but I want to maintain serious subjects in the challenge as well.

Speaking of challenges...tomorrow my work kicks off the Biggest Loser Challenge which I have told everyone that I will win. I'm plotting a serious workout routine that mixes it up and I'm going to eat deliciously healthy foods. To kick off the healthy, I indulged in a "last supper" of sorts....Chinese take out! Yay! I'll be eating salad and beans and lean meats for the next 12 weeks. Winner gets all the money and it is a $10 buy in. I'm going to win and then spend the money on Happy Hours or a trip to Atlantic City. Muahaha

In an effort to learn new things, I'm also going to try a new fruit every time I go to Reading Terminal Market to buy produce. Fortunately this is every few weeks, so I won't run out of options. My latest adventure involved a Prickly Cactus Pear, which was actually quite delicious. I think I might try Mango next. I don't think I've ever eaten a Mango before. Also, sidenote: writing has been very easy lately, I should probably take advantage of the creative juices while I can and write some stuff before I run dry again.

I'm also enjoying Thrift Store shopping, shameless flirting every weekend, wearing flowers in my hair, reading books for pleasure and going to Phillies games whenever possible. I'm pretty excited about the summer.

As for technology, I'm sure I'll be getting into Tumblr soon.

Until next time....

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Gallbladder Story

Once upon a time...

Well, it all started with crazy abdominal pain at night. It would feel like someone blew a balloon up in my abdominal cavity and the pressure would cause me to vomit. I went to a G.I. specialist who, early on in the adventure, had no idea what was wrong with me. I had an endoscopy (came back normal), various blood tests, a HIDA scan (which said my gallbladder was completely blocked) and then finally...a recommendation for surgical removal of the gallbladder.

All was well with this. My mom actually came up for my HIDA scan. The internet said it was going to be long, painful, and uncomfortable. What was supposed to be pure agony was actually enjoyable! All I had to do was wear an intravenous port and hug a giant machine every 15 minutes while it took pictures of my insides. I even got to be fully clothed!

So I picked my surgeon and met with him to discuss my "options." He wanted an MRI to make sure my common bile duct wasn't blocked. Fair enough. We scheduled the surgery for May (this was sometime in early March....) because I REFUSED to have surgery during graduate school. I was in the middle of the semester from HELL and I didn't think it was possible to take time off for a surgery. I wanted to wait it out. He said I could as long as I could tolerate my pain. I have a somewhat decent pain threshold so I figured I could deal with a few more gallbladder attacks until mid-May.

Or so I thought....

I had taken off Friday, March 30th, to work on some stuff for school. I woke up at 6am with a sharp pain in my right upper abdomen. The pain got worse and before I knew it, I was having waves of sweating episodes, dizziness, and yes...vomiting. "This could be it" I thought. My worst fear was that my gallbladder ruptured or was about to. I tried to tough it out for a few more hours....make that about 6 more hours. I dozed off a little bit but for the most part I was in really dire pain. Nothing worked...pain meds didn't help, hot compresses didn't help...NOTHING was working.

Finally I called up work and asked if someone could take me to the hospital. I could walk to the nearest hospital but if I needed emergency surgery I wanted MY surgeon to do it. I wanted to go to MY hospital...which is about 40 minutes away in the suburbs. Fortunately I got a ride and as we wound through the streets of North East Philly, I tried to think happy thoughts. I packed an overnight bag because I did not know what to expect.

When I arrived in the ER, a nurse took down my info and asked me to have a seat. 25 minutes later I was called into triage. After taking some of my blood, peeing in a cup, and waiting forever (and freaking out because a patient came in vomiting in a coffee can and I was already feeling like vomiting myself) I was finally put in an ER room. It took, LITERALLY 10 hours, before I was pain free. A nurse gave me anti-nausea and anti-acid medication and then I finally felt relief. I was offered a "loopy" pain med as well but I declined. See, I live alone and my parents are in Virginia (worried sick about me...waiting for updates). I knew I had to be in my full senses to provide everyone the updates they needed AND to make an important decision regarding surgery.

Hours passed (I think about 6 more) and my surgeon tried hard not to say "what the hell, Mare I told you so." He scheduled me for a Monday surgery depending the results from an MRI. The catch? I had to admitted to the hospital FOR THE WHOLE WEEKEND. I asked him how much it was going to cost me. He said "where do you work?" I said "I work for Holy Redeemer" and he replied "Oh, well don't worry about it then." I wanted to respond with "Says the man wearing the Rolex" but I decided to keep my quips to myself.

After that exchange I was sent away for an ultrasound. My technician was great and even printed a picture of my gallstones for me. I had 19 GALLSTONES. They were itty bitty but they were very visible. After this I happily showed everyone who would look the picture of my "19 kids." I have to admit, I was told I was the evening entertainment in the ER.

After another hour or so (and a few beloved visitors) I was put in my room. I had never stayed at a hospital before so this was a new experience. The best part (by best I mean worst) is that I had to be chained to an IV constantly AND was unable to eat or drink until after surgery. I could have ice chips...that’s it. I thought I was going to die. I told everyone that would listen that I wanted a cheeseburger and a margarita.

I had some homework with me, my Ipad which was dying, my Ipod which was also dying, my stuffed dog and a change of clothes. I had a room to myself which is one of the many benefits of Holy Redeemer Hospital. AND I had a TV. So it wasn't too bad. I didn't sleep much my first night.

Waking up in a hospital is just like it is on Grey's Anatomy. At 7am sharp a nurse comes in to take your blood. Then a guy comes in to empty your trash. Then housekeeping comes in and asks to clean your room. Then another nurse comes in. Oh, and someone at some point comes in to check your vital signs. By 9am I was up and really wanting a shower. My amazing RN found me some body wash/shampoo combination (they originally only had bar soap) so I could wash my hair. I was unchained from my IV but had to shower while wearing a rubber glove taped to my arm.

I spent the day walking around the floor with my IV, being entertained by a few visitors and I watched the second half of "The Passion." I was so grateful I had my phone and charger so I could keep tabs with the rest of the world. That afternoon I was denied ice chips for the first time. I actually cried when the nurse left. I was starving and felt fine, except for the fact I was starving. I was being kept alive by the IV but I wanted to eat some food. Also, I had to pee in a bucket so they could measure my urine output. By the third bathroom trip, my bathroom started to smell like a SEPTA tunnel on a hot summer day. :(

That evening my best friend came to visit me all the way from New Brunswick, NJ. He was amused that he could just walk in the hospital and hang out with me without showing ID or checking in. I told him the hospital was filled with a majority of elderly white people. David brought me coloring books, "Catching Fire" - the second book of the Hunger Games series (which became a conversation piece for everyone who came into my room until discharge when they noticed it on my bed) and crayons! I finally had entertainment! (Earlier that day my co-worker brought me trashy magazines and an activity book). David and I spent quality time releasing a trapped Snickers bar from the snack machine in the waiting room. Then David left and I fell asleep, sort of.

My wing was made up of short stay patients and oncology patients...that means not a day went by without my hearing someone retching and vomiting. It was not a good situation. In the meantime, I alerted family, friends, my classmates and my professors of my condition. Everyone was understanding. Its kind of funny, once I was admitted to the hospital I felt like it was a "Jesus take the wheel" moment. Everything, literally EVERYTHING was out of my control and I had to just ride with it. I had been under a great deal of stress at work and at school, which may have expedited my surgery as well, but I was relieved to just have to take care of business and let the chips fall where they may.

Sunday I was offered Holy Communion, which I politely declined since I was still denied food and drink. I had my MRI that morning (I hate MRIs...) I had to hold my breath a lot and it was really hard. I found out later my inability to hold my breath for long really jacked up the images. I was particularly amused when my technician asked me if I had any food or drink to which I responded, “Honey, I haven’t eaten for three days.” She was amused too. My surgeon came in later and said he couldn't read the MRI. He had to wait for a radiologist to read it for him. However, he gave me the best news in the entire world. I COULD EAT CLEAR LIQUIDS/FOODS until 12am. I was so excited. My nurse came in to check on my and I nearly yelled with joy "I CAN EAT CLEARS!!!!" She thought I was lying.

Then she checked with my dr. and found out that yes, I was telling the truth. I was a little stung. During my stay I was a model patient....not letting my ice melt so I could drink the water...moving around every so often, being polite to everyone that entered my room...etc. Although I did have a lot of fun when nurses would ask me if I had a bowel movement. I was like " won't let me eat." Once my nurse found out I was telling the truth, she brought me some water ice. It was the best tasting water ice I ever had in my life. Then I got to eat a soup broth, jello and juice. The food service worker brought me my tray and I told him how excited I was. "Its just broth," he said. "No, NO...YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND...I HAVEN'T EATEN SINCE THURSDAY EVENING....ITS SUNDAY AFTERNOON," I replied. He smiled and let me enjoy my broth.

I spent the day happily eating jello and water ice and juice to my hearts content. My night nurse was more than happy to accommodate my intense hunger. She kept feeding me until 11:30pm when I called it quits. Sunday was a pretty good day. My friends Sarai and Anne came to visit. Anne brought much needed items such as gum, razors, socks, and some of her magazines. I'm not going to lie, I kind of got showered with gifts during my hospital stay. I got beautiful flowers from the Angelus Community of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer, and all the reading material I could want. My mom stopped by my apartment to grab a much needed change of clothes and some chargers and things.

I had trouble sleeping again, but woke up around 4am to my nurse saying "You're surgery has been scheduled. I think you're going in at 1pm" That was confirmed later on during the day. My mom came over bright and early and I paced around waiting to go to the operating room. I hated that you have to go naked...I mean can wear your gown...but nothing else.

When I went to my initial appt with my surgeon, he told me he would take a photo of my gallbladder for me if I reminded him. I did...multiple times. So when it was finally time to wheel me away in my bed to the OR, I had my camera tucked away in my gown pocket. We were outside the operating room doors when I said "I have some contraband on me." The nurses looked alarmed. I whipped out my camera and explained the situation. One nurse thought it was genius the other thought I was crazy. Then the OR staff had a good laugh about it (in a good way). One scrub nurse took the photo above to test the camera out.

The next thing (and last thing) I remember was being given a sedative. I moved to the OR table and they gave me a drug that they said "would feel like I drank a case of Natural Light." To which I got excited about the reference and tried to contribute to the conversation until they said they were giving me my anesthesia. I said "catch you on the flip side" and the next thing I knew I was awake in the recovery room...crying.

"Does it hurt that badly, dear?" a nurse asked me. My brain quickly registered what had happened...I had gallbladder was removed.... "No" I replied. "Do you even know that you are crying right now?" the nurse asked. "Noooo" I wailed. Then I realized I was crying my eyes out. I think it was part anesthesia, part relief, and part pain because I was a little sore. The nurse kept telling me I could go back to sleep but I didn't want to. The patient next to me apparently couldn't wake up. She kept going back to sleep and the nurses were worried about her. My surgeon popped in and whispered "everything went well, you did great." I vaguely remember that. A good friend, who is a Sister of the Holy Redeemer came in to say hi to me. I was so happy to see her. I think I started crying all over again.

The nurse gave me some ice chips to eat and I was eventually wheeled down the hall. I toasted my mother in the waiting room with my ice chips and said "its tequila!" Then I was put in my room and hooked up to oxygen. I was pale, tired, and the pain was starting up a bit but I had made it through. I dozed off a bit but when it was time for me to go to the bathroom for the first time that day it was a reality check. They had strapped pressure cuffs to my ankles which squeezed and released my legs on 15 second intervals. For me to go to the bathroom, I had to be unhooked from the cuffs, unhooked from the O2 and carefully guided into the bathroom.

I cried again. The pain was awful. I had no abdominal strength due to the surgery. The nurse pretty much stood in the bathroom with me and even though I really had to pee...I couldn' least not right away. I was so frustrated and upset. By the time I was ushered back to my bed, I was shaking and crying. I had to rely on everyone for the smallest little thing and it hurt so badly.

I learned my pain medication schedule quickly. I could be given pain meds every 4 hours. Honestly, my pain reminded me it was time for the next dose. I had a fitful night of sleep but by 4am, my nurse mercifully removed the pressure cuffs. I was able to sleep for a short period of time but it was a horrible night.

The next day I was told to get my ass out of bed and move around. I had to use a breathing exercise machine every hour and walk around every few hours. It would be considered good progress if I could a)move around b)eat and c) pass gas before the day was over. I was finally discharged at 7pm (after eating 3 whole meals with no ill effects!) My cute transporter (who ironically wheeled me to my room Friday night before ending his shift and spending the weekend in Penn State) wheeled me outside where I got into the car and headed to the Provincialate of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer with my mom for two days before heading home to Virginia to continue recovery.

I was out of work and school for two weeks. However, I spent everyday of recovery doing assignments so by the time I went back to class, I was completely caught up on homework! I'm a pompass ass, I know. I lost some weight after surgery was good. Of course, I got my picture as well.


Looks like a buffalo wing, right? That is my gallbladder after surgical removal. The best part was that my surgeon even took a picture with the laparoscopic tools and I got a pre-removal picture as well! :)

Recovery was a long process...learning what I can and can not eat was the worst. The first time I tried to do yoga was an epic fail and my belly button was sore for a long time. Now I'm pretty much back to normal...watching what I eat...staying away from buffets and enjoying being healthy and attack free again.

I learned a lot in the how hard nurses jobs are an the different sounds of laundry carts, food carts, and hospital beds make while rolling down the hall. I learned you can be kept alive on nothing but a potassium mixture in an IV, and that you can sleep being chained to an IV without strangling yourself in your sleep or pulling out the IV while rolling over (two of my biggest fears). I learned the value you have in other people's lives based on their generosity and concern during the time of an emergency. I learned not to push myself so hard that it hurts and that sometimes Jesus just has to take the wheel.

Until next time...

Monday, May 21, 2012

When All Your Friends Are Engaged, Married or Having Kids

I owe a life update like woah. I pride myself in keeping up with this blog. I had surgery in April, and I swear I'll blog about that later. But right now I have been struck by inspiration to rant about something else.

When all your friends are engaged...married...or having kids. Have you been on Facebook lately? If you're a 20-30 something, you'll notice that Facebook is turning into a virtual Wedding Photo Album. Everyone you know is suddenly getting hitched and you don't know what to do. If this were the game of life, you'd be on the start square and everyone else would be halfway through the game.

Granted, I'm no idiot. Life is like this: you go to school make friends, go to high school, go to college, everyone moves away and gets a job, people get engaged, people get married, people have kids...sometimes not in that order, people get jobs again...people grow old, people die. That pretty much sums up some extent. But when you find yourself in one of those crazy transition periods, you can't help but look around you and go "what is the rush, everybody?"

I'm on my third glass of wine, but I realized some inevitable truths after viewing WEDDINGbook.

1) While I'm posting links to my latest articles, my friends will be posting pictures from their "Mommy and Me" classes

2) While I'm struggling to find an affordable friends will be buying their first home.

3) When I finally get married, I'm going to have to rent out a McDonalds Playplace to accomodate my friends' children because there is no way they can all come to my wedding if I don't allow kids to attend.

4) The idea of traveling to Italy once every 5 years and culminating several Italian lovers sounds like a great idea.

5) My one best friends who is not married and I agree that if we're not engaged by 30, we'll file for a civil union and have male lovers on the side.

Looking at my life now, I think I'm doing MY life in order. You know the whole school, school, more school, career thing. I can not even PICTURE myself engaged right now, or married, OR WITH KIDS. In fact, every time I help with a major event at my work I start to question if I want kids at all. However I do want to get married SOME DAY and I do want kids SOME DAY. That day is not today.

I read in Cosmo that there is a large percentage of divorcees that married between 18-25 because people are in a "rush" to get married. They want to keep up with the Jones' and make sure their doing everything that everyone else is doing. Well, I'm married to my current salaried job...and graduate school.

But I can't help but wonder every so often/everytime I open up WEDDINGbook, if I'm behind in the game. Shouldn't I be developing that long lasting relationship with someone that will eventually lead to marriage? I mean, shouldn't I be hunted or hunt or something for someone? Its funny, people always say that 'it will happen when you least expect it' but I'm anticipating it all the time so I don't miss it. No, really, I walk down the street and if a stranger smiles at me I check Craigslist Missed Connections to see if I end up there. "To the girl with the red t-shirt that smiled at me on Market Street...."

Blame the wine.

I just want it all. I want the kick ass career. The adoring husband. The cute kids that look like they should be on a Gerber commercial. Then I want to grow old with my family and become that crazy grandmother whoes grandkids have to yell "Grandma, why are you drinking a martini? It's not even noon!" To which I'd respond "mind your own kids, when you're my can do whatever the hell you want."

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My New Years Resolution(S) ARE:

Another year has come and gone. On January 1st, 2012, millions of people around the world vow to utilize this 'new beginning' and 'clean slate' to make their lives better and healthier and happier. Come on, who really follows through with New Years Resolutions?

I myself have made a few:

1) Manage my time better - I'm a natural at procrastination and I'm also a natural and being lazy. Sure I've accomplished a lot, but in my "free time," I'm lazy as crap. As soon as I get home after work, I make myself a nice dinner and curl up on the couch for a rousing three hours or so of Netflix. Seriously? I could read a book, do a 20 minute yoga work out, write a letter to a friend or even WRITE FOR FUN! So my goal is to try to use my time wisely and spend less time sleeping in/watching Netflix and more time being productive and healthy. We'll see how long it lasts. Yesterday was technically my first day and I showered, cooked and watched Netflix. Old habits die hard!

2) Become more social - I know, I was the social butterfly in high school/college...but lately I've lazily embraced the joys of hermit-hood. Its great lounging around in sweatpants, cleaning my apartment and yes...watching Netflix instead of going to social gatherings which could a) help me develop a friend circle or even b) help me find a man. In 2011, I decided that many social gatherings were just too much work. I would only go out on the weekends and even that seemed too tiring. So I'm going to work on attending the events I'm invited to.

3) Write more - school will make me write a plenty, but I haven't freely expressed myself lately. I have a novel that barely has a first chapter and a poetry notebook with about 5 pages filled. I'd like to work on both of these things, since writing is the one talent God gave me. It's the laziness...and the Netflix.

4) Travel - This resolution is expensive but there are many cheap ways to get around these days. You can get to DC or New York for as little as $1 per way if you order your tickets fast enough. Plus there are always cheap deals for one or two night stays at fancy hotels in the area. Now, by travel...I don't mean Cancun, Italy, Ireland...etc. I would love to do that but given resolution 5, that's not plausible. I just want to go on mini-vacations once every two months. They can be close or far, doesn't matter. Just have to get out of the city for more than a trip to Virginia and a conference for work.

5) Budget better - In an effort to be healthier, I'm going to try to ween myself off of things like ice coffee from Dunkin Donuts, those delicious and healthy breakfast sandwiches from 7-11, and on the rare occasions I'm up for McDonalds breakfast, those damn sausage burritos. I ate more fast food in the month of December than I did during the entire seasons of Summer, Fall and Winter combined. My bank account is losing weight but I certainly am not. This also goes for Potsticker cravings and random dresses from Ross because I need "a pick me up." Done.

6) Become more spiritual - I'll be honest, I haven't been to Mass since November. I know, shocking for a girl who spent a year living with Catholic Sisters. I got so busy with school and work and life that I neglected to take care of my spiritual life. I pray, occasionally....but that is about it. I'd really like to get my butt back to Mass more regularly and incorporate some devotions in my life too. I think part of the reason I'm typically under-motivated and lazy and off balance is because my spiritual life is like that too.

That is it. Why have one resolution when you can have 6! I'm also planning on creating a new Bucket List for 2012. I'll recycle some of the old tasks that were never completed as well as come up with some new ones for the year as well. Hopefully I can accomplish more this year than last year.

Here's to a happier, healthier, wholesome MA! Hurrah!

Until next time...

What if I'm not a Writer?

I've mentioned this before. My first book I ever wrote was a few chapters long. Each page was a new chapter. I was in second or third ...