Monday, June 29, 2015

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 portable water dish with me and we'd stop every so often for a water break. He was so excited to meet all the other visitors (who were thrilled to see him and pet him). I can't count the amount of times someone asked "is he friendly." 

Since we had to double back to catch two more falls, we ended up running into a lot of the same visitors more than once. I swear by the time we were done hiking I knew at least 75% of the visitors in the park. 

 The park offers beautiful views of waterfalls like this one. Bronx and I took selfies in front of most of them. He was pretty cooperative for a dog that doesn't have the patience for photo opportunities. 

All in all it was a very successful hiking day. I'm sore which means I got a good workout. Bronx didn't even put up a fuss as I left for work this morning. He calmly walked me to the door and then went back to whatever he was doing. I bet he sleeps most of the day. I think that is the most physical activity he's had in a long time. I'm so glad I got myself a little hiking dog. We're going to take advantage of day trips like this as much as possible. I know what happens as dogs get older, the hiking doesn't come as easy. We'll milk up these toddler dog years as best as we can. 

Until next time...

Friday, June 26, 2015


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 place every class: a spelling test, a geography test where we had to fill in blank maps AND spell the locations correctly (capitals, states, countries, major landmarks, rivers...anything was fair game), an AP Stylebook and New York Times Stylebook quiz (random questions from each book...we'd be quizzed on ABC entries on week one and EGF on week two), and a visual dictionary quiz (the prof picked a random entry and we'd have to memorize it and regurgitate the facts on that page).

Every Monday we'd start class with those quizzes. Then we'd grade each others. We'd get the laundry list of assignments for the following week and the prof would teach a short lesson. The class was almost 3 hours and at the time I hated it. 

I'd have hissy fits and throw my suitcase of books in the middle of the room or knock over a pile of books on my desk. I had a crying spell in the elevator once because I felt so challenged that I didn't think I was going to pass. It was the hardest class I ever took in my life and I ended up getting an A-. 

I've been out of school for a year now and I miss it. Last night I felt so disconnected from journalism that I sought out my old Editing books. I realized how happy I was that I had them. While it was a pain to drag all 14 of them to class, I now have this library of journalism information at my disposal. The stressful, deadline driven random assignments? That emulates the newsroom. That is what journalism would be like every day. Here are 1,000 things you must accomplish in 72 hours, go. The class was preparing us for the real world and giving us the resources to succeed as journalists. Kind of like the Karate kid, we were beaten down in practice and realized our strength and resilience after the fact. 

I've started rereading "Think Like an Editor" and doing the activities in the back of the chapters. I'm hoping to refresh my journalism mind so I don't lose all of the things I learned in graduate school. It is easy to lose sight of the skills from your passion when your work is so far removed from anything you actually want to do for the rest of your life. I'm a babysitting paper pusher. I make a difference but not in the way that makes me feel like I make a difference. 

Battles prepare us for what lies ahead. I'd like to think that this stagnant career situation is preparing me for something. As the dust begins to collect on my degree and my desired field relies on unpaid interns to survive, I plan to use this time to refresh my memory and remind myself how to be an incredible journalist. I can't lose that part of me. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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 this is another one for the books. It sounds awfully proud, but recently I realized that my life is defined by achievements both big and small. I'm driven by the need to earn awards like this. I remember in grad school when I learned there was a Top Scholar award for the MJ program. I was determined to win it. I stayed up late, got up early, damn near slept in the Tech Center, cried, coped and earned it. I see things, I work hard, I try to get them. The driving force in my life is achievement. 

Which is funny because I achieved the "highest" prize and I feel like I did when I graduated Temple...yay I what. 

I am attempting to add non-achievement memories and events to my life. This past weekend I saw Matt Nathanson, The Fray and Train in Camden. It was a really fun concert and I'm so glad I went. I've been obsessed with The Fray since they came on the scene years ago. 10 years ago?  I knew all the songs. 

Upcoming, Erin and I are going to Runner's Night at the Phillies where we get free Runners shirts since we did Broad Street this year. Also Bronx has a playdate scheduled with Erin's dogs, Utley and Maggie. I'm hoping Bronx behaves himself. He's a bit of a talker around other dogs and I'm trying to help socialize him into being a bit calmer. I think if he has a few positive interactions under his belt he'll act better around dogs. I am still every so grateful that he is such a people dog, though. I'm serious, he LOVES everyone. So that's a good thing. 

Also on deck is Philly 4th of July, Rocky on the Rocky steps and a potential stand up paddle board adventure in North Jersey. Love outdoor stuff in the summer. Hate this June heat and nervous about July/August heat wise. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

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 wouldn't go near it. Then one fine day he decided to explore. And the day after that as well. Trash all over the kitchen floor. I was really mad, but I get it. He is bored. I decided to get him some new toys to help keep him occupied and it worked!

I got him an everlasting treat ball which has a long-lasting treat on one side and dispenses little treats on the other side. I also bought Kong filler treat paste. He LOVES it. Now in the mornings, once I get his interactive toys filled with food, he barks at me for his Kong. "MOM GIVE ME" haha. I'm able to tell him to be good and leave the apartment without him making a ruckus. It is great. I'm glad we got past that whole him being upset with I leave thing. He didn't act that way the first 3 months I had him. 

The other new adventure in my life is remembering how to parallel park again. I'm out of practice having not owned a car in six years. I've driven cars but haven't had to parallel park twice a day, every day since college. I'm still rusty. I seem to think my little Kia Soul is a Suburban and three times its length. It is a tiny tiny car. This morning I managed to park in one fell swoop. I consider that a major accomplishment. 

That is about it. I'll leave you with a photo of Bronx and I from our hike last weekend. 

Forward facing camera makes his face look distorted. I feel like he looks like a Great Dane here. haha. Nope. He's all Boxer. 

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 ...