Posted in life

books, books and more books

When I was younger, I always read a lot, especially during the summer. My public library had (and I believe still has) a program that rewarded you for how many books you read during the summer. We got a poster, gift certificates for a slice of pizza and free ice cream, but best of all, once you read 30 books, you got your picture on the wall when you read 30 books in a summer. Summer after summer my sister and I had our pictures on the wall and it was a competition between the two of us to see who could get there first. While looking back on it, you’d think the free pizza or ice cream would be the biggest prize, but no, you really weren’t anyone unless your picture was on the wall. Even after I was too old to participate in the program, I used to bike to the library and volunteer as on of the big kids you got to tell all about your book(s) you read.

Obviously, as with many others, by the time I was in high school, I didn’t want much to do with reading. When Harry Potter came out, I got hooked. I am not embarrassed to say that I own every book (having bought the later books at midnight on the day they were released) and I’m even proud of the fact that I have re-read the entire series more times than I can imagine — the entire series is reread every time a book or movie is released. As much as I was hooked on HP, I didn’t read much else other than my books for English class while I was in high school. Even when college started I wasn’t much of a reader. I began to read more during the summers between years in college as it was a good hobby to kill down time while lifeguarding all summer long. Even though I would realize my love for reading was still within me by the end of every summer, the fall semester would always begin and along with the spare time in the summer, my passion for reading went straight out the window.

By the end of college, my passion for reading was back. It came back when a friend of mine from college was given a book from someone at home, being told to read it and pass it along to someone else to read. It was kind of like chain mail, but a book (and only one). But the whole point was to read a good book, pass it to someone else to read it, have them pass it and so on, so eventually people reading the book had no idea who the person who bought the book was. (I forget what book it was, I’m working on figuring that out…). I don’t know how, but somehow I found the time to read a book for pleasure during the semester and I really enjoyed it and ever since then I have started reading more again.

Ever since I graduated college, it is common for me to be like Rory Gilmore and carry a book in my purse — though, I only carry it with me when heading to/from work, I don’t intentionally bring one with me to parties. The summer after college I was a lifeguard again and found more than enough time to read on breaks and rainy days, along with when I was home. Even now as a member of the “real world”, I have learned to find time to read on my commute or when I’m home in the evenings.

With all the reading I’m doing lately, I am tempted to ask for an e-reader for my birthday this fall as I feel it would save me money instead of buying books all the time. But then, do I really want to spend, or ask someone to spend that much money so I can save money? I mean, then I should just go to the library — it is right on Main Street and not out of the way when I’m home. But there’s something to be said for reading a real book. Having the book in your hands, the first time you crack open a brand new spine, and then there’s always one of my ambitions from when I was little — to have a library in my house (when I’m older and own one) with floor to ceiling bookshelves covered with books that I have read. Right now I have a small bookshelf that is overflowing with books, in addition to many books boxed up in my attic and a few piles of books strewn throughout my room.

So do I get an e-reader or not? It could save me room in my purse (especially when I’m reading HP and those hardcover books are huge…) but I would no longer have the books at my own disposal whenever I want. OK, yes, I would, but I couldn’t pass the books along to others, and sharing is out of the question. Which is what I’ve been doing a lot of lately. I’m currently reading a book which was loaned to me and I will be reading the next two books in the series by borrowing them from my friend. And I just read 7 other borrowed books and have another sitting on my desk waiting for me to read. While I don’t own these books, and won’t be able to add them to my collection unless I go out and buy them, I still get to experience all that I love about reading an actual book. And what’s even better about reading from a book you’ve borrowed, is the broken in spine and wrinkled pages. I don’t know, and maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s still something to be said for reading a well loved book.

Posted in life

do a survey, help your parish

Hey everyone! 
If you are a parishioner of St. Mary’s in Ridgefield, CT, please read this and complete the survey which can be found at the bottom.

As you may or may not know, St. Mary’s is currently formulating the next strategic plan and has asked for input from all parishioners — and that includes you! One thing that has been addressed by the committee is that there is a need for a ministry geared to young adults in the parish who don’t really have a ministry they fall into. I’ve been asked by a member of the committee to pass along this survey (the link is below) to everyone I can think of to please fill it out — it is 5 questions long and won’t take you that long to do it. 

Thank you in advance for your input. 
(And please feel free to pass this along to others.)

for the survey, click here  
for more information about the strategic plan you can read the newsletter here

Posted in life

thanks for your support!

Dear friends and family,

Thank you for supporting me in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer — New York. Not only did your contribution help me beat my own personal goal, but it really does make a difference; it will go toward funding access to care and finding a cure for Breast Cancer. Just two weeks ago my friend Kate and I walked across the finish line next to the USS Intrepid with 4,000 other people who walked for such a great cause. Walkers consisted of mothers, daughters, fathers, brothers, friends, family and most importantly many survivors that have all known someone who has been struck by this disease. With your help, we were able to collectively raise more than $9.5 million dollars and raise awareness about this disease worldwide.

While I spent 5 months training for the walk, I also spent 5 months learning more about this disease and how it affects people in our country. The first statistic I learned about breast cancer during my training was that every three minutes another woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. This fact seemed to stick with me throughout both my training and the walk. What really struck me was that from the time I began walking and the minute I crossed the finish line, over 600 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. It was this statistic along with others that helped keep me and so many others going through our training. I’d gladly walk any distance to help these women and bring an end to breast cancer.

The walk itself was amazing. We had great weather and I was able to see New York City in a new light. All the people I walked with were high-spirited and such a great group of people who kept motivating others to keep going strong. There were also groups of wonderfully spirited people at cheering stations along the way to keep our spirits high along with pit-stops and breaks to keep us fully energized, rested and hydrated. After Saturday’s portion of the walk, we ended on Randall’s Island for showers, a great dinner and some Yoga before camping out to tackle day 2. While waking up on Sunday was a bit rough and took plenty of energy, it didn’t take long for everyone to acknowledge that blisters, cramped muscles and sore feet are nothing compared to that which people with breast cancer have to deal with on a daily basis.

While I could write a short story about my experiences through the walk; I experienced something that no amount of words could do it any justice. I heard inspiring stories from survivors and their friends and families. I saw men and women push themselves past their physical abilities.

Thank you again for your support. You rock!

If you’d like to see some pictures taken during the walk, you can check them out here on Facebook.

Posted in life

I’m walking 39.3 miles in 12 days!

As some of you know, I like to do crazy and adventurous things in life — simple doesn’t usually explain my way of doing many things. As you may know by now, my next large task is coming up in less than two weeks. I have spent the last four months training for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It’s taking place October 10-11 in New York City and I’ll be walking a marathon and a half over these two days with my friend Kate and hundreds of other women.

Did you know that every three minutes, another woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer? I didn’t, and I was shocked to learn how prevalent this horrible disease has become in this country.

I am eager for my walk and in addition to having a strong finish to my training to make sure I’m prepared for the walk, I want to finish out my fundraising with a bang and I need your support! I have pledged to raise money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer as part of my participation in the walk. Your contribution will help to support medical research into the possible causes of and cure for breast cancer, education and early detection programs, and clinical care and support services for women with breast cancer in communities across the country, especially those here in the New York area. There is a special focus on helping medically under-served women, the poor, minorities, the elderly, or those with inadequate health insurance.

It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause – you can make a donation online by simply clicking on this link to visit my personal page. While I understand that times are hard right now, whatever you can give will help! I truly appreciate your support and thank you in advance. Plus, in addition to your financial support, I could use all your prayers for myself and the other women as we come into the final stretch of preparation before we partake on this wonderful journey.

Thank you for your support; you really do make a difference. You rock!

Posted in life

MIA

I know I’ve been missing for a while and I’m sorry about that. This is going to be short, but I promise I will soon be updating much more often.

Life in the real world can become overwhelming. In a day and age when you are expected to do everything, be everywhere and know everything, I am beginning to find that it not possible to be all and do all. I have a full-time job, and am most grateful for it, but thanks to the fact at least 62 1/2 hours of my week are consumed by work and my commute with no computer access to the internet, it seems I don’t have enough time for everything I would like to do. On top of work, I am still in PT for my shoulder and work with the youth group at my church. These two extra activities and sleep seem to keep me more than busy enough lately.

Even though life is more hectic and crazy at times than I thought it would be, I enjoy being a part of it. I really do like being involved and doing things. I am currently in the process of designing this Web site and I finally got something up, I have a bit more work to do on the content and I am working on a new layout, but I could use some feedback. So please hit up my site and let me know what you think. So I’m going to spend a good portion of my upcoming free time working on my site and I am spending the last week of July chaperoning the mission trip for my church. Once this month is over and I start to have some more time around a computer, I hope to update more often. Plus I’ve got it set up so that I can now update from my phone by e-mailing in blogs… And in the mean time, check out my travels blog to read about my vacation to Maine for the 4th of July.

Posted in life

a month after going awol

It’s been far too long since my last post. Life has been just so crazy lately, but crazy in a good way.

Work has been crazy busy and stressful but I got a new position that I started last week. I really like my new job and enjoy what I am doing more than what i had been doing. A whole bunch of my friends finally are back home, or were home briefly, and I spent a lot of time with them catching up and just enjoying. Plus the weather had been great on the weekends, and therefore I spent as much time as possible outside getting my vitamin D intake.

This past weekend I went on a retreat with the youth group that I work with. It was in the middle of New York at Camp Deerpark. I really enjoyed this retreat as it was not one in which all the Core Team (the adults who work with our youth group) had to ‘work’ all weekend and put on a retreat for the students. This was for all of us. It was only for the graduating seniors, college kids and the Core and we were all there as retreatants. Not only was this weekend good for me because it has allowed me to kick start my spiritual life back into gear, but it reminded me who much happier I am and how less stressful life can be.

This weekend we split into three small groups and each group had different books we read and discussed. My group consisted of my friends Dylan and Andy, a new Core member Sherry and a senior, Jen. Since I did a bible study with Dylan and Andy last summer, I was a bit used to these type of small group discussions with the guys. Sherry is very new to the Core and I didn’t really have a chance to get to know her much until this weekend. Same with Jen; even though she has been in the youth group all year, and she had my name for secret Santa (she made me an awesome drawing that is hanging on my bedroom wall), I never really had a real conversation with Jen until this weekend. We read What Does GOD Want? by Michael Scanlan, T.O.R. This book was exactly what I needed right now; perhaps that is why I picked this track as one of my top choices for the weekend. While we did not have time to finish the last three chapters (which I am working on reading this week), we read each chapter as a group and discussed. The whole book is “a practical guide to making decisions”. While I have sometimes been able to figure out what God is asking me to do in my life, there are many times that I do not want to head in the direction He is taking me. By thinking about it and discussing this weekend, I was able to realize that there are many other things the God is asking me to do that I either ignore or do not attribute to Him. I have decided to make a conscious effort from now on to first decide what God is asking me to do and to put that ahead of my won agenda.

Aside from learning about making decisions, and making the right ones, I also made a decision about how to handle the stress at work in my life. Friday was a very stressful day at work, even though I took the morning off to see Dave Matthews Band perform live on the Today Show. It was such a long afternoon at work and when I left at 5PM I was in no mood to see anyone, but I knew that I needed to put it all behind me so I could experience the most from my retreat. By putting it behind me and leaving the stress that work causes at work, I was able to have one of the best weekends in a long time. I realized that not thinking about work when I’m not there makes everything less stressful. It’s not like I have work that I need to be doing away from the office, so why should I bother and let the stress my job can sometimes cause become a factor and take away from the rest of my life? So after not thinking about work for the entire weekend, I went to work this Monday morning with the plan that I was not going to let work stress me out and I was not going to stress over any of it when I was not in the office. By doing this for the week, I feel like an enormous weight has been removed from my shoulders. The combination of this and my new position have allowed me to enjoy everything else, including my reading. I was able to re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in the past 8 days, though I read nothing Friday-Sunday. This was a great surprise that I still am able to get through the books quickly as I have every intention to re-read books 3-6 before Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince hits theatres, and then I will re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to finish out the series, yet again.

But it seems that I am getting off on a tangent as I am tired and still must finish packing as I am headed to Boston this weekend for the Great Boston Beer Marathon with some friends from college. It should be rather a fun experience.

Posted in life

a year later

Exactly one year ago I graduated from college. 100 days before that I blogged about what lay ahead…I didn’t know(it’s actually my first blog here). I had no idea where I was going to be and what I was going to be doing after college came to an end. Well graduation came and went, and I still didn’t know any of it. I stayed in Boston for a day or two and then moved back to Connecticut to try and figure it out. Today I am sitting here still trying to figure it out. I’m beginning to think that nothing is ever going to be as easy as it once was.

Life used to be simple, regardless of how I felt at the time. Years ago life was so simple that I didn’t even have to pick out my clothes. When I was little mom did everything for me. She put my hair in rollers every day for over a year because I wanted curly hair like her. My outfit was picked out for me every day. My play dates were set up for me. The biggest decision that faced me was what snack I wanted after school. As I grew up I started becoming more responsible for some of my own decisions. I picked out my own outfits. I decided what sports I wanted to play.

Regardless of the decisions I made, life was relatively simple. Everything was laid out and the next stage in life was going to come as soon as it was due. I went from “My” Nursery School to Veterans Park to East Ridge to Ridgefield High without thinking about anything. I received penance, my First Holy Communion and Confirmation when the nuns decided it was going to happens. I got my license 120 days after I turned 16 because that’s when I was allowed to get it. Even when it was time for me to make the first real decision in life I knew that I was still going to move onto the next stage. Just over five years ago I needed to decide where to go to college. It took me four months to decide, but I knew that no matter what I was going to college. I always kept taking the next step in the path of life.

When I was three-years-old, I decided I wanted to be like my dad and become a lawyer. When I was eight-years-old, I decided I wanted to be a sports lawyer. When I started looking at colleges, I looked at good business schools with Economics majors. Why did I want to be an Econ major? Because when I started looking at schools I learned that Econ majors tend to score highest on the LSATs. I took AP Econ in high school because that would help if I wanted to major in it. I never took a single Econ class in college. I was 19-years-old when I realized I was on a path I had set out for myself when I was three-years-old and that I never once questioned where I was headed. I changed my major a couple times, got some internships and just kept going.

The other day I realized that I don’t know where I’m headed. I’m not the path I picked when I was three-years-old. I was on that path for so long, I don’t know what all my other options are. I know I’m on a path and I’m headed somewhere but I have no idea where that somewhere is.

465 days ago I hoped to land on my feet after being thrown out into the great big world. I can’t say I stuck the landing, but at least I seem to be holding my own for now. Looking back, it’s weird to see how much I’ve changed since then, but how much I’m still the same person. The last 100 days of college was crazy; so much happened in a short period of time and it flew by. The last 365 days, my first year in the “real world” have been crazy; so much has happened and it’s flown by. I wasn’t ready for the real world then and I’m still not ready for all of it even now that I’m there. I miss the comfort of knowing what lies ahead but I thrive for the unknown. I may not know what lies ahead or where I’m headed but I have figured out some things.

  • I thought I had 100 days to grow up. I have know realized it’s not necessary to grow up and change. It’s important to stay true to being young and having fun, otherwise, how are you going to make it through all the tough stuff that the real world has in store for each of us?
  • I thought I needed to be prepared for the real world. I’ve learned that no matter what, you will never be prepared for everything. But that’s what makes it fun. Every day there’s a new challenge ahead and something new to learn.
  • I thought that the real world would just kinda flow along as everything else always has. I could never be more wrong. I need to work for everything. All the little things in life and everything I always took for granted now mean a lot to me and I value what is truly important in life: time spent with friends and family and doing things you believe in.

So here’s to tomorrow, to learning new things, to overcoming challenges, to staying young while growing older, and here’s to the rest; it’s going to come whether I’m ready or not.

Posted in life

I’m back

So I have been thinking about this for a while and I have decided I really do want to come back and start blogging again. I know I’ve said this before, but the last few months I have had a strong urge to do it and at least now I have some time for it. Plus, being in the real world, I now feel that I have a lot to say about some topics.

So quick recap from my last posts…I graduated from college last May. I moved home to Connecticut and took the summer off to relax, lifeguard and figure out life. In the process of figuring out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be, the economy plummeted and took the job market with it. In a freak turn of events, I ended up with tickets to opening night of the Rangers game with my dad; I took his phone to reply to a message from my cousin’s husband and ended up with a job. I work for a freight cargo company in Manhattan and even though its not my dream job, I have a job and I usually enjoy it. Plus I’m learning a lot about an industry I knew nothing about.

Even though I spend at least two-thirds of my day sleeping, commuting and working, I have realized that besides the college life style, Boston and of course my friends, what I really miss is the conversations I had in my sociology classes. I miss questioning why people do what they do. I miss debating what is in fact the norm. I miss having to think, like really think, about things that really matter in this world. So that’s what I’m dedicating this to; a place for me to vent and share about what I view going on in the world around me.

Posted in life

soul searching

Today I’ve been doing a bit of “soul searching”. I’m at an interesting point in life and don’t really know whats going to happen…in any aspect of my life really. I’m applying for jobs and trying to land one, but so far it seems I’m not getting much further than a first round interview. I either don’t want the jobs that I’m qualified for or I’m not qualified for the jobs I want. I’m applying for everything from HR to Marketing to Retail Merchandising to Event Planning and everything in between. I’m applying everywhere from NY to Boston to Florida to Milwakee to Dallas to Baltimore in every industry I can think of. I’m at a loss of what to do, but what’s weird…I don’t care all so much. I mean, yea, I want a job, but I’m not as hard pressed to find one as a lot of my peers are and it’s not the first thing I think about when I have time to get stuff done. A lot of times I’m not even sure I know what I want to do. What bothers me the most about this is I don’t know where I’ll be living in 3 months. That’s what I care about, where will I be living and who will I be with…not what I’ll be doing.

Then there’s the whole school thing I still need to deal with. In high school, I was the sophomore with senioritis. As a freshman in college, I thought I brought it with me from high school. And now as a senior I’ve decided to buckle down as a student? Like really buckle down and say school comes first…usually. Last semester my friends found it amusing that I used to tell them to stop worrying about school work, and this time, they needed to move my books aside and drag me outside. I figured that would just last a semester or so, but no, it lasted and is still lasting into my final semester. I have yet to go out on a school night…I don’t know that I could ever say that has been true.

And I keep thinking about the fact that I am going to Long Island on Friday for my cousin to get married. Catch is, it’s not just any cousin, it is the cousin closet in age to me…like 10 weeks older than me. That’s a bit scary. She’s already graduated from college and is working on her Masters and PhD.

I guess it’s just that I think I’m behind, but I’m not really. My friends have job offers, but they are doing work that bores me, my friends that have my major don’t have jobs. Many of my friends know where they are going to be living, but they have job offers and honestly, I’ll be happy living anywhere. And Lisa’s getting married…I don’t want to be there yet, but I guess it would be nice to have someone there to lean on all the time….