Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Rockin' Christmas!

Have you:
not gotten many Christmas/Holiday cards this year?
never witnessed me rockin' out at karaoke?
ever wondered what I would look like with crazy curly blond hair?

Well then, this is my Christmas present to you.

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The best Christmas gift

Many, if not most of you who will read this, know me and this story. What you might not know is how doing this has made me see the Holiday season a little differently, with a brighter light.

Last year I wrote this entry right before Christmas. I performed a revised version of the play that is posted at the end of that entry in a workshop this past summer - you can see it here (it starts at roughly 9:15 in. also, I'm not mic'ed so make sure you turn it up.) You should watch the play right after that too because I wrote that as well and it's GOOD. it DAMN GOOD :)

ok, enough exploiting myself.
wait, this is my blog. I can do whatever the hell I want here.
so there.

Ok, did you read it? Are you all caught up now? Good.

I have only seen my Mom once since she has moved back out there since she can not leave my Grandma alone for an extended length of time and due to my a number of things (my job, lack of money, everything else in my life) I have not been able to go out to see them. I do spend time with my Dad (I live in Brooklyn, NY & he lives in Westchester County, NY so it's close enough that we can visit) during the holidays and I still talk to my Mom frequently but it's not the same. I miss her.

This year, I decided to give my Mom & Grandma the best Christmas present (and most expensive gift I've ever bought) I could think of - me. I bought a round trip plane ticket to go see them in February (flights are really expensive during the holidays & I wouldn't have been able to spend as much time with them if I went now.) I wish it was going to be a surprise but I, couldn't keep it a secret from them - plus, I need someone to pick me up from the airport :) They are so excited & even though I won't see them during the actual holidays, we will make those few days in February Christmas again.

Linus was right: Happiness, Joy & giving to others is what Christmas is all about.

I think it is safe to say that at the age of 30, I may have finally grown up.

Friday, November 19, 2010

my happy place

Last Saturday marked my 25th time (yes that says 2-5) seeing my most favorite band, Dave Matthews Band. They have played a very important part in my life over the last 16 years and it started with the 1st time I saw the video for "What Would You Say? on MTV (when they still played those things) my freshman year of high school. I will never forget that moment. I immediately thought (and might have said out loud at that moment) "Wow. This band is different. This song sounds amazing." I was in awe that a band with such a different sound was on MTV. Except for maybe the occasional Stone Temple Pilots or Nirvana song, if it wasn't rap, hip hop or something extremely popular (all things I didn't very much enjoy) it meant MTV didn't show it. After finding out that they not only had a saxophone player but also a violin player, I became even more intrigued with this band.

I think what officially cemented me as a fan was the first time I heard Boyd's violin solo in "Ants Marching" - not only because it was getting airtime on the radio but mainly because it FUCKING ROCKED. I remember thinking "HOLY CRAP! There's a violin solo in this song and it kicks ass AND it's being played on a major market radio station!" I had never heard someone play violin like that and I was hooked. I was so amazed that I began playing the violin and played throughout High School. I think we can officially say that is when the obsession began.

Seeing them live is an entirely different beast. In general, I love music and one of my favorite things in the world is hearing live music. I definitely have moments where I would rather listen to a studio version of a song over a live version but nothing really is better than a live show. The energy & emotion that you see, hear & feel is something that needs to be bottled & sold.... I believe I just created the solution that will help save the economy.

My first time seeing them live wasn't until college. Seeing them live is an experience in and of itself. Now I've had my fun at some shows (drinking and/or smoking some mind-altering things) but I can honestly say that I've been to more DMB shows sober and still always have the time of my life. Just seeing them play gets me high (and I mean more than that contact high I'm getting from that joint being passed around behind me.) I always walk away with a smile on my face & an amazing few hours of music to store away in my head. I've gone to see DMB with many different people over the years and I always give them fair warning that I will be the person standing the whole time, dancing, playing air guitar, singing along to every song - I'll pretty much be in my own world. I truly wish I could duplicate the feeling I have when I see them live. I get goosebumps when I just listen to their music on my ipod so you can imagine that I am in my euphoric mecca when I see them come onto the stage.

This past Saturday's show was no different. I had an amazing 3 hours of pure happiness & excitement but something really special happened though. Something really hit me that night. It was one of the best shows I have seen of theirs (and I have a lot of them to compare it to) but not just solely for what songs they played (they are notorious for never playing the same setlists) but for what they, as truly great artists and actual human beings can do and will do for their fans.

Dave was extremely hoarse from the start of the show. He mentioned early on that he woke up not feeling well and that he hoped we still would have a great time and that he will try his best for us. The band goes on to play for almost 3 hours, with the audience singing some songs almost karaoke/sing a-long style since Dave can not hit some notes. He continues to thank us for our 'help' and 'voices' throughout the night & is even playful at some points - his voice cracked at the beginning of a song, makes mention of his screw up through a improv scat & then goes right back into the original song.

Listening back on some of Saturday's tracks online, I can hear that Dave sounds much worse than I originally heard (probably because I was singing most of the time myself) but he is close to losing his voice as it cracks and gives out on him throughout. Yet, the band played for ALMOST 3 HOURS. and the band seemed to love every minute of it. They knew they had a show to do for a sold out crowd filled with fans like myself. It's like they kept feeding off our energy & excitement and love. It made me realize that they truly do appreciate us and do all the touring, all the shows for us, the fans. They just kept on going and going. I bet if Dave felt better and the garden didn't have a time limit for shows, they would've played until after midnight. It truly was an experience that will stay with me for quite sometime.

With this show fresh in my mind and after having a conversation with a friend about where & how many times I've seen them, I decided to make a list. Sure you can call me crazy, but honestly, this is my happy list.

Happiness to me is... or proof of my craziness

Friday, October 15, 2010

(UN)AFRAID has opened!

The latest New York Neo-Futurist prime time show,

is now open!

Opening night was a success and we've only just begun.




October 14 - November 6, 2010
Thursdays at 7:30
Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 and 10:00

Additional Performances:
Monday, October 25th at 7:30 pm
Wednesday October 27th at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, November 3rd at 7:30 pm

And a very special Halloween performance on Sunday, October 31!


The Living Theatre
21 Clinton Street
Btw. Houston and Stanton on the Lower East Side

Hope you can make it - it's going to be a frightfully good time!
(sorry, I couldn't resist)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

a four letter word that starts with "F"

In the last few weeks, the word 'fear' has taken a more front & center seat in my life. The reason for this is because I'm in this wonderfully amazing show called (un)afraid with the New York Neo-Futurists. The show is about fear but I will reference the amazing creators of this show as they have explained it a bit more elegantly than I: "(un)afraid is an exploration of the concept, causes and consequences of our greatest fears, individually and as a society." Each show Jill, Dan, Cara & Ricky will explain, embrace & confront main different types of fear and I applaud them for what they are doing. Fear, especially personal fear, is not an easy thing to grasp or wrangle or even talk about to & with others.

Fear is a pretty power word and emotion. At some point (or at several hundred) in our lives, we have felt it, possibly faced it or dealt with it, ran away from it and maybe even just laughed in its face.

I don't easily get scared, save for the occasional startle or random unknown occurrence, but I consider that exactly as that: being scared. Fear is much more powerful. When someone fears something, that person has a much deeper emotional attachment to whatever it is they fear. Fears are much to be based on belief. You can not tell a person their fears are unwarranted, much like you can not tell a person that there is no Santa Claus or Heaven or Loch Ness monster. There are common and shared fears in our nation and throughout the world, but fears are always personal, almost private in a way. Because of this, I don't believe fears are easily overcome because most stem from an experience/setting/person that triggers that part of your soul. That moment, that trigger, is what stays with you and keeps you believing in that fear - that harm or ill-will or death or whatever will come your way from that someone or something they fear. Because of this, people don't ever want to face or challenge them because THAT to a fearful person is worse than death. And that is why fears will always be with us. That's is what keeps fear alive.

I don't fear many things - just the usual fears of failure, embarrassment & humiliation, a slight fear of drowning, a much stronger fear for reality television and a fear of anything that the ghostbusters can't kill. But these 'fears' I have, except for the ghostbusters one, I consider to be more like obstacles and self-improvement type things that I could maybe work on and overcome. Maybe. They aren't truly things I fear (well the drowning one I sort of do) I just get frightened, scared of or just find completely intolerable.

I think the one thing I truly fear is people. Just like fear, people are unpredictable and unknowing. You never know what they will do or say or not do or not say. People can hurt you, physically, mentally & emotionally. Most people can't be trusted. Look at the state of our world. Yes, there are good people and good things being done & said but I can't help but dwell on the recent horrific events resulting in all the suicides & bullying all because of people's sexual orientation. or the fact that 2 guys starting fighting over their dogs and one stabbed the other to death. or that people abuse animals and eldery & throw babies in trash cans. Those are people I fear. Because these are the people I have share the planet with.

Fear. It's just like people. You n ever know what will be just around that corner...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

sports writing isn't just stats anymore.

i love sports. i also love satirical writing. so it goes without saying that during football season i frequent this magical website called Page 2 which is where ESPN has writers, bloggers & columists combine both of those things together! it makes me a happy camper.

I enjoy many things on this site but my favorite is called the NFL Hangover. It's a weekly recap of what happened during the NFL games on Sunday (& Thursday if there were any). It's written by DJ Gallo, a hilarious & brilliant writer. He also is the founder of & can be found on the twitter: @djgalloespn & @thatdjgallo.

My favorite part of the Hangover is the photo of the week at the end. The caption of the photo is the text of the link so you have to read it first then click it. Here are some that made me laugh from yesterday's post:

"Whoops. I missed my mouth. My accuracy is terrible."

"Ah, man. This night stinks. Cheer me up with some low-fives, imaginary friends."

and my favorite this week:

"I'll make it come to me by using my dreamy gaze."

it's nice to see that sports, while competitive & professional at times, can also make us laugh.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

too little, too much, never enough

why is it that when life seems to pull me in every direction possible - whether it be work, events/parties, friends, adventures, love - all i want to do is go home, turn off my phone, hang out with my cats, and watch tv/read a book... i just want to go into my tiny apartment in brooklyn and ignore the rest of the world and escape into mine...


when i have nowhere to go and no one to see, no plans at all but to be the laziest person alive watching all the law & order reruns my heart desires, i crave a conversation with someone or need to vent about something or maybe i even just want a hug.
but no one is around or picking up the phone.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

more more more...

i want to write more.
i need to write more.
i want to create more things, meaningful things.
i want to smoke more. i mean less. no, i actually mean more.
i should do more yoga. my neck & back will thank me.
i want more sleep or at least try to get better sleep.
i should spend more time with my cats. i think that they miss me.... at least i tell myself that.
i should eat more but that's doubtful to happen. i'll stick to eating healthier.
i need to call my mom more even if she doesn't pick up. i miss her.
i want more time to relax.
i don't want the summer to end - specifically this summer but summer in general nonetheless.
i want more warm, sunny days for sitting on blankets or under trees, listening to the wind blow & watching life go by.
i want more clarity.
i want to be more hopeful.
i want time to stop right here and now.
i want more time to just be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WTF Summer? Where did you go?

Really? Is it really the end of August already? It's almost LABOR DAY?!?!?!
Good lord, where does time go?

It felt like yesterday that I hugged & gave my best wishes to a dear friend who was on his way to a new city to start a new chapter in his life.

It felt like only days ago that I stood in 2 empty apartments, saying farewell to one and embracing the limitless opportunities the one I would soon be living in had to offer.
I said goodbye to a town that I have known so well - it just could not give me all that I desired - and I said "I'm back!" to this magical city that constantly inspires me, amazes me & that I just can never get enough of.

In a little less than 3 months I have grown - as an artist, as a friend, as a daughter, as a New Yorker and quite simply as a person. (I did actually turn a year older so it really is true.)

Honestly Summer, I think I've been enjoying you so much, that I didn't notice you flying by, right in front of me. No wave or nudge hello or goodbye, just flying & going by. It's ok, I understand. We all have places to go & things to do. No hard feelings. I just hope you can stick around a little longer...

The summer heat and city life seem to have reawaken me to so many things I love. I hope that the upcoming Fall season will continue to do just that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What are you doing on Sunday??

if you answered nothing, well then I have just the thing to remedy that!

You should come see me in:

a performance from the very first New York Neo-Futurist Level III Workshop Ensemble.

Sunday August 15th
Pre-Show starts @ 4:30pm
Performance starts @ 5pm

The People's Improv Theater
154 West 29th St.
New York, NY 10001

Ensemble members are:
Meg Bashwiner
Wade Bowen
Joseph Fink
Jon Herzog
Michael Niederman
Nicole Strawbridge

Best of all, this show is free. Yes, I said FREE!!!


If you would like to attend, please send your name & the # in your party to
with the subject line "PERFORMANCE RSVP"

Once you RSVP, you will receive a response
confirming you are on the guest list.

We are hopeful that everyone who does RSVP will be able to attend but there are no guarantees. Also, if you do not RSVP to attend,
we can not guarantee that you will be able to get into the performance.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

8/5/1980 9:56pm Bronxville, NY

That is the exact time I graced the earth with my presence.
My mom likes to remind me that I was almost a full 2 weeks late during a summer of a ridiculous heat wave. I don't remember having the power to control the weather - maybe I lost it at birth.
I've been told that the 1st thing my grandmother said when she first saw me was "Wow, she has great eyebrows!" She was right. and they still are great.

3 decades later and what can I say?

I'm 'a little' taller, have some ink on my skin (ok a lot of ink), some weight on my shoulders & a bit of a heavy heart. I'm older, but definitely not much wiser from it all.


I'm not sad to see my 20's go - they were 85% awful, 10% good & 5% amazing.
But that 5% I am so grateful for. It's amazing friends I've made & still have, discovering new & old passions, opportunities I've had & the learning & growth I've made from all of it.

So the 30's better be ready for me because here I come.

Monday, July 12, 2010

All Inked Up

Yesterday while I was doing some grocery shopping a woman stopped me in an aisle and said "Miss, I just want to tell you that your tattoo is so beautiful. The colors & design are just amazing." I thanked her & she asked me a question or two about it and then we parted ways. Later that night while standing on a subway platform with some friends, a stranger approached me to compliment me on the same tattoo and then continued to ask me a laundry list of questions about it - Thank God the train came soon after THAT started.

This has been happening a lot more lately, mainly due to the weather being so warm causing me to wear less layers & more tank tops, dresses etc. I have multiple tattoos but the one on my right arm is most visible & in my opinion (and in what I have been told by others) a very interesting tattoo. (by the way, in case you haven't seen it, you can see a picture of the tattoo here.)
It's eye-catching & it's different - the coloring alone draws people in. I knew getting this piece would mean dealing with instances like the 2 scenarios above and I do not at all regret getting it or having it. Most of the time, I am very much grateful for the compliments & obliged to answer questions. But to be completely honest, there are times I can't be bothered. A friend commented last night that I should get the questions I get asked most often along with the answers tattooed on the other arm so that I wouldn't have to answer them all the time. I thought that was hilarious & genius at the same time (and no, I won't be doing that).

Tattoos have meaning to people - it's art on a person's skin. Explaining a tattoo is much like explaining a piece of art to someone. Even though the artwork/tattoo may have a specific meaning or a concept to convey, everyone sees something just a bit different about or in the artwork/tattoo. Also, you can't make someone understand passion or beauty. They either see it or they don't. Attempting to explain it to someone who might not have a connection to what the artwork/tattoo represents or even had the experience of creating art/creating & getting a tattoo makes it even more difficult.

About a year ago, I wrote a play about tattoos, specifically my tattoos and what I think and believe tattoos/getting tattoos represent to others and what they mean to me. I recently found that first draft and have been revising it here and there but my thoughts on tattoos are still the same since the day I got my first one done 12 years ago. My mom's comment to me once sums it up in one sentence: "It's your body - do what you want".

I haven't decided whether I want to post the play here because I may use it for something else in the future. If it does or doesn't get used, I will eventually post it.

One thing I have decided - I will be getting more tattoos.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

more wrongs than rights; more downs than ups

In the last decade or so, I've sensed a pattern in my life.
I've noticed that it seems to happen at least twice a year (if I'm lucky) and lasts for an indefinite amount of time.

I could be going along with my life, not particularly stressed or troubled, maybe even excited about something in particular or eager to do something.
Everything seems, and actually is, OK.
I'm ok.

Then, much like celebrity deaths, out of nowhere I get pelted with not 1, not 2 but 3 (or more) problems or situations ALL AT ONCE. Now, I'm not saying I'm the only person in the universe that this happens to (I mean, I know we are ALL affected by celebrity deaths - we miss you BEA!) but I can say that personally for me when shit starts to hit the multiple fucking fans day after day, I start to shut down. It's draining, consuming & makes me want to just shut down.

I basically want to just run - and if you know me, I LOATHE running. I want to throw my hands in the air, say fuck it/this/you and just peace out.

Logically I know that won't solve or fix anything. I think the fact that I get hit with multiple problems at once is what gives me the 'run for the hills' instinct. And I actually don't pick up & go anywhere or do anything. I instead run internally. I get distant. I already internalize everything too much and I become even more absent-minded than I am on a good day.

I can't talk about what's eating at me lately and this is my FUCKING blog. I don't even know where to start.

All I do know is aside from wanting the recent events & problems to cease, I want, no, NEED some sort of mental stability.

I can't wear the "I'm fine/everything's fine" mask much longer.
It's starting to crack.

Monday, June 21, 2010

spam can be good for you.

I normally don't like e-newsletters or weekly updates from companies that tell me I need to see/do/go/buy something. Then again, who does? I usually end up deleting them if they even make it through the spam filter to my inbox. This past week I got a newsletter (from a company that will remain unnamed) about some writing classes that were being offered this summer in NYC. In addition to advertising their courses, they also include workshops (sometimes free) they might be offering (which I have taken a few of) & also give links to articles about writing & links on where you can find writing tips or ideas. I was skimming through it and something caught my eye. On their website they have a section called "Tips from Masters" and listed some notable names like Poe, Vonnegut & Kerouac. I was intrigued and thought well if these literary geniuses have some writing advice to give out to someone like me, what do I have to lose? So I click the link and on their site they have listed articles of interviews, essays & tips/advice that writers from the past & present have doled out to us future and oh so hopeful writers.

All of the articles were really insightful and helpful but the one that I found I most connected with was the list that Neil Gaiman had written (which was previously published in The Guardian). In case you don't know who Neil Gaiman is, here's the little blurb that prefaced his writing tips:
"Neil Gaiman has become so popular he is often considered the “rock star” of the literary world. He trades mostly in science fiction and fantasy in a variety of forms—novels, children’s books, graphic novels, comic books, and film. Among his trend-setting works: Coraline, The Graveyard Book and The Sandman series. He takes readers, of all ages, to the very edge of imagination."

Not only where his tips raw & honest, I felt that they are realistic and pretty damn funny too.

Neil Gaiman's 8 Good Writing Practices

1. Write.
2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
3. Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
7. Laugh at your own jokes.
8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

So I came to this conclusion: spam email isn't always bad - it can be good for you sometimes. But spam in a can? yeah, that shit is ALWAYS bad.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

recent happenings & random thoughts

It's been awhile (not that i think anyone noticed but me). I couldn't really think of one particular topic so I decided to just rant about what's been going on in the life of me:

I moved!
Let me say that again.
It's over - all the packing, moving, cleaning, worrying, sweating, not sleeping, driving, and unpacking is done. I THANK WHOEVER IT IS YOU PRAY TO. I have some art & pictures I want to hang/get shelving for. Now I just need some decorating guidance and someone who tall & can hang things that aren't crooked.

The last 6 weeks have been a mix of making a lot of decisions, organizing amidst disorganization, saying goodbye & 'see you soon', saying hello to NYC & HELLO BROOKLYN! I am already in love with my neighborhood. I can't wait to get out and explore it more.

I've been in my new apartment for over 2 weeks and except for a trip to the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market & a bodega stop for milk, I have yet to go to an actual grocery store. I'm beginning to think that they only exist in suburbia.

Interns make my life both easier & a living hell. The one that wears too much cologne DEFINITELY does the latter. Also, 85% of interns are weird. I mean most of us were interns somewhere once & I guess because your lack of knowledge of a given place or job doesn't make you A #1 but I don't remember being weird at my internships. And they aren't like psychotic killer clowns wierd, but just strange. And for some reason, they are attracted to interning for the Registrar Dept. of the Paley Center.

I need to get my ass back into Yoga. NO EXCUSES. Seriously, my mom got me a yoga mat. I REALLY have no excuses.

In the last 2 months, I have bought about a half dozen dresses. And I've actually worn some of them. In public. I know, that's SHOCKING.

I'm not ashamed to admit that one of my new favorite shows on right now is So You Think You Can Dance. It's one of the few (if only) reality shows I will watch because it actually does search for the best & most diverse dancers. It also exposes people/audience viewers to new styles of dance that they might not have seen or known about. Watching it makes me want to dance again.

It doesn't matter how much I clean, do laundry or just plain attempt to avoid it, I will always have cat hair on every article of clothing I own.

The World Cup is known as "the world's largest sporting event" - how did the Olympics miss out on that title?

I really really REALLY can not stand subway riders who do not let people get off the train before boarding. It's like they HAVE TO get on the train in case they may miss it. The train does not leave INSTANTLY - the conductor knows people need to get on & off. How can you not step aside for 5 seconds? It's rude & shows no respect for others.

I have had this growing desire for ice cream that has been going on for about 3 weeks. You're probably thinking "So why don't you go to the store and get some, Nicole?" but a) as I mentioned above, I haven't been there yet and more importantly b)I don't just want any ice cream - I want the Bea Arthur from the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. I've heard amazing things about this truck & it's deliciousness. I just know once I have this amazing slice of heaven, my mind might be blown (or at least I'll get a brain freeze) but I keep missing the damn truck where ever he might be on a given day!

I want to do something amazing on my birthday this year. It's on a Thursday & the only request I have is that it has to involve the 1980s. Don't worry, you're all invited (all 7 of you that follow this blog). Suggestions of places or things to do are welcome, preferably in NYC. It's in less than 2 months!

Friday, May 28, 2010

favorite things

a blog i follow recently posted a list of the blogger's favorite things. The blogger mentioned that she's had an ongoing list of favorite things for sometime now & except for the occasional new addition, her list has stayed the same for years. She also realized that it was something she never had shared publicly. So she thought some positivity would do some good for herself & others who read her blog.
At the end of her list, she encouraged others to comment/post their own lists.
I love this idea. In this day, we are almost always thinking and being told of all the negativity in the world - what's wrong with society, what could go wrong in the world and so on.
So in the midst of the chaos I am currently in, I have stopped to dwell on some of my favorite things - things that make me smile, things that no matter how bad a day I might be having will make me forget about life for a minute or two & enjoy the moment at hand. This is far from being complete, but it's the things that immediately came to mind when I started the list.

Although I can't turn this list into a song, I think Julie Andrews would be proud.

My favorite things:

my cat Lucy
creating things
New York City
live music
Rock & Roll
the New York Yankees
watching TV
wearing a new piece of clothing/outfit for the 1st time
watching & listening to a thunderstorm
laughing so hard you start crying
making people laugh
hearing my mom laugh
free stuff
Dave Matthews Band
looking up at a crystal clear star-filled sky in the middle of the night
reading/listening to something that really connects with you
reading/listening to something that really inspires you
meeting someone who really inspires you
late fun-filled nights
Joan Jett
trivia games
finding a quiet, peaceful place in this constantly on-the-go city
taking off my socks & shoes after a long day
getting something ice cold to drink when you're really thirsty
living in New York City
seeing someone you haven't seen in awhile
not having to wake up to an alarm clock
hearing your favorite song come on the radio
diner food
crossword puzzles
upstate New York in the Fall
hugs that make you feel loved
street fairs
doing a really good job on something and knowing it
discovering new music
writing from your heart & soul
experiencing friends creating amazing art
taking a day off from EVERYTHING (aka a lazy, mental health day)
getting tattooed
mint chocolate chip ice cream
putting a piece of clothing on when it comes right out of the dryer
gin & gingers
driving with the windows down & the radio turned up
watching my cat Minnie chase her tail
finally getting to eat a food you've been craving for awhile
people that make me smile without having to do a thing
iced tea
getting a card/letter/gift in the mail
getting in bed when you're really, really tired
being different

I needed that.

Monday, May 24, 2010

moving on and forward

I'm not good with letting things go.

Due to my upcoming move (t-minus 9 days), I have been forced to make decisions about things I want to bring with me & what I must part with for what I'm calling "space limitations". This process actually has been a lot easier & freeing than I ever thought. Word of Advice: if you want to do a major cleaning of your apartment/room/shitpile, convince yourself that you can only keep 1/4 of it (which is really all I CAN bring) Believe me, it WORKS.

I also have a slight problem with making decisions, not about everything but a fair share of things. Moving is a big decision. I've put a lot of thought into this move (both pros & cons) and have talked to many people about it. An amazing friend of mine (who I will miss very much) is moving and needed to find someone to take his little studio apartment in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn and I knew I couldn't pass this opportunity up. I've been desperately trying to move back into the city for a little over a year and it's so incredibly hard to find nice & inexpensive apartments w/o roommates. I've lived on my own for sometime now & I really did not want to have to subject myself or my cats into going back to having roommates again and this cute & inexpensive little apartment just seemed to draw me in more & more. Honestly, it was never really a question of 'should I move?' but what are some of the consequences of my move?'.... The main issue being my Father's reaction & attitude towards my move. He was the last person I told & I know he's not ecstatic that I'm moving (he's been acting like hates me lately since he thinks I'm leaving him) but he does need to realize that I am almost 30 years old, have my own life & can make my own choices. This part isn't over unfortunately but he needs to realize that I need to move on and maybe he sort of does too.

In the last 8 years, I have moved around about 8 times (no evictions, thank you very much.) Don't think I'm a fan of moving, because I am clearly NOT. I hate the physical act of moving - the packing & planning & lifting & asking for help - which is why, for the 1st time, I am caving & hiring movers. That aside, moving is still a stressful situation. My nerves, brain & sense of time are completely fried - this can also be attributed to watching too much LOST lately - but I know this will all be for the best. I think for the first time, I'm not moving to escape someone/something as I have in the past. I'm not moving thinking it will resolve an issue or whatever other diluted reason I convinced myself was why I should move. This time, I'm moving for the right reasons. I'm moving to help better myself, to grow and learn. I'm moving towards bigger & better things. I'm moving because I want to be happy and I really truly believe this will help do that.

I'm moving for me.

oh and so I don't have to crash on people's couches anymore.

So this is my early goodbye to Eastchester, NY. You have been a great place to grow up in, come back to & even move back to but lately, things have changed. You have little to offer me and others I know have left you long ago. We both know we have been growing farther & farther apart and things just haven't been the same. I don't think we were ever meant to be. This isn't a forever goodbye, more of a see you soon. I will come back to visit. Thank you for the memories. And take care of my Dad - he's not going anywhere.

And to Brooklyn: I'm coming back, bitches! Be ready for me!

Monday, May 10, 2010

my idol.

Most people/friends know that I have a slight obsession/love for Joan Jett.

A friend of mine sent me this last fall and he wrote:
"a lot of her answers reminded me of you...thought you'd enjoy it."

After I read it I knew instantly that he wasn't joking. He was completely right.
Not only do I adore this woman, but we do seem to connect/believe in a lot of the same views. In recent years, people have compared my look/style/self to Joan Jett. The fact that people I know and even some I don't have told me that, gets me all giddy inside, like a kid on Christmas morning.

Oh and let's not forget to mention the fact that she looks FUCKING AMAZING & super BAD ASS in that picture. She's 51 PEOPLE! If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as her.

A few of my favorite quotes from that article:

"Partly, I like a bad reputation. But I also want a reputation of being a good person."
"Don't be afraid. Because you're going to be afraid. But remember when you become afraid, just don't be afraid."
"Pop music is not a threatening style of music. It's music that says 'Take me for what you will. Rock 'n' roll says, You're mine, motherfucker."
"I don't look good in beige."

Neither do I, Joan. Neither do I.

Friday, April 30, 2010

here goes nothing.

I've been fighting this inner battle with myself for the last few months. I know I can be too hard on myself most of the time, but I also can't help but think that I am my own worst enemy when it comes to making decisions or being proactive in doing things for me. I've had a lot on my mind & had a lot of issues thrown at me to deal with or work out. I've found some solice in kind words & advice from friends & my therapist told me something recently that actually stuck with me, "working out a problem or an issue can be awful & cause more pain than not at first, but the breaking through, finding the answer or a resolution with your problem, is worth it in the end." I feel like I need to start doing that more often.

The following isn't really an answer or resolution but more of a way to vent some things that have been weighing on me for some time.


You know what I hate?

That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach.
The one that makes you smile for no reason at all.
The one that makes you makes you sick to your stomach because you never felt anything else so real.
The one that makes you think you can do anything and everything you ever wanted.
The feeling of finally feeling alive for the first time in your life.

I wish I never had that feeling for you.

The one that eats away at your soul, at ever fiber of your body.
The one you can't escape when you most want to.
The one that makes you want to cry, kick, scream... just cease to exist.

I hate that feeling,
because I can't hate you.


"things that i should have said and still don't think i can say"

words escaped me when i was with you.
a combination of emotions just made me speechless that whenever i thought i might be able to say something, all logical thoughts would be instantly erased.
you literally took my breath & heart away.
i'm still working on getting the latter back.
very few things make me cry. unfortunately, you figured one of them out.

you meant more to me than you'll ever know.
i thought, at certain moments, that maybe i meant something to you.
i care about you & hope you are happy but i'm somewhat angry at you.
maybe i'm more angry at myself for falling for you.
you still cross my mind more often than i'd like & it still hurts,
but with time,
the wounds on my mind & soul are healing.

i wish i could've said most of this in person but i guess if i had, maybe things would have been different. or maybe not. or maybe things worked out just the way they were supposed to.

i'm sorry.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

a blog can be a kind of therapist, right?

Lately I've been mulling over calling it quits with my therapist. She's a nice lady, but after about a year of sessions, I just don't think we are working out. I don't feel terribly comfortable with her which is the first & most important reason. Second, I have to repeat myself ALL THE TIME because she doesn't hear me or get what I'm saying. Last, but not least, I just don't think she can help me.

I've brought up several times that I don't think this is working out and her response every time is "what do you want out of this?" and I tell her: "I want clarity, some sort of understanding, possibly some peace of mind, and I want to feel comfortable with certain things". And she just says responds "Ok" and that's it. No advice. No resolution. Nothing. Now I'm not that naive to think that therapy can fix everything (I learned that about 3 therapists in) and I know half the work lies with me (6 therapists later), but when I vocally express things that I want or would like to try to have several times and every time I get no response, my brain starts to tell me the following:
a)She doesn't understand what you're saying,
b)She doesn't want to say anything,
c)I'm going to take your lack of response as I am unrepairable since there seems to be no professional advice or opinion out there that can help me.

I attempted just this last session to tell her bluntly "I don't want to keep doing this anymore - this isn't working" and she just responded "well, why don't we talk about it over the next few sessions?" WHAT IS THERE TO TALK ABOUT? YOU DON"T TELL ME ANYTHING THAT'S HELPFUL. I'VE TOLD YOU THIS ISN'T WORKING FOR ME. ugh.

So now on top of the stress & anxiety I have for everything else, I now have stress & anxiety over the one thing that's supposed to help me alleviate that.

I just want someone to talk to, someone who will listen but also help me shed some light on myself and why I do or don't do things.

Maybe no one can do that.

I guess I can always just write about it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

80's anyone?

My recent blog entry about my Deserted Island Soundtrack got a lot of positive feedback & made for some interesting conversation starters. I was asked what would be my top 10 songs from the 80s. Now there is a distinct difference between 80s rock & 80s pop and because I could easily pick a ton of songs from each, I will be giving them each a separate list & entry. I'll start with the cheesy & the corny - the Pop list. I also couldn't just pick 10. So deal.

These are my favorite 80's Pop Songs. They have a special place in my heart & like Pavlov's dog, if any of these started playing any time at any place, I would definitely start belting out all the lyrics of all of them:

"Alone" - Heart
I LOVE THIS SONG. This could possibly make a run for my #1 favorite 80s song.

"How Soon is Now?" - The Smiths
What can you say about Morrissey? An amazing band & an amazing song.

"Just like Heaven" - The Cure
This is such a feel good song. LOVE LOVE LOVE Robert Smith. This band is one of the defining groups of the decade.

"Need You Tonight" - INXS
I don't think there is an INXS song I don't like, but this one is so fun to sing to. RIP Michael Hutchins.

"Wake Me Up (Before You Go-Go) - Wham!
This song reminds me of growing up. I had this on a 45 and would play it on my fisher price record player and dance around the living room.

"Everything She Wants" - Wham!
This is my favorite Wham! song. It's fun to sing for karaoke with a ton of other people.

"Modern Love" - David Bowie
Bowie not only conquers another decade with awesome music, but tempts Jennifer Connelly as the Goblin King in Labyrinth (can he do no wrong?) Another one of those songs that just makes me feel good.

'Policy of Truth' - Depeche Mode
I didn't really truly discover Depeche Mode until I was in my teens but man everything about them, the lyrics, the beats, David Gahan's voice all made me fall in love instantly. New wave had made its way into my teenage years and it's never left. This is my favorite DM song, I'm not entirely sure why but it definitely just hit me. It's so simple yet complicated all at the same time. It's amazing.

"West End Girls" - Pet Shop Boys feat. Dusty Springfield
I love the sound of Dusty Springfield's voice in the song, love the beat, and just the feeling of 'mysteriousness' that this song give off .

"Walk like an Egyptian" - The Bangles
Do you remember pocket rockers? Well I had that EXACT player. You see that little cassette in the corner? It was one side "Walk like an Egyptian", one side "Manic Monday". I played the CRAP out of that cassette. Also, whenever I think of this song I immediately think of the video of just all random people they filmed dancing & "Walking like an Egyptian".

"Break it Down Again" - Tears for Fears
I know this wasn't released in the 80s (it was the early 90s) but it is very 80s-esque and is my favorite Tears for Fears song.

"King of Pain" - The Police
This is my favorite Police song. that is all.

"Every Breathe you Take" - The Police
Before I found out this song was about a stalker fan of Sting/The Police, I wanted this to be my wedding song.... and it is still up there in the ranking to be.

"And She Was" - Talking Heads
I think I listen to this song at least once a day. This (and Psycho Killer) are 2 my favorite Talking Heads songs.

"Bad" - Michael Jackson
The leather jacket. The video. The dancing. I remember this being one of the first videos I ever saw & just wanted to watch it over & over. How could you not love everything & anything Michael Jackson did back in the 80s?

"Billie Jean" - MJ
a classic. enough said.

and these are some honorable mentions that I wanted to include but don't really have anything to add about:

"Keep Me Hangin' On" - Kim Wilde
"Maneater" - Hall & Oates
"The Promise" - When in Rome
"What Do All the People Know?" - The Monroes
"Invisible Touch" - Genesis
"Tenderness" - General Public

next up.... my Top 80s Rock songs.

Monday, April 5, 2010

This girl is no April fool.

The new year started out on a positive note and felt like things were going well. Unfortunately, I found myself right back where I didn't want to be by the time February rolled around. It felt like I got thrown back to the beginning and was told "sorry. you lose. try again." February was a hard month for me for several reasons, and I was probably my own worst enemy. I had my heartbroken, I wasn't writing, I stopped going out as much & being social. I wasn't feeling terribly confident about anything, especially myself.

I usually do not care for Spring. I enjoy the fact that when Spring arrives it means Winter isn't coming back for at least 6-7 months. Aside from that, Spring is hell for allergy sufferers like myself and unlike Shirley Manson, I'm not happy when it rains - I've never been a fan of all the rain that comes with Spring (and the Northeast certainly got our more than our share this year). I've always been a summer girl and honestly, I've always just wanted summer to get here.

This year Spring may just have been the thing I needed.

Maybe it's because I made a lot of plans and kept myself busy in March. Maybe it's because it's been filled with great friends, good fun & late nights - I truly have some of the most amazing friends who knock sense into me when I need it & really listen when I need that even more - I don't know what I would do without each & every one of you. Maybe it's because I put my performing shoes back on for the 1st time in years and I didn't do nearly as bad as I thought I would. Maybe it's because my half sleeve is finally finished and I am so fucking happy with the way it came out:

Maybe I'm excited for my upcoming move back to Brooklyn, which is very needed & long overdue. Maybe it's because I started doing Yoga again. Maybe it's because things just seen to be falling slowly into place for me instead of the typical crashing into pieces. Maybe it's because I'm finally doing things I care about, enjoy and want to add into my life. Maybe it's because I started realizing that I need to start doing things for me and take time out for me.

Maybe I'm beginning to see that Spring isn't so bad - it's not always rainy.

It can't rain all the time.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Deserted Island Soundtrack

A friend of mine who is a fellow blogger recently had a post entitled "My Island CD" stating the 10 songs he would want to be stuck on a deserted island with for an indefinite period of time. He mentioned to me after writing this blog that he would be interested in finding out what mine would be, since he knows how passionate I am about music & how it's influenced my life.

Now, he had some stipulations with his list, which he has every right to since it is his list. I am not going to put any restrictions on my list - the only thing I do want to say is that it will consist of songs that would fit on a single CD (which is about 80 minutes). Also the order is merely the suggested way I would listen to it (but shuffle works with it too).
So here it is:

1. "Over the Hills And Far Away" - Led Zeppelin (4:46)
Most people consider Led Zeppelin one of the best rock bands of all time. I consider them THE best. Led Zeppelin is one of two bands that if I was asked to pick my favorite song by them, I wouldn't be able to. Not only do they have so many amazing songs, but they all have different vibes & meanings to me. How I'm feeling/the mood I'm in makes a difference on what I would want to listen to. This song ranks in my Top 5 Led Zeppelin songs. It makes me smile and it is a pretty awesome song to start off a soundtrack. Oh, and if the opening guitar solo in this song doesn't make you want to pick up a guitar, you must hate music.

2. "A Girl Like You" - Edwyn Collins(3:55)
I love this song just as much as the first time I heard it. This song reminds me of High School and at times it does bring me back there when I listen to it. It's most known for being on the Empire Records soundtrack and getting Edwyn Collins his 15 mins of fame/one hit wonder. It has that Iggy Pop/David Bowie vibe to it (and most mistake it as a Bowie song) but then you hear the electric guitar, vibraphone & other instruments and its slight new wave feel but not overly so. And anyone that uses the word 'allegorically' in a song gets brownie points in my book.

3. "Bad Reputation" - Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (2:48)
If guys can have man crushes, Joan Jett is my girl crush. She is my idol. I loved her & my She-Ra action figure growing up. I hope to God that I can look half as awesome as she does when I'm her age. She was & still is SO FUCKING bad ass. I love the message of "I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks, I just do what I want because it's what I want to do". If I could pick an anthem, this would be it. "...and I don't really care if you think I'm strange, I ain't gonna change"... sing it Joan, sing your fucking heart out.

4. Thunderstruck" - AC/DC (4:52)
I love AC/DC, from both the Bon Scott days & Brian Johnson days. This song would have been amazing to see live back in the late 70s. To me, this one of those songs that defines what is amazing, mind blowing rock & roll. I have said on many occasions that if I played for the NY Yankees, this kick ass song would be the one they play every time I would go up to bat.

5. "Lie In Our Graves (Live)" - Dave Matthews Band - Live in Chicago 12.19.98 (12:21)
I had the hardest time choosing a song by this band. (so I picked 2, ha!) It's like asking a chef to pick their favorite food or an artist to pick their favorite painting. I could easily write an essay on why I love this song. Hell, I could write an entire book on why I love each album of theirs and the difference between listening to a live recording of a song or the studio recorded version. Ok, I admit it, I'm obsessed with Dave Matthews Band. Anyway, I chose this specific song, a live one, because 2 words come to mind if I had to describe it - passion & energy. DMB shows are full of both but this particular song has hit me more so than others. The violin solo in this song is one of the best pieces I've ever heard Boyd play and I can hear & feeling the emotion come off the strings & bow as he plays it. Tim Reynolds makes a guitar talk and in this song I can almost hear its pain. I also just love this song - it's fun & reminds me of summer and driving to all of shows I've been to in the my life, especially DMB shows.

6. "Sunday Morning" - No Doubt (4:33)
When Tragic Kingdom came out in 1995, I listened to it CONSTANTLY. I almost burned out my stereo & a hole through the CD. This particular song opens with a 1min+ drum line, it has this amazing smooth yet punk beat throughout the song, and Gwen's vocals & the lyrics all add up to my favorite track on the album. It also makes for an awesome karaoke song.

7. "One" - Metallica (7:27)
I have so many memories that involve Metallica and their music. My late friend Dan gave me my first Metallica album in 1995 and I never turned back. This is one of my top 5 Metallica songs but I picked this song for this soundtrack because I love how simple & melodic the guitars are at the beginning (if you haven't noticed already, I'm a sucker for a good guitar solo) but then all hell breaks loose and they rock the fuck out... while never breaking a sweat. You can't get much heavier than the end of a Metallica song. I do enjoy the meaning behind the song as well (a soldier's reactions/memories/feelings towards losing his mind & own body parts due to fighting in war) but even without knowing that this song is truly an amazing piece of work.

8. "Run like Hell" - Pink Floyd (4:24)
This is my favorite song off the 'The Wall'. There are many others that are amazing and iconic but I have never been one to agree with the masses about things. Maybe it's because it has the only keyboard solo on that entire album or the fact that they incorporate the live crowd effects into it or the chanting of "Run" by David Gilmour to start off the song but there's just something about this song that pulls me in. It is one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs, but this may be the only song on my soundtrack where I don't have a concrete reason why or how I came to love this song. I just do.

9. "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" - The Ramones (2:46)
I love the Ramones and this particular song just reminds me of all the shit hole bars and venues I've seen bands perform in NYC, especially CBGB's. I never got the chance to see them live but their presence was definitely felt every time you walked there. I miss that place.

10. "Caught Up in You" - .38 Special (4:38)
Some may disagree with the following statement: this song is the 'cheesy/corny' track on my soundtrack. But I do love this song. This is another feel good, windows open, sing-a-long song that makes me want to just dance around my apartment and totally rock the air guitar (don't you judge me - i know every single one of you have done it).

11. "Bad" - U2 (5:51)
This song is about addiction. I find it kind of funny that not only is it my favorite U2 song, but it made its way onto a list of songs I'd want to be stuck listening to quite possibly for the rest of time... yeah I have a problem. I know A LOT about music, enough to impress people at trivia nights and have decent conversations about it at least. I even impress myself with the tidbits that come pouring out of my brain. When it only takes me 3 notes to name a song or name the artist of that one-hit wonder no one else can ever remember, a thought comes to my head, "I think I'm addicted to music" - is that possible?

12. "Crash" - Dave Matthews Band (5:16)
See, I told you. I couldn't pick just one DMB song. But I thought it was fair that I picked 1 live & 1 studio recorded song. This song means a lot to me for many reasons, not all of which I will name here, but one of the most important is simple: it's so beautiful. Everything about this song - the opening melody, the lyrics, the rising tone Dave's voice throughout the song, the way Boyd and LeRoi play so delicately but add such depth to the song it makes me want to melt, I could go on but this is one of the songs that seriously changed the way I think about, listen to & love music. This song also is one of the few songs that makes me almost want to cry. (I said almost.)

13. "Possession" - Sarah McLachlan (4:39)
While Joan Jett is my idol/girl crush, Sarah McLachlan is the sister I never had. She is probably my favorite female solo artist. She has an insanely amazing voice that is so sweet & smooth. She seems like a person I would want to have as a friend or a sister or someone to turn to. I used to fall asleep listening to her albums my 1st year of college because it would block out noise & also just comfort me. This song specifically I remember hearing for the first time in 7th or 8th grade and just loving everything about it.

14. "Fix You" - Coldplay (4:54)
Coldplay had me at Yellow back in the distant year of 2000. I'm actually sort of shocked that I would consider putting a Coldplay song on my island soundtrack but this is one of those songs that I just absolutely fell in love with from the first time I heard it. I didn't know this initially but Chris Martin wrote this for his daughter after she was born and has put even more meaning into this song for me. It is also one of those songs that it doesn't matter what mood I'm in or what kind of day it is, I could listen to this at anytime. For some reason I can't really explain, I just feel an immense connection to this song.

15. "Dancing with Myself" - Billy Idol (6:01)
Good Lord I love this song. I dare anyone, ANYONE, to put this song on and just sit still & not sing along. If this song doesn't make you want to get up, dance 'Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club' style and want to be Billy Idol, then you have no soul. AND that also means you don't like Billy Idol or the 80s and I don't think we should be friends anymore.

16. "Thank You" - Led Zeppelin (4:46)
Starting and ending with the best. I've never been the type of girl who thinks about her 'dream wedding' or has specific plans for her special day... except when it comes to my wedding song. If I ever get married ('if' being the keyword there), there is a 66.7% chance that this will be the song. I have a few others that come close to possibly beating it out but if I make no other decision on my wedding day but to choose the music, I would be fine with that.

There you have it. My deserted island soundtrack.
and in case you were wondering, the Total Running Time is 79 minutes and change.
Go ahead, add up minutes. I dare you.

Side Note: If for some reason I could have multiple albums with me (like a case of CDs) these would be the albums I would want with me:

Led Zeppelin Boxed Set
Incubus "Science"
The Cranberries "Everyone else is doing it so why can't we?"
DMB "Under the Table and Dreaming" "Before These Crowded Streets" and "Live Trax Vol. 3 - Meadows Music Theatre"... hell, I'll just say my entire DMB collection to make things easier.
Linkin Park "Meteora"
Pink Floyd "Echoes"
Alanis Morissette "Jagged Little Pill"
Queen "Greatest Hits"
No Doubt "Tragic Kingdom"
Sarah McLachlan "Fumbling Towards Ecstacy"
Metallica's entire catalog up to "Load" & also the S&M live album.
Bob Marley & the Wailers "One Love: The Very Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers" (because you can't be stuck on a deserted island without some Bob Marley)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

wanna hear a story?

Last night I told a story. I got up in front of friends, my fellow classmates & their family/friends and performed... and it felt soooo good. Except for some radio bits I did several years ago & some workshops/classes where we would present our work in class, I hadn't performed in a long time. I honestly can't remember the last time I acted/performed on a stage. I can't say I wasn't nervous (let's just say I was nervous the minute I knew there was a performance at the end of the class) but as I heard my name being announced last night, I just took 2 deep breaths and got up and went for it. I felt really good with how my story went & I had people tell me that my story was really amazing & that I had the audience holding their breath & on the edge of their seats.

Last night I told this story. This is the full, written out version. (It's not the same as seeing it be told live, but I figure I'd post this for anyone who couldn't make it last night. I also might be getting the video footage too since someone was taping our stories.) I hadn't told this story in over 10 years yet I still remember it & feel it as if it happened only yesterday. I'm really proud of it as a written piece of my work & a story that I found buried deep inside me to have the courage to tell. This story may just have reignited the performer inside of me...


Contrary to what you've seen or heard, Lifeguarding isn't always as easy as it looks. I became a lifeguard when I was 17 and for 4 summers I worked at a camp that was located on a college campus in Westchester County, NY. Lifeguarding definitely had its perks: sitting outside in the sun all day poolside while my friends bustled their groups of campers in & out of the pool area. The summer of '99 though, I got more than just a tan.

It was a hot Friday afternoon in the middle of August. I was sitting at the side of the pool, probably yelling at some kids to stop running around the pool deck, when a male counselor comes up to the fence of the pool area yelling. I turn around and see counselors going over to see what he wants and he sees me and points. I go over to the fence & he says a kid is hurt down by the basketball courts and he looks pretty bad. I asked him what happened - he said he didn't see it happen but the kid is screaming & he's kind of bloody. I said ok I'll come down and see what's wrong. I bring a few things from the first aid kit; gloves, bandaid, gauze. As I go out the gate of the pool the male counselor and I go down the hill to the courts.

I can see some other counselors standing around the kid. As we get closer, I can hear him crying and screaming. Then I see this boy, no more than 11 or 12 kind of chubby, gripping his left arm, rolling around on the hot asphalt of the parking lot, dirty, kinda of bloody, sweaty & crying out for his mom. I also notice no one else is standing closer than 3 feet to him or doing anything to help the boy. I instantly shouted "I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NOW" Then another thinner boy of about the same age comes over to me and says "He fell". Without hesitation, I looked at him and said "Off of what?" I hadn't looked at the boys face until that moment and I could see the guilt & sadness mixed in his eyes. He points over my left shoulder and I see 2 dirt bikes laying off in the distance on the far edge of the hill. I immediately knew this kid had at least one, if not multiple broken bones. He needed to be stabilized and taken off the boiling hot pavement & out of the blazing sun.

I started throwing out instructions to the other counselors...
"go call 911 and the office"
"go get the backboard from the pool & tell one of the other lifeguards what's going on"
"someone please get all the kids and clear the basketball court - take them up to the pool or inside".

I go up to the boy and lean over him and ask "Where does it hurt?" but he won't stop crying or moving. Then, with a bit more force, I say to him "Listen, I need you to relax. I'm trying to help you and you can't keep rolling around because you could hurt yourself more." He looks up at me with his dirt stained face & tear filed eyes and yells "my arm my arm my arm" and then continues to scream. A counselor comes back with the backboard and I have 2 counselors assist me to get him on the board, I put the neck brace on him and we move him. Once in the shade, I sit overlooking him because he's still crying & freaked out and I need him to focus on something, anything else right now. So I start to talk to him. I ask him his name, where he lives, what school he goes to, what grade he's going into... and it seems to calm him down a bit. The counselor who I asked to call 911 & the office comes running back & says ok "an ambulance is on it's way" but before I can say thanks, she also says, "& The office is NOT happy" and I said "why? it was an accident" and she responds, "No, this boy isn't a camper". I immediately froze inside but I tried to not let it show to the boy who already was scared out of his mind. I gave the counselor who just told me this the "are you FUCKING kidding me?" stare. I tell the counselor to take his friend up to the office NOW and call both of their parents. I continue to sit with the boy who isn't crying as much anymore and ask him some more basic questions to keep him calm.

20 minutes can seems like forever when you are trying to convince a 12 year kid everything is gonna be ok and his mom is on her way. The ambulance finally arrived & started to unload a stretcher & gear. I explained to one of the EMTs what I knew and what I had done in the meantime. The Mother, who luckily worked in town, arrived a few minutes later. She was white as ghost when she saw him on the backboard and started asking a million questions so the other EMT took the mother aside to get her out of the way and ask her some questions. As they loaded the boy into the ambulance, the mother came back over to me with makeup & tears running down her face & looked me dead in the eye and she just said "Thank You" - I think that was the most heartfelt thank you I've ever heard. I was still wound up and on edge from what had just happened but that felt really good to hear.

As I start to head back to the pool, the counselor who took the boy up to the office came back and told me that they wanted me in the main office. I walk in to see both directors standing in the doorway of the office, waiting for me. Then the interrogation started.
"What were you thinking?"
"This child does not go to camp here!"
"Do you know the liability you have put the camp in? not to mention yourself?"
"This family can sue the camp, the college, and you!"
"We are very disappointed in you, Nicole. We never expected something like this from you."

After their tirade they asked me if I had anything to say. I explained exactly what happened, that I was not aware that he wasn't a camper, that NO ONE else wanted to help, let alone go near the boy and the last thing I did say was: "I was just doing my job". They said we would talk about this further next week once we hear back from the college & the family and they let me leave.

I walked out to my car, got in the driver's seat, put the key in the ignition and then just sat there and cried. I was sweaty, tired, drained & overwhelmed with emotions. I just helped this boy in need & did my job yet I just got the third degree from my employers, and their camp, my job, and my life is in potential jeopardy. I realized I had been sitting in the parking lot for several minutes so I collected myself & drove home.

The following week I found out from one of the EMTs who came back to return our backboard to the pool that the kid had in fact broken his collarbone, arm and fractured his wrist. They also said he was lucky, he could have hurt himself severely & permanently had he not been mobilized. I personally never heard from the family or the college about any lawsuits (the kids weren't supposed to be on the campus to begin with since they weren't associated with the camp) and I didn't lose my job. But I also didn't get an apology or any sort of recognition from the camp directors.

I didn't return to work at the camp the following summer but I did continue to lifeguard elsewhere throughout college, taught swim lessons and even coached some junior swim teams. That August afternoon made me realize for the 1st time in my life that not only am I a whole lot stronger & assertive than I had ever imagined, but you must always stand up for what you think is right.

N. Strawbridge

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Light 'em up.

This was the 1st story I told in my storytelling class. I thought maybe I would tell this story the night of our performance but it's terribly long & could probably be broken down into several stories. I read somewhere that David Sedaris said he sat down to write about his relationship with smoking and he ended up with around 10 different stories. I don't know if I could write 10 stories but here's the start of one...

Everyone has a vice. Every single person has something that controls them just a fraction more than you control it. For some people it's lying, drinking, biting one's nails, working out (I consider it a vice), gambling, collecting things to the point of hoarding. Mine is smoking.

I have a love/hate relationship with cigarettes. I've been surrounded/exposed to them all my life, even in utero. Yep, my mother smoked while she was pregnant with me. I have photos to prove it. Honestly, I don't know if people back in the 70s knew just how horrible smoking was to your health. Just by looking at the way everyone dressed, we can pretty much agree their decisions weren't always the best. I do partly blame my shortness on her smoking during pregnancy - way to stunt the growth of your only child, Mom. I still love you. Both of them are now ex-smokers, my Mom having the easier & less stressful time of quitting then my father. She quit when I was a toddler using acupuncture while my father had a pretty nasty battle quitting. I think I was around 7 or 8 when he finally quit for good. I remember during that time the house and cars were always littered with bottles & bottles of seltzer in all sorts of flavors. To this day, I think this why I've never liked seltzer because I associate it with my Dad's smoking.

Not until a decade later in high school did I have my 1st personal experience with smoking. I was 15 & had a part time job at a local stationary store. We sold cigarettes & one day I decided to 'take' a pack (yeah, I stole them - I couldn't obviously buy them). A pack of Marlboro Reds were all mine. To all you non-smokers out there, Marlboro Reds are not the "easy, yeah I'm gonna smoke for the 1st time" kind of cigarette. What the hell did I know? A combination of peer-pressure, curosity & rebellion in me made the choice. I had to go with the Marlboro Man. I did always have a little thing for cowboys. Waiting until my parents were both out of the house, I made my way towards the kitchen which led out to our deck. It was mid to late February or exceptionally cold & snowy for March because I remember I didn't want to go all the way outside (and also feared being seen by noisy neighbors). I remember thinking 2 things as I opened the pack of cigarettes: the first was "wow, there's a lot of packaging that goes into these things" and the second was "I'm not quite sure I know what I'm doing or how to do it." So as I stood halfway in & out of the house, I lit my 1st cigarette & took my first drag (not that I knew what I was doing). It wasn't so bad - I didn't cough my brains out or drop dead from a blood clot. I thought, this is pretty good. Honestly, I don't think I enhaled at all, because a few drags later I finally felt this sensation in my chest that felt like I had just swallowed the lit cigarette whole. My chest ached & burned and I started coughing. I probably looked like the choking victim in those "How To" posters in schools & restaurants. Needless to say I didn't finish my 1st cigarette but that burning & coughing didn't deter me from trying it again.

I smoked in High School & college although my smoking at this point was more a casual & social thing. My smoking didn't effect my ability to compete in swim meets or play soccer. In my mind, smoking wasn't really changing me, especially not my health, at least not that I could see.

I have gradually become a more frequent smoker. I hate to say it, but yes I am in fact an addict. (This is why I prefer calling it a 'vice') For me, it does wonders for stressful times, although that's not a valid excuse. It's just an excuse.

A little over 10 years ago, my Dad came down with a pretty bad case of Bronchopneumonia. While respiratory issues tend to run in my dad's family (when I was younger I was always guaranteed to get strep throat twice a year & at times bronchitis) this specific instance changed my dad's health permanently. He now has severe asthma & always has to use inhalers and other breathing devices & constantly is taking an array of other medications. He has this constant cough, that makes him sound like he's choking, but it's because his lungs are so compromised that they're not getting in enough oxygen. He pretty much is internally drowning. He gets winded from just walking & the cold weather just makes it worse. He's had to go to the ER several times just get his O2 levels up. I'm pretty sure if he doesn't die from the stress of working for a major TV network for 40 years, he'll die because of this.

I know his health issues weren't solely caused from his smoking (allergies also run in the family and his are pretty moderate) but I'm not ignorant to realize that smoking hasn't contributed & greatly impacted the severity of them. You'd think that it would make me go through my apartment & immediately get rid anything relating to smoking. You'd think I'd be completely against smoking and had given it up years ago or possibly not even want to start ever. You'd think.

Quitting something is no easy task - especially when it's something you enjoy. I've tried several times, with patches, gum, medication. Most attempts were careless, weak and didn't really get me past a week smoke-free but my most recent attempt had been successful - 4 months I went without smoking. And I did miss it at times, but I had been successful in quitting for more than a week's time. I got my sense of smell back which I didn't know had really gone away to begin with. There were no more standing out in the cold in mid-December or running to the store late at night to get a pack and honestly I didn't miss that. I had survived not smoking for 4 months. But my well-known friend called stress slowly crept back into my life & I buckled. Just like a typical addict.

There isn't just 1 way to describe how smoking makes me feel anymore. I love it one minute and can hate it the next. It's become so second nature and you have no idea how much that bothers me. It bothers me that something so small & disposable can have such control over me at times. Lately I've been trying to tell myself how stupid that last sentence sounds and it shocks me how unfortunately real it is too. I've been doing better at cutting down (save for the occasional night out or a more recent stressful couple of weeks) and I know that's not as good as quitting... but who ever liked a quitter?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

beware the Ides of March

Holy Shit it's March already? When did that happen?!? I've been so distracted lately. What? You haven't been glued to the TV for the last 2 weeks watching endless hours of Olympic coverage of sports you didn't even know existed? Oh, well at least I can use the fact that the Northeast has turned into the North Pole in recent weeks or February is the shortest month of the year as excuses too... oh, that doesn't count either? Shit. I'm out of excuses. Seriously though, lately I've been a combination of a procrastinating space cadet/busy bee with a dash of karaoke rockstar in there.

Well, this month did fly by. People coming, going, changing, creating, laughing, reacting, crying, playing, loving. Here are the interesting things I learned/observed/discovered/felt over the course of the past month:

i've been slacking on my new year's goals. i probably sound like a broken record: "i started out SO STRONG! i don't know what happened!!"... actually i do know what happened - LIFE happened. every fucking day LIFE happened. i'm not going to give excuses about my lack of blog entries, my feeble attempts to get through reading 1 book in 2 months or even for the escalation in my smoking. Nope, no excuses. Because it, the craptastic life i try to lead, just happens. In more positive news, I have found that I am drinking more water & I have rediscovered my love for Yoga (which wasn't on my orginial list of goals & I had unconsciously neglected for several months). if i can give you one piece of advice - never doubt the power of yoga.
this is what i have to say about my goals: I'M WORKING ON IT!

winter needs to over now. I'm sorry was I not clear? i mean like RIGHT FUCKING NOW. no more cold wintry snow, rain or ice storms or temperatures that will make your appendages feel numb after 5 minutes of being outside. i'm sick of seeing white. Bring on that extra hour of daylight, all the endless colors beginning to reappear, opening day at Yankee Stadium, the bright warm sun not masked by clouds or rain or snow, growth and change and new starts. yeah i need all of that.

i find it somewhat ironic & also slightly alarming that my possibility of moving in the next few months is the sole thing that is helping me keep things together. (more on this in possible future blogs)

I've recently reconnected with the unpleasant experience of being nervous. Nervousness is in my top 5 of "I'd rather be mauled by a bear than feel this way" list - it's sandwiched right between between heartache & anger.

i believe because i haven't been home much recently, i think my cats are angry/pissed off/irritated with me. until i feed them or pet them at least.

i will never understand people who go to concerts, shows, games etc and leave early. it just boggles my mind that you would go out of your way to attend something and then not want to stay and enjoy it in its entirety. i understand there are emergencies & things of that sort, but if you just are leaving to leave, then why did you bother to come in the first place?

currently, as in right now, i have a LOT of things to do. i know because i wrote them down on my to do list yet i am doing none of them at this moment. i should get on that.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A penny for my thoughts?

Work has been beating me down like a red-headed stepchild lately and I haven't posted in awhile...If I had more than 10 mins, I could probably write lengthy, detailed entries on all of them but I'm only allowing myself 10 minutes to write this post because I have a billion other things to be doing but especially writing, such as my story for my class on Monday & revising/adding to my proposal.

The things that have been on my mind lately...

I need a change. A change in temperature, a change of clothes, a change of pace, a change of scenery, a change of address, a change in diet - any change will do. A change of seasons would be nice but according to that rodent they claim can see its shadow, that won't be happening anytime soon.

Speaking of scenery, I'm in serious need of a vacation. And I don't mean "take a few days off work to sit in my apartment" vacation, I mean I need get away and forget about my life for a few days. A few friends have been harping on me to get my passport (I do not have one. yea, I know it's weird. want to know more interesting/weird/slightly crazy stuff about me? go here) I really want to go somewhere I've never been before. If I'm getting as much as I think I am from my tax return, I see a possible trip in my future. And if that doesn't happen, I'm adding onto my tattoo.

Since the start of the New Year, I have gone from writing very casually when I have an idea/wave of creativity & mainly for personal reasons to being assigned to write personal stories & presenting them in front of others. Oh, and I've been posting stuff here I NEVER thought I would. I really can't stop and think about it because if I do, I may start having an anxiety attack and quite possibly be sick.

My family is slowly falling apart. And I seem to be the last thread straining to keep it all together. It's a heavy load to bear and I don't want to be the monkey in the middle anymore.

I recently rediscovered the enormous power belting out songs while late night driving can do for your soul. Music never ceases to let me down when I most need it.

My current top 5 things I have a "love/hate relationship with" at the moment, in no particular order: sleeping, therapy, myself, smoking, & my apartment.

No mode of transportation can get you home fast enough when you've just had your heart broken.

I feel stuck. Stuck like gum on the bottom of your shoe? Not exactly. More like when after a snowstorm, you have to go dig your car out of the 18 inches of snow it's covered in and you attempt to push/pry/do anything to get it over the mound of snow the sanitation dept. has so nicely left directly in front of your driveway.... or kind of like when you walk up to your apartment door after a long day at work, & you're rabidly searching for your keys in your bag, only to realize you left them on your kitchen counter this morning and now have no way to get in.... that kind of stuck. Stuck on what? A lot of different things, but I think I mostly feel like I'm stuck in cruise control & there's no one really paying attention to the directions or cares to take the wheel - so I just keep going.

I feel like I'm missing something... or possibly, everything.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Missing you

The storm has broken now.
The sun is setting,
leaving behind a crystal blue sky.
It sinks behind a cloud,
it's edges like a piece of paper ripped from a book.
The sun sinks deeper as it goes to bed,
it leaves it's glow behind,
a light to remember it by until tomorrow.
The calm & stillness makes breaths more visible,
beating hearts feel stronger.
A song plays in my ears,
reminding me of past times, good times
and it makes me smile,
although the tears in my eyes and the pain in my heart doesn't agree.
I'm left with my thoughts,
in my own head,
remembering you.


Monday, January 25, 2010

i'd count anything if it could get me some sleep

I feel like a zombie. And if you've seen me in the last 5 days or so, I am probably beginning to resemble one of these guys (ok, maybe not THAT bad but you get the idea). I think if the bags under my eyes get any bigger, I could quite possibly carry my groceries home in them, with some room to spare.
Why are you so drained & 'out of it' you ask? Oh, I'm sorry, you didn't ask? Well, I'll tell you anyway. Recently I haven't been sleeping well. I usually have no problems falling asleep within about 20 minutes of getting under the covers but lately, I can't fall asleep for hours. I get in bed expecting to go to sleep & then just can't - I just toss & turn trying to find the exact spot that will let me get into my REM phase. I've tried reading, writing, turning the TV on, turning it off, but nothing seems to be working. Normally I can function on limited hours of sleep after a night out and have no problem getting up for work or getting to whatever it is I have to do, but when it happens several days in a row, I can feel the zombie state of mind start to set in.
The worst part about all of this is I think I know exactly why I can't sleep and I don't know how (or if it's even possible) to fix it - I think too much. It's sounds like such a simple problem but it is far from simple. My mind is constantly on the go, thinking about anything & everything. I also have the smallest tendency to over analyze things (and if you know me, you know that was the most insane understatement), which I like to partially blame on my minor case of OCD, but I really can't make excuses. It's a part of who I am. It is really just your classic combination of issues: family, work, myself, life. I normally can deal with those things one at time but it seems like right now, every one of those are fighting each other to get to the top for the title of "Nicole's biggest problem".
I honestly think that if I could turn off my thoughts, this would immediately fix my sleeping issue. If it were that easy - it would solve A LOT of my problems.
But until someone invents something like that, (introducing the Mindswitch - turn thoughts on/off at your leisure!) my friends, my therapist & the Blogging world will just have to suffer... I mean listen, to me just ramble on :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another day, Another play

So I had planned on writing a real blog entry this evening.... yeah, well that didn't happen but I did find a play I wrote last year. I not only really like the final outcome, but had fun writing it.
It sort of sums up the status of (and present lack there of) my relationships and how random some can be & how strangely we can be thrown into them.

Plus it's a blog entry. A sort of cop out blog entry, but deal with it.
I'm a busy lady people.


“Conducting an Experiment, Neo Futurist-style or Are you my soul mate?”

2 Neos, in Lab coats with googles sitting on their heads, enter.
1 of the Neos brings an audience member on stage to sit in a chair DSR and Neos stand on either side of audience member.

N1: As you might have already noticed, we, the NY neo-futurists, like to experiment.
N2: And not just at home with our 4th grade failed science projects…
N1: But we like to experiment on stage with our plays, with you….
N2: We also like to solve problems.
N1: And right now, we would like to experiment on helping to solve a problem of a friend.
(Nicole walks on stage, sits USL and puts on headphones w/ipod)
N1: That is Nicole. She is 29, single & according to her grandmother “letting her prime years go to waste.”
N2: She, like many others in this fine city, is looking for her soul mate, that special someone…
N1: She has compiled this list of questions to ask you, “name tag”. She has answered them already and we will compare your answers to hers, compute the results and see if you are compatible. (holds up clipboard with questions on it)
N2: you could possibly be destined to be together, like soul mates!
N1: Are you ready, “name tag”?
(Audience Member hopefully answers Yes. N2 goes to spiny door with chart on it to check off “name tag’s” answers. *Nicole’s answers are posted already on the other side.)
N1: Great. Let's begin.

State your full name, age & city of residence.
Please answer the following questions with a YES or NO answer:

Are you single?
Do you want to be single?
Do you have a job?
Do you enjoy what you do?
Have you ever had a deadly disease?
Do you think you have a deadly disease at this moment?
Do you know anyone who has been exposed to or has the H1N1 virus (the swine flu)?
Can you recite the alphabet backwards easily?
Do you cook?
Can you cook?
Do you like cookies?
Do you like animal crackers?
Do you think animal crackers are actually crackers?
Do you like animals?
Do you have any?
(Name them.)
Do you think people should dress their pets up?
If I played 10 seconds of a popular song from the 80s, do you think you could name the title, artist & year it was released?
Do you balance your checkbook regularly?
If you had to leave town immediately, never to return, and could only bring with you what you had on your person, could you do it?
Currently, what is your favorite TV show?
Do you feel like you watch too much TV?
Do you agree with this statement: All past & present reality tv show stars should all be gathered together, brought to the LOST island & left there until j.j. Abrams finds an entertaining way to rid the world of them that will be televised like the MJ memorial.
Can you name the starting lineup (including positions) from the NY Yankees’ game last night?
Have you ever been in love?
Do you love someone at this current moment?
Do they love you back?
Are you happy with your life at this current moment?
Are you sick of answering these questions?
Do you want to punch the person asking you these questions in the face?
Do you wish that you were the one asking the questions?
Do you have a question?
*if they do ask a question, no one answers, but Neo quickly says:

N1: This concludes the Q&A. We will be right back with the results.

N1 goes to the spiny door chart with N2 & compare answers and decide, based on the percentage of same answers from each, whether they are soul mates.

Nicole, not paying attention during the whole play, sees ‘nametag’ across the stage, takes off headphones/ipod, goes up to ‘nametag’ and sits in his lap, and asks ‘are you my soul mate?’



Thursday, January 14, 2010

blasts from the past

In the last month, I've noticed myself re-discovering things from the past. And also becoming aware of things I never noticed before, yet were in front of me all along.

It started when I was cleaning off my desk and found some old photos my Aunt had given me last year, mainly of me & my cousins & a few with my grandmother who had died recently. I went to put them away with the other photographs I have, I discovered something - with the exception of those few photos I had just been given & maybe a half dozen more, all the pictures I had were of me & only me. Now, being an only child kind of makes that statement seem logical, but it's also sort of unsettling to me that pictures through the years that I have are just me doing various activities or at different ages. There's the occasional friend or parent, but mostly I'm alone. I'm not sure what that means, but I will bet some money that it means something. I think it does, NO, I know it does.

Last weekend I hung out with friends from High School that I don't get to see terribly often due to work & whatever else occupies our lives. 3 of them I had lunch with & another I met for coffee later in the afternoon. I've known all 4 of them for about half of my life (wow, that's crazy to say) but it dawned on me that as much as we grow up, start our own lives, change names, locations, jobs, hair color or socks, none of us really have changed at all. We can not see each other for a month, or a year or several, and even though we do the 'catch up on life' thing, nothing else feels different. I can honestly say that those girls I met in Homeroom freshman year or 3rd period Spanish or Global Studies are still my friends now because of that. Yeah, we've lost touch at various times over the years & we don't see each other everyday like we did back in HS but that doesn't seem to matter. I'm truly thankful for them being in my life and I'm so glad they still are.

I've been watching My So-Called Life on DVD lately. If you haven't heard of it or seen an episode (there's only 1 season), it was a hour long show that showed how life was being a teenager in today's society (in the early to mid 90s), which at the time was when I was exactly a teenager. I loved Angela (Claire Danes). Hell, I loved Claire Danes for that matter. And of course Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto). GOD I loved that show. It was ahead of it's time, or maybe was starting just at the right time...
In every episode, I see all the clothes & hear the music and remember... because it brings me back to high school & growing up. I think I appreciate watching it even more now because I look at my life and see how much high school, even with it's god awful experiences, wasn't really as bad as teenagers make it out to be (I blame the hormones for all the dramatics). Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to go back in time & do it all over again, but I see how important those years were to shaping your soul & yourself as a person. I still have a bit of Angela in me, for good & bad, but I don't think I would change that. Then I wouldn't be who I was today.

All of this remembrance & nostalgia, none of this was intentional, it's mainly just happened by coincidence that it's all been happening together but it's strange - strange to look back and see pieces of yourself have, or maybe haven't, changed.

I tend to get stuck on things.
The past is a big one... but at least not all of it is bad.

Monday, January 11, 2010

this is only a test...

I just installed the blogger gadget onto my igoogle page & I'm just checking to see if this works.

don't worry my pretties - you can expect a more substantial blog in the near future...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a new year, a new-er me?

we make 'em.
we break 'em
we bend 'em & try to make amends with ourselves to keep 'em.

I've made my fair share of new year's resolutions but like everyone else, I start off with great ambitions & hopes but then see myself giving up or slacking off - and it's not even the end of the 1st month of the year!

Around the first week of December, I decided I would make 3 'goals', not resolutions (resolutions to me always felt like 'I'm need to change whatever it is I'm doing because was wrong or bad' which most of the time it was, but it isn't always the case), but personal goals for the upcoming year to try to challenge myself & also keep myself in check. They were:

1. Stop smoking
2. Write more (not just specifically here, but in general)
3. Expose myself to different forms of writing

It is now January 6th, 2010. I can tell you at this very moment, I have been successful with one goal, have failed at another (not even 24 hours into the new year), and the last I am attempted to redeem myself ( while writing at this moment) from now and into the rest of the year.

Smoking - This would be the goal I broke immediately (I had cigarettes left & they're expensive!) I truly want to quit, I do, and I have honestly tried a few times in the last 3 years. I've tried the patch & justcold turkey, but not much success. The only success I had with quitting (i quit for about 3 1/2 months) was when I took Chantix. It worked but I didn't take it for the entire time it was prescribed (3 months) because it was $150 for a month's prescription (none of it covered by insurance by the way) so I only took it for a month. What I have been doing is cutting down A LOT. I now only smoke between 2-4 cigarettes a day. To say I would quit is a great goal, but at this moment is not entirely realistic for me but I'm consciously making an effort to not smoke as much. That has to count for something.

Write more - As I type, I am accomplishing this goal! Ok, Ok... that's a cop out. But I started this blog back in September not really sure what I wanted to do with it. I do want to use it to vent, give myself an outlet to clear my mind and post my writing. I'm going to aim to blog at least 3 times a week - I think that I can handle that.

Get More Writing Experience - This is the one goal I have been successful with so far. Technically, I started working on it December, but that was more researching & inquirying. I'm taking a Playwriting workshop next week & will be taking an 8-week storytelling class @ the PIT starting in about 2 weeks, that will have a class performance at the end(uhoh)! I have some other classes & workshops that I have interest in & want to take throughout the year, especially the Level III Neo workshop (if they offer it this year). This goal is the most exciting but also the most nerve-racking at the same time. I'm excited to learn dive into different styles of writing, especially playwriting, and learn more about my writing. And this goal will help feed my desire to do the previous goal!

So here is my revised goal list for 2010:

1. Cut down on smoking
2. Blog more (but also write more in general)
3. Get more writing experience
4. Read 25 books I've never read
5. Drink more water

I decided to add 2 smaller goals to my list because I know I can do them fairly easily & both will be mentally & physically good for me.

Wish me luck!