Quick website update, I’ve been working hard behind the scenes redesigning my site so it may look a bit odd at the moment. There’s a lot of components behind it! Thanks for stopping by and please reach out to me if you have any questions. I look forward to the relaunch in a few weeks!
On Saturday night I was on a train home that derailed. Preliminary investigations by the NTSB suggest a service train violated our trains space as they were both traveling eastbound on both of the tracks. There had been service work on the Long Island Railroad trains all weekend.
It is so strange to go through this experience. In one instance, I am so connected to and on another I am brimming with curiosity. My day had been so wonderful up until that point and I’m finding it difficult to put the feeling out of my mind. A quote I read about another tragedy this weekend, the Palms Springs shooting of two police officers during a domestic violence call, replays in my mind. I feel awake in a nightmare.
The worst part on a personal level about today, about the day after, is I can’t stop feeling like I am shaking. My body is tense and if I close my eyes for too long or don’t have my mind occupied on something else, I get the sensation of being thrashed around. When our train and the other vehicle hit each other prompting the train to derail, that is the moment I keep reliving in my head. It’s not just picturing it over again, it’s the sensation of how my body was contorted. There was no sense of balance or control, it was chaos. In my head, the loud bang resounds and I cringe.
On another level, I have been viewing this day with profound humility. There were about 600 passengers on the train, 33 were injured and 4 seriously. I am so thankful to walk away from this event unscathed.
As a try to categorize my thoughts and reflect, I’m reminded about my fortune. It’s been a crazy 24 hours. At the moment, my life exists in a fishbowl and I’m not sure if I’m look in or looking out.
For more information on the LIRR derailment, read up on the following news links:
This year has been marked by several outstanding events. From weddings to engagements, to conventions, Broadway shows and milestones. On a personal level, it is a year to remember. Entering October, with three months still in the balance, it’s a good time to go through a little reflection. Not to mention, I’m also gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which I’ve done the past three years (and won).
Fall is my favorite season. It really boils down to the coziness of the entire time. Also, the best things happen in fall. New York Comic Con, Halloween, Thanksgiving… basically nerdy stuff and food. I will be at NYCC this year as an attendee, which is nice considering last year I worked at the event. Looking toward next year, I hope to return as a guest. It will be another great year at the event as I am already booked to meet the great Stan Lee.
On Sept. 21, I had the opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway. The musical created by the genius Lin-Manuel Miranda went above expectations for me. It was humorous and honest, self-depreciating and intelligent. I have been listening to the soundtrack on a daily basis since November of last year and it has truly been gift to me throughout the entire year. I mention it because I want to get to my point.
My life is filled with so much art. And fall is always that season where art is incessantly there. I curl up with books more, watch more movies and television shows. Even video games fit into this section. I am my best self when I am surrounded by it, and people who feel as strongly and passionate about art.
With a chill in the air and leaves returning to warming hues of autumn, I am most excited for all the art that I will get to experience.
I let life get in the way, and now I’m busier now than ever. Which isn’t a total bad thing, but, I wish I had more hours in the day.
A lot has happened since November
I won NaNoWriMo, I never posted a celebratory message, but I did. It was insanely difficult this year, given my work schedule. Yet, it was so relieving to know that I can set my mind to an intense goal and accomplish it.
December was quieter, post-NaNo is pretty much catch-up-on-sleep-month. Christmas was 70 degrees here in New York and we barbecued. My dad also stood outside our house in shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and an alcoholic beverage in a pineapple.
January was a mic of work and more work. We’re gunning down to the last few months before my brothers wedding, so it’s been crazier. Even crazier, my sister got engaged. So, now preparing for two weddings. If you would like to go to a zoo, just come over.
So that leaves us in February, which is really just filled with wedding planning and personal training. Winters are usually quite quiet for me, but it’s been the opposite. I wouldn’t say that I fell asleep, but rather just got so caught up in life ~outside~ the internet that I took a little break.
But I’m back.
P.S. – I desperately want to see Hamilton the Musical. Help?!
In the past, I had spent the beginning weeks of fall blogging about my ventures into NaNoWriMo. If you asked me a week ago if I was doing NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month), I would have shrugged and leaned on a ‘no’ answer.
But here I am, November 1st, in a local cafe with other local writers churning out words like many people woke up today spewing post-Halloween party vomit. This is my third year undertaking NaNo, and will most certainly be the most difficult.
My first year, I had carefully mapped out and concocted a well thought out story weeks, and months in advance. Last year, I had the idea, but didn’t construct it before, and still won.
This year, having no story idea and no prior preparation, will be tough as hell. I am doing it though. The past two years I had primarily been doing freelance work, but now I am full-time working, so I feel that pressure. I guess I will be penning things on my break time to make up. Weekends will also be used as a tour de force. I asked a bunch of friends to send me writing prompts, so I’m just working on writing a bunch of short novellas and piecing it together as one entity. They aren’t continuous, but that simplifies the process.
So, as I’ve wasted a good five minutes getting this blog post together, I won’t relent another moment to distraction.
I have never posted a recipe on my blog but at the request of my Mom, so she could easily access it and share it around, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes. It’s also a recipe I learned two years ago when I was eating healthy. I’m working on getting back on track. This recipe is so, so good. I can’t remember where I had originally found it (it may have been a Jillian Michaels recipe honestly). It’s super easy and quick.
Honey-Lemon Marinated Chicken
¼ cup organic raw honey
¼ cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (can be substituted by canola)
1 teaspooon crushed rosemary (I picked mine fresh from the garden and minced it up)
1 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 organic chicken breasts
Combine all ingredients (except chicken) and mix well. Marinate the chicken in honey-lemon mixture for 1 hour in a shallow baking dish. Broil chicken for 5 minutes (I put the broiler on 350) brush with pan droppings, flip chicken, and broil for 5 more minutes. Check if cooked, if not, another five minutes should do. If desired, bring marinade to a boil; simmer 2 minutes. Strain hot marinade over chicken.
5g Fat (1g saturated fat)
60 mg cholesterol
388 mg sodium
18 g carbs
23 g protein
The past week has been a whirlwind for me. We were invited to a friends of a friends summer lake house for the weekend. I had two jam-packed days of sun, jet-skiing, boating, tubing, water slides, trampolines, and lots of BBQ. On the second day we spent a good chunk of time just sitting on the dock or on the water mat, our feet dangling off the sides into the water. We barely spoke for long periods of time. We stood in awe of a beautiful hawk circling mere feet by the tree canopies. It was a weekend where I often left my phone in my bag, and the times I did take it out I forgot I had it on me. Luckily my waterproof pouch worked. My utmost gratitude to the family that invited us to enjoy a beautiful weekend on Connecticut’s Candlewood Lake.
We arrived back home at midnight, and on Monday morning we were up bright and early to visit my grandma and enjoy her beach. My mom met up with a bunch of her friends. I was feeling fatigued so I mostly sat under the umbrella and napped, too sore and sunburnt from all the activity I had enjoyed over the weekend.
My week of fun didn’t stop there. Last night my cousin called me up and asked what I was doing in the evening. Nothing was my answer. She just so happened to have two extra tickets to the Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins game for her friends birthday. My sister and I met up with cousin, trekked up all the way to the Bronx (I was there on Monday for my grandma’s house), and we ended up having an amazing evening. Our tickets were for the Champions section, we were six rows from first base. We pigged out on food and drinks. A-Rod hit an amazing Grand Slam to pull the Yankees into the lead after being down a few runs. The ball boy gave the birthday girl’s daughter a foul ball. We danced the 7th inning stretch YMCA on the jumbotron. After the game ended our connections took us on the field. We delighted ourselves with a ton of pictures and videos. I cartwheeled on the Yankees grass, tossed around the foul ball, and stood among the spotlights to feel just a touch of greatness.
It has been an amazing week and just goes to show how wonderful summer can be. If every summer could have a week just as perfect as this past one was, I would have it made.
My mind feels at ease, my body is recharged, and with a new flurry of energy I’m about to annihilate all the writing projects I currently have going on.
If you’re familiar with my life, which maybe you are, maybe you aren’t, you would know last year I took a six-week trip to Italy on a whim. It ended up being one, if not the best, experience of my life. Earlier this year I took a semi-spontaneous trip to visit my brother again in Phoenix, but the travel bug bites, and it bites me exceptionally hard.
Now, this year I’m not as fortunate to be able to take a big trip like that due to several factors. However, one of my best friends Alex had just moved down to Washington D.C. She’s there alone for a few weeks before her boyfriend moves down for graduate school, so she’s been a bit lonely. About two weeks ago the idea popped into my head to just go. I booked my flights and flew there on Monday, July 13. I returned early yesterday, the 16th. We fit a lot into 3 days and it was my first time to visit the capital.
After picking me up from the airport, we stopped quick at her apartment to change and freshen up and walked down to the bus station. The bus ride was a quick ten minute ride to the Pentagon metro station (not to be confused with the Pentagon City station -as she explained). Even during rush hour times the trains never seemed full. As a New Yorker who has commuted on multiple occasions I was astonished that people didn’t need to pack in like sardines. All the trains did seem a bit outdated, there was no ticker overhead announcing what stop was next or a light-up map either. So you do need to pay attention to the stops. I have to wonder what is at the Foggy Bottom stop. Also, the regular fair cards (not the Smartrip cards) don’t tell you how much is left on your balance. And the metro prices on how far you are going so you pay for how many stops rather than just to use.
We took the metro right to the National Mall, which is under construction in places. We stopped in the Smithsonian Castle and then headed to the top two museums on our lists (she had been to both before, but they are a must!) I kept getting these names mixed up, but apparently everyone does. First we viewed the National Museum of American History, which had great pieces. The Smithsonian does a superb job of curating. One of my favorite Periscope users is an archaeologist who always talked about being ‘edutained,’ and I certainly felt edutained walking out. This museum has such a wide-range collection, from George Washington’s swords to First Ladies gowns, a slab of the Berlin Wall, and different presidential mementos. There’s definitely an embarrassing video of me at the presidential podium giving John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech. That won’t be shared here, but look for the picture.
The next museum was the Museum of Natural History. Another amazing museum. They have Harry Winston’s Hope Diamond, an Ancient Egypt exhibit and an oceans exhibit among many others. The only exhibit I wasn’t crazy for was the taxidermy animals. I especially enjoyed the Bollywood and African exhibits. It pushes the boundaries of what you thought you knew.
We rounded out the first day with a visit to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. There are no photos allowed in the Rotunda which is for the health of the documents. It was an amazing experience to be in the same room as the most important documents in US history. The Founding Fathers were so intelligent in understanding that times change and so do people’s mindsets. What may have not been okay twenty years ago, is commonplace today, and I think we all need to realize that our freedom is in place to protect everyone’s ideals.
The next day we strapped on comfortable shoes and walked the National Mall, visiting almost all of the monuments, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr., FDR, World War II, and several others. We also stopped to visit the White House, which looks so different in person. While these monuments evoked a sense of reflection and humbleness in me I couldn’t help but think about what could be next.
The third day we took it easy and enjoyed the sweet peacefulness of her town and doing things we normally did when we lived together in college (i.e.: gossip, watch weird/bad movies, and eat food).
There are plenty of things I still want to do in D.C., like visit many of the other Smithsonian museums, and other museums like the Spy Museum, the Newseum, and the Writers Museum. I would also love to visit the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Capitol, the Ford Theatre and Arlington National Cemetery. D.C. is one of those places where you can always return to something new, and it is something I look forward to when visiting Alex down there over the next few years.
With all the technical issues on my site, I decided to wipe my previous theme and start afresh with this new one, hoping it brings me better luck.
That’s not the only new thing I’ve been up to as well. I am now writing for another website, called The Outcask. The site was started by a good friend of mine, as a re-launch of a magazine she ran a few years ago. So, look out for my posts about craft beer and the craft beer industry! As of this entry, I already have 2 posts on the site.
Also, I’ve been having a ton of fun on the app Periscope. It’s a live broadcast kind of app, and I hope to take it on the road and do little travel pieces. Some of my favorite Periscopers are an archaeologist in Rome and a historian in Paris.
I’ve also been reflecting on my time in Italy last year. I have the Timehop app on my phone so it reminds me daily what I was doing via my social media posts a year, two years three years, etc. ago. Last year around this time I was soaking up the last few days of my trip on the beautiful island of Ponza.
That’s now for updates, and I’ll spruce up my Featured Publications page as long as it doesn’t crash on me!