Monthly Archives: December 2010

Goodbye 2010

What a year…

I went back to Wilmington for my final semester of graduate school, to live in North Carolina for the last time.

I wrote a book, did a thesis reading, and graduated with my MFA.

I met up with Mike in Wytheville, Virginia in January because we couldn’t stand not seeing each other.

We met up again in Pipestem State Park in West Virginia for our 1-year anniversary.

I turned 25.

My parents came down to help me leave North Carolina and we stayed at The Pearl in Carolina Beach for one of the best vacations EVER.

I watched the sun rise over the ocean  my last morning in North Carolina, alone on the balcony.

I lived with a boy (who was my boyfriend, not my roommate Kyle from NC) for the first time.  And I began living in my second state of the year, Pennsylvania, with Mike.

I got a washing machine and a dryer (which I was truly excited about).

I spent months looking for a job in higher education.

I took a retail job at Bath and Body Works.

I got an amazing job in Brunswick, Ohio doing what I never even realized I wanted to do.

I moved to Ohio to live in my third state of the year.

I moved away from Mike.

I began living for the first time completely on my own.

I got my first apartment.

I bought a brand new vehicle.

I woke up with Mike on Christmas morning.

And now 2010 is ending.  It will culminate in Ashland, Ohio, either at a bar, or at the house of my college roommate and her husband.  Either way, I will be with Mike and with friends.  It’s weird to see 2010 end.  I thought things were going to be drastically different.  Because of certain circumstances prior to Mike, I thought this was the year I would get married–which I’m wildly glad I didn’t.

I’m happy to be where I am and I am happy to have everything the way it is.  I complain a lot, but this has been a good year.  Hell, it’s been a good life.

3 states in 2010.  Let’s try to keep it to one this year.  And let’s try to get Mike here, to Ohio.  🙂

Happy New Year, everyone!


Posted by on December 30, 2010 in Daily Happenings



I Require an Obsession

When I was 5, I was obsessed with Michael Jackson–I taped my fingers so my snapping would be more effective.  I had knuckle-less, fingerless leather gloves with his signature smeared across them.  I had a white glove covered in rhinestones and glitter.  My Velcro wallet with the outline of his face was always in my purse.  BAD was my first record, and I made my father play it constantly.  My parents taped his concert at Budapest on a VHS, and it was the only thing that would calm me from my tantrums.  And although the “Thriller” video scared the living daylights out of me (what the hell does that even mean?  What are my daylights?  And why are they living?), I watched it every Halloween as I cowered behind my father, secretly wishing that I could go on that date with Michael–as long as he didn’t turn into a werewolf.

When I was a teenager, I obsessed over the Backstreet Boys, spending thousands in posters, t-shirts, concert tickets, videos, and other useless paraphernalia.  I wrote about them, daydreamed about them, listened to them constantly.

Between the ages of 18 and 20, I became obsessed with 80’s rock concerts.  I went to over 25 concerts one summer while I was working at the factory.   I have this jean jacket to make you understand:

In my early 20’s, I became obsessed with diamonds, and with breaking away.

For most of college, I was obsessed with hippy-esque things.  I climbed trees.  I wore jean skirts and peace signs.

When I went to grad school, I was obsessed with leaving North Carolina and holding onto my Ohio roots.

When I lived with Mike, I was obsessed with finding a job.

Now I’m back in my beloved Ohio.  I have a job.  But I have nothing to be obsessed with.  My friends (who are writers) tell me to write, or at the very least to try to publish the book I’ve already written (Mike is convinced this should happen, as well).  I see a few problems with this.

1)  Writing gives me no pleasure.  It still feels like homework.  Like a requirement.  Like a forced act that someone is staring down upon.  I write (wrote) simply with a blue collar draped loosely across my neck.  I did not write about pretentious things.  And because of that, I think that simple writing is often looked down upon.  I get so sick of people trying to do the new hip thing.  This is why I can’t stand lyric essays.  It’s not right.  Just write the story and quit relying on the gimmicks.  When I realized that there was no market for that kind of writing, I quit.

2)  I do not want to publish Leaving Winesburg because I have exposed my little hometown for everything it is–regardless of how dirty or unflattering.  I told it all, because that’s what a good nonfiction writer does.  We tell the truth.  And the truth is that I’m not ready to not be able to go back to my hometown.  If you’ve seen October Road, you understand.  “You can’t go home again.”  My parents are still there.  Some of my friends.  And while I may have exposed some ugly truths to my classmates and professors at Ashland and UNCW, I do not have to expose them to the world.

3)  I fear that my memoir about working in a factory is, in fact, my only story.  I’m not ready to let it go yet, because in all honesty, I’ve done nothing extraordinary since then.

So I need an obsession.  That doesn’t cost a lot of money, because lately, I’ve been a bit of a miser.  I need an obsession that will take up some time, allow me to meet new people.  I do not think this combination exists, but I am open to suggestions.


Posted by on December 28, 2010 in Daily Happenings, When I Was Young




I had an incredible Christmas.  Truly.

Between Mike’s family and my own, I am so blessed.  I now have new dishes, wine glasses, local wine, DIAMOND EARRINGS (thanks baby!), a HUGE LL Bean bag, numerous cardinals, awesome clothes, a Lucky purse that I can fit my entire life in,  and so much more that I’m just not listing (so as not to seem materialistic).

It feels weird that it was over so quickly and now I’m back at work.  I never did this before.  I always had at least a month off around Christmas.  This year I got 2 days.  I’ll take it, though.

Because life goes–oh it goes–and my car insurance is due in December, along with my first car payment on Delilah, and rent and utilities and…yeah.  Everything.

So before I get sick to my stomach, I’ll say cheers.
Looking forward to a beautiful 2011!

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Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Daily Happenings



Growing Up

My friends are buying houses.  They have guest rooms and potpourri (sp?).  They have duvet covers and dogs and and all sorts of French sounding things.

I live in an apartment.  One-bedroom.  If you missed it, you can see it here.  I don’t have decorations (not for Christmas, or really any time) and it honest to God feels really weird that my mom and my brother are coming today to shop and then spend the night with me.  I mean, I have a couch and stuff, and extra places for people to sleep, but I don’t have a potpourri guest room with a duvet and sound machine with a “Streets of Paris” file.

I want all that.  I want a big farm house with tons of bedrooms and hardwood floors.



That’s all.


Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Daily Happenings



First Year Without a Christmas Tree

Christmas is only 4 days away.  I’m really really excited.  But this is an odd Christmas for me.

1)  It’s the first Christmas in which I haven’t had a break from school.

2)  It’s the first Christmas where Mike’s family’s Christmas was a week before my family’s, hence creating more time to spend together.

3)  It’s the first Christmas that I’ve had a job–and therefore money to spend on gifts.

4)  It’s the first Christmas in which I have not had a tree.

Of course I miss the break, and I am looking forward to not rushing around on Christmas Day or spending it at the window waiting for Mike.  I really enjoyed buying gifts for my family, and it’s actually really exciting to work up until Christmas break.  It makes it so much more exciting when you’re not just bumbling around the house looking for something to waste time with until Christmas arrives.

But it does bother me that I don’t have a Christmas tree.  Mike’s sister-in-law gave me a shiny gold owl ornament, and I really have nowhere to put it.  No room at all.  Well, some room, but not enough for anything more than a tabletop tree.  And the thing is that Mike and I started buying ornaments for each other and they’re all on Mike’s tree.  And with no tree, I have no lights…and no lights outside because I live in an apartment.  This is to say that there is nothing Christmasy happening in my apartment.  It’s really sad.

But only one more day of work after this.  And then my mom and brother are coming to do some Christmas shopping.  Mike will come the next night while I’m at the Christmas party for work.  And then we’ll drive back to Fremont where we’ll wrap the rest of the Christmas presents.  On the way to Midnight Mass at Sacred Heart, my dad will quote Cheech and Chong, “How you get the reindeer off the ground, man?”  “Magic dust!”  And we’ll come home, hopefully have our annual shot of tequila, and go to bed.

This will be the first Christmas night I spend with my family AND with someone else.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Daily Happenings, Domesticity


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Relish the Mystery

Do you know what drives me insane?  People who want to know everything.  People who study something until the mystery is gone–till it no longer excites them.

I think that’s kind of why I quit writing so much about myself (excluding this blog, of course–I’ll continue this blog).  This is to say I haven’t sat down and tried to write a “piece” since I graduated.  And this means that I have quit trying to figure out why I do the things I do and why I feel certain ways.  People who aren’t nonfiction writers have the luxury of not being as self-aware.  As a nonfiction writer, we are trained to kind of see what we’re doing in the moment, to analyze it before we even get the chance to let it happen without thought.  And you know what?  I love those actions that happen without thought more than any actions in the world.  I like when I’m unaware of what I’m doing.

And I think those are the moments that make the best stories.  When you can stop in the middle of telling it and say, “I don’t know why I did that…”  Because then you get to go on the journey all over again, trying to put yourself into that moment.  Why did you do that?  And you get a beautiful moment where you either figure it out–or you just have to let it go.

Why did I think it was so cool to have people call me “Ricky” when I was little?  No idea.  Why was there a phase when I would only answer to “Michael Jackson”?  Why the HELL did I ever date the men I did?

But I’m happy not knowing it all right now.  I think I’ll put writing on the back burner a little longer.  I think I’m starting to act like myself–not a writer.  And if you ask me, I think the best writers are the ones who can separate their lives from their writing.

Turn it off for a minute, look around, and live without a plot in your head.

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Posted by on December 20, 2010 in Daily Happenings


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The Perfect Place

Is it possible?  A perfect place?  It seems to me that there are a lot of perfect places around–and not necessarily all of them have to do with the actual place.  But some do.  So I’ve made a list of perfect places I’ve experienced or think I know about in the following categories:  Geographic, Made for TV/Movies, and States of Being.

Perfect Places–Geographic

-Mull Covered Bridge-Ballville Township, Ohio:

I’ve been to this bridge a lot.  There is always an astounding sense of peace here.  It’s incredible…and impassable by vehicle.  Mull Covered Bridge dead-ends into someone’s backyard.  Literally.  You can walk through it, and under it (oh, believe me, I have) and even climb the concrete blocks beneath it (yep), but you cannot drive a vehicle over the bridge.  It’s kind of a shame…but it’s all in the name of preservation.This bridge appears at the end of my graduate thesis titled Leaving Winesburg as a metaphor about how hard it is to leave a dead-end place…but also how beautiful it can be.  To me, this place is perfection.  There’s no way around it.


-The Prairies of Kansas:

Granted I’ve never been there.  But I’m sorry, what’s not beautiful about this?  Wide skies, sprawling land, the long grass moving with the slightest wind.  It’s GORGEOUS.  I may be romanticizing it.  I may be living in a Dixie Chicks song.  But those “Wide Open Spaces” certainly seem to be pretty darn wonderful.  Fields of wheat.  Blue skies.  That’s America, baby! Maybe it’s the way I assume the people of this place live.  Maybe it’s the way I long to look into the sky and see nothing but sky.  Maybe it’s the vastness of it all.  Truthfully, I think sometimes, I just need to feel small to put things in perspective.




Again, I’ve never been here.  But it seems at the most very basic to contain everything that is beautiful.  It’s a perfect mix of green and mountain, sky and water.  It’s just got it all.






Perfect Places-Made for TV/Movies

-October Road:  Knight’s Ridge, MA:

Who doesn’t want a town that’s perpetually beautiful and sunny and picturesque?  Who doesn’t want to see someone you know around every corner?  I just know I love that small town familiarity, and I love that the quarterback can date the barmaid.  Oh…and I love that Eddie Latekka is in this picture.  🙂  Thank God for Geoff Stults.  And this is really the only place I’ve ever seen in a movie or on TV that I would live to live.  It’s just too perfect.




Perfect Places:  States of Being


Childhood.  It was always perfect.  All you had to do was wake up on a summer day, eat a bowl of cereal, and the world was yours.  Playing tag, catching fireflies, dancing for no reason at all.  That’s what childhood is all about.  I think that’s a perfect state of being.






It’s an odd thing, but obsession creates a euphoric happiness.  It truly does.  In that world, you can totally marry Nick Carter or Justin Bieber (watch this video!  You’ll understand).  But seriously, I used to be obsessed with the Backstreet Boys, and I’m not kidding–that brought me more happiness than a lot of things.  It filled my days with whimsies and love and romance–although fake and probably unhealthy–and happiness.  Really, watch the video.  I feel her pain.





When you’re in love, it seems as though things can’t go wrong.  I’m certainly not saying that things don’t go wrong, but there are times when you look at that other person and think, “Man, this is just as good as it gets.  I couldn’t ask for anything more.”  Ask Sarah Evans.  Ask Edwin McCain.

I’m pretty good with these.  I’m happy they exist.

What’s your perfect “place?”


Posted by on December 15, 2010 in Daily Happenings