Reflections of growing up, remembering my roots and seizing a life free of regret


“Listen, when I was a little girl, I used to spend hours looking for ladybugs. Finally, I’d just give up and fall asleep in the grass. When I woke up, they were all over me.” – Under the Tuscan Sun



RochesterMy “real” home is in Rochester, New York. Known to most as the birthplace of Kodak and Xerox, I see the city as the start of me. Rochester is where I learned to walk and to drive. It’s where I fell in love with lilacs, got my first summer job, and became the best benchwarmer on the varsity girls basketball team.

When I left for college in 2002, I chose a school outside Rochester, but one close enough that I could also easily visit family on those needed weekends home. St. Bonaventure University rests in Olean, New York, only two hours from my parents’ house. The town is far from one of hustle and bustle, but my college experiences helped kickstart my journey of exploring new places – including eight more city “homes” to date.

I could write for days about the beauty and culture that encompasses each city where I’ve lived. I loved Denver for the sunshine and mountains, Perugia for the piazzas and New Orleans for the music and undeniable power of its locals to live fully in the moment (for better or worse).

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New York CityPiles of ice. Snow falling atop dirty snow. Fourteen degrees on a good day. The time of year has come when we Northerners start to threaten the permanency of our lives above the Mason-Dixon line.

It seems not a day goes by without talk of the weather.

“I need to get out of here”

“I’m moving to Florida”

“Remind me why I live in New York, again?”

Whether it’s careers, family ties, or the social scene, we all have our reasons for living in a particular place. And, as March rolls in, I cannot help but think about this great city of New York, and all the reasons why baring the bitter weather makes living here worth it.

We all know New York City offers a plethora of sites and attractions. On any given day, we have the option to visit Broadway shows, shopping strips, museums, beaches, markets, concerts, sporting events or comedy routines. We have more restaurants and bars than most locals will visit in a lifetime.

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"Wishes"My last day as a Walt Disney World employee involved portraying one of the largest displays of public sadness I can remember from my adult life. This January marked 10 years since those Disney days. And, I celebrated it back in the wonderful world of Disney with my former College Program (“CP”) employees, who I proudly still call friends.

In 2004, I had applied to Walt Disney World’s College Program (WDWCP), which meant taking a semester away from my university to practice job skills in the Land of the Mouse. Recruiters had placed me on the Animal Kingdom’s Operations team (my first choice) at three different attractions – “It’s Tough to Be A Bug,” “Pocahontas” and “The Festival of the Lion King.”

My responsibilities included everything from crowd control to organizing strollers (or “BUGgies”) to teaching show audiences how to hand jive to Hakuna Matata. Mostly, my job was to make sure everyone had “a magical day.”

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Jan

06

2015

Here We Are, 2015

Seasons GreetingsIt’s that time again – time for a new year to begin and reflections of 2014 to surface.

As many of you know, I have published a New Year’s post every year since I started blogging in 2010. I always focus these annual posts not on resolutions, but on the memories I am thankful for in each closing year.

As I reflect back on 2014, I realize most of my highlights have revolved around life’s simple things: spending time with family and friends, exploring my own neighborhood, and making myself known to local coffee vendors.

I have been presented with a series of challenges the past couple years. While life has moved mostly forward, it has also presented a series of losses ranging from tragic deaths to sick family members to unsuccessful relationships. I have been learning not only how to find stability through my personal challenges, but also how to remain a strong social worker while absorbing stories of my clients’ trauma on a daily basis. The combination has required a great deal of personal time and self-preservation.

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Dec

02

2014

A Week in Arizona

This Thanksgiving, my family and I flew from two separate Northeast airports to the Grand Canyon State to spend the holiday week together. With my brother, Dan, now living in Flagstaff, we figured it a perfect opportunity for a Griswold-style vacation in the desert. Here are the week’s highlights:

Saturday: Day 1.
We landed in Phoenix. Dan picked up my parents, sister and me in a sleek black minivan from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and we headed for Flagstaff. We wouldn’t have made it the two-hour drive, though, without stopping for a delicious Mexican dinner en route. Besides the salted margarita and homemade salsa, my favorite part of the dining experience included a sign on the restaurant’s front window that read “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED.” You can carry guns on your person in Arizona, but not all restaurants want them brought to the dinner table.

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