Getting back on the (blogging) horse…

It’s been nearly 6 months since my last post! So long in fact, that I contemplated trashing this blog all together and starting over again. But then I read through the last three years of blog posts (I started this blog back in January of 2008) and realized there is some great stuff on here and I owe it myself and my short list of readers to get back to bloggin’! While reading through old posts, I was able to take a trip down memory lane and relive some really life changing milestones over the past few years. Meeting my boyfriend, changing jobs, adjusting to living in NYC, and missing old friends have all been documented, and after re-reading years later, I was brought back to specific places and moments with vivid clarity.

Ironically, one of my first blog posts, written on February 2nd, 2008, mentions a “neighbor” who is now my boyfriend of almost 3 years. Read the post here if you ever wondered about one of FF and I’s first encounters…
As you can imagine, a lot has happened to me in the last 6 months and I’m not going to re-hash it all now. One thing that has inspired me to resurrect this blog though, I will share now. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go on a cruise with my entire company. We shared a lot about our goals and dreams and I shared my goal to one-day write a book that incorporates a lot of my life stories including my crazy college tales, my summers spent in Newport, RI and my years working at 2 different bowling alleys, as a jell-O shot-girl , a magazine intern, a cocktail waitress, a freelance writer, a publicist…the list goes on. Needless to say, I’ve been told many times after sharing a funny story or two with new friends, “you need to write a book.”
As I shared this passion and dream with my co-workers, many who know my quite well by now, I realized that I have put that dream on the back burner in recent months and have been very caught up in the sometimes “rat-race” of living and working in NYC. I love my job, but haven’t stopped to make time for my passions in a while. That being said, as I approach the big 3-0 this summer and come to terms with the fact that many of the things I long ago thought I would have accomplished by 30 may not happen, I am going to focus on accomplishing them in due time, at my own pace, in my own way.
I always tell people that I “got a late start in life” because I didn’t get a full-time job until the age of 26. So to be fair, my “by the time I’m 30” list really deserves at least a couple year extension!
On the top of my list is making more time for writing and travel. As I enter a new age bracket, I plan on solidifying these goals and making an iron-clad strategy for accomplishing them. Join me?

Being a grown-up…

Lately I’ve really started to feel like a “grown-up”…I guess at 29, it’s about time!

Things that make me feel mature (note I said “mature” and NOT old!):
  • Being okay with spending a Friday night in (or actually preferring to do so!)
  • Thinking about a financial plan for the future, ie. saving to buy a house, get married (gasp!), putting money away for retirement (whoa…)
  • Actually being able to picture myself settled down in a real house with a kitchen table and welcome mat and ideally even a backyard (all those things you don’t get as a renter/nomad! Since college I think I’ve lived in approximately 9 different apartments..I may be ready for a permanant address…)
  • Being in a book club (personally, I don’t think this makes me old but some of my co-workers disagree!)
I’m sure there are a lot more to add to this list because recently I’ve really started feeling like I’m finally “acting my age.” This is definitely not a bad thing and I keep reminding myself that 29 is still totally young and I have a long and fun life ahead. I think because up until recently, I was a few years behind maturity-wise, and now I suddenly feel like I aged about 10 years in a few months (Those that knew me from about 18-26ish can attest to my slightly sub-par maturity level)! When I look back at the carefree life I used to lead, I often feel a tinge of nostalgia, but then I look at how far I’ve come and the life I’ve made for myself and realize that I’ve really “come into my own” and “found myself” and all those other cliche things. Of course, somedays I wouldn’t mind going back to my Newport days where my only concern was making sure I had clean black pants for my waitressing shift that night, and what bar I’d be sipping cocktails at after my shift…BUT…I can say with about 98% certainty that taking a leap of faith and coming back to NY was the right choice…AND…that I will be successful (ahem, rich) and happy (cough, rich) and healthy (and rich) if I continue to take chances, work hard and stay true to myself. And, if things don’t work out, I have a backup plan–three words, EAT, PRAY, LOVE 🙂

My first sports blog (kinda)

Following in the footsteps of my dad (the original zog blogger) read on for about as close to sports writing as I can get…

Out of all the teams that were the topic of MANY discussions between the men of my house growing up, the Yankees were always the most talked about. I knew from an early age that the Yankees were sacred to my dad and my bro and of course, I became a fan by default. I think the first game I ever went to was when I was invited to tag along on one of my brother’s traditional birthday outings to Yankee Stadium. I don’t remember much about the game, but I remember feeling a part of something magical…oh yeah and lots of traffic getting out of the Bronx!

When I was in high school and the Yankees won the first World Series of my lifetime, I begged my parents to let me ditch school and head into the city for the ticker-tape parade. After being denied, I did what any other disobedient 16 year old would do–I went anyway. I don’t regret it either, my fondest memory of that day was climbing up on top of a bus stop to gain a better view of the players. To this day, I swear that Jeter winked at me! (Editor’s note: I got caught, and I think grounded, but I’d like to think dad was secretly proud that I was at least ditching school for a sports related event).

When I headed up to the great state of RI for college, I quickly learned just how serious the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry was. Once I was deemed a “Yankee fan” I was quickly grouped in with the other Long Island and Jersey transplants and became part of the small but faithful group that bravely cheered against the Sox. During one Yankees/Sox series a bunch of friends and I crafted homemade “Yankees/I love NY” wife beaters and proudly showcased them at the local campus bar (thankfully it was actually owned by a native New Yorker who was a huge Yankee fan…I think our photo may still hang on the wall…)

So getting back to the point, although I was never the biggest sports fan, despite being raised by a sports writer/sports fanatic and growing up with a brother that watches ESPN religiously, I always had a soft spot for the Yankees. Baseball was a sport I could actually follow and understand and root for, and baseball games were a great time (beer, hot dogs and sunshine). Shamefully I will admit that I have been to more than one Red Sox game and was even photographed wearing a Sox hat once, but I have always felt proud to be a New Yorker and root for the Yankees, a team whose history and tradition is so rich.

Last night, watching the last game at a stadium that I’ve heard about my whole life, I definitely felt more than a touch of sentiment and nostalgia. I’ve always been a sucker for history, and seeing all the past legends back where it all started struck a cord with me. I watched the whole game, right through to Jeter’s heartfelt speech to the fans. I cried–I’ll admit it, I cried at a sporting event and I think I like baseball just a little more now. Too bad the Yanks are out of it, but I am looking forward to next year, to becoming a better fan and to a new place for history to be made.

A day for reflecting…

So as a native New Yorker I felt compelled to at least write something on this very somber day…

When I woke up this morning to Good Day NY, I was instantly reminded of the date and was brought back to that morning seven years ago like it was yesterday. I saw on the news that there was a big ceremony in Pt. Lookout not far from where I live. I could literally feel the heaviness in the air and tried to psych myself up for my busy day…

Of course hearing Greg Kelly ask every guest what they were doing on that day made me immediately recall in vivid detail what I was doing…which was watching the news in my towel at the Sigma Kappa sorority house in Kingston, RI. I missed my 9:30 class (for once it was for a legitimate reason!) and glued myself to the TV for most of the day. I remember frantically calling my family and not being able to get a hold of my brother, who was living in the city and working near the towers, for hours. Thankfully, I didn’t lose anyone close to me, but nevertheless I remain forever affected by that day…

A defining moment for me came later that night. I was sitting on the porch of our house with a bunch of girls just talking things over when literally hundreds of students, many with candles, came walking by humming a spiritual tune. Without a word exchanged, we all got up and just started walking with them. We didn’t know where we were going, and I don’t think it mattered. We finally ended up at the chapel at the top of our campus which was literally bursting at the seems with people. I couldn’t tell you what was said at the service that day, but I could probably recreate the scene with a sketch artist down to a T. I remember exactly what I was wearing (an old volleyball camp T-shirt and black gym shorts), exactly how hot it was (HOT), and everyone that was sitting around me. I remember singing along to Amazing Grace and crying from the shock and sadness but at the same time feeling overcome with emotions such as pride, thankfulness and many other things.

The next day, September 12th, is one of my closest friend’s birthday. Seven years ago I spent it with her, a few other friends and a bunch of old sailors at a dive bar in Narragansett, RI. We had cancelled our plans to celebrate that night in light of the tragedy that had just taken place, but after sitting around our house for hours being sad, we decided to get out of the house. We ended up at a neighborhood bar that felt so safe that night. It was dark and quiet and everyone was just sort of sitting there, staring into their drinks and not saying much. Somehow between the jukebox, the cheap beers and the dusty overhead lights, a conversation that I will always remember took place about life, love and tragedy. That night, Four young and naive sorority girls had something in common with a bunch of aged, worldly seaman. I will always remember that night just as vividly as I remember the day before. It will always remind me how tragedy brings people together, as cliche as it sounds.

Tonight I was watching the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC and was hoping to be truly inspired by one of the presidential candidates’ words. Maybe I was just expecting too much, but I wasn’t moved. I know they were trying to put partisan issues aside for one day, but it didn’t seem that way to me. I hope I feel differently tomorrow when the fierce race to the White House continues without the sensitive issues this day has raised.

Let’s let Lee Greenwood sign this one off with the tune of “I’m Proud to be an American”…oh yeah, and happy birthday Jenny Lee!

Old Friends, Bookends…

Last weekend I went to Boston to catch up with some old college friends. We were quite the crazy bunch back in the day (OK I’m not that old, it was like the early 00’s) but like most circles of friends we have all moved around and grown apart–at least by distance.

The crew that got together now reside in Arizona, parts of Boston, and NY. Besides the slightly altered ancients (my NY one has apparently gotten worse, while one former Masshole who now lives in AZ seemed to have acquired a slight western drawl) the moment we got together things were right back to the way they used to be. I think the truest friendships can be measured by the ease in which you can get back into them, no matter how much time has gone by. One friend now has a child and recently bought a house. Another, who was unexpectedly at the same Red Sox game as us (editor’s note: I didn’t root for them!) has become a Nurse at a prestigious Woman’s hospital. When we were roommates about 5 years ago, she happily waited tables at the local sports bar and laughed when customers asked her, “what do you plan to do with your life?”

We spent the weekend enjoying some cocktails and reminiscing about the past. I looked around at one point and thought about the different paths that we all took, and where I thought we’d all be 5 years ago. Sometimes it’s funny how things work out. I think we all turned out pretty good and are living the dreams that we made for ourselves…more or less! When the weekend drew to a close I was sad to say my goodbyes, knowing that it may be a while before we are all together again, but I took comfort in the fact that time and distance has had little effect on our friendships.

Where have I been?

So I guess I have a few fans because more than one person has asked about my lack of blogging lately. Sorry fans, I won’t let you down again 🙂

What have I been doing you ask? Well as much as I like to write and divulge interesting tidbits about my life to the world…I am trying to keep from making one of those “blogging blunders” and saying too much about my personal or professional life…there’s a fine line between a good blog and TMI don’t you all agree?

Anyway, so lately I have been thinking a lot about change and whether it is a necessary part of life. I have come to the conclusion that it is, and strangely, as much as I think I am the risk-taker, free spirited type, I think I have a problem with significant change. Or at least I need a little adjustment time anyway. I recently went up to Newport, RI to visit my old friends and relive the wonder that is summertime in the port. I had a great time and saw many old friends. A few people had moved on from waitressing, bartending or bouncing (the professions of choice for most year-round Newport residents…) but most were still at it, perhaps they had changed locations but they were still immersed in the lifestyle for the most part. I got to thinking on my drive back to NY, had I made the right choice, did I leave at the right time? Am I really cut out for the fast-paced NY rat race? Reflecting back on my weekend, I ran into so many old friends, old summer romances, and old enemies but everyone I saw thought my new life sounded fabulous. I guess the grass is always greener because as much as I’m career-minded now, I still think that raking in the cash working at a seaside bar and spending your afternoons on the beach sounds pretty fabulous sometimes…

So here I am, back in NY, commuting from Long Beach (which is about as close to Newport as you can get in these parts) to NYC, working, writing, living and changing. Things are always changing and I am trying to learn to roll with the punches and embrace the change. People who are very important to me may not be around everyday anymore but the best of friends will always stay that way no matter where they may be. New people will come into my life and become just as important and they will add a little color to the vibrant palette I’ve grown accustomed to. I think everyone I have met along the way has impacted me and added something to my character and every new change will continue to do so…

Wow, was that abnormally philosophical for me??

To the rich tourists that once bossed me around…

So the other day I was in a pretty hard core new business meeting with an awesome potential new client and an awesome team of our staff. As I was listening to myself speak I realized, “hey I actually know what I’m talking about!” It was a great feeling! I felt very confident and was impressed with the way I was able to hold my own around a conference table of smart and important people (my colleagues and bosses included!). Then I got to thinking where I was not too long ago. In the words of the catchy Freecreditreport.com commercial I was literally “serving chowder and ice t to tourists in t-shirts.” Don’t get me wrong, somedays I wake up and think, I had the life back then. I slept all day, partied all night and made some nice cash in between. And I gotta say, I met some great people, did some crazy things and made some memories I’ll never forget. Some days I definitely wanna shut off the alarm, some days I even think, “hey, if I sold my car, my bed and maybe this computer, I could probably go hang out in Costa Rica for a while and not work.” But most days lately, I’m feeling pretty…accomplished at the end of my day. I love wearing a suit, having a great business meeting and meeting interesting and smart people. I love being in New York City and knowing that the chance to be as successful as I want is right there at my fingertips. I work for a great company and am constantly learning new things. I can’t wait to see where I’m going to be in 5 years, or 10 years or even tomorrow, but I’m thinking big these days, so watch out NY!