Saturday, September 10, 2011

Living History

Growing up there was no shortage of people in my life who had lived through World War II. I remember not understanding how people could run out to join a fight with no regard for their own well being, just their concern for other people. When we were attacked on September 11, 2001, it became startlingly clear why these brave people did what they did. When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, my first thought was that it was a mistake. Some pilot misjudged where they were and somehow, through some terrible error, hit the building. When the second plane hit, the refuge of denial was no longer an option. The Pentagon was next and then came the crash of Flight 93 and their brave passengers. It truly seemed the world was out of control.

Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning" aptly summed up how many of us felt. We were stunned, hurt, and outraged. The loss of so many innocent lives was beyond our ability to comprehend. We sat glued to the television in the hopes that a miracle would happen and there would be survivors. It turns out that we were the survivors. We came together as a country in a way I had never witnessed before. America, God truly did shed his Grace on Thee! For all those who died, may they rest in peace. And for those of us who remain, never forget.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Degrees & Dreams

I graduated with my bachelors degree this past June. While the journey I took had many ups and downs, the high of actually walking across the stage to receive my diploma was surreal. The added bonus of following my oldest son across that same stage filled me with more pride than a parent is probably entitled to. Between the article in our local newspaper noting our dual accomplishments and the celebration at work, I was humbled by all the good wishes. I will build on that momentum to further the pursuit of my dreams.

I enjoy the creative part of writing, imagining all the ideas and different scenarios that could happen from even subtle changes in the story. For me, this is actually living the dream. Whether or not I sell my script (and of course, that's what any writer hopes for when they put an idea to paper), my latest script is clear, concise, and full of promise. It's what life is all about, doing what you love and loving what you do. We should all be so lucky!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

As I sit here and type, I am guilty of being grateful for the long weekend and not grateful enough for those who have given all for their country so we can appreciate the freedoms we are privileged to have. Please say a prayer to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom. Just this week, Connecticut lost another soldier in this endless war on terrorism. This Memorial Day will be a poignant one for the family of Staff Sgt. Edwin Rivera as they grieve his loss. We all grew up watching movies that showed the eagerness with which soldiers and civilians alike defended their country with little to no regard for themselves or their own lives. I could not understand how or even why they could just go off and fight a war they were not even assured of winning...that is until 9/11/01. I am sure I am not alone in having come to the realization that self-preservation is a strong motivator. The need to defend home and family, friends, and neighbors is a compelling one and despite being sucker-punched, the United States has stood strong and united. As a country we have become more aware of the atrocities of war and the long-term effects it has on our returning veterans. Vietnam veterans returned to a country in turmoil and protesters who threw hate at them for having been drafted into service and for doing their jobs. Yes, there were some who stepped over the line, but the majority were young men away from home for the first time who were fulfilling their tour of duty. Today's soldiers return home to a hero's welcome and the respect that their forefathers fought so hard to command. It's okay to be grateful for the long weekend, but while you're enjoying the family barbecue, remember those who won't be having a burger and a beer with their family. Remember that our soldiers will be working around the clock without overtime or a thank you...unless we say it to them. Thank you to all the veterans for your service. Thank you to all the servicemen and women who are currently deployed or recently returned, our appreciation is genuine and sincere. Remember that freedom isn't free and it is our soldiers who pay the price.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dinner Guests

As I wade my way through Mark Twain, one of my classmates commented that Twain was something akin to a dinner guest who regales you with his wit and humor. Strangely, you find that you enjoy his humor and stories and even though you know he's pulling your leg, the entertainment value is just that good. So, as you can tell, I am falling under the charm of a master story teller and thoroughly enjoying myself to boot...go figure! I am trying my best to take my classes one day at at time. As a result, I am not as stressed (yet) as I normally get by this point in the semester; therefore, I am able to take some pleasure in this great American author and the journey through this course. What I get out of this class so far is that I should not take myself too seriously. A positive attitude can make or break almost any encounter, so why not bring your best to the table and become the dinner guest that gets invited back. We can't all be Mark Twain, but who doesn't love the “life of the party” who tells these amazing stories, right?

Monday, January 25, 2010


Well, I've gotten one week under my belt. I had a mini-meltdown Sunday night as I allowed myself to get caught up in what I had to do and failed to focus on what I had already done. I had done the research on the grant foundation and the basics of the paper, but I kept focusing on what I still had to do. Of course it probably had a lot to do with my frustration at missing the NFC Championship game, but my bad for not doing it earlier in the day. Frustration is easy to give in to when you would really rather be doing something other than schoolwork on a Sunday night. Note to self-finish all schoolwork by late afternoon on February 7th so I don't miss the Super Bowl. After I dried my tears and swallowed my pride, I shared this with a friend of mine and her advice was to take a breath and focus on what was left to do that night, nothing more. I lamented the fact I still had to take a true/false quiz in Mark Twain, submit the grant paper, and that I was taking enough breaths to hyperventilate! Her response: find a paper bag to breathe into and if there was a bottle of wine in it, well, so be it! So, I toughed it out. I finished the paper, took the quiz and found out I was freaked out over nothing. It was a simple quiz to make sure we "get" what we read during the first week, nothing more, nothing less. Keep plugging along and don't be afraid to share your concerns with a friend because you're not alone in your journey unless you want to be.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


For anyone who has started the year trying to pursue their goal, you know there are many obstacles in the way to reaching it; sometimes the biggest obstacle is looking at us in the mirror. I could have, and in all honesty should have, completed my degree a year or two ago, but life happens. The fork in the road appeared and I took the scenic route along the way. If I hadn't decided to take my scriptwriting class, I wouldn't have seen a whole new avenue for my writing. I graduated in 2008 with my Associates in General Studies and in doing that, I could finally allow myself to take a breath. This short break from a four year degree gave me time to refocus on my personal interests and find a way to integrate them back into my life. My biggest obstacle was me and my erroneous belief that it was all or nothing in my relentless pursuit of my goal. Let's face it, the obstacles are there for a reason. Achieving something important is rewarding and fulfilling, but if we don't take the time to appreciate the efforts we put in to get there, we miss the point of the trip. If you encounter an obstacle, don't be afraid to ask for an opinion, taken lightly salted, or to ask for help. You'd be surprised how many people really want you to succeed because if you can do it, then maybe they can too. Share the trip with those that matter, the ups and downs and all around, but mostly enjoy the fact you are moving forward.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Journey: Preparing To Win

The first day of my new school and a complete semester of on-line classes awaits me on Tuesday like Damocles sword dangling over my head! I am eager to finish my degree and these classes will take me halfway to that goal. My apprehension lies in the discipline, or my sometimes lack thereof, that accompanies on-line classes. I have done well at them in the past, yet four on-line classes is a daunting feat to say the least. I need to prepare myself, like any focused individual should, to succeed on my journey toward the endgame.

Mark Twain and I are going to become well acquainted over the next sixteen weeks and I hope we shall remain friends after the end of the term. I fear my fondness for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court will be sorely tested this spring and my concern for Huck Finn will dwindle to nothing. I am tempted to visit the Mark Twain House in Hartford to satisfy my curiosity about the man and to reassure myself that he is worthy of the volumes of reading I now find myself bound to. Hmm...I ended the sentence with a preposition, what would Sister Kirsten think? But, I digress. I have an admitted insatiable appetite for reading and knew perfectly well what I was getting myself into, yet the reality of it is here and all too challenging. I need to sit down and prepare a schedule that will help me enjoy the journey through this semester because if I am not enjoying school, then what is the point?

I must prepare myself to win, like any battle tested warrior and that preparation begins today with my first peek at the classes themselves. I need to buy books, notebooks and calculators because, alas, I need to take Statistics and those who know me, know how joyful a class I won't find this. By allocating time during the week and utilizing my lunch hour, I will maximize my time to complete assignments and to even buy myself some time to read for pleasure, a guilty pleasure at best, but we all need a reward during the battle to ensure our continued dedication to the task at hand. As you continue on your journey in life and pursue that which makes you happy, I leave you with a quote from the famous and wonderful Mark Twain: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Enough said.