Things I Do When I’m Not Writing

My first time skateboarding inside at Rye Airfield Skatepark with New England’s Female Skateboarding was earlier today.

I’m wearing the blue helmet below and trying to face my fear of the ramps.

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Photo Credit: Eugene Hanc

Though I still have a long way to go to be able to conquest this fear. The first step was showing up. Padding up and setting foot inside these fenced in ramps.

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Photo Credit: Chase Barclay

I had a wonderful time with these positive and encouraging girls of all ages today. Thank you so much to Chase Barclay and her family from Rhode Island and Stephanie and Tracy from NEFS for creating a space for women of all ages to come together and skate.

IMG_E6110Photo Credit: Chase Barclay

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26 Things I’ve done during my second year of sobriety.

Here is what my second year of changing my habits looked like:

December 2016: A year in review of photos of my first year of sobriety.

December 2015: I celebrated my first second-drinking New Years Eve volunteering at First Night Portsmouth, the friend who was supposed to be there with me was sick and stayed home. It was really cold out and I was home by 10 pm and curled up in bed with my cat.

January 2017: I started a new career at a start-up company.

January 2017: I joined a book group.

February 2017: I went snowboarding for the first time in way too long!

February 2017: I went snowboarding for the first time in way too long!

March 2017: I rearranged my apartment and created a wall of art to showcase my grandmother’s paintings and the tree of life print that I inherited from family.

March 2017: I turned the monthly poetry series at RiverRun Bookstore over to its new host Shane Morin!

April 2017: I visited my grandmother on her 100th birthday!

April 2017: I joined our local TEDx committee as a volunteer on their Marketing Team.

May 2017: I went hiking with about two dozen other people in Maine.

May 2017: I attended Mick’s UNH Graduate School Graduation Party!

June 2017: I was a movie extra. #LoveinKilnerry

June 2017: One more shot from the movie set! #LoveinKilnerry

July 2017: I attended my first workout at welcome at Phoenix Multisport Gym in Boston.

July 2017: I played mini-golf for the first time since high school.

August 2017: I took surfing lessons at Summer Sessions Surf Shop in Rye, NH.

Photo Credit: Chris Daggett

August 2017: I was in the newspaper – the redhead on right is me.

Photo Credit: Ioanna Raptis

September 2017: I attended my first TEDx event. The speakers were engaging and inspiring.

September 2017: I love being a TEDxPiscataquaRiver volunteer.

October 2017: I went hiking with friends at Mount Agamenticus.

October 2017: I joined friends for a 6-mile hike and sunset yoga next to the lake at Pawtuckaway.

November 2017: I tried out Bending Bohdi Yoga studio in Dover and loved it!

November 2017: I went hiking with friends.

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December 2017: I remembered my mother on the anniversary of her death that’s her below and me on my horse. The day she died is also her youngest sisters birthday and I  texted her before I went to work yesterday morning.

Photo Credit: Dad

December 2017: Me sitting in front of our tree wearing a Patagonia Fleece Hat & Pullover and Mens 501 Levi’s reading per usual. This is a picture of me when I was in high school.

Be kind to yourself. You deserve it. 

Why Do You Write?

I write because I grew up as an only child high on the hills in Vermont which meant I had to become creative to keep myself entertained.

I write because I love to read stories and I love to share them as well. Just as you may love to eat meals friends and family cook for you and you also love to cook and share meals you’ve created. I don’t cook I write instead.    

I write because I am curious as to how you and I are the same yet different. I read for the same reason. For example, Charles Dickson’s’ novels were based on the society in his time. He spent an hour a day walking through his city gathering his ideas based on what he saw, heard, touched, tasted, smelled as all of us writers do – we write what we know and we read about what we don’t know to gain insight and empathy, compassion, and understanding of others. 

 

26 Things I’ve done during my first year of sobriety.

1. December 2015: I bought a new bicycle on the day I decided to quit drinking (12/20/2015) and celebrated my first alcohol-free Christmas riding bicycles with my boyfriend.

2. December 2015: I celebrated my first non-drinking New Years Eve with my boyfriend (who instead of partying stayed sober with me) by getting coffee, seeing the fireworks, going ice skating, then we checked out the telescopes and stargazing, then dancing at first night in Portsmouth, and we were home exhausted and eating pizza by 10 pm and asleep before midnight. It was so much fun!

3. January 2016: I bought the VW Jetta that I’ve wanted for the past decade!

4. January 2016: I started celebrating Friday nights with pizza and movies at home.

 5. February 2016: I joined a monthly hiking group.

 6. February 2016: I went interviews for marketing jobs. I didn’t get the jobs but I had nice interviews.

7. March 2016: I went to the New England Aquarium for the first time since elementary school with my boyfriend.

 8. March 2016: I was invited to host a monthly poetry series at RiverRun Bookstore and I accepted the challenge!

 9. April 2016: I visited my grandmother on her 99th birthday – I spent 9 hours driving to spend 3 hours at lunchtime with her!

Me and Grandma, Photo Credit: Anita Macero

 

 10. April 2016: I joined an all women’s skateboarding group on Facebook and started connecting with women of all ages that skateboard from around the globe!

 11. May 2016: I celebrated my one year anniversary with my boyfriend by having lunch at Surf Portsmouth – the raw bar sampler and my meal tasted even better without being accompanied by wine!

 

12. May 2016: I went hiking at Mount Agamenticus for the first time ever with friends we had a great adventure and my first sober Memorial Day weekend was way more fun than ever before!

 Photo Credit: Jeremy Ouellette

 

 13. June 2016: I went to an all women’s skateboarding event at Rye Airfield Skatepark!

 14. June 2016: I enjoyed being at the beach not hungover with my boyfriend and friends throughout the summer!

 15. July 2016: I attended my first poetry workshop ever on Tuesday evenings with Matt Miller at The Word Barn in Exeter.

 16. July 2016: I published my first poetry collection, a chapbook on House of Love and Pizza Press.

 17. August 2016: I took my first ever paddle boarding and surfing lessons at Summer Sessions Surf Shop in Rye, NH.

Photo Credit: Kayleigh Almon

18. August 2016: I celebrated my first sober birthday at Canobie Lake Park enjoying the rides.

 19. September 2016: I started thinking about what I want my life to look and after a long conversation with an old friend realized I need to stop letting fear hold me back from pursuing my dreams.

 20. September 2016: I was invited and accepted a three-year position on the board of the PPLP: Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program.

Me Feb. 2014 Photo Credit: Tammi Truax

 21. October 2016: At a friend’s Halloween Party across town, after working two jobs it was a lot of fun!

Photo Credit: Shane Jeffrey Smith

 22. October 2016: I started writing daily.

 23. November 2016: I was one of twenty featured authors at the Portsmouth Public Library (NH) second annual author fair. I sold four of my poetry books and traded two more with authors for their books.

Photo credit: Dan Szczesny‎

 24. November 2016: I celebrated my first sober Thanksgiving and my 11-month sobriety mark.

 25. December 2016: I remembered my mother on the anniversary of her death – but didn’t feel the urge to drink, smoke, or overeat. Oddly, the day she died is also her youngest sisters birthday and I almost forgot to text her and wish her happy birthday but I remembered before I went to bed!

 Photo Credit: Unknown

 26. December 2016: I’ve read 52 books this year. That’s an average of a book a week.

Sheafe Street Books Photo Credit: Tamara J. Collins

 

Note: I’ve changed a lot over the past year. I’m no longer judgmental, mean, gossipy, or filled with fear/doubt/insecurity. I’m at peace. I live in the moment. I try to think before I speak. That’s still something I’m working on! And I’m grateful for the life I have and all the people that I’ve encountered on my journey. When I get overwhelmed or start to feel like I need to compare myself to others successes, I think back to the beginning of the month when a wise friend told me to keep it simple and to be grateful for things like soap.

 Sobriety doesn’t equal sitting at home bored and alone watching TV. 

I’ve been busier in sobriety than I ever imagined. I’ve met women whose hobbies include: bicycling, cross fit, hiking, paddle boarding, running, swimming, surfing, and yoga. They also love going to aquariums, concerts, dining out, trying new things, visiting museums, volunteering to help local charities etc. I have been pleasantly surprised to meet so many intelligent, well dressed, well put together, fun, creative, active people with many years of sobriety in the Seacoast. Sober is the new black.

Last Minute Holiday Gift Recommendations from Local Indie Booksellers!

Today is Friday, December 23, 2016. For some, this means they will begin their holiday shopping this evening when the crowds and lines are less busy and they are less likely to have the noise of screaming babies, and high pitched shrieks followed by laughter from teens surrounding them.

If you fall into this “last minute” shopper category and don’t know what the heck to get for the book lover in your life here are some recommendations from our three independent bookstores found in downtown Portsmouth, NH.

Sheafe Street Books, 29 Sheafe Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 (603) 498-5202 

Hours today open until 7 PM 


Sheafe Street Books, Ken Kozick, recommends the beautiful new editions of these six sci-fi classics (Penguin Galaxy Series). These six collectible hardcover editions of masterworks of science fiction and fantasy, each features a series introduction by #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman: 

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

2. Dune by Frank Hebert

3. Neuromancer by William Gibson

4. The Once and Future King by T.H. White

5. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursala K. Le Guin

6. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

RiverRun Bookstore, 142 Fleet Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 (603) 431-2100 

Hours today open until 9 PM 

RiverRun Bookstore, Tom Holbrook, recommends the following new books:

1. Swing Time by Zadie Smith

2. Sheds by Howard Mansfield

Portsmouth Book and Bar, 40 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 (603) 427-9197 

Hours today open until Midnight 


Portsmouth Book and Bar, David Lovelace, recommends the following books:

1. The Name of War by Jill Leporte

2. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

3. The Stories of Vlademir Nabokov

Parking is FREE in downtown Portsmouth, NH right now through the holidays! So grab yourself some coffee, hot chocolate, or tea and make sure to pop into each of our three amazing community bookstores and say hello to the owners & staff! Remember booksellers also love coffee and treats!

12 years old, driving mom to doctors.

Where I grew up, having a car was a necessity. The year I was born my parents had two sedans, a Saab 900 and Volkswagen Bug; additionally, they also had an old black 1960 Chevrolet  C10 military tribute truck.  My parents both commuted 20-miles each way from Marlboro to Brattleboro for work.

Over the dirt roads, onto the frost-heaved pavement, through the rain, snow, and sleet. There were times when the roads washed out and alternate routes home had to be found.

Once when we were coming home from an Easter Sunday Sunrise service at Hogback Mountain my dad’s car got stuck in the mud. It was extracted via chains and a tractor; thankfully we got stuck in front of the home of neighbors who were a family of loggers. Another time when my father was driving me back to school at Vermont Academy, in the winter, his car hit a patch of ice under the snow and we went off the road and down into the shallow end of a pond.  Again we got lucky that time, as the owners of the home near the pond owned a wrecking service.

My parents did not work the same schedules, therefore, two cars were necessary. I can’t think of anyone I met as a kid who didn’t have a car or whose parents didn’t drive. There was no public transit in Marlboro, VT unless you counted the town school buses.

I attended St. Michael’s in Brattleboro for four years, third through six grade to be exact. My mother would drop me off at school on her way to work. In the afternoons I got to choose between the following options as to how I would get home:

Option A:

  1. Bus one picked me up from St. Michael’s after school and drove us as far as a picnic clearing on Route 9 just past the Diner.
  1. Bus two comes along and picks up us kids waiting at this scenic stop on Route 9 and brings us to Marlboro Elementary School on top of the hill on Route 9.
  1. Bus three leaves from the Elementary school and brings you home on a bus with the kids from Marlboro Elementary School.
  1. You walk the remaining mile.

Option B

  1. Walk to Brooks Memorial Library.
  1. Wait for Mom to come find you in Library after work.

Option C:

  1. Walk to Brooks Memorial Library.
  1. Wait for the shuttle bus to take you to Nana’s house in Brattleboro across town over the freeways.
  1. Then wait for parents to pick you up on the way home.

Option D:

  1. Walk to Brooks Memorial Library.
  1. Wait for the shuttle bus to take you to the School for International Living where my mother worked.
  1. Hang out outside and play Frisbee with the college kids until Mom is out of work.

More often than not, I choose either Option B or C. Option A was a complete waste of time.  Option D was fun in nice weather, however, I was painfully shy back then, therefore, it wasn’t very often that I choose this option.  When I choose Option B, I I read or volunteered to help out in the children’s section of the Library. When I choose Option C I got quality time with my grandmother. I was a voracious reader and daredevil athlete from a young age. A healthy balance that my father encouraged that sometimes caused my mother to worry.

By the time, I was eleven years old my father had taught me how to drive manual not automatic and this involved many training sessions on steep hills on dirt roads. This was not unusual in where we lived. By 7th grade, most of my classmates were driving or at least boasted that they were. We lived in The Middle of Nowhere. Seriously. I don’t think most of us ventured far as we realized what a privilege it was to be able to drive and have our parents trust.

My parents, being the planners that they were, taught me this skill as soon as I was tall enough to reach the pedals – in case of emergencies. When I was twelve, one morning my mother cut herself while cooking. Blood dripped down her fingers over her rings, and she wrapped the bleeding area with a paper towel and held it up above her heart. She asked me to take her to the doctor. I was twelve years old. I drove my mother to get stitches. I drove her the 10 miles each way to her doctor’s office Wilmington. Thanks to my father’s patience and lessons, I was confident in my driving skills. I had the ability to double clutch if needed and I knew how to obey the rules of the road.