2019: Year in Review

Here’s a high-level review of my 2019

December 2018:  I went surfing two days before Christmas. I celebrated three-years since I quit drinking having coffee with friends at the Roundabout Diner.

January 2019: I spent a couple of approximately a thousand dollars emergency medical treatment and spent the month sick and in pain due to this I regretfully had to let go of my part-time gig on Saturdays.

February 2019: I love Rye Airfield in the winter.

March 2019: I read my poem

“Flashes of Terror,” from Lunation: A Good Fat Anthology of 114 Women Poets at South Church, Portsmouth, NH in front of over 100 people.

April 2019: I spent some time with friends at their new houses near my partner’s hometown.

May 2019: I went surfing at Jenness on Memorial Day Weekend and took a Lamborghini fast 9’6 longboard to the middle of the back of my head. I heard a loud crack.

June 2019: I traded in my 9’6 longboard for a 7’6 board. But I’m out of water for a bit longer.

July 2019: I took out my first car loan and bought a three-year-old manual transmission VW Jetta.

August 2019: I took on a month-long part-time freelance & consulting gig working a handful of hours a week as a private social media strategist for a realtor. Tried to surf lasted 30 minutes and was experiencing post-concussion terror.

September 2019:  I spent another thousand dollars on my teeth. Grandma would be proud. I am flossing while watching TV and it has become a new hobby.

October 2019: I moved an hour away from Portsmouth to my partner’s hometown.

November 2019: I committed to a nontraditional writing challenge hosted by an NH outdoor adventure writer.

December 2019: I am looking forward to my two best friends visiting from LA and SF area and meeting their partners. And I look forward to celebrating 4-years since I quit drinking.

2018: Year in Review

Here’s a high-level review of my 2018

December 2017: I celebrated two years since I quit drinking with friends at The Green Elephant.

January 2018:   I was reunited with my Mark Gonzales Skateboard after a long separation.

February 2018: I interviewed Lori Tiernan for Portsmouth Living Magazine

March 2018: I interviewed Eva Marino for Portsmouth Living Magazine

April 2018: I was invited to be a Marketing Panelist on the WPM series on WSCA Portsmouth Community Radio.

May 2018: I went hiking at Pawtuckaway Memorial Day Weekend. I met Captain Liz Clark, author of Swell.

June 2018: I read an excerpt from the unpublished draft of the short story, “Mr. & Mrs. Arhens’ Guest,” at the Page Turner series at Washington Street Mills. I celebrated three years since I gave up smoking cigarettes.

July 2018:  Thanks to family & friends, I raised $3200 out of $3500 in three weeks on GoFundMe to repair a cracked molar.

August 2018: I started a new secondary part-time freelance & consulting gig working as a private copywriting and outdoor adventure coach on Plum Island on Saturdays.

September 2018:  I read a lot, and I surfed a lot.

October 2018: I read a lot, and I surfed a lot.

November 2018: I went surfing with Mike A. In early November, so much fun! And I went to Ireland for a week at the end of November.

December 2018:  I went surfing two days before Christmas. I celebrated three-years since I quit drinking having coffee with friends at the Roundabout Diner.

2017: Year-in-Review


Here’s a high-level review of my 2017

December 2016: I celebrated one-year since I quit drinking with friends at STREET. I celebrated New Years’ Eve by volunteering at First Night Portsmouth.

January 2017:  I picked up a new freelance & consulting marketing client.

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

March 2017: Due to scheduling conflicts, I resigned from the Executive Board of the PPLP and from hosting the RiverRun After Dark Youth Poetry series.

April 2017:  I joined TEDxPortsmouth as their Marketing Communications Lead.

May 2017: I went hiking with about two dozen other people at Orris Falls in Maine.  I went on my second annual Memorial Day weekend hike this time to Pawtuckaway.

June 2017: I worked on the set of  #LoveinKilnerry, as an extra actress on weekend evenings.  I learned on the fly how to operate a film camera and filmed the TEDxPortsmouth speaker auditions. I celebrated two years since I quit smoking cigarettes.

July 2017: I created the TEDxPortsmouth digital marketing calendar and coordinated with the marketing team volunteers on scheduling blog posts, content, email blasts, social media posts, and all marketing communications online and in print.

August 2017:  I read poems by Lydia Davis at Poets in the Park at Prescott Park.

September 2017: I attended my first TEDx event. The speakers were engaging and inspiring. I love being a TEDxPiscataquaRiver volunteer.

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!

December 2017:  I celebrated two years since I quit drinking with friends at The Green Elephant.

Be kind to yourself. You deserve it. 




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

1. December 2015: I traded in my JAMIS commuter bicycle and put my trade-in credit towards an EVO, Classic City Sport, City Bike, Black, Step-Thru (2015) from Pedal Power on the day I decided to quit drinking (12/20/2015) and celebrated my first alcohol-free Christmas riding bicycles.

Screen Shot 2562-11-01 at 9.53.16 AM

2. December 2015: I celebrated my first non-drinking New Years’ Eve by getting coffee, seeing the fireworks, going ice skating, checking out the telescopes and stargazing, then dancing at the First Night in Portsmouth. I was 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 wanted ever since I drove friends a few years ago.

Orange Red Audit TT Quattro Green VW Jetta MK4

4. January 2016: I started celebrating Friday nights with pizza and movies at home instead of my routine since college with consisted of pre-gaming with friends after work until 9 or 10 p.m. and then heading downtown and bar hopping and then to the after-party until dawn or the birds were singing. I would wake up Saturday afternoons hungover from chain-smoking cigarettes and drinking too many martinis or vodka soda waters and then order a pizza and eat the whole thing and then I’d walk the 7-mile loop from Portsmouth through Rye, New Castle and back into Portsmouth and home.

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

 6. February 2016: It was warm enough outside that I went for a walk on the beach in Rye in only a tee shirt and sweater.

(Tee Shirt and Sweater both from the Banana Republic, necklace from Tiffany & Co., sunglasses from Sunglasses Warehouse, hair cut and color by Tease Hair Salon )

7. March 2016: I went to the New England Aquarium for the first time since elementary school. Myrtle the Turtle pictured below.

 8. March 2016: I was invited to host a monthly youth poetry series at RiverRun Bookstore, and I accepted the challenge! The photo below is of Mark Palos reading.

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


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

 11. May 2016: I volunteered at local poetry events for Seacoast Outright.

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


 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 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 surfing lessons at Summer Sessions Surf Shop in Rye, NH.

Kate Kayleigh Alex Dustin Me Ryan JD Brad SSNH.jpg


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 of becoming a writer. To date, I’d only submitted less than six pieces of work for publication.

 20. September 2016: I was invited and accepted a three-year position on the board of the PPLP: Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program. The PPLP is the first place I ever got up the courage to stand up in front of an audience and read my poetry out loud.

The above photo is of me, in February 2014, reading my first poem out loud at the PPLP Hoot Night at Cafe Espresso. Photo Credit: Tammi Truax

 21. October 2016: I went to a Halloween Party, and it was more fun, not drinking!


 22. October 2016: I write my MFA applications personal statement.

 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 decided to defer applying to MFA programs.

 25. December 2016: I remembered to text my mom’s youngest sister and wish her a happy birthday on the anniversary of my mom’s death.

 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


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 other people’s 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. It means getting off your ass and pursuing your dreams. It also means working through all of the painful personal shit that has been holding you back, paralyzed by anxiety or fear of what other people will think or fear of failure. 

I’ve been busier in sobriety than I ever imagined.


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 Vladimir 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 fantastic community bookstores and say hello to the owners & staff! Remember, booksellers also love coffee and treats!

Youth Poetry Series Host

Dear Readers,

Here’s an update of what I’ve been up to for the past half-year.

January 2016: I kept reading and writing.

February 2016: I kept writing and reading.

March 2016: I went to the book launch at 3s Artspace for The Penny Poet of Portsmouth and saw friends of Robert Dunn read his poems. And I saw our beautiful Poet Laureate, Kate Leigh do her Star Island reading at Portsmouth Book and Bar.

April 2016: I saw Monica Wood read excerpts of The One in a Million Boy at RiverRun Bookstore. RiverRun Bookstore asked me to organize two poetry events for National Poetry Month. The featured readers included Mark Palos and Ryan McLellan at the first one, then Heidi Therrien and Lauren WB Vermette at the second one. I saw our 8th poet Laureate John- Michael Albert read from his new book, Portsmouth and Star Island Poems at PPLH. I attended the Newburyport Literary Festival.

May 2016: I volunteered at the Seacoast Outright coffeehouse at RiverRun Bookstore. I volunteered at Shelley Girdner’s book launch for You Were That White Bird at RiverRun Bookstore. I attended the Station Note Reading Series at 3s Artspace and saw poets Emilia Phillips, Duncan D. Campbell, and Guy Capecelatro III. I saw Jackson Warfield read from his chapbook at Lost Coast in Kittery, ME. I was asked to organize and host a monthly young folks poetry series at RiverRun Bookstore featured readers for May were Lauren Elma Frament and William James. I was nominated on our local Ten to Watch list by Seacoast Online and Catapult Seacoast.

June 2016: I organized the RiverRun Bookstore After Hours Youth Poetry Series – featured readers were Christopher Clauss and Mike Jo Riello.

Here are the books I read:

The Penny Poet of Portsmouth by Katherine Towler

One of Us is Lost by Robert Dunn

A Place Called Self by Stephanie Brown

The Gingerbread Girl by Stephen King

Stationary Bike by Stephen King

Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

Rewired by Erica Spiegelman

All That You Love Will Be Carried Away by Stephen King

Autopsy Room Four by Stephen King

In the Tall Grass by Stephen King

UR by Stephen King

M Train by Patti Smith

Blackout by Sarah Hepola

Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami

One in A Million Boy by Monica Wood
Portsmouth and Star Island Poems by John-Michael Albert
You Were That White Bird by Shelley Girdner

We Took To The Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich
Dances with Light by Kate Leigh


Keep Reading! Keep Writing! 

Portsmouth Writers’ Salon goes on sabbatical

Dear Reader,

Happy New Year! Here’s an overview of my past six months.

July 2015: Portsmouth Writers’ Salon goes on sabbatical.

August 2015: I read and read, and I wrote, and I wrote.

September 2015: I worked with Amy Ray and Laura Horwood-Benton at the first-ever Local Authors’ Fair at the Portsmouth Public Library.

October 2015: I read a lot of ancient Ghost and Halloween stories.

November 2015: I attended Long Story Short to see Dagan Migirditch (Portsmouth Writers Salon Member), Michael Boulerice (author of The Adventures of KungFu Mike and the Magic Sunglasses), and Charles McMahon (author of Legendary Locals of Portsmouth) perform.

December 2015: I updated the local ongoing literary event listing for the Portsmouth Writers Salon website.

Here are the books I read:

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Roald Dahl’s Ghost Stories
 by Roald Dahl

Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg

The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

Close Your Eyes Hold Your Hands by Chris Bohjalian

The Double Bind by Chris Bojalian