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June 2018: I read an excerpt from the unpublished draft of the short story, “Mr.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!

I attended NEIBA

Dear Reader,

Eek! Time flies! Here’s a brief overview of how I spent the past six months.

July 2013: I started volunteering at Sheafe Street Books on the weekends. I also started running an Essays book group that meets at Portsmouth Book and Bar on the first Tuesday of the month.

August 2013: I started working with Tom D’Evelyn, editor & writing coach. I wasn’t seeking a writing coach, but he approached me about it, and I agreed to give it a go.

September 2013: I saw Paul Harding speak at RiverRun Bookstore.

October 2013: I attended my first NEIBA conference in Providence, RI.

November 2013: I saw Nicholson Baker speak at RiverRun Bookstore.

December 2013: I was asked by Larry Clow from the Wire to provide some holiday book giving recommendations. I was asked by Toby Hatchett from the Portsmouth Herald to provide some holiday book giving suggestions.

Here’s what I read over the past six months:
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Charming Billy by Alice McDermott
This is Running for Your Life: Essays  by Michelle Orange
How to Travel with a Salmon by Umberto Eco
Changing my Mind Essays by Zadie Smith
Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The Yonahlosse Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
Blueprints for Building Better Girls by Elissa Schappell
Kiss As Many Women As You Can by Franki Elliot
Praying Drunk by Kyle Minor

Here’s what we read for the Essays Book Group:
July 16, 2013: This is Running for Your Life by Michelle Orange
August 20, 2013: How to Travel with a Salmon by Umberto Eco
September 17, 2013: Changing my Mind by Zadie Smith
October 15, 2013: Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
November 19, 2013: Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
December 17, 2013: Holidays with Ice by David Sedaris

Happy Holidays! I wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

Happy Summer

Dear Reader,

I’m sorry that I’ve neglected you. This winter was harsh. I hibernated. Here’s a brief overview of how I spent the past six months.

December 2012: I founded the Portsmouth Writers Salon, a fiction writers’ workshop.

January 2013: The Portsmouth Writers’ Salon began meeting twice a month at Book and Bar.

February 2013: IT SNOWED AND SNOWED. I read a lot and wrote a lot.

March 2013: I was told about The Poetry Collective at Sheafe Street Books and started attending Tom D’Evelyn’s fantastic poetry seminars.

April 2013: I saw Gloria Steinem speak about equality at the South Church with my friend Huw. I also attended the Newburyport Literary Festival with my friend Tanya, where we met Andre Dubus III, Myfanwy Collins, and Alan Lightman.

May 2013: I saw Charles Simic read at the South Church.

June 2013:  I met Erika Robuck at RiverRun Bookstore.

I feel lucky to live in a town that has three independent bookstores. Each uniquely different. I try to support them all as well as our local library. I hope you do as well.

Here’s what I read over the past six months:
Call Me If You Need Me by Raymond Carver
Short Cuts by Raymond Carver
In Praise of Messy Lives by Katie Roiphe
On Writing by Stephen King (re-read)
Monkeys by Susan Minot
Lust and Other Stories by Susan Minot
We Live in Water by Jess Walters
Darkness Visible by William Styron
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Just an Ordinary Day by Shirley Jackson
Duplicate Keys by Jane Smiley
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Dry by Augusten Burroughs
We Don’t Live Here Anymore by Andre Dubus
Waiting for Grace & Other Poems by Christopher Locke
New and Selected Poems by Charles Simic
Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck

Keep Reading! Keep Writing!