Tag Archives: nablopomo

Understand? Comprenez? Capice? Entiendo?

Communication is vital for life.  An obvious statement, I know.  But when you think about it, communication, more importantly effective communication, is something we often take for granted. The majority of us learn to talk and communicate at an early age.  We know how to say what we want, identify things we like, show disdain for things we don’t like.  It seems so simple when you think about it but really, it’s so much more than that.  It allows us to be who we are.  It gives us an identity. It is how we want people to perceive us – by the thoughts and ideas we communicate with each other.


In college, when I went back for round two, I majored in English (big surprise there) with a concentration in Writing, Communication, and Rhetoric.  I loved words, I loved writing.  It made sense that I would gravitate toward that concentration.  However, while there were some classes that really just were going through the motions (sorry – but Business Communications and Technical Writing were almost the same class – at least Tech Writing started off that way and it was probably because of the professor who taught it…), there were other classes that really examined language and how it’s used and how to effectively communicate with the masses.

In those classes, finding a voice was imperative. Without a voice, how could you communicate?  My Advanced Writing class, which was really my one true Rhetoric class, was where we learned to write effective persuasive essays, straw man essays, and Aristotelian arguments using Logos and Pathos.  It was by far one of my most favorite classes ever.  Combine that with a professor who was one to say “I never give anyone an A,” and I was set to take that class and make it my life’s mission to get that ‘A’ he never gave.


That class was so interesting in the sense that in order to have an effective argument, it was important that you were very clear in what you were saying so there could be no misunderstanding.  It taught me to get to the point and support the point clearly.  It taught me to use one word rather than ten to get there.  I could dig it up, but probably my most favorite argument was the one where I argued that Seinfeld was the greatest sitcom ever created.  I don’t remember the exact reasons I gave, but I remember getting an A on that paper and in the end I got an A for the semester (which also gave me a sense of pride because it was awarded by a self-proclaimed “I never give As” professor).

Had I not learned how to effectively communicate and make sure that I was understood, I doubt my arguments would have been as strong as they were.  I took a lot from that class because many of the lessons applied to every aspect of life. In order to have any relationship in life, you must effectively and clearly communicate and be understood.  If you can clearly communicate, then you can be understood.  Being able to be understood means that people are able to know me. They can understand my opinions and if they are able to communicate back, I can understand theirs.


Today, I have heard a lot of people say things like “Our country is pregnant with change,” or “We are living in a very historical time” and at the same time, we hear the candidates gearing up for Presidential campaigns. Everything is so politically charged and at times, it’s overwhelming.  I can’t help but think that if people knew how to effectively communicate and have a discussion – not digging your heels in and shouting at each other trying to drown the other opinion out but a genuine conversation – we might better understand our friends and neighbors who hold a different opinion.  We would understand what was being said.  That’s the beauty of humanity.  We have the ability to communicate and through that communication we are able to be understood.  It really is an amazing thing to be understood.

This blog is part of my month long attempt (number fiftefoursixthteenth or something around that) at participating in NaBloPoMo.  Check out other great bloggers who are working on hitting this 31 days of blogging goal and join in yourself if you want!  The more the merrier!  This month’s theme: Connect.  Today’s Prompt: Do people generally understand what you’re trying to say?


Filed under Blogging, NaBloPoMo

Time Travel? Yes, please!

I suppose I should be thankful I was raised on a steady diet of Star Trek, Star Wars, Quantum Leap, and books that featured all kinds of sci-fi themes.  As I got older, I discovered even more wonderful things hiding in this genre and for a while it was a bit of an obsession. Time travel is probably the coolest idea to me.  The idea of being able to go back to any point in time, past or future, just opens up so many possibilities.

It travels through time AND space.

It travels through time AND space.

Think about going back to any point in history and seeing it, in person.  Obviously, you wouldn’t be able to really do anything because you wouldn’t want to change the course of history but still, let’s think about this for a minute.  Imagine being there when Teddy Roosevelt charges up San Juan Hill or watching Marie Curie work in the laboratory.Think about watching Caesar in Gaul or being there when Annie Oakley was performing.  So many amazing things to witness.

rough riders

Rough Riders Instagramming the moment. #RoughRiders #SanJuanHill #ByebyeSpain

Even in the last 50 years, there is so much to go back and witness.  Then think about going to the future.  I mean if you could ahead and see what happens, what would that do to you?  I love these questions.  I could talk about them for hours.  It’s just one of those things that just fascinates me.  I don’t even know when I would go first.  And then the other major question.  Do I go alone or do I find someone fun to go with?  Or do I find some kind of academic like Doc Brown to come with me so that if something bad happens, I have someone smarter than me to figure things out while I just goof around and explore?  And then the other important question – what if someone wants to come back for a little while do you take them like Bill and Ted took Abe Lincoln and Socrates?  Even more importantly, do you get Napoleon the Ziggy Piggy?

If time travel ever comes into existence, I want to sign up for it.  I don’t care where I go.  Ok, well maybe I care a little since there are a few things in history I really could do without seeing but there are so many other options! I’d even offer to do a time exchange where I spend a year in the time I pick and study it.  See what it was like.  Maybe not a full year.  Maybe more like three months but still, it would be enough time to really see what it was like in that time.  It’s such a cool thing to think about.  Excuse me while I now go make a list of all the places I would want to travel and what I would do when I get there.

This blog post is part of the July NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is “Decade.” It’s a fun time so you should go see what the other NaBloPoMo bloggers are writing and maybe even think about blogging along!



Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

10 Years From Now

Dear Future Self (I’d say from the “Year 2000” like Conan O’Brien used to but 10 years from now is about 20 years into the year 2000 so – awww who cares….In the year 2000….In the year 2000),

How was that time you were on Jeopardy?  Was it all you hoped and then some?  Did you go for a true daily double?  Did Trebek chuckle at your stories during that mid-game interview?  I’m sure you rocked it and probably cleared a whole category on your own.  It was probably a cool category too like Before & After or Rhyme Time.  Though, if you cleared any category related to literature, language, or science, I’m still impressed.  Hell, the fact that you made it on the show is impressive.

Now that the Daughter is getting ready for her driver’s permit, are you ready for that?  I mean seriously.  Are you ready for her to burn out your clutch? It’s only fair.  You almost burned out Mom’s clutch when you were learning to drive.  God knows you potentially gave her whiplash as you learned how to time the clutch and the gas pedal.  Hopefully you have already bought a neck brace or have invested in a chiropractor.  Just remember to laugh and not yell.  Clutches can be replaced.  Learning to drive only happens once.

The book was cool too. The fact that you have it on Amazon is pretty sweet.  I hear that you did manage to get an agent which is pretty much right up there with Jeopardy.  The fact that they are optimistic about getting at least a limited release is pretty cool.  Keep on writing.  Obviously.

This letter almost sounds like a kids wish list but honestly, over the past ten years, you really stayed focused.  I could list a bunch of clichés here but, thankfully, you haven’t changed that much that clichés make you throw up a little in your mouth.  At any rate, it’s impressive to see where you are at the age of 44.  What’s next? Travel? Living abroad? Whatever it is, keep on going!


You, ten years younger

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Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts, Writing

Under Pressure?

There are times when I realize that my self-induced state of procrastination is the cause of my anxiety when it comes to completing projects.  In 2014, I really am trying to approach life with less anxiety.  I have seen some people say that they are choosing a word to visualize and focus on for the year.  Normally, I would view this as some kind of new age mumbo-jumbo that may or may not work.  However, this year, I’m trying to cast aside my cynicism and open my mind to something new because clearly, my cynicism isn’t exactly working out so well for me.

My word is:


Whatever “happy” means, that’s what I’m aiming for.  There are lots of meanings for happy and how it applies to life.  I could just have a happy day.  I could have a happy accident.  I could just try to find happiness in every situation.  Happy.

Where does that leave my procrastination?  Where does that leave my last minute pressure of making something perfect in a less than perfect amount of time?

I think that it leaves my procrastination being tossed out the window.  I used to tell myself that I only worked best under pressure.  Working at the front desk of a busy Cape Cod hotel, I was constantly under some kind of pressure during the summer months, coincidentally my favorite months of work.  There were complaints, room moves, last minute tours…all things that required me think fast, perform quickly, and get nothing wrong.  The pressure pushed me to perform at my personal best.  At least that’s what I thought.

If I’m trying to focus on Happy, doesn’t that mean I should be trying to eliminate stress that I can control?  My brain says “Duh, stress is ridiculous!”; my heart says “But, I like the pressure. It’s a big thrill to see how well I can do in the eleventh hour.”  Well, my heart might not really like the pressure because the pressure can sometimes cause high blood pressure which could ultimately kill me.  If I’m dead, then any goals I may have planned are pretty much null and void.  It’s just that I have become used to that kind of pressure.  I have convinced myself that it’s the only way that I can get things done.

Silly as it may seem, I must get over that mentality.  I have to take one step at a time.  Plan a little, not excessively, to complete goals and not leave them to the last minute and expect to have the results that I really want.  So while I may feel I work best under some kind of pressure, I have to accept that it does not make me happy.  Since happy is my word this year, I have to try to obtain that word and stay focused.  Procrastination – I’m sorry, you are no longer welcome to the party known as my life.

This post is part of the January 2014 NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is “Pressure.”  Today’s prompt was “Do you work well under pressure?”


Filed under Healthy Me - Yay!, NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

October – The Best Month of the Year!

October 1st is pretty much done.  I have decided that I am going to give NaBloPoMo another go.  Next month is NaNoWriMo (which by the way, every time I write either of those I feel like I’m taunting you with the age old “na na na boo boo” and I promise I’m not) which means I’m going to be submitting myself to the annual masochistic ritual of trying to write a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days.  It’s something I actually look forward to every year since I discovered it.  This year will be my third year and hopefully my second win.

It’s probably my most favorite thing about Fall.  October is prep month – outlines, character sketches, tons of post it notes and journals filled with questions and ideas.  I love it.  Until I start writing that is.  Then I hate it and totally start from scratch.

Le sigh.

At least I know that my Caramel Vanilla Creme coffee will keep me adequately caffeinated as I attempt to work my way through both this month of “warm up” and next month’s actual writing blitz.

My fuel.

For those  who don’t know about either of these two writing events, I know I have written about them in the past but I will gladly re-cap because if you want to join, you should.  The more the merrier!  I also know that I enjoy the personal challenge of trying to accomplish something that I truly enjoy doing.  Yes, it really is all about me.

Let’s start with NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.  It started out as just one month of posting a blog post every day for an entire month but us bloggers, we liked it so much that the creators of the great idea decided it do it every month.  You can read more about it here and sign up for it today!  If not this month, come back another month and give it a go.  It’s not monitored.  It’s kind of a personal goal and I can say that the first month I actually did it, I felt pretty awesome.  At first you think, 30 days (or 31 in this month’s case) is nothing.  You start out strong and the first week goes by no problem.  You move into the second week and you’re like ok, this is still working out.  Then the third week, you find that the prompts are pretty vital to creating new content because you start to feel a little narcissistic. By the fourth week, the end of the month can’t come soon enough.  I was amazed that those were the emotions I went through.  I hope that this month is going to be a little different.  I know some people plan out their content.  I usually don’t do that because every day, I feel something different and that affects what I feel like writing about.  We’ll see how I feel about this plan as the month goes by.

In November, NaNoWriMo begins.  National Novel Writing Month is simply 50,000 words in 30 days.  It averages to about 1700 words a day.  It’s not that bad if you have a good plan and stick with it.  There is no editing.  There is no revising. It is just getting words on paper, or on virtual paper if you will.  I love it.  I don’t love the months after where you have go through and reconcile things that you wrote down on page 38 with something you wrote on page 155.  That is not fun.  That is when you wish you had a real editor to help make sure that you have good continuity and didn’t miss one small word that you changed on one page but forgot to change on another and it ends up changing the whole meaning of everything.  I’m still working on last year’s NaNo novel’s revisions.  It’s taking some time because as I was revising one chapter, I realized that I needed an important piece of the puzzle changed.  That then led to three new chapters being added.  Nothing wrong with that, just a part of the process.  Did I mention that I love it.  I’m almost to the point where I’m going to need some friendly “proofreaders” to go through and just read it for me and point out any issues.  Just something to keep in mind.

That's how November will feel...

That’s how November will feel…

So yes, Fall is wonderful for apple picking, pumpkin picking, Halloween (the greatest holiday ever), cool days, crisp blue skies, sweaters, frosty mornings, warm cups of coffee…it’s really the perfect time to sit down and start writing.  But in my case, it’s time to start seriously writing.  I cannot wait!

This post is part of the October NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is Fall (how apropos).  Check out the other great blogs participating in this month’s blogging blitz.  


Filed under NaBloPoMo, Writing

Is Less More?

I am determined to complete 31 days of blogging this month.  No matter what it takes.  I have signed up for NaBloPoMo for a few months now and have yet to complete an entire month. So far, this month, I have done every day.  I did not follow the prompts but that’s ok.  I don’t have to.  I just have to have a post for every day of the month.


Today, I’m not feeling inspired to write anything in particular.  I mean, it’s not because there is a lack of news stories I can throw my two cents in on but I’m not a pundit so my opinion is probably just better kept to myself. I could talk about the Royal Baby Watch but, that feels wrong.  I could talk about tv but right now, I don’t know what show to talk about.  I could talk about books but we all know where that will end up…

That brings me to the [clichéd] thought, is less more?   Can the post for the sake of a post hold any intrinsic value?  Or, is it better to not even attempt a post every day and wait for the truly meaningful posts?  In my quest to write these 31 posts, am I writing too much? I know that the initial answer is no, you can never write too much.  NEVER.  But on days like today, is this more just a way for me to continue to exercise my writing muscles?  And the initial answer to that is yes.

writing muscle

I think that even though there is no real point to this post (or is there?), the mere fact that I’m taking fifteen minutes to write something, anything is a very good thing.  Do I think that my overall blog will suffer?  No.  I think that everyone has days where they are just trying to come up with something and that’s ok.  We don’t have to always be “on.”  Today is one of those days.

I hope you were able to stay cool today and I hope tomorrow you have a way to stay cool, dear reader.

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Filed under Blogging, NaBloPoMo, Writing

Beach Bum for Life

I suppose all these years living near the beach has addled my brain.  For some reason, no visit with friends (or even out-of-town family members) is complete without a trip to the beach.

The Daughter at the beach last year.

The Daughter at a Falmouth beach last year.

When meeting up with friends or looking for somewhere to hang out, I almost always suggest some kind of little beach trip.  Once, it was  a picnic lunch with a friend and her daughter.  The munchkins ran around while we ate lunch, chatted, and just enjoyed the day!

When the Sister-in-law and the boyfriend came down, we ended up with ice cream at the beach.  Can never go wrong with that!

I think I like the beach because there is no closing time.  There is no last call.  There is no shouting over bad cover bands.  There is no urgent need to get up and go because you are taking up someone’s table and they need to earn their tips.  There is just the open water, the sand, and the ability to really focus on talking and spending time with the people you are with.

The neighborhood lake beach

The neighborhood lake beach

Don’t get me wrong.  I like going out to the pub too but for some reason, the beach is always there.  Even in high school, we would end up throwing pennies into the harbor and just talking.  It’s quiet at the water, despite the gull cries, the lapping waves.  It’s just background noise.  You can really focus on what the other person is saying.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned.  I like having that kind of connection where I can hear and not be distracted when there is some quality conversation to be had. Plus, it never hurts to have something beautiful surrounding you while catching up.  The salty air, the soft sand, the soothing rhythm of the waves…yep…I’m a beach bum and I like to try to turn my friends into beach bums too!

Today’s post is part of the July NaBloPoMo.  This month we are talking about connecting.  Should be fun!  Today’s prompt was: “Where is your favourite place to connect with friends?”  What’s your favorite spot to catch up with friends?


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Old Friends

It’s funny.  In this day and age of being plugged in, social networking, and the constant sharing of your life on the computer, I feel that I only have a handful of close friends.  When I say close friends, I mean the people who have seen me ugly cry and didn’t run away screaming at the horror of my ugly cry face.  (Totally off topic but, when you Google images of “Ugly Cry Face,” a surprising number of Kim Kardashian photos pop up…it almost looks like she’s yawning not crying…)


Even Dawson’s ugly cry isn’t really that ugly…

So, those friends that are in that elite (or not so elite) group of people have their own successful lives and when we are able to reconnect it’s a wonderful thing.

One of my oldest friends is a person I met in my high school sophomore English class.  He sat diagonally in front of me, in the front row of Mr. Ozug’s English class.  He was loud and somewhat socially awkward.  He was dangerously smart and always had dreams of taking over the world.  As the school year went on, I realized that he was in a lot of my classes that year (and the years to follow) and had it not been for a friend of mine (my best friend at the time) that he had a schoolboy crush on, he and I probably would have never become friends.

We graduated high school and went off to college.  We would occasionally chat via AOL AIM (a pretty new-fangled way to keep in touch with friends – yes I’m that old…) and during winter and spring breaks, we would try to meet up for a drink.

We each had some times where we fell off the planet – went incommunicado and resurfaced for air months, even years later.  It didn’t matter.  We could pick up right where we left off.  Trade war stories about what we did when we were radio silent.  I have to admit his were often more exciting than mine but that’s ok.  He still listened to my stories with interest and offered opinions.

Most recently, his parents moved cross-country and he is in the process of determining what to do with his childhood home.  When he was home for that short time, we met up and had some great times catching up.  It was as if we hadn’t missed any time.  He’s like a brother, and yes, this disproves that men and women cannot be “just” friends, because that is what we are.  There’s no judgement.  There are honest, sometimes blunt, opinions but I think that we value that about each other.  I know when I ask him his opinion, I’m going to hear what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.  It’s refreshing in a way.

being blunt

Back then, we would talk about what it was like to be a teenager navigating life.  Then we got older and talked about what it was like to be struggling in college with life decisions about what we wanted to be when we grew up, which I’m still not sure either of have really decided..  We grew older still and now talk about more grown up topics like marriage, children, life, and his eventual world domination.


I am happy that I have a friend like this.  I am happy that he has found the perfect partner in his wife and that he is truly happy in that respect.  He deserves it.  I am happy that when he’s in town (and someday when I FINALLY get my act together and head out his way) that we can talk and have it be like no time has lapsed since our last in person chat.  We may not talk every day or even every month but it’s ok.  When we do reconnect, it’s no big deal.  We don’t have to make apologies or explanations.  We just start talking and it’s good.

Today’s post is part of the July NaBloPoMo.  Yes, I’m trying to do it again since June fizzled out…Today’s prompt was: “Write about the last time you connected with a friend.”  When was the last time you connected with a friend?


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Being a woman today is so much better than being a woman was.  There is still a way to go though but I am not going to spend my time today talking about how women still need equal pay or how women still have to fight stereotypes at places like car dealerships.  It’s frustrating to me though.  Maybe it’s because of my upbringing.

I grew up in a very Irish Catholic family.  In our family, while the men were very intelligent and worked very hard to provide for the family, the women had a very silent strength.  At least, that’s how it always appeared to me.  From my Nana, to my Mother, to my Mother’s aunts, there were so many women who were strong in their own way.  It was almost like the stereotypical Irish matriarch.  The woman who is really quietly in charge, making sure that the family functioned and did what it needed to do.

strong women

When I think about the type of woman I strive every day to be, it is a woman who possesses that silent strength.  I want to make every day productive.  I want to face any adversity with quiet strength.  I may not always be successful but I want to at least try.  I want to raise my child and any other children that the future may hold for me with kindness, compassion, and a sense that they have a duty to help those in need in whatever way they can.  I want to take steps that, while  scary, can be groundbreaking.  I want to achieve some kind of good in this world.

For me, that’s going back to my roots.  That is going back to where I come from.  That is going back to the women who raised me.

Today’s post is part of the June 2013 NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is “Roots.”  Today’s prompt was: What does getting back to your roots look like to you?


Filed under Family, NaBloPoMo

The Frogfaces

You know how siblings like to really give each other a grief unlike no other, well  having three younger brothers, I was no different.  Between me and Brother 3, there is a 10 year gap.  He was an easy target for the ribbing of his older siblings.  While I could go back generations and tell a tale of my ancestors, this “family history” is probably one that still makes everyone in our immediate family cry with laughter.

When Brother 3 was about four or five years old, he asked us why he had blonde hair and we, his older brothers and sister, had brown hair.  Without a missing a beat, Brother 1 told him that it was because he was a frogface. The three of us (Brothers 1 and 2 and myself) then continued to weave a tale of lies that, to this day, still can make any one of us cease to be upset.  The story went as follows:

There once was a family of Frogfaces.  They were like people but they had frog faces.  They had three children who were perfectly alike, complete with bug eyes and wide mouths.  They ate flies and lived on the shores near the lake where they enjoyed a lazy frogface life.

One day, their lives were changed, when they had a fourth child.  This child was nothing like the other three.  This child was a frogface but did not have the same features as the other members of his family.  He looked more human. The Frogfaces were horrified that such a child was theirs.  They didn’t know what to do.

What frogface babies should look like

What frogface babies should look like

They watched the families who came to the lake to swim.  Day in and day out, families would come and swim and the Frogfaces would watch how happy they all seemed.  Then they realized that their newest son looked like them and could probably pass off as one of them.  That is when the Frogfaces decided to choose a family to give their child too.

After weeks of watching they selected a family, our family.  They showed up at our door with the frogface baby and our parents felt sorry for it so they took it in and raised it as their own.  And that is how we came to have a frogface for a brother.

Well, little did we realize, being wicked and cruel older siblings, that Brother 3 would believe every single word of it.  It probably didn’t help that we kept reminding him that he was a frogface time and time again.

What we also didn’t realize is the number of people he would tell this to.  He told his pre-school teacher.  He told family friends. But the worst, was our parish priest.  He was a close family friend and would often come to dinner at our house.  At one of these dinners, Brother 3 announced that he wasn’t really one of us and continued to recount the entire Frogface saga.

During the retelling of this grand story, because I have to admit, I was quite proud of myself and my brothers for concocting such an elaborate story, a small part of me began to feel twinges of guilt.  It also didn’t help that the three masterminds who came up with the story were getting sideways glances not only from our parents and their friends, but also our priest.  Oh Catholic guilt…

Needless to say, they broke the enchantment we had placed on our youngest brother and told him that he was in fact a human and very much our real brother.

Every now and again, though, we all feel the urge to remind him that once upon a time, a distraught mother and father frogface begged us to take in their poor ugly frogface baby…

This post is part of the June NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is “Roots.”  Today’s prompt was “Tell us a story from your family history.”

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