Saturday, August 20, 2016

Literary Pilgrimage: State College, PA

I visited Penn State University for the first time this week. I am an online student through this school, but the program doesn't require me on campus.

I went apart from my MA program, to visit a friend who is active in the literary world there. She gave a reading at Webster's Bookstore Cafe and showed me the library and the art museum a.k.a. HEAVEN.

I made the drive alone so I could pull over to the side of the road and photograph things whenever I liked:

Made it into town just in time for a reading at Webster's, where Nicole was the featured writer:

 I... hadn't read a poem in public since high school, and it was a bad bad high school poem back then. But I did jump into the open mic at the end. I am still nervous and shaking:

 A misty morning in Coburn, PA:

Library straight out of Hogwarts:

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book is filled with poetry and graphic novels YOU GUYS:


I purposefully took a longer, winding route home. Scenes from the scenic route:

Crossing the Susquehanna River:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Two Weeks of Life

Two weeks of my life in this new year for me were action-packed and went by fast. But they were good, good, good! Including:

First day of a new decade at a Writers Cafe event. Pitstop at a Colombian bakery:

From there, my life was all about County Fair for about 10 days. I'd never had so much fun making a club booth:

Or volunteering! It's a great chance to reflect on the great people that work brings into my life:

And you know what else? Fair should be FUN!

And it is! Unless it rains...

Fair is also significantly less fun if you move apartments in the middle of it. DO NOT RECOMMEND!

A dear friend left NJ during this time. The only thing that can console me are tiny cakes. And even then, I feel feels.

Birthday gifts keep trickling in for me. Including sister gifts:


Two Rook coffee shops in two days: based on the thrilling true story.

Vegan cupcakes pair with Rook quite nicely:

Closing thoughts: It's the height of the growing season, and when the garden gives you so many eggplants, you must make some baba ganoush.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

New, Fresh Decade

I spent the last week of my 20s seeing friends, laughing, and sharing stories (also pizza).

I returned to Jurassic Park:

I celebrated my brother's birthday with the friends we all grew up with and a huge order of Greek takeout and this Legend of Zelda cake:

I caught a sliver of rainbow over New Brunswick, NJ:

My actual birthday was a little chaotic--I'm moving from one apartment to another, but staying in the same city.

Part of me can't help but see the poetic justice in being in-between leases at the end of my 20s.

I spent my 20th birthday volunteering at an AIDS orphanage outside Cape Town. I knew my childhood was over that day. I vowed to make the life ahead of me one of service, at the expense of any and all creature comforts. (This was before the froyo explosion.)

Ten years later I woke up early to help instruct a few classes of kiddies in concepts like harvesting, the life cycle, and composting.

In a literal sense, it was a Dirty 30--I got dirt underneath my fingernails, all right.

I've moved almost yearly throughout my 20s. But I also sought to be a part of communities and care for people. There's always more I can learn. Still, moments like this feel good:

Because I am home, because I am where I came from, I did the most Jersey Girl thing I could think to do: I got a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee and went to the beach.

Then out to eat with family during my hometown's Restaurant Week.

Life is good, I'm excited for a fresh decade.