A Writer's Journey

November 13, 2017

A Change in the Air

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

Two weeks ago, I went to a YMCA training course on Fiscal Management. Pretty much, it explains the budget, how to build one and how to monitor one so you can help with your YMCA’s fiscal responsibilities. I’m in a department that’s considered “overhead”—we don’t have a revenue stream, so the other departments cover us. But I’m not here to explain that to you. It’s just…background. Setting, if you would.

That morning, it had been freezing in my room and I had been hesitant to get out of bed. But I knew I had to because I had to go to this training. So I pulled on a nice warm shirt, some warm pants and then checked my phone for the temperature. When I saw it was in the thirties, I knew I had to break out my jacket for the first time since the winter. My car heater was jacked up and I headed on my way.

When the training was over for the day, I stepped outside and paused. Because it was a day that just screamed “November” to me.

It was overcast and the skies were gray as a cool wind blew. My jacket kept me warm against the cold air as I hurried to the car. Around me were trees, all starting to change colors. Reds, golds, browns and oranges stood out against the gray. It was beautiful.

For a moment, I just stood in the parking lot admiring how perfect a fall day it was. It just reminded me how much I love the season.

Advertisements

October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , ,

I delayed this post until today since it’s actually Halloween today! Since it’s Tuesday, I myself went out on Friday night dressed as a vampire queen. I got the costume for New York Comic Con because the dress I got from Hot Topic for my Evil Queen cosplay didn’t fit and the costume’s dress was the closest to Regina’s red dress.

I hope you were able to get out celebrate the holiday but if not, I’ll try to help you a bit with a few ghost stories from my hometown of Staten Island!

Happy Haunts!

The Historic Old Bermuda Inn

It is haunted by the ghost of a former owner, Martha Mesereau, whose husband went to sea and never came back. She is still waiting for him and haunts her house, now a popular catering venue here on Staten Island. I’ve been there several times as I can walk to it but I’ve yet to see Martha. She’s been known to appear to guests as well as fiddle with women’s jewelry. The facility recently underwent some renovations and during them, a painting of Martha that hangs in the building caught on fire mysteriously. It wasn’t destroyed and the singed portrait still hangs. I know the owners as we attend the same church and they are more than happy to share Martha’s story. You just have to ask.

Vanderbilt’s Tomb

Magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt is buried in Staten Island’s Moravian Cemetery and his tomb is well known to us. It is said that if you go to the tomb and take a picture of it, strange things happen. People you don’t know and who weren’t there will appear in the picture or the people who were in the picture will not be there after it is developed. Needless to say, many people have flocked to the tomb so a fence was set up around it. Good luck, then, getting your picture.

The Kreischer Mansion

Like the Old Bermuda Inn, this spooky residence is close to my house. It was built by the Kreischer family, who ran a successful brick factory on the island. Some of their bricks can still be found around town. Unfortunately, the family fell on hard times when the factory burnt down and one of the brothers killed himself. And in recent years, it was discovered that one of the caretakers was a hitman for the Bonanno crime family and had destroyed a man he killed in the house’s furnace. Strange activity has been reported in the house, including red lights spotted in windows. It’s also said that sometimes, late at night, a gunshot can be heard going off inside the house.

St. Andrew’s Cemetery

The cemetery is attached to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, which is one of the oldest churches on the island. It dates back to 1708, though the current church only dates back to just after the Civil War, and was once led by the grandfather of Elizabeth Ann Seton, who would later convert to Catholicism and became the first American-born saint. Strange phenomenon have been reported both in the church (an organ that plays by itself) as well as the cemetery. One of the lingering spirits is a drummer boy from the Revolutionary War, who appears to people with a bandage on his head and asks for directions to the fort. I’ve also heard stories of a teenage girl who is spotted close to the road, often trying to lure young men in order to find her lost love.

Fort Wadsworth

A former military post, it is now operated by the parks department and open to the public. Located right by the Verrazano Bridge, it offers some amazing views of the Narrows and New York Harbor. My track team and I once took a long run down there but only once. After September 11th, it was used as a staging area and was closed to the public for a while. Strange phenomenon have been reported there. People have experienced time shifts, seeing battlefields and soldiers at war racing around though no battle was ever fought at Fort Wadsworth. People in clothes from earlier times have also been spotted walking around the fort before disappearing.

So there are five more haunted sites on Staten Island. And I’ve just scratched the surface. We have a few more haunted sites I might share next Halloween.

For now, stay safe and protect the black cats. And enjoy your Halloween!

October 2, 2017

Hello, Dolly and Paul!

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Okay, we’re going to put my computer woes aside for now. I want to talk about the fun I had despite all these problems!

On the Sunday that all my laptop problems started, my family and I went to see Hello, Dolly. It was Broadway week and many shows were offering two-for-one tickets, which we took advantage of. So did a lot of other people as our performance was played to a pretty packed house. I didn’t see all of orchestra, but there were no empty seats in mezzanine where we were seated. We even ended up running into family friends, who wound up having seats in the row in front of ours! It’s a small world after all indeed.

Better Midler was not performing Dolly at our performance, which we knew when we bought our tickets. It was Donna Murphy and I was overjoyed. She’s a two-time Tony winner! (Everyone else I was with were like “She’s Mother Gothel from Tangled!” It’s fair, but she’s a talented stage actress in her own right).

The show was absolutely amazing. I plan to review it properly on my blogspot blog (shameless plug here!) but let me say this: If you can go see the show, go see it. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Bette or Donna, either way, you are going to get an amazing Dolly! (Though rumor in the ladies’ room was that Donna was better). I can’t remember the last time I went to a show where it was clear every actor loved and had fun performing the show. It was just a great way to spend an afternoon.

The day before, my parents, my cousin, my aunt and I had dinner together. My dad was planning to go visit my sister the next weekend and I knew my mom and aunt were going to the Paul McCartney concert on Friday. So I asked if I was on my own for dinner that day. My mom looked at me surprised and said: “You’re coming to Paul McCartney with us.”

I guess I should be grateful they didn’t tell me on Thursday night.

My boss let me go early from work on Friday with everyone telling me to enjoy the concert. I was planning on going home to change into a nice black shirt and my boots while keeping on my jeans. However, my mom told me that my aunt said we had to dress up because our tickets granted us access to the “board room.” I was surprised—it’s a concert. Why would we need to dress up? But I put on a nice dress and flats.

We trekked to Madison Square Garden and were directed to the “board room.” And guess what? Everyone else was wearing jeans. We nearly killed my aunt, who did apologize and said she thought we had to dress up. Her coworker and friend told my mom to always get her info from her (the friend), not my aunt.

Lesson learned.

So what is the “board room”? It’s a place with fancy booths and food laid out for us. There is also a bar and a very attentive server, waiting to make sure we have everything we want. He even gave us water bottles to take with us into the arena!

Paul McCartney took the stage and proceeded to perform nonstop for almost 3 hours. At one point his band took a break but the 75 years old continued on, singing such songs as “Blackbird” without them. He gave great performances and told some wonderful stories in between—Paul certainly has a sense of humor!

However, my row had a big moment early on. We were very close to the stage—not on the floor but close enough to feel the heat of the pyrotechnics used for “Live and Let Die” later in the show—and there were still two seats left empty. After the show had started, a couple showed up and it was clear those were their seats. The wife was very apologetic as she ducked past us, her husband following. I looked up and my mind was just “BRUUUUUUUUUUCE.”

As in Bruce Springsteen.

The Boss sat four seats from me for this concert.

Yeah, we were all pretty excited. I even tried to get a picture but it was hard when you’re trying to also play cool. I think the people on the floor had better shots than me.

Bruce and his wife left early, but I figured it was because he was performing with Paul. I was right—he came out and performed “I Saw Her Standing There” with Paul. Twice.

The concert ended and we returned home, where I went straight to bed. But it was a great night and I’m glad I went. It was just a great week…

Aside from the laptop problems.

September 18, 2017

Strange Dreams

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags:

Nearly everybody dreams. Scientists believe we have between four to seven dreams each night, some lasting only a few minutes, some lasting about a half hour. The most vivid dreams occur during Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. Sometimes we remember our dreams, most times we don’t. (If one wakes in the middle of a dream or during REM sleep, you’re more likely to remember it).

Like most people, I tend to forget most of my dreams. There are some I do remember but only for a few days at most. And then there are those that grip me and leave an impression for several days, maybe weeks. I might even be able to recall them months or years later. And these dreams always come in cycles.

I’ve just finished one such cycle and I had some doozies during it. Please allow me to share:

Surprisingly, I’ve had a few dreams involving tornados. In the first, I was staying in a hotel in the middle of storms when tornados sprung up. My family and I made it to the storm cellar just in time but a tornado hit us, picking us up, rotating us and then setting us down unharmed. We decided to get out of there before any more tornados could hit but then we found ourselves surrounded by flood waters!

That dream ended there but a few nights later, I dreamed of tornados again. Or more accurately, I guess, water spouts. I went down to the beach and a storm was rolling in. Somehow, I ended up on a boat and watching a spouts reaching into the air as they churned by the boat. I got back onto the land and raced away from the beach, the spouts and the storm.

So those were some of my “stormy” dreams. Let’s move on to a few other memorable ones.

Recently, I dreamed I was in a store. I was just browsing through some dolls when my mom asked me to find her something—I think a shirt. I agreed to go and headed away from her.

I think I need to pause to explain something here. I have what I call “dream” places—places that I often return to and always look the same. I have the same mall I go to (which I wish was real as it is amazing with a large food court, several restaurants and a lot of shops). And I have a version of “Disney World” I go to that, honestly, doesn’t look at all like the park. I just know it is Disney World.

(Though it has some cool rollercoasters I wish Disney would build).

I went through a few stores, looking to get to the right one so I can get the shirt my mom wants. As I enter, I then have to board some sort of ride vehicle. I get in the front and I settled in, even wrapping myself with a blanket as we go through some scenes, including something that reminds me of the now defunct Horizons ride.

When I got off, I met up with my friend Diana and found I was in a nice dress. We headed toward a restaurant but discovered the only way in was to go along with whatever the theme was. And the theme was a “shower” (I think bridal). So we had to pick out gifts and leave them as we headed into a room full of people we didn’t know.

That’s where that dream ended but it was pretty odd.

Another recent one involved me going to a school for a test. But all the instructions were in French and my boss was there for some reason. That one was just puzzling to me.

I’m sure more weird dreams will come my way, so maybe I’ll have a follow up post some time in the future. Feel free to share your weirdest dream in the comments below!

September 11, 2017

Autumn Plans (and Hopes)

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: , ,

Well, it’s September. We’re about a week and a half away from the first day of autumn.

As usual, this summer flew by. We had some warm days and some rainy days. I wish I had gotten into the pool a bit more often but I did spend time outside. Got the mosquito bites to prove it too.

However, on September 2nd, I woke up and realized I was okay that it was almost autumn. I came to the realization that autumn was generally my season, not summer, and it was time to fully embrace it.

So I am.

(more…)

July 17, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge Update

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
Tags: , ,

It’s halfway through the year so I thought I would update you on how I’m doing on my goal to read more this year. On Goodreads, I set a goal of 12 books (one book for each month). How am I doing?

I’m actually on target! That’s right, I read six books through June and I just finished my seventh. If I play my cards right, I hope to have the eighth finished by the end of the month.

Maybe even the ninth.

(more…)

July 14, 2017

I Dream of Paris…

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

I knew that when I got to high school, I wanted to study French. And I did, even though Spanish probably would’ve been more useful. I was one of eleven girls in my high school class who learned the language and we all got really close because our class was so small. We also learned about French culture and history, enjoying our lessons. Our one dream was to go to Disneyland Paris as a class.

However, we went to Catholic school so there definitely was no budget to send us to Paris. We had enough to go to Quebec in Canada, which was gorgeous and still gave us a chance to practice our French. And in college, I went abroad to England and don’t regret it.

There was a plan for a family vacation to France when I graduated college. We would visit Paris and my father wanted to go to Normandy, since his father landed at Utah Beach on D-Day. He also spent a month stationed at Marseilles. My grandfather didn’t speak much of his time in the war so I guess my father wanted to feel closer to that part of him. However, I graduated in 2008 just as the recession kicked in, so that trip got scrubbed. We went to Boston instead.

Yet, I still want to go to Paris. I would love to stroll down the streets of the City of Lights, take in the sights, take in the history and just be there. It would be a dream come true.

(more…)

July 10, 2017

Lessons Learned on Vacation

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: ,

I went to Walt Disney World during June. My father retired at the end of April and this was his celebration. So my parents, sister, aunt and I went down to spend a week at the Most Magical Place on Earth. At the end of that week, I learned some things about myself.

I am an adult.

No, that’s not a “I’m too old for Walt Disney World” realization. I firmly believe that you can never outgrow Disney World and that there’s plenty to do as an adult, even without a child.

It’s just a realization.

(more…)

July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: ,

No matter what you think of our nation’s current affairs, I think we can all agree that today is a day to celebrate America. Just 24 hours of pure patriotism…a chance to just be Americans.

So Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans!

Personally, I love the Revolutionary era. I can’t get enough of it—and that includes going down to Colonial Williamsburg. I loved the John Adams miniseries and, of course, Liberty’s Kids. And I can quote 1776 like nobody’s business.

So, yes, I will be watching that today. I’m not sure what you’ll be watching to celebrate but I hope you enjoy your day!

Remember to be careful today. Wear plenty of sunscreen if you’re outside, stay hydrated, practice water safety, practice firework safety (if they are legal where you live. If they aren’t, please don’t shoot them off), and drink responsibility.

Now, I’m off to my pool and our 4th of July party!

April 17, 2017

A Reflection on Being 30

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: ,

My birthday was on April 1st. Yes, I’m an April Fool’s baby. It sometimes sucks (though it’s been years since I’ve gotten a gag gift) but it’s kinda awesome as well. We April Fool babies tend to flock to each other and share some kind of bond when we meet up with each other.

I can’t believe a whole year has gone by already. So, how was thirty?

Not too bad. It probably could’ve been better, but all in all, I liked it.

Let’s get the bad out of the way. Of course, my grandmother died. I still miss her every day but I know she’s in a better place. I also lost my great aunt, Jennie, another strong woman in my life.

(more…)

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.