A Writer's Journey

December 11, 2018

2018 Reading Challenge Update

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Another year is about to come to a close. It’s amazing that it’s December already. So since it’s the end of the year, I figure it’s time to do my final Reading Challenge update.

My goal was to read 13 books. So how did I do?

I reached my goal! And I’ll most likely surpass it by one book. I’m currently reading three books but Wives of War is almost done as my Kindle says I’m about 90% of the way through it. According to Goodreads, I’m only about 38% through The Glass Ocean and 28% of The Impossible Girl. So I’m comfortable in saying that Wives of War will be my last finished book of 2018.

I am so proud of myself for hitting my goal. I worried there for a bit this summer but I made it.

How about you?


September 15, 2018

Paris: Wednesday and Thursday or All Good Things Must Come to an End

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Grace and I said our goodbyes Wednesday morning. She left to head to the British Embassy and I got a little bit more sleep before I headed into Paris myself. It was my last day before heading home and I had it all planned out.

I started off by going to the Arc de Triomphe. I walked up to it, admiring it, before following the pedestrian crossings through the roundabout that encircles it to get to the entrance. My Paris Pass let me use a separate entrance where I did have to pass through a metal detector. I then started to climb a narrow, metal circular staircase and I worried I had just signed up for a Bunker Hill mistake.

(For reference: My family went to Boston ten years ago and we did a bus tour, including a stop at Bunker Hill. It has a monument and you can go up to the top—but there are nearly 300 steps to do so. My family managed to do it, though I then had to crawl down the middle when curiosity got to me and I looked down a giant hole. There was nothing there but it triggered my fear of heights. Anyway, we all made it back down and our legs felt like jelly until we got back to New York a few days later).

Thankfully, it was not a Bunker Hill mistake as I only had a few minutes of climbing before I got to the big space dedicated to the arch’s history. It included some statues as well as video of the Allies marching through the arch after taking back Paris. There were then more stairs to the roof and I decided to go up there. It offered some great views of Paris but I never strayed from the middle of the roof as my fear of heights yelled at me to GET OFF THE ROOF!


(Pictured: The Arc de Triomphe)


September 14, 2018

Paris: Tuesday or Musees Ahoy!

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For those not  familiar with French—“musee” is the word for “museum.”

I actually slept late on Tuesday. Originally, I had planned on doing that on Monday but when my friends offered to let me into Paris with them, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. But I really needed to sleep in. The con had called for early mornings and Monday was even earlier. So I needed the rest.

Grace decided to stay behind to work on her situation, so I headed into Paris by myself. I went straight to the Musee de Rodin, dedicated to sculptor Auguste Rodin. You know—The Thinker:


(Pictured: The Thinker)


September 13, 2018

Paris: Monday or My First Day in the City

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I must say, nothing seemed sadder than the hotel on Monday morning. The crowds of people that had been a constant presence were gone as most people had left or were leaving. It made me miss everyone but I was eager to head into Paris to finally see the city.

I had met one of my Twitter followers the day before at the con and she had invited me to come into the city with her and her friend. I accepted, grateful for the offer as I had been nervous about going into the city by myself. But I had them with me as I learned how to navigate the train system as well as how to get around the city. And it was nice to have the company.

They came with me as I went to pick up my Paris Pass, which I had to do right in the middle of the district bordered by the Louvre on one end and the Opera Garnier on the other. When I emerged from the Metro, I stopped to admire the buildings around me—gorgeous ones that I had only seen in pictures of Paris before. Now I was seeing them with my own eyes, drinking in the ornate architecture of the city.


September 12, 2018

Paris: Sunday or Con Day #2

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Sunday started around the same time as Saturday. We all gathered in the panel room and the guests came in to greet us. This time they were joined by Robert Carlyle (Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold/ Weaver) and Emilie De Ravin (Belle). They stayed behind for a joint panel in which Robert shaded the writers and the show quite a bit.


(Pictured: Robert Carlyle on the left and Emilie de Ravin on the right)

After the panel, I had my meet and greet with Sean Maguire. There was about twenty of us who headed up to a private room where we sat in a circle. Someone from the con made sure we turned our phones off so we didn’t take pictures or secretly record the meeting and greet. These are private sessions where the actors can be more candid than they would be at panels, which are generally filmed and put on the internet. So I won’t get into specifics about what Sean said but it was essentially a master class in writing.


September 11, 2018

Paris: Friday and Saturday (Con Day #1)

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Well, maybe I should back up and talk about the flight. But it was relatively uneventful. I watched Black Panther, ate, tried and failed to get any sleep, ate breakfast and then landed in Paris. I had to wait about forty minutes to get up to the border police but I was quickly waved through after they checked my passport. I grabbed my luggage and went up to catch the shuttle to my hotel.

I stayed at the Hilton in the airport but unfortunately, I couldn’t check in yet—check in wasn’t until 2 PM and I got there around 9:30 AM. So I got to kill a lot of time in their lobby, which was very lovely. I fooled around on my phone, did some writing on my laptop and when that started to die, in a notebook. And I was able to spot one fandom friend, Grace, when she walked in. We chatted for a bit before I went back to waiting.

At last, I could check into my room. Once I was all checked in, I went up to the 8th floor where my room was and dropped all my stuff off. It was a nice sized room with a comfortable bed and a good bathroom (that had both a bathtub and a shower stall). It would definitely do for my stay.


September 10, 2018

Paris: A Look Back

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Well, it’s finally done! I managed to recount my week-long trip to Paris. They will take up this entire week, so I hope you enjoy them. I’ve also included pictures I took as well. You might even get to see me at last!



(Sign in the Charles de Gaulle airport)

September 3, 2018

2018: Chapter 8

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We’re almost at the fall? I mean, I love the season. I’ve documented it well enough…but it still feels weird to be approaching it already.

Time to look back at August!

It started with a visit from my sister and her dog, which was nice. I loved coming home and getting greeted by Balto—he even let me pet him for a bit rather than just walking away with a “Oh, it’s just you” attitude. He certainly was happy to be up here with all of us too.

Kathleen had come up for a family get together at our aunt’s. Though it had been raining for the past few days and looked like it might rain the day of the get together, the sun came out and we had beautiful weather. We had good food, good company and a fun time at the lake.

My CEO gave my parents tickets to one of the NY Giants’ preseason games and they went on August 8th to see them play the Cleveland Browns. Her tickets are in a good section with cushioned seats and access to a clubhouse, so they had a great time. I meanwhile stopped and picked us up some Seagrams Escapes, which we had enjoyed at my aunt’s.

The following weekend was OQ Angst Fest. It was three days of as much angst as we wanted to pack into stories based on a list of prompts. So I got another button!

My parents and I also went to see Christopher Robin. It was an excellent film, with poignant moments and funny ones as well. I teared up at a few points. And it’s always good to see Hayley Atwell on screen.

The next week was spent getting ready for our All Staff meeting, especially as it was the budget training. We had to figure a few things out so our CFO had everything in place for the supervisors to start figuring out next year’s budget.

I also made the decision to go to a Once Upon a Time convention in Milan next year. Lana had already been announced as a guest and Sean was added that week. After looking at all the other European cons and with no American ones lined up yet, I figured it was my best bet. So I bought a ticket. Now I just have to plan everything else. More on that in another post.

I was going to go to my cousin’s Greek Festival but my parents were also bringing some other relatives, so I would’ve been relegated to the back. My dad expressed some concern that I would get car sick so I decided to bow out. When that got home, they said I didn’t miss much due to the rainy weather and they confirmed I would’ve gone carsick due to traffic on the Belt.

I then had OQ on Holidays, another theme week. I wrote about it in this post.

On that Wednesday, I met up with Stacy—one of my Twitter OQ friends—and her friend Erica for dinner. We ate at a place in New Jersey and had good conversation until it got late—even after we had to move inside because a bee stole my martini! It was great to meet Erica and see Stacy in person.

After winning my OQ on Holidays button, I then had a busy week at work. We had a personnel issue to deal with and that did resolve before the holiday weekend. But it was a lot of work and a lot of waiting. We also went on a field trip to a building we’re buying and we might move our offices to it. I hope so as we would have a lot more space, especially for all the personnel files. But we’ll see.

That was August! Somewhat busy, somewhat lazy. We’re now heading into September and the autumn. Before I know it, the holidays will be upon us. But I’m still going to take it one day at a time.

August 8, 2018

2018: Chapter 7

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I know, I know. I just did June…but that’s because I was very late with June’s entry. Now I’m back on time for July’s!

The month started with a mass to say goodbye to one of our priests, who had been assigned to another parish. Despite it being the 4th of July holiday, it was standing room only in our near 600 person occupancy church. That’s quite the turnout! And everyone wanted to say goodbye. His receiving line was longer than any I’ve seen at weddings.

We then all jumped in the pool because of a heat wave that made it unbearably hot. And the pool was nice and cool. It certainly was a nice way to end the weekend.

The Fourth of July was a Wednesday, which made it a bit awkward. It felt weird to only go for two days, have a day off and then go back in. I think the fact that most other holidays involve three day weekends has spoiled me. We still had a lot of fun with a barbecue with friends and a dip in the pool.


July 23, 2018

2018: Chapter 6

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How is the year half over?


Okay, let’s review how my June went. Because it feels like I blinked and it was over, so I would like to remember what happened as well.

It started with my parents in California, so I had the house to myself. And what did I do? Mess up my sleep schedule! Well, I also went bowling as well. Then I messed up my sleep schedule. I also drove my aunt around that first Saturday before we went to a Mets game the next day.

(They lost).


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