A Writer's Journey

January 6, 2019

Year in Review: 2018

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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So, 2018 has come and gone. At the beginning of the year, I made some “anticipations” for the year. Let’s see if how I did.

    • Work on The Christmas Wish with aim of self-publishing by Christmas

I have worked on The Christmas Wish all year long, though I didn’t manage to publish by this Christmas. Looking back, that might have been too lofty a goal.

    • Jump start the Big Project and work for self-publishing in 2019

I’m still focused on The Christmas Wish so the Big Project has remained on the backburner—for now.

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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 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

Filed under: off topic,Uncategorized — mackenziew @ 11:00 am
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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.

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July 23, 2018

2018: Chapter 6

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How is the year half over?

Really?

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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June 18, 2018

2018: Chapter 5

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 pm
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It’s June already? Wow, that came fast. As this month begins, let’s look back at the last month—or chapter—of my life!

May started with me doing some last minute packing for Paris. I got all the important things done at work and left it in a good place for my boss to handle while I was to be away. And then it was onto vacation!

I’ll cover everything that happened to me in Paris in a series of blog posts I am currently writing. So stay tuned for those!

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May 7, 2018

2018: Chapter 4

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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So, I’m in Paris right now. But this is definitely an easy post to get up and out while I’m overseas finally living out teenage me’s dream.

It’s time to review how April went. And it went by fast.

April started with my 32nd birthday, which was also Easter. It was a great day and thankfully the weather was really nice—there is nothing worse than a cold Easter! My cousin came over to celebrate with us and later some friends came over for cake. I finished the night with the live production of Jesus Christ Superstar and considered it a successful birthday.

The next day, I read about the dysfunction at Channel Awesome and the maltreatment of the producers there. I wrote about it in this blog post.

That week was the last week of filming for Once Upon a Time. All eyes were on Vancouver as people tried to figure out who else would be filming, what exactly were they filming and how would the cast handle the last day? We all sent messages to them—especially Lana Parrilla (Regina)—on their last day and got teary as they posted a goodbye from the set. Other cast members, including Sean Maguire (Robin Hood), sent them supportive messages as well.

Around that time, some fandom fuckery was afoot. I know I usually try not to curse on this blog but that’s the only way I can describe it. I won’t go into too many details but it seems a small subset of fans in a particular ship were upset that one of the actresses didn’t acknowledge their win in a poll but commented on how well another ship her character was part of was doing in another poll. So they started a concerted effort to make sure that other ship—my ship—didn’t win. And it was a really obvious effort that all other ships knew we weren’t being paranoid. The site running the poll was contacted and obviously realized something was up. After looking into it, they removed the votes cast by bots and our ship went back to first place.

I believe we won that poll.

There was some other good news for Outlaw Queen fans…or goodish news. Lana gave an interview to TV Guide ahead of the episode she directed and they published some things she said about the Outlaw Queen scene in a separate article before publishing the interview regarding her directorial debut. Lana said that it’s everything we could hope for and that it’s a testament to their relationship.

We’re really all still trying not to get our hopes up too much.

Lana’s episode aired and was amazing. She deserved all the praise she got for it and I’m just sorry that the president chose to announce we were bombing Syria before it was over.

The following week was a busy one for me at work. My manager and I arranged for a trainer to come out from YUSA in Chicago to deliver a training on diversity and inclusion. So we were busy with all the last minute details as I still had to give a New Hire Orientation on Wednesday. The next day, we were in constant communication with trainer as rain in our area kept delaying his flight to New Jersey. He finally made it and I picked him up for a brief meeting with some staff members ahead of Friday’s training. I was then part of the small group that got to have dinner with him. Friday was an early day as I got to the branch to help set up for training. It went well and when I got home, I took what I think was a well deserved nap.

That weekend was OUAT Chicago, which featured Sean Maguire in place of Colin O’Donoghue. He threw some shade at the writers but caused a storm on Twitter when some comments he made were taken out of context by some. They crossed the line when they started to tweet vile things at his wife and he rightly called them out. Lana made a comment the next day that seemed to indicate she knew exactly what had happened and continued to be very supportive and friendly with Sean. He continued to raise the hopes we were starting to have after Lana’s article by saying he felt the Outlaw Queen scene would give fans closure, saying it was his favorite to film with Lana and that it was very easy to slip back into their groove as Outlaw Queen.

This scene better be everything they promise or we’ll all be heartbroken yet again.

Once OUAT Chicago ended, Paris started to get real to me. I got emails about my flight and my hotel. People were talking about it and I asked my dad to take down a suitcase for me so I could start packing.

My dad then went to Ireland with my aunt and uncle while my mother and I went to a charity spaghetti dinner. I won a few raffle baskets and had a good time before coming home to watch Once Upon a Time. There’s only a few weeks left and then it will be over for good.

The weekend was spent getting ready for Paris, though my cousin came out to celebrate my aunt’s birthday.

So that was Chapter 4 of my year. Pretty eventful if I do so say so, but I doubt it’ll top Chapter 5.

April 16, 2018

My Reading Challenge: Time for an Update!

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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So, we’re at April. One quarter of the year is over—I know, right? Anyway, I figured I would check in to share how this year’s reading challenge is going!

It’s going well. I already have five books read! And I’m getting closer and closer to finally finishing The Night Circus. I really feel like I’ll do that this year.

Stay tuned for thoughts on the book.

The last book I finished was “A Tangled Mercy” by Joy Jordan-Lake, which was a Once Upon a Book Club selection. It told two stories concurrently—the story of Kate, who returned to Charleston, SC, following the death of her mother to find answers and the story of Tom Russell, a slave pulled into a rebellion plot in 1822 Charleston.

I’m down to four books I’m currently reading and I think it will come down to either The Night Circus or The Tory Widow—both on my Kindle—as the next I finish. I am making good progress in The Cottingley Secret and The Taster, both Once Upon a Book Club selections.

I am going to Paris in a few weeks, so perhaps I’ll get some reading down on the plane and will put myself even further ahead. I have plenty of books to catch up on for Once Upon a Book Club.

How about you? Are you doing a reading challenge? If so, how’s it going? Sound off below!

April 2, 2018

2018: Chapter 3

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I cannot believe March came and went so quickly. I personally blame all the storms. They blew the month away! Here we are, at the end of another month and myself at the end of another year. Let’s take a look back at how the third chapter of 2018 went for me, hmm?

March rolled in like a lion with the first of four Nor’easters blew through the area. We had to close the office early due to strong wind gusts so that we weren’t on the road during the worst of it. The same day, Once Upon a Time returned to start the run of its final episodes.

That Sunday was the Oscars and it went off without a hitch, though I thought “This is Me” should’ve won Best Song over “Remember Me.”

Nor’easter #2 slammed into us that Wednesday, dropping several inches of snow on us. My office was closed and I took the opportunity to work on my entries for the Outlaw Queen Prompt Party later in the month. Most of it was gone by that weekend, though.

My sister called us over that weekend and said that her dog, Balto, was hurt. It seemed he had a slipped disc and has been prohibited from jumping, one of his favorite activities. Naturally she was upset since they warned her he could be paralyzed if she didn’t change him to a low-impact lifestyle, so my dad went down to help her with Balto. He stayed for that entire week.

Timless returned for the second season it almost didn’t have and it was great to have it back!

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March 5, 2018

2018: Chapter Two

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I can’t believe February has come and gone! Just like I did with January, I’m going to wrap up my month as if it were a chapter in the story that is this year.

So, let’s see how Chapter Two went for me.

February started with the Super Bowl! We had a party at work where we distributed the pool for the game and then we all watched the big game that Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots for their first Super Bowl win but I did not win in our pool. Maybe next year.

I also booked my trip to Paris, as recounted in last week’s blog post.

A few days later, it was announced that Once Upon a Time is ending this May. There will be more on that later as we get closer to finale.

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