An Open Letter to PA Senator Pat Toomey, RE: Betsy DeVos

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Below is a letter that I sent to Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey today following not only his disappointing vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education despite how almost laughably unqualified she is, but also for his extremely disappointing treatment of his constituency in recent weeks. 

This letter has been slightly edited to protect personal information. I am going to also openly state that I am not interested in and will not approve comments attacking me for my beliefs. Education should not be political. Education is about doing the right thing. I will not host political battles here. Continue reading

That Which We Cannot See

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May is Mental Health Awareness month, and something I want to take a little bit of time to write about since this is a cause that is near and dear to me. Mental health is tricky because, in contrast to many other diseases, you can’t always tell when someone is fighting the battle against mental illness. “Mental illness” itself is a term that carries a lot of negative connotations, making it difficult for people fighting against it to talk about their struggles. There’s a definite stigma attached to it and there are a lot of people who will talk about mental illness like it’s something that’s entirely made up or done for attention. In reality, it’s a daily fight that incredibly strong people put up every single day.  Continue reading

Meta: In Which I Write About Writing to Make Sense of Things, In Order to Make Sense of Things (Or, Why Journaling is Crucial)

Over the past week or so, I’ve grown a little bit bored with my usual podcast lineup. Maybe bored isn’t the right word. It just felt a little stale, and while I was still enjoying the shows I listen to every week, I wanted some new content too. While listening to an episode of Literary Disco, I heard one of the hosts, Rider Strong (yep, that Rider Strong), mention some work that he did with another podcast, Mortified. From his description, I could tell that it was very similar to another show I’ve recently started loving called Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids (pretty self-explanatory).

The premise for both of these shows is simple: at various clubs where the events are hosted, adults get up on stage and read things that they wrote when they were kids. It ranges from really bad poetry and weird stories to middle school diary entries, notes passed in high school to AOL conversations printed years ago, and everything in between. The results are typically really humorous (and often very poignant at times). Many of the participants are also roughly my age, so a lot of the references and particular habits resonate with me (printing “important” AOL conversations in the late 90s so that you could read them again later to make sense of them? Guilty. Also my mom just recently threw away boxes of notes that I had from junior high).

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Time is a Weird, Warped, and Frighteningly Powerful Thing

photo credit: Daniel Kulinski via photopin cc

photo credit: Daniel Kulinski via photopin cc

I’ve been staring at my hands for three days trying to figure out what’s bothering me about them.

On the surface, they just look like my hands. My short, stubby fingers. One is crooked from playing trombone in high school (I wish I were kidding… actually, no I don’t). One is crooked because I broke it playing basketball in 5th grade, before I stopped growing and everyone else got tall. The others are all mangled from when my brother wound them up in the car window as I was reaching through for more papers on my paper route one day in 8th grade. They’re all knotty from the juvenile arthritis that set in when I was 15. On my left hand I wear a Claddagh ring that my grandmother gave me the day I graduated from college. On my right, I wear a ring that I truly can’t remember where it came from. I’ve been wearing it since my junior year of high school, at least. These are my hands as I have always known them to be and they haven’t changed drastically.

And yet.

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Hey Internet, How About We NOT Be Dicks to Children?

New_Jersey_Counties_by_metro_area_labeled.svgI take a lot of crap for the fact that I religiously watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I’ve been watching it for years. Yes, I think it’s ridiculous, and no, I won’t stop watching it because it’s not high-brow enough. You take your mindless entertainment and I’ll take mine (and can we please agree that everyone knows that no one in the entire history of the Real Housewives franchise represents actual real housewives, but we can know that and still enjoy the mindlessness of it?).

So all day, I’ve been reading articles and following along with the fraud trial and sentencing involving Teresa and Joe Giudice, who have been cast members since the show’s first season.

The story has been trending on social media all day, and as such, there is no shortage of people pointing fingers and passing judgment all over the damn place. It’s really irritating me. Really irritating me. To the point where I thought, “Ok, I’m not going to get up on a soap box about the Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

And then I thought of the Giudices’ four daughters, ages 5-13, and I thought: I have a soapbox. It’s called a blog. And so I apologize, but I’m about to get a little righteous. Because what is happening to those girls tonight is not okay.

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Of Running Shoes and White Houses: One Year Later


On September 3, 2013 (one year ago today), I couldn’t run a mile. I couldn’t even run 25 yards. I know this because I tried. It was my first day running.

What I remember about that day was that I struggled to run for a full minute as the group that I joined for new runners introduced very starter-level intervals. When it was over and I got back to my car, I texted a friend to say that I didn’t think I was going to make it. That day, I felt all but certain I was going to fail at running (yet again). I think I actually whimpered a little bit when I got back to my apartment and stood at the bottom of the long, steep staircase, looking up and wondering how I was going to drag myself up those when it hurt just to walk.

It was embarrassing because I knew that I hadn’t really done that much at all.

This morning, September 3, 2014, I went to the park where I spent all of last fall and all of this past spring working on becoming a runner. I walked a little bit to warm up, and then I ran two miles.

I don’t want to say how long it took me to run those two miles. But I ran them without stopping, and a year ago I couldn’t even hope to come close. That’s all that matters.

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