A BLOG ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Moving

Moving is really tough. Not just the physical moving stuff, over-exposure to dust, packing/hauling nightmare tough, but the fact that you can't move everything. You can't move your best friends, the places you had many magical memories, your favorite diner...soon, some stranger will be inhabiting the apartment where you and your boyfriend shared a first kiss over fudge pops. But still, you have to move.

Today, as I left Lake Charles in my review mirror, my cats in the backseat, it felt like much the same way that I came, only I was driving the opposite direction. I had no way of knowing all of the things that would happen in Lake Charles, and how the place would change my life, my writing, and me. I didn't know the good and the bad and the wonderful things that were awaiting. I didn't know all the amazing people I would meet. And today, I was thinking that's for the best. Life is best full of wonder and surprise. We are all along for the ride in this world, and it's good, because sometimes Life knows what it's doing more than we know. Not that we don't get choices, we do, and we make them, and what happens next is a kind of awe inspiring chaos.

Before I came to Lake Charles, I couldn't even pin it on a map. I had never heard of the place, and now every corner holds a memory. I don't think the fact that I am gone has hit me yet...and that's why I'm afraid to download the latest pictures from my camera. Seeing our last night there with friends will be hard to process. But we have to move. All of us, we finished what we came to do. It's not a closed chapter though, it's an open page. Our relationships with the people, the program, and the place will be continuing.

We did eventually get moved. With the help of my parents, Will & Missy, and our friend B.J.'s son, Justice. We are SO thankful for the help we got, we could not have done it alone! I also had a wonderful birthday yesterday, and we got to hang out with our friends and tell them goodbye. Of course, it was very bittersweet. 

And now? Life feels...totally up in the air, and I have to learn to breathe comfortably in transition, which is not easy for me. I like to plan, but I have to learn that sometimes I can't, and maybe that's for the best. I am exhausted, but staying up for Brendan's arrival (he stayed behind to clean his place and left later). Lola and Zoe seem happy, lots of purring. Right now, we have to live fully in the present since the future is a blank canvas...but I suppose that's the way all things start. And I try to remember, everyone needs to go in a new direction, sometimes quite literally.

Where we end up next might be a place we couldn't even pin on a map...but I bet we know a lot of people who will come visit ;)

Stay Tuned.
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

P.S. If you're looking for some good reading, check out this online literary issue of Trigger. Featuring Artwork, Poetry, and Fiction. I <3 it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

Sweet Chic Cupcakes
Today, I turn 25! I had a pretty great 24th year.
I traveled LOTS, went through major life changes, fell in love with my best friend, met many new friends and become closer with old friends, participated in my first 5K, finished my thesis, completed two master's degrees & graduated (with a 4.0 :), applied to nearly 50 jobs, got a story accepted for publication, and today, I'm moving. It's been an absolutely crazy, exhausting, and wonderfully surprising year, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
As for birthday wishes, I'm hoping 25 treats me just as well as 24, though I can't talk specifics or else it might not come true ;) I'm officially 1/4 of a century. Woo-hoo! PS-Those cupcakes are from SweetChic Cupcakes in Lake Charles, LA, and if you haven't tried them, all I can say is peanut butter fudge and banana split!

Here's to Birthdays and to my mom who stayed up until 5:30am to have me and endured, like, 72 hours of labor?...What can I say? I'm a morning person. And sometimes, I require a little lots of patience. 

<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe  
Edit-Thanks Erica for my birthday hat and sash get-up! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Freebies/Donate Your Birthday

My friends Will & Missy gave me a Starbucks gift card for my upcoming birthday, so I treated myself to an iced-latte today, and guess what, all Starbucks customers get a free 10-song summer mix download from i-tunes with the purchase of a drink. You can redeem the code through August 31, 2011 and it features music by Death Cab for Cutie, Booker T. Jones, Cold War Kids, Matt Nathanson, Fleet Foxes, The Airborne Toxic Event, Parts & Labor, Peter Bjorn and John Eyes, Telekinesis, and We are Augustines...so far I'm loving it, and hey, you can't beat free!

Also, if you're like me and your birthday is coming up soon, check out this list of birthday freebies, get free food, entertainment, and stuff on your big day.

Finally, I want to share an idea my mom gave me, it's called "Donate Your Birthday" and the idea is every year you donate your age in dollars to the charity of your choice. This year I donated $25.00 to Doctors Without Borders. This is a great organization, and I became inspired to donate after reading What is the What.
What Is the What (Vintage)
 This book doesn't directly discuss Doctors Without Borders, but it is about a boy who survives the war in Sudan and Doctors Without Borders works in Sudan and in nearly 70 countries to assist people whose lives are threatened by violence, catastrophe, or neglect. They have an A rating by American Institute of Philanthropy. I hope you will be inspired to practice Donate Your Birthday, and maybe even to choose Doctor's Without Borders, though of course there are so many worthy organizations out there! I think it's a cool way to leave a legacy though. Just think, for every year of your life, you can give something positive back to the world.

Know of any other cool freebies or ways to do good? Leave us a comment!

Here's to giving and receiving.
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Sunday, June 26, 2011

On Knowing You Can

 * Note: Please vote in my poll (see left side of blog) if you haven't done so already! 4 days left, thanks!

Today, I went running with my friend Jessica, and I was so proud of my progress! Jessica has been a great running coach and very patient with me as I have jogged along with her. You may remember, I did my first 5K in March, in which I ran/walked at a slow 39 minutes for 3 miles. Today, Jess estimates that we were doing 12 minute miles. I ran 1.5 miles without stopping! Then, I walked 1/2 a mile. Then, I ran another mile without stopping for a total of 3 miles, 2.5 of which I ran straight though. Yeah! I am going to start investigating 5Ks today and see if I can find one to do in Austin with Bren. I am going to miss working out with Jessica, we run, weight train, and then she makes me a delicious smoothie!

If you are interested in learning more about running, there is a good beginner's plan here. Though I haven't used that, I do set goals to reach (last week I ran over a mile without stopping, and this week, I wanted to go further). I have also had some training last year with another friend, Alison. I'm enjoying it surviving, but boy is it hot outside! We have to go early in the morning and that's the only way it's manageable. I also wake up 1 hour early to start drinking water. Honestly though, Jess tells me so much of running is mental and it's really true. I am capable of more than I know, and if I push myself, I can do it.

Well, now I just need to apply my mindset to packing. Moving is such a project. Lola and Zoe are enjoying playing in all the boxes though. I want to share a couple more things before I sign out:

Last night, Brendan and I enjoyed a dinner at Sakura here in Lake Charles. For $16.99, you get an unlimited sushi buffet. In the past year, I have learned to LOVE sushi. Anyway, it's totally delicious, they have yummy desserts *fruit, creme brule, and Chinese food too (though I just stuck to sushi). The atmosphere is really nice. Stop by and give it a try if you are hungry for sushi! Do not miss the Godzilla and Dragon rolls. Yum! I am willing to eat fish when it involves sushi, though my diet is still primarily Vegetarian, I have my Pesacaterian moments now and then.

I wanted to share, the title of my last post is also the name of a movie we rented a couple of weeks ago (that's why the phrase was in my head). 

All Good Things
This movie is a thriller/mystery and is really entertaining and great. It freaked me out though, watch with a friend! Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst are perfect in their roles.

Well, on my list today, packing and more reading from my ambitious Summer Reading list
One Hundred Years of Solitude (P.S.)
I'm loving this book!
Here's to doing things! Happy Sunday! 
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Saturday, June 25, 2011

All Good Things

You know how people say "all good things must come to an end." Well, I think that's true, but being ever the optimist, I also think when something good ends, another good thing begins! This is how I'm feeling lately about the big move in less than a week away from Lake Charles and all the dear friends we've come to know and love here. I so cannot imagine my life without some of these people, though we've already seen good friends graduate and move, so we are no strangers to this process.

I am thankful for all of these people that I've had in my life. The care, love, and support that I have been shown here has been truly one of the best things to happen to me. My passion and love for writing has grown, and I have grown too. These are the friends who have made that growth possible. At times, I literally felt held up by them, and I tried my best to hold them up too. I feel so lucky to have spent the past three years in such an encouraging and supportive environment. I don't know if other M.F.A. programs have that...I only know, I felt such a strong pull towards McNeese when I was deciding between programs, and I believe that was no coincidence.

I don't want to start naming names, because this post would be a mile long, but thank you for making me dinners, thank you for surrounding me with your laughter and craziness, thank you for talking on the phone, for taking me to the doctor, for teaching me to roller skate. Thanks for running with me, walking with me, just going on drives with me, for going to yoga. Thanks for taking me to Sonic, for indulging my love of Cherry Ring Pops and Mint Oreos. Thanks for camping with me, vacationing with me, riding in a hearse with me. Thank you for celebrating milestones with me in my life, and in yours, for the birthday cards & the sympathy cards. Thanks for inviting me to your weddings. Thanks for the road trips and all those bathroom stops and the days and nights at the beach. Thank you for listening to me read, for getting coffee and lunch, for going shopping. Thank you for taking me to Beaumont when I needed to get the hell out of dodge. Thank you for the good workshops...and the bad ones, for sitting through all my presentations. Thank you for the Xanex. Thank you for spending the night and for telling me when I was wrong, and when I was right. Thanks for being my friend regardless. Thank you for your friendship.
Leaving Lake Charles
You will all be so missed.
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

My Dad and I have been through a lot together. Over the years, he has taught me to love oldies music, lake life, and trying new things. My dad seriously signed me up for lessons in everything at one point: swimming, soccer, basketball, bowling, roller-skating, karaoke (I also took dance, voice, acting, horseback riding, and skiing at my own volition). I love that he always pushed me to learn something new. When we would play putt-putt, he would actually try to teach me skills instead of just letting me hit the ball around like those other losers. My dad loves the lake, a good beer and a good tan. He is NOT afraid to be honest. Once, he said of a play I was in, "that was terrible!" but he still sat through it. He is still my number one breakfast buddy (we are both OBSESSED with breakfast) and the person I can count on to always be up for a walk around Town Lake. I can credit him with my love for cats :) and jazz music (he used to play the saxophone). My Mom says we both have champagne taste on a beer budget! My Dad can fix just about anything, and every time I call, he says "is something broken??" I'm happy to know he is there for me, and it's been fun to develop more of a friendship over the years. I love you Dad!
Dad and Graham Skiing, 2002

With my Dad as a teenager, 15 years old here.
Two years ago at Dad's 60th birthday party

Last may at my cousin's college graduation
Dad, about to go out on the boat.

A few days ago, singing Dad and Graham happy birthday
 Happy Father's Day, Dad!
And Happy Birthday to my little brother, Graham, who is 22 years old today!

My brother and I, Christmas 2010


Here's to Dad's!
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer Reading

Remember being in high school and everyone complaining about their summer reading? I was the kid that secretly loved it. I even still remember a couple of our summer assignments:
 Lord of the FliesThe Grapes of Wrath (Penguin Classics)
I continue to be so thankful for the English program at my old high school. We read so many wonderful novels, short stories, poems, and plays, and doing so fostered, for me, a total and complete love of literature that has stayed with me.

Anyway, every summer, I try my best to structure myself a summer reading list (last years was dedicated to catching up on things I should have already read, specifically from the Woman's Literature cannon.
Pride And PrejudiceThe Bell Jar

So this summer, my goals are a bit different. I want more exposure to literary magazines, which I'll pick my way through piece by piece. One thing I love about journals is that you can start reading a poem/short story, and if it isn't for you, you don't have to finish it. Journals are perfect to read right before bed, because you can start and finish something in twenty minutes or less. They also expose you to new voices. I have some novels that I have been needing to read for way too long, and some books of poetry too. Some of my list I have already started on, others I have yet to approach. Either way, I can't give you much insight into them, but if you feel so inclined, you should read with me this summer. Think of it as your own summer book club, only without the cheese and crackers (I encourage you to buy wine on your own...reading and wine drinking go hand in hand).
Summer 2011 Reading
I need a bigger coffee table
Don't worry, I'll pick this apart for you. First, several journals (to find out how to subscribe, click on the link): Hayden's Ferry Review, Bellevue Literary Review,  American Short Fiction, Southern Indiana Review, and The Florida Review (subscribe via Amazon). Then, a novel Tiny Clubs by one of our visiting writers Geoff Wyss, whose prose seems pretty unbeatable. A journal that features solely fiction, Electric Literature, I've read most of this issue (4) and it's great (especially the first story)...right now they have discounted subscriptions too. Then, wonderful Brendan's M.F.A. thesis Identity and Other Thefts (we ordered books to give to our family and friends), which I've already read in pieces, but want to read as a whole. Up next, three collections of poetry. Missing You Metropolis combines superheroes and poetry and Gary Jackson is just awesome, Beautiful Trouble is by Amy Fleury, the poetry director of McNeese's program, and is stellar. Finally Why the House is Made of Gingerbread is Ava Haymon's book that I had to wait a year to get ahold of after she read from it before it was for sale...it's a take on Hansel and Gretel that's really magical.

Missing You, Metropolis: PoemsBeautiful Trouble (Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry)Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread: Poems

Finally, I have some novels. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, recommended by Brendan's aunt. One Hundred Years of Solitude and Their Eyes Were Watching God, both of which I have wanted to read FOREVER. What is the What, which I have almost finished is a devastating story about the war in Sudan. And finally, Slaughterhouse-Five, I know it's insane that I haven't read this, please don't freak out, I started last night!
The Girl Who Fell from the SkyOne Hundred Years of Solitude (P.S.)Their Eyes Were Watching GodWhat Is the What (Vintage)Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel

I have my work cut out for me...and bound.        



Well, I hope you will be inspired to read with me, or to form your own summer reading list. If you do, please take a picture and post as a comment. I'd love to see what's on your lists.

Happy reading!
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe
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