Saturday, December 03, 2011

I recently attempted an entry on the new iPad, and it crashed and burned about halfway through- and sadly- I have not been able to get the motivation to start again.  Maybe this weekend.   In the meantime-  Here are the lates video blogs- on my youtube channel to tide you over, and update a little on what's been up.  Stay tuned for more- and be sure to subscribe to make sure you don't miss a video!

A Thanksgiving Vlog

Annual Genetics Meeting

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

What would you wish for....

I'm sure everyone remembers that wildly overplayed song by B.O.B and Hailey William's, "Airplanes?" I could really use a wish right now.

I used to get really annoyed with that song and say, "Oh st
op sitting around wishing on things that are not stars, get out there and get stuff done and it'll all work out."
But as I write this entry, it's completely stuck in my head, and ya know.... sometimes... maybe it's ok to "really need
a wish right now."

...and sometimes. The right people find out....

Earlier this summer, I discovered an incredible organization. It’s called The Sister’s Wish, and the purpose is to grant “Wishes” for young adults from ages 18-30 who have life threatening or terminal illnesses (and live in ME, NH, or MA).

Most people know about the many “wish granting” organizations for “sick” children, that send kids to Disney before they may not have the chance anymore, or things like that. What a lot of people don’t know is that once those children turn 18, the magic, and wish granting tends to come to a screeching halt. Doing all the work that I do, this is why the field of transition is such a hot topic right now. At the (less than) magic age of 18, legality changes, financial situations change, eligibility rules change, and often times, services that seemed consistent, all of a sudden may not even be available. In lots of cases, being legally an adult when you have a special health need is a series of struggles and figuring out where to go next. To put it quite bluntly, you are no longer “the cute sick kid” that everybody brought stuffed animals.

So when that scary point of adulthood hits, it's often a matter of just getting your daily needs met, and it is not common that people come along and ask “what do you WANT? What can make your life easier, or maybe just a little brighter? How can we make you HAPPY?” But, this is exactly what the amazing people at The Sister’s Wish do!

When I first heard about them, I not only thought that was incredible, and got a little weepy over some of the stories posted on their website that explained some of the wishes they had granted, but I forwarded the information to one of my colleagues who works with Next Step, a spin off program of camp (again, for young adults who have outgrown that source of fun and hope…) I said, “this sounds like something that is for our population. Have you heard of it?” Ready to hit the ground running, spreading the word about this incredible idea. Shortly he wrote back and said, “Mal… those are the Turgeon sisters… their brother was Craig. That IS our population.”

After having a mini meltdown of how small the world is, and how many GOOD people I have come across through my life, I realized he was right, and indeed these were the sisters of a young man I went to camp, and college with. I didn’t know him well, but my family had also known their father, and any connection to camp just makes all of our hearts swell. I quickly wrote an email explaining my connection to them, the work I do, and how I just really wanted to support their mission.

Soon, I was chatting with Beth on the phone and she invited me to a fundraiser on the Casco Bay ferry to meet everyone. It was a lovely afternoon, we had delicious pizza in Portland and I got to see what Sister’s Wish was really all about. I also got to meet local rap artist Spose ( he really is pretty awesome, and once again…we knew a lot of the same people. Oh hey Maine)

After this event, they told me I should apply for a wish? ME? I didn’t imagine I would be eligible for something like that, and moreover, what would I wish for? Think about it! When was the last time someone asked you “what do you wish for?”

It was a striking moment for me when I realized…. “You know. I am so fortunate and it is crazy to say right now, I am in a wonderful place in my life, and can’t think of a darn thing I need to fulfill me right now.” Wow.

Then I realized this wish was not going to be for me. I had done my time, I had had my journey, and although it goes on, it was time for somebody else to be rewarded. My little sister, Maisy.

She was going off to college and drastically needed a new computer. She is one of those people who has always gotten hand me downs. Gadgets, clothes, etc. And not once would she ever complain about what she has. However, over the past few months I had watched her grow into an incredible young woman, leader, self advocate, mentor, who simply dove headfirst into the process of applying to college, following her heart more intensely than I had ever seen. She deserved this.

I explained my idea to Beth, and we decided to make this happen, and even better, make it a surprise! This wouldn’t be easy as we would have to convince Maisy to come home for a special fundraising event to present it to her AFTER she went away to school (in New Hampshire nonetheless. But we did it! I was able to get her to fill out the application with her own words, and get her home without her even knowing!

When the day finally came, we all piled into the car (I had a terrible cold, and Maisy was exhausted from school. She even asked me the night before, “If I get sick too, do I still have to go to this thing?” ….yes. You do.) and arrived at the ice cream store in Sanford Maine. There was a wonderful crowd, great music, ice cream, and amazing French fries (I have a thing for French fries, ok?) When suddenly, the music turned off, and they called Maisy’s name to go up. She thought she was simply dragged along because I was speaking, and had no idea why she was being called up.

I stood with her as Amy and Beth presented her with her new Macbook Pro and explained how we had planned the whole thing. Then they told me, because of what I had done, I got a wish too! Maisy cried, we all hugged and took a bunch of pictures, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL SISTERS!!!! Sisters’ wish for sisters!!!! It was a terrific afternoon, wishes were fulfilled… and now…

I am back to the drawing board! I suppose I can think of something!

What would YOU wish for : )

OR do you know a young adult who would love to have a wish granted? Check out their website, and have them apply! Spread the word about this amazing group :)

LIKE them on Facebook!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Back to School (after Irene)

(post dated- 8/28)

So there’s this hurricane…

The power’s back, but cable isn’t. Everyone is napping, since we mostly don’t remember how to interact without being able to fall back on internet access. But sleep and I have not been getting along so well lately, and I figure what better opportunity to write than right now, where it’s just the sound of my keys, and the wind and rain (hey tree… please don’t come through our sliding glass door. That’d be a total buzz kill)

I feel like so much has happened, and yet, not a whole lot has changed. Maisy is leaving in a matter of days, and that’s sort of just sinking in for both of us. Last month we had our first sister solo adventure that we have only been talking about since she was like 12! We took the train into Boston for the Britney Spears/Nicki Minaj concert.

All you haters can just stop right there. They are two very talented women who have had some rough times and have come out on top. Much like some other people I know…

There was also a crazy surprise as Pauly D opened for them. Judge away, we did, but man it got the crowd going, so rock on Mr. Delveccio.

Not only was the show jaw-droppingly amazing (literally, my mind was blown. What an experience) but it was just so good to have my sister all to myself for 2 days. We did everything girly, with no agenda, spoiled ourselves with room service after the show, and even met up with one of our loves from camp (you’ll see this is a pattern). It was just perfect. And I think we have convinced ourselves that perhaps the Cyrs can travel without tragedy striking!

Now I’m getting ready to send her off to college, and only is she going to a wonderful school with wonderful standings, but she is also already taking time off to go to DC for an anti-bullying summit with the feds, and may speak on a panel. I could not be more proud of her for everything that is about to come her way. It does feel like just yesterday she was a little girl riding behind me on my scooter, now we’re both flying back and forth to our nation’s capitol to tell people what’s up. Eat your heart out Kim & Kourtney, Mal and Maisy are taking DC.

I know she’ll do so well in college, but I can’t help but have so many mixed feelings as I know the ups and downs that will come with it. I know she is a smart girl, but to have to relive all the mistakes I already made once…. Oy vey…. I feel old already. But kudos Miss Maisy, the world is yours and I (and I know you’re entire family and following) is SO proud of what you have become, and all that you will do!

In other news, my life is simply speeding along as it tends to. Although I thought September would be mostly spent at home, I am excited to be invited to a 3 day training in Atlanta on cultural and linguistic competence. This is with the same group that I happened to shut down Disneyland with, so I’m excited for everything about it!

Last week, I also went to our actual home base for Got Transition? And was able to have some face-to-face time with the core team. Granted, I could do an entire blog about the pros and cons of working from home, but this was definitely an important opportunity. I got to meet people I had never even met before, be in the same room as my colleagues for several conference calls, and meet our graphic design/marketing team (the stuff I really get excited over). It really jazzed me up to sink my teeth into work this fall and find new ways to take transition to a whole new level (stay tuned for our sure to epic radio show coming at the end of September… Khloe After Dark, you have met your match).

I like to think of fall as a fresh start, even if I am not physically going “back to school,” so I feel really good about where things are at. Grad school process is slowly moving forward, and I’m hoping to have some interviews in a couple of months. Camp gala is in September for my dose of musical theater, and the glamorous side of camp…

Then comes October! Which… is going to be a ball buster, but I’m so excited! October and March have proven to be my killer months but it’s what keeps me going. In October we have:

Reno (more than likely) for non-work related business that will make happier than any other trip in the near future, shortly followed by Denver, for our Learning Collaborative, and maybe some long distance bff catch up, DC for maybe grad school interviewing and our last session with that learning collaborative… then a weekend who knows where… and then, bam, almost Thanksgiving!

To say the least fall is not looking so bad this year…

Lots going on, change is in the air (literally) and I am ready to jump into this new beginning feet first!

Friday, July 29, 2011


I have decided, that for this blog, instead of trying to catch up on the far too epic past 2 months (during which normally, not a heck of a lot would happen....) I will post a Video blog, and break it down bullet style.

In one of my less public journals I try to do something called "You freakin' rock, Friday!!!" and I just list 5 things that are awesome for that week. In this version it will be more of an update form, but I'll try not to be too long winded!

Happy Friday


1. Maisy graduated!!! She is all ready, and eager to head off to Colby Sawyer college in New Hampshire, for psychology. I'm so excited for her, I think it will be wonderful for her, and even though I'll miss my other half, I'm spoiling her rotten in the mean time (BRITNEY IN 2 WEEKS!!!!) and I know it's exactly what she needs right now. (Still nagging her to do a guest blog too one of these days- and by nagging I mean, I've asked once)


2. This past weekend, and over the last few months, I have reconnected with so many of my friends! I was home by myself for the weekend and partly thought I'd sit home and watch movies all weekend, wishing I were somewhere where I actually had people to go out with *cough*Vegas*cough* but before I knew it, I was booked every day, and over the course of this week I have seen 5 of my best friends (and maybe more this week). It was just great to relax, catch up and remember why I consider people important in my life. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time! When it comes down to it, I do have people here. And all over the country. Pretty cool stuff!

(My lovely THITWGC Graduates <3)

Birthday in Vegas, with friends I never knew I had but I missed before I left.

More Vegas antics. Sari, and the Bare Naked Ladies concert. Pretty epic week... all birthdays from here on out are going to have a tough act to follow!

Heather from Kansas, and I at a Red Sox game in Baltimore.

3. CAMP CAMP CAMP. Next week Maisy and I are speaking at a golf tournament fundraiser, then a couple weeks later is Alumni stage night, then in the fall we're volunteering at the gala, which is always an incredible experience, whether I'm serving mac & cheese, or on stage with half of Broadway. I can't wait. Any month that has camp events, is pretty much a good month.

4. My professional life is sort of exploding. I've been working with lots of different people, traveling, speaking, learning, growing, and it's all just been an amazing experience. I'm really excited about where I'm at, and where it's all heading. As I talked about in the video, Face Forward is a really cool project that I'm excited to sink my teeth into, and things with Got Transition? are moving a mile a minute, but I really feel like I know what's going on and am contributing, and really leading a lot of stuff. Check out our facebook for the latest ongoings! Or the Website to sign up to get notices about cool stuff we're doing!

Outside the White House Conference Center (yes, I met the man... and I'm not sure the rules of posting pictures, but find me on facebook it's in my profile picture album :) )

5. Best for last I suppose. I went back and forth about posting this, since in this forum I'm actually pretty chill about my personal life, but this has been a huge, wonderful part of the last few months for me, so I'm putting it out there- it can also prove as proof that I maybe am not THAT much of a cynical cat lady.

So there's this boy. His name is Owen, and he lives in Nevada (duh, go big or go home... I don't do anything half way), which is how we met- when I was out at the conference in Vegas in March. Clearly I could write a whole blog about it because "our story" is fun. But long story short, we met, talked, really connected, and he flew to Vegas to be with me for my birthday. The whole thing is sort of Disney, and I'm convinced there should be a Vegas princess and I should be cast.
It's wonderful. He gets me, we have the same sense of humor, do similar work, and just compliment each other so well. He is the completely level Jason to my spastic crazy Bethenny. It's fantastic. And we just have fun together. So much.

To be pretty transparent, I was hesitant to do the "r word" thing (relationship), because I have seen what it has done to some of my best friends, and I was afraid of changing, and losing what I had and who I was, or duh, getting hurt...
But it is so different than anything I thought I had before... I really didn't know what to do. It was sort of shocking to me how we could just be so real and honest with each other, and how it all just felt right....
So. Finally I decided to stop being jaded, let myself be happy- and we went "Facebook official." And guess what? I'm still me. Except better. Mal vs. 2011, puts Mal vs. 2010 to shame. And now, i just have someone to be sarcastic and cynical, and happy and stressed out, and politically frustrated WITH. We keep checking to make sure we're not those people we hate yet. I think we're getting there- but not quite.
However, as I write this, I am becoming one... so I will end here, before I throw up in my mouth and just say, this year, and summer has been incredible in so many ways, I'm happier than I've ever been. And I cannot wait for everything that's to come.

..oh, and as far as Muffy is concerned. I'll always be a cat lady :)


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Today is May 1st, and I think that means it’s a good day for a blog entry.

May has always been a good month for me. Not only because it’s the month I was born (a good enough reason, if you ask me) but because it always sort of seems like a new beginning. I say that when the new year begins too… but it’s still winter at that point, and it’s easy to say but not easy to feel when you just don’t want to leave the house or really do anything.
Spring makes me feel alive, and this year, is shaping up to be a pretty big one. The first few months were oppressed with the paranoia that it just couldn’t be as incredible as 2010 and everything felt like a let down. There was a lot of hoping for things that wouldn’t be, things that didn’t go just the way I planned, and the silly hospitalization that left me feeling weak and vulnerable when I thought I was really kicking ass. I just… wasn’t feeling it.
But now. I am. I just finished reading Bethenny Frankel’s book, A Place of Yes, and not only is she completely me in her writing, sense of humor, and attitude about life, but she really makes me look at my own life in a better way (judge not, before you read this book- she was the antithesis of the other housewives, so just stop).

The sister and I were home alone for the weekend and we of course made the most of it, with Glee dance parties, a trip to the mall for prom essentials and just having girl talk, and watching Disney movies. We can do absolutely nothing, and still have far too much fun. We talked a lot, about where we’re at, what we have, and how far we’ve come. It’s sort of amazing to think about. I know I say that all the time, but it’s always fun when the sun comes out again and you can really see things for what they are! The baby sis is graduating in a matter of days! This year is
huge, and we’re so ready to tackle this summer together, and show it who’s boss. (I also invited her to do a guest blog here when her life calms down a bit, I think it’ll be fun for you to get some words from my other half I speak of so much)

So today, I took the opportunity of a lazy Sunday to make an iced coffee, and just sit on the deck and finish my book. I’m pretty sure I got my first sunburn of 2011, but I also realized that I felt ultimately content. I really feel like in this moment, things are GOOD.
Of course my life is a rollercoaster. But so is Bethenny’s. I related as she talks about how one day her life is pj’s on the couch, and the next is a red carpet in L/A, but part of that, and one of her chapters, is that no matter what your life may bring, live all of those moments, and do those opportunities like it’s your whole world. And I feel like I’m really able to do that. For now, I’m enjoying spring in Leeds, Maine. At the end of this month, I’ll be celebrating my LAST WEEK OF BEING 25 in Las Vegas.

But whether I’m drinking a corona and catching rays on my deck listening to the freak turkeys
that hang out in my backyard, or feeling VIP at the Palms pool, I’m going to live it up, cause it’s ALL who I am.

Another thing Bethenny talked about was her experience with getting and being on The Apprentice. She explained how the first time she “auditioned” to be on the show, she tried to create what she thought they wanted, and was only partially herself. The second time, she was just herself, complete with brutal honesty and biting wit, and that was the time she got on the show. As I thought about it, it reminded me a lot of my life right now. For a long time, in my work, and my life, I was spending so much time being what I thought people wanted me to be, and saying what was put in front of me, but recently, I’ve started infusing more and more of ME into my presentations, and being genuine in what I believe and who I am. And it’s working. I no longer fear that I’m going to disappoint people because I don’t say what they want to hear, and I’m not worried about “learning lines.” I’m still getting opportunities, and I’m finding I’m more able to enjoy things, and just roll with the punches for what each day brings. Somehow, everything is aligning, and it feels RIGHT.

Since the last time I wrote, I met the President.
No big deal. LIES. IT’S A HUGE DEAL. It was a huge deal when I saw him speak, and was one of several hundred people in an auditorium. Of course it’s a big deal that I got to hang out, drink free champagne and shake his hand in the Whitehouse, and chit chat for a few. I’ll post a bigger entry about it, and everything that it was at a later date, but for now, let’s just say it was one of those examples of how things just happen when they’re meant to. I just believed that it would happen, and I hoped I had somehow made an impact in all that I’ve been doing for the last few years. And it did work out. It was hugely reaffirming, that I’ve got something, and am heading in the right direction.

The last thing I want to say, is that, another reason I feel like my life is so on track right now, is because of people. Something that I’m going to talk about in one of my upcoming presentations as well as MY book, is finding your champions- the people who support you, for all that you are, push you to do the things you know you can (and have to), and keep you going when you don’t know if you can. I really feel like right now, those are the people I have in my life. They are all key players and there aren’t people I have to be fake around or feel negativity with. Not that that is something to get used to, or that I can’t handle knowing people who challenge me, but it’s a nice feeling to just feel so supported for being ME.

Perhaps sunshine and sleep just bring out the best in me, but I’m in a good place, feeling inspired, empowered and EXCITED for all that’s coming up! Next Step weekend, a conference in West Virginia, VEGAS, birthdays, and summer 2011. I’m looking forward to every moment. So Happy May Day, may you have a wonderful spring and find ways to come from a Place of Yes!


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Vegas, Kansas, and Family, OH MY! (part 1)

Well March definitely went out like a lion, but before it did, it surely did not
disappoint, even if the beginning was a little rocky.I do this thing where I get all worked up that things are, or aren’t going to be a certain way before I even give it a chance to happen. I
recognize this, and that it’s silly and that I need to cut it the heck out… and truly, I’m working
on it.So following with this theory, and how things had just been continually caving in on all sides, then ending up in and out of the hospital and on 2 antibiotics- how could Vegas possibly be any fun? Silly, silly me.Perhaps my “Vegas experience” was not one torival the current season of Real World (and sweet lord- I hope nothing ever is- please don’t judge my whole state based on that foolish kid!) or even a typical spring break, but, it was one of those trips that fueled my fire to
inspire, and left me feeling happy, excited, fulfilled, and with a heck of a lot more Blackberry Messenger contacts.I have been to many, many conferences and met a lot of people, but there was something about “the Vegas crew” (well the entire NV crew if you want to get all territorial) that just “got it”beyond what I’ve seen before.They were a tight group, and when I was getting ready to board the plane to head back to Eastern Time (psh, what’s that) I smiled as I got a message that said, “We look out for each other. You’re part of the family now.”Aside from just meeting incredible people, the conference was really great. If you
ever have the opportunity to hear Joyce Bender, definitely don’t miss her session. She works on getting people with disabilities employment in competitive fields, and her attitude is just kick ass and topnotch. Then of course there was when we did the Macarena before noon, the incredible Mexican lunch buffet, and the conversations that occurred in and around sessions both fun and serious where people were able to learn from each other. O
verall it was a great experience, I felt totally at home, and I know I will continue to learn and be inspired from everyone at Family Ties NV.So cut to the last conference day- which was the day of the segway from work to “play time.” My poor mother, who had been inserted into this trip at the last minute and ended up ultimately having a good time as much as she protested “Vegas is not her thing,” Woke up with a stomach bug of death. Of course this was the day after St. Patrick’s so although it was a low key night before, I still had to give her heck that it was simply because she was not capable of throwing down Vegas style. Sad for her
that was not the case at all, she simply had horrible luck that tends to haunt our family wherever we are. She tried to go to the conference but ended up leavingearly, and I sat on hold listening to way too many Planet Hollywood commercials to make sure she could check in early. Finally everything was squared away.
EXCEPT. I had just bought tickets to a show, for that night. What’s a girl to do? Turn to her new Vegas girls of course! Within five minutes I had a date for the evening and would actually get a night on the town as I had planned.

After everything was wrapped up from the conference, we headed to the strip, windows down, Ke$ha blasting. Somehow it all works out.2 episodes of disaster date, 1 IV antibiotic, and a Britney album later (and of course making sure my poor ailing mother was going to make it through the night with her $15 room service toast) I was good to go.
The night was fantastic! Except for maybe having to walk all over creation in baby heels, but that only adds to the adventure. God bless moving sidewalks!
I got to see the whole strip lit up at night, and have an ultimate girls’ night out that can really be experienced in Vegas!
The next day, mom came back to life, which was good for both of us! We had breakfast at a buffet (best creation ever!!!) and played tourist at the Bellagio and Caesar’s palace after bathing suit shopping for far too long with amazing sales people who acted like they had to strategically hide central lines in designer bikinis every day (some of us do…) Unfortunately I tend to goeverywhere when the weather is crappy- or I make the weather crappy… I think it’s a little of both. But either way there was no pool action this time, but I will be prepared for… next time!

That evening there was going to be another exciting dinner date! You see, camp love is one of those rare sorts that pops up when you least expect it but need it most, and expands all over the country. My third year of camp, I was in Yellow (this matters, duh) and I had a nurse, who I still talk about to this day. She made dealing with IV nonsense a fun, creative activity that only
certain “cool” people got to partake in. And she was just awesome. This was in 1997-98? And I hadn’t seen or heard from her until this year! God bless Facebook! She happens to live in Vegas!As we met up and had sushi at Koi, it was like no time had passed, let alone 13 years, we just both had a lot more life experience under our belts. I won’t say we grew up…cause… people who watched our antics at Ben & Jerry’s would probably beg to differ. Again, no true craziness went down, but I laughed harder than I think I have in most of 2011 and it’s so great to have one of my earliest champions back in my life.

So there you have it. One more breakfast buffet the next morning we were back at the Jet Blue terminal…and me looking at flights to go back before I was even out of my incredible Planet Hollywood bed! Stay tuned!

I was going to make this entry about Kansas as well… but I think I’ll drag it out so I have less ginormous entries and more that folks will read.
Never a dull moment!


Friday, March 11, 2011

It’s already March! That’s three months into 2011.
I haven’t necessarily forgotten to blog, but for the sake of transparency I’ll just say, winter and I truly do not get along and I just wasn’t feeling in a place to say anything that was worth reading.

Nobody wants to read about the Winter of Mal’s Discontent, which really is what it felt it had become. I hate being cold, we got way more snow this year, than really…in all my life that I can remember, and I simply wanted to be a hermit (and pretty much did) so how fun is that? It’s not really.
Although- being in a huge slump of winter hating, did sort of put a fire underneath me to do something about it. This winter really made me realize that, beyond it not even being physically safe when all the parking lots and driveways are glaciers, I really cannot do this. I’m not happy here. There are no opportunities for anything that would further develop my career, and well… it’s boring. I feel like a cat lady at the mere age of 25… and as much as I love my Muffy. That is a no go.So rewind to January. I decided I needed to start seeing what I can do on my own and where the challenges are ultimately going to be. A couple weeks into the brand new year of 2011 I had myself a round trip ticket to good ol’ Washington DC. Just one. There was a meeting of all the National Centers, and so I planned a weekend accordingly so that I would have some time away, and then be able to represent Got Transition? at the meeting and jump back into the game, since I felt a little out of the loop after missing all the action in October.
As the days went by I kept getting a little nervous, but I was sort of surprised at how I really wasn’t all that phased by making the venture by myself. I had been planning it in my head for months already, and I knew that the next step really was just taking the plunge.
So I did. And in that one weekend, I felt more alive than I had in months. The travel was seamless. Everyone went above and beyond to make sure I was ok, and just to be safe, I had gone ahead and had one of those lovely black SUV’s meet me at the airport so I would be sure I’d be taken care of. Look out Lauren Conrad…there’s a new diva in town with equally fabulous sunglasses and pink luggage.
The first night I was there, after the mandatory post flight nap, and discovering why I don’t watch Sarah Palin’s reality show, I met up with one of my VIP’s for an informal strategic planning meeting of “operation Mal needs to live in DC.” No conclusions were made except that it basically needs to happen, and that Jersey Shore was a lost cause after Miami.
The next day I tried to fathom that I had an entire day, and the entire city to myself, with absolutely no agenda! I slept in (of course the one time I can sleep in in a hotel, the beds are a bit subpar…) then eventually made my way to the nearest Starbucks… which was in walking distance, and figured out my day over a latte and breakfast sandwich. It was a bit surreal as I remembered my first week of college, as I sat and Java Joe’s and I wrote in my journal “It’s not exactly a city…. Or Starbucks… but look at me, on my own writing in coffee shop!” (or something equally faux optimistic) And now, here I actually was, in a Starbucks, in a real city, with a sense of purpose, things to do and people to see.
I ended up at the Smithsonian American Art Museum for most of the afternoon. “Brain…meet art! I’s been awhile.” As I wandered through the exhibits, taking it all in, I realized just how long it had been since my brain had actually had to interpret or absorb anything beyond Jersey Shore, how to get to Margarita’s, or Real Housewives from all over the map.
After that I wandered around Chinatown for awhile and ended up at Chipotle for dinner. I know, I know. Here I am, with some of the best restaurants, DURING restaurant week…. But, what the heart (and stomach) wants… the heart wants.

Then, I magically hailed a cab out of nowhere, in a fashion that would’ve put Carrie Bradshaw to shame and got back to the hotel just in time to watch the final game before the Super Bowl at the bar with people from all over (I even scored a free chocolate mousse). All in all, a successful day.The next day was the meeting, which was held at the Army Navy Club, so there was a dress code! Up before the sun, blazer, pearls, nylons and I was off. It was a long day, of too many powerpoint slides, but also seeing so many people who were glad I had made it, and the feeling that “oh yea… you’re wanted here!”
But before I knew it, I was putting sweats back on in a hotel bathroom, and watching the sunset over the Washington monument from my cab to the airport.

I had done it. The flight home was one of many emotions (as the flights home continually get more and more emotional…) of excitement, accomplishment, but also fear, because now, I can’t deny, that the only thing holding me back… is me.
Sine then, there was also a wonderful trip to Portland, Oregon, and another epic week in DC for the AMCHP conference (where it sort of all began… last year).I got to debut with the new National Center, and give a presentation that had standing room only in attendance, and was a firm reminder that I’m really finding my voice in all of this, not just reading somebody else’s slides.

Between the gala (an almost perfect Valentine’s day consisting of a red dress, and champagne), the sun/lack of snow on the ground, being able to walk across the street for coffee, or Chipotle, and the rush of learning, thinking and networking again, it was yet another event that left me going “Oh yea… you’re good at this. This is why you do what you do.”

The other highlight that cannot go unmentioned, because if this hadn’t happened… the week would’ve been… fairly lonely. I met my long time virtual bff Emily! We were supposed to meet in October, but we all know how that turned out. To have someone of my own demographic who really “gets it,” on every level like nobody else I’ve ever met was absolutely amazing. Suffice to say, we had way too much fun, and once again I’m left saying “Whyyyyy do we live so far apart?!”After all of this, I went home, frustrated to have to be leaving at all, let alone coming back to more snow, and not a whole lot else. Which is exactly why, I took the GRE’s the following week. My grad school timeline got a little altered to what I thought it would be, but that silly piece of the puzzle that was holding me back from applying is OVER. It’s really happening…
And now here we are. Next up on the itinerary is Las Vegas. This trip has taken some various transformations, and unfortunately, there was another little blip on the radar and I’ll be managing one IV antibiotic while I’m there. There will be two days of their Youth Transition Jamboree (the same group I virtually presented for in Reno last year) and then the weekend will hopefully consist of food, fun, and foolishness. It definitely won’t be spring break style, but at this point, I can’t say no to just having 80 degree weather! Can’t wait!!!

I may write about it….
But… you know what they say.