Thursday, September 06, 2012

Boston Begins!

No, I couldn't be happier
Though it is, I admit
The tiniest bit
Unlike I anticipated
But I couldn't be happier
Simply couldn't be happier
Well - not "simply"
'Cause getting your dreams
It's strange, but it seems
A little - well - complicated

- Galinda

You know what's a crazy feeling?

When you look around, and wake up each day, and realize that you are living the life you have dreamed about, written about, ached for, and cried over for 10+ years.

I remember, there is a journal entry I wrote during my first week at UMF, trying to convince myself that had happened, and it was a huge step for me to be sitting in a coffee shop writing in my hipster journal, but it wasn't IT.

Now... I'm sitting here, writing, drinking coffee, with an amazing view of the CITY from our incredible studio apartment window.   And there's a pretty incredible guy here with me, which wasn't even part of the equation back then.  God, that would just be too much, you can't have it all right?

But I'm here.  We're here.  We got here.   
Of course, it isn't quite Carrie Bradshaw glamourous.  I'm not flitting about in 5" manolos, and I curse the city as my scooter jostles across the T tracks, and I get caught in the rain without the luxury of a Burberry umbrella, but it's my life, and I have minimal complaints at the moment.

I started classes yesterday, and I'm pretty sure I FELT my brain smile.   They're speaking my language!  The professors are the most real, wonderful, supportive, sarcastic, funny people I have ever encountered in "this work."  They have big dreams for us, and they're ready to train us to be part of the public health world changing team.   I sat in a library yesterday.  I talked about marketing campaigns.  I ate lunch with people that then became my friends.  I showed my BU ID to get into one of the med school buildings.  I sat in the front row of a lecture hall to discuss legal cases!!!!

I know, I know.  It will get challenging, and truly, I'm prepared for that, but knowing so many people are here to support, and want us to succeed seems to take the edge off a little bit, and for now I just am letting myself breathe in the scent of academia and ENJOY THE MOMENT.  I have been on autopilot for so long, pushing myself to make this happen, it's so amazing when I can just look around, or sit on the roof deck of our apartment and look out over the skyline and go, "This is real." still doesn't feel it, but I truly believe that I was brought here because there is work to be done and it is part of my journey (and Owen's) to lead those efforts, and make big changes.  Someone's got to.  I've always been that girl to raise her hand and say the thing that everyone is thinking but is afraid to say, and that's not changing, and now I am in the midst of people (brilliant people) who want to hear it!

Aside from changing the world, Owen and I have also been warmly received socially, and have had some wonderful times with Team Boston already!  We've had dinner dates, spent a night on the cape during the Falmouth Road Race, and taken multiple trips to IKEA, and adventures around Boston just to get the feel for the neighborhood.  We are absolutely not alone here, which adds a level of comfort and reassurance to this whole experience.  We have friends, we have a support team.  We're gonna be okay  (mom and dad ;)   )
Owen also got to experience Maine, meet the rest of my family AND see camp!

We have covered many bases in a very short time! 
So here we are.  It's been a lot, but we're settling in, and school (and work) is rolling. We are so grateful for everyone who has helped us, or supported us to get here.  We do NOT take for granted that it takes a village!

There will be much more (including a video tour of our apartment)!   Stay tuned! If you are not already following our facebook page, you should:

Saturday, June 30, 2012

So this is happening!

This last month or so has simply been a whirlwind of nostalgia.  Shortly after my last entry, I turned 27 (WHAT!?!?!?)   And although last year was probably the best birthday I have ever had, this one came close.  I just spent the weekend by the pool and there were surprise cameos by my 2 best friends.   It was crazy.  

I have also been going through so many boxes, and memories.  It has been quite a trip unearthing Spice Girls barbies, Furbies, Karma bracelets, and pretty much anything else that could be hoarded from the 90’s! 

Two other crazy things happened around that time- because well, this is my life.  I got a call, the weekend of my birthday, from another good friend of mine.  Some of you may know her as Galinda, or have seen her on Glee?   Perhaps.  Her name is Kristin Chenoweth.

During my trip to DC, I was listening to my “defy gravity” playlist on the airplane, and I had a random thought that I should text my friend (and famous musical director) Mary-Mitchell Campbell, and tell her that if she happens to talk to Kristin, just to pass the word along that I’m doing really well.  I often wonder what it is like for these celebrities (or camp staff members etc.)  to connect with a “sick kid,” like we did, and then not really ever hear about them again and just wonder….

So I wanted her to know I am indeed kicking asses and taking names.  Well, no sooner did I get home from my meeting in DC (which will be another entry coming soon)    K. Cheno had tweeted that she was WITH MMC and they had been talking about me!  0_o

The next day, we were driving to the Nana & Papa’s, and my phone rang and it was MMC.   No.freaking.way.  So I answered, and come to find out, her and Kristin were touring together, and were just rehearsing, and stalking my blog and facebook, and wanted to catch up.  So we did.  We chatted for almost an hour, about life, and Broadway, and as it turned out they were actually doing a concert in Boston the week I was going to be there!   Kristin said she wanted to invite me, and told me to round up whoever wanted to go, and to plan on hanging out after!    We continued to text over the weekend as they were flitting around NYC getting mani/pedis and lattes at Starbucks, and I sat by the pool with my family.

The concert was absolutely incredible, and very timely.  Even more ironically, it fell on the exact day as the benefit for Mr. Paul L. Newman that Kristin and I reconnected at in 2009.   After the show- we got to hang out a bit, and we Skyped a very excited Owen  : )   Kristin said to me, “You know, I think Paul arranged this, and I think he’s smiling right now.”



I had gathered a group of amazing people from all aspects of my life for the show, and it was just such a great, cathartic, relaxing evening!  Then, as I didn’t want to spend the rest of my night trying to figure out how to get back to where I was staying in Sudbury, MA with Pastor Jordan, it was arranged so I could actually just stay with MMC.  Where they were staying after the concert.   After the cattle call of all the people with purple wristbands, MMC and I followed KC out the stage door.  I have had some stage door experiences, but mostly they consisted of very confused low budget paparazzi who weren’t sure who I was…   But this was legit.  

We exited to about a hundred, crying 12 year old girls, and while Kristin signed autographs cause she’s fantastic, MMC and I were hurried into a black SUV with tinted windows to sit among the screaming fans.  With a driver named Joe.  Yep.  My life.  We talked non-profits, health education, and where I see my life going now (HA!  Who knoooows)   Then we headed over to the Mandarin Oriental.   I won’t bore you with all the details, but check out our digs here….

Toto.  We’re not in Kansas anymore.
Except til we were.

The wonderful Sir William of Cambridge picked me up in his Toyota, and we were headed back to the “real world” where I had to figure out how to sign a lease and pay all the money we needed to, to wrap up the process with our apartment. 

OH YEA!  We found an apartment!  The week before my birthday, Owen and I snagged an accessible studio apartment in Allston.  It’s in a brand new building, which is barely even finished yet!  Our unit is fully accessible and the building is just crazy.  It is definitely more than our original budget intended, but at the end of the day we looked at all of our options, and for what we get, and will not have to worry about (there’s a front loading washer/dryer IN the unit, lowered countertops, brand new appliances, fully accessible bathroom, trash/recycling on every floor) it is worth it.  We will actually be able to focus on school, work, and our life transition and not agonize over who will get the laundry out of the basement and how we will get it back up.

(not my pictures.... real ones to come soon!!!)

It’s difficult from an advocacy standpoint, because it is AMAZING (also ironically, it is even on the “penthouse” level) and you know what.  I DO wish that we could just rent a house with 3 other people and pay $500 a month, and not worry about it.  But we wouldn’t be able to get into it- or we would have to adapt things on our own.  I have to believe that this unit fell out of the sky for us, because the universe wants us to do this.   Truth be told- I found this place because I had seen the listing many times, and just wanted to see if they had accessible units.  If they didn’t I wanted to know who I had to talk to, to see that new buildings didn’t get built without them.   When I got a response saying they did, I decided to just ask about the price.  I come from a mindset of “You never know until you ask,”  and, “Don’t tell me something is too good for me.  Ever.  If you want something bad enough, or if it’s meant to be, it can work out.”   I was sent some floor plans and price quotes, and for what we had previously been shown for things that didn’t even meet our needs, it was moderately “reasonable.”   I will be perfectly transparent.  We are paying $1750 for a studio unit.  But it’s ACCESSIBLE, and safe, and near where we need to be.  It’s the best we’ve seen.   

We scrambled and were able to get everything in to “secure it,” then we went back and forth with paperwork for quite awhile, and sometimes it felt very 1 step forward, 2 steps back, as very time we thought we were done, we’d need to sign, or pay something else.   But… as it stands right now, we got approved, and all the paperwork and fees are paid.  I get to see the building next week when I’m in Boston, all my financial aid stuff is going through, I am registered for classes, Owen has his one way ticket booked, and the going away parties are planned!
This is really happening!   It truly won’t be real until all the parents leave, and we just stand in our 500 square feet and go, “blink blink.  Um, wow.”

Now it is crunch time, and I am preparing for the Face Forward Conference in 2 weeks, then it is all eyes on the move!  My focus is a little frazzled and I am dreaming about conferences, and finding doctors, and there are days when I just want to throw all of my belongings in boxes, and just go somewhere tropical with no cell service until I can just show up at our apartment.  That obviously won’t happen, so I’m just diving into work and planning until it’s time to head to Beantown.
30 days!

I also want to share this link: 

Since Owen and I have a group of amazing supporters that spreads all over the country (and beyond, really!)  We wanted to create a way that if people wanted to do something, or give us a gift but can’t exactly attend our respective parties, you can be able to this way.   It is reputable, and secure, and of course there is NO expectation or obligation, and we totally get how tight times are right now, but if you are so willing to help out- there it is, and we appreciate every gesture of support!   Help us reach our dreams, to prove that other young people with disabilities can reach theirs one day!

We love you all.  Thank you to every single person who has helped us get this far.  This is just the beginning!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Letter to Your Younger Self

Dear Younger Mal,

So hey!   Here you are!  All those years, of emo writing, dreaming, and aching for the city, and knowing “there’s more out there,” paid off… cause it’s happening.  You made it happen.  How about that?  Proud of you kid….

Knowing that it really all will be ok eventually, and before we turn the page for real, I want to remind you of some stuff.

A lot of people will come into your life, and many will go.  Let them go.  The ones that stay, you won’t need to chase.

You will get braces.  And contacts.  And it will be one of the best decisions of your life.  You’ll look in the mirror and not really recognize yourself, but you’ll smile and say, “hey… look out world.”

People will say they love you.  Maybe not always the way you want them to, but they will make you who you are, and regardless, of how they mean it.  They mean it.

Denny’s is only good after being in a show and only having iced coffee all day.  And it’s really not about the food.  Except cheese fries.  Those are ok. Sometimes.

It’s not just you.  Your life really does have a soundtrack, and the right songs will continue to play at the right time…

Also, your life is a little crazy.  You will have incredible experiences, and it will not even feel real.  Then you will be very bored sometimes.... There's always more to come.  Enjoy the down time too.

Take care of yourself.  Contrary to what people may tell you, it’s not about who works the most, and the world will not end if you take a day off, to sleep… or maybe go to the mall.

Oh… also, about that.   Real therapy probably would’ve been better than all those semi-annual sales… and a hell of a lot easier to move.

Your friends are right... You do have THE COOLEST family.   Ever.  Enjoy every minute by that pool, and listening to the stories you've heard a hundred times.  Trust me.  You'll be glad you did.

You’ll also be glad you went home on the weekends in college to see Maisy.  She’s incredible, time goes so fast, and I promise you didn’t miss anything in Farmington.

SoCo and Lime shots will not gain you friends.  Those are not your friends.

You will have friends though.  All over the country, and some right nearby who really will be there, and won’t care if you’re dressed up, or sick in the hospital.  Keep in touch with those people.  They’re real.

It will all come together.  All those pieces of you that do make you feel happy and unstoppable, you won’t have to leave any of them behind, so don’t even worry.

I know, I know, what you really want to hear….. so guess what?  He IS out there.  And you knew…. He won’t be in Maine.  The best things happen when you’re not trying.  Keep living for you, don’t change a thing and make the most of every moment.  You’re doing this right.

It really will all be ok.

Thanks for everything,
Mal 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Til next time. Take care of yourself, and take care of each other."

Today was one of those days where you just have to believe the universe is aligning.  With the good, not so good, and everything, you're not quite sure about yet.

This morning, I received an email that we had lost one of our own.  A fellow advocate, who was in her mere 30's had passed away.  Katie Beckett changed lives for so many families.  I didn't get to know her well, but we had been at many of the same conferences, and I know her mother fairly well.  I won't pretend I knew her well, but hearing of her passing hit me hard.  She was an icon for the young people of my generation with special health needs.

Shortly after hearing that, I had a great, intense talk with the captain of Team Boston.  We talked work, and housing, and what I am not willing to sacrifice to make this possible.   And that is my dignity, and my inclusion.  I have come this far, and I will not go backwards.

I will accept the grad school lifestyle, and eat ramen, and not go out, or take trips, and live in a studio apartment with minimal space.   What I will not do, is be forced to live in SEGREGATED housing, because we need a building with no stairs, and a shower that is safe for us to use.  I am paying 60,000 a year to pursue my master's degree in a program I was accepted to, in an esteemed institution, so I will not be isolated, and segregated from my community of peers who are doing the same thing.  He accepted this, and we are making it happen, with a lot of work, communication, and determination.

After that, I came home, and was able to download videos taken by another incredible Bostonian.  And it's out there.  We have found an apartment that is ultimately accessible, and nice!  And actually within a reasonable budget.  Of course nothing about grad school or Boston is "reasonable."  but it is far more within our range than paying $2000 a month for something that is not accessible.  At all.

Now comes the tough part, where we really make it work, and the money meetings, and talking who gets my time when I'm in school....
And Owen is working with people in Boston who want to meet with him to "figure something out" in terms of work!  Hopefully they can work with him not quite being there yet!

But it IS happening, and I have to believe, that perhaps my "connections" are not just on this earth.

Thank you Katie, for all you have done, for us, for others, and for making us realize the importance of continuing this journey.

I leave you with something that I didn't write.  But that, it sounds like I could've.

Read it here

Amen sister.  You said it.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

I can haz transition?

You know what’s funny?

Transition is pretty hard!  Whodathunk?

Well I did… which is why I decided to not do it for a while, and just become the (apparent) expert on it in the country!  Too bad I have this ridiculously inconvenient drive to do big things, and continue to grow, learn, and reach for my dreams.  Who do I think I am?
I’m being reminded that everything I do becomes an advocacy movement, and I’m ok with that.  It’s gotten me to where I am, and I’m not going to stop, but to be perfectly transparent, it’s a little exhausting.

Nobody mentions that it’s damn tiring to “be the change you want to see in the world.”   But I suppose that’s why there’s Starbucks.

A couple weeks ago, I had the honor and privilege to attend the National Seminar on Disability Policy, with Owen, and many representatives from Nevada, and their Developmental Disabilities Council.  I originally booked a flight, assuming that I would’ve gotten into GWU, they would be fantastic, and Owen and I could set up life in DC during the four days I was down there. 

Perhaps I did get into GWU.  The world may never know….(as they have not actually corresponded with me beyond “your application is still being reviewed”)  So that’s another rant, but long story short, I had this flight booked and some time in DC, turns out many of the people I was going to try to get together with weren’t actually around, and I had quite a bit of free time, which I decided to utilize by just going to the conference- honestly folks, who doesn’t like to go to really depressing key notes and hear stories of budget cuts as a vacation.  Sounds like a retreat to me!!!

To be perfectly transparent, I didn’t think this had much to do with me, and didn’t understand the full concept of “developmental disabilities.”  Boy did I get a schoolin’ from team NV.

After I finally got to DC (after missing my flight, staying a night by myself in Portland, and being rebooked by the angels at US Airways) I took a nap, showered, got out of my punch drunk tired state of mind, I went with Owen to one of the plenary sessions where they talked about the demise that is our Medicaid programs, and how we need to defend the community approach vs. institutionalizing people with disabilities.  My heart sank, but my ears perked.  This is exactly what we’re also talking about with transition, and that I have been proving for my own case for many years.  I started thinking of all the people I knew who had they not had the level of family and community support they did, would be in nursing homes.  Oh, you know, like me.  That flame inside me flared.

After that, Owen and I went to dinner at Capitol City Brewing, across the street from our hotel.  We were able to breathe, debrief, and talk about our future together, and the reality of moving, which we both began to realize, is going to be a reality.  We had amazing food, and beer, and remembered how good it is to just be together without one of us being on screen.
The next day, I decided to head to Capitol Hill with all of the NV crew because I didn’t really want to sit in a hotel room all day alone, and I just wanted to see what it was all about.   Straight out of the gate we sat down with a Senator (who I’m sorry, looked remarkably like Donald Trump) who immediately was drawn to me, and I knew that I probably couldn’t just pretend to not be from around here.

In that first hill visit I learned that a developmental disability is “not an intellectual disability but anything that occurs before the age of 22, and affects 3 or more areas of life.”  Again, much of our transitioning adult population.
I also watched in awe as this amazingly choreographed presentation raised points of community inclusions and helping these people with disabilities become tax paying citizens (= more return on investment for the government) They knew the market they were speaking too, and it was important to learn as that is going to be most of our market as we continue to advocate.

We went from building to building, parading in and out of elevators, until we reached our last hill visit, with the staff of Senator Reid’s office (he gave me an award at the Vegas conference last year, so I felt a little attachment).  It had been a long day, but again the presentation went as planned, and I had moved to introducing myself as a national advocate, cause hey… I am.  I had done so well, to keep my mouth shut, but it was at this visit that all the points and thoughts that had been building in my head just couldn’t be confined anymore.   

One of the staff members said, “oh… this is great to hear but I work more with issues of healthcare.”   WELL isn’t that ironic.   I immediately introduced myself as being from the national center for healthcare transition and talked about the connection between health and community involvement/successful transitions.  Case in point, if a young adult has no obligation to get up in the morning, no job, no school, no positive relationships, what do they have to be healthy for?  Living a stationary lifestyle no doubt leads to more health issues.   Then the other staff member chimed in saying he was concerned with issues of SSI.  And I explained how we need to find that balance of helping our people with disabilities, specifically transitioning young adults find that level of success where they can work and make money, and be a contributing tax paying citizen, but still maintain the supports that it took to get them to be able to do that. 

I felt my face getting hot.  It was personal now.  I explained how bills like the DD act (read more here) affect things like accessibility that you may want to work and go to school and be a contributing citizen, but none of that is possible if you can’t get in the door.
After that, we went to a reception, and I saw people I knew from all over, and was able to introduce them to Owen and tell them about our plans.  Then we got to meet Senator Harkin who has been a huge champion for all things ADA.  It was a whirlwind of a day, but at the end of it I realized something pretty cool.

We are not only advocating for what’s right, and many people with disabilities.  We are advocating for OUR future, as we’re living it….
That sort of takes our relationship to a whole other level, and it’s neat to think that we can rally for things like this together.  Psh, movie dates, give us Capitol Hill!!!

So back home, the journey continues, and it’s everything we were advocating for on the hill.  I’m continuing to figure out my insurance and financial aid, like any typical grad student.  Luckily I’m moving to a state that requires you to have insurance…
And we’re looking for an apartment.   Not like any other grad student.  Bottom line it shouldn’t BE so difficult to find an accessible building.  It’s 2012.  And don’t give me, “It’s Boston, the buildings are old.”  I will not favor architecture over humanity.

Beyond that, I’m coming to a remarkable discovery that there is very little presence of a “middle class with disabilities,” which I find hard to believe as I know so many people who are living independently, but from my research in this moment, you basically need to be completely reliant on the state and on a list for subsidized housing, willing to live in a senior/disabled living center, or have a trust fund and a penthouse with a doorman.  What about the people who have been able to sustain themselves financially and are actually in the housing market?

 “Are there any realtors that specialize in working with people with disabilities?”
“Well… no because most of them can’t afford to look at market price.”

Well it sounds like I have found myself a mid-life crisis career, but in the meantime, I have many eyes and ears in Boston helping us, communication with lots of orgs, and the school, and an attitude that we will not settle for less than we deserve.  For all that we have done, for others, and the disability movement, I sure as hell am not going to step back and say that we can’t have the future that we are creating.

Transition?  Come at me bro.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Let it Grow

“It’s your turn now to show your world now….
Let it grow.”

My gosh, 2 blogs in 2 days.  Who am I?
I wasn’t planning this, but then today happened!  It was Friday the 13th, and when your name means bad luck, as mine does (The meaning of the name Mallory is Ill-Omened)  you’re a little superstitious, but today could not have been farther from a bad day.
I woke up at 8 on the dot to Lady Gaga’s Edgy of Glory, which on its own makes me want to take on the world, so I “popped right up.”  Then after a brief adventure discovering we had no more K cups, and an unsurprising failed attempt with the coffee pot I found a blessed pack of Starbucks Cinnamon Spice Via.
I had a meeting with the Next Step team, where we discussed the upcoming Face Forward conference for 2012, and my boys Duy and Kepler, educated me on the following song.  Clearly I need to get out more if I’m lacking on the pop culture scene!

Then I made some phone calls I had been dreading, which felt good, and then- as if I was having any doubts about the way things are going (which, after the last entry, I confirmed I don’t…) the universe kicked it up a notch.
-       I got my financial aid info from BU a week earlier than they thought it would be in, and even though dollar sign’s make my head spin it was reassuring to see even that piece is coming together and may not be as horrifying as it once felt.

-     Then I received an email from the MCH concentration folks, saying they wanted to discuss my goals, and plans with me, so I could best plan for my future.  I thought it was nice, and I am excited to have that conversation too.  But then as I went back and read the e-mail again it said, “It was wonderful to have you on campus last Friday, and we would like to continue the conversation, as the Admissions Departments has told us you are one of our most outstanding applicants.  *Jaw drop*

  Granted- I am coming from quite a bit of experience, but a the end of the day, sometimes it feels like my resume doesn’t reflect my life (sometimes it does, it’s weird).  But anyway, that was just incredible to see, and I can’t wait to write back to her and tell her I’m totally coming there and all the ideas that are swimming around in my dizzy little brain.

Just as I was coming down from that, the housing people called me (I was actually still in my bathrobe from taking a shower, TMI, but I knew I had to get at it when I could) And we talked about our situation and they showed me the grad building with accessible units and connected me to the realty person for the complex!  Nothing is in stone, but we talked about a time line and I submitted the application, and maybe I can go look at one in the next couple of weeks. It’s small, but really adorable, and would be perfect at least until Owen and I get established and know the city a little better.  I really am crossing my fingers this could be it!!!

Then we went to see The Lorax.  Which I did not think much of, as it wasn’t really my favorite book growing up.  I guess I sort of forgot what it was about, or thought it was about earth loving hippies or whatever.  But it was brilliant.  And we saw it in 3D which just totally turned me into a 6 year old.

I advise everyone to go see it and I won’t give any spoilers except that it was very timely, and these last couple of days have just been very serendipitous.  I was just sort of watching it, enjoying it, thinking of how, yea, it’s a little bit relevant, and one thing you should know about me, is I do tend to find symbolism in many things, when big things are happening in my life, but some are just blatant.  I also just found so much joy in the fact that there are short jokes throughout the whole thing because the Lorax is a teeny thing...who happens to know his stuff.

Then towards the end, after hearing the story of the demise of the Truffular Trees, they show a rock that says “Unless.”   

Which leads to the Onceler realizing what this boy was brought to teach him.  "Unless someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." 
And I suddenly remembered the quote, and although we were one of two groups in the theater, I finished the line out loud,  “it’s not.”  Because obviously, the Onceler was talking to me.

Someone has to plant the seed, and bring awareness to how things need to be, and doing what’s right…. Or eventually, we all WILL be paying for air.

I can no longer even try to deny that my path is being laid out for me before my eyes…
So of course the last two days totally caught up with me, and much to the horror (or confusion) of the pre-teens we brought the see the movie, tears streamed from behind my goofy 3-D glasses. “It’s your turn now, to show your world now…”

It is just one tiny seed
But it's all we really need...

"Just Believe, and you're almost there...."

 Silly maybe, but see the movie… preferably before the election. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Epic Adventures of 2012!

I have been reading a couple of my favorite blogs lately and it has reminded me of how delinquent I have been as a blogger.  Mostly because I've been pretty on top of everything else, and my life has sort of exploded lately, but I still wish I could get better about writing.  I think I will really try.
I am starting to realize that if I spent as much time writing as I spend playing ridiculous games on Facebook, my book would be written 7 times over.  So, it's time.  I can't get any further on Bubble Witch Saga, and I can beat a hot shot board in 2 days. Time to buckle down.

Also, when I think about how dedicated I was about studying for my GRE's, I realize I can really make the time when I make something my goal.  So bam.  Blogging/writing. It's going on my calendar.  Then I can prevent epic entries covering a year.  Haha.  I say that every time!
With that-  let's recap what has happened since last time I wrote (well the big stuff anyway…).

- I gained another family. I went to NV to visit Owen's family twice, and well...both trips went by way too fast, I have never felt so comfortable with a group of people in my life, and I can't wait to see them again.  We truly are all cut out of the same mold, and I now have 2 little princesses in training that I get to Skype with on my "Ipatch"  I can't wait for the day when the Cyrs and Erquiaga/Diegels are on the same turf to get to know each other.  The world better watch out!!
(one of those favorite blogs is the adventures of these princesses, their family, and a new pug  )

- I went to Vegas a couple times and a bunch of other places.  I had an epic month in October with a sort of change of plans Vegas trip that resulted in a missed flight home, a new tattoo and one of the best trips of my life.  I had come from DC, and Denver the weeks before, where I had been going strong and inspired about all things Got Transition.   Work hard, play hard.  And we did.
Although the acceptance piece has been a reality for about a month, I still am having the realization of "Wow.  I can't believe I did it!" and I probably will continue to!

 For a couple years now I have been saying "I will take my GRE's,  I think I'm going to look into going back to school."  but as we dropped Maisy off at her college at the end of this summer, when I saw how much my heart ached just by being on the grounds of a beautiful place of learning, I knew I was done joking around.
I also have been saying... probably for about 10 years.  I have to get out of Maine.  It wasn't time yet, and I knew that in my heart. I was meant to be here, to grow, and to see what else was out there.  So I did.  Eventually my friends started saying it too.  "You're more than this.  Why are you even still here?"  then slowly, my life grew beyond Maine too, and it wasn't just the big city dreams of Broadway shows and public transportation (haha can you even imagine???)  pieces of my heart in California, Washington DC, Connecticut, Colorado, Boston, Nevada....
So I did it.  I looked at programs all over the country, and thought about what I wanted to do.  Where I wanted to be.  The list began as being pretty extensive.  Then I got real, and thought about where I could really see myself living.  Where we're the real opportunities of stuff I was already doing?  Where were my circles of support.  The list got shorter.  I did look at some online programs too, but I realized, this was my reason to move on, I want the opportunities that came with going to school, not just the letters after my name.
I memorized deadlines, got all the pieces together, wrote an essay, and Owen virtually held my hand, as I clicked send.

Last Friday I attended an accepted student day at Boston University, and FELT IT.  That feeling, that magazines and guidance counselors tell you you'll feel.... That I never felt before.  The day was amazing, the people were receptive and fun and answered questions big and small, and then there was a reception, where looking out over the beautiful Boston skyline, I really accepted it was happening.  It's time. 

Don't take this the wrong way Maine, I'm glad I'll be so close, and I know I'll always have a home here, but as one of my heroes PR guru Kelly Cutrone says, "When you're the most happening person at the party, it's time to leave."
So here I am, slam dunking my red solo cup, and heading on to the next thing!

Here’s another quote- by the one and only, JRB.  "I wrote a story, and we changed the ending." (The Last Five Years)

I realized recently, that when I was younger, I didn't plan my fairy tale wedding.  When I was in middle and high school I thought it was dumb to ruin a really good notebook with I heart "guy of the moment” only to scribble it out for someone else's name.  I had accepted early on that I was not going to settle or find my soulmate in those settings, and I was fine with that.  I was fine if I never did.  I was content with my goals of observing life in coffee shops writing my memoirs. 

I'm still ok with that.... But now I may (better...)  be bringing home a caramel macchiato to someone in my Boston apartment, instead of just going home to feed the cat.  I'm still me, but now my fairy tale has different characters (an AMAZING lineup I might add)  and maybe there will be a white dress at the end of it, but it's not already planned, waiting for someone to play the part.  It will be a part of the journey that is truly reflective of our lives and our amazing adventure.
Yep.  It will be a year in May, and Owen is going to be a New England boy.  It will be a huge transition for all of us, but I am so excited to not be facing a new city alone, and we are both ready for new beginnings.  And it is JUST the beginning!

Stay tuned!

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