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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Year In Review

Although 2012 was a bit of a rough year with Miss Olivia, my tuxedo cat, dying in April and nan getting diagnosed with cancer in June; 2012 had some wonderful moments. Let me share some of them with you.

In February I had a NFL party commemorating all the NFL teams since no one liked the teams playing (NY Giants and NE Patriots). I decided that it would be more fun to dress up in our favorite team's jersey and just play games and gorge ourselves with food. And guess what?! Everyone had a blast! Best party ever. :)

Also in February I participated in the Brandywine Valley Association's (BVA) Polar Plunge. Starting the tradition last year in 2011, I hope to participate again in 2013. It's so much fun and it's great to know I'm making a difference in the environment.

In 2012 I saw people graduate. Marsha and a few of my friends graduate from West Chester University and my cousin Kaitlyn graduating from high school. The WCU graduation was a bit sad; I was supposed to graduate this year, but since I switched majors I couldn't (but winter 2013!) and I was sad to see some of my friends go. Kaitlyn is enjoying her college experience, though, which makes me very happy. :)

In January I met Taylor through school and MDJ. This year our friendship has grown. :) In June we went to Spring Lake, NJ for the day; it was nice catching up and we had a blast.

On July 4th, I turned 23. I spent the day in Philadelphia with my friend Christine. Some kindly couple paid for my lunch that day, which was awesome and made me cry (tears of joy that there are still nice people in the world). The night before I went to see Collective Soul and that was amazing. I like seeing older bands live. :)

All I can say is that I had an amazing time and met some really awesome people that became the best of friends. :) It  was also nice meeting Deb for the first time.

Tomorrow after I get home, I'll be posting pictures from tonight and an idea of what I want to happen in 2013. :) Happy New Year's!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 in Review pt II

I finished the slide show; I'm posting it here. On December 30th, I will post the worded version of my year (since the 31st I will be going out). Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Christmas pt. I

My Christmas was awesome, although I kept waking up off and on during the night. I bought mom, dad and nan food from the Lincoln Room and I had it in the freezer. I was worried about waking up really late and putting stuff in the bags while they were up. I ended up getting up at 5am, took my thyroid pill and went downstairs and put the goods in the bags I made up. Fortunately they didn't thaw out by the time we opened them up at 8am. Nan, dad and mom were really surprised with them. :)

I had nan open the Lincoln Room gift first, as I wanted her to see first. Mom and dad opened theirs last.

Dad taking off the Hot Topic bag that I used to cover his first gift.

Baltimore Ravens stein/mug.

The beers.

Mom and the loose leaf and beer I gave her.

Mom and the book I made her.

Wesley opening his gift.

His pressies. 

The jersey was too big for me, so I gave it to dad and I have to order another one that fits me.

After we opened gifts, we had a French Toast casserole, then I went to nan's for a few hours where we watched Man v. Food. We both fell asleep for a little while.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Feast of the Seven Fishes

On Christmas Eve it is Italian tradition to have something called Feast of the Seven Fishes. According to Wikipedia, this is how it is celebrated: The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian Christmas celebration. Today, it is a feast that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. However, some Italian-Americanfamilies have been known to celebrate with nine, eleven or thirteen different seafood dishes. This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. It is unclear when the term "Feast of the Seven Fishes" was popularized.The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence – in this case, refraining from the consumption of meat or milk products – on Wednesdays, Fridays and (in the Latin Church) Saturdays, as well as during Lent and on the eve of specific holy days. As no meat or butter could be used on such days, observant Catholics would instead eat fish, typically fried in oil.The meal may include seven, eight, or even nine specific fishes that are considered traditional. The most famous dish Southern Italians are known for is baccalà (salted cod fish). The custom of celebrating with a simple fish such as baccalà is attributed to the greatly impoverished regions of Southern Italy. Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years.
Last night, like every year, mom, nan and I made Baccala. Enjoy some pictures!

Nan preparing the cod.

Mom putting the cod (in batter) into the oil.

Finished product

  • 1 Lb Dried Baccala`
  • 1 Cup  Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup  Grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 4 Cloves garlic  finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs  Parsley finely chopped
  • 1 Cup  Water
  • Salt
  • Frying oil 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Aunt Kathy's Christmas Eve

Last night we had Christmas Eve at Aunt Kathy's. It was really nice. I only took two pictures from my cellphone: both of them with nan:

Nan playing with Aunt Kathy's dog, Daphne.

It was a nice time last night. The relatives of age drank wine and chatted around the table. Dad, Uncle Dave and I watched football -- all four of my teams won yesterday! Merry Christmas to me! Haha. Aunt Kathy gave mom and Aunt Peg a slideshow of footage from their childhood. We watched that for an hour, then exchanged gifts. Everyone loved my pictures and said I am a good photographer. ^^ Then we went home.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas with Old School / Toasting Deb

Last night Old School had a Christmas/End of the World party. It was so much fun.

Me before the party.

It's washed out, but he always does funny poses for my pictures.

Deb, my friend from Wisconsin, was being honored by Corgi Nation for her generosity. I had a drink to toast her. This is what I had: Liquid Heroin

Tomorrow night we're having Christmas Eve at my aunt's a day early. She's going to VA, my other cousin's boyfriend is home from the Navy, so she'll be spending it with him; we decided to do it early. Expect lots of pictures this week, JUST A WARNING!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Card Poem

I wrote this poem for a card I'm giving my mom, dad and gram.

From the cabin, march below
in the deep white snow
to the once poppy covered fields;
position your saw; see what yields
for it's Christmas time, let's go!

If the branches hang too low,
kneel down and begin sawing so;
and use its warmth as a shield,
in the deep snow of the Christmas field.

But what's that, behold and lo,
hot chocolate in hand, surprise grows;
the layers of bark revealed,
height above the clouds sealed.
Description: C:\Users\75JC671566\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\CFKDRXV1\MC900331484[1].wmfHow I love trekking through snow
at Christmastime in the field.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Curly Poem

I'm about to sit down and write about my morning adventure in Green Bay when I visited Curly Lambeau's birth house. I'm writing poems to start each narrative. Please let me know what you think of the poem:

On the street where he was born,
grass and weeds precisely shorn
and flowers line row by row,
light fragrance in the wind blows
with trees that cause forlorn.

Red brick house, carefully adorn;
cold Wisconsin sun, flannel is worn.
With white, snow men line below--
to Curly, a Christmas delight.

6-12 inches, the radio warns
against the blowing of the French horn;
candles on the windowsill, a lightshow.
Fire that flickers, sends the cold below.
Sledding, hot chocolate, he's first-born--
on the street carefully hidden in Green Bay.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hair Cut / Gift Giving / Joey's Reaction

Getting the last of the blonde that I dyed a year and a half ago for my Lady Gaga party. It's so nice.

The final product

The haircut was free (but the dye was a nominal fee, no big deal). A few weeks ago Lenny, my friend that I met when he was drummer for Old School, posted a status about whomever posted a story on why they deserve a free haircut would get one. I was sitting in Starbucks (skipping a class) and taking a break from writing a paper when I saw the post. I wasn't expecting to win, but I posted, "Between tuition, Christmas and meds, I'm broke. I only have a little in my bank account and it makes me cry. I won't be getting a haircut in a long time." Whenever someone talks about money, I go into that. I know I shouldn't, but money has been stressing me out a lot lately. Tuition came due and I actually had to borrow money from a co-worker (I feel bad, but after her Christmas break I'll be paying her back that $35). Anyway, I "won" the free haircut. 

My dad dropped me off yesterday at 9:45; my appointment was at 10-- Lenny came walking in and I introduced my dad to him. He said I was a sweet girl and other compliments. It made me choke up a bit because there are days when I feel like no one can stand me and I'm a monster. Anyway, my dad left after that to do Christmas shopping and I was brought to the back. The worn out colour was the first thing we talked about, which took me by surprise because the women who cut my hair in the past never said anything about it or dismissed it as being the "in" style of having faded edges. I told Lenny that and he just laughed, but he said he shouldn't be because that style is not "in." He specializes in corrective colouring. 

After the colouring and the washing, he brings me back to his station and we begin chatting about school. His son just finished his first semester at St. Joe's. I talked about finishing up my semester. It was nice getting caught up because once he moved to his new band, I hadn't seen him up until 2 weeks ago (so I hadn't seen him in a year). When dad picked me up, he was surprised by the results -- in a good way -- and when I got home everyone loved my hair. :) I'm sending him a thank you/Christmas card. I felt blessed yesterday. I do have friends, not many, but the friends I do have love me for who I am and try to help me. Mom might complain they're old, but I don't care -- a friend is a friend and I'm lucky to have mine.

Then after lunch, I went to Aunt Linda's to give the boys their gifts. They had me open mine first and when I opened it, I saw a box and when I saw the NFL logo I was surprised. I opened up quickly and to my delight, it was a Packers piggy bank! ^_^ I thanked them up and down. Then Joey, being the youngest, opened his gift (from me). He seemed to like the picture I took, which he thought was of an old Packers player (I explained to him it was from a college game I went to) and seemed to like the CDs. He knew half the songs (^_^) and couldn't wait to listen. Jason opened his next and he seemed to love it too. My aunt loved the Alice In Chains shirt I gave him -- she said it was a nice shirt (^_^). He said he couldn't wait to listen to his CD either. When Josh came back from learning how to drive, he opened his up too -- an Alice In Chains CD, and seemed to like it. I hope they did.

The Packers piggy bank and the awesome card my friend Aubman sent me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Joey's Mix

The other day I sent around an email asking for suggestions. Andrew gave me some great ones and I made a wide variety CD . Here's what's on it (hyperlinked are the YouTube videos):

1) sum 41- In Too Deep
2) Collective Soul- December

3) Collective Soul- The World I Know
4) Del Amitri- Roll To Me
5) Spin Doctors- Two Princes
6) Stone Temple Pilots- Interstate Love Song
7) Led Zeppelin- Dancing Days
8) Tom Petty- American Girl
9) Penrose- Love is All
10) Linkin Park- Shadow of the Day
11) Stone Sour- Through Glass
12) OneRepublic- Good Life
13) Hot Chelle Ray- Tonight, Tonight
14) Eric Church- Springsteen
15) Jason Aldean- Tattoos on This Town
16) Flo Rida- Whistle
17) Cupid- Cupid Shuffle
18) Bruno Mars- The Lazy Song
19) Justin Bieber- As Long As You Love Me
20) Selena Gomez and the Scene- Love You Like a Love Song
21) Wallpaper.- #stupidfacedd

I hope he likes it!

Friday, December 14, 2012


It received a really good review on; I'm going to share the piece I wrote yesterday with you:

Sometimes I wonder what happened to Kyle,
as this picture sparks my memory—
with a torn up shirt; ragged to touch,
light blue, bloodied--don't you worry too much
fake, a bright, bright red.
He's such a cute little zombie.
The picture, dated 2009,
the year that I "met" him,
or wished we met in person—
I fantasized, a secret hidden beneath,
my ex never suspected a lust for his friend.
He made fun of Kyle, though,
how my longings grew and grew
despite the taunts, how unfair of him!
He would be perfect for me,
unlike this piece of garbage I dated.
Kyle was a writer. Much like me.
If only, oh if only, we met--
we'd write poems for hours,
talk about books while sipping coffee,
while musing about our travels to Germany;
we'd talk about the wrongs of the world
and how our exes screwed us over.
We connected on Facebook, a wonderful surprise—
I can't remember if I told him how I felt,
I think I did. I know I did, just thinking:
"we can't do that. If he found out,
if he found out, we'd be dead."
In hopes to fly to North Carolina,
he disappeared, to my dismay, from Facebook
and the hope I'd live happily ever after
in the snowy region of Asheville
with his comic book obsession
and dressing up for conventions
as zombies or anime characters or whatever—
that would be happiness, that would be love.
As I look at this picture, a perfect blue day,
clouds hanging in the sky;
North Carolina looks warm and inviting;
his smile lights his fuzzy bearded face
and cars zoom behind him.
I sometimes wonder what happened to Kyle—
oh, how I miss him!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Quick Poem

Looking for a title. Any suggestion is welcome. :)

The smile that lights his face,
surprise emanates throughout;
"Thank you," my heart melts and races.
"No problem," a sensual whisper,
silence. My hands sweat and tremble;
lunch would be perfect on a sunny eve, crisper
than leaves on a perfect autumn day;
but silence looms as the gift sits in hand--
porous and fragile, much like clay;
her longings and thoughts, so sublime,
intense, how she wished he was her's.
It felt like it would be the last time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Tea/ Putting up the Tree

Sorry I've been slacking for a few days; between my final paper and a holiday tea party this weekend, things have been hectic.

Saturday was a lot of fun, though. Although #67 couldn't make it to tea, Christina, Claire and I had a great time. It was filled with picture taking, cheer and laughs with delicious tea sandwiches and tea.

And on Sunday, we decorated the tree:

(I love this picture for some reason)

I gave #67 his gift today. I guess I was brave despite the nerves. I hope he likes it!

Now I'm off to watching TV... I worked on that paper enough, I'll finish it tomorrow.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Letter (final)

The Letter


عزيزتي ليلى,

العيد الميلاد سعيد! كيف الحال؟

أنا جدا. ذهبت الشرم الشيك  مع إمّي و أبي.


-لانا [1]



Layla stared at the delicately ink-written script on the yellowed parchment paper. The Arabic was sloppily written, almost like a three year old wrote it, but there was love behind the letters that older people often forgot—the world in general forgets.  She had grabbed out of the paper machete shoebox and almost forgot this letter existed; she smiled though it had been a bittersweet find.


“Layla, look!” Lana giggles and her toothless smile lights the dimly lit classroom. “I did it! I did it!” She was so proud and that made a seven year old Layla proud. Layla had been writing for two years excelling with the s’s and t’s, a perfect smiley face that smiled proudly back at her and the swirls of the s made her dizzy with joy. Although Layla loved writing and reading Arabic from the Qur’an, Lana was far behind in writing and reading.


“That’s great, Lana!” Layla smiles back with a similar toothless smile. “I’m happy for you.” 


“Layla, now that I can write pretty like you, can you teach me how to read?”


“Sure, Lana. We’ll start with the Qur’an.” Layla once overheard some adults express concern over Lana’s ability and feared for her soul.



Her phone had buzzed. Layla grabbed the phone from her beautiful denim jeans. The screen with the picture of Sami Yusuf in the background read that it was March 10, 2012. The day had been a quiet day, almost eerily quiet, but Layla was thankful all the same. Insha’allah, she thought to herself. “U ana ajmal sha5s bietmana bi mishwari isharekne,” her attention was diverted from her phone to Nancy Ajram’s angelic voice that rang out of the speaker—for four days only static, black and white scribbled static. This has been the longest, at least in Layla’s memory that spans twenty years, which the TV had been blacked out by crisis; though this had been better than watching the carnage and mayhem that was taking place in Syria and Egypt.



“He sends… Layla, what’s this word?” Lana struggled with the Surah.


“He sends down the angels, with the inspiration of His command, Lana. C’mon, this is important. You need to try,” an inflection of anger and annoyance is in Layla’s voice. Being a teacher is hard, she thought.


“Please, pretty please with a cherry on top, be mad at me, Layla. I’m sorry,” Lana began to cry.


The pleas of Lana mixed with tears touched Layla’s heart. Maybe it isn’t a big deal that she learns it all, it is hard. “I’m sorry, Lana. Let’s continue,” she looked through the Qur’an for an easier passage, “here, this one is easy.”




Layla looked from the brand new TV back to the shoebox; she would listen to Nancy Ajram while she paged through memories that were, or seemed to be, buried for years.


خلق آلسّموت وآلآزض بألحق تعلى عما يشركون [2]۝۳



The paper was beginning to fade, but the blue ink looked perfect. This had to be the best Lana had ever done.




“This is my special paper, be very careful,” Layla instructed Lana carefully. “I want you to write one verse from Surah Al-Nahl that you like.”


With quill in hand, Lana picks it up and began to carefully write her Arabic script. “I like this one Layla. I love it!”


“What does it say?”



“Take your time.”


“Allah cree-eight-ed…”


“Very good, Lana!”


“the heavens and err-th en true-th. High is Allah above what they… Layla, what’s this word?”


“Associate. Sound it out. Ass-oh-sea-ate.”


“Ass-oh-sea-ate with Him.”


“Excellent and what chapter is it?”


“16, Layla.”


“Very good!” Lana then hands Layla her special piece of ivory parchment paper. “And your script looks beautiful. You’ll be well prepared for school tomorrow.”





عزيزتي ليلى,

العيد الميلاد سعيد! كيف الحال؟

أنا جدا. ذهبت الشرم الشيك  مع إمّي و أبي.


There was something about Lana’s first letter that drew Layla back to the yellowed piece of parchment. Sharm el-Shiek, described as heaven with the land jutting out into a crystal blue sea, had beautiful and very friendly people. Mosques with the crescent gold top lined the skyline and so did churches with their crosses on top; both Holy places shone like glitter and is such a beauty for the eye to see. They weren’t angry with Allah. Why should they be? Layla always pictured it as heaven; free from the threat of suicide bombers, missiles and a corrupt leader. When Lana came back, she said it was a quiet place free from the hustle-and-bustle of cars, but who knows if it was true. She did say there were good restaurants and museums devoid of bullet holes and graffiti. Layla longed to go—she wanted to escape this hell.




Bzzz, errrr, the siren’s droning began again as Layla sat glued in the blue chair with her notebook and pencil sitting in front of her. She wasn’t paying attention to her teacher’s lessons, probably on English, but what was going on outside was probably better. As she looked out the window, the sky was a greyish colour and it lacked clouds.  For some reason, this terrified Layla. When she wasn’t paying attention to her English lesson, she would escape to the outside world and daydream about the clouds in the sky—their shapes and what they resembled. Once she saw a bee.


“Layla, why is the bee so important,” Lana had asked on that beautiful day in April. “I mean, the Qur’an has a chapter dedicated to it and all and I wanna know why.”


“I heard that the bee is a miracle because realistically a bee shouldn’t be able fly. But, with the act of Allah, it magically does. It also has determination and faith, which is what we all should have. I guess Allah is trying to say that we should try and have faith in him.”


“Bees scare me, Layla. They sting.”


“I know, I am sometimes afraid of them too, but I remember how important and beautiful they are. You should too.”


“Layla,” the rapping of the ruler diverted her attention back to her teacher. “pay attention! This is important!”


“Sorry Miss Samira,” and she turns her head back toward the blackboard with A’s and B’s and C’s; Cat, Apple, Boy written in white. Miss Samira goes back to the board and begins to write with her chalk—


Miss Samira, like a feather in wind, fell delicately to the floor as she screamed at a blood curdling pitch. Suddenly, it was silent and a figure dressed in black with a ski mask draped over his face was staring at the class.


Layla couldn’t remember if he said anything or not, but he might have said something in Hebrew or an Arabic she didn’t know yet or couldn’t understand with a thick accent or English, things happened too fast.


The gun echoed as the bullets torpedoed at students. In a moment of panic, Layla was surprised she didn’t freeze up—she hid under a desk. Some of her classmates bullet riddled bodies laid bloody on the tiled floor. “Ah,” she let out quietly, but remembered she had to be quiet. “Please, Allah, please help us.”


Hearing the combat boots take to the floor, she heard chairs moving and more bullets being fired.


“Please, please, please don’t,” she heard Ahmed scream. Bang and he suddenly went silent.

It went on for an eternity, or what felt like one to Layla. More screams, more bangs and clinking as bullets hit chairs, desks and whatever else was in the way in the classroom. Suddenly, she heard silence, then a door opening and combat boots walking out. Still hiding under the desk, Layla closed her tear filled eyes.


“We have one over here, she looks to be still alive,” she heard someone say. Her heart began to flutter. Did that monster bring more people to finish the job?


The desk was moved and police officers stared at her. They didn’t say much; they wrapped her in a blanket and carried her to an ambulance to be checked out.


“Where’s Lana,” she screamed over and over again as a honey bee landed on blood spattered and grimy face with tear streaks, but instead of shooing it away; she screamed some more. However, the paramedics and doctors scared it away before they sedated Layla. Later she found out Lana was one of the first students to go.


Another suicide bombing today in Palestine, the TV rang out, it was back to news programs again. With tears in her eyes, the tears fell on the parchment and made some of the ink smear. Rustling the paper impulsively, she threw the letter back into the shoebox and slammed the lid shut—it was enough of those memories for today. It reminded too much of Lana and the moment she became an atheist. Allah might have created us, her thought after that sad day in April ended, but He easily takes things away. He could care less about us!  


“I need to get out of here. I once said to Lana I’d go to Sharm el-Sheik. It’s now that time—for Lana!” She walked out the door, slamming it as she moved about. It was time to book the next flight out of Palestine.













[1] Dear Layla,
Happy Birthday! How are you? I’m good. I went to Sharm el Shiek with mom and dad.
I miss you!
[2] He created the heavens and earth in truth. High is He above what they associate with Him. ~ 16.3 Al-Nahl (The Bee)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Longwood Garden's Christmas Spectacle

Tonight mom, dad and I went to Longwood Garden's Christmas spectacle. There's one each year with different themes. This year the theme was stars and music. Very beautiful. Poems tomorrow. ^_^ Here are the pictures: