Nostalgia

Things I Wish They’d Told Me

I’ve reached the point where I am officially no longer in the youngest generation at my job and it’s made me start thinking about the things I wish someone had told me when I was starting out. Things I’ve learned the hard way and wish I could have learned sooner. So here they are in case someone else missed that class as well:

1. Never accept the first salary offer. This one is hard, I’m still not good at negotiating salary; I listen to some of my friends in awe as they tell me how they negotiated what they’re worth. Sometimes the offer is really all that you’re going to get, but that’s usually not the case. Do your research, ask friends, colleagues, family, the internet (glassdoor.com is a great resource for certain industries like mine), etc. Figure out what you’re worth and also have a backup of other things they could offer you if they can’t reach your desired salary (parking, phone, vacation, etc.) Women, we can’t stop getting paid less if we don’t start asking for more. And on that note, you can and should negotiate your salary if you realize that you’re being underpaid. It’s not a “snooze, ya lose” situation. Put together an argument that shows your contributions and why you should be paid more, put it in writing, and get it done.

2. If someone is leaving your company and you really want to work for/with them, you have to ask them. Most companies will make employees sign legal documents that prevent them from “poaching” employees, but that only works one way. If you ask someone for a job or send them your resume to keep you in mind, they can’t get in trouble for poaching.

3. Your mentors will rarely be the people you ask to be. When I first started out I was hungry to learn as much as I could and guidance on how to navigate the tricky ad world. I asked several people in my early years if they’d mentor me, they all said yes, and none of them followed through. The people who mentored me, and continue to, weren’t people I asked to do it, they were the ones that I naturally created relationships with and continued those relationships with after we’d ceased working together. The flip side is, if someone asks you to mentor them, try to do it. It’s a huge compliment and there’s a good chance you’re being a total dick by blowing them off.

4. You can’t fight other people’s battles. There’s a lot of struggle and complaints that happen in office environments. A lot. It can be easy to get caught up in it, especially when you’re friends with the people in bad situations. You can always lend an ear or advice, but you have to let them be the ones to solve it or try to solve it. This one has always been really tough for me.

5. You can and should speak up when you’re uncomfortable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a conversation in the agency world with a group of (usually) guys and it’s gotten offensive/inappropriate and I’ve just played along because I was trying to “be cool” and not be “that girl”. It’s bullshit. Be that fucking girl. No one else likes it, and people will respect you more for shutting that shit down than supporting it.

So what’s the advice that you wish someone had given you when you were first starting out?

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The Best Is Yet To Come

Ten years ago, today, A. and I went on our first date. I’m retiring our dating anniversary after this, but I think ten years is something to celebrate. It’s amazing how long ten years can seem, but in this context it seems like it’s flown by.

This last year was probably the hardest, but it was also one of the best with the many adventures we had. I think there are two mindsets you can walk away with from a life/death experience: you can focus more on the present and making each day really count or you can keep looking ahead and believing in the good things to come. I am not the put a smile on it and make cupcakes in the morning and greet each day kind of gal. I am totally cool with continuing to waste some days and having ups and downs. I refuse to live each day as my last or even entertain that mentality (because it’s pretty morbid it you think about it) and it puts so much pressure to be so goddamn cheerful and grateful all the time (I’m getting off track here). Instead I’m loving the good things we’ve had and done, but I’m also believing there is so much ahead of us to look forward to.

In ten years we’ve visited twelve countries together, not counting airport layovers. Before A. I’d only been to Canada once, and being from Vermont that barely counts as a foreign country. I didn’t need a passport. We’ve visited at least 21 states (not counting drive throughs) and lived in five together. I’ve lost track of the number of different homes we’ve had together, I would guess around 15. We’ve also been taken in by my parents, my aunt, A.’s aunt and uncle, and a good friend. We’ve adopted three fuzzy terrorists that enrich our lives when they’re not destroying them. We’re on our fourth car and had one scooter. We’ve each experienced a major hurricane that made us fear for our families and helped each other through it. We’ve experienced the loss of people we’ve loved together and we’ve survived a cancer diagnosis and treatment. All in all, I have no doubt that we have so much yet to come and we’ll be able to handle anything.

Come and let us live my Deare,
Let us love and never feare,
What the sowrest Fathers say:
Brightest Sol that dies to day
Lives againe as blithe to morrow,
But if we darke sons of sorrow
Set; o then, how long a Night
Shuts the Eyes of our short light!
Then let amorous kisses dwell
On our lips, begin and tell
A Thousand, and a Hundred, score
An Hundred, and a Thousand more,
Till another Thousand smother
That, and that wipe of another.
Thus at last when we have numbred
Many a Thousand, many a Hundred;
Wee’l confound the reckoning quite,
And lose our selves in wild delight:
While our joyes so multiply,
As shall mocke the envious eye.

Out of Catullus
-RICHARD CRASHAW

Hello 2015

I haven’t done one of these posts since 2012 because I got lazy with my blog, so time to start again. It’s been a banger of a year for sure. 2014 sucked but it was also awesome, it’s definitely the most complex year I’ve ever had and hope never to have again. It’s tough when you have something like a cancer diagnosis take up 1/2 the year because it’s easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but there were too many good things that happened to do that, so instead I’m just going to record my year’s highlights.

1. Work. I got promoted towards the end of 2013 and finally caught my title up to my experience. It was a discouraging process and I am grateful that I found an agency who recognized my experience and didn’t just string me along as I’d had happen a bit with past employers (amazing how often places love to work you far above your title, but are so reluctant to pay you for it). I was only there for three months out of 2014 but I accomplished a lot. I traveled for work more than I ever have which helped me feel more independent and see new places. I made awesome new friends and spent quality time with existing ones. I worked on probably the most complicated project I will ever work on and am really proud of how it turned out. Professionally I felt very fulfilled and sad to leave.

2. Thailand. A. and I decided since we were moving across the country we would take off for a month and bum around Thailand. It was amazing. We played with elephants, rode hundreds of miles on scooters, ate everything (except curry for me), snorkeled, swam in beautiful places, and best of all, got to see a whole new part of the world. We could have easily stayed another month and not gotten tired of it.

3. Leaving SF. This was easy and hard to do. It was easy because we’ve been talking about moving to New Orleans for most of our relationship and it was really exciting to finally be going. For me I’d reached a bit of a rut in terms of wanting to not live in an apartment anymore, get a dog, be closer to our families, and start thinking about kids. SF didn’t feel like the right place to do this and it felt like life was on hold. However, it was also so so so so hard to leave our friends and family in SF. These are the people that we grew into adults with and have been able to take for granted and enjoy their company almost the entire time we’ve lived in SF. Moving to New Orleans is not a little move and leaving everyone was really hard. I also miss burritos.

California Thanksgiving

California Thanksgiving

Screen shot 2015-01-01 at 5.16.18 PM

Totally the best breakfast burrito in SF

4. Cross Country Trip. Our car didn’t break down this time! We got to do everything and see everything we wanted to and it was all amazing. The driving wasn’t too rough and we had great weather for the whole trip. I especially loved Portland and it will be on my list of regrets never getting to live there. Yellowstone was another huge highlight for me, I love animals. Hiking over 7 miles in Glacier was a big accomplishment for me and one I’m glad I got to do before getting laid up the back half of the year.

5. Coming home again. Although the extended circumstances sucked, I still got 5 months in Vermont where I really got to feel home again and see and do everything I could want. I reconnected with some old friends, spent lots of time with my family, and had a beautiful summer and fall.

6. Cancer. Cancer sucks. I’ve got nothing positive to say about this one. It’s still mind boggling to me that I had cancer at 30, how does that even happen? It’s insane. It has taken a lot from me in health, days, and experiences and I’ll be looking to make up for those soon. A family friend told me to look for the gifts and this is one I go back and forth on weekly/daily. Some days I think of all of the support and love I’ve gotten through this and all of the friends that have made time to see me while I’m down and out. It’s been amazing and wouldn’t have happened without this. I feel very very fortunate I have you all. However, I’d trade it all in a hot second to not have gotten cancer which I know isn’t the point, but I think it’s hard to think of it as a gift related to my diagnosis and more of a gift in my life in general (hopefully you’d all love me still with no cancer even though I’d hear from you less). Feeling grateful in relationship to cancer is an up and down experience too, sometimes I’m flooded with it and sometimes I want to tell the world to fuck off. I’m still in the thick of things though so only time will tell on how I’ll eventually reflect back on this.

Yar

Yar

7. New Orleans. We finally made it here. I feel really good about how I planned things out. In the beginning my doctors were pushing me to get chemo before surgery and I am so glad that I pushed back and did it the way I did it. Chemo was worse than surgery and I can’t imagine mentally having to go into surgical recovery after getting through this and I also think one of the reasons I’ve healed so well is that my immune system and body were in fighting shape when I had surgery which is certainly not the case now. I’d also be in the position of probably still being in Vermont where it’s cold and dark and isolating as opposed to being down here where we’re moving into our place, getting a dog, and starting a new life. Everyone’s treatment plan is different and one of the few things I feel very secure about making a decisions on is my treatment schedule. I picked the right one for me.

I usually don’t do resolutions, I’m more of a no pressure or maybe things I hope for in the new year rather than try and set up a strict list of things I probably won’t follow through on. This year is different though. Given my more fragile lease on life I think it’s appropriate to come out of this and have something to focus on. I don’t have to resolve to be more healthy because that’s a rule from my doctor. Since my cancer is triple negative (no hormone receptors) I won’t be able to take any medication to prevent reoccurrence. Those meds tend to have all sorts of fun side effects (like causing cancer) so I’m not sad about this, but it is more scary because I just have to hope my body can do a better job this time around and that the chemo worked. The only thing I can do is keep a healthy BMI through eating well, exercising, and drinking moderately. So this one doesn’t count as a resolution because I actually medically need to do it.

Anyways, my resolution for 2015 is to say “yes” to more things. I’m not a big “yes” person. I tend to not like a lot of plans and be just as happy staying in on my couch or in my bed. However I just moved to a new city and need to meet people and experience things. I also have had 5 months of having to say “no” to a lot of things because of my health and I think it’s time to reclaim my life through saying “yes”. Please notice that I said “to more things” and specifically not “to everything”. I’m not trying to be a new person, just more of a person.

We’re moving into our new place tomorrow and hopefully obtaining a puppy this weekend so 2015 is off and rolling.

Confessions of a Coffee Addict

I remember my first cup of coffee vaguely. I was either 12 or 13, I’m leaning towards 13 because the premise for me being allowed coffee was that I was pretty grown up and turning 13 seems like the more likely age to try and pull that. I didn’t finish that first cup of coffee and I didn’t revisit it for years due to the bitter taste that little me, who still loved the nauseating sweetness of white chocolate, wasn’t up for.

The next experience with coffee came around 16. It was a big year for me. My first real boyfriend (well if you don’t count my elementary school boyfriends which I do in my heart, but not in any real list of consequence, which I make all the time, I mean doesn’t your life call you to make lists about your romantic history before 18 on a regular basis?) Anyways. My first boyfriend was a guy who was home schooled and lived on the other side of the hill, ok maybe over two hills from my house. The really only relevant thing about him for this post is that he loved those gas station cappuccinos. You know the ones made out of powder and you press the button and it comes out? Keep an eye out at a gas station if you’re confused, they only live at gas stations. They also taste nothing like a real cappuccino and are incredibly sweet. Of course we’d also add sugar and cream to them because we were 16 and the idea of a heart attack hadn’t occurred to us. I’m sure you could pay me to drink one of these now, but it would cost you. A lot.

The next coffee I remember having a meaningful relationship with is the same as most New England kids: Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee. Oh that sweet elixir. A big jump from powder cappuccinos, but with so much cream and sugar it is the perfect gateway coffee. I shudder to think how much of my small wages from slinging pizza were spent on this, but it was almost always with friends so I guess I’ll forgive the expense because we were making memories. At this point I had a license and a car so my fix was only a 25 minute drive to Randolph, which is nothing in Vermont. This coffee milestone was best enjoyed with Maria or Anna, driving around aimlessly (possibly scouting for boys), and definitely blasting questionable music.

Then I went to college and my love of coffee became a disease. So shocking, but staying up drinking until the am, getting up for class, minimal exercise; all adds up to exhaustion. Factor in the winter at Dartmouth where it’s cold and dark and seasonal depression is king, you’ve got to find something to get through it with. Some of my prep school classmates turned to cocaine, I turned to coffee. I was much more interested in piercing my nose at 18 rather than trying to put something up it. Plus, you could buy coffee with your meal card.

Freshman photo entitled "no caffeine"

Freshman photo entitled “before caffeine”

Freshman photo entitled "after caffeine". Also check out my shiny smooth hair!

Freshman photo entitled “after caffeine”. Also check out my shiny smooth hair!

Part of my problem in college was that I was a major procrastinator and an english major. Oh and Dartmouth was a trimester schedule college so you only had a couple of days between classes and ending and finals, none of those cushioned week or two off between semester classes and finals. So I would end up in a situation where I would be writing multiple long papers in the span of a few days. I usually had the outlines and the notes, or maybe that was later on in college? Freshman year may have just been a shit show in terms of getting research, outline, and paper writing during finals. Anyways, the moral of the story is that I did not sleep much during finals, if at all. When coffee stopped working I’d switch to caffeine pills (which you could also buy with your meal card) and after finals I would collapse in my bed and feel horrible for a day or two. This is a major part of the reason that I believe caffeine is bad for you (also the totally scientific spider web experiment). Coffee became a part of my routine rather than a treat. I’m pretty sure that I told my dear friend/freshman roommate one morning when she tried to wake me up for an early class “I don’t have time to shower or grab coffee so I can sleep there or here and I’d rather sleep here.”

After college, coffee was a life staple. I had to start my day with it and perhaps have another cup to get through the afternoon. This my friends is where something you enjoy turns into dependency or addiction. The worst was when the coffee at work wasn’t good because I was too broke to be buying Starbucks on a daily basis so I’d have to suck it up. I got the flu so bad the year after graduating college that I didn’t leave our tiny studio for a week. I also got to experience caffeine withdrawal while having the flu which really sucked because I was too sick for coffee. Also based on my deep rooted belief that caffeine is in fact bad for you, I don’t drink it when I’m sick. I figure my body has enough problems. After the flu incident I quit coffee. I thought that this was my best shot since I’d been coffee free for a week I could break free. This lasted for a few months. Then my Dad came to town and we went fishing and had to get up at like 5am and I just couldn’t do it without some coffee and after that first cup it went all downhill again.

Here’s an example of why I had a coffee addiction rather than just a consensual coffee relationship that some of you have. At one of my agency jobs we had a kitchen by the area I sat and coffee setup there. One of the things we learn as an adult is that adults are some lazy motherf******. Seriously. So every now and then I’d go to have my first cup of the day (the most important one) and someone had left the coffee thing empty. In the morning. It takes 30 seconds to set it up for new coffee. This was rough on me because I would be tired, foggy, and grumpy as hell before this first cup so I often started ranting at it. Usually something along the lines of “Motherfucker! Is it so fucking hard to fill the coffee thing? I hope a giant pigeon shits on your head.” I had one of the heads of the strategy department sit in on at least two of these rants without me noticing him until he started laughing. This my friends is not the signs of a healthy relationship with coffee.

I then tried multiple times to quit 2010-2012 with very little success. I did get myself to start liking tea which offered a lower caffeine hit than I was used to. Tea was totally my nicotine patch. This came in handy when I went to Belize for my honeymoon and could drink tea instead of having to worry about decent coffee like A. (not so much). But I still couldn’t kick the habit.

Then about a 7 months into my last agency job I went on a tough shoot. We were shooting cars at night in LA. Everyone who has done a car shoot is nodding their heads right now with me, the rest of you are saying “what’s so hard about that?” We had a different location for each shoot, most of them were complicated setups, and we had to scout during the day and shoot at night so they were very long days. On this shoot my art director mentioned that he didn’t drink coffee. I was shocked. Totally shocked. He was pulling some of the longest days because he was also editing and composing the shots and he was getting through this without coffee? All of a sudden it clicked for me that I could do this. I could quit coffee.

After the shoot I quit cold turkey and it was rough. The first week I walked around with a headache. I’m sure I was very pleasant to be around. The next two weeks I walked around in a fog, my brain was slower and felt weird. This of courses added to my conviction that caffeine is very bad for you. After this I made it on the other side. I got to experience waking up and actually gradually wake up instead of operate in a fog until I had my first cup. I also stopped having caffeine crashes. I actually have way more energy not drinking coffee than I did drinking it, so what’s the freaking point???

After the initial cold turkey, I started occasionally having caffeinated tea and even a coke if I was out late. It is amazing how much energy a coke will give you when you’re not used to having caffeine again. Crazy. For the first several months I monitored my intake pretty strictly, only having caffeine a couple of days a week, more days off than on. I didn’t have any coffee because it still smelled amazing to me and I missed it. I broke up with coffee, but that didn’t mean I was over it. Sitting in morning meeting with everyone else drinking a cup was torture for a while, especially when it was cold out. My non-caffeinated tea just wasn’t the same.

I had my first cup of coffee almost a year after I quit. It was delicious. I stayed strong though and didn’t go back for more until a couple of months later again. I quit in April 2013 and it’s taken until the last couple months for me to feel like my relationship with coffee is truly over and now we’re just plutonic friends that get together every now and then to talk about old times. I am so glad that I quit for lots of reasons, but it would have been especially horrible trying to maintain the coffee needs I had while going through surgery, after-care, and chemo. I would have been inundated with headaches and stomach problems. The funny thing is now I drink the most coffee on a regular basis than I have since I “quit”. But the way I drink it is different. I spend about a week and a half not drinking it as I go through my chemo treatment and recovery and then for around 4 days, I drink a cup a day. Well sometimes 1/2 a cup. It doesn’t feel comforting like it once did or like it’s a part of my day/life. I drink it because it’s a vice. I drink it because I believe it is bad for me and having to treat taking care of myself as a full time job right now, I need a vice. I’m still very good with my vice and can take it or leave it depending on how I feel that day, but it makes me feel better knowing that I have a vice in all of this. Afterwards I’ll go back to my mostly-caffeine free life, occasionally I’ll need an ice-coffee from PJs, I am only human, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back to coffee being part of my inner circle. Hopefully anyways.

This isn’t my hand, coffee, or photo.

They Say You Can’t Go Home Again

I’ve identified with the Thomas Wolfe quote “you can’t go home again” since my little cousin Jessie informed me during the summer after my freshman year of college that my parents were giving my room to my little brother. After I lost my room I never felt the same about being home. 11 years later I can say that this was totally fair and that Luke deserved the much bigger and better room since he’d played second fiddle to room selection his entire life. But anyways, that’s besides the point.

I nested pretty heavily into my rooms at college. I painted one (obviously not a dorm room), and spent hours decorating and finding the right furniture to make them homey. However, I also moved constantly. There’s a point of pride at Dartmouth for those of us that move constantly. Dartmouth is on a trimester system and has summer terms so the “opportunity” to move rooms is pretty substantial. Here’s my Dartmouth/SF living history:

Dartmouth fall ’02-spring ’06
Freshmen year: Dorm all three terms
Freshmen summer: Parent’s house/football frat
Sophomore fall/winter: Dorm
Sophomore spring: Tabard room (the Closet)
Sophomore summer: Tabard room (the President’s room)
Junior fall: Panarchy room (forgot the name)
Junior winter: New Orleans (Anton’s parent’s house)
Junior Spring: Panarchy room (the Realm)
Junior Summer: off campus apartment
Senior fall: Tabard room (Social chair)
Senior winter: NYC apartment
Senior spring: Tabard room (Social Chair)
Senior summer: Parent’s house/Anton’s aunt and uncle’s in NOLA
August ’06-Spring ’07: Geary/Leavenworth apt
Spring ’07-Fall ’08: Hayes Valley apt
Winter ’08-Summer ’10: Lower Haight apt
Summer ’10-Winter ’12: Upper Haight apt
Winter ’12-Spring ’14: Buena Vista Park apt

So in the last 12 years I have had 18 homes. 11 of these have been with A. The crazy thing is I’m not one of those people that’s ambivalent about having a home, it’s actually really important to me and plays a pretty major role on my every day happiness. I love coming home to my space. I can explain the reasoning behind each move, but I never intended to make this many moves.

With so many moves and feeling totally displaced at the beginning of each one, home became where A. was. During those years we also left for two months and traveled around Europe and most recently went to Thailand for a month and then drove cross country. With the physical location being such a temporary thing, A. became my home and feeling of comfort.

The separation of home from my parent’s house and home started that summer after college, but it’s deepened with each year. I feel like a visitor staying in what I considered my brother’s room and then while he was in high school I was constantly missing being part of the family. I mean missing, like I wasn’t there, not that I was yearning to be a part of it from college. I was like most self-absorbed college kids and perfectly happy with my bubble of 18-22 year olds thinking we were all so important and cool. But when I came back to my parent’s house it was clear that I was a visitor, I wasn’t there for the regular family meals, family events, or my brother’s high school accomplishments for the most part. I also had felt like an outsider growing up in Vermont from my tiny grade school to my tiny high school (9 kids in my grade school class and 12 in my high school class) experiences. I tried like hell to fit in, but never really accomplished that and it was rough. In middle school the girl I considered my best friend from daycare wrote me a letter telling me ‘I was too weird to be friends with’. I had similar strike outs with the cool kids in high school. And yes, even with a school that small, there are still cool kids. Having briefly gone to a reasonably sized middle school (over 100 kids in my class), I think that the smaller school is actually much tougher when you don’t fit in than the large school where there’s more people to blend into. For instance, one of the cool girls who was a year older than me had a weekly South Park watching party at her house who she invited most of our soccer team to. See the word “most” and guess if I ever got to go. So every week I’d have to hear how awesome it was from my friends and teammates and because of the tiny size of our school, there wasn’t a social alternative for weirdo me. I watched South Park with my Mom.

Since then I’ve found plenty of fellow weirdos to be friends with and am very secure in my weirdness, but the reason I mention it is that not only did I have the displaced feeling from my parent’s house, but I didn’t exactly have a social world that made me feel like home when I came back to visit. Each year there grew a greater and greater divide. A lot of people I went to school with stayed in Vermont and as we grew up into adults I lost my footing in what to social situation was. I knew where we had all stood in high school, but since I wasn’t home that often in college and then only once a year or so afterwards I missed the social landscape changing as people grew up and changed and got to know each other as adults instead of hormonal teenagers. I also had a hard time letting go of dislike I had for people who had been a dick in high school because we never had any interactions to move past that unlike the people I was friends with that lived in Vermont and got to know them outside of high school. I had a couple of people I kept in touch with and would still try and see, but that could be difficult too when my one trip home was over Christmas and we got a snowstorm so we didn’t end up being able to connect. Each year I felt more and more like a stranger in my hometown even though I still think of myself as Vermonter to the core.

I actually had a couple of nightmares when we were on our way to Vermont to spend the summer because I was worried about how I’d feel being back but being so disconnected from my old life there. It was a weird thing to go from being independent and living in SF for almost 8 years to moving back into my old room in my parent’s house at 30, even if it was just for a couple of months. To go from having my own space to inviting friends over to hangout at my parent’s house. To go from having my own phone to people having to ask my Mom to talk to me because there’s only a landline that works there. It’s weird. It’s also kind of funny. Except for the fact that my parents are not always reliable in passing messages or answering call waiting. That’s enough to make me feel like a frustrated teenager again.

Then my world got turned upside down and two months turned into five and a half. My time in my old room was probably equal to the time I spent in there my whole senior year of high school because of all the time I spent recovering from surgery and chemo in bed. My parent’s house became home again. And leaving home when it’s your parent’s house again is really hard to do.

My room became my cocoon. I felt safe there and comfortable, two things that I sorely needed going through this. My parents and I settled into a hybrid relationship where I was an adult but they were still overprotective. It’s hard not to be overprotective when your kid had cancer, but I still only need my Mom to ask if I’m sure that I don’t want a sweater once. Or not at all. It was nice though too the moments where we all enjoyed each other’s company as adults, like going out to dinner or watching the Voice. Most of us don’t get to go home again and although I would trade it all to not have cancer (seriously, if you thought I was going to say otherwise you’ve watched too many Hallmark movies), I am glad that I got to have this. The two months I was originally going to spend there went by quickly and wasn’t enough to get comfortable. The five and a half months I had there made it home and made us not have to make the time count so much, we could get comfortable and just live. It’s hard to describe, but hopefully you’re following what I’m trying to say.

Leaving was really hard. Even when what you’re heading to is exciting and good, endings are sad. It makes it even sadder because it’s combined with two other things, it’s going to be a few months before I see either of my parents again and I’m used to being able to see them whenever I want, and I can’t imagine that I’ll ever live in Vermont/home again. It’s a big goodbye/ending that I didn’t expect and I’m going mourn it for a bit. The first day I cried in 4 out of 7 states that we drove through and I’m crying now just writing about it. I have no doubt in my mind about our living in New Orleans and i am so excited for our life here, but it doesn’t make it any easier or less sad to say goodbye to my home.

So on that note, call your Mom or Dad and tell them that you love them.