Thinking about Life.

So far in the first five and a half months of the 2018 calendar year, I’ve been to two funerals.

The first, of course, was my dad’s. That was hands-down one of the most difficult experiences of my entire life. This past week, I also attended my uncle’s funeral. While we was older than my dad – by about 14 years – it was still very sad. The touching memories and time spent with family meant a lot.

All of this has made me think about life so much. I don’t like to say I’m thinking about death, because I’m not. But I’m thinking more about our lives and how we all only have these moments, and we never know when we won’t have any more moments. It’s all made me realize just how precious life is.

The pastor at my uncle’s funeral said something like “we have 1,440 minutes every day. you have to use those minutes that day, you can’t save them for the next day. and every day, you get to start over.”

How true is that? And what a blessing, to know that each day is a new opportunity for us. I don’t ever want to take a day for granted if I can help. I know it isn’t always easy; life isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have these experiences that are so tough, it feels like we’ll never make it to tomorrow and the new 1,440 minutes that await us. But we do. One day at a time.

How did you spend your 1,440 minutes yesterday? Did you do anything that you enjoy, or are passionate about? Did you spend half of doing something you hate? Did you spend it with people you love?

How are you going to spend tomorrow’s 1,440 minutes — assuming you get them?

Life is meant to be lived – so get out there and start living.

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Top 60+ Questions to Ask When Renting an Apartment

Almost three years ago, I made the jump from living with my mom to living on my own for the very first time. I was 24, and my now-husband and I moved into the very first apartment we ever looked at. Some three years later, we’re still in that apartment (and likely will be for some time) and we’re happy here!

That being said, I remember that sense of caution, that sense of the unknown, that came with moving into an apartment, especially moving from home for the first time. There are so many variables to consider, it’s hard to keep track of them all!

I’m by no means a veteran, but over the years, I’ve made a mental list of notes and thought I’d share some of my top questions that I think everyone should ask regarding a new apartment/condo/rental/whatever. Some of these are pretty basic, while others are a little more detailed – but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask ANY question! After all, this may be your new home for however long, and it’s important that you know everything you need to about it.

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Slowing Things Down

┬áRush, rush, rush. Do this, do that. Check ten things off the to-do list only to add five more later. Oh, and I have to do that other thing, too. Why isn’t this finished yet? I’d better get that done real quick.

Does that sound familiar to you? It does to me. Life can sometimes seem like it’s all-go, no-stop. Sometimes it feels like there’s just no *time* to stop, or even slow down. When you’ve got a to-do list that’s half a mile long, and that never quite seems to get shorter, it can, quite frankly, be exhausting.

Well, a few weeks ago, my body told me to SLOW! DOWN! Or rather, the fact that I slipped on a huge patch of ice and fell, putting three small fractures in my right elbow, told me to slow down. After a trip to an immediate care facility, then an orthopedic doctor, plus x-rays and a CT scan and then *more* x-rays, my elbow should be healing nicely. I’m not in a cast, but I have to wear a sling most of the day.

Between this and losing my dad early in the year, I’ve really been forced to take a step back and slow down. I can’t do things the same way I could before I broke my elbow (on my dominant hand, of course). Writing is better now that I can take the sling off once in a while; same with typing. Cooking is a challenge, and quite frankly, my husband has been great in stepping up to help. Getting dressed isn’t too bad, but I still can’t zip most of my jackets over my sling.

For the first few days, it was definitely frustrating. I wanted to start dinner when I got home from work, then realized there’s no way I’d be able to one-handedly lift a hot pan out of the oven right now. I wanted to get some laundry done, but carting that down to the basement was a no-way, Jose. I wanted to wash my hair, but it took extra effort not to try to use my right arm.

I’ve slowed things down a bit, focused on just doing what I can, and taking it one day at a time. It’s helped, a lot. I’m no brain surgeon, and it’s okay if the laundry has to wait another day or two to get done. It’s okay if it takes me an extra hour to finish this piece I’m writing; my deadlines are mostly self-imposed anyway. It’s fine if it ends up taking me 3 months to read this book because I can’t focus on reading a lot of days. And I haven’t even touched my NaNoWriMo / novel project since last year, but I know it’ll be there when I’m ready to circle back to it.

What am I in a big rush for anyways?

Life is meant to be lived now, not in the ink on some never-ending to-do list.

Looking Back, and Looking Ahead

With the stroke of midnight, the calendar year of 2017 is now officially behind us. Welcome to 2018, where anything is possible. None of us can know what the new year is going to bring, but we can focus our energies on looking ahead, while still reflecting on what’s behind us.

Looking at the year behind us, there were certainly some incredible moments, and I definitely grew on several personal levels. After many long years, I finally got my driver’s license, something I’d been working on (and on, and off) for seven and a half years. On a personal level, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. These were the two biggest moments of the year for me, and they weren’t insignificant.

My family expanded, as my sister-in-law got married, and that will continue into this year as they’re expecting their first child, which is so incredibly exciting. I also got to do some traveling, including one new state (West Virginia) and had some wonderful time by the Finger Lakes.

On a professional level, I got to keep writing, covering hockey and even found a few new opportunities to do so. I also seriously did NaNoWriMo for the first time, and although I didn’t finish it, it was a start – a start on a novel I hope to finish and publish, in 2018.

So what will 2018 bring? I don’t know, but I’m okay with that. I’m hopeful.

I definitely have some goals for the year ahead – including my aforementioned novel, provided I don’t totally dump it – but overall, I’m just trying to stay open-minded and open to what the year brings.

The (Very Long) Path to A Driver’s License

May 22, 2009.

Eighteen-year-old me has finally reached this moment. I’m at the DMV’s office in downtown Buffalo, officially applying for my learner’s permit. This, I think to myself, is the first step to everything. Get a permit, get a license, get a car… and gain a sense of freedom and independence like nothing else.

I studied hard for my permit test, and as a result, I not only passed it that first time – I aced it. Just like that, I’m able to start learning how to drive a car.

And so I do, sort of. But it turns out to be a much longer process for me than for most people, for a number of reasons. I take full responsibility for the fact that it takes so long. I get some driving practice, once in a while, with my father. Sometimes I’m really motivated to get behind the wheel, but other times, I’m not. I drive here and there, but not regularly enough to get a good handle on things.

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