I’m not done here yet.

Hey there, to those of you who still follow me.

I’ve finally decided to give my website a revamping, so over the next few weeks, I will be uploading a lot more material and links!

Thanks for bearing with me through a ton of transitions- more to come on this later.

 

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Voting 101: Choose Your Fighters

Maybe you’ve been slacking on keeping up with the news. Maybe you’re conflicted about who you really trust in this election. Or maybe you’re like me, and thought you’d be voting in a different state, only to have that change at the last minute, and now you’ve got to play catch-up!

No matter what your situation is, voting can be stressful, and if you know anything about me and stress, we don’t get along. I was scrolling through Facebook this evening, just minding my own business and putting off being an active, engaged citizen, when I stumbled upon a post my friend Francesca made. She was encouraging people to check out this website that would give information on their local candidates, no matter where they were located in the United States.

Obviously, I got excited and checked it out. It was an amazing, easy to use site, that gave you information on all of your candidates, including direct quotes on specific issues, as well as their resume, so to speak. This resource is so valuable, and I encourage you all to check it out immediately.

Here is the link to the website, BallotReady.

On the site, you simply have to enter your address so it knows what district you’re in, and all of your candidates will pop up on your screen. Simply click each one to learn more about how they stand and have voted on issues you are about. Once you decide on the candidate you like the best, you can save them to your ballot (this isn’t an actual vote, but it will email you your “ballot” that you can then reference on voting day).

After you email yourself your completed “ballot,” you can choose a time to head to your polling place, which by the way, is also given to you when you enter your address! It can give you directions there and even create a calendar event that will text/email you to remind you on the day of.

I’m excited about this website because it also gives information regarding what you need to bring on the day of so that you can make sure you’re able to vote. For someone who has never voted in person before (only by absentee ballot!), I had no idea what my state required. Now, I do! Wow! Look at that!

If you’re in Pennsylvania like me, you can also take a look at this handy guideto read exactly what will go down on November 6th. And if you’re not in PA, here’s another resource you can use to check things like eligibility, if you’re registered, and more, all in your state of residence (or rather, where you’re registered to vote).

And that’s that. I hope to see many of my local friends at the polls, and can’t wait to hear about everyone else’s polling experience.


Also, if someone is making you uncomfortable at the polls, please report it. Here is a link from ACLU that clearly states what your rights are, and what voter intimidation is.

Here is a little excerpt on what to do if someone tries to turn you away at the polls:

Always ask the pollworker to double check to whether you are not on the regular list of registered voters. If you are not, then ask if there is a supplemental list of voters (sometimes, voters who register closer to Election Day are processed after the pollbooks are printed, and then subsequently placed on a supplemental list of registered voters). You may also request that they check a statewide system, if one is available, to see if you are registered to vote at a different polling place.

If they still cannot find you, ask for a provisional ballot.  All voters are entitled to a provisional ballot, even if you are not in the pollbook. After Election Days, election officials must investigate whether you are qualified to vote and registered; and if so, they must count your provisional ballot.

And another excerpt on if your qualifications are challenged (if someone questions if you are eligible to vote):

Laws vary from state to state. In many states, if your qualifications to vote are challenged, you can give a sworn statement to the pollworker that you satisfy the qualifications to vote in your state, and then proceed to cast a regular ballot.


As you can see, there’s a lot of information to take in in regards to voting. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be a scary thing. Set aside a few minutes (or more!) of your time to prepare yourself for voting on November 6th, and find out what you need to do and bring in order to cast your vote.

You’ve got this!


Still questioning if you’re going to vote or not? Read this article, this article, this article, and this article. Oh, and here’s another one on why young voters matter

Still not convinced? Read these tweets to see why others are choosing to vote. More tweets here. 


 

breathe & be

Today I was writing in my journal about my anxieties- you know, the usual. I was writing about how I’m nervous for City Year, for living in a new city, for meeting new people…. but as I wrote more and more, I realized that my anxieties were surrounded by things that haven’t even happened yet.

I was spending so much time focusing on my fears that I was missing the amazingness that is San Antonio and my new home and being alone.

And so, I decided that my motto for the next 11 months (my City Year term length), I will be focusing on the phrase “breathe & be.”

Breathe & be.

To me, this phrase means taking in my surroundings and being truly present with them. Feeling the paper I’m writing on. Tasting the fresh berries I’m enjoying. Soaking in the rays of sun beating on my shoulders. Listening fully to the person in front of me.

Writing about what I’ll do after City Year made me realize that I haven’t even begun to think of the possibilities I will encounter during City Year.

It’s time to refocus. These next 11 months will be about the present. When it is time to worry about the future, I will change gears. But for now, I’m going to do my best to enjoy the city and its people and all they have to offer me.

Breathe & be. Breathe & be. Breathe & be.

ithaca -> san antonio

Hello world.

I know you haven’t heard from me in awhile, but that’s because I have been so busy wrapping up my time here in Ithaca. You heard it here first- I’m MOVING!

I’ll be headed out to San Antonio on Sunday, July 22nd. It’s the start of a new chapter for me, and I’m eager to get there. Felix the Cat and I will be flying out of Buffalo and meeting Terri’s parents in Austin, TX.

The reason I’m leaving so soon is because I’ve accepted a job with City Year San Antonio through Americorps. I’ve never been so excited to start a new position. I truly feel like I’ll be able to make a difference, mentoring these children, and I cannot wait to get going.

On Tuesday, I have registration, and on the following Monday, training begins.

Learn more about what I’ll be doing in San Antonio for the next 11 months here.

the strawberry collection

dogs running among children on a family-owned farm

giggles dyed deep red

and their mother shaking her head

wondering why she ever let her children wear white


checkered red and white blanket upon a grassy hillside

we admire the mountains in the distance as we sit in the strawberry field

nestled between the raspberries and the peaches

summer fruits, ripening in mid-june.


my cheeks burn bright pink

juice staining our fingers red

strawberry kisses


dusty dirt trails and two quarts of strawberries

a broken piano in the long grass

and under the tree with the string lights

that you were so eager to play


you are like magic

and the whole world can see it

watching you wander in the strawberry fields

delicate and soft

i am happy to know you


fireflies flicker in the summer evening

settling in your straw hat

they’re out early tonight

i think they’re here to see you

or perhaps they’re just here

to nibble your strawberries


daises have a tendency to sparkle in the sunset

their white petals wave

in the oranges, reds, and pinks

i pick a bundle for you

you tuck them behind your ear

queen of the strawberry fields


i didn’t like strawberries much growing up

until you told me that you love them

mixed with rhubarb and mashed into a sticky jam

i started buying us quarts of strawberries

i am on a mission to love them as much as you

and i think i have finally hit the mark

you teased me when i would sneak a taste

that night at the strawberry field

the berries were so delicious

and i couldn’t stop thinking about

how i wanted to make them into a sophisticated wine

with flavor notes of wild daisies

i never told you that you looked beautiful

in your straw hat with our dog in your arms

let’s take our kids to this town someday

so they can see where i fell

even more in love with you


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love lessons

It is absolutely bewildering to me that animals show us the love that they do. I think we can all learn a lesson or two from a dog. Here is what I learned from Ollie yesterday.

  1. Big hearts can come in small packages.
  2. Ignore the meaningless clutter in life. What matters is those who are close to you. Everything else is a distraction.
  3. Wind can blow cares away.
  4. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and lay in the grass for awhile. The greenery will refresh you.
  5. Sand is a great place to do yoga.

 

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down in the long grass

There is something special about being alone by the water. It’s a sort of heavy, peaceful feeling.

Is that a dialectic? I can’t say for sure- but I do know that when it’s nighttime and I’m with my best friend on a deserted beach, I get that feeling of never wanting the morning sun to come.

erin

I felt that way again today, but this time I was completely alone. I noticed the heavy feeling settling down on my chest as I sat back against the tree. I gazed at the wild lavender along the water’s edge and began to daydream of what it would be like to live among the clouds.

img_0908

A little yellow butterfly rested itself on my knee and I froze. What a small life sits before me.

I gently stretch out a finger for it to crawl onto, but it flies away- by choice or by the wind’s current, I’ll never know.

The peace washes over me as the dandelion fuzz floats on the air around me. The willow tree above me sways in the cool breeze and I lie down in the long, green grass, drifting off to sleep.

rushing

When I close my eyes, I hear the feisty waves on the lake and smell the delicate floral notes in the air. I feel the spray of the crashing water on my face and I am refreshed.

Earlier, I’d wandered out to the empty corner of the park, where the grass was overgrown and the flowers bloomed wildly. A bush of white flowers caught my eye. Excitedly, I plucked a stem from the bush.

Ouch!

I pulled back and watched as a small trickle of blood pooled and rolled down my finger into my palm. I stepped onto the wet rocks and dipped my hand into the icy water, watching the red swirl away before me.

I reflected on the temporary nature of everything… pain, grief, anger, guilt… and felt my stress melting away. As I sat against a tree, the grass up to my knees, I felt calm at last.

The waves will rise again.

flutter

e has a thing for indie tunes, so we were sitting in the hardwood floors in the low light of my living room and listening to her favorite arctic monkeys track. the cat snuggles into e’s arms; the flickering light of the vanilla candle wavers in his yellow eyes.

it’s wednesday and we feel like we’re flying, watching the shadows dance in the ceiling, lying on blankets, talking about the stars with intermittent silence. the quiet is comfortable and we enjoy the sad indie jams and think about life.

the record player hums, the bass buzzes in our ears, and my mind continually wanders to marigolds and the shade of orange in the sunset that night.

it reminded me of ashes crumbling to the ground after someone taps their cigarette. the paintings on the wall come alive in my mind. i become consumed by the music, and i capture these feelings in my mind.

nostalgia for the present moment.

e still has daisies in her hair from earlier that evening, and i notice she’s fallen asleep.

-i hope she dreams of a wide open lavender field and monarch butterflies tonight

june: the month of lovers

the smell of the lake water rises over the rocky shore, and the grass is soft in the afternoon light. the sun overhead grins down on her shoulders, caramel and warm. she sits upon the rocky bank and becomes drunk on the way the icy water feels against her skin.

and i,

i sit nearby and fall more in love with this feeling.

nostalgia about the first time.