Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Verbing: In love with the sky. In honor of Erin.

I was inspired today. By Vickie's latest post.

So often I forget to just do things. To verb. To be in the moment, the movement, the action. To just be.

So, today, in honor of Erin, and for myself, I verbed. I got off the bus stop early and took a nice walk through my neighborhood. I noticed the trees and the budding flowers. I smelled Spring in the breeze and the scent of the warm air from this unusually hot day. I looked up at the clouds and appreciated their beauty.

I remembered that I love the sky.

I forget to remember just how much I love the sky sometimes. But I do. I love how blue it is, and how the clouds streak through it, and how the birds soar in circles and spirals to everywhere and nowhere in it. I've loved the sky for a long time now. Since Manny left. It's where I look to feel closer to him, to speak to him, to remember him. Manny flew away to the sky one day. I've looked for him there ever since. Seeing the sky everywhere helps me to remember he's everywhere too.

The sky is big and vast and beautiful and endless. Love is big and vast and beautiful and endless. And, if Manny is somewhere in that big, vast, beautiful, endless sky, I imagine he can feel my big, vast, beautiful, endless love. And, in those moments, he's not so far away. Love makes the distance shorter.

Thank you, Erin (and Vickie), for helping me to remember I love the sky. Because, I'd forgotten. My brother is up there. Give him a big bear hug for me, if you see him. He'll show you the ropes. He always was an amazing brother; I know you'll be great friends. And until we meet again, I'll keep looking for you in the sky and remembering to fill it with love.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ylaria's Night: Update

Thank you so much to everyone for your support. Last night's fundraiser went well. We raised nearly $1000 with the cover charge and raffle tickets. It was great to be able to add that much more towards our goal, but even more amazing was seeing everyone come together for such an important cause. It was beautiful to be able to share this night with so many and to know that we were all there for one reason: Ylaria.

There's talk of doing another open bar night again. I think it would be fun. We'll see what develops over the next few months. For now, thank you. Without you, this would not have been possible.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A night for Ylaria

Tonight is the night.

It seems like it was ages ago that I first told my cousin, Sonia, about Ylaria's relapse. I was devastated and crying after hearing the news from Belen (Ylaria's mom). Sonia quickly helped me put my sadness into action. I am so thankful for that. She is an amazing person and I am blessed to have her for a cousin.

If you can come tonight to Lounge 11 (505 Madison Ave in Hoboken, NJ), we would LOVE to see you! The fundraiser is from 9-11pm. Cover charge is $40 ($20 goes to Ylaria's family). If you can't make it, but would like to make a donation, please click here. Any help you can give would be so appreciated.

Ylaria is inspiring. She makes me laugh. She makes me smile. She's magic made real. Her family is my family and I love them. I want to surround them with our love tonight. So that they know that while the battle may be hard, and sad, and scary, they are not alone. They will never be alone. And there are many hands stretched out and arms holding them close as Ylaria fights for her life.

A friend shared this quote with me recently,
" At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us" (Albert Schweitzer). Ylaria and her family have been my spark many times. Tonight, I am lighting a flame of hope for them. Please join me. Let's light the world on fire with love. Ylaria, and so many children like her, deserve at least that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

#42: List five events from 1995.

1. Manny earned his angel wings. It was the day my world changed forever. It was the first time I actually felt my heart break. It was the first day I realized love couldn't save lives.

2. We didn't decorate for Christmas. For the first time ever. Christmas has never been the same since.

3. The Oklahoma City bombing.

4. I wrote my Nations Report (a HUGE deal in 6th grade) on Denmark.

5. I read a lot of really awesome books. Among them: The Golden Goblet, The Door in the Wall, and Adam of the Road.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

waking up thinking it's friday.

This is going to be a short post. This is going to be a loooong week so I need to get some sleep.

Work is getting a little intense. Working 9am-7pm is quickly getting old. And it's only been two days. *Sigh*. This may be the reason I woke up today and thought it was Friday. For a second. And then, crap(!) it's TUESDAY.

Tomorrow is our Benefit.

A HUGE, BIG, ENORMOUS deal. For those who don't know, I work for the GO Project, a small non-profit in lower Manhattan that provides academic and social services to underprivileged children in public elementary schools in the area. What do I do, you ask? I'm the Program Associate. Which tells you nothing really. I translate our Spanish-speaking families (which I love), maintain our database (which has been a headache lately), call every family that is absent on a programming day (fun!), maintain our attendance and retention records (more fun!), train/manage/recruit volunteers (it's been a learning experience), and help run our weekday tutoring program (another great learning experience). I love my job and I love the people I work with. I'm incredibly lucky and I know this. As I was saying tomorrow is our Benefit and I'll be lucky if I get home at 1am.

Friday, is the fundraiser for Ylaria. Yay! I am hoping for a great turn out. Friday will be another busy day. I'll be running from work to NJ for the event and hanging out until 11pmish. My sisters and cousins will be there so I am looking forward to some family time.

I will then run home for a few hours of sleep before getting up at 6am on Saturday. 6AM. SATURDAY. Why, you ask? I'm working this Saturday. I'll be there at 8am. (We run a tutoring program on Saturdays during the school year) and I am putting together a thank you breakfast for our volunteers. But the breakfast means I get to run around Union Square buying bagels and coffee on a Saturday. At 8am. Did I mention the commute to work from home is 1.5 hours? If I thought waking up at 5:30am this past Saturday was bad, another Saturday of the same is going to hurt. Badly. After work, I have to find whatever energy I have left for bridal shopping with my cousin and bowling with my family later in the evening.

Sunday, I am considering sleeping until I need to get up for another cousin's Sweet Sixteen party.

Don't get me wrong, I actually think all of these things are fun. Really. I just wish they didn't all have to land on the same week. I'm exhausted. And, it's TUESDAY.

Um. Yeah. I'll be living on coffee for the next few days. Someone's gotta get this economy going. I'll be doing my part at the local Starbucks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Love, Faith & Hope


Easter is about LOVE. It's about FAITH. It's about HOPE.

I had a wonderful Easter. Really, really wonderful. I started my day off going to Mass with my mom and sisters. We went to the early bird Mass (7:30am). It was a good way to start off the day, even if the singing left a little to be desired. There really is no other day like Easter, when I reminded that my faith gives me the greatest hope. It's comforting to know my angels still surround me. Even if I can't see them.

After Mass, we went home and Sara and I finished up preparing the desserts and cleaning the house while my mom started the many meats (pork loin, spiral ham and lamb) and sea foods (mussels, octopus, and shrimp) we were going to be gorging on in a few hours.

I love my family. They're really pretty awesome. And, there really is no better way to spend a holiday than with them-- eating, drinking and being generally insane. Even if that means I have to go to work with a hangover and little sleep the next day.

This Easter was a good one for all of its love, faith & hope.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Because today needs 5 things....

1. I woke up!
2. I walked a lot this morning.
3. The weather was so nice today!
4. I spent some time with my good friend, Kathy. We made plans for bar trivia on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to it.
5. It's Holy Thursday. Holy Week is so comforting. I'm looking forward to Easter & all the hope that comes along with it.

For Erin.

Erin earned her angel wings today.

I never met Erin, but I’ve been following her story for some time now, thanks to my friend, Jennifer. My heart breaks for Erin and her family. And, today, I hold them especially close to my heart. Erin was inspirational. She was full of life and beauty and hope. Our world was a better place with her in it and it’s sadder now that she has flown away. I like to think that she is now living in the stars with so many of our other angels. Stars are magical.

As the Little Prince said,

“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night…..And when your sorrow is comforted…you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend.”

Erin, I will remember you forever. Thank you for sharing your light and your laughter with us.


Ok, so I ended up working late & my leg has been acting up again so I didn't go for a run last night. BUT, I did take a long walk in the beautiful evening and enjoy some almost-sort-of-nearly Spring weather. I also listened to some favorite tunes. Need a new song? "Bloody Nose" by Earlimart is awesome. I. LOVE. It. Don't let the name deter you. The song is great. As Sara would say, it's a very "Olivia song".

I went for a quasi-run on the treadmill this morning but had to stop after 30 minutes because my leg was in too much pain. I did more walking after that, though. Something, is something, right? :p

Today, I will leave work on time (yay!) and head to church with the family. Tomorrow I have off and will try running again. I'll also most likely spend the day cleaning and preparing for the family get-together on Sunday. I love me some good family time. We're all sorts of insane, but life is more fun that way.

Yesterday's 5 Things:
1. I took a long walk in the morning. And in the evening.
2. My ipod kept me company at work.
3. Had lunch with my coworkers. It was fun. We laughed a lot.
4. I got some really sweet, uplifting and fun emails/messages from friends.
5. I woke up!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

covers over my head & mud on my shoes.

For the last few days, I've been waking up with less energy. I'm tired, mentally, physically, everything-ly and it's made me want to just keep the covers over my head and sleep until it's time for bed. It didn't help that after donating blood yesterday, I fell in a whole bunch of mud on my way home and ruined my Converse sneakers (My favorite shoes. Ever.)

Clearly, I need another self-care day. Or for caffeine to be introduced intravenously to my blood stream. Something.

So, I've decided to start the day with this blog post. Because it comforts me to write. And, if I can put my thoughts into words, I know they will motivate me into action.

I want to go for another awesome run and finish off the day jumping around & singing out loud to my favorite songs. And, I will. Today.

I am taking the covers off my head.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pictures of the sun & such

I had a great day today. And, I really needed it. I've been feeling a little lost lately and so busy and tired that days like today are priceless. I didn't do anything special. I spent the day at home with my family, relaxing, doing nothing significant. It was very much a self-care day. I've been missing those.

So, here are my five things for the day:

1. The weather was so nice. It was bright and sunny and crisp. I went to a park a few blocks from my house and swung on the swings. Yup. I'm nearly 26 and swinging on the swings is still a favorite. I highly recommend it. It's good for your legs and even better for your soul. I then came home, took the picture below for #27 of LTLYM (and the one above just because I wanted to) and I laid down on the grass to enjoy the sound of the birds singing, the feel of the breeze on my face and the grass underneath. To experience some Spring.

2. I was able to run (on the treadmill) for nearly an hour. After weeks of pain (not entirely gone), it was so nice to run again! I absolutely love running. I love listening to music while I run. I love letting my mind wander. I love sweating. I love the way my heart feels. I love the way I feel when I've finished a good run. I love running.

3. I got to spend time with my family. With my work schedule, other commitments and 1.5 hours commute (one way) to lower Manhattan, I don't often get to just sit and chat with my mom and sisters. Today reminded me that I really love it. And, the trip to Starbucks for a Frappuccino was just icing on the cake.

4. I went to Church. I haven't been to church in a while (cough, cough--Ash Wednesday). Ever since graduating from Dartmouth and leaving Aquinas House, I've struggled with finding a place where I feel comfortable, welcome and "at home" in the Catholic community. It's one of the reasons I've let me Mass-going slip. I went today and it felt good for my soul. I still need to find a more liberal church for my taste, but my soul needed some renewal. It found some today.

5. I HEARD "WHERE I STOOD" ON THE RADIO!!! Ok, so the story behind the song (which actually *just* came on my iTunes. :p) I heard the song on OTH and fell in love with it. I can't explain why. I just love the song and I especially love singing along to it. It's a "sing along song" and I love songs that make me want/need to sing along to them. Sing along songs are not the same for everyone, but "Where I Stood" (by Missy Higgins) is one of those songs for me. (I kid you not, I was actually standing at the bus stop the other day, listening to my ipod, when it came on and I literally didn't even realize I was signing out loud until I caught myself half-way through. Fortunately, no one was around to hear me. It was a very "Olivia" moment. I've never heard it on the radio, but when it came on today as we got into the car, I actually gasped and burst out laughing. And, of course, singing along.

Clearly, I don't need much to make me happy.

Life is in the small things, after all.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I woke up!

I am reading a wonderful book. Same Kind of Different as Me. It's the story about a homeless man and a rich art seller who form the unlikeliest of friendships. Somewhere in the book, the international art seller relates a story that goes something like this.

He sees a homeless man in the street who has not eaten for days and has absolutely nothing. Despite his hard life, he is smiling and when asked why, the man replies: "I woke up!".

It made me realize how little I appreciate and truly value the most important things in life--the small things. I've never really thought about the miracle in waking up. In the true gift of another day. We should all wake up every day with that same awe and say to ourselves as we open our eyes: "I woke up!".

A small prayer of thanksgiving. It's a good way to start the day.