Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What Remains

This blog has had many evolutions. It has seen many times in my life. Over the years, I've had many different ideas about what I would like it to be. Despite my desire to make it something (of what I still don't know), I have posted inconsistently and have not managed to keep any semblance of a theme. Nevertheless, the one thing this blog has done consistently is to remain, however inconspicuous.

I actually have at least one similar, "what is my blog for?" post such as this. But what I want to do here is to simply state that I no longer want to define it. Yet, at the same time I want to pin this as an introduction of sorts. An introduction for an audience of one, perhaps?

I was just taking stock in the aesthetics of my blog. The forlorn black an white, the lonesome birds, the empty bench. All wispy and somewhat elegant to me. At least that is probably what I thought when I took the time to design it. I put it together a long time ago, so I can't even say for sure. But I was just taking note of how my feelings about my purpose of even having a blog carries through in its display.

It makes me think of one of my favorite poems, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. I love that poem for so many reasons, but one of which is that feeling it gives me. The part that reverberates with me is that the rider lingers in a place that captures him for no apparent reason. I know that feeling. And even though he has other things to do, he takes the moment to stop. That is what I do in my writing. Just moments taken for reflection, many times for no apparent reason.

Love: A Poem

by Stacy Fain (circa July 2002)

Love - forever's path to eternity.
For are we survivors or victors of love?
Am I an empty vessel to a means?
The all consuming fire of love
leaves me incomplete and yearning for more.
Yet love is kindly deceiving,
a wolf in sheep's clothing.
It lures me in once again,
and still I am drawn.
In the end that is never ending
all that is left is the conquered,
anesthetized and imprisoned for all eternity. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stepping Out

Sometimes I feel so lost in life. There are so many pieces of me. They are so spread out that sometimes I feel incomplete with what is left. There are pieces in the many places I've lived and left behind, pieces in the many people that decorate my memories, big and small. Sometimes those memories feel like reruns of an old sitcom, or well worn shoes that you spot in your closet from time to time but never wear. You know they belong somewhere else, in another time. I want to say they belong to a better time. Because what is better than the known? Than the familiar? The trouble is, you can't know without leaving it behind to find out. But that is uncomfortable.

I am reasonably afraid of heights, like most people I suspect. When I was a kid, I remember stupidly taking the elevator all the way up to the top of the 300 foot tower at Six Flags. I remember that I immediately questioned my choice once the elevator left the ground. At the top, I remained glued to the interior wall nearly the entire time I was up there. However, little by little I inched out close enough to the railing to enjoy the view. Seeing my surroundings from such a great height was a brand new perspective for me. And the act of overcoming my fear was both invigorating and reassuring. The journey to the top would've nearly been useless had I not found the courage to step out further. 

As I am writing this, I am just putting all this together in my head. Life and circumstances and choices have led me to this point. Each step and each turn have led me out of my place of comfort. It has been a journey for sure, but now I am here. So, now is the time where I step out a little bit further, so I can take in the beauty of where my journey has led me and soak in the lesson it has undoubtedly taught me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

15 Years a Veteran

Fifteen years ago today, I was a proud (ok maybe a little scared and shell-shocked) resident of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, NJ – aka Coast Guard Boot Camp. I don’t think I truly understood pride until that day. And I knew with every fiber of my being, Veteran’s Day would never be the same for me again.

The reasons for this are different than what you might expect. It wasn’t as if my change in perspective was simply because I was now a part of this thing. On the contrary, it was born from an overwhelming feeling of responsibility and of not being enough. I was now, by default, a part of something that was bigger than what my 18 years of life had prepared me for. 

I felt beholden to the men and women who laid this path for me. For all of their sacrifices and for all of those that had given the ultimate sacrifice. I felt so proud that I could be considered among them.

Yet, every year, I am surprised by how my admiration and respect for those who serve our country has continued to grow – now that I am a mother, now that my husband and the father of my child continues to serve, now that I continue to gain perspective.

I have wanted to write this blog for a long time. However, every year my words get jumbled and lost in feelings. I’ve wanted to write about how the first thing I remember seeing that morning was a poem that someone had scrawled on the board in our barracks, “Freedom Isn’t Free.” This pride that I previously spoke of, it began welling up in me at that moment.

You see, before that moment, I didn’t even know what day it was. I was in my 6th week of boot camp. I barely knew day from night. The days ran together and I felt like I was living in an alternate universe. In that place, Veteran’s Day stood as a reminder of the life that I was building. A glimpse of what lay ahead for me. And I wanted it so much more with that glimpse of perspective I had gained.

At a certain moment on that day, November 11, 1999, I had an epiphany. I don’t remember what exactly we were doing, but I clearly remember my surroundings. I had this realization that was as crisp as the crackling sound of a newly cut tree falling in the woods. It created a clear dividing line in my life. I can’t help but feel like that was the moment I grew up. That was when the pride that began welling up in me that morning became crystalized. I still don’t fully understand what it meant, but I know it changed me.

That night, I huddled in the window with the other females in my company as we all strived to hear the bugler play. I got lost in the sound. I felt the sound of Taps that night right down to my soul. It reverberates with me still.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Unplugging for 2014

This is something that has been brewing in my mind for the past few weeks and it is beginning to take shape. I’ve decided that I want to unplug from technology for a bit. Since the New Year is upon us, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try this. I certainly know I am not the first to try or the first to make a thing of this. In fact, I have discovered that there is even a National Day for Unplugging ( which will be on March 7th this year. Sign me up!

I really don’t want to make a big scene about this endeavor either. Because it is simply about me – not my social network, not the one person who might read this blog – me. However, I do want to capture my unfiltered thoughts and emotions about it to reflect on in the future. And I would like to recruit some people to try it out with me. So, I’ve decided to blog about it, which I know is a little ironic.

The New Year is the time to reflect on the past year and what you want for the coming year. What better way to do so than to reconnect with your family, your friends and your thoughts by unplugging from the very thing that distracts you from that the most?! There are a lot of great things that technology has brought us; I am not here to argue against that. I just realize how captivated I have become by it and I am a little annoyed with myself about it.

So, here’s the deal. These are the parameters that I have decided to set up for myself:

I have decided to try this for 7 days, which I think will be challenging enough to make worth it. I won’t be able to unplug 100% because all of my work is done on the computer. So, as far as work goes, I will only use my computer, internet and e-mail when expressly necessary to accomplish work. This means, that I will turn off my messenger and will eliminate any personal e-mails or electronic communication that can be done via telephone instead. Other than work, I will not use a computer. That means absolutely no computer or electronic games. I have decided that telephone and radio is allowed, but that means radio in the car and telephone to have actual conversations with people. As far as my iPhone, I plane to turn it on Airplane mode and will only use it as a phone – no games, no texting, no e-mail, no Apps at all. I’ve decided that also includes the camera on my phone. I may allow myself to use my actual camera though, if I can even find it, lol. And lastly, I have also decided to give up television. That may be the hardest thing, especially if my hubby doesn’t decide to try this with me. Since I am not the only person in my house, if the television does get turned on, I will try to be true to my goal here and otherwise engage myself.

I don’t feel that I have set arbitrary boundaries. All of this is nothing short of how I lived my life as a child, except the no TV thing. I feel like I will be able to enrich my life and my relationships, even in an arbitrary 7 day period. I want to unplug to reconnect. So, this all starts at midnight on New Year’s Eve, which means no wishing happy New Years on Facebook and no selfies of ringing in the New Year. I’m ready for it!

If you want to join me, even if it’s for a day or if you have different rules and boundaries you’d like to set, please let me know. There’s strength in numbers you know?!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An open letter to my nephew, Jaden

Today I was struck by how much love I have for you. Not so long ago I worried that I had not developed that special relationship with you that I have with your other siblings because of my own son’s closeness in age to yours. You had little time to be the only special little guy in my life before your cousin came along. And forming a bond across the miles can be difficult to do. So, by the time I had you and your siblings within hugging distance to me, I guess I was a little preoccupied in adapting to my new role as Aunt and Mom.

You are a lot like me. I love that you are quiet and contemplative, even though I sometimes worry about what destructive plans you might be dreaming up. You have a style that is all your own. You are rough and tough and all boy. You have an adventurous spirit. And you have a tender heart.

Being an aunt is a special thing. You get to be an advocate. You get to be fun. You get to help mold a life. I want the very best for my nieces and nephews, and I strive to help make that happen. I have had the pleasure of being an aunt for 17 years. I have learned a lot over the years, but my aunt mentality is evolving, especially now that I have added ‘Mom’ to my resume.

You are my son’s best friend. You and he share a relationship unlike any other. You are mischief partners. I watch the two of you together and I just smile...that is, when y'all aren't already driving me mad with your antics. I understand the kind of kinship you have and it brings joy to my heart to know that you have each other.

So, this leads me to my revelation. Just because my son happens to be a big part of my relationship with you, it doesn’t make that relationship any less special or unique. If anything, it makes it that much more special and unique. You see, I love you for all the things that I already mentioned. But I also love you for what you mean to my son. I appreciate you for being his partner in crime. The two of you will be there for each other in ways that no one else will be throughout your entire lives. I love that you are a permanent part of my life and that I have the pleasure of watching you grow and mature. I am especially thankful that I get to be a part of a one of a kind friendship, even with all of the trouble the two of you are sure to cause.




Monday, July 1, 2013

B - What?

One of these days I will start off a sentence with, back in B-School…

I like that going to school for your MBA also means that you’re “going to B-School.” Actually, the only place I’ve ever heard anyone use that term is on House of Lies (an HBO show about some cutthroat business consultants and Ivey League “B-school” grads.)

I graduated with my undergrad in the spring of ’11 and went straight off to pursue my MBA that next fall. It was both a good idea and a bad idea. My reasoning for going straight into grad school was that I was already used to juggling school with all of my other commitments, and if I took a break I might never again be insane enough to go back. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy school. However, going to school on top of being a mother and wife, and working full-time really puts a strain on my sanity. So, I made it through the first year of the 3-year, part-time program and came to a point where I just had to take a break.

My first semester of grad school felt great. One of my classes was a business law class and I enjoyed it so much that I had a far off notion that I’d like to go to law school. Then I woke up and realized that I fell asleep on the crazy bus. It was nice to be learning something different. I love the black and white of engineering and I still prefer numbers and working problems to writing papers. But I enjoy learning new perspectives and hunger to be more intelligent about the things going on in the world around me. I feel like I get this from business school, more so than I did in engineering school.

The next semester really tested what I was made of. It was a perfect storm of stress in my life, which culminated at the end of the semester. As a student, this is when the stress of finals alone consumes your life. The long and short of all of it is this. I wasn’t able to see Colten for at least 2 days out of the week. On school days, I was leaving before he got up and getting home after he had fallen asleep. This was hard for me, and it only became harder as time wore on. I had many group projects that required meeting up outside of school hours as well, which equaled even more time away from him.

Work in the meantime, was enough to make me go bonkers on its own. Looking back now, the project I was working on at the time was the most stressful and time sensitive that I have worked on yet. Add to that the fact that I was a new graduate, still learning how to fill this engineering role that I was in. Even with three and a half years of interning under my belt, I felt ill prepared. However, a lot of my stress in this situation was brought on by my own fear of failure.

The trifecta and final straw that semester had to do with my family. My grandmother passed away. She was precious to me and it was hard to say goodbye to her. Although, my actual breaking point came later when I learned that my father had prostate cancer. This is hard to hear as a daughter. Even with a positive prognosis from the doctors, I couldn’t see past the fact that my dad had to go through this. And to make matters worse, I couldn’t be there to hold his hand.

So, needless to say, I took a break. One of my professors was even kind enough to let me take an incomplete, giving me more time to complete a few of the assignments that piled up on me when I had just shut down. I managed to get out of the semester with an A and a B. That is a real accomplishment if you ask me. I originally thought that I might take a semester off, but that quickly turned into an entire year. This was ok, because we made a shift in focus to put Jeff’s schooling first. We had already learned that both of us going to school was a recipe for disaster.

There was no second guessing my decision to take a break, but the absence of school in my life left me feeling a bit crummy. I am a very goal oriented person and I never feel more satisfied than when I am in hot pursuit of a goal. I am definitely of the notion that if you aren’t progressing and moving forward, you’re moving backwards. I tried to bury this feeling because I knew that I not only needed a break, but I deserved one. I think it revealed itself in other ways though. I made my way into in an obvious rut, one that I couldn’t shake. And having school on hold definitely contributed to that.

It's a little over year later now, and I am finally heading back! I recently applied for readmission and was accepted. This past weekend I was able to register for my classes. I am feeling pretty stoked. So, come Spring 2015, I should be the proud recipient of an MBA, and have another goal with a check mark by it.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storms to's about learning how to dance in the rain." -Vivian Greene
"Success is not final, Failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Sir Winston Churchill