2010, here I come!

>> 12.31.2009

I'm not a huge fan of resolutions- I find that just because we start writing 2010 instead of 2009 is no special reason to try and better ourselves.  But, I do like that its a perfect excuse to sit back and think about everything that happened in 2009.

My 2009 in bullets:
- Started to take "real" photographs after I got my new camera for Christmas
- Took a co-op job at Energy Plus, soon to be my full-time after graduation job
- Learned the difference between friends and friendly people
- Cried over not-so-nice boy(s)
- Admitted that going to talk to a therapist could be good, even if it was sporatically
- Lost Grandpa Bud, and questioned the meaning of life and death, family, faith
- Re-started blogging
- Hello, Twitter!
- Learned to not enjoy GM
- Stressed myself to sickness
- Learned how to take a deep breath and ::relax::
- Started dating a new boy, and opened up a whole new realm of the word "relationship"
- Gambled in AC
- Traveled to Whitecastle and enjoyed my first burger
- Built trusting friendships out of strong dislike
- Turned 21
- Grew up
- Developed a really strong OCD
- Helped my older brother with his start-up company

And I am sure there is so much more.  I dedicate 2009 to be the year of learning and personal growth.  I feel older (by more than just 1 year), more thoughtful, more emotionally intelligent.  I've learned how important it is   to take care of myself, because no one else out there can do it for me.  I've learned to love my family in a new light- and value the time I have with those older.  I've learned to be myself, and stand proud and confident in doing so.  I'm inspired, empowered, and moved to do great things going into 2010 knowing how much I've gained in 2009.  So, here are just a few of my resolutions:

1. Get back on Weight Watchers (it worked the first time around, now its take 2)
2. Run a 1/2 marathon, or if I'm really feeling it a full one
3. Find the perfect apartment
4. Keep myself on a budget and maybe actually save
5. Move from quantity to quality, at least when it comes to shoes
6. Treat myself on a real vacation
7. Be a better friend to all
8. Get better at letting go
9. Graduate from Drexel and throw a BANGIN dinner party
10. Floss (that one is for my dentist)
11. Keep blogging
12. Frame some of said photos taken in 2009
13. Catch up on sleep lost in 2009
14. Continue to donate every time someone asks "Would you care to donate a $1 to XXX?"
15. Give back to my high school business department
16. Read more books
17. Keep learning, loving, and growing

I hope that I can learn as much from 2010 as I have from 2009.  I've got a lot to work on.  Happy New Year to you all, and I wish you just as much life, love and happiness in 2010.



Why winter is sometimes my favorite.

>> 12.30.2009

It manages to be so peaceful, no matter where the snow falls.


Miserable 20something

Um, excuse me, but when did 23 become the "end all, be all"?  Since when is it okay to be miserable at the young age of 23? I mean I can kinda understand at 70- maybe your life wasn't all its cracked up to be, but HELLO here people, do you realize how much power you have right now?

I realize that sometimes when the shit hits the fan, you really do feel powerless, miserable and defeated.  And you're completely allowed to feel that way for a few days. Key words: few days.  When you think about all the crap you do have (a computer to start if you're reading this) like an education, a few friends or more, a personality, some goals/aspirations, are you really so miserable that you can't even figure out how to trudge through all the shit thats hit the fan?  Sometimes I really wonder where all the optimism went.  I don't think that we all need to wake up every morning ready to change the world (because thats just inhumane), but to feel powerless to change your life at the mere age of 20something is just sad.

You have all the power in the world to change yourself.  You can't change anyone else, but you can change yourself.  You can wake up one day and decide your miserable, and then decide how you are going to fix it. You have all of that power.

Take a look at where you are now.  Do you wish everyone around you would change? Or are you determined to change your surroundings, your path, your personality to maximize your potential?  You have no excuse to be a miserable 20something. Get over it, get over yourself, and do something about it.

(And yes, I realize its hard. But nothing worth having comes easy).



Family is no thicker than water.

>> 12.27.2009

Something I've learned unfortunately early, is that just because someone is family, doesn't mean they love you, or care about you.  I've learned that the saying "blood is thicker than water" is simply a scientific explanation to two different liquids and has no relevance to the actual relationship between two or more people.

There are members of my family that I love, and that I would do anything for.  There are also members of my family who I don't even consider my family.  Maybe its because I have a large family, or maybe its just because that shit likes to hit my fan, but regardless there has been plenty of family drama around here.

There are also people in my life who I also love, like my friends and boyfriend, who I would also do anything for.  They are not blood, they are "water", but my connection to them is far superior to the one I have with certain relatives.

If I've learned anything from all of this, I've learned that relationships take work.  To keep them in tact, they take conversations, phone calls, e-mails, the occasional lunch out, the occasional kind word. I know that I can't expect someone to treat me in a certain way if I don't treat them kindly first.  I try to be the friend that I want my friends to be to me.  I try to be the sister I want my sisters to be to me (I think you get the point).  I've also learned to let go.  If someone decides the past is more important than the present, then that's their problem.  I trek forward- I keep moving towards the future while enjoying the present.  And I surround myself with positive people.  It's hard, it hurts my feelings, and I constantly wonder if it's right.  But I guess this is all part of growing up- realizing people don't care as much as they lead you to believe, realizing that your family can hurt you more than your worst enemy, and realizing that you're the only one who can control it.


If you don't have expectations

>> 12.24.2009

As all the gifts are slowly making their way under the tree, the "what's in this box" question keeps coming up over and over, especially from my younger sister Marcie. It's fun- we guess which gifts we'll probably love and hate just based on the wrapping paper, shape, and feel.

Then Mom comes in (aka Buzz-kill McGee) and says "Girls, if you don't have any expectations, you can't be disappointed". And it was interesting.  What if we all lived without any expectations? What if we didn't expect the trains to run on time, we didn't expect the garbage to be picked up on garbage day, we didn't expect it to be warm in the summer or cold in the winter? Well, I guess it's true that you would never be disappointed. And maybe that'd be okay. But then I started wondering about expectations we have of ourselves, and the people we surround ourselves with, and I realized my mother couldn't be more wrong (sorry!). Sure, if you are okay with your life being the same every day, or you're satisfied with just "being", my mother may be right.  But if you are anything like me and have a hint of optimism about the future, you'll know you need expectations.

Without having any expectations, you limit your ability to be proud, excited, and successful. If I never held high expectations of the people I surround myself with, I might still be dating the kid from high school who dropped out of college and works at Rite Aid, or my closest friends might be ones who have nothing in common with me.  I also know I wouldn't be who I am.  I am the only person who knows my strengths, my weaknesses, my faults- my expectations allow me to push to the next level, to continuously grow into a better person.  Yea, some days I am disappointed.  But at the end of it all, I need to wake up every morning and love where I am.  More importantly, I need to love who I am.


I. just. want. to. go. home.

>> 12.20.2009

'Nough said.


Dashing through the snow

I was supposed to be heading back to Rochester this afternoon, but had a slight problem given that all of Washington, D.C has shut down, including the airports.  After spending 5 days with some very young cousins, I was a bit disappointed.  But after watching the snow fall down for at least 12 hours, and coat the town with a beautiful white blanket.  Given that we couldn't drive, we suited up in boots, gloves, hats and scarves to trek out into the wilderness.  Taffy (the dog) was jumping around like a bunny on speed, and Rachel kept getting stuck in the snow. The not-so-fun part was me going in to fish her out.  I loved getting the snow down my boots.

The neighborhood was quiet, peaceful- seemed to be at rest.  The cars were coated in a thick blanket of snow all around, and you instinctively knew that no one would be moving today.  There is something so beautiful about a snow covered neighborhood, and it's something I've missed.  Today made me realize how much I love the snow.  It's like with every new coat, there is a fresh start.  It covers and re-beautifies the old layer, allowing it to become whole again, to glisten once more.

Today, I needed a fresh layer of snow.  I needed a lot of it.  I received a call home from my Dad, saying that my 12 year old golden retriever "Disney" had accidentally over dosed on her arthritis medication.  They weren't sure if she was going to be okay, but they took her to the ER to start her on the "therapy".  This is the same dog that had cancer removed Dec 23 last year, and spent Christmas Eve in the ER after she popped her stitches out.  Good dog, right? To top it off today, we found my grandfathers stocking he had used in years past. Nothing was horribly wrong, but it was sad.  It's the first Christmas without Grandpa there to make fun of all the gifts we give him.  It's the first one without him sitting there, dozing off after he opens each gift.  I missed my Grandfather, my dog, and my family today.  I even missed that guy I date, just because I knew his hugs would make things seem a little bit better.

Because I couldn't get my hugs, I decided I needed to make my own fresh layer of snow.  I grabbed a bunch of computer paper, scissors, and my 4 little cousins.  And then we cut.  We cut a lot.  There were little slivers of paper everywhere, but I let that go.  We cut out at least 40 snowflakes, and hung them all over the basement ceiling.  And at the end, when they were so incredibly proud to show their parents and Grandma what we created, it felt incredibly rewarding.  With their help, I was able to create my own fresh layer of snow.


What the hell is the "we" stage?

>> 12.19.2009

Okay seriously now, not all of this makes sense to me. In fact, very little of it does.  Since I could walk (well, probably even before that) I was an independent person. All I wanted to do was complete something on my own.  If someone got in the way, I would clearly let them know it was not okay.  

So, 20 years later, that translates into someone(me) who is nearly impossible to date.  I'm all about "this is yours, this is mine, we'll talk about other stuff in 20 years". Not to mention I can be a little absent-minded when it comes to the important stuff, and remember all the crap that doesn't really matter. Today, I was pleasantly reminded of how miserable I can be. We (boy + me) were discussing New Years Eve plans.  I said "yes" to a party on facebook, he was wondering what that was all about.  We also had talked about getting away for the holiday, or even heading to his friends house.  My response: I just replied yes- I hadn't decided yet.  And then he said it.  He said "You mean we hadn't decided yet?" 

Well, good luck trying to tell a girl who has been independent since Day 1 that decisions need to be made together.  That doesn't work so well.  It turned into my response being "we aren't at the "we" stage yet".  Yes, because every boyfriend wants to hear their girlfriend say: we're separate, not together.  Wow, I must be so enjoyable to date.

And then I thought about it.  I thought about what the "we stage" really meant.  What it was really all about.  And then I was okay with it all.  See, I think the we stage is realizing that it might not matter what you're doing, as long as you're with the person.  Or you realize that you'd rather not have your own way- you'd rather not be right. It's a very weird feeling, one that is entirely new to me.  But I guess that when it's the right person, whether or not you're right about the decision or whether or not it's your decision at all, you get over it really quick.

As my Mom said to my entire family at Thanksgiving Dinner, she was "thankful that Abby found someone who can finally keep up with her".  Thank YOU Mom, for being right.


I don't want to grow up

>> 12.17.2009

Today is Christmas Pagent day for my little cousins. To go along with the theme, I proudly put on my "I <3 [Santa's Face]" shirt (kind of like I <3 NY, but Santa). Yes, I am a bit old to be wearing a Santa shirt, but how could I resist? People like to tell me I have a balance between a 3 year old, and a 40 year old.  Not sure if those are compliments or not, but putting this shirt on today made me realize how much I love being a grown-up kid. When is the last time you wore a Santa shirt, or put a blinking red ball on your nose and pretend that you were flying like a reindeer?  Maybe it doesn't need to go to that extreme (caution: flying IS very dangerous, especially off a couch) but I think we all could gain from being a little bit more kid like.

Laugh 'til you pee your pants, have a tea party, go play on the playground, put on big hats just because. Just try not to cry like little kids do- that part is annoying.


"No one can make you feel inferior besides yourself"- Eleanor Roosevelt

>> 12.16.2009

Ever since we were little, we’ve watched numerous films about Princesses and Princes.  We are nurtured to learn that when we’re in distress, a man will appear and fix it all for us.   It wasn’t until I was a healthy, young 20 years old that I realized Disney forgot to tell us that’s a load of crap.  Where are the movies about Princesses going out and doing their own thing? Granted, Little Mermaid had a bit of that when she wanted to walk, and Beauty when she wanted to take care of the Beast.  But where is the movie about how we don’t need men, they are just an accessory to life? After what felt like my millionth break-up, I was having a great conversation with a friend about why this keeps happening, how to keep trucking forward, etc.  I came up with a great analogy. Take sprinkles and ice cream.   Sprinkles = men (or women, I don’t hate) and ice cream = life.  Some people just don’t like ice cream.  I feel bad for them, I really do, but there isn’t much I can do about it. Now, some people love ice cream, but like it just by itself.  Okay, I get it I guess, but sometimes I feel like you don’t know what you’re missing til you try it.  There are also some people who will only eat ice cream with sprinkles, and when there aren’t any sprinkles, the ice cream tastes like shit. Or cotton candy. And then, there are those who love ice cream, and have sprinkles when it’s a special occasion.  For me, I know I HAVE to get sprinkles when I go to Abbott’s Frozen Custard back home (Vanilla with Rainbow all the way).  But, you will also find me loving a pint of Ben & Jerry’s sans sprinkles.   I like to think that I save myself for the rainbow sprinkles, and only the rainbow sprinkles (none of that Chocolate crap).
                So what happens when the ice cream melts? Do the sprinkles taste the same? Is it just as enjoyable? Or what happens when the sprinkles start to fall off? Do you panic to try and lick them all up before they fall to the ground, or do you just shrug and enjoy the ice cream?   Now, I don’t think there is any sort of correlation between how you enjoy your ice cream and how you handle relationships and men, but it helped me sort through the importance and role men played in my life.  Sure, everyone is different and I am sure that some people really do only eat their ice cream with sprinkles.  But next time you’re evaluating, think about whether or not you NEED it.  To me, my life is great without a man.  But, given the right one and the right occasion, I will certainly say “yes, please!”  And ladies, if your sprinkles are ruining your ice cream, please oh please just say NO THANKS!  The ice cream will taste just great on its own- I promise.


Taken Lightly (Welcome)

So, blogging.  Hmmm. I was talking to my friend Liz about it, and figured I should give it a shot (3rd time around is a charm). But I wondered what I should blog about.  Her thoughts: “Something inspirational”.   I laughed.  I mean, what does a 21 year old college student have to say to the world that is inspirational? I go to class, work part time, live pretty far away from a place I used to call “home”, have a handful of close friends, date this guy named Kevin, struggle with my personal appearance, live low on funds, and sometimes think that the world is just out to get me. As I like to say it, shit hits MY fan all the time.  Then, I was thinking about something my mom said during Thanksgiving dinner.  We do the very typical “Let’s all say what we are thankful for” and she said she was thankful that I take everything lightly- almost too lightly.  Being an OCD type of person, I wondered what she meant about that.  I thought “When someone hurts me, I cry.  When someone’s life is taken away, I question what it all means (and cry again).  When I can’t figure out what to do in a situation, I stress out and get not-so-cute pimples on my temples.”  Then, I realized that maybe I do have a few words to share with the world.

Today I am sitting on train en route to Washington, D.C. where I will spend some time with my Aunt Liz, Uncle Dean, Cousin Rachel (1st family), Aunt Barb, Uncle Rich, Cousin Maddie, Cousin Bridget, Cousin Zoe (2nd family) and Grandma. This little trip will cover visiting about 1/10 of my extended family.  Given that all of my cousins are about 10+ years younger than I am, it always results in an interesting experience.   Yet I am incredibly excited to be heading there.  Here is some background: Earlier in September, my cousins and I lost our Grandfather (Grandpa Bud).  He was 86 and awesome, but ready to go. About 3 weeks ago, Maddie, Bridget and Zoe lost their Grandma Marge (on the other side) after she fought a vicious battle against leukemia.  Growing up, I knew I was so fortunate to have all 4 of my Grandparents alive and part of my life.  This September, I cried, but was also old enough to process and turn it into motivation and pride in my family.  For my younger cousins, I can hardly grasp what it feels like to have two people so special and loved taken away in such a short period of time.  And for my Aunt Barb and Uncle Rich, I don’t know how they have taken care of themselves, their family and their marriage while all of this has gone on.   I am not confident that in the same position, I would be able to do the same. I mean, I cried just writing about it.

Anyways, what’s so motivational or inspirational about all of this? Something I realized while I was processing what my mom said- we allow ourselves to become consumed in events that hardly matter.  What matters more than life or death? I’d put family up there, maybe even the pursuit of happiness (what’s the point of living if you don’t make the most of it?).  I’d say that loving who you are and what you do is incredibly important, along with loving those around you to the fullest extent. But other than that, does it really matter if you have a crappy day? Momma, maybe that’s why I seem to take everything so lightly- because that’s how we manage to duck when shit hits the fan.


Hey Mom and Dad- Thanks

>> 10.13.2009

I often joke around and state that I'm surprised my parents have survived raising me. I know it wasn't easy, but I hope they know I learned a few things from them. To start, I learned the strength of love. Thanks M&D



>> 8.16.2009

I think self-reflection may be one of the most underrated things out there. How do you look from the outside, looking in?


Life happens when you're not looking.

>> 8.14.2009


We have some strong genes in the Dineen Family

If anyone has seen pictures of me as a child, you'll know you're looking at another one- just version 2.0 (and another person)


Class Act

She has more composure than a lot of adults I know.


The tiniest things (or people) bring the greatest joy

Grandpa Bud, 87 and Zoe, 3. There is very little left out there that makes him light up like she does.


The beginning

Starting my path towards discovering how many words a picture may actually be worth.