– 1 –

It would be easier to be angry
but I’m not
It would also be easier to eat
but I’m not
so I’m
And this is the cycle
at least for awhile

– 2 –

You know what your problem is?
I said
so I wouldn’t cry
He looked at me
a pained look on his face.
You’re too good
I said.
I barely got a smile
before he threw it back at me
You’re the better one
he said.
So we sat there
complimenting each other
in the middle
of our breakup

– 3 –

In mind over matter
is matter heart?
Because I think matter
There is the mind
and Things That Matter
and Heart
where is Heart?

– 4 –

The person I would vent to
The person I would laugh with
I would send that funny link to
I would explain my thoughts to

We will heal
but for now
I’ve lost
my best friend

Due to things
we could probably fix
if circumstances were

– 5 –

My friend said
To put the wallowing on steroids
And heal before my hike


I’m writing bad poetry


But also
I got compliments on my prose
regarding the breakup –
Prose –
Not Poetry.
Bad, Poetry.


[Edit: Last night can now probably be known as “sobbing night”]. In honor:

I jump
each time there’s a new text
anytime my inbox count
adds a number
Hoping it will be you
And cringing if it is
Because I am not ready
Except, I am:
This is always the worst part
We shouldn’t talk
but I want to
I want to

I want to tell you about my day
I want to send you silly pictures
I want to throw my arms around you
and never let go.

But I can’t.

I returned to my apartment from a lovely stay with my parents and boyfriend, and discovered a letter from The Gambia. The boy I am sponsoring had written back! For those playing catchup (I wrote about this briefly awhile ago), I am sponsoring a boy named Nfally from The Gambia. He is seven. This letter was written/translated for the family by someone at the Darsilami Social Service Centre in late October:

Nfally Jatta and his entire family are very happy to hear about the news that Nfally have picked up a sponsor and he says that he really appreciate your sponsorship.

Nfally was born on the 27 of March in the year 2006. He live in a village called Darsilami near the boarder [sic] line of [Casamance] region.

Nfally is staying with his both parents and have two sisters.

Nfally’s parents are farmers and they basically relies on seasonal farming which cannot meet their living and also the family enjoys two meals daily due to their condition.

Nfally Jatta is a Jola by tribe and a Muslim by religion. Nfally is a very quite [sic] boy who like playing soccer with his friends.

The family says they beg to stop here till another good time. May God the Almighty continue to bless you and your family bye.

It is heartwarming just to receive a letter at all, and part of why I like this program. I will write something back this week. As an extra treat, Nfally also included a drawing for me. So sweet.

new friends new school

the rural rolling hills

so different from the New York suburb

I used to know.

Morning drama class,

a Russian girl could not understand

so we acted it out

and became the tragedy.

it was a game


but fires were

still burning,

the innocent

still dying,

the towers

crash down

on all of us

Say hi to my new addition to the little family of one: Nellie the bichon frise. Sounds fancy, right? Well, she certainly thinks so. She’s a little princess. We’re working on getting her to eat anything but her favorite cheese. Bacon mixed with her (oh-so-boring) dog food was mildly successful.

Nellie playing

Nellie is my parents’ dog – one of them. She arrived here care of my awesome neighbor Friday night. She was in cars, planes, trains, and automobiles before arriving at her new home. I’ve been thinking about getting a dog for awhile. Yeah, part of it was due to the breakup, but a lot of it wasn’t. I love dogs; I’ve always loved dogs; they brighten every day. But I wasn’t sure if I could really handle one right now. I have no one else to care for one, I’m at work most of the day. It’s a big change. I thought about it, talked with friends and family about it, and my parents came up with the brilliant idea of doing a trial run with Nellie. She is relatively trained, knows me, and is pretty adaptable, having come to my parents through adoption a couple years ago. And it would be nice to have a dog ready to greet me after work, take on walks, chill out with. Be goofy.

So I went out and assessed local areas, parks, dog licenses, the nearest animal hospital, potential dog-walkers. Bought a bed, crate, leash, the works. So here she is, curled up in my lap as I type this.

Friday night was a bit nuts. Exciting, but nuts. I left work and took the metro to the airport to meet my neighbor and Nellie. He had her all set up in a carrier and walked her through the madness of airport security, then kept her calm throughout the ride, under the seat in front of him. I’ve totally had a crush on Imeanwhat been fascinated by this neighbor since we met. So like…over five years. Maybe ten. He’s a cool dude. And awesome for dealing with her and basically flying down on a whim. We found a place for Nellie to get out and run around for a bit – and that freedom was all she needed to glare at me when I needed to put her back in her crate. Metro has rules, princess. So we get her/his stuff, get on the metro, transfer, get on another metro, and finally get a cab to my apartment and let her explore her new home. As thanks, I take neighbor out to dinner across the street and it is so crowded I never hear my phone. We got caught up talking until dog-mom kicked it into high gear and we went back. I checked my phone: 2 voicemails from the front desk, about complaints from my neighbors about her barking. So, we should have gotten take-out? Too late now. Cringing, I call back and explain, yes, I have a new dog, and yes, I’m home now, and yes, I’m fine and she’s fine. Apparently my neighbors were worried about me. Wow.My closet makes for a nice bed?

Friday night she slept with me, though whined through half the night for mom and dad. I think I picked this up from our other dog – any time Nellie felt like she was going to jump off the bed, or did jump, I was like a spring, jumping out and getting her back. Our other dog uses this as a good time to leave a mess on the carpet. So it’s practically become a reflex when in the vicinity of one of my dogs. Saturday we were up and at ’em by 8:30 (thanks, dear, for the sleep and sleeping in) and it was a dog day. My neighbor went out on what wound up being a quick touristy-turned-wild-goose-chase to meet with friends and a potential client. Employer? Client. I think. Nellie, at some point, decided that the bottom of my cluttered closet made for a nice place to nap.

I admit, I nearly gave up. I get really freaked out by people complaining, and  wasn’t sure this would work. It’s a lot less space than she’s used to, a lot more crate-time. I freaked. I called my parents. I was almost ready to get her ready to send back home with my neighbor when he left. But, this is new for both of us. People will complain. She will or will not bark. I decided to see how she did, do everything I could to pacify all.

Nellie exploring

I took her outside to learn the lay of her new kingdom, which we explored for over an hour and a half. She is well aware she is the princess. After that I did some bark collar testing, which consisted of trying various things (leave her in the crate, leave her outside the crate, turn the TV on) and waiting in the hallway for a few minutes. Whining was persistent but there was less barking. Still, not quite ready. So we settled down and watched TV together for awhile. I wrote 5 notes for my 5 nearest neighbors, thanking them for their patience as I got my new dog settled in. I placed these in ziplocs, with 2 pieces of chocolate in them. A little while later, I got a knock on my door. Bracing, I opened it, and one of my wall-neighbors said hi, met Nellie, introduced herself, and offered me some chocolate in return. I was a little taken aback – they weren’t meant to be reciprocative? And she said she hadn’t heard anything, and that she was usually home between 4pm and night and if I needed someone to take Nellie out….just wow. Success. Yes? Yes.

We made dinner that night, with some flourishes thrown in by my neighbor. I can bake. I am still learning cooking. It was delicious. Evenings were consumed by movies, talking, and carrying miss Nellie like a rag doll to my bed, where – ideally – she would stay while I brushed my teeth and got ready for bed. So, after I dragged her off neighbor’s bed, we had a much more pleasant night’s sleep. She slept next to me, let me snooze until 10:30 – awesome awesome. Sunday was more adventure-time for neighbor, more dog-time for me. I got some fabulous advice from a friend of mine in vet school who has several dogs, and after walking the neighbor to the metro (Nellie was pretty psyched), I dropped her at home – with the bark collar – and ran to find “rescue remedy” to help calm her down when I was away. She hates the bark collar – and the crate – with a passion. A very excellent guilt-tripping passion. With enough testing and some drops of rescue remedy, I thought I could go out to meet neighbor’s friend and catch the best part of the Superbowl – the halftime show and the ads. 😉 She actually stood up and put her paws on my chest when I leaned down to help her into her crate. Like, “stop, mom.” Killed me. I gave her extra kisses and went out – my phone on loud. This was the test. Because come Monday work calls. We found a quiet bar a few stops away, caught the game (which was only a game in the second half, c’mon guys) and Beyonce’s show. And the power outage. And the ads. And I was hyper-aware of anything happening with my phone. But nothing ever did. My neighbor and I got back and as soon as we got off the elevator, took our hats off and listened.

We listened.

And it was silent.

Success! Wait…what’s that on my door? A yellow post-it? Uh oh.

I sighed, and read the note. This is what it said, from the across-neighbors:

Thank you for the sweets. We are glad to know that everything is fine with you and the dog as we were worried for you. We hope the dog settles well in the new home. Good luck. <names, apt.>

And Nellie was thrilled to see us.

watching West Wing

So, this morning I went to work, leaving my neighbor to take care of her and catch his plane, came home early to work and take her out, and all, for the moment, seems to be well. Almost. She hasn’t been eating much at all. But we gather she’s being picky. I did manage to coax some into her. Hopefully in the next few days she’ll sigh and resign herself to eating actual dog food down here. And we will watch TV. And go for walks. And play. And for now, just be. Like, right now if she can’t be on my lap she’d rather sleep in the small space between my chair and my desk than behind me in her dog bed. D’awwww.

Look. I’ve been getting a lot of people telling me I shouldn’t see him again, asking why I even want to. What will it change, what will it matter. And to be honest I’m fed up with it. All I’ve gotten is discouragement, minus 1-2 wonderful friends. And, look, I know you all mean well. Seeing someone hurting and not being able to do anything about it – it hurts, too. I know. I’ve been there, too. But I’ve had my mind made up for awhile now, and to have so many people respond so negatively, to see a sudden lack of support – that also hurts.

I need some more answers. I need reasons, not excuses. And I think some of the “reasons” I got for the breakup are excuses. And maybe the only thing I get from this is a confirmation of that. I’m not an idiot – I’m well aware how much it will hurt. That I’ll probably cry just like I did when he broke up with me. I know. But I also might get some closure out of it. And I’m doing it. End of story. Will it change the outcome? No, and I don’t want it to. I don’t want him back. But it will matter. It matters to me. So please, just let it. Let it matter to me. I’ve had enough of you breathing down my back about it to rethink it and rethink it and rethink it. The decision is still yes. And you know what, he’s kind enough to do it. I was kind enough to do it for my last ex. And after this, I will be done. If I get real answers, I do. If not, I don’t. But then I know, and then I’m done. Yes, this has hit me really hard. But I know I’m strong. I wouldn’t still be here if I wasn’t. I wouldn’t be going to work everyday, making plans to see friends, joining Meetup groups, going to writers’ clubs. But I need this, just as much as I need time to get through the healing process. This is part of my healing process, for this relationship, for him.

Please trust me.

Today, I went to a testing location to take my Security+ exam. I’ve been studying out of a textbook for two months to prepare for it. So what the heck is it?

Security+ is a certification by CompTIA – the Computing Technology Industry Association. They’re a non-profit that basically advocates for IT around the world, helping people to get vendor-neutral certifications and advance the workforce. Cool. They support a number of certifications, one of which is Security+. Security+ is aimed at understanding and implementing network security controls. There are a lot of aspects to this – many of which I would not have thought of at all before preparing for the exam.

Direct from the website:

CompTIA Security+ is an international, vendor-neutral certification that demonstrates competency in:

  • Network security
  • Compliance and operational security
  • Threats and vulnerabilities
  • Application, data and host security
  • Access control and identity management
  • Cryptography

CompTIA Security+ not only ensures that candidates will apply knowledge of security concepts, tools, and procedures to react to security incidents, it ensures that security personnel are anticipating security risks and guarding against them.

It’s quite extensive. And ever-changing. My textbook, though written in 2012, was already outdated (in very few things, but the point still stands). For example, there are new algorithms for encrypting communications and sending them over the Internet. These adapt and update frequently, since attackers discover vulnerabilities they can exploit to gain confidential information, take down servers, and in general create havoc. I learned how to determine if an attack is occurring and the steps to mitigate it and then preserve computer forensic evidence. It was fascinating, if very difficult. More importantly, how to do my best to make sure such an attack has a low chance of occurring. Because no risk can ever be eliminated.

I was relieved, mostly, when I learned I passed today. Focusing on studying and memorizing was really hard when my mind kept wandering to why my boyfriend broke up with me last week. What I wanted to say to him, to ask, to ponder. Healing, dealing with the fact that it was over. This morning, I meant to meditate (my new year’s resolutions have gone out the window since the breakup, but I hope to recover in February). I slept in instead, running out the door to get a little more cramming in at the office before catching a bus to the testing center. I caught the right bus, but missed my stop, so when I got out, I had to run back several blocks, knowing I had just a few minutes before the starting time. It was incredibly cold out; my lungs did not thank me for running outside like that. Once I got there and signed in, they gave me a smile and let me thaw/catch my breath before taking me upstairs to the test room.

The test was hard. I think the hardest I’ve ever done, to this point. That includes my test to become an EMT – though, I guess, to be fair I had an intense semester with lots of coaching for that. I reviewed several of my questions, and finally took the plunge to click “submit.” Then! Then they wouldn’t give me my score until after I took a demographic survey. Finally, I read the small print on the screen – I got a 784, and you need a 750 to pass. Whew!! That means I got the equivalent of 87%. I think I sat there staring at it for a minute until it processed. Then I bundled up and headed back to the office, a giant grin on my face. I did it. Without applied experience, I still managed to pass.

Things will be okay. It may take awhile for me to truly be okay, but hey – I can still accomplish things, broken heart and all!

Today’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT has really struck a chord with me, and my heart goes out to those affected. Instead of being helplessly upset by the updates and coverage, I’ve decided to do something about it.

I’ve set up an email account where you may send your condolences and thoughts to the peers, friends, families, and faculty and staff affected by this. I plan on mailing as many as I get directly to the school, probably sometime next week. Email

Please note: hurtful, political, or inflammatory emails and comments will not be tolerated, nor will they be sent out. A senseless and tragic act has occurred today; imagine if you were a parent of one of these children killed. Please keep the thoughts positive.

Thank you.