2015, The Year of Fulfillment

December 31, 2015

What an incredible thing this year has been. As the world around us changes (and not always for the better), it’s important to remember that the most important things in our lives are the people we hold close. I learned a lot this year- about what not to do in a classroom, about what inspires me, and how sometimes blood isn’t always thicker than water. By fulfilment, I mean that 2015 was the year where things in my life are finally starting to take hold, put down roots, all that jazz. I got engaged, we’ve travelled together, and are more stable (in multiple ways) than ever before. And that’s important to acknowledge.

I hope that if you are reading this, that you feel as touched by me as I am by you. My priorities have changed a lot in the last twelve months. But my family and friends and the love of my life will always be number one. (If it seems like I forget that in 2016, please remind me)

Let’s take a look at how well I did accomplishing my resolutions for this year:

  1. Become a part of (or start my own!) book club.
    While I didn’t start a book club, I’ve become part of one between some of the other English teachers in my department (among others) who want to learn and discuss our methods. Sounds boring, but it usually involves alcohol as well.
  2. Renew old friendships.
    I feel like I can’t really scratch this one off, but maybe you’ll disagree. The wonderful power of the internet is its ability to bring together people who don’t live near other physically. While some of my best friends in the entire world live 50, 75, or 2000 miles away (HI ALEXA), it doesn’t mean that our bonds have gotten any weaker. In fact, I’d say for most of them I feel closer than ever. It’s important to renew old friendships, but I can’t help but remember the new friends I’ve made as well.
  3. Survive my first year as a teacher.
    I definitely made it. Was I successful? That’s another story entirely. I made it through my first year teaching and all that that encompasses, and I am proud of that. My second year, somehow, seems even more stressful than the first but all along I am more confident than I was. It makes a difference. Here’s to 49 more years in the profession!
  4. See some more cool stuff.
    I am happy to say that I definitely checked this one off. We made more than a few road trips around Washington this year, but the clear highlight travel-wise for me in 2015 was visiting Boston. I’ve always dreamt about visiting Boston and this summer we got to go there… It was amazing! Such an incredible mixture of the old and the new, seeing the roots of our country and where it all began, and eating the most delicious Italian food in the entire world. Yeah, it was good.
  5. Keep writing!
    According to WordPress, I wrote 19 poems this year to reach a blog total of 200 posts! While that sounds impressive, I didn’t really keep up with my unwritten goal of two new poems per month. I’d like to continue forward, and as I finally settle into my own unique writing style I’d love it if you came along for the ride. Hearing other people appreciate my work has been an unexpected pleasure. Don’t stop doing it, please.


There are so many people I’d like to sit down and talk to, some folks I haven’t seen face to face in a long time. Hopefully, this year will be one to remember, and that will include seeing you! I can’t thank the people around me enough for supporting me, being willing to buy me a drink every once in a while, and listen to me complain about my students. 🙂

Here’s the skinny on my resolutions for 2016:

  1. Enjoy the last year of my twenties.
    Yikes! The next resolutions post I write will be 2+ weeks away from turning 30, and that’s somewhat terrifying. Help me enjoy 29 as much as I can!
  2. Try to eat a little better/work out a little more.
    Recently, I’ve felt somewhat unhappy with the way I look. I mean, I’ve always been a little chubby but I want to make sure I’m taking care of myself, too. No, I’m not joining a gym.
  3. Don’t be afraid to branch out (school-wise).
    Don’t panic. This means multiple things to me: a) always keep looking for better employment, b) always be open to moving up in the degree world, e.g. getting a Master’s. Stay open-minded!
  4. Continue to write poetry (and think about prose).
    Part of this could be a tough one for me, mostly because I’ve always thought I wouldn’t have the creative juices necessary for writing a longer piece… Who knows?
  5. Get married.
    We’re already engaged, but it would be cool to finally tie the knot next year. Despite being teachers, we don’t really plan all that well sometimes. This can be fixed. 🙂


Well, that’s it. My resolutions for 2016 are actually kind of difficult. Help me achieve them! I hope that you have a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve and a pleasant weekend. Don’t be a stranger.



2014, The Year of Landmarks

December 31, 2014

Wow. This year absolutely flew by me, at something approaching light speed. I have read somewhere that as you get older, the years seem to go by faster and faster, and if 2014 has proved anything to me, it is the truth in that statement. I type this now, on a computer in Maryland, thinking about the people I know and the people I miss from throughout this blur of a year. Some folks got married, some of them moved or changed jobs; heck, one even had a kid and moved across the country!

My own life has seemed to be on an upswing of sorts… *knocks on wood* at least in the last few months. I got a job teaching full-time at a high school in the district I’d been subbing in, I have my own classroom, and Christine and I got a whole new apartment. We even got a new (ish) car! It’s incredible what time, patience, and support from my amazing family can provide. I want to take this small moment to say thank you to them, all of you who take time to read this business every year, and those who helped me whenever I needed it. The people in my life make my life worth living, I truly believe that. So, thanks.
Well, let’s take a look at this past year’s resolutions:

1. Focus on financial responsibility and independence.
One of the best parts about teaching full-time is the boost in the paycheck! Subbing was nice, but salaried pay is even nicer. I have legit health insurance now, you guys. I feel so grown up!

2. Read at least a dozen books. 
Did I read a dozen? Almost. I feel like as soon as September hit, I knew I wasn’t going to accomplish this resolution. But, thankfully, I have been able to read a book or two with my students, and I think that should count for something.

3. Donate to charity again.
Alas, financial difficulties in the first half of the year kept me from doing this one. I would like to do this regardless, either to Planned Parenthood or a youth organization that’s more local to help a noble cause. If you have a suggestion, hit me up.

4. Keep writing.
I have continued my goal of one new poem per month, and as of today I have written 20 poems in 2014… with one more brewing upstairs! I plan on posting that one after its finished in the next few days. I can also take this opportunity for a shameless plug: Christine and I have a separate WordPress blog called The Bird & The Fish, wherein we write prose-only short stories together. It started as a writing exercise but has blossomed into one of my favorite side projects.

5. Get outside my comfort zone.
This one’s a little iffy in my opinion. I didn’t go skydiving, for example, or go backpacking in Europe, or anything like that. But I did get a job as a teacher, and that job has forced me to handle things I might never have handled otherwise. And there was that two-day drive to California just for an In ‘N’ Out burger. So, I’ll file this one away as unresolved for now.

For a year that I felt went really positively, I sure didn’t conquer that many of my resolutions! Oh well. Now for what I plan to accomplish in the next twelve months… Here are my 2015 New Year’s resolutions:

1. Become part of a (or start my own!) book club.
With my love and passion for reading, I’ve always wanted to become a part of a real discussion with the text. A bonafide book club would be a chance for me to read recreationally and continue that conversation in a very real way.

2. Renew old friendships.
Moving down to the south end made it a lot harder to keep in contact with friends (both old and new) in a face to face way. I want to make a conscious effort this year to get more of that beloved face-time with some of you guys. (Here’s looking at you, Fozz)

3. Survive my first year as a teacher. (Flying colors optional)
This one sounds deceptively simple. One step at a time, right?

4. See some more cool stuff.
I managed to travel to California a couple times this year, as well as all sorts of awesome historical landmarks out here in the DC area. Heck, I spent all day today in Gettysburg, PA. It was totally awesome! I love seeing more of this beautiful country of ours.

5. Keep writing!
Okay, so it might be a repeat offender, but I always want to keep on writing. As life gets busier, I can’t let that time for reflection and creativity slip away. Hopefully that one’s an easy one.

Again, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who I managed to see this year. You guys are beyond words. And for those of you who I haven’t seen yet: I’m working on it. Until next time, folks.


2012, The Year of Decision

January 1, 2013

Hey everyone! I know I usually post this sort of thing on the last day of the year, but thanks to my brother we had a heck of a good party on New Year’s Eve. Now, I will take the time to reflect on my resolutions from last year, as well put some together for the big ’13 ahead of us.

I want to start off by thanking my family and friends for all of the support I received this year. I managed (FINALLY) to graduate from college, get my teaching certificate, and head off into the world with my head held high. I would never have been able to do this without my incredible family, my hilarious friends, and my amazing girlfriend. You guys seriously rock.

Let’s take a look at last year’s resolutions:

1. Get my bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate.
Pretty simple. I want to put SPU in the rearview mirror for good.
Finally, finally, finally, I managed to get myself out of school and out into the world. Finding a teaching job has been significantly more difficult than I thought it would be / was ever told it would be, but I remain resolved to get myself into a classroom.

2. Continue to get my work published.
I really like sites like the ones who have already published me and I think it’s good for me to have the critical review.
So far, things have been quiet on this front. With actually graduating, (re)learning Spanish, and looking for a job, my writing quest has taken the back-burner. Looking back, I am impressed with my work this year. Seventeen new pieces remind me that I am still continuing my literary journey.

3. Work on and/or finish the short-story I have already started.
It’s going to take some effort, but I think I’ve got what it takes.
I actually did continue work on it, but my other expectations took over a bit. I plan to keep whittling away at it until I feel satisfied.

4. Travel outside of the country (legally).
I’m not talking “Into the Wild” or anything. I just want to see somewhere new.
I was so close to doing this one! My Dad and my brother and I were planning on heading up to Vancouver B.C. for a day or two but our plans fell through. Now that we’ve all got those fancy “enhanced” licenses, we will be heading up there soon, I’m sure!

5. Send hand-written letters to my friends abroad.
I think there is something to be said about getting snail mail these days.
The irony of this resolution is that my biggest contributor to “snail mail” as I have called it is my dear friend Alexa, who has almost single-handedly helped me with an entire postcard collage in my room. I should like to send some postcards of my own, if not some letters as well.

6. Read the Tolkien trilogy again.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve done this already, but I want to read it again.
Tolkien trilogy: no; some other very good books this year: yes.

7. Meet a famous author/poet face to face.
Listening to Neil Gaiman’s city hall lecture really got me inspired for this one.
While I didn’t manage to get into anything in particular this year, I did manage to sit down and have lunch with Sherman Alexie once or twice… I would count that as achievement.

8. Move back to Seattle.
I love my folks, but I feel like the emerald city is where I belong.
We don’t have to get into why I’m still not there but change is in the air, folks.

9. Get my own classroom.
Even if it was just as a substitute, I want to do what I love this year.
Alas, still no bites. Getting a teaching job is monumentally harder than I thought it would be, even just a substitute position. People keep telling me to look bigger or in different subjects but I’m only certified for English. Maybe I should work on another endorsement instead? Who knows.

10. Start saving for my future.
I’m turning 25 in little over two weeks. It’s time I start thinking ahead.
Not a bad idea, and one that I managed to deliver on somewhat. Having two jobs during the month of November really helped this one become a reality, considering I’m still just working part-time.

Nothing too spectacular, but I’m glad to see that my goals had been more or less achieved. When I look back at the last year and think of the difference between where I thought I would be by now and where I actually am now, I am astounded. However, I believe there is a reason to my trials and that in the end I will be better for the experience. Let’s see what I can come up with for this year…

1. Rewatch the television show LOST.
Those of you closest to me know how into this show I am, and I think it would really get my creative engines going again to watch those guys on the Island.

2. Get a teaching job. For real this time.
I’m out, I’m certified, and I’m ready to get in there.

3. Continue saving money and become more financially responsible.
I made this one resolution instead of two because they go hand in hand. I want to get myself in a place financially where I can handle life instead of just survive it.

4. Visit a national landmark that I’ve never been to before.
Yellowstone? The Grand Canyon? Disney World? All of the above would be awesome.

5. Become a better human being.
There have been times in the last year and a half (approximately) where I have felt that I have fallen short of where I want to be. I try hard to be a good person and let life happen as it will instead of freaking out or becoming negative but being a human is hard. I’ll work on it this year.

Yes, there’s only five this year. I felt like condensing things a little; more because I think I need to focus more, less because it’s simply easier to do five than ten. Get over it.

Thanks again for reading, and keep reading my blog! I have another poem brewing already, and the winter is traditionally a pretty good time for me creatively. You are all wonderful and I can’t wait to hang out with you again, preferably over a hot cup of tea / hot cup of coffee / cold glass of beer.


As the title above shows, this was definitely a year for unexpected changes in my life.

A very dear friend graduated college, and then moved away.
Another came back to visit, and then faded into the shadows.

I found love in the last place I would ever have looked.
I helped bring a friendship crashing down… and it wasn’t even mine.

I found a place off-campus to live, solidifying my status as an adult.

I took a leap of faith, in the form of a trip across the country.
And here I am on another one. Literally.

A lot of things have changed.

Before I go over my resolutions for this year and write out some new ones for 2010, I need to say this: even if we may not be on the best of terms or if we haven’t spoken in months or if you’ve never gone anywhere, I love you. I consider every one of you in my heart as a friend, and no matter what, all of you pop up in my mind whenever it’s blank… and we all know that’s more often than not.

Anyways. On to the main event!

the retrospect edition

1) recognize opportunities in my life
and take advantage of them when they show up
in many ways, I both succeeded and failed at this one.

2) read Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
it’s been a while, and i want to read that again. for me.
sadly, I never got around to this one. I read Tolkien again, as well as Rand, but no Anaya.

it’s sort of, you know, what i want to do with my life
believe it or not, I’m still awaiting official approval for this one as we speak. Last June, I applied for the School of Education at SPU and they turned me down. They said my GPA was too low. Now, after a single quarter, I have jump-started my GPA; with two more A’s under my belt and more determination than ever, I am sitting here with my fingers crossed that they let me in this time.

4) get another poem (or two) published
i’ve done it before, i can do it again
check this one off. In the spring edition of a quarterly journal put out by poeticmatrix.com, I was published again. Both online and in printed form, my work gained reputation alongside a poet laureate and many other talented authors.

5) attend and enjoy Bumbershoot 2009
this year showed me why i love Seattle so much.
unfortunately, between my total void of funds and the lack of good bands on this year’s lineup, I did not go to Bumbershoot this year. Depending on who shows up next year, I’ll go and you can come with me! 🙂

6) continue writing poetry and work towards a collection
i’ve been told that i should put together something
check this one off too. In the past six months alone, I have written 30+ pieces, as well as my first attempt at the short story genre. As for a collection, my total number of pieces is now above 75, a number that still surprises me to this day.

7) let my hair grow out
i don’t know exactly how long, but i’m going for it
ask my friends and family, I definitely did this one. LOL I went something like six months without a haircut, and soon I had a fro even a hobbit would envy. I got a haircut last week, and boy did it feel wonderful.

8 ) hold onto my friends (life goal)
some are farther away than i’d like now
looking back at last December, I can see why I wrote this. And sadly, I did not do as good a job as I could have. I made a few mistakes this year, and thanks to some counseling I am able to reconcile with my regrets. I’m sorry if I slighted you this year. I am trying to work on this Michael guy… and it’s not an easy process.

9) take care of my new friend Stalin
he’s a fish, don’t worry
Stalin is alive and swimming. Not only that but now he has a friend to talk to for the holidays lol

10) fall in love (life goal)
and this time, i’m not going to look for it.
Wow. Not only did I find it, but I was definitely looking for it this year… just not in the place that I found it. I am supremely happy with where I am now, and it’s all because of one conversation months and months ago. It’s crazy how life works. 🙂
This year has been both amazing and tearful. Looking back at the last twelve months, I cannot believe how many things have changed completely.

So now I need to think of some new resolutions…


1. Do my student teaching.
Doesn’t matter to me if it’s primary or secondary, but I definitely need to do this within the next year.

2. Continue writing poetry, and reopen the short story idea.
To be honest, I really liked putting together that little story. I’m hoping to do something more soon.

3. Don’t screw this up.
Seriously. Don’t.

4. Reconnect with friends far away.
It needs to happen. There are quite a few now.

5. Take a trip, preferably a spontaneous one.
Call it what you will, I simply miss the random idea of driving to Ocean Shores lol

6. Start getting a teaching job lined up.
This one sort of goes together with number one, but it’s technically the next step.

7. Do some charity work of some kind.
Soup kitchen’s calling.

8. Learn how to cook.
Because pancakes and macaroni and cheese aren’t cutting it.

9. Lose a few pounds.
Probably the most common resolution in the country, I’m hopping onto the band wagon.

10. Pray more.
God and I have been on strange terms these last few years. I want to work on that.
Well that’s all folks. Have a fun and safe New Year’s Eve, and have a drink for me!  😀