For this Flashback Friday, I thought I’d share a poem I wrote in February for a monthly challenge using a photo or artwork as prompt. Since the challenge is over now and I wasn’t sure what to do with the poem, I thought I’d share it here. Plus, it’s National Poetry Month! Let’s celebrate!

The poem is also a throwback because it’s about winter and riffs on some of the feelings I had when I was in New York City in February 2015. Fountains were frozen, and there was snow on the ground but no clouds in the sky. I was wearing pants under my pants and regretting my lack of gloves, but I felt invigorated and content.


I love winter in the city
when everything is crisp and drawn in clean lines,
muted to neutral colors or classic
black and white –
like a photograph.
Something I can grasp
with my hands.

The sky descends to the earth,
gentle as a flurry, soft as first snow,
meeting at the horizon
in a lover’s kiss
like we did
all those winters ago.

I can’t remember when it was with precision,
only that it felt frozen and perfect
a framed moment under glass,
a promise
like a breath held.


P.S. For a look into my poetry process and other fun things, my friend Amparo has interviewed me here: STAYING AWESOME INTERVIEW SERIES: ALICE.

If you enjoyed this poem, consider leaving me a tip!

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*Thanks to Alz, Eva, and Tracey for their comments on this poem.
**Photos taken by Catherine.

(Music) Kiss Me Slowly | Parachute

Concord & The Revolution

On this day, April 19, 1775, two skirmishes occurred between the British Redcoats and colonial militia in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. These events together are seen as the opening “battles” of the American Revolution. The confrontation that happened in Concord, in particular, would later be known as “the shot heard ’round the world,” a phrase coined by American poet and writer – and Concord native – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

And in October 2015, I visited the place where it happened with the Sister during the last leg of my U.S. History vacation. Yes, I requested and planned a vacation with my friends around seeing Revolutionary History sites, and you’ll be hearing more about that in time on this blog. Concord wasn’t originally on my itinerary and is not a place I thought I’d see given that it’s a small town and a bit out of the way from Boston, but when my friend Tracey* offered her hospitality at nearby Lowell (another historical town – an old mill town, in fact) and a ride to Concord, I couldn’t say no. She knew to tempt me with Revolutionary and literary history (and apple cider donuts).

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Why Nerds Travel (Pt 2) – “For Survival” (inspired by Marlon)

Being a nerd (or geek, whatever term you prefer) is great because it means being passionately in love with something. I think part of the reason for that passion is our subject of geek-love is often something separate and different from our normal. I love to read and write because my brain gets to spend time in another place with other people. I’m immersed in a world that is different from my daily life.


For many of us, our nerdy passions are mind-vacations, little ways we escape our regular lives for a bit and recharge. This is exactly why I think actual travel is vital to living our best lives. I used the phrase “filling the well” in my Why Nerds Travel Part 1 post and talked about how traveling can help soothe the life-burnout. But when I revisited Marlon’s first Why Nerds Travel post, I latched on to this reason of his:

For Survival – When I see Joel and Ellie of TLOU counting small wins in the ruins of a chaotic world, I’m like “I want to capture that in my memory and appreciate the crap out of it.” Sometimes I travel for the sake of survival like if I don’t end up going on a trip to somewhere remote and obscure then, I’ll die or I’ll bite someone.


The Walking Dead at San Diego Comic Con. [Photo: Marlon/ Nerdcoolture]

I completely relate to this feeling, the need sometimes to physically get away from our regularly scheduled programming. Is wanderlust just instinct telling our brains it’s time to take a break?  We can get so caught up in our routines, chores, responsibilities that we forget to appreciate the little things and to take care of ourselves. Removing yourself from all your normal is like shucking a weight and breathing in fresh air.

And hey, I live so much of my life in imaginary worlds and I love them, but they are not enough. To quote the ever-wise Dumbledore,

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

And the best part about travel is that it kind of forces you to live. The nature of traveling is movement, and when you’re navigating the unfamiliar, you can’t just coast. We have to engage with our surroundings, and that in itself can reinvigorate us. The challenges we face might make us appreciate the comforts we have at home; the new dish we try might remind us how truly wonderful good food is. Like Marlon said, about traveling to survive:

The most important motivation here is to be refreshed and get centered after being jolted around from a chaotic work life.

So travel often – even if it is local. You never know what your neighboring towns have to offer or what overlooked beauty you might discover in your backyard. For example, the Sister and I finally visited this old pioneer cemetery (it’s a historical landmark too!) in our area that we’ve been passing since we were kids. This is a place that creeped me out as a child when we drove by at night and always made me curious as to what and who was in there. We never saw any people visiting.

But we decided to stop by last Sunday because we saw they were having an “open house” with goats! They’d brought in a herd to weed the grounds in an eco-friendly way and people were welcome to “walk with the goats.” This little adventure was so spontaneous and simple, but it added so much delight to my weekend!

You are the protagonist and author of your own story, and remember, the story doesn’t start until something changes the status quo. So start your journey and remind yourself that you’re on one. After all, you have to make it to the end. Fill the well.

Q4U: What do you do when you need to get away? How does travel help you survive?

(Music) Chasing the Sun | Sara Bareilles
(Music) Take a Break | Hamilton Original Cast Recording