Sunday, May 13, 2018

Spring's arrival

Spring is here! I had to have a little photo shoot to capture spring (and a tree in my backyard that I'm absolutely obsessed with.) 
Photo by Chris LaRue

Photo by Jessi LaRue

Photo by Jessi LaRue

Photo by Jessi LaRue

Photo by Jessi LaRue

Photo by Jessi LaRue

Photo by Jessi LaRue

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Through the Lens of a Crazy Cat Lady

I have the cutest cats ever. Here's my latest installment of cat photos, or as I like to call this series, "Through the Lens of a Crazy Cat Lady."

Twitch, who is 7 years old. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Twitch | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Twitch | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Kitty feet are adorable. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Twitch | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Trixie, she is almost 4 years old | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Trixie | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


My late twenties. Ugh.

If I had known how anxious/confused/nervous I would feel in my late twenties, I never would have spent my teen years looking forward to growing up and becoming an adult. Instead, I would have spent more time just being a stupid teenager.

But here I am at 27 years old, and I feel like I'm at some sort of crossroads.

Right now, I feel like the looming age of thirty is pushing me to take one of TWO possible paths in the next couple of years. Like,

1) Chasing/pursuing some big career. Throw my life into my work.

2) "Settling down" (although I've been married already for almost 3 years) and having children. Starting a family.

I've been thinking about these two paths for some time, especially as my clock of life continues to chime. I've been debating it, I've been anxious about it, and I've lost sleep over it. Then it hit me.

Right now, I don't want to take either one of those paths. I want to stay right where I'm at, right down the middle.

I'm very content with how my life is going right now; my husband and I are finding a good groove in our marriage, I love my cats, I love my job, I love my writing projects, and I love my opportunities in the local history community. I see a lot of promise for my future in all of those categories.

But as content as I am, something inside me is trying to tell me that I'm wrong. That "staying on my current path" isn't good enough. That I need to push for something more lively, or exciting.

I feel like over the last decade I've constantly been pushing myself: go to college, get the house, get the raise, get the promotion, whatever.

BUT I'M SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW, I want to scream at my inner voice.

Right now I'm so happy with where I'm at, so why do I feel this drive to keep getting more, even though I don't even WANT more?

It's because I'm worried about being a disappointment -- to my parents, to my husband, to my younger self or to my future self.

But for right now, I just want to live in my present. I don't want to plan for kids, and I don't want to shake up my career just because another job would look better on paper. Right now, I just want to continue what I'm doing, and I want to be the best I can be at it. I also want to be genuinely happy. And although my life may seem boring or unfulfilling to some, I'm so content in it.

And right now, I think being content is exactly what I need....even in my late twenties.

So for now, I think I'm going to bypass those crossroads for a little bit longer....maybe even forever.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Time for change.

This weekend I rushed a HUGE decision and I ultimately made the wrong choice. It all happened so fast that I can't even remember why I made that decision in the first place.

So I feel like an idiot. A bad person. A child. I don't feel like myself.

It all happened so quickly -- the poor decision, the realization, and the "solution." I know in the end that I made the right choice to fix my mistakes. It was the right choice for everyone involved. But that doesn't mean that I'm not hurting. That I won't carry it with me forever.

I'm not perfect, and I usually take the long way to figure things out. But I'm sincerely sorry if I've disappointed people along the way. And I'm sorry that I ALWAYS make decisions too quickly, and I'm sorry that sometimes I need help picking up the pieces to all the things I've broken. 

Although the last few days were disastrous in many ways, I can say that I've learned things about myself, my life, my relationships.

But maybe that's selfish --- looking for a lesson in so much chaos --- in chaos that I created myself. But it's all I can do at this point.

So, I'm sorry.

It's over now, but I'll carry that sadness and that frustration forever.

But right now, it's time for change.

I'm going to slow down, I'm going to reevaluate my life and my priorities. I'm going to ask for help. I'm going to be a stronger person. And I'm not going to be so immature. It's time.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Drinkware fit for a cat lady

In the last few years, I guess I've become a "crazy cat lady." After all, I have a cat-themed bathroom in my house. Well, my cat obsession even extends to drinkware; some items I've purchased for myself, and some items were given to me as gifts. Check them out.
"Most Days I Wish I Was a Cat." Ain't it the truth -- a day spent curled up in the sun with no worries sounds like a good day to me. Found this gem while shopping with my grandma at Salvation Army. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

I "love" this one because the pawprint shows my love of both cats AND dogs. This one was a gift from my boss. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

"Good meowing," indeed! This cute one was a gift from a coworker. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Details of "Good meowing" | Photo by Jessi LaRue

"Crazy Cat Lady." Guilty as charged. This was a birthday splurge for myself during my last trip to my favorite store, HomeGoods. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

TRUTH. This cat's sass -- from its face to its uncensored paws -- is so accurate. This one was a Christmas gift from my sister. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Curious kitten had to interrupt the photo shoot. Hi, Trixie. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

These pretty cocktail glasses were part of the CatLadyBox subscription service. Highly recommend. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Although pink isn't my color, this kitty-themed tumbler was the perfect gift from my Secret Santa last year. | Photo by Jessi LaRue

Sunday, February 11, 2018

State of My Life

Photo by Jessi LaRue
I'd like to think that I'm in a pretty good spot right now.

Sure, my writing has been minimal, but that seems to happen when I'm thriving in other areas of my life. I tend to find new things to get excited about (often) and I plunge into them. 

Right now, I'm very interested in animals. (Although I always have been.) I lovingly blame the current "knowledge obsession" on my job at the doggie daycare/groomery, and my own pets -- my two fish and my two cats. I've been reading about them and learning about them, and it's been so fun. I want to be a lifelong learner, and this is just another way for me to keep that up.

I've been reading more. Biographies have always been my first choice, and I've been learning about an array of interesting people this winter -- from Prince to Wanda Jackson to Barack Obama.

My work life is thriving and I can honestly say that I'm proud of what I'm doing and what I'm accomplishing. That feels great.

I was dreading the winter blues this year. I tend to get nervous right after Christmastime each year. While there have been those darker days, overall, I've been good.

I've been busy, so I don't have much time to get stuck in my head. I painted my living room, got some pet fish, and I'm still brainstorming my Little Free Library for the spring. There's so much to look forward to this year, so I'd like to think I'm in a pretty good spot right now, and I'm going to continue to make sure it stays that way. That's all we can do, right?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Our growing family...

Surprise! It's just fish. (Such a misleading headline, I know.)

But in all seriousness, we've added a couple of fish to our family and I'm loving it. I've wanted some fish for a while --- I love learning about animals, Chris loves to fish/loves fish in general, and I figured our cats would enjoy watching some fish move around --- so it seemed like a great idea.

We got a five gallon fish tank, and the education began. I learned that you need one gallon of water per one inch of fish, so Chris and I each picked out one fish. Each one will grow to about 2 inches.

Chris picked out a zebra danio (below) and obviously, it looks like a zebra. It's a pretty peaceful fish, but it darts around our tank, swimming like a madman. For this reason, Chris named it Jet (as in, it flies around like a jet.)
Jet, a zebra danio
My fish is a little more "exotic;" it's a neon blue dwarf gourami (below.) It's a pretty laidback fish, too, and its coloring is beautiful. I named this fish Joplin (after Janis Joplin) and as a play off of Chris' fish Jet (Joan Jett, anyone?)
Joplin, a neon blue dwarf gourami
Twitch and Trixie LOVE watching these fish. It's the equivalent of leaving the TV on for them during the day while we're at work. I've enjoyed watching the fish too, (it's pretty soothing/therapeutic, to be honest,) and I like reading up on them (nerd alert.) Although one thing I haven't figured out -- how do you know if your fish is a male or female? Good thing we have gender neutral names, I suppose.
While we were at the pet store, I was internally shaking my head as the employee kept talking about how we'd eventually "graduate" to even larger fish tanks. I figured, who needs more than 5 gallons? But the more I watch them, learn about them, and read about other fish, the more I think about bigger tanks, with bigger fish and maybe even beautiful, bright saltwater fish...

Maybe someday. :)

Also, I totally want to rant and rave about the neat-o cabinet I found to hold the fish tank.  Pictures don't do it justice. I found it on Facebook's Marketplace (the equivalent of Facebook eBay/Craigslist) for just $20. It's vintage, it's beautiful and I'm just a little obsessed. I felt a little guilty covering the painting on the top of the cabinet...

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Goals for 2018

photo by Jessi LaRue
Read more. 

Write more. 

Build and install a Little Free Library in my front yard. 

Reach financial goals with my husband.

Improve my media and PR skills through my job and my volunteer work.

Learn more about cats, so I can be the coolest cat mom ever.

Continue playing with photography.

Get creative with my house and my life.

Be the best wife and best friend to my husband.

Be a good daughter, and a good sister.

Be happy.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Few Books I Read in 2017

At this time last year, a friend of mine posted a photo of the STACK of books she read in 2016. It was incredible; I think she read at least 20 books. I was so inspired. "I'm going to do this next year!" I remember telling myself.

My big plan started in January like most new year's resolutions do: with a strong start. I think I knocked out two or three books that first month alone. And then I only read two more for the rest of the year. 

Well, I tried. 

As much as I love to read, sometimes it's just hard to find the time. I'm working toward better results next year, though: I received a healthy stack of books for Christmas, and I'll be building and installing my own Little Free Library in my front yard next year. It will be hard to resist a good book when I walk past them each day!
I read just a few books in 2017, but I loved them all.

Here's some info on the books I read in 2017. (In case you can't tell, I'm a biography nerd.)

"Theodore Roosevelt" by Lewis L. Gould
I love history, and I find the Roosevelts interesting.

"Scrappy Little Nobody" by Anna Kendrick
Picked this up at a Goodwill store when I was traveling in Indiana for work. Read it when I was bored in my hotel; it was a fun, easy read. Didn't really stick with me, though.

"Around the Way Girl: A Memoir" by Taraji P. Henson
I fell in love with Taraji when I watched the first season of "Empire." This is a gripping story, and she's an incredible woman.

"The Wire that Fenced the West" by Henry D. and Frances T. McCallum
A great research book for my barbed wire project.

"Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City's Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice" by Scott Helman and Jenna Russell, reporters for The Boston Globe
Moving account of the Boston Marathon bombing. Highly recommend.

What did you read in 2017? Any recommendations for 2018?

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Reflecting on this crazy year

Spent some time tonight reflecting on this last year.

This year had an interesting start. It's something that I don't talk about too often, mostly because I just get frustrated. I'd been working hard at a job I loved for many years, and was even recognized for my hard work in a BIG way in January. But when the time came for me to finally move up and prove myself, the support I needed wasn't within that company. I didn't see any reason to stick around any longer, if I wasn't going to go anywhere.

I decided to cut ties and moved on to a totally different job, where I found myself in the awesome company of....animals. Maybe not "technically" the best use of a journalism degree, but for the first time in a while I am SO happy and I feel so appreciated and needed. It's amazing.

Meeting people, taking photos, researching, writing...those are some of the coolest, most rewarding things I do in my world. I may not have a journalism career, but I reap the rewards of that hard work every single day. I love where I’m at, and what I’m doing, even if it’s a little different than what I originally planned. I love everything I do, like the blogs that I write on, and the Facebook pages I work on. Heck, this year I even gave two public presentations AND unveiled a historical marker. Those are easily some of the coolest things I've ever done in MY LIFE. I think I gathered up that courage just because I was happier than ever.

All I can say is, find what you love, and do it, even if it's not the most conventional way, or the way you saw yourself doing it. I made happiness my goal this year, and miraculously enough, it worked. (Hope that wasn't too preachy. Sorry.... I'm a writer.)